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Sail Date: August 2019
This is a 8th cruise with Princess and our second time on the Regal Princess. We fully enjoyed all the cities in the Baltic region we went to and concentrated mainly of the visiting and not time on the ship. The staff on the ship made ... Read More
This is a 8th cruise with Princess and our second time on the Regal Princess. We fully enjoyed all the cities in the Baltic region we went to and concentrated mainly of the visiting and not time on the ship. The staff on the ship made you feel comfortable and were always polite and made sure all your needs were met. We only went to a few shows on the ship and found them OK but not of high caliber. We found that the cities always had something for us to see and explore. We did not really use the cruise ship excursion as they were very expensive and using Rick Steves guide for the ports allowed us to go into town and see most of the sites as most ports were walkable, We did use the cruise excursion to get to town for Sweden as the ship docks about an hour away for Stockholm and the hop on/ hop off bus did not seem very convenient and we had on board credits to use. Princess also tries to scare you into using them for St. Petersburg as you need to be on an escorted excursion or you will need to have a visa for there. There are numerous other local companies that can arrange the same thing. After some research on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor we decided used TJ Travel for a 2 day excursion at half the price and I would rate them 10 our to 10. They also will give you a discount if you mention you are a Cruise Critic member ( which they honored no questions asked). Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise because of the stops in Iceland and Greenland, so the other ports were a bonus. The ports were good overall, but I would look carefully at the excursions offered from the cruise line and investigate ones on your own. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the stops in Iceland and Greenland, so the other ports were a bonus. The ports were good overall, but I would look carefully at the excursions offered from the cruise line and investigate ones on your own. We used Saga tours for tours in Iceland and Greenland. They did a good job overall, they were with small groups and we enjoyed that. The only problem is make sure if you use them in Greenland for a trip to the glacier that you get a guarantee of size of boat, that it is covered for ALL passengers, and that there are accommodations that allow for viewing for all passengers. We didn't, and they tried sending 4 large people in a boat that was meant for two people inside the "cabin area - the pilot and one other) with the rest of everyone outside. When is it drizzly weather being stuffed under the console was not a pleasant experience - we had to have the pilot return to port as we feared someone was going to crack their head open on the console when the pilot picked up speed. Regarding the shore excursions with Royal Caribbean, they were okay. They didn't offer anything outstanding but they weren't awful either. They did have a big problem in getting people off the ship when we tendered in Shetland, Scotland. Our private tour was delayed two hours because of it, we were unable to get to the southern part of the island as a result. The big thing to watch for is cabin location. We weren't able to self select the cabin, and were assigned 3610 - average size with a nice sized window. The major PROBLEM was it is over the engines - we had a constant hum to whine the entire trip. You could tell how fast the ship was going by the sound of the engines. For two nights there was a horrible sound that reminding me of an anchor being pulled up, it clanked and rolled. The food is average, but the waitresses and waiters were top notch. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
This was my fourth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2, but the first during the summer season. This was not the most memorable Overall: The weather was excellent for this transatlantic crossing, very sunny and minimal ... Read More
This was my fourth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2, but the first during the summer season. This was not the most memorable Overall: The weather was excellent for this transatlantic crossing, very sunny and minimal sea state. The ship was rather quiet during this crossing, during the day and during the evenings. The day time program wasn't particularly exciting or eventful and the passengers didn't seem to want to stay up too late in the evenings, even during formal nights. By midnight, the ship was very quiet and the bars even started to close. This was not a "party" sail like my usual pre-Christmas crossing. Cruise critic organized an informal meet and greet on the second day of the voyage. It was well attended and it let me meet the people in the forums. I enjoy transatlantic crossings a lot and despite some negative comments here, it is almost certain that there will be a fifth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2 in my future. Ship: The Queen Mary 2 is a special ship and I've always enjoyed her design and layout. While there are some quirks and oddities about her design (i.e. Decks 2/3 between A and B stairwells and getting the Queen's Room and G32), she is beautiful ship in the art deco style. One never feels crowded on board the ship. The Carinthia Lounge remains the area to avoid on the ship (it has a very retirement home feeling). The ship is showing some wear and age, but overall maintenance is still very good. Cabin: I had an obstructed view cabin, but it was a good cabin, possibly the best obstructed view cabin because it was behind a small boat rather than a full sized lifeboat. Dining: Britannia Restaurant. The food in the Britannia Restaurant for this crossing was average, not as great as it had been in the past. It was still very good but didn't feel as special as previous crossings. Presentation remains excellent, but the menu wasn't that exciting. The desserts were also rather plain this crossing. King's Court. Always busy, especially at lunch. Finding a table next to a window is nearly impossible and the food is average, but consistent. Golden Lion Pub. The pub lunch is always a good choice when the menu at the Britannia restaurant doesn't appeal to me. It serves traditional pub classic dishes such as fish and chips, or chicken tikka masala. Room Service. It was decent. I usually get room service breakfast. The food/coffee/tea is never piping hot, but that's expected given that its being delivered and the galley is rather far away. Entertainment: Evening shows: Cunard has never been known for their evening entertainment, so I wasn't expecting anything spectacular. The singing and dancing of the Royal Court Theatre Singers and Dancers was what I expected. Though other passenger's descriptions were harsher ("a high school production"). Lecturers: The selection of lecturers for this crossing was not the greatest. None of the lecturers really interested me and the comments from the other passengers were mostly negative as well. Planetarium: It's always nice to be able to attend the planetarium shows, but the show is always the same "stars above the north Atlantic." Service: The bartending staff remains excellent, my favourite bartender was on board and I have sailed with her for all of my voyages. My steward wasn't the greatest this year, but was still decent. The sommelier assigned to our table wasn't very good, rather than recommending me wines, he would just give me to the wine list and have me select the wine. I noticed there were a lot of trainees on board, so service was a bit slow. Shopping: Souvenirs remain a weakness of Cunard. The souvenirs are either overpriced and tacky or just overpriced. It would be nice if Cunard could get some decent and reasonably priced souvenirs. Their selection has improved over the years, but still has a lot of room for improvement. Embarkation: Very smooth this year, no queues, the fastest embarkation in Southampton I've ever had. But I found out that this was the case because there were a lot of people already on board who did not embark in Southampton. Disembarkation: Disembarking in Brooklyn is always frustrating. There was about an hour's delay from when I was scheduled to disembark to when I actually got off the ship. Then the queues to get through US Customs was a nightmare. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
Everything about our cruise was great! We boarded very easily in NYC The ship, though older, is kept clean and well appointed. Restaurants: all were excellent! And I do consider myself a foodie! Have been on NCL, RCL, MSC, and way ... Read More
Everything about our cruise was great! We boarded very easily in NYC The ship, though older, is kept clean and well appointed. Restaurants: all were excellent! And I do consider myself a foodie! Have been on NCL, RCL, MSC, and way back on an Italian Line. Cunard was great in all areas; Buffet, Main Dining Room, and Verandah! Not a single line can cook a steak as well as Verandah! (Ships cannot use open flame so it’s difficult to cook a great steak without a flame!) The other point is cleanliness. Having been on all RCL mega ship crossings and each of their buffet rooms were not kept very clean when dining was going on. Waiters would wipe tables onto floor and often tables were hardly cleaned! So QM2 touché! Shows were ok. Not great but enjoyable. The walk/run deck was great! The Aqua Therapy was phenomenal and well worth the $$! Finally, as we enjoy the elegance of the QM2 the evenings, 3 of them formal, were great. The others require a jacket at dinner. (Tux are available and worth it!) The masquerade and roaring 20’s nights were a lot of fun. If you want casual go on a 7 day island cruise. If you enjoy great conversation, stimulating lectures, time to reflect and read great food, great drinks, formal evenings then go on QM2! And finally they do not beg for good reviews! PS our review for excursions says Excellent. But their weren’t any! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. ... Read More
