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About Gazroberts80

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  1. I think people have made many a fair comment here. I think one thing that is apparent is that people have different definitions of what Cunard is and what the line represents. Firstly QM2, QE and QV were all designed and built under Carnival ownership, so it is really hard to argue that changes made to these ships are an attempt to Carnivilise the product as it was a Carnival product you were experiencing from the start. In addition very few companies would have been brave enough to have bank rolled such a unique and massive ship as QM2. A ship very much optimised for an extremely niche market. So got that Mickey Arison and Carnival will always have my admiration. In the early delays Cunard was not defined by luxury but by its ability to safely transport Passengers and Cargo across the Atlantic. Certainly a crossing on Cunard was not a luxurious experience for all of those travelling onboard and just because you travelled Cunard did not make your experience a luxurious one. It would seem that many people see the experience of the First Class passengers on the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth in the 1930’s - 1960’s era as the absolute definition of the Cunard Experience. Others see the epitome of Cunard as being the QE2 with her modernistic 1960’s design that made crossing the Atlantic by ship cool again. Queen Mary and Elizabeth Yet it’s clear her design wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Most people seem to choose to forget the likes of the Cunard Princess and Countess in the 80’s and 90’s as being anything to do with Cunard. Even more chose to forget the Atlantic Star and Atlantic Conveyer cargo ships of that era. So while it appears that currently Carnival have positioned the brand to reflect that 30 year “Golden era” between 1930 and 1960 in tribute to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth it should be remembered that this period and these ships make up just a tiny fraction of Cunard’s 178 year history, which is why it frustrates me somewhat when people compare their expectations of what they expect to such a relatively small part of Cunard’s phenomenal maritime history. If you read the menus from back in the 30’s you will see that there are items that we would no longer see on current menus. They are a modern day reinterpretation, because tastes change and evolve and with increased travel people now consume a far greater variety of cuisine on a daily basis and will thus demand and expect that choice from menus on a luxury large ship. What is evident is that Cunard line would not have survived so long if it wasn’t able to evolve. In the late 60’s for example that was to construct a futuristic new ship and in the 2000’s it was again to construct brand new ships but with a retro look. So let’s not try and freeze our expectations of Cunard and let’s be excited to see how our experience continues to evolve as it naturally will if Cunard is to survive for another 178 years. Sadly none of us will be here to see that 😂 but hopefully our future generations will be lucky enough to experience this fine shipping line.
  2. I personally miss the old Verandah restaurant and it’s classical French style menu. However I would say that at $39 per person additional cost it’s very much seen as being a restaurant that offers a premium food experience to the Main dining experience. I think you would be hard pressed to suggest that the majority of dishes on offer here would not be seen as classic traditional dining room dishes that have dominated Cunard menus for years. As for calling Princess tacky I think that’s a rather naive comment. I have never seen a “B.B King” or “Rolling Stones” venue. I’ve seen first class service and food that has often far surpassed the quality of Cunard food. The P&O (Another Carnival line) Epicurean restaurant is the equal of the old Verandah. Yet on this perceived less exclusive line this fine dining restaurant continues to prosper. On Princess I’ve witnessed extremely talented musicians in excellent cocktail bars, who are of equal calibre to those on Cunard. On a number of occasions they have actually surpassed the equivalent performers on Cunard, especially in the Cocktail bar. May I add that Lisa Harman on my recent QV cruise was exceptional also. I prefer the decor of Cunard ships on the whole, although there are elements of beautiful contemporary design on Royal Class Princess ships and on some of the P&O fleet that is just as luxurious but in a more contemporary way than is seen in the Art Deco/Victoriana Queens. But remember that the QE2 was highly contemporary in its design in the late 60’s/70’s, so it should not be seen that Victoriana or Art Deco equate to Cunard ship design. I’m expecting the 4th ship to have more of a contemporary design based on the furnishings of the newly installed Britannia Club on QV (which many see as a trial to assess Cunard guests opinion) and due to the design team Cunard have selected for her interiors. QM2/QE and QV have done a brilliant job of replicating the QE/QM 1930’s era in the modern day but I’d love to see Cunard be brave and try and give us a modern day interpretation on the QE2 decor this time round. Personally I doubt they will go that far as I think the consistency in the brand between ships is something that Carnival will go for. I feel however it will have some similar decor to P&O’s Britannia. That is if the Britannia Club restaurant offers any clues as walking along that corridor and into that restaurant I could easily forget I wasn’t on Britannia. I know many have been very positive in their comments on the quality of the design of this refurbishment, the only criticism is that it doesn’t seem to flow with the rest of QV’s decor. Cunard is overall my favourite cruise line but there are areas in which others are superior. It’s complete arrogance and snobbishness to suggest that they are not surpassed.
