My first Cunard Cruise
Simon Bowen | July 8, 2019 | Cunard | Queen Victoria
Travelled in November. The ship appeared to be in excellent condition I had a superior internal cabin in good condition that was kept clean throughout. Cunard run 3 classes on board. The vast majority of guests are in the bottom class. For us there is ” 1950s Butlin style” all in, all out dining. For me, not a patch on anytime dining and we missed a wider choice of free restaurants. We did not get the table for two we asked for but the table for 10 we were placed on involved some very nice guests. You dine at 1800 (too early?) or 2030 (too late?). I was placed on the 2030 shift. This was clearly too late for many people and on some days the surrounding tables were empty. Numbers on my table were typically 4-6 and at the end of the cruise up to 8 but never 10. Staff at all levels were helpful and courteous, if a little more distant than other cruise lines .Food was more limited in variety than on other cruises but was of good quality. The entertainment was good with some outstanding lectures. Although on board accounts could not be tracked through the tv system or through “stand alone” terminals on board, Cunard never seemed to have the endless queues at the Purser’s desk I have seen guests endure on other cruises. Getting on and off the ship was very well organised. The demographic of the guests was old. Many people were very old and Cunard obviously catered for their special needs very well. I did not like the design of the ship. There were no internal swimming pools. Top deck public “day”rooms could be too cold for habitation. There is a central large ballroom on floor 2 (and up to 3) which made temperature regulation difficult. You could sit in a bar at night and be quite cold on these levels. Drinks were mostly expensive in comparison to MSC and Celebrity cruises. Of special mention is the wine. To sit down in the general evening restaurant and have $80 plus 25% (15% tip plus 10% Spanish VAT) wines recommended for dinner is a crazy idea. (we were mostly in Spanish waters hence the VAT) The cheapest wine was about $32 dollars plus and this would be equivalent to a ?5 bottle at home. I saw very very little consumed apart from some people who had paid for their wine on booking. A glass of red in the bars was typically at $14 plus extras. Normally I would have a bottle between 2 per night on cruise. I did not have a single glass throughout the cruise. Anyone with any commercial experience would see that Cunard have got it badly wrong both for themselves and their guests. All cruise lines have their peculiar strengths and weaknesses. Would I cruise with Cunard again? Maybe – – but unless I was very elderly or frail I would put them behind other cruise providers.
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