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#1
775 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
As a long time traveler on Crystal including an 89-day world cruise and many shorter ones, we will be taking our first cruise on Cunard in October. If anyone who has traveled on both has any comments/suggestions before we embark, we would love to hear them. We will be in a Queens Grille Suite on the Queen Victoria. I will be doing a review with my own impressions during the cruise. We have heard many different views, but decided we should try it ourselves. It fit into our schedule (7-day Rome to Rome) this coming October when we will already be in Europe.

Hello to all our Crystal friends and family.
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Hello from Art & Ellie

#2
4,506 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Hello Art,

We did the 2018 109 day WC on the Queen Elizabeth and have done 8 crossings and one in-Europe voyage on the Queen Mary 2, plus over 30 cruises on Crystal, I think I can make a comparison with credibility.

It is classic cruising with set dining time and tables in Britannia. You will have more flexibility in Queens. It was fun to dress up, and even on informal nights, people looked great. There are more guests, but it never felt crowded.

Crystal wins food by a landslide--but you will be in Queens and we were in Britannia. You have the option of the same food served in Britannia, but you can also order off the menu. I predict your opinion of the food will be a lot different. I only ate fish and seafood, and really didn't have any problems, but David thought the quality of the meat was poor after we missed Busan. We missed container delivery and the ship was forced to buy from Japan and China. The pop up restaurants and Veranda were all quite good. Breakfast was similar to Crystal. The food on the QM2 both in the Britannia and in the Kings Court (their Lido) was very good.

Entertainment was varied. It definitely was geared to UK guests, with comedians whose jokes required more familiarity with the UK. Also, we had lots of non-language dependent entertainment: singers, musicians, acrobats, because we had many non or limited English speaking guests. That said there was crossover with Crystal. John Joseph who is/was currently on Symphony was on the QM2, and I notice that there are several other performers who are on both lines.

Lectures were on a par with Crystal, with some of the same speakers, and were interesting and varied. If you enjoy dancing, that is very big on Cunard, with dance classes going on all day. There are art classes and craft classes every day, too.

Service was excellent! We had a wonderful team in the dining room, a great room steward and terrific bar waiters. It was personalized and intuitive as on Crystal.The Purser's Desk is not as capable and pleasant as on Crystal.


We haven't sailed Victoria, but it is the sister ship to Elizabeth. Apparently the wood is darker on Victoria. Other than that they are pretty much the same. We found the ship to be beautiful and spotlessly clean.

Our balcony cabin had more room than a balcony on Crystal, but less storage space. We were invited a lot of parties in Queens and Princess Suites and found them nicely appointed, but not as elegant as comparable suites on Crystal.

As I mentioned, guests came from all over the world, which really was a very nice experience. We came away with great friends from the UK and Japan, and are cruising as with some of them in 2019 and 2020. At no time were there more than 150 or so from the US.

We did very few Cunard shore excursions, choosing to book privately with guests we met on the roll call.

I would be interested in your impression, but a short cruise has a different feel from a world cruise. I think you will enjoy the experience.

We, obviously, enjoy both Cunard and Crystal. I hope you do, too.

Ricki
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#3
102,108 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Art, we did a crossing on the Queen Mary 2 so it is not only a different ship but we had no ports.

The Queens Grill Restaurant was wonderful. We had all our meals there (breakfast, lunch and dinner) because none of the specialty restaurants compared to the quality of the cuisine nor the service. We did have a special menu. You could ask for some special foods and the Maitre d' prepared a couple of entrees for us table side. The service was great. Not Crystal but very nice. We did like the fact that we had our own table for the night or for that matter for each meal. We enjoyed the meals.

The room was nice in terms of overall size and layout. The butler was pretty much average and I would say more of a senior steward than a butler. I am not sure if that is typical or the one we had.

We received a couple of bottles of wine: Cunard Label and I couldn't drink it and I am not a wine snob.

There was a separate lounge for Queens and Princess Grill guests that we would go to for a pre dinner drink.

We were very impressed with the lectures and other enrichment and entertainment. But we were on a crossing so not sure what your cruise will be like.

The ship was very nice but it is different from your ship.

For us we would not go out of our way to bon another Cunard Cruise but I am glad we tried it. Maybe we would do another crossing though.

