Mass Market Refugees - What Can We Expect From Cunard?


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#1
The Sargasso Sea
609 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
We have grown tired of the dumbing down of cruising, even on what used to be premium lines like Celebrity. On our next to last Celebrity Cruise, there was no enforcement of the evening dress code in the MDR. When two guys showed up