Greek Isles and Turkish Splendours
Barry Scott | June 15, 2016 | Cunard | Queen Elizabeth
CRUISE REVIEW ?? CUNARD QUEEN ELIZABETH 12 NIGHT CRUISE ?? GREEK ISLES AND TURKISH SPLENDOURS ?? 28 Oct 2013 ?? 9 Nov 2013
We booked this cruise primarily for the itinerary as it visited a number of places that we had not visited before.
The cruise started in Venice, then onto Dubrovnik, Kerkyra Corfu, day at sea, Piraeus for Athens, Kusadusi for Ephesus, Rhodes, Santorini, and day at sea, Messina, Salerno, finishing in Civitavecchia for Rome.
Having started cruising with Thomson, on Destiny and Celebration, and on Ocean Majesty with Page & Moy, and earlier in the year with P&O on Oceana, we were full of expectation for Queen Elizabeth. We were not disappointed however some aspects of the cruise were not as good as other cruises we had taken.
We had a balcony on the 4th deck towards the aft of the ship. The cabin was very good and was kept very clean by our cabin steward Lynda. The service on Queen Elizabeth, whether in the cabin or the Britannia Restaurant was exceptional, as was the organisation to get you on and off the ship at embarkation and for trips ashore. The ship itself is very comfortable and well fitted out with a superb theatre, and all the facilities one would expect of a ship of the Cunard fleet. Food, both in the Silver Service Britannia Restaurant and the self service, Lido Restaurant, was good but no better than other cruises we have taken. An explanation for this may be that the other cruise ships have been catering for mainly British guests whereby Queen Elizabeth had in excess of 2000 guests made up of 35 nationalities and the chefs were trying to cater for food that all the nationalities could find something they liked.
So that is on the plus side, on the minus side tips are very expensive at $11 US per person per day, however you can vary this if you advise early in the cruise. Drinks are very expensive also, with a bottle of wine being about $35 US, and a small bottle of beer $5 US to which for some strange reason Cunard add another 15%. The logic of this makes no sense, as many people did not buy wine or drinks at dinner, and the bars were very quiet with the staff spending most of their time cleaning as they had few people to serve. I believe if Cunard dropped their prices to similar to P&O, many more people would buy drinks and increase the enjoyment of those on the cruise.
The other minus is that the Port Lectures were poor. The staff did not appear to have a great deal of information or inclination to advise you on doing your own thing and were more interested in trying to sell Cunard trips which were good but quite expensive.
The entertainment on board ship was poor compared with Thomson and P&O. It was not that the singers and dancers were not good; it was that the shows had not been choreographed and lacked any original thought. The guest comedian and singers made up for it as they were good.
With 2 days at sea, it is important to have interesting things on the daily programme. Here again the choice was somewhat limited and was not as original as some of the other cruises we had been on. In conclusion I suspect that Cunard Queen Elizabeth is still dwelling on the old days of cruise ships with entertainment appropriate to the age of the older guest. It would not in our opinion suit the younger generation, but maybe Cunard are happy to stick with customers in their later years.
To end this cruise Review, I will mention some of the Ports of call. Venice was good but you only get an afternoon and the following morning there. Dubrovnik and Corfu were good and we did not think trips were necessary and did our own thing. Piraeus for Athens was ok and the hop on hop off bus made it easy to get around Athens and visit the sites. We liked the port of Kusadasi, and went on the Cunard trip to Ephesus which was very good. Santorini was by tender to Fira and we went ashore and caught a boat to Oia which is well worth the visit, and then a bus back to Fira. Messina does not have a lot going for it and we, with 6 others booked a taxi to go to Taormina which was well worth the trip. The worst port was Salerno, in our opinion it is not an appropriate port for a Cunard ship to use. The port is industrial and dirty, and the town has nothing to offer. We paid for a Cunard trip to Amalfi which was well worth doing as we would have not spent the day in Salerno and have gone back to the ship. The last port is Civitavecchia which is quite a nice port about 75 mins from Rome. However you do not have time to visit Rome unless you book a hotel and delay your flight home. As we have been to Rome before we left the ship at 0830 to return by Jet 2 to Manchester. Having been advised by Bolsover Cruises that we would get a complimentary meal on the aircraft, we were surprised not to get one on the way to Venice but did get one on the way back. Not sure what the reason for that was but it would have been nice to know that we were not getting a meal and we could have purchased something at the airport. In conclusion would we book another cruise on Cunard Queen Elizabeth, Yes. But only if the price was right and the itinerary was of interest to us.
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
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