From the moment we were greeted, we knew this was going to be amazing. The staff were professional, personable and friendly. The boat is incredible, the largest rooms, most comfortable beds. The food was delicious. The excursions really ... Read More
From the moment we were greeted, we knew this was going to be amazing. The staff were professional, personable and friendly. The boat is incredible, the largest rooms, most comfortable beds. The food was delicious. The excursions really touched on the life and history in Vietnam and Cambodia. Loved the all inclusive nature. They took care of everything. It was nice having on board washing machines and dryers where we could do our own laundry, if we choose, as we had been traveling on our own for 9 days prior and were continuing on for another week after cruise ended. This was free including laundry soap. We loved the pool deck, great for cooling down after excursions. It was very hot during our trip, but we did have rain for 1 1/2 days so we actually had them fire up the sauna and steam room after one extremely wet excursion. That felt so good. Food was delicious, varied and abundant. Great choice of wines and cocktails. This was our first Scenic Cruise and won’t be the last! Read Less
My wife and I booked cabin 5083 originally, a penthouse veranda, as she was worried about motion sickness. A few days before the cruise was to depart, Our travel agent said that Viking had upgraded us to cabin 8007, a jr. penthouse suite. ... Read More
My wife and I booked cabin 5083 originally, a penthouse veranda, as she was worried about motion sickness. A few days before the cruise was to depart, Our travel agent said that Viking had upgraded us to cabin 8007, a jr. penthouse suite. After reading several reviews of the 8000 series cabins, all but one cruiser stated that they felt no or minimal motion on that deck. Apparently my wife is a little more susceptible to motion as we left Rome at 10pm to cruise to Livorno and my wife slept poorly. We spent two days in port and she was better, but as we left Livorno at 6pm for Monaco, the motion sickness became so bad she didn't sleep and we had to see the ship's doctor(an $85 fee) to get motion sickness pills. We missed the Monaco excursion, but Viking refunded the cost. We asked if we could move to a lower deck and since the ship was almost full, we took cabin 3031, a veranda stateroom. Viking stated that they would not refund the difference for what we paid for the original room and the lower grade room since it was a motion sickness issue. Between the pills and the lower cabin, we were able to finish the cruise in relative comfort.
As many others have stated, the ship is beautiful, clean, and well maintained.Cabins were cleaned twice a day, no one asked us to but anything, and all staff members were friendly and courteous.
Food was excellent and, plentiful, and varied. My only complaint with dining was that after my wife had a glass of coke with lunch or dinner, she was not offered a refill.
The included shore excursions we took were rather dull and short; we took a few long optional excursions and enjoyed them.
We enjoyed the Beatles and ABBA shows, but outside of those, there was not a lot of entertainment unless you like classical pieces or acoustic guitar solos. Singers in Torshaven, the night lounge, did a nice enough job though.
I did spend a lot of time in the spa which is extremely well kept and is probably one of the best at sea. Read Less
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so ... Read More
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so amazing, and she was missed.
And we decided that the only way to go was the Queen's Grill, as we had done before on our last Cunard cruise in 2008 just before the Old Girl went out of service and was packed off to Dubai.
It mystifies me that the QM2 was designed with the lifeboats hanging from Deck 8, just below the Queens's Grill Deck 9 suites. So all the views from the most spacious and consequently expensive cabins on the ship have partially obstructed views of the ocean below from their windows and balconies. Not so bad in the winter when the balconies are too cold to be used, but for a sailing the rest of the year, this is just nuts. Partially obstructed cabins usually go for a large discount. Apparently Cunard learned from this huge design mistake, and the later built Victoria and Elizabeth do not have this problem for the Queens Grill cabins, nor for the QG or Princess Grill Dining Room, as discussed in the next paragraph..
Furthermore, the Queens Grill Dining Room is on Deck 7. The outdoor walking track that goes all round the ship is on the perimeter of Deck 7. So all day long the Queens's Grill diners, and the Princess Grill on the other side, get the pleasure of a constant stream of walkers and runners by, looking in often on the diners, and distracting to the fine dining experience. My wife and I found this most disconcerting. Again, why did they design the ship this way?
