Mr G Stothard | May 9, 2016 | Cunard | Queen Victoria
Having just returned from the above cruise I would like to ask others that have been aboard her recently if they have noticed a very noticeable drop in standards and food quantity in the Britannia restaurant. The drop in standards relates to the time taken to deliver food to a table and the fact that the waiters miscommunicated and therefor brought the wrong food. We wondered if this miscommunication was to do with the multi nationality of the staff. On P&O ships the staff in the main come from India and share a common language albeit with different accents. Does this lead to a better service? With regard to the quantity aspect, everyone on our table for eight, thought that the amount of food served was less than on previous cruises. A main course usually consisted of two small slices of meat, two slices of carrot, a sprig of broccoli or cauliflower, three small, green beans and occasionally another veg with TWO roast potatoes. Normally being on first sitting, we do not have a lunch except for maybe a drink and a sandwich. However on this cruise we went into the restaurant at lunchtime and had a meal. Why? Because we were hungry. The restaurant was quite busy at that time, maybe others thought as we did and needed a top up before the evening meal. We on the table also thought that the waiters had more tables to serve than we had seen before. This in itself would lead to a slower service.
How many of you just allow the cruise company to add THEIR idea of a service charge ( tips ) to your account? The amount of this charge varies enormously according to the cruise line you sail with. However you are not obliged to have this added to your account, you can remove it by asking at the Pursers desk. This leaves you free to tip whoever gives good service. One of our table companions told us of an allegation that the service charge, shared amongst all the service staff, is also shared with the officers right up to the captain. He asked if this was so at the Pursers desk and they refused to admit whether the allegation was true or not. I suppose there could be an argument that officers should be part of the sharing out, because let’s face it, they do provide a major service in keeping the ship and its passengers safe. However, how many of you even thought that the service charge was used in this way? If you hadn’t thought about this, what do you think now? Are you happy that the service charge is used in this way, or are you like what I think would be the majority in thinking that these ‘tips’ are there to make up the service staff wages? It would be interesting to hear your views on this.
Queen Victoria is now some 11 years old and is getting ready for a refit. Some of the carpets and furniture are showing signs of wear and it would benefit from a re decoration. The in cabin TVs are slow and do not provide an adequate service, and as for the available films, they on the most part have titles we had never heard of. To make matters worse, they are played at a time that doesn’t co-ordinate with meal times, i.e they start while you are having your evening meal.
The entertainment in the theatre was very good with a variety of performers and the excellent show singers and dancers. One good thing about Victoria is her Library. There is an excellent choice of books both fact and fiction, I would say that she probably has the best selection of any ship at sea.
Christmas Day was magical for the children, as well as us oldies. We all went to a Carol Service in the theatre which was full of people from all over the world and of many religions all joined together in a common cause. Then it was into the QUEENS ROOM to see Santa. On a large screen they put a ‘live feed’ to show where Santa was. He could be seen standing on top of the RED Funnel waiving with his sack over his shoulder. He then came ‘down the funnel’ into the Lido restaurant, down the lift and into the ballroom followed by a group of children. Santa then proceeded to give out presents to ALL of the children. This took some 45 mins, and came to an end when two teenage boys ( probably about 14 ) walked forward to have their photos taken. This provoked the rest of the teenagers to get in on the act and it brought shouts of laughter from everyone sat around, poor old Santa was worn out.
This is the first time that I have used this format to write about our experience, I usually write to the cruise company direct because there is insufficient space on the cruise comment form. and I feel that this is the best way of letting them know how we feel. If passengers don’t tell them how they feel, how will things change?
Just one other thing to comment on. A couple on our table were quite happy to inform us that having booked only two weeks prior to boarding, they had saved over ?1000 each. At breakfast one morning a lady told us that she had been monitoring the prices drop until FIVE days before sailing she booked a single cabin for ?799, this for a TWELVE day cruise. I am aware that these passengers would not be able to obtain the ‘perks’ associated with booking early, but it was like having our noses rubbed in it when we had paid double what they had.
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