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Stu UK

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Everything posted by Stu UK

  1. Apex has better showers in sky suites with rainfall head and body jets.
  2. Here are the menus from our resent 6 day cruise. The a la carte is per the Cunard website. Hope they make you feel hungry 😋 Cunard QG Menus.pdf
  3. As promised a set of menus from the cruise. The a la carte is per the Cunard website. Cunard QG Menus.pdf
  4. I will post a video of thoughts over next week or so. It’s a close call driven I think by itinerary.
  5. The final full day was a sea day, that awful day when packing is looming in the back of your mind. The towels over the wet carpet were themselves wet so we quickly exited the cabin to allow any work that was needed to be completed. The usual trip up to QG for breakfast (can highly recommend the crushed avocado). After a quick walk around the decks we headed to the Grills Concierge to see if she knew what was happening re the carpet. She had not read the report, apologised and said she would get onto it. We headed back to the cabin to find 4 of the maintenance team pondering the bathroom and removing side panels from the bath. We left them to it. Next stop was the Concord Experience lecture in the theatre which was very good. Time for pre lunch drinks and lunch with our friends. What should have been a light lunch was not as they had skipped breakfast and we were led astray going for all courses. Well it is the last day and the curried mussels were delightful. Packing was looming so back to the suite. Very strong smell of sealant but no update as to issue and carpet still wet over a larger area. We had previously invited our friends for last night pre dinner drinks and canapés so needed an alternative location to host them. Call to the Grills Concierge, who had tried to contact us but we were at lunch, said she had received a report that the issue may have been fixed but they could not be certain, probably the bath. We explained that we needed a location for a small reception. She later came back to us having arranged a vacant aft deck four suite that we could use and the butler would make the arrangements. Afternoon was composed of packing, spa, gym and relaxing on the balcony (which was well protected from the channel winds. We were also offered some OBC to make up for the carpet issue. At 7pm we were collected by the Grill Concierge and our Butler who escorted us to 4190 where there were drinks and canapés set up. The suite was a slightly different configuration to ours on deck 8 so gave us change to explore that. We nipped up to the suite to drop off cameras etc prior to dinner, the room was full of blowers and equipment to try to dry it our (perhaps that should have happened 24 hrs earlier). It was then up to the QG for a final dinner - for me it was jumbo shrimp, french onion soup, steak Diane and crepe Suzette. Also managed cheese! Final show was the 4 D’s second show of the voyage and again they were excellent, followed by a final night cap. I kicked myself as only realised then that they had sparkling Cloudy Bay Pelorus onboard at the Gin Fizz bar. Back at the suite the carpet was drier, no towels down but still rather damp. However it was the last night. Cases placed out prior to retiring (cut off was 11pm but we were closer to midnight). Final morning awoke about 6:30 to find ourselves docked back in Southampton. Carpet was now back to being wet, so fingers crossed they sort it by the time the next guests board in a few hours time. Final breakfast up in QG was lovely albeit a slightly more limited menu. Our time to disembark was 8:40 so after breakfast it was a stroll back to the suite to collect our hand luggage. In our friends suite guess what, a damp carpet in virtually the same position as ours, the crew had already started to fill / test the bath, so seems they could have a larger than anticipated plumbing issue. Time to then leave via deck 2 midships. No waiting in a departure lounge etc. Cases were all there in the baggage hall and we left the terminal via the customs channels. No one there to check the Passenger Locator Forms for UK entry and they were not checked by Cunard either. All in all an excellent cruise, QG restaurant staff were just outstanding as usual, only improvement to the cruise for us could have been the communication and lack of pro activity around the wet carpet - all had to be driven by us rather than any plan automatically kicking in. Also better info about the Netherlands CovidCert info for bars and restaurants. I will scan menus and upload them and also over the next week or so will put together our view on Queens Grill v Celebrity’s Retreat. Thanks for following this thread. Fingers crossed our next cruise is Christmas and New Year on Iona.