The QG food is way above average, with caviar and foie gras on request at dinner all the time, with a little notice, plus special orders, but one does get tired of the featured standards like Orange Duckling, Beef Wellington, Tenderloin steak, Broiled Lobster and Dover Sole. More variation would be good. Appetizers need more creativity. Vegan selections boring. Sandwiches at lunch few and boring. Waiting staff excellent. Lunch menu choices could use a little sprucing up. The Maitre De takes very good care of his precious guests. Nice wine offerings.
Staterooms in the Queens Grill category other than the view problem are very nice. Large bathrooms, although I would have preferred a stall shower rather than this tub/shower. Better in rocky seas for safety and just leaning against the shower walls when necessary for stability . Beds very comfortable. Large walk in closets and lots of storage space. At over 500 sq ft the Queens Grill stateroom is very nice and comfortable indeed.
The last of the Ocean Liners is large at over 125,000 tons and sails very steady and mostly smoothly, even in strong winds and bad seas, but when strong winds slice across the ship's path, it is going to get rough, as for any ship. So it was on one day of the seven days crossing the pond from NYC to Southampton and a night or two. I am not a great sailor, not like my wife, but most days the rolling I can take. It is the combination of the rolling and pitching in the North Atlantic that does me in. As this one bad day proved, once again.
The ship is large - 2600 passengers, although today there are the many 4,000- 5,000 passenger behemoths that have destroyed European ports such as Venice and most of the Caribbean Islands. We prefer the small Seabourn size ships, of 450 passengers and took this cruise mostly out of convenience to get to Europe.
Three formal nights out of seven is just excessive to our way of thinking, but most of the Brits on board loved it that way. A really big dress deal for both men and women. Not at all the casual dress style growing so fashionable on so many other smaller ships today, such as Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. Dress standards are very important to maintain, but so many other cruise lines have dropped standards and let people take advantage these days. It has gone in the other direction. No tuxedos for me however, so it was dark suit and tie these formal nights. Other nights it was a pleasure to wear a sports coat and tie, as were all the other gentlemen for the most part in the Grill dining rooms. A handsome crowd of men and women, elegantly attired.
The main Theater has very bad seating, whereby people crowd in next to each other on long couch type seats. Not too many rows of seats have a separate seat for one person. Too many bodies get crammed in this way, but not to my liking. Just when one thinks he or she is settled in, along comes another person or two and they just push their way in. Very tight, and with coughing and sneezing, not good. The other large entertainment and lecturing room Illuminations, has very nice separate seating and is much more comfortable.
Lectures and performances almost non stop all day long. Most very good. Whether about the Cold War and submarines in WW2, being kept captive in Lebanon or piano performances. The only planetarium at sea has some fantastic shows. The QM performers team put on at least one extraordinary production number. Fourteen dancers and singers, with many costume changes, and a fine orchestra.
We enjoyed immensely the large collection of Hollywood and Broadway passenger celebrity photos on the old QM and QE displayed in many areas throughout the ship, and many photos of the old fleet itself.
It will be a while before we take another Cunard cruise, and I do not think it will be on the QM2, although we enjoyed this one very much despite its shortcomings in QM category cabin and DR placement. Read Less
We have wanted to try a luxury cruise for sometime. We have cruised about 15x on various lines including Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, MSC and Royal Caribbean. Here are some things to consider if you are used to standard cruise lines and ... Read More
We have wanted to try a luxury cruise for sometime. We have cruised about 15x on various lines including Princess, Carnival, Celebrity, MSC and Royal Caribbean. Here are some things to consider if you are used to standard cruise lines and debating on higher cost of luxury. Pros for us are fewer people, no crowds, food is amazing! There are 4 different dining venues and 2 specialty ($40 & $60pp). Regular dining room, Asian style, tapas style and our favorite cooking on a hot lava stone. Food was so good we did not do specialty restaurants. Room service has an extensive menu, available any time and Butler sets up linen table setting. You can get “room service” any where on ship when other venues are not open, like between breakfast and lunch. All inclusive is a plus. We have added drink packages on to previous cruises but it is very nice not having to sign every time you get a drink. Room is stocked with what ever you want, wine, beer and liquor. We asked for vodka and they brought a full size bottle! When we drink our bottle of wine it was replaced with another one.
