Excellent cruise, dreadful embarkation
Alan Shelton | January 4, 2019 | Cunard | Queen Mary 2
My cruise was a 27 night Singapore to Singapore trip. The cruise was superb. Queen Mary 2 is a beautiful ship and the staff are wonderful. They just can’t do enough for you. I had an inside cabin on deck 4 which was more than ample for my needs as a solo passenger. It was kept beautifully clean and tidy by my cabin steward.
I dined on 1st sitting on the upper level of the Britannia Restaurant. The food was always good and the service was excellent. I was extremely lucky to have some wonderful people on my table and meal times were a real highlight of the day. I also had lunch in the Veranda Steakhouse and it was very good indeed.
The entertainment was marvellous. The production shows were of a very high standard and there were some excellent entertainers, in particular Ben Mills whose two shows were absolutely outstanding. Henry Blofeld was one of the celebrity speakers and all of his talks were both superb and very entertaining. The Planetarium shows were fascinating and there were a variety of different shows to enjoy. The films were also generally very good and the cinema has to be one of the best at sea.
There are a wide range of bars and lounges. My favourite was the Commodore Lounge. A great place to relax with an after dinner drink. Drink prices are on the high side and attract a 15% service charge.
Tours were a mixed bag, some very good, one absolutely awful. In general I think they are over priced and usually you are better off doing things independently.
The one really negative point was the embarkation in Singapore. I had spoken to my agent at Bolsover Cruise Club and she checked with Cunard and told me that I should be transferred directly from Changi to the Cruise Terminal where I shouldn’t have too long to wait before being able to board the ship. In reality, after 21 hours of travelling with very little sleep, I had a wait of an hour in the airport before be transferred to a hotel restaurant for breakfast (which I’d only just had a couple of hours earlier on the plane). We were then moved the the lobby of the hotel (Fairmont) where we waited for another 3 hours (with no drinks or refreshments). We were then transferred to the Cruise Terminal where we endured another 2 and a half hour wait (with no drinks or refreshments) before queueing for another half hour to get through immigration. In similar circumstances both P&O and Avalon have made a meeting room available for passengers and have provided unlimited drinks and refreshments. I really had expected a much better experience from Cunard. It was not a good start to my cruise but fortunately things improved dramatically once onboard. I do think that Cunard need to pay more attention to the embarkation process to make sure that it offers the same level of service and hospitality as found onboard. I would certainly seek assurances regarding embarkation from Cunard before booking a similar cruise.
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
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