Choose this cruise for its itinerary. Ireland / Iceland / Greenland, wow. All cruises have their plus and minuses. Major plus was the limited passengers (under 1700), and the route. Minuses was the disappointment in the food. Signature suite 6055 was nice and roomy. Entertainment good, services great (go find David in the Oceans Bar for the 4-5pm happy hour, he has great personality). Cabin stewards & Dining stewards were all great. Ports - 3 ports in Ireland all great, 2 ports in Iceland (somewhat disappointed), 2 ports Greenland - Prince Christian Sund is amazing. 2 Ports in Newfoundland, and 1 port in Nova Scotia. Embarkation in Rotterdam was the easiest I have ever had, Disembarkation in Boston was somewhat confusing ((no clue where/who to ask about wheelchair assist, managed to get off on our own. Then had the bus driver who could not help with luggage & did NOT know route to airport? Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We recently completed a 17 day cruise across the North Atlantic aboard the Zuiderdam, billed as “Voyage of the Vikings” from Boston to Rotterdam. This is actually first part of a longer 35 day cruise that returns to Boston, visiting ... Read More
We recently completed a 17 day cruise across the North Atlantic aboard the Zuiderdam, billed as “Voyage of the Vikings” from Boston to Rotterdam. This is actually first part of a longer 35 day cruise that returns to Boston, visiting different ports coming and going. We were among the minority of guests who departed halfway through. Many guests don’t enjoying flying and dealing with jet lag and a voyage that begins and ends in the US is attractive to them. This cruise is only done once a year, and many people have apparently done it multiple times and sign up for it months in advance. Despite that the ship was not full. You want to learn about Vikings? If so, this is the cruise for you and there are quite a number of talks and presentations about the Vikings as explorers, plunderers, and traders, along with history of the various countries visited. This was reinforced by shore excursions. Cruisers should note that it's a rather expensive voyage, and that is also true of the shore excursions. At the last minute we were pleasantly surprised by an upgrade from the signature class cabin we had booked to a Neptune suite, a much larger cabin (#7073) with various extras, including a dedicated lounge. So that got the voyage off to a rousing start. Service met the usual high HAL standard whether we are talking about cabin stewards, dining room staff or concierges for the lounge. The concierges were quick to handle any minor issues we encountered, and were proactive in trying to be of help. I remember one rather rough night where they called and wanted to make sure we were not sea sick. On this voyage, we noticed the continuation of a trend we’ve perceived on HAL which is to make their voyages more “authentic”, which means substituting more “live” music for the traditional cruise song and dance shows, presentations by experts, and shore excursions that are more about exploring local cultures. HAL continues to go down this road by announcing they are bringing in more artistic dancers and local chefs. This is clearly how HAL seeks to differentiate itself from other cruise lines, including others in the Carnival Group. Given the age and economic status and propensity to travel of the average HAL guest, I can’t fault them for the strategy (and I very much appreciate the strategy myself, for this is my vision of what a cruise should be) but this is not a cruise for people who want an experience with games and pool parties and sports and late night entertainment on board, particularly if you have children. We ate in the dining room most nights, but also in the Pinnacle grill twice and once at Sel de Mer, which exists as a “pop up” restaurant only opening one or twice during the voyage. All the food was very good, though there seemed a little less variety than previous voyages. Though we frequented many of the music venues and enjoyed them very much, the other entertainment on board left a great deal to be desired and we hardly went to any of the shows. Entertainment is the weakest aspect of the HAL experience, but it is also the aspect of cruising I care about least. We took part in six excursions coordinated by HAL. There was the usual level of good organization, though as noted they were rather expensive. Weather was not particularly cooperative but that is not HAL's fault. This is something like our 11th cruise with HAL. We think of ourselves as quite experienced cruisers, but many of the travellers on this trip have hundreds and hundreds of cruise days to their credit, and travel to all corners of the world on multi month voyages. It’s a completely different kind of passenger than you find in the Caribbean or Alaska and you can learn a lot from them. I cannot say enough about the professionalism, positive attitude and courtesy of HAL personnel but in truth this is nothing new, for this has always been our experience with HAL and why we continue to use them exclusively for ocean cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Would we go again on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth ? Absolutely. This was a late July east-bound transatlantic cruise with stops in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, Dublin and finally Southampton. We were generally blessed ... Read More
Would we go again on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth ? Absolutely. This was a late July east-bound transatlantic cruise with stops in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, Dublin and finally Southampton. We were generally blessed with fine weather and calm seas; there was some movement on the north Atlantic but not enough to bother most people. Try to get your stateroom as close to the middle of the ship and as low as possible; it will minimize the rock-and-roll if there is any. Embarkation from Manhattan Terminal was perfect. From street to stateroom in 30 minutes. The ship is very elegant as others have said. it is sparkling in its art-deco appearance and it is very well-maintained, inside and out. Painting and maintenance are ongoing when we were at port. It is the very model of an elegant luxury cruise ship. We had 4 formal nights on the 15 day cruise; men in dark suits or tuxedos; women in gowns or smart cocktail dresses. Casual during the day but formal at night; it was not mandatory but for those not dressed up they had special dining locations those evenings. After the 3rd night I could get into my tux in 10 minutes, much faster than the first night. It was a chore the first night but it was special to dress up on this elegant ship. It takes a day or two to discover all the places on the ship and I'm sure I missed some. There are many public spaces where you can relax and read; many bars and cafes throughout the ship. Overall you get both a big but also intimate feeling on this ship. The library was very impressive; two stories with dark wood furnishings. My wife and I reserved the Queen's Grill Suite (Q4) Room 7088. On the QE there are 3 passenger classes: Britannia, Princess Grill and Queen's Grill. If it were a plane, Britannia would be economy, PG would be business and QG would be first-class. There is also Britannia Club which is a step above Britannia. The PG and QG restaurants are two, separate but similar restaurants on Deck 11 with similar menus and service. It is hard to tell the difference. They share a common lounge between the restaurants for PG and QG passengers. Apart from that, the rest of the ship is available to everyone. The PG and QG meals are served in their respective restaurants, including afternoon tea. For Britannia class, there is a large impressive restaurant in the aft of the ship; afternoon tea is served in the Queen's Room which is also the dance floor. The staterooms are of course larger for the QG than for the PG than for Britannia. Overall I think the QG is not that much different than PG. Service and attentiveness was very good. The big difference for the Grills is that you can have dinner anytime after 6 pm. For Britannia there is an early and late seating. We found the flexibility of the QG/PG to be very convenient. There are a mix of 2-tables, 4-tables, and 8-table sizes. My wife and I enjoyed our dinner mates very much at the 8-table size and we became friends. Food was very good but not great. The Verandah ($39 supplement) had much better steaks than at the QG; our dinnermates and we decided to go down there one night just to get something different and we all agreed that V was much better. Of course not everyone wants to pay a supplement for dinner when they have already paid for the cruise which could explain why the Verandah was not very busy. But it was worth it for the food. Age group was mainly in the 65+ crowd although there were some people in their 30s and 40s with children (ages 6-10) but this younger group was less than 10% of the passengers. Most were from UK, US, Australia, New Zealand. With QG there is refreshed wine and liquors in your stateroom each night, as well as refilled min-fridge at no charge. An Illy coffeemaker with refreshed tea, creamer, and coffee is provided. As well as evening canapes. This is in QG. Certainly nice touches but I think you could scrape by on PG or Britannia depending on what you are looking for. Activities on the ship were fine with lectures and high production value shows every night at 8:30 and 10:30 each night. Lectures on Broadway, Weather Prediction, Space Exploration, the upcoming ports were very good. The port excursions were generally well-organized and interesting. They are not inexpensive! And you may be able to find better value with some planning. But be sure to return to the ship on time! There are a few washing machines and dryers on each deck but not anywhere enough, so there was jockeying and some harsh words in the competition for them. Better to do your own delicates and send out the rest to the ship laundry which has a charge. I agree with others about the atrocious internet. Slow to connect, slow to use, and slow to disconnect. At $45 for 2 hours, Cunard probably makes as much on the internet as the cruise! You can't just shut off the computer because your account is still open until you sign off which was so slow I didn't know if I signed of at all. I had to call the purser every time to make sure they signed me off. Fortunately the long-suffering IT guy gave me back 45 minutes which was spent trying to get on and off the service. Befoe leaving home,sign on with your local wireless provider to use the port-days with discounted International Roaming. It is much faster and less expensive. Disembarkation was also perfect.Remember to leave some day clothes out before you go to sleep on the last night. Your luggage will be off the ship overnight so make sure you have something to wear on the last morning! We had a great time and we would do it again although we might try PG or Britannia Club for comparable value since 90% of the rest of the ship and activities are open to everyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