There is a butler and he was great but besides making sure our fridge was stocked I am not sure this was a big difference than a cabin steward. Maybe we just did not ask for much. They will shine your shoes, make dinner reservations... The cabins are fantastic, major pro! We typically do balconies or mini suites. All cabins are suites. Bottom ones are window, then floor to ceiling window, next are balconies. We had a deluxe veranda, booked last minute so not much choice. Lots of room, bathrooms are the best we have had. Great shower with rain head and hand held.
The cons (for us) are the ship is reallly quiet, very few activities or entertainment. We do not go to shows in the theater but if you do know you will not find that here. We do enjoy a band playing in a lounge and music pool side. There are limited bars and they are not really set up for socializing around the bar. The main lounge has a small bar off to the side and the couches and chairs. There was a solo guitar player, really not much in terms of lively entertaininment. We would have loved an upscale bar with views to relax at in the evening and chat with other guests, A nice martini bar with mixologists would fit well on this ship.
There is not main/grand staircase or center bar/entertainment area like you find on other ships. MSC has very attractive boats and I am fond of the rich wood look in lounges on Princess. Celebrity has some attractive areas as well. I am not a fan of goudi look of Carnival. The decks and public areas are very nice on SilverSpirit but could use a bit more elegance in lounges. Rich woods or maybe crystal lights, just something. The carpeting in hallways needs to be replaced, many stains and dirty looking, the walls are tile and I found them unattractive for a luxury ship. This may seem picky but when paying a much higher price your expectations do go up. The gym is super small, so if you work out you may be disappointed. I did a yoga class that was on a small out door deck, 6 of us barely fit. One day it rained so another fitness class was done inside in weight room area. There were 7 of us and barely had space to move, not to mention how warm it got in that little room. The instructor mentioned the week prior no one showed for a single class so I think 7 was a mass crowd.
We were in port until 10pm or later but most shops close early so not a lot of things to do after dark. The casino can only open when at sea so it was open very late and the size was like an arcade. We are not big gamblers so this did not matter to us.
You just have to think about what matters to you most. Overall the service, cabin, food and small number of passengers were a major plus! We had a very good vacation but most likely will not book again with SilverSeas. It was too quiet for us and not sure the high price tag was worth it. We would love to find a higher end option with more areas of entertainment and mingling. Read Less
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the Miami airport, the Viking personnel were waiting at the baggage area to take our bags and get us on a bus to the ship. It was very efficient and when we arrived at the port the check-in was also quick and painless. We were able to use our cabin 5051, a deluxe veranda, immediately. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom the best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice.
We were very tired from an early flight so made an early night of it. The next day was a sea day and there was plenty to do, three lectures on Cuba during the day and entertainment in the evening. There are no "grand" productions but the entertainment was very professional. The highlight of the cruise was the show by Cuba musicians called Legends.Com. these were well-known Cuban musicians who gave a fabulous performance. I wish we could have seen another show!
The stay in Cienfuegos was spread over three days so some passengers could go to Havana. We did the included city tour and enjoyed it very much. It is obvious that this was once a wealthy city and the cubans are slowly renovating the many old and beautiful colonial buildings. The guides on our tours were a real highlight of the cruise. They were open about the benefits and shortcomings of the Cuban system, free health care and educations, etc. but not full of propaganda. Really there was not a lot of overt political propaganda in the city.
We were more than satisfied with the 3-4 hour tours because the heat and humidity really take it out of you. We were also very happy to return to the comfort of the ship and the tender ride was not a problem.
The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate one night at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful.
Santiago was a very interesting city. While Cienfuegos is a cultural interesting provincial city, Santiago could be a really world-class city with adequate investment.