  3. Its a very fair point you make the France and Normandie etc were more palatial than even Queen Mary. QE2 I believe shocked some with some of its 60’a styling and furniture. This 60’s design element was lost fairly significantly over the years and by the end of her time with Cunard there was a lot more Victoriana creeping in. Some say that this spoiled the modernist design of the ship along with the additions of extra staterooms that spoiler her lines to a degree. So I retract that statement and instead should have said that it was seen by many across the world as the most recognisable ship of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and defined Cunard as a luxury brand. There are documents someone put online that showed the hull is listed as “Queen Anne” on the ship builders inventory. That could be a working title but it would seem strange that they would not use the “Queen” when she is the largest ship in the fleet in terms of passenger capacity. You also want a name that’s easily pronounced by those individuals who are not native English speakers (a growing market). Something that Queen Berengaria would not do. The fact that the new ship is very similar in design to QE/QV as it’s an evolution of the Vista design “Pinnacle class” makes me think they will brand her as a sister.
  4. The “tat tables” really are not in keeping but clearly many a Cunard customer buys from them. What I was most disappointed about on our recent cruise was the behaviour of the retail staff (not Cunard employees) I head some really inappropriate “banter” between the staff members that I would never hear from a Room stewards or Bar/Restaurant staff. Another member of our party also witnessed similar language on another occasion. To be fair in all the years of “tat tables” on all Cruise lines I’ve sailed on this hasn’t been an issue so I put this down to the particular team onboard. Cunard did drop the Art Auctions, that used to take place in the Winter Garden. It was claimed it was due to negative customer feedback but I imagine it was very much down to it not making money. I do find these events incredibly entertaining as they are just the most bizarrely over the top things ever. Hardly anything seems to sell, despite all the noise created, to make people feel bids are flying in. It actually seems that they are more of an opportunity for customers to show off Art purchases they have already determined earlier in the voyage to their fellow passengers. Clearly however on RCI and Princess they still justify the money. Personally they don’t offend me and I don’t think they lower the brand image and if you haven’t seen one it’s a must for how utterly ridiculous the whole thing is. It’s a live comedy show.
  5. One of the things I find most strange is that people are offended by one of 8 choices of main course. It may not be the dish you choose to order but there are many traditional mains you can choose. Would it spoil your experience if someone at your table chose to order the Lobster macoroni? Does that mean any pasta main is unacceptable on a menu for a gala evening? Or is it just the “Mac and Cheese” name. A lobster macaroni can be a far more complex dish to cook than a Steak, Sauce, Potatoes and two vegetables. If for example a Pasta dish of Chicken, Wild Mushroom, truffle shavings, white wine sauce and fettuccine pasta would that pass the Cunard test? Where do you stop with what is appropriate to allow one to order on a dining table on a ship as not to offend fellow guests. Is it now offensive to a Vegan table companion for a fellow guest to order a Lamb Shank? I find these negative comments about the “tacky” Princess line laughable. I’ve enjoyed food on that line that has blown most offerings from Cunard out of the window. I have never sailed on Carnival, therefore I can’t comment on their offering. In my opinion if a menu has dishes that appeal to the range of palates and addresses dietary requirements it’s on the way to being a good menu. If each dish delivers satisfaction to the customer who orders it when it arrives then it’s a winner. If the menu doesn’t offer anything you desire then I can understand that it’s natural to criticise the presence of other choices on the menu. There is always multiple choices of Meat, potato and vegetable choices, along with an excellent choice of seafood dishes. If they account for 6 dishes is it so wrong to add a couple of alternatives such as pasta’s or risotto that can also make excellent vegetarian options? The idea that a Cunard customer is above certain dishes is simply ridiculous. The premium Verandah restaurant proudly promotes its Burger for example. Clearly people paying the additional €30 plus extra charge are not too offended. Likewise Cunard charge and extra €19 for Indian (curry), Italian (including pasta) dishes. Would they be charging extra if they thought the discerning Cunard customer would be offended by such dishes, that they would never eat in a formal restaurant environment. The Britannia (MDR) is the free option not the premium extra cost offering, yet dishes served in these additional charge restaurants are inappropriate in the Main (complimentary offering). Cunard would not be offering such dishes in additional cost restaurants if they were perceived as “dumbed down” offerings. They are not stupid these dishes attract customers, who pay additional sums for Burgers, pasta and curry. If there dishes were not ordered they would not be on these menus.