We had not previously been on an ocean cruise, but for our 50th wedding anniversary we wanted to treat ourselves to something special. So we booked a 15-night New York to Southampton cruise with stops in Canada, Iceland, Scotland and ... Read More
We had not previously been on an ocean cruise, but for our 50th wedding anniversary we wanted to treat ourselves to something special. So we booked a 15-night New York to Southampton cruise with stops in Canada, Iceland, Scotland and Ireland. It was a world away from our usual quiet life in rural Tasmania, but we had high hopes that the Queen Elizabeth would give us a truly memorable cruising experience, and we were not disappointed. Check-in: We boarded at the Manhattan cruise terminal which was easily accessible from our central NY hotel. Our cruise was the final leg of a much longer itinerary that had started in Vancouver, so this was not a full change-over day for the ship. Consequently there were only a few other passengers arriving at the same time, and the whole process was quick and easy with no queuing. We had been given a 12.30 check-in time and within 20 minutes we were in our cabin with luggage already delivered. It probably doesn't get any better than that; our holiday was already off to a perfect start. Cabin: We had dug deep for our anniversary treat and booked a Q4 Penthouse midships on deck 7. This was truly wonderful; a large and well appointed room with plenty of space to relax both inside and out on the balcony, a walk-in wardrobe with more than enough hanging space for 15 evenings of dress-up finery, a huge comfortable bed, and a bathroom with shower, deep spa bath and separate toilet. Nothing about the room was a disappointment, and the experience was made extra special by the butler Manny and his team. They were incredibly attentive with the room fully cleaned while we were at breakfast, everything restocked including the complimentary bar, fruit and flowers replaced regularly, canapes delivered each afternoon, and refresh/turn-down every evening while we had dinner. One of the really nice Cunard touches is that the staff know you by name and make a genuine effort to remember and deliver on your personal preferences. Meals: We ate mostly in the Queens Grill restaurant but also tried a couple of pub lunches after days ashore, and had room service occasionally. All were good, but the Queens Grill is exceptional for both the food/drink and for the service. It is a relatively small restaurant, less than 100 guests, and because you can eat at the time that suits you (for example, arrive for dinner anytime between 6.30pm and 9pm) it never seemed overly busy or crowded. There was really nothing that we could say to fault this restaurant; the range and quality of food was outstanding, plus a dedicated chef would try to produce anything off-menu if given a few hours notice and if they had the ingredients onboard. We asked for rabbit pie one evening which really wasn't much of a challenge for the chef but was duly produced and served at our table with theatrical panache. The Queens Grill provides a very sophisticated and indulgent silver-service atmosphere, part of the overall Cunard theme of reprising the 1940s/50s heyday of transatlantic voyages. In keeping with this, most Grills guests dressed “smart casual” for breakfast and lunch, then everyone dressed more formally for the evenings in keeping with the designated dress code of the day. Activities: During sea days there was always plenty to do onboard, both for organised activities or do your own thing. You can be as active or inactive as you like. We really enjoyed the outdoor games areas with quoits, croquet, carpet bowls, shuffleboard and paddle tennis, plus swimming and table tennis. Entertainment: The main entertainments included a classical concert most afternoons and then ballroom dancing and 2 theatre performances each evening. We found the shows to be mostly of an okay standard; enjoyable, glitzy and good enough for free onboard entertainment but not really outstanding. The theatre has a number of private 2-person boxes which can be reserved at an extra cost with champagne and nibbles on some evenings but are otherwise available freely to anyone who arrives early. Stewards are on hand to bring drinks. All passengers are expected to respect the after-6pm dress code in the theatre and ballroom. Final reflections: We researched Cunard here on Cruise Critic and elsewhere before deciding that they were likely met our needs. We were aware that a number of reviewers have not been happy with their Cunard experience but this often seems to be related to differing expectations of the type of cruise that these three “Queens” offer. This is not a party boat, and not primarily targeted to families and other younger cruisers although there are some facilities for children. The target market is very clearly aimed at a generally older group who enjoy a slower and more genteel pace of life. Other frequent criticisms of Cunard seem to focus on the so-called “class” system, the after-6pm dress code, and the price of drinks. In our experience this “class” distinction is really a non-issue; it's no different from most airlines where you can book economy and get a good service or book a more expensive seat that gives you perks like shorter queues at the airport, more personal space on the flight and a larger choice of meals. It's a choice for everyone to make, unlike a real class system in which there is usually no choice. The after-6pm dress code seems to annoy some people but in our view is central to understanding what Cunard is offering its passengers. Things like the flamboyant art-deco style throughout the ship, the white-gloved waiters, the traditional afternoon teas, the ballroom dancing, the silver-service ambience in the main restaurants, are all designed to create an evening atmosphere of old-world elegance, charm and sophistication. The ship and the crew deliver on this, and the passengers are also expected to deliver. The entire Cunard cruise is a piece of theatre in which passengers live the retro experience of an age when good manners and gracious living were valued. Nobody is forced to dress formally – there are areas of the ship that are more relaxed – but clearly for the vast majority of passengers the evening elegance is an important part of what makes the cruise special. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We sailed on the Queen Elizabeth in late July on a 15 night North Atlantic crossing.. The ship was built in 2010 and is the sister ship of the older Queen victoria. Both ships are Vista Class ships. Carnival Corporation, Cunards mother ... Read More
We sailed on the Queen Elizabeth in late July on a 15 night North Atlantic crossing.. The ship was built in 2010 and is the sister ship of the older Queen victoria. Both ships are Vista Class ships. Carnival Corporation, Cunards mother company, built a number of these vista class ships for its various fleets and aside from the two Cunard ships,a good number were built for Holland America, Costa and P&O, Having previously sailed on Holland America's Niew Amsterdam and Eurodam, I felt very much at home with the general layout of the Queen Elizabeth. However, by comparison, I found the Holland America ships to be far superior in many ways to the Queen Elizabeth: 1) Contrary to other Carnival owned cruise lines, Cunard ships have three distinct classes of guest accomodations: the Grill, the Britannia Club and the Britannia. Both the Grill and the Britannia Club passengers enjoy exclusive restaurants with the Grill passengers also enjoying indour and outdour exclusive areas. As a result. there is obviously less additional common areas to be enjoyed by Britannia class passengers. There is only one specialty restaurant available to all passengers ($40 per person). 2) Although the food quality is comparable to that found on Celebrity and Holland America ships, the service, especially in the Lido buffet restaurant leaves much to be desired. For instance, at breakfast, there is no coffee or juice service at the table and the coffee in the large coffee machines is constantly being re-heated leaving a bitter taste. Also, there is not enough personel cleaning and setting tables in the Lido (I presume this would not the case in Grill and Britannia Club restaurants). 3) Although the Queen Elizabeth is the more recent version of Vista Class ships, it lacks certain characteristics of older Vista class sister ships; There is no retractable roof over the pool (a must for transatlantic passages) nor are there automatic sensor doors to the rear and central parts of the ship which I found annoying when attempting to open doors with a drink and plate in hand. 4) The internet is terrible. If you are paying a premium price for an internet package you should not experience sporadic reception and you should not expect to pay for the many minutes it takes to log in and log out. If you are into serious Ball Room dancing you will be vary happy. There were the same few dozen couples who regularly took part in dancing while the rest of us enjoyed their performance. I would estimate that the average age of passengers is around 75. The entertainment is geared to this age group with music of the 50's and 60's together with a dose of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole era songs. It felt like I was visiting a floating senior citizens residence. Cunard passengers are very loyal but I wonder how it will go about recruiting a younger generation of passengers. Cunard should be commended for the quality of guest speakers and the range of topics is excellent. If I do take another Cunard cruise it would be for the destination and not the ship. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate my partner's birthday with a transatlantic crossing that included many destinations on our bucket list. We have been on other cruises in the Mediterranean and also South America - they were fabulous ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate my partner's birthday with a transatlantic crossing that included many destinations on our bucket list. We have been on other cruises in the Mediterranean and also South America - they were fabulous experiences that cemented our enjoyment of cruising. What we didn't know was that Cunard really only cater for people over 70. For people in this age category the cruise would have been a wonderful experience. All activities, meals, shows, events, excursions cater for this group. Even the entertainment coordinator was bland. The comedy shows were by people from the 60's and 70's where racist and sexist jokes were the norm. Sadly these acts hadn't changed their material. The only activities appeared to be quizzes or card games or ballroom dancing. There were no live bands playing popular music, sing alongs around the piano bar, live music and comedy shows around the pool. Frankly it was boring. The internet is also the slowest that we have ever experienced on a cruise ship. When on board we also found that for people who booked in Australia the cruise was for 15 days, whereas those from the UK had 18 days which included the Guernsey. Both were the same price! Not sure why Australians were given a different deal. Cunard also doesn't seem to care if people complain as they do not respond promptly if at all. Very disappointed. Perhaps when I am 80 I may consider another cruise with Cunard. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Our first Seabourn Cruise. We were on board for 45 days, Dover to Montreal via Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador. The Viking historical highlights were the Hvalsey church in Greenland and the Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. Sadly, ... Read More