Really, this was an excellent cruise and the Viking Star is a great ship -- no casino, no photographers or staff constantly trying to sell you something. I look forward to another Viking Ocean cruise. Read Less
Nov. 27, 2018
Mariner Papeete to Auckland
The following experience optimizes what makes a Regent Cruise so wonderful. It's the exceptional, sincere, and kind individuals that work together to create for guests a once in a lifetime ... Read More
Nov. 27, 2018
Mariner Papeete to Auckland
The following experience optimizes what makes a Regent Cruise so wonderful. It's the exceptional, sincere, and kind individuals that work together to create for guests a once in a lifetime celebration and memories.
We chose this trip because we vowed to return after 20 years to the places where we honeymooned. I mentioned to Sunil, our butler how my husband John was my hero and superman for when he married me, a widow, he took on the responsibilites of two greiving teenagers and ill and declining parents. I wanted to thank him with a surprise German themed evening of food and music. It brings back his happy memories of his parents of German descent. I thought we might have dinner in our suite and perhaps hear a couple German tunes where the musicians were playing that evening.
Here's the amazing evening that Sunil flawlessly executed with the help of Marius, Chef Wesley, Kasha, Anyje, Boogie, Zach and their fellow performers.
When we returned from our shore excursion, Gretchen and Deborah who kept our room always tidy, had beautifully decorated our suite. Towels were creatively transformed into swans forming a heart messaging I ♡ YOU on the confetti strewn bed. Red and white ballons with ribbon streamers were everywhere.
We were then invited to the Mariner Lounge where Kasia and Antje greeted us in their German durndl dresses. They had planned a unique and upbeat show of beer toasting, music, song and dance. The girls wisked my joyful husband to the dance floor where he joined the dance and returned misty eyed. I am amazed how they came up with such a professional costumed show with such short notice. Brendon and Nathan said they had just finished learning their parts that afternoon. You would never suspect as it was executed with perfection and all in attendance throughly enjoyed the upbeat energy of their performance.
We then returned to our suite for dinner where Marius and Chef Wesley wished us a happy anniversary and presented all of John's favorite German dishes: his mother's Sauerbraten, schnitzel, spaetzley, pretzels and Asparagus soup served with a nice Reisling wine.
I had mentioned to Sunil that John enjoyed a cigar and whiskey after dinner. He suggested that a taste of Louis XIII Cognac would make a nice gift from me. I agreed so we surprised John once again with a stroll to the cigar lounge were Sunil made a white gloved ceremonial presentation of this special indugence.
We then caught John, the cruise director's excellent show.
When we returned to our room there was yet one more surprise: a black forest cake topped with a fondant sculpture of Superman carrying me reminiscent of our original wedding cake. John's dad was a master baker and played trumpet in a German folk band and he would have been impressed.
We were never charged for any of this. Regent doesn't nickle and dime you. They just treat you special all the time. We love that you never put your hand in your pocket once on board. You just sit back enjoy and let them pamper you
So you see all of these wonderful individuals went over board to gift us an evening we will forever cherish. They make a Regent cruise special. Read Less
It has now been a further three weeks of cruising on the Seabourn Ovation for my wife and I and I have begun to like this ship quite a bit. Cruising on a relatively small ship (600 or less passengers) means that the ... Read More
It has now been a further three weeks of cruising on the Seabourn Ovation for my wife and I and I have begun to like this ship quite a bit. Cruising on a relatively small ship (600 or less passengers) means that the staff and fellow guests get to know you and vice versa in a short period of time. This makes for a more congenial and friendly family type atmosphere. Since my last review, it seems that the service on board still remains a challenge in some areas of the main restaurant and for a couple of waiters in the various bars. But in general I am much happier with the Seabourn Ovation now. The Cruise Director, Handré is perhaps the best that I have come across in my 40 or so cruises. He is extremely hard working and can be heard making the safety and shore announcements from the bridge, overseeing the trivia, announcing the entertainment and generally coordinating all the various events. He then still has time to perform (he is a gifted pianist and composer) and conduct