I would like to get the positives out of the way first. The crew were all first class, the cabin was comfortable and the locations were decent enough. Ship design was incredible and the guest speakers were superb. I very much enjoyed everything I saw.
Now for the negatives. Firstly, we were not informed that the ship was due for a re-fit as soon as we returned to Southampton. As we were disembarking in Southampton, the contractors were getting on. You could see that the carpets were wearing a little in places but nothing excessive. However, due to this refit, it meant that the shops on board were closed for the whole second week of the cruise. Not really acceptable. I do not think companies should be charging full prices when they know it is about to be re-fit.
Secondly, the food. I can only speak for the Brittania and the Lido but on both counts the food was average for several reasons. The Brittania was dishing out portions that would barely touch the sides of a field mouse and many of the dishes were tasteless and just warm. It was like a hark back to nouvelle cuisine but done badly. Many on my table were ordering 3 starters by the second week just to fill up.
The Lido also left a lot to be desired. I know there is only so much one can do with a buffet but again nothing was actually hot. The saving grace were the stir-fry stations as the food was prepared while you waited. There was also a lack of seating at peak times which meant wondering around looking for a place to sit whilst your food got colder. Unless, of course, you had the cold dishes, which were nice incidentally.
The Afternoon Tea in both the Queens Room and the Lido was farcical. The tea and sandwiches were paraded out like some sort of thoroughbred but the few I had were tasteless and a couple were stale. Scones were nice to be fair and the silver service is a nice touch. Room is magnificent.
The drinks charges were close to racketeering although that did not really come as a surprise….My bad. I should have bought a drinks package.
All in all it was a bit of a disappointment considering Cunard’s reputation. Speaking to experienced Cunard travellers, this appeared to be one of their first disappointing cruises with the company so I am hoping this experience was a one off. I am not saying that everything was awful. Far from it. I just expected a little bit more.