Our first Seabourn Cruise. We were on board for 45 days, Dover to Montreal via Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, Labrador. The Viking historical highlights were the Hvalsey church in Greenland and the Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. Sadly, the St. Kilda landing was scrubbed due to inclement weather. The scenic highlights were the fjords and glaciers of Prince Christian Sound, and the cultural highlights were Isle of Man, Reykjavik, and Nuuk (Greenland). Good itinerary, but we saw other, more nimble ships making the same calls (notably Ponant and Scenic), so there are alternatives to Seabourn. We were in cabin 826 (they call it a "suite") which is roomy with a generous balcony, but with what we consider design flaws. The TV is poorly positioned for comfortable viewing, the lighting for the table is not optimal, the closet is cramped. The twin sinks in the head are nice, but with a good shower, the bathtub is unnecessary, and uses space better allocated to the closet (the old "R" vessels have dressing room/closets which we much prefer). The vanity is well done. We were surprised that no binoculars were provided (as we had on Silversea), this on a cruise where icebergs, whales, polar bears, sea birds, and calving glaciers are spotted and watched. The common spaces are elegant and roomy. The six elevators run like a charm and one hardly ever waits for a ride, even when the crowd exits the shows or lectures. Tender shuttles, quay landings, and shore excursions were run very smoothly. The food is very elaborate, excessively so in our opinion. Lots of choices, but all of the gourmet "nouvelle" style, with rich sauces and elegantly presented. Plain dishes can be ordered from room service or at the patio restaurant, the latter being an uncomfortable place in the northern latitudes. Staff is extraordinarily attentive - room service comes very promptly, table service will see your plate whisked away as you put down your fork, your wine glass refilled while still two-thirds full. Our impression is that the obsession with delivering over-the-top service results in a somewhat tense and forced amiability on the part of the wait staff. The staff is drawn from a very diverse set of nationalities, a departure from the more cohesive crews of filipino or indonesian origin on other cruise lines, which we have found to be more relaxed and genuinely warm. The captain made daily detailed announcements about weather outlook and sailing status, and the attention to navigation and safety was very thorough. We were able to witness the bridge protocols on a port departure, and everything was conducted very carefully and by the book. Quiet competence and superb attention to safety. There is a striking schizophrenic aspect to the QUEST, originally designed for sailing warm waters and subsequently modified for high-latitude cruising: it is a deluxe ship trying to masquerade as a quasi-expedition platform. Of the 45-day cruise, no more than three of four were of shirtsleeve temperature with clear skies, yet every day the lounges around the pool were lined up with fresh towels (and thus forcing passengers to walk on a delaminating portion of the teak deck, rahter than on a safer path!). The outdoor restaurant provides infrared heatlamps and blankets for each table. The "expedition" complement of ten or twelve "zodiacs" is clearly insufficient to take more than a quarter of the passengers off at any one time. There is an extra charge of $150 per hour per person for such excursions, again not much in keeping with the expedition structure we have experienced elsewhere. A week or ten days, rather than 45 days, might have worked better for us on this Seabourn cruise. We'll likely choose to go with one of our other favorites (Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Ponant, Windstar) on our next cruise . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Personally I have never been interested in going on a cruise but it was the choice of in laws and I ended up being dragged along. After initially booking Britannia we ended up taking advantage of a cheap upgrade offer to Queens Grill. ... Read More
Personally I have never been interested in going on a cruise but it was the choice of in laws and I ended up being dragged along. After initially booking Britannia we ended up taking advantage of a cheap upgrade offer to Queens Grill. It didn't start well at Embarkation when there was a scrum of people surrounding the doors into the hall in Southampton and no indication of where the priority booking queue was. Asking people working their didn't get us anywhere until one guy told us to go straight into the hall which meant forcing our way past the people in the main queue who were rightfully unhappy with us pushing past them where at last we saw the signs for priority booking. Given there are multiple doors into the hall surely it can't be that hard to put signs up outside as well. Though not as bad the disembarkation was also chaotic with little in the way of clear directions. First impressions of the ship were ok, some of it looked a bit tired but much of it very nice. The cabin was nice and spacious and we were glad to have upgraded. Food wise the Queens Grill was ok more of a decent chain restaurant than anything else though. Some really nice food, the beef wellington for example, alongside some pretty run of the mill stuff. The formality of the place and the dressing up got a bit wearying after a while particularly as you weren't usually eating food that lived up to it. It also led to some oddities like if you ordered a pie they brought out the pie dish and then spooned the entire contents onto your plate which took ages. Just serve it in a pie dish guys, my poor husbands cottage pie just looked a mess. Apart from that the staff were almost uniformly excellent and they were fine with us not all turning up and ordering at the same time. Went to Kings Court occasionally but it was nothing special. Entertainment wise some of the lectures were interesting but the entertainment was mostly end of a pier stuff, the planetarium pretty dull and the pub ok but quite small so you had to get to things like trivia early to get a seat. On that note the entertainment team in the pub were generally very good though the lady who liked to make the 'twist' question in the evening trivia easy really needs to learn the point of quizzes. Their didn't feel like there was much on though in general, certainly not much of any interest. I suppose mostly aimed at the elderly regulars. The gym was good though having no sauna or steam room other than having to pay in the spa is a mistake. Outside areas also ok though not that well used given the pretty average weather on most sea days. We spent a lot of time in the smoking area and got chatting to some very nice, fun people there, other than that there was little interaction on board. The casino was quite fun and they made it easy to play if you didn't have much experience, only issue was the crumbling floor so you had to watch your step the whole time. The floor is also starting to give way in the main lobby which was somewhat alarming. Stops wise Liverpool (helped by the weather) and Reykjavik were both very nice, with lots to see. We didn't go on any excursions as you can book the same trips yourself for half the price. Had a fantastic lunch at Islenski Barinn in Reykjavik. Halifax was ok but it's essentially a mid sized city with not much in the way of history to see. Corner Brook however may be the dullest place on Earth and I have no idea what they were thinking in stopping there. Overall a real disappointment, for all their talk about the glamour of the transatlantic crossing there was painfully little of that in evidence. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Was on the Iceland Canada crossing. Very smooth but there lacked things to do for anyone under 50. Also had a worrying fire on board one evening over the tannoy telling us it had broken out in the incinerator room. Could smell smoke. ... Read More
Was on the Iceland Canada crossing. Very smooth but there lacked things to do for anyone under 50. Also had a worrying fire on board one evening over the tannoy telling us it had broken out in the incinerator room. Could smell smoke. Also had a person helicopter lifted off. All quite eventful! Boat was clean and tidy and staff very nice plus the food was great. The buffet was very good especially the sushi etc. Did get a bit of a dodgy stomach from the mussels which upset my stomach for 24 hours but it soon passed. The entertainment in the theatre was very poor however. Some of the acts were dreadful including the resident singers. A very good guest French pianist though. Overall worth the money but be prepared to occupy yourself as there is very little to do on those long sea days if you don't do ballroom dancing or enjoy bingo etc ! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So ... Read More