personalised small group enrichment programs such as “how to tie bowties” and “how to fold a pocket square correctly”. Another shipboard star is the Executive Chef, Jes Paskins, who is a true talent both as a chef and as a fun loving foodie. His caviar in the surf (and pool) as well as his many theme nights are delightful fun. For a small ship, the Seabourn Ovation makes use of all of its spaces. The deck parties are amazing and the shows are very well done by the resident entertainment team and the guest artists. Of course, once in a while, there are some duds such as the quartet of ladies known as “Ida” who perform in the style of the Three Tenors or El Divo. Sadly they miss the mark. Did I mention the trivia? Handré and his team bring this iconic cruise staple event to a new level of entertainment with fun twists and prizes galore (sometimes for every participant and not just the winners). The cabins are amazing and the housekeeping staff a pleasure. In the “old days” Seabourn only hired pretty young Scandinavian room stewardesses but today they hire from around the world and I am pleased to confirm that they are still pretty, young and charming. But, lest you get the wrong impression, nobody is flirtatious, just pleasant and friendly. This is definitely not a Frat ship. It is a 5 star floating luxury hotel. Keep this ship in mind and on your short list if its itinerary suits. Read Less
We chose this cruise because we haven’t been to the Canary Is., and were looking forward to visiting. As explained earlier, we still haven’t visited them.. The Captain Did the right thing by avoiding the 70ft waves that hit ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we haven’t been to the Canary Is., and were looking forward to visiting. As explained earlier, we still haven’t visited them.. The Captain Did the right thing by avoiding the 70ft waves that hit Tenerife. The Company did the wrong thing by not crediting our accounts or offering some compensation for the missed ports and fuel savings.
it was also wrong to not totally reimburse passengers for the price of booked tours.
Embarkation and disembarkation were handled efficiently.
We will not let Oceania book our airfare again. this was their second chance. this time we travelled for 21 hours joining the ship in Barcelona from Phoenix.
we actually enjoyed the 8 sea days with no schedules to keep or ABC tours to take.
did a bus tour on our own in Malaga, a very lovely town.
entertainment on board was to our liking. Yes, the production company is young. But, unlike some, the singers can indeed dance, and the dancers also can sing. a few flat notes here and there. If you want Broadway caliber, those BIG ships or Broadway are the Place for you.
all on board staff, except one front desk guy seems to be happy doing their jobs and were very kind.
We did meet two women who enjoyed soaking In their tubs. Most of us wish the showers had taken the place of those tubs which just took up valuable space. How small? well, If you dropped your soap you had to open the door to be able to bend down and retrieve it.
Hubby says this is the best food at sea, Regent is right there in the running too.we enjoyed all the specialty restaurants. Food at Jacques, as you may guess, is very rich. the main dining room offers a fine selection each meal as well as the waves grill and the big buffet.
the special brunch buffet featured all the ice carvings and specialty desserts, and beautiful fruit and.vegie displays. Read Less
QM2 – NY to Southampton 11th to 18th November 2018
My wife and I are in our mid-60’s and have sailed with Cunard now for 125 days or so since 2011 on all their ships. QM2 is not our favourite ship, but we took advantage of ... Read More
QM2 – NY to Southampton 11th to 18th November 2018
My wife and I are in our mid-60’s and have sailed with Cunard now for 125 days or so since 2011 on all their ships. QM2 is not our favourite ship, but we took advantage of their offer this last summer to, effectively for free, include two nights at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square (room only – normally c300$ per night), plus transfers from JFK to the hotel and from the hotel on the 11th to the cruise terminal. You had to book by telephone or via a travel agent and not online. I insisted on an early morning flight for Friday 9th, this meaning we would have at least 50% of Friday in NY + all-day Saturday, rather than arriving late-pm US time as most did. We booked the cheapest inside cabin for this voyage as there is not much to see from a balcony but sea, mist, waves and rain at this time of the year.
How did it all go?
The flight was with BA leaving at 0830hrs UK time arriving in JFK c1100hrs US eastern time. BA actually supplied a decent breakfast and service was fine and flight ok. We pre-booked our seats and checked-in online before the flight.