  6. Yes you can. You cant join the pay extra lecture nor enter the cafe in the exhibition.
  7. Think it’s virtually all U.K. passengers. Not heard any US voices.
  8. Day 4 was one to relax. I did not go ashore and decided to chill out. Part of the day was doing some pictures around the ship, that you will see below. Our friends went ashore to explore some more Amsterdam museums and we met up with them for afternoon tea. This was served in the Princess Grill as has become the custom in recent years. It was lovely especially as we had skipped lunch. Afternoon consisted of a relaxing time in the spa, a snooze, jacuzzi in the cabin and some pre dinner drinks in our friends suite. It was the second formal night so black tie for the 20’s themed night. Quite a few passengers threw themselves into the spirit of things. We managed to drink the Pol Acker with added orange juice to make a Bucks Fizz. After a while we left only to see lots of staff gathered at our suite - transpired that there was water on the carpet all around the wardrobe and dressing areas. They said all would be sorted so thought nothing too much of it anticipating that the cabin steward had spilt an ice bucket. There was another emergency announcement tonight, Captain confirmed that they had found smouldering embers. Slightly worrying that there has now been two small fire incidents this voyage. Dinner in Queens Grill was lovely. I had a trio of fish as a starter with added Caviar, a huge beef wellington from the a la carte menu with flambé cherries to finish. We all decided to have crepe Suzette again tomorrow night. After a quick blow around the deck to see us transiting the lock it was off to the theatre to see the Cunard version of Top Hat with the singers and dancers. A great little musical with lots of energy from the performers. Glass of champagne as a night cap. Arrived back at our suite. Carpet still really wet, no note from the staff, no message on the phone, no mats placed over the wet area …. Oh dear. We have no clue as to what is causing it, whether its fixed, was it clean water or a dirty water leak ??? Called the Pursers Desk (its about midnight) and the duty manager came up. She was rather perplexed as to why it had been left and no communications. Rapidly towels were fetched and laid with a promise of immediate attention as soon as we went to breakfast in the morning. Got to bed just after 1am. Let’s see what happens tomorrow - our last full day onboard, a sea day.
  9. We were refused entry. But it is inconsistent. Some allow you to use it - seems to depend if they have QR code scanners working.
  10. Day 3 was the first of our 2 days in Amsterdam. A slightly disturbed nights sleep as we made our way through the locks on the Amsterdam approach. As we have an aft suite there can be a bit of vibration but the views and balcony size make up for that. We docked within walking distance of the main city sights close to Central Station. A warm day with blue sky was forecast and did not disappoint. After a relaxing breakfast in QG we headed out to explore. We had a visit to the Anne Frank House for 2pm (tickets only available to book online) so spent the morning just wandering around Dam Square and the adjoining canals, venturing down to the flower market and enjoying various coffees and beers as we went. Note that Cunard does not tell you - in order to go into a bar, restaurant, cinema etc but not shops, museums and outdoor bars, outdoor cafes or outdoor restaurants you must show a Coronavirus Entry Pass. However you cant get one of these with a UK NHS vaccination certificate (nor we are told a USA one). If you want to go inside then you need to get a Covid test in the Netherlands to get the pass for 24 hrs access, needless to say we didn’t bother. The Anne Frank House was so poignant. You get an audio guide in the entry price. The way the exhibition is laid out takes you through a whole raft of emotions. The journey through the Annex is not to be missed (care there are some very steep stairs). Close by is the Homomonument to remember the persecution of gay men and women. After our delve into history it was a walk back to the ship to relax prior to dinner. After a couple of G&T’s in the suite (in bar selection list below) it was off to QG where we had a menu of special dishes - dressed crab, duck in orange sauce and crepe Suzette. All were stunning. A small incident occurred when a waiter caught the ice bucket with various bottles of white wine in and they went flying across the floor. The plus side was all the open bottles were replaced with full ones! It was a very delicious dinner so we took our time and did not go to the show. Instead headed to the Commodore Lounge for a night cap before retiring. Back at the suite the Pol Acker had arrived, so we have asked for a jug of orange juice to make it drinkable tomorrow in a Bucks Fizz. Also a lovely box of Godiva chocolates on the pillow. By the way soaps etc in the suite remain as Penhaligon Quercus in large bottles with tablets of soap available if you ask. Bottled water in the cabin is Hildon still and sparkling. Coffee is Illy capsules. Tip ask for jug of milk rather than the sachets provided.