Ten years ago, 2009, my very first longer cruise was the HAL Voyage of the Vikings. It was 35 days RT from Boston on the Maasdam. It was exciting, and being from Florida, a real delight to escape the heat and see the North Atlantic. So when I wanted to go back and do it again, I found that this cruise had become one of HAL's favorite and pricest itineraries, too rich for my travel budget. However, the Zuiderdam's 17 cruise from Rotterdam to Boston, which in fact was 1/2 half of the V of the V cruise, was a good deal. I booked an inside room, as most outside and better were sold out, and it got us there, thank you. With almost midnight sun part of the trip, the dark inside room wasn't so bad, but "it ain't no verandah" either. This review will be brief; This cruise was a dream. The Zuiderdam, at the ripe old age of 17, one year older than the Maasdam was at the time 10 years ago, is showing her age in places like the vista windows on the mid ship elevators, but was still very satisfying. Our room was fine. The MDR, we had assigned dining at 7:45 with a window side table, was excellent. Our waiter explained the offerings every night and his assistant remembered our preferences. Holland America has improved the food over the years and our seafood and beef selections were 5 stars. One complaint: the flowers have disappeared from the tables both in the MDR and the Lido. The enrichment lectures were excellent on the first half, not so good on the second. The officers greeted us at the gangway Portside on returning to the ship, unusual on a 1900 guest sized ship. They also were at every Gala night MDR entrance. We made every port this cruise and Captain Bart and Hotel Director Darren were visible and helpful as were many of the officers. We met a lot of wonderful people on this cruise, most of whom were well traveled and educated adventurers, some young, many older, from all over the world. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things ... Read More
As always, this review will try to focus on the little things that might be missed, along with the details that may be overlooked in a broader review. This is especially true for the independent travelers who may wander off and do things on their own in each location. Rotterdam Pre -cruise/ Embarkation: We flew into Amsterdam and took the train to Rotterdam. Sine there were four of us, I took advantage of the group discount tickets available online at the Dutch Railways website. This came out to 8 Euros per person instead of 13 euros per person if booked separately. The train station is inside the Amsterdam Airport and very easy to find. We stayed at the Hilton Rotterdam which is only a few blocks from the main Train station and centrally located for walking around Rotterdam. Rotterdam has a Saturday farmers market near the Markthal that if you are there on that day, is a worthwhile shopping event. The central shopping district and pedestrian streets were all close by. The RET Stadhuis metro station was right outside the back door of the Hilton. Only 4 euros one-way. There were escalators at both Stadhuis station and Wilhelminaplein station and the luggage was easy to roll-on roll-off the cars. It was three stops to Wilhelminaplein from Stadhuis and about 800 feet from the metro station to the Cruise Terminal. After dropping our bags, we went through security. I had a wine bottle in my bag for consumption in the room, and security never even checked it. My wife had a bottle of wine and a six pack of soda and security looked in her bag to ensure she didn't exceed the alcohol allowance. Note: In Reykjavik, my wife asked if she could take on a beer, and they said yes, as long as it was not more than six bottles. At other ports, I brought on beer and others were bringing on cans of soda with no problem. We arrived just after 1pm and received boarding group 9. Luckily Boarding group 8 was just finishing up so we were checked in within 5 minutes and walked aboard. Ship- overall very good- there were some spots in need of touch up/repair such as a broken bed lamp, a balconies badly in need of paint, and far too many cracked windows, but public areas were in good shape. I assume they are foregoing cosmetic maintenance items until dry dock. Even though we had some choppy seas for the first ten days the ship was very stable. Service was one of the best we have had on recent cruises. The HAL Navigator App (free WiFi on board for the App and HAL websites) had the daily menus in each dining area, including the Lido, posted. Also each day, an interactive activities list was available which duplicated the daily program so you could review and save your favorites. You can also book shore excursions on the App. No morning show. Never saw the Cruise Director until day 8. Jessica, our travel host was the face of HAL entertainment for the majority of the cruise. Most EXC lectures were scripted and did not provide a lot more detail than could be found online. Most of the port talks filled up the Main Stage at least 10 minutes prior with standing room only after that. Port Lectures lacked details regarding where we would be docked until the lecture was almost over so it was hard to reference the locations discussed during the lecture against the port area where you would be disembarked. The Orange party was at 10:30pm in BB King’s the day after the second gala night. Of course I fell asleep and missed it so can’t provide details. The Movie theater had comfortable lounge chairs but only played the same movies that were also on the In-room TV, so never saw the need to attend. The Gym was smaller than similar sized ships on other lines. There were plenty of treadmills, elliptical machines, and Dumbbells, but very little in the way of weight lifting equipment. One thing I really appreciated was Captain Bart Vaartjes announcing when Whales or Dolphins were spotted from the bridge. He also had a great sense of humor. About four hours out of Islafjordur on our way to Greenland I noticed in the room that it was suddenly very quiet. No engine noise and no air conditioner. Dead silent in fact.....30 seconds later the lights went out so we were now also in total darkness. The Capt. came on the speaker and said an engine had shut down and engineers were working on restoring power. After a few minutes power came back. For about 20 minutes we were drifting, but eventually the engine and air came back. We did not take a delay arriving in Greenland due to the outage. There was no real danger but it give us a little excitement as we drifted “powerless” for a short time. Upon leaving St. Pierre, the Captain announced that due to a Canadian law regarding the speed of ships in Canadian waters to protect the Right Whales that had changed June 24th (a month earlier) we would be arriving into Halifax two hours late. We were scheduled from 8am- 11pm so it did not infringe much on the time available in port, and we were not impacted since we didn’t have a shore excursion, but it was annoying that HAL didn’t mention this or adjust the itinerary when they knew about this over 30 days earlier. Food- Much better than my last HAL cruise. Lido Market (Cafeteria). The many individual food stations kept lines down. The only station that consistently had a line was the made-to-order pasta bar. Otherwise I never saw more then four people waiting in line at any food station. Most of the food items available each night in the MDR ( including Gala night) was also available in the Lido. There was hand dipped ice cream during lunch and dinner time. Typically there were three flavors available. Also soft serve was available on random days. Breakfast stations: The Bistro had made to order eggs, meat, and potatoes; Two Omelet stations, one with waffles and crepes, the other with a vegetarian and non-vegetarian Frittata each morning; Pastries; an Express Breakfast that was the same as the bistro but with no made-to-order eggs other than poached eggs and eggs Benedict, but also Fried Rice and occasionally Beans, Fried Bread and Tomatoes. Tip- any item can be put back on the griddle in the Bistro if you want it a little more done. This was especially popular in the morning for those that preferred crispy bacon. The Central Market in the morning had a selection of fruit, smoked salmon and cereals and Hors D'ouvres for lunch and dinner. Complimentary Drinks were ice tea, lemonade, coffee, hot tea, and water. The ice tea and lemonade were the typical flavored concentrates. However I thought the coffee was above average. Most days breakfast hours were 0700-1030 Lunch stations: Made to order pasta; The Bistro (one on each side) where you find the main courses, pre-made sandwiches plus a specialty sandwich each day, and two soups; Made to order Salads; Breads, Cheese, and the “Central Market” opposite the drink stations with small plates and hors d'ouvres. The Pasta and Salad stations stayed open until 5, although the Lido was only open for lunch from 11:30-2. MDR- Those with anytime dining were seated on deck 2. We never waited for more than a few minutes before being seated. I noticed that the 7:45 seating on deck 3 was consistently sparse with lots of open tables and many empty seats at tables with diners. Each meal was three courses. I am posting sample menus for MDR and Lido. In room dining was available from 1100-2300 with a selection of sandwiches, salads, soups, sides and desserts. There was also a limited selection after hours. Breakfast room service was a choice of omelets, scrambled eggs and meat/bread, pastries or cereals, with salmon Benedict or steak and eggs at additional cost unless in a Suite. Burger Bar items were also available for a $4.95 delivery charge. We had breakfast one morning and it showed up exactly on time, although lukewarm, which honestly can be expected for a delivery up to deck 7.. Typical mix of liquor and wine on board. Beer on tap was Heineken and Tiger. Bottles were the standard Bud, Heineken, Corona, Miller, plus Sam Adams and Lagunitas. We never ate at Canneleto or Pinnacle grill. There were two specialty nights towards the end of the cruise: Surf and Turf on the last Gala night, with Lobster available in both MDR and Lido, and New England night in the Lido when we were in Halifax with Salmon cakes, Lobster Mac and Cheese, Lobster rolls, and Pork pies. Finally, there was a late night spread from 10:30-11:30 with pub-type food such as pot stickers, chicken wings, egg rolls, nachos, potato chips, desserts, and the remaining Hors D'oeuvres. 