On exiting JFK Arrivals, we were met by two very nice Cunard reps’ who greeted us by our first names. It turned out we were the first two on the day of a 100+ total, but the only Cunard passengers on that flight. As a result, they had provided a taxi just for us and we were in our hotel room by 1pm – fantastic. Cunard have a desk in the hotel foyer, manned at certain times and later in the day we were able to confirm transfer times for the Sunday to the ship.
Transfer to the ship? This was 100% fine at 1100hrs on the Sunday. Luggage was collected from rooms by porterage before departure, but we had to eyeball it before boarding the coach and likewise at the cruise terminal. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is basically a large shed with not much to commend it, but as Platinum Cunard World Club Members we bypassed the already mounting huge queues and were onboard by 1300hrs and the large cases arrived shortly afterwards.
The cabin? We had 6209, which is an Inside on Deck 6 and as it so happens is directly under the so called ‘Chef’s Galley’ at the after end of the Kings Court Buffet on Deck 7. It is a smallish cabin, albeit with the usual shower and w/c etc., large double bed and sufficient storage space. Unfortunately, during the day one could hear from time to time, food trolleys being moved overhead and at night the distant sound of vacuuming. This was not a terminal problem, but might really irritate some people. If you have a choice, do not choose any cabin anywhere on Deck 6, as Deck 7 is the main self -service buffet, Grills Restaurants + promenade/lifeboat deck are all immediately above.
Food? Super meals in Britannia Restaurant (we were second dining) but the buffet was so-so for lunch. Breakfast in the same ‘served’ restaurant or the buffet was 100% fine – decent choices, but probably hotter in the ‘served’ restaurant.
The only comment on the dinners is: Why cannot they simply do as any of their eight choices a meat or fish dish without it being covered in fancy sauces. Even roasted Haddock had to come with a weird coconut sprinkling over it all, making it look like a cheap pullover.
Tasty it was, but bog-standard fried cod and chips would have been nice as an offering. You can get this in the Golden Lion ‘pub bar’ as one of their lunch menu items, but this was always jam-packed from c1130hrs every day. We had to pretend to be interested in ‘Killer Darts’ between 10.45hrs and 1130hrs to get a table for two for a somewhat early lunch.
Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room? Nice, but join the queue early!
Speakers and Entertainment?
John McCarthy was the headline speaker (Beirut hostage crisis) + a variety of other speakers including a retired RN officer talking about submarine warfare in three sessions + Commodore Connell talking about ‘defence matters’ – he is/was UK Naval Attaché in Washington at the time of the voyage.
In the evenings it was the usual diet of song and dance, comedians you haven’t heard of, specialist musicians (finalists but not winners in Britain’s got Talent etc.). On the last night the entire Cunard team did Broadway Rocks, which was very good.
Service? Always good and friendly.
The downside of the voyage.
We will never have an inside cabin again unless it is a cruise with numerous ports of call – 7 days was, for us, claustrophobic. It is nice to have some natural light though a window, or door.
Drinks are massively overpriced in comparison to P&O and there is a 15% auto gratuity on every one purchased. For example, the Californian Rose wine we like at dinner was a total of 41.40$ a bottle (say 4 glasses) compared to the same on P&O for a flat £17.50.
Cunard are now offering a drinks package for, wait for it, 69$ per day per person when all in the same cabin. That would mean you would spend 966$ for the seven days for the two of you for a half-decent reduced selection of drinks from the menu and some of, but not all, the speciality coffees/teas and water.
We did not choose that option – did anyone?
Auto gratuities? I joined the long queue on the first day at reception having them removed or reduced. P&O are removing them entirely in May 2019.
Champagne Bar? – rarely saw anyone in it in the evenings.
A few young people onboard including one or two babies, but by far the average age of passenger must be 60+.
Cunard must advertise heavily amongst the LBGT community because there was a significant and noticeable presence onboard – some going out of their way to dress and appear radically different from everyone else. Cunard have dedicated meetings for LBGT, Friends of Dorothy as well as Friends of Bill W on all their ships. This is fine by us, but might be offensive to some. On the other hand, Mrs Essex Man noticed that many of our older ladies seemed to feel that ‘glitter’ in its various forms was the in-thing this year.
