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Rememberences of the Maiden Voyage and Today's Misfortune on the QM2
We were fortunate enough to have been on the maiden voyage from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale in January. Loved the experience, despite the service glitches. Nevertheless, one shouldn't still be experiencing service glitches of the major variety yet today.
But we are. About a month ago, we received a mailing from American Express, sent to Centurion (Black Card) and Platinum card holders who had taken cruises in the past. It was an invitation to tour the ship, followed by a lovely lunch in the Todd English Restaurant. The invitation even included a sleek menu inserrted into it offering various choices from the Todd English menu.
We were instructed to arrive by 10:30 for an 11:00am embarkation (it noted that guests arriving after 11:15 would not be admitted).
My partner and I arrived about 10:45, and waited. We waited, and we all waited. We waited until approximately 12:15, when we were finally allowed to go through security. (We received various explanations, but only 2-3 times did the Cunard staff offer an apology or an explanation).
We were immediately taken into the Britannia Restaurant, where we were offered lunch. When some guests enquired as to why were not in Todd English, we were first told by a Cunard employee that there was another event occurring there. At my dining table in Britannia, the senior AMEX representative was there, who said that was not true, and it was because there were not enough staff in Todd English. I personally got up, found the senior Cunard person assigned to our group, and she acknowledged it was a lack of staff that was responsible for this. When I told her we were on the maiden voyage and I had hoped all the service problems would have been corrected by now, she replied, "Oh, they have been!" My response was "No, they haven't" and I showed her the menus we had all been sent.
Most people were disappointed that we couldn't sample the food in Todd English, and I even mentioned it would have been nice to have had the lunch (for about 60 people) in the Queens or Princess Grills if Todd English was not available. No dice. The food choices, much more basic than that printed on the menu we had been sent, were Britannia items and were not from any other menu on the ship.
When it came time for the tours, most participants wanted to see guest rooms most of all. No dice. "We're sorry, we can only show you a few public spaces" was the reply.
Those in attendance who didn't leave when they had to wait for a delayed lunch in Britannia and a tour of 2-3 public rooms, got a lunch and a brief tour before being escorted off the ship.
What a shame. Though I'm a psychologist, I was a marketing major in college and I know that it takes a lot to get a target group together, in this case regular, well healed cruisers who have either the black card or platinum card from AMEX. Most went away quite frustrated and disappointed, because we had been told it was mandatory to be there early, resulting in an almost 2 hour wait, and a lovely lunch that ended up in a different venue than had been promised. Worse, the Cunard representative seemed oblivious that there was even a reason for disappointment. To their credit, the AMEX representatives seemed shocked and didn't stop apololgizing.
Last edited by MuseCruiser; October 11th, 2004 at 05:46 PM.
Am very sorry to read about your experience. If you may have read my review of our May 7th cruise and the service disaster, you know I empathize with you. Cunard Guest Relations has given us a $500 voucher ($250/pp) to be applied to a future cruise. Perhaps they might have applied a room credit to my upcoming November 6th cruise; however I am not traveling with the same person as I did in May, so they made it for the future. This was from Guest Relations in Valencia CA.
Will let you know if the service has improved – which hopefully by November it should, but I am wary.