I am a believer when the opportunity is there that you should seize it. While for Anne Marie and myself our go to cruise line is Crystal if we find an itinerary and the timing of the itinerary that will work for another line we give it a try.

You will never know whether or not you will like it until you give it a try.

I look forward to hearing what you think.

My own opinion is not to compare it to Crystal or any other line.

Just enjoy the cruise. That's what we do.

Keith
#4
591 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
We have done 5 crossings on the QM2, the most recent following our June Serenity cruise. Ricki was “spot on” with everything-food, entertainment, cabins, etc.

We always choose Britannia class so haven’t dined in the Grills. One Grills friend we made onboard wasn’t impressed with the Grills food, but I know one can have special orders and a wider variety of items than in Britannia. I tend to order fish in Britannia, and while not up to Crystal quality, it has been fairly good. My husband was satisfied with the beef although it isn’t up to Crystal standards. We had marvelous wait teams on our last three trips, but they are super busy and have no time to chat. They did learn my preferences immediately, and remembered each subsequent night.

I rate the lecturers higher on Crystal although there is some overlap. Bill Miller has been on two of our crossings. In June, one of the lectures was on heat pumps. We laughed about the topic and didn’t attend, but we happened to watch it later in the cabin and found it interesting!! Daytime activities are abundant, and sometimes include performances by a troup of actors from The Royal Academy Of Dramatic Arts. They present abbreviated versions of classic drama, an occasional poetry reading, and other forms of entertainment that are wonderful.

We always enjoy the British comedians although not all Americans do. This June we had the Opera Boys on both Crystal and the QM2.

The musical groups are varied, accomplished musicians, and numerous. We enjoyed relaxing in the Carinthia Lounge to harp music in the evening and tapping our toes to Dixieland during the afternoon.

I noticed that someone on the Cunard board said that you will be totally spoiled. We’ve never felt spoiled on Cunard ( we’ve been spoiled for sure on Crystal), but we have met some fascinating people and had a very good time. I suspect you will also enjoy your cruise
#5
Canada
4,941 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
I have client who have sailed Elizabeth and Victoria in the last three months and found the service and staff to be a bit friendlier on Elizabeth, but that can happen with any line.

We did a crossing on QM2 a few years ago. My only addition to what the others have posted is you better like to dress up! I found three Formal nights in seven a bit much, and having to wear the jacket/tie EVERY night got old in a hurry. That's not a complaint as we knew that when we booked it, and they have since relaxed the tie requirement on non-Formal nights.
#6
668 Posts
Joined Jan 2018
Thank you Ricki for your comments and we followed your fantastic blog on the World Cruise. It seemed you had a great time. Comments just about a crossing would be different compared to 90+ days gives us a whole different perspective on Cunard.

The only Cunard ship I have been on many years ago was the the Cunard Contessa and it was delightful.
#7
London, England
1,270 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
I'm happy on Cunard AND Crystal. In fact I'll be on the QM2 in September, and Serenity in November. I agree with all the above comments. I particularly enjoy the formality on Cunard; I don't recall ever seeing someone in jeans in the evening. On the crossings there are always three themed balls, where everyone seems to enter into the spirit. The entertainment is similar on both lines, and I have met the same dance hosts on both lines, as well as the same lecturers.

On Cunard, I love the fact that you can have a bite to eat and a cup of tea (Twinings!) after midnight, in the King's Court when you want to chat to new acquaintances and entertainers. (It's not as sociable ordering room service and perching on a bed.) I also love the fact that you can make tea or coffee in your cabin without getting dressed, as you do in an hotel room. Having said that, I would suggest skipping the King's Court buffet for breakfast, as it is a bit of a bun fight. You may not have any sea days on a Med cruise, so it's not really a good test of what the ship can offer, but I'm sure you'll enjoy yourselves.
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Trudi
#8
775 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by ancientmariner
I'm happy on Cunard AND Crystal. In fact I'll be on the QM2 in September, and Serenity in November. I agree with all the above comments. I particularly enjoy the formality on Cunard; I don't recall ever seeing someone in jeans in the evening. On the crossings there are always three themed balls, where everyone seems to enter into the spirit. The entertainment is similar on both lines, and I have met the same dance hosts on both lines, as well as the same lecturers.