'Dive In” Burger Bar- Made to order burgers and hot dogs. Place your order at the window and receive a pager for when your order is complete. Both the Burgers and coated fries were hot, fresh, and very tasty. Next to it is a Taco Bar, with beef or chicken and all the fixin’s and occasionally including fresh made guacamole. The only downside was the limited opening hours for both: 11:30am-5pm. This meant neither was open after returning from most ports. Summary: In the past, I have chosen HAL due to the itinerary, since they tend to stop at ports not visited by other cruise lines, and I just assumed the food and service may not be as good, but just considered this a fair trade-off. However, this cruise was head and shoulders above my last two HAL cruises. Until now, I couldn't understand based on previous cruises how Holland America was ranked as high as it was in some polls. Perhaps it is the inconsistency in service mentioned in some other threads, or perhaps it is just the Vista class ships have higher service standards. Ports: Lerwick- Tender port. We had to show our passports to Scottish Customs as we disembarked. Tender arrived at Victoria pier which is downtown across from the Anderson Wool store and Captain Flints Pub. We were scheduled to be there from 8-4, but the last tender back to ship was at 3. However, six hours was enough time to explore the town independently.  Most of the shops in town are close to the tender port, and easily walk-able from Victoria Pier. There is a Tesco Supermarket a mile and a half away along the water side trail where you can stock up on snacks. The Broch of Clickimin is close to the Tesco. This same waterside trail in the opposite direction also runs out to “The Knab” which is a nice walk with some great views. Reykjavik- Docked at Skarfabakki port about 2.5 miles out of town. There is a oceanfront walk from the port to town. Both Enterprise and EuropCar are within walking distance of the dock. If you overnight and have a rental car, there is ample free parking in the dock area. There is a large Icewear souvenir store at the port with prices similar to what you will find in town. We checked prices here first before going downtown, then did some last minute purchases here before leaving port. We never needed Kroner. Credit cards were accepted everywhere, and there was no problem accepting most US credit cards. There was a Port-provided shuttle to/from town for $20 round trip. We opted to rent a car and drove the Golden Circle, plus we also did the town Vik and the black sand beaches there and also made it to the Bridge America-Europe on day one. On day two we drove into downtown Reykjavik for some shopping. There was no problem finding parking downtown. Parking meters took credit cards and were in English, as was the self serve gas stations. The cost of the car, fuel, added insurance (which seems to be a “thing” in Iceland), was about the same as the cost of a private tour plus the town shuttle. The difference was flexibility and the options for additional stops. Driving in Iceland was easy for those who normally drive on the right side of the road. Lots of traffic circles/ roundabouts for those who struggle with such things. Akeyuri- docked downtown about a five minute walk from the Visitors Center. Just like in Reykjavik, there was another Icewear gift shop at the dock. If not doing a tour, most tourist shops are close by and it took us about 3 hours to browse most of the stores. We opted not to do the tours here as we had done the Golden Circle and Vik two days prior. (and have been to Yellowstone and Rotorua so this wasn’t our first volcanic area ). We found lots of spare time after doing the main shopping street so just wandered around the rest of the city until time to return. It was rainy, windy, and cold until about 2pm, then cleared up and became sunny. Islafjordur- Tender port, Very small town with some shops in the downtown. Tendered in at Njardarsund st., which is one block from the local microbrewery, Dokkan Brugghus. Like Akeruyi, it was cold and windy in the morning then was sunny in the afternoon. The shops were small and only one of these had “Islafjordur”-branded items. The whale bone Arch on the hill above town made for a nice picture and also provided an opportunity for a photo of Islafjordur with the ship and mountains in the background. Nanatolik- Tender port. We were dropped off across the bay from the visitors center, at the Havnevej industrial port, not the cruise dock next to the visitors center, so there was a bit of a walk for those with limited mobility. Most of the souvenirs in town were at the same visitors center so the small room filled up almost immediately and stayed that way all day with lines forming outside. The visitors center also sold tickets for several presentations by local entertainers. The Brugseni supermarket across the street also had some limited souvenirs. The Ravnefjeldet mountain directly behind town can be hiked up to different levels depending on ability. To get to it, follow the Tunuliaritseq road which turns into Islafjordurip road past the picturesque cemetery. The road ends at the trail. Reserve about an hour for going up and back to get some good panoramic pictures. On the sailaway, several Humpback Whales were feeding just outside the port. St Johns- Docked at Pier 10. Most shops and pubs are within the first three blocks away from the ship. We walked to the Quidi Vidi Brewery. It was a long 45 minutes walk through the suburbs. Nice to have a beer made with water from an iceberg, but not sure it was worth the time to get there. Signal Hill was encased in low clouds all day so there was no point in climbing up for a view. One odd thing was pushing our clocks back 30 minutes to match the local time zone, instead of the usual hour. St Pierre- Tender port. Dropped off at Quay Eric Taberly. Nice visitors center tent upon arrival with a band, free WiFi, coffee, OJ, danishes, and croissants. Most small shops were within three blocks of where we arrived. Point aux cannons lighthouse, The Battery, and Place Du General De Gaulle are all within a few minutes walk. Note that many stores close between 12 and 2. Sydney- Docked at Cruise Pavilion which had souvenir shops and a craft market. Nice waterside walkway that starts from dock with some shops and food trucks. There are several blocks of early 19th century houses across the street from the Cruise Pavilion. There are some small museums in several of these houses for only a few dollars admission. On Saturday there is the Cape Breton farmers market/ craft fair at the intersection of Esplanade and Falmouth streets. Halifax- Docked at Pier 20. Lots of shops inside the Cruise Terminal, plus a Farmers Market at the end of the Terminal building. There is a booth inside the Cruise Terminal as you walk in that sells HoHo bus tickets and various tours. There is also a visitors center booth as you walk in that can provide maps and suggestions for the day. They provided a walking tour map that we used to go though the high points of areas close by such as the Citadel, Maritime Museum, landmarks, and shopping areas. The boardwalk along the water was lined with shops, bars, food trucks and restaurants. We were here until 11pm, so there was ample opportunity to check out the local nightlife, but the Captain announced all passengers were onboard early, so we departed early as well. Boston- Disembarkation Customs was set up onboard the ship on deck 3 so there no need to clear Customs after disembarking from the ship. Consequently, we stayed in our room until just after our 9am group color was called and we went down to deck 3, showed the Customs official our passports, had our room key punched by HAL, and walked off the boat. It was a total of five minutes from leaving our room to arriving in baggage claim. Once in the cruise terminal, we located our bags that had been grouped by tag color, picked them up, and exited the Terminal. For those without a post-cruise Hotel, there were bus stops on the other side of the BCD building, or at the end of the Cruise terminal. The taxi line was directly ahead as we exited the Cruise Terminal. The taxi line was very long so we used a ride share which arrived within a minute. Nine minutes later we were at the Boston Airport. This was one of the fastest, most painless, disembarkation's ever. We left our room at 9:05, and were checked in and through security at Boston Airport by 9:55. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We (2 couples) chose this cruise to return from a European vacation rather than fly back to the US. We knew the cruise would be very formal but as one English passenger said when I queried him about his experience on the 2nd day of the ... Read More
We (2 couples) chose this cruise to return from a European vacation rather than fly back to the US. We knew the cruise would be very formal but as one English passenger said when I queried him about his experience on the 2nd day of the cruise, "They are quite serious". LIkes: We booked the Brittania Club, therefore we had our own private dining table for four each night with the same servers. The food was truly excellent, on par with Oceania Cruise line, which is noted for it's food. (Kudos to our servers, Brendo and Orsulah). We ended up eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in the restaurant. We only gained an average of 2 pounds per person for a 7 day cruise and we believe that is because we mostly avoided the Kings Grill, which is very chopped up, located in several separated rooms with a limited selection of food. We understand it had been upgraded in 2016 from the original design. I cant see how it could have been much worse then. Also, the brewed coffee in the restaurant is very good, unlike the machine coffee in the Kings Grill. We had dinner one night in the Verandah steakhouse restaurant for a small upcharge of $39 per person and it was the best steak we have ever had. 35 day aged beef. The Enrichment and Art seminars, Tea Time and Gala Evenings were spot on great! We didn't mind the tuxedo and formal dress evenings and enjoyed the Masquerade Ball. The planetarium and Queen's Theatre were great venues also. Dislikes: Probably because we have been spoiled by cruises on Oceania Marina, Rivera, & Insignia and Holland Statendam and Koningsdam, we didn't appreciate the QM2 as much as we should. Even with the retrofit in 2016, she looks a bit tired. Very chopped up, no flow to the design. What's with the Churchill and Chart room locations? You have to go through the Brittania Dining room to access the Queens Ball room or go through the Art Gallery up and down stairs to access. Also, the aforementioned non functional Queen's Grill area. The Library boasts 8 thousand books and a room the size of an average family dining room and each passenger is restricted to 2 books at a time with the shelves locked during night hours? That's when most insomniacs need to find a book. We found this very unusual as Oceania ships boast great libraries with a barrista next door. Their libraries are unlocked and open to all cruise passengers 