  11. Pics below of the current (Oct 2021) QG suite menus for the mini bar and pillows. I know it’s sometimes difficult to find these in advance hence a separate thread.
  12. Care re the Netherlands. They do not accept UK or USA Covid vaccine certificates to enter restaurants, bars, or cinemas. You can only eat / drink outside and then not go inside to use toilets. Cunard do not tell you this. On the brighter side at least you can do your own thing and not be limited to Cunard excursions. https://www.government.nl/latest/news/2021/09/14/netherlands-to-reopen-further-with-coronavirus-entry-passes
  13. Having a great time. Two days here.
  14. A smart phone certainly helps but there are work arounds. Very handy for bill tracking.
  15. Day 2 is a sea day, time to relax as we head towards Amsterdam. Clocks went forward last night, so as usual iPads, phone and watch were all showing different times. Luckily we remembered to book an alarm call which clarified the correct time!! We are averaging a mere 10 knots so a very calm nights sleep. Pillow menu attached below. Breakfast in QG was as great. Nice to get orange juice that is not watered down and impeccable service. Not 100% convinced by the “milk” onboard a little too creamy for our taste. Great poached haddock for me with others opting for various incarnations of Eggs Benedict and crushed avocado. After a bit more exploring and typing some Cruise Critic stuff headed up in the Grills lounge for coffee, which remains complementary. A very welcome occurrence was the sun managed to find us so also spent time relaxing on the lovely grill’s terrace. A couple of interesting occurrences. Yesterday after an emergency announcement over the tannoy for the first aid response team the Captain clarified there had been a suspected fire incident but all is well. Then this morning a small pilot type boat seemed to dock with us during breakfast. The latter was unexplained but betting is a medical evacuation. Lunchtime loomed so some pre lunch drinks with our friends in the suite then back to Queens Grill. My husband is lactose intolerant and they are dealing with that really well. Lunch for me was smoked salmon stuffed with wasabi and a main of prawn fajita. Skipped desert. The afternoon was very lazy. At 4pm we had arranged champagne and canapés with the butler. A lovely selection of warm and cold canapés duly arrived which allowed us to while away some quality time together. No need for afternoon tea as a result!! This is turning into a food and wine cruise as next up, after sprucing ourselves up for formal night, was pre dinner drinks prior to heading back to QG for the Welcome Aboard Dinner. No Captain’s receptions being held to allow social distancing, instead you are given a glass of champagne with dinner. Dinner was stunning. For me it was goats cheese soufflé, lobster bisque, Chateaubriand and cheese. In addition to the champagne we maintained the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Argentinian Malbec. However hot savoury and sorbet courses have been removed, but you could always ask. 10pm show in the theatre was Hollywood Nights, quite entertaining followed by G&T in the Midships Bar. Amsterdam awaits us in the morning so we will miss seeing the lock transits as no way am I getting up at 4am!! We are due to berth just outside Grand Station (well a 15 min walk away).