On Cunard, I love the fact that you can have a bite to eat and a cup of tea (Twinings!) after midnight, in the King's Court when you want to chat to new acquaintances and entertainers. (It's not as sociable ordering room service and perching on a bed.) I also love the fact that you can make tea or coffee in your cabin without getting dressed, as you do in an hotel room. Having said that, I would suggest skipping the King's Court buffet for breakfast, as it is a bit of a bun fight. You may not have any sea days on a Med cruise, so it's not really a good test of what the ship can offer, but I'm sure you'll enjoy yourselves.
Actually we have two sea days. We begin and end in Rome. Our ports are Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Alghero/Sardinia, Palma/Mallorca and Barcelona. We are just beginning to decide on our excursions. If you have any suggestions for these ports, that would be great. As far as the more formal dress, we love it. So that that won't be a problem.
#9
102,108 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Art:

For Livorno consider:

Florence or Lucca. I know you like to do things privately and a couple of companies to look at are Joe Banana Limos at: https://www.joebananalimos.net or Rome In Limo at: http://www.romeinlimo.com

There are others too and the Italy Ports of Board is a great source of information.

Both places offer wonderful photo opportunities.

Keith
#10
London, England
1,270 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
If you want to visit the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, I suggest you pre-book your tickets on line. Otherwise you'll waste hours of your precious time queuing. The other Gaudi masterpiece - Parc Guell - is also worth visiting, as is Casa Battlo. The city really warrants an overnight.www.sagradafamilia.org/en
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Trudi
#11
Home
2,857 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by artbcpa
Actually we have two sea days. We begin and end in Rome. Our ports are Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Alghero/Sardinia, Palma/Mallorca and Barcelona. We are just beginning to decide on our excursions. If you have any suggestions for these ports, that would be great. As far as the more formal dress, we love it. So that that won't be a problem.
We were in Barcelona, Ibiza, Cannes, Montecarlo, Portovenere, Livorno and Rome in the past week. In Livorno, we took an excursion with our ship to Lucca. It was “Lucca on your own”. This was a good idea, since Lucca has an interesting old town. No need for a guided tour. It was easy to do it on your own.
In Barcelona, I would recommend a walking tour. There are many of those. The one we did was a 2 hours walking tour from the Gothic Neighborhood. Next time we would book a tour about Gaudí, his life and works.
In Rome, besides the Vatican, do not miss the Santa Maria Maggiore Church. It is one of the most beautiful churches. We have started our visit with the place where Rome originated and the beautiful Forums. Wonderful city to walk around. There are so many things to do and see...After 7 visits to Rome, we are still glad to be able to go once more. What for us was always helpful in Rome was to have an objective, for example to follow Bernini’s work.

I have cruised with Cunard and Crystal, but I am not as experienced as the other posters. I agree with what has been said about those cruise lines.
Ivi
#12
Inverness, IL
283 Posts
Joined Jun 2001
Originally posted by travelberlin
We were in Barcelona, Ibiza, Cannes, Montecarlo, Portovenere, Livorno and Rome in the past week. In Livorno, we took an excursion with our ship to Lucca. It was “Lucca on your own”. This was a good idea, since Lucca has an interesting old town. No need for a guided tour. It was easy to do it on your own.

In Barcelona, I would recommend a walking tour. There are many of those. The one we did was a 2 hours walking tour from the Gothic Neighborhood. Next time we would book a tour about Gaudí, his life and works.

In Rome, besides the Vatican, do not miss the Santa Maria Maggiore Church. It is one of the most beautiful churches. We have started our visit with the place where Rome originated and the beautiful Forums. Wonderful city to walk around. There are so many things to do and see...After 7 visits to Rome, we are still glad to be able to go once more. What for us was always helpful in Rome was to have an objective, for example to follow Bernini’s work.



I have cruised with Cunard and Crystal, but I am not as experienced as the other posters. I agree with what has been said about those cruise lines.

Ivi


We just returned from the Elizabeth last month and found everything top notch. We were in the Princess grill and loved anytime dining for all meals with our own table. The private bar area is great and you quickly get to know everybody including the servers and bartenders who were fantastic in helping us choose new drinks to try. On formal night EVERYBODY wears a tux. We were really surprised. If we saw 10 other jackets we would be exaggerating. The food is quite good and there are lots of choices.
We have booked a crossing plus some time in Europe on the QM2 for next summer.


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