24/7. Finally, what ever you do don't buy the liquor package!!! Very limited pours (50 ml) which makes no sense, as it requires the staff to service you more often. (However, once they see you have a drink sticker on your card, they avoid you like the plague, and you practically have to tackle them to get service). This occurred in every lounge but was particularly acute in the Golden Lion Pub! The wine steward in the Brittania Club restaurant also was put off by our asking for wine refills at dinner, until 3 days before the cruise ended, when he finally increased the pours, which saved him extra trips. (We were not heavy drinkers, drinking no more than 2-3 50 ml pours at dinner) or any other sitting. The package was very restrictive, nothing over $11. If you want to purchase a $20 cocktail, you have to pay $16 (purchase price less 20%), which begs the ? why purchase the liquor package? Also, our traveling companions, (one who drinks and one who cannot drink because of medical reasons), cleared with Cunard corporate that if she brought a Doctor's excuse that he could by the package but she wouldn't have to. We spent the better part of the first afternoon being shuffled between the Purser's office, the G. L Pub and were even sent to the spa, because no one could or would make a decision on allowing our friend to purchase the liquor package alone. Finally, a bartender in the G.L. Pub told us in great whisper (I am not exaggerating) that he would allow it if our non drinking friend would purchase the $30 per day beverage package (water, soft drinks and coffee). You could not purchase wine by the bottle at dinner like on Oceania or HAL only by the 50 ml glass because of the liquor package restriction. The ship was good in the water, you never really felt any motion. However, it felt as if It was designed more for sailors than passengers and the staff was not there to serve you as much as ensure that all rules and regulations would be followed and not be infringed on! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our trip started in Hamburg, Germany on June 21, 2019, stopped in Southampton for the day on June 24 and onwards to New York arriving June 30. The trip had 2 very different vibes: The Hamburg to Southampton segment had many more ... Read More
Our trip started in Hamburg, Germany on June 21, 2019, stopped in Southampton for the day on June 24 and onwards to New York arriving June 30. The trip had 2 very different vibes: The Hamburg to Southampton segment had many more families with "free range kids", noise, heavy patronage of the buffet, garbage on the floors, noise at night, kids running and knocking on doors, kids running free during the life safety segment, kids running down the promenade deck careening into guests and people sitting in chairs etc. Adults with loud voices and shouting in the public rooms. The Southampton to New York a quieter more refined experience with the amazing guest speakers and quiet conversations among guests. QM2 is an experience of a life time and each time we take a TA on the QM2 it is excellent, unique and designed to link the guest to the sea. The QM2 is the way a ship should be. QM2 did not disappoint - but we would say the food in the MDR and the Kings Court buffet was a significant step downwards from our last TA 2 years ago. Cunard, improve your general food offerings, make it the same as Celebrity. Your general food offerings should not be less than Carnival. Other than that, the QM2 was excellent. The positives: * QM2 is a ship, not a Vegas hotel. * There is no end of vistas so that a guest can feel and smell the ocean. The open wing deck under the bridge is simply amazing. Modern cruise ships are designed to keep guests looking inward so they can spend $. Well done Cunard. The step down stern open areas are spectacular and well patronized * A real promenade deck, enough said. It was heavily patronized. * Cunard expects guests to be able to entertain themselves during the day * This is a ship for intellectuals - meaning the amazing guest speakers and library enable guests to learn about the world. The guest speaks spoke on - being an envoy in Moscow in the cold war, a London theater actress speaking on the hidden gems of London, WW2 submarine technology and deployment in the war. What a joy versus the nonsense on modern cruise ships. * The historical boards towards the bow area recounting the glory days of the Queens and transatlantic travel * The service was excellent, excellent. The amount of staff, their training, their demeanor etc was top notch - a step well above our last QM2 TA. To be frank, the service in the common areas were as good as our trips on Crystal and Oceania. * The extra charge restaurants were - excellent. The Veranda was the equal of the steakhouse on Oceania. The most amazing food was at the Alternative restaurant located in a part of the Kings Court - Cunard, you have a winner here. There are themed nights - Coriandor, The Smokehouse, Azetec and Bamboo. The food was the very best I ever had on a ship period. Better than Crystal or Oceania. The tastes were sublime, the presentation, the quantity, the service by the hand picked staff was first class. There were Grill level guests there and many said they would abandon the Grills and book a non Grill and simply enjoy the extra charge Veranda and Alternative dining. * The officers - they were visible and pleasant and stopped to answer questions. * The Golden Lion fish and chips and the Indian food put most cruise ship venues to shame * The music on the pa was excellent - just loud enough, classic to modern. Excellent choice. Entertainment was good. * Well - the kennel. Being on the pool decks at the stern and hearing the dear dogs barking from time to time as they were out with their fur parents was to die for. It humanized the ship - it was a great hit with guests. * The sheltered balcony cabin was well maintained and very cozy. * The size of the public areas, the amount of space per passenger is amazing. * QM2 rides like a dream, never felt her move. * The side corridors on deck 3 which have tables for games and chairs for sitting. These areas are the closest to the ocean level and are amazing. * Smoothies and detox beverages in the Kings Court area - excellent * Room service was good. The chopped fruit salad was excellent, as good as the chopped fruit salad on Oceania. The pain au chocolate was not bad. Coffee was excellent overall with real cream Negatives: * Boarding in Hamburg - The Grills class passengers walked right in front of the non Grills class long line up to gain access to the check in staff. Disrespectful. Have a separate check in line for Grills guests. * Food in the Kings Court. Not good. Cheap looking, cheap taste. The hot dishes, breads, cold meats etc were set out - no garnishes around any of the food serving stations - just cold looking plates on a hard surface with no visual appeal. Simply the worst looking and worst tasting buffet I have seen. A steep decline from my last QM2 TA. The breads were the cheapest quality you could imagine. The cold meats were cheap. We had no interest in eating there. The realignment of this area was much better than before, the food was not. * The MDR. Fabulous room, the best on the seas. The staff were excellent. The food was not. The food size, garnishing, taste, quality was average to poor. The onion soup consisted of a dry powder soup base with a few onions. Served after was a small round bread piece with a few cheese shreds. Awful. It was returned. The protein portions were small and dry. Salads were small with minimum garnishes. The food did not live up to the amazing room. * The carpets since the refit are awful. The orange and yellow down the main corridor was glaring and cheap. It was the carpet in the cabin floors (all decks I think), beige on the right side trending towards a pattern and deep blue next the cabin doors. The carpet looked awful and cheap. Who needs beige carpet in a high traffic area? The carpet looked like you would have got it at the Dollar store. * Ah, the infamous post cruise mini bar in the room charge. Got dinged for $18.29 for a mystery charge. Will not be paying it. _______________________________________________________________ Having cruised since 1989, on the mass and luxury lines, we enjoy Cunard for the value it represents and the great itineraries and the real ships they provide guests. All cruise lines are cheapening their products. Cunard is as well. Cunard is best suited to guests who enjoy being on a ship, who wish to behave in a classy way and dress a bit better than the anything goes mass cruise lines. The Cunard guests are well travelled and well informed. If you want Vegas at sea, loud techno music, drunk guests due to the beverage packages etc do not choose Cunard. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This cruise met my husband's desire for an eastbound trans-atlantic cruise and my desire to visit Iceland and Shetland. It was lovely! The seas were surprisingly (to me) calm. The Pacific Princess is a lovely "small" ... Read More
This cruise met my husband's desire for an eastbound trans-atlantic cruise and my desire to visit Iceland and Shetland. It was lovely! The seas were surprisingly (to me) calm. The Pacific Princess is a lovely "small" ship, very different from the bigger Princess ships like the Regal, but it was great. The ports were all interesting and could easily be explored on one's own if one chose not to take a tour. There was plenty of entertainment and often the entertainers visited the Casino (Crooners) bar for some impromptu singing---not something I've seen on the bigger ships where it's a lot more impersonal. We enjoyed the Pacific Lounge on the top deck for amazing views while sailing and while in port. The food and the service in the dining room and the bars was all quite fine. The Casino is small but seems to do the trick. I highly recommend this ship and this itinerary. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had always wanted to try a Trans-Atlantic. Even the 5 Sea Days in a row weren't bad, as there was a lot of choices to keep you busy. We loved the intimacy all-around on the Pacific Princess. The "Old World" theme of ... Read More