  6. As I said I think Cunard are making improvements, I remember the orchestra playing for extended times simply as backing for the ballroom dancers. It was very noticeable on this voyage that there are now two singers and they are mixing in many more contemporary songs. It was one of the main reasons I spent extended times there. I have on numerous occasions sat in the Queens Room on all 3 of the current queens and I really don’t remember hearing so much contemporary music and so much vocal backing. It was also the first voyage I have been on where the headliners (the Flyrights in this case) has a second show in the Queens Room with their mix of Motown and Soul. The Party Band Changez I have seen before as they are always used to fill in when the orchestras are combined for the “Singers in Concert” I was very impressed by the line up of this band and the vocals of the lead singer. It would be brilliant to have seen Ben Mills (who did actually did a second split show in the theatre) perform that show in the Queens Room as he’s a superb vocal talent and Lisa Harman the Cocktail pianist, who stepped in at the last moment to perform a wonderful show in the theatre as a regular evening. That would allow people to dance along to their performances which is something that you can’t really do in a theatre environment. Princess do this highly effectively with their Crooners pianists, who put on delightful shows that are different in style to their nightly bar show. I just really like the idea of there being two show options per night to cater for a range of tastes. The human resources are basically there already, it’s mainly just a case of some scheduling changes. The Queens Room, should be a place where people enjoy music and dance. I can tell Cunard are listening and are evolving and I’m grateful for that 😀
  7. Because there are only two potential show venues on QE/QV. The Queens Room is used for dancing both during the day and throughout the evening. The Royal Court Theatre can host a single repeated show in the evening, which may appeal to only a limited proportion of guests. The type of acts vary significantly however from Full production shows, to opera singers, to acrobats and comedians so over the course of a voyage there will be something in there that appeals to a significant proportion of the ships passengers. The Queens Room has traditionally hosted the same style of music designed to back traditional ballroom styles of dancing. With the exception of the likes of the Masquerade ball and Big Band Night it is relatively quiet for long periods of the evening and is used by a relatively small proportion of the ships guests. Often the number of Cunard hosts can equate to the number of guests dancing. Now I’m not saying I want to lose that tradition but it would be naive of any corporation not to ensure that the entertainment offerings appealed to the majority of their guests. Now I’m not saying don’t use the band in there and don’t have dancing but hosting more of the headliner guest acts for a second show of the cruise in there makes total sense. When Changez the party band and the Flyrights a Vocal harmony group took to the venue it came alive and appealed to a far higher proportion of the ship. Have ballroom exclusively on some nights but on others, maybe from 6 - 9 pm, a live vocal act from a Headliner performer or from the likes of the Commodore Cocktail pianist Lisa Harman, with two repeated shows from 9 until 11 pm, with Ballroom taking over again from 11 onwards. Maybe 50% of nights that are exclusively ballroom and 50% of these “hybrid nights” I propose. I know that many of the ships acts love the chance to shine on the bigger stage, Lisa in fact stood in for a headliner who missed the boat (ship) in the theatre on the second night and did a sterling job and got a standing ovation. You must admit that if less than 10% of the ship regularly ballroom dance (and I think in 200 people I’m being overly generous there) then it seems a little bit disproportionate that it is used 80% of the time of an evening for Ballroom dancing as well as being used throughout the day. Maybe it isn’t helped by some of the choices of acts in the Royal Court Theatre, a Juggler, a Violinist/comedian, Magician/comedian and an Old school Comedian but I think Cunard needs to evolve to ensure its combined offering of an evening in its two main entertainment venues, provides over the course of the evening entertainment choices that appeal to a significant proportion of its passengers. On the evenings when there was Ballroom all night in the Queens Room and a niche act in the theatre I think in my humble opinion they failed to do so as effectively as they could.