  16. The taxi ride from Chilworth Manor to the the Ocean Terminal was about 20 minutes so we arrived at noon, slightly earlier than our 12:15 allocated time. The taxi pulled up directly next to the luggage drop off area, where we had to take our luggage to the appropriate point rather than it being collected from the taxi. It was then off to the Covid testing area. There was a brief queue where they checked boarding card, passport and Covid vaccination certificate. All correct so onto the next stage. As we were on time we went straight to the Covid test, those who were too early we sent into a holding queue. The test was purely a nasal swab. We were given a wrist band with test time (12:08) and a ref number. That triggered a text message to be received saying we had been registered. We then walked back to the departures area where we were directed upstairs. Here they re-asked all the medical declaration questions that we had completed online previously. Then we were directed to a seating area to await the test results appearing on our mobile phone. These arrived by 12:30 - all negative. We could then complete check in via the priority Grills queue. Here it was a check of the Boarding Card and passport. I would recommend printing all doc as it made it far easier for the staff. As boarding had not yet commenced we had to wait for about 30 mins prior to passing through security. No Grills refreshment area but not a deal breaker albeit some passengers seemed to be making a song and dance about that - we were just glad to be on holiday. Security was quick and easy and we were then onboard by 13:10. Very smooth given the testing etc. On the way to our deck 8 aft suite we registered at our muster station. Found the suite with the keys in an envelope outside. The suite was lovely. Last time we did Queens Grill it was on QV in one of the new aft suites. Today’s suite was certainly lighter, feels spacious but bathroom not quite as good however more than adequate, despite the shower curtain. Lovely double sinks compensated. On ice was a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne with accompanying chocolates. Luckily no Pol Acker in sight. Ordered the bar set up items and stationary from the Butler, didn’t pick pillows from the Pillow Menu as the standard ones were fine. Watched the lifeboat drill on the TV and then time to explore. First stop was Queens Grill for afternoon tea which has replaced lunch. Quite like that change. Sandwiches, hot savouries, cakes, scones were all very welcome. Spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the ship with our friends who are new to Cunard. The thermal spa and saunas are open as so ship feels like normal apart from mask wearing indoors. Excellent compliance rate. Where passengers do forget or try to get away without staff are on hand to pass masks to you to be used. Well done Cunard. The thermal area is making you book a two hour slot and they sold very quickly. We normally buy a whole cruise pass but have only ended up with a couple of 2 hour sessions. Dinner was super. We had pre-ordered (during afternoon tea) caviar and rack of lamb. I will try to scan all the menus at the end of the cruise. Despite the relaxing of the dress code to no longer mandate jackets for men, 100% of the men in Queens Grill wore them as did most around the ship. After dinner it was off to the theatre so see the 4 D’s - a great male singing group. No social distancing in the theatre which was very busy for the 10pm show, face masks to be worn all the way through the show. Evening was a rounded off with a night cap in The Commodore Lounge. Great first day.
  17. The day of embarkation has arrived 🥳. We spent last night at Chilworth Manor on their cruise package £195 per couple inc, breakfast, parking and transfers to / from the port. Lovely hotel where the bar and restaurant have been refurbished during lockdown. Rooms are dated but ok for a night. Restaurant for dinner was overpriced and not great with very hit and miss service, lamb served pink from menu was cremated. Breakfast was much better. Next up Covid testing and check in.
  18. Bags all packed, docs all on phone and also printed. Now heading to Southampton prior to boarding. A night at Chilworth Manor on their cruise package. Boarding / testing time 12:15. 🤞all goes smoothly. We are joining 2 friends who are Cunard virgins. Also looking forward to comparing current Queens Grill with our recent Retreat experience on Celebrity Apex. Not been in QG since Nov 2019, that time it was Queen Victoria.
  19. Marketing talk is disingenuous if not true. The web is unambiguous. But we all know they won’t serve you out exploring- apart from take your own water. 🙈
  20. Interesting the Celebrity Retreat info does talk about drinks in the cabin.
  21. Here you go. The main one and the alternative options.
  22. That was the case pre-Covid but gather, certainly on Apex, that was scrapped to allow more distancing in The Retreat areas. Maybe it will return at some point. Same was possible with aft S1 and SV.
  23. Let’s hope that prior to that Cunard will still do their promised two Southampton round trips. Our TA says info should be on 16th Sept. That said looking forward to Queens Grill on QE on 13th Oct where we can now go ashore without an excursion 👍
  24. It is now possible to find online and in the UK press a new itinerary to replace part of those recently cancelled. Interestingly not on the Cunard site. Appears one will be: 1st Dec - 12 night Canaries from Southampton round trip. Awful that Cunard have not made direct announcement!
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