We had always wanted to try a Trans-Atlantic. Even the 5 Sea Days in a row weren't bad, as there was a lot of choices to keep you busy. We loved the intimacy all-around on the Pacific Princess. The "Old World" theme of decorating made the entire ship very elegant. Our cruise director Lynn, was the most personable and energetic we have ever been around! The captain came by dinner several times just to stop an visit. The excursions were all Princess - and they were just what they promised! We could not have asked for better food! I have special dietary restrictions and they took excellent care of me - in the dining room, up top on the grill, or in the buffet. All Ii had to do was mention my problems, and they catered to every need. The waiters were so friendly. One, Alfred, gave you a hug and smile - no matter where you ran into him - even on shore! We loved every minute of this cruise and the scenery was just breathtaking as well! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were so excited to be going on the QM2! The ship itself was magnificent. Our cabin was also very nice and we had a balcony. But what a waste of money the top drinks package was! It was almost impossible to get anyone to get you a ... Read More
We were so excited to be going on the QM2! The ship itself was magnificent. Our cabin was also very nice and we had a balcony. But what a waste of money the top drinks package was! It was almost impossible to get anyone to get you a drink in a lot of the bars! At lunchtime I was lucky if I managed to get one glass of wine from a barman! I also had to spend 2 days in our cabin as I picked up a bug on day 5 of our cruise. From the food, drink? Who knows but it ruined my cruise! My husband witnessed one maintenance worker who used the WC in the indoor pool area and walked out without washing his hands!! Really!! In this day and age!! Entertainment on board was okay, but the planetarium gave me a sore head. Best entertainment was the irish comedian Roy Walker. We were given the dining time of 8.30 p.m. and were unable to change it. So this was far too late for us and we had to dine in the buffet every evening. The person allocated to give you hand sanitiser when entering the buffet made no effort, unless you went straight up to them. This should be addressed as clean hands are essential for hygiene reasons. Also, very few staff made you feel really valued/ welcome! Best part of the cruise was sailing into New York! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is our 13 Cruise trip and the third with Cunard. We sailed before on QE and QV, but it was our first time on the mighty QM2. The ship was iconic and displayed luxury interior deco in all areas. However, it lacked some of Cunard ... Read More
This is our 13 Cruise trip and the third with Cunard. We sailed before on QE and QV, but it was our first time on the mighty QM2. The ship was iconic and displayed luxury interior deco in all areas. However, it lacked some of Cunard elements and plenty of cosmetic maintenance. We understand that it has been built as a translantic ocean liner, but the entertainment and the activities did not meet our expectations for 8 days full sea sailing. The food was great in term of quality, quantity and dining experience. We can't say exceptional or outstanding tho. Although, the customer service was pleasant by the staff in the public areas and the cabin alike, the senior management did not show positive courtesy or professional attitude. We had an incident on board for which the ship had to divert to Halifax and transfer an ill passenger, so we made it to New York with 5 hours delay. Unfortunately, at Brooklyn Red Hook embarkation on Friday, the customs and passport control process was utterly unorganised and disappointingly slow. It was a major complaint from most passengers and we heard a lot of unprofessional issues. The CPD officers lost a British passport while processing one passenger entry clearance between them, and they initially refused to admit liability, then they asked him to request an emergency travel document from the British consulate after four hours in order to catch up with his flight back to UK on Sunday. Cunard staff did not offer any help or assistance. We have decided to conclude our cruising experience with Cunard for the time being because the cruise line is not making any effort in diversifying their clientele, and providing extra excitements to middle aged passengers and young people. The planetarium, the Gym and the Swimming pools were extremely under used, and a lot of outdoor space was not utilised during this cruise. If you suffer from sea sickness, this is one of the most stable ships we have ever been as far you booked in the middle low floors. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Booked the Queens Grill = £9.000 so quite expensive. Was expecting a real quality experience but very quickly realised it was not all it was made up to be. So, arrived in Southampton and entered a chaotic cattle shed where I was shunted ... Read More
Booked the Queens Grill = £9.000 so quite expensive. Was expecting a real quality experience but very quickly realised it was not all it was made up to be. So, arrived in Southampton and entered a chaotic cattle shed where I was shunted to the priority line. Walked on the ship to be told “the lift is over their, like “get on with it”. Walked around aimlessly for a bit and really found my cabin (943) by chance. Cabin was clean, bathroom tiles were dirty. A welcome was conspicuous by its absence. Food in the Queens Grill was like clockwork .. boring and on numerous times Luke warm. I never got the Gala Nights. Put on a DJ to eat dinner, nothing else, I expected the captain to sit with us or a gala ball for the Queens Grill ... nothing. What was very surprising is that during the entire trip not once did any management come to us to say “welcome” or “how it the trip” .. there was no discerning quality, they just wanted your money. So where was “packing and unpacking, or a morning pot of tea” .. didn’t exist. The evening canapés delivered to the room were simply low grade pate or other stodge. Cut my leg badly on the edge of a chair on the deck and asked a crew member to get me a plaster, he just walked away. The whole experience felt like a Chanel Ferry crossing .. once you leave the ship in New York you are on your own. There is NO assistance to locate your baggage or assistance with carrying. We are elderly and really struggled through the immigration hall and border controls to the chaotic outside with NO assistance to find a taxi .. total chaos. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one ... Read More
Wanted to revisit Japan, enjoy TransAtlantic sea days, heard wonderful comments re: Crystal. This cruise was spectacular in both food, lectures and personal service. Have been on 50 cruises over the years and found the Symphony to be one of the very best! Personal service from the luggage delivery to the transfers to and from the airports were truely first class. The employees knew who we were by the second day and their courtesies were most appreciated! Food was excellent everywhere we ate on the ship! Speciality dining was excellent and available most of the time! Lectures were outstanding, this trip highlighted “Hollywood” personalities and the history of musical and dramatic performances. Former astronaut, military general, nature photographer, song writers and well known performers! Ship is spotless and refreshed daily. Always a crew member around to answer question, give directions and offer a hand to complete any task! Ships excursions were excellent and timely! Cabins are nice, clean, comfortable and very quiet! Would suggest taking a small stool to help older or mobility challenged guests to get in and out of the tub-shower! Embarkation and Disembarkation were a snap, many crew members to help with baggage and porters were easily available! First cruise on Crystal and hopefully more in the future Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I made a crossing from New York to Southampton on the QM2 in late May. The weather cooperated pretty well except for the first day that was very windy with high seas. The paper bags were out for those who needed them. I did ... Read More
My wife and I made a crossing from New York to Southampton on the QM2 in late May. The weather cooperated pretty well except for the first day that was very windy with high seas. The paper bags were out for those who needed them. I did take a Bonine tab myself and felt fine for the rest of the day. The service on the ship was great and the list of lecturers and performers was also first rate. The food fell back into the "almost as good as" category as it was very British, as to say drab. Even the steak at the Veranda was a notch below what I would expect from a steakhouse in a major city. But the sad part of the ship experience was the lack of technology. The WiFi was definitely in the last century as far as performance and the lack of any apps to keep track of the events onboard or to communicate with others in your party was amazing to me after recent cruises on Princess and Disney. I know this is not a cruise ship but that is no excuse for falling so far behind the curve in this area. Also, the ship design itself was a series of ups and downs to get anywhere. If you wanted to get to the ballroom in front on level 3 you had to go down to level 2. All around the ship there were small lifts for people in wheelchairs because of the poor layout. It may be too late to fix the layout problems without a major overhaul but the technology items need to be looked at now. Why do I still give it a Very Good rating? Because, though it is on the edge of being only good it was certainly not an average voyage. The room, entertainment and education features were excellent. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Pricing for this crossing was less than one way business class airfare, so we decided to come back to the USA in style after crusing over to Dublin on a Celebrity Cruise ship. What a GREAT choice! We will definitely choose this method ... Read More
Pricing for this crossing was less than one way business class airfare, so we decided to come back to the USA in style after crusing over to Dublin on a Celebrity Cruise ship. What a GREAT choice! We will definitely choose this method of travel again. Loved the food, the service and the ship. I tend to sea sickness and we were on deck 11, very high up. With 30 foot waves, this is the smoothest sailing ship I have been on. No rocking and rolling, just like a baby's cradle at night. You can do as much or as little as you want on this sailing. Entertainment is OK, but the lectures are very interesting. Warning, everyone likes them and afternoon tea, so get in line early, there is a lot of "waiting in line" for activities. But who cares, it is much better than a flight home from Europe and getting jet lag. Read Less

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