Evenings can be boring – you either have the bars, usually with some form of musical accompaniment, the theatre, G32 which is a small dance floor with a group or DJ who seems to like ABBA, or the Queens Court huge dance floor and seating area. This is predominantly for ballroom dancing which is not everyone’s cup of tea nowadays in-spite of Strictlys’ success.
Films – poor choice and always at wrong times.
Dinner in Britannia – Cunard must introduce Freedom Dining like P&O and other cruise lines ASAP. 8.30pm is too late to dine for many of us, but 6pm is also too early for some and why go to the buffet when you are paying a lot of money for proper service? We have never had a problem getting a table in Freedom Dining on P&O, particularly if one is prepared to share a table for 6 or 8. It is nice to meet other people – and you will probably never see them again on the same voyage if they are boring.
In summary, the whole thing was okay, but Cunard are now living in a bygone era and having trouble filling QM2 (at least trans-Atlantic). Captain Wells (a great guy) admitted as much when he mentioned that QM2 will be trialling voyages going via Dublin, Liverpool. Iceland and Canada before arriving at NY – in other words, more of a cruise than a straight seven-day voyage A to B.
And price? It was £1240 each including the cabin for 7 nights, flights, hotel and all transfers for the total of 9 days, so it was a bargain. We spent a grand total of 419$ on drinks, a photo + a reduced gratuity of 50$ each for the 7 days. To be honest though, we had more fun on MSC Magnifica in early-October for £700 each INCLUDING their standard Classic drinks package and all in a Balcony Cabin for 7 days around Northern-Europe, and we did not starve either! Read Less
We travelled Eastbound on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in November, so expected possible rough seas, which did not really materialise, which was good! The QM2 is a beautiful ship, one of the last "Liners" - as opposed to cruise ships - ... Read More
We travelled Eastbound on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in November, so expected possible rough seas, which did not really materialise, which was good! The QM2 is a beautiful ship, one of the last "Liners" - as opposed to cruise ships - and the food (Princess Grill) and the service both in the restaurant and cabin, was immaculate. There is something to do from 6.30 am - 2.00 am if you wished to be constantly occupied, and what is offered is very varied and interesting. Our cabin was lovely with comfortable beds and a decent sized shower room. Only quibble is that it would be nice to have a shelf or two on which to put personal toiletries. However, the wine is horrendously expensive. Just two glasses of very ordinary NZ Sauvignon Blanc (currently selling in Tescos at £7.00 a bottle) was $51 and a bottle of NZ Cloudy Bay SB was $65.00. And two gin and tonics in the Carinthia Lounge were $21.00 which, seeing as they are mostly tonic water, seems really excessive.
But the main rip-off on board is the photographic department. Their prices are very high, but they know they have a "captive audience", and everybody is going to want to purchase their photo with the Captain, if available, so they can charge $35.00 for an 8 x 10 inch photo. They sent round a card which said: "Spend over $90.00 in the Photo Gallery tomorrow and get a free photo". This implies that if you spend, say, $92.00 you are entitled to a free photo. We ordered $119.00 worth of photos and asked how to get the free photo but were informed that we had not spent enough to entitle us to the freebie because, if they deducted $35.00 from $119.00 we were under the $90.00 limit. This seemed to contravene the terms of the offer, but in order to get the free photo we had to order another photo which brought our total to approx. $150.00. They then deducted the cost of the "free" photo, which brought our final total to $129.80. The offer stated unequivocally that you are entitled to a free photo if you spend "over $90": we spent well over that but still had to spend more to get the free photo. We should have just stayed with our order and forgotten about the so-called "free" photo. We think this is downright dishonesty, and sadly, because of this bad experience, I shall downgrade the "Onboard Experience" to two stars. It would have been five stars otherwise. The photographic department is run by a company in Southampton, to whom we have written, but they have not bothered to reply.
Apart from the sour taste left by the photo department , we really enjoyed our journey on the QM2. It is a wonderful experience, the staff cannot do enough for you and we had a truly good time. Read Less