  8. I didn’t feel in anyway that the menu in the Britannia restaurant has been compromised after coming back off Victoria the other week. My only criticism would be perhaps there were too many days when there wasn’t an obvious alternative to Meat, Potato and Sauce. I am not a huge seafood fan so that obviously restricts my choice but over a 14 day period I would like to see more opportunity to order pasta, risotto or curry, containing meat. This is something I like about Princess and P&O and I felt my choice of what I ordered was more varied than it was on Cunard. But then Cunard clearly get the feedback that their guests do not perceive pasta’s and curry to be always available. Whilst it may be sacrilege to some I have no issue with a premium burger being served on occasions (after all they do in the Verandah, which is the highest end of the nine Grill restaurants). After all it is your choice whether to order it or not and there are 8 choices of main course. I found it quite telling that on the day we finally saw a Chicken Tikka masala curry on offer, everyone on the table of 4 couples next to us ordered it. On two occasions I did eat in the pub of an evening, which isn’t the ideal environment when the quiz kicks in and destroys any ambience, as I was craving something that was not meat and vegetables. Call me cynical but is this a deliberate strategy to encourage the use of the pop up Lido offerings, which carry around a €20 surcharge. I am a little bit confused by the “Classic Roast” as the title of one of the Signature dishes. I often found that other dishes, either the other Signature Dish. For example Fillet Steak and Crab Oscar was the classic roast one night. I really hope they didn’t roast a Fillet Steak 🙂 I must admit that I did find the food to be generally excellent and I found some of the starters in particular really exciting and delicious. The Meat and Potato dishes were superior in my view to those I had in the MDR on P&O and Princess but Princess is a clear winner for Pasta and P&O for Indian cuisine. Service was excellent and the staff were extremely accommodating in providing additional items at request. I really couldn’t fault the attention to detail of the restaurant, without fail we received visits from one of the Restaurant managers every night to check on our enjoyment and ask for feedback, which was a brilliant touch. I have attached copies of the menus from our voyage for people to view, along with the dinner menu from the Golden Lion that was available from 6 - 8;30pm on Port days. I certainly don’t view the addition of the Lobster Mac & Cheese as a Main dish in the Britannia to be inappropriate for a Cunard Main course. Although we could argue should we use Macaroni rather than “Mac” 😉 In my view QM2 has always had far more of an eye on the American market and both the MDR and Kings Court reflect that. Being from the UK I feel QV/QE have always had more appealing offerings on the whole and I can confidently say that the food in the Britannia on this voyage was far superior to much of the offering we received back to back on QM2 back in 2015. One thing that surprised me was that on this Voyage the guest entertainers including an “Old School” comedian (I always avoid them on cruise ships) commanded far larger audiences than the cast production shows. Clearly Cunard want to fill the theatre as much as they can and the Comedians always do well in this respect. I must admit I passed on the Violinist/comedian, 40 minutes of Violin playing with comedy interwoven isn’t really my cup of tea and the juggling show (40 minutes of juggling as a headline show?) However if they fill out the theatre, something the Show Cast didn’t (all be it I was in the quieter second show) then that is clearly what people want and who I am to criticise Cunard for that. Personally it drives me mad when the pianist has to stop in the Golden Lion at 8pm for trivia, can’t he play until we head for dinner at 8:30pm? However the Quiz brings in the guests like nothing else, so of course Cunard would be mad to not give the majority what they want. The former X Factor runner up, singer Ben Mills was top class, as were the 4 piece group the Flyrights and the Acrobatic duo Luminesce. The magician, who was primarily a comedian, was actually very entertaining for his second performance (despite my initial reservations) in a variety showtime that also featured Ben Mills. Cunard do have to be careful as unlike Princess and P&O they lack a true second or third show lounge. The Queens Room is primarily a dancing venue, so I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a show lounge. I did feel rather disappointed when I viewed the Daily Programme to see the show was either the violinist (with some comedy thrown in) or the Juggler (with some comedy thrown in) or a Magician (with comedy thrown in). I accept there will always be a traditional “Old School” comedian, which there of course was but to then schedule this combination of other acts was a bit much for me. Obviously there is great talent on in the Queens Room and I found myself spending far more time there than I had previously to see the brilliant orchestra/singers and the and the excellent house band Changez. It was also excellent to see the Flyrights (4 piece male harmony group) do a second show in the Queens Room. Although Cunard attracts a very loyal dancing clientele, I think there is room to use the Queens Room a little bit more for an alternative showtime, which to be fair to Cunard it seems like they are trying to do. This may be a controversial statement but the proportion of passengers who regularly use this room for dancing every evening is relatively small. Balancing out the use of this room to provide more mass appeal shows of an evening would in my view benefit the experience for many. Don’t get me wrong I love to see the dancing and I adore that Cunard has such brilliant musicians which makes the line unique. It’s something that never should be lost. These orchestras however also provided some phenomenal backing for the show cast singers and headliner Ben Mills.
  9. This isn't a question, it is a statement that offers nothing to this thread. If you wish to review your cruise please do so in the appropriate place or thread.
  10. Were the theatre shows from the Princess Singers and Dancers different on the two legs?
  11. I do, the 27th is when we fly from England to Miami, so have it in my head as the start date for the cruise :)
  12. That’s really helpful information. I will make sure I have 4 dress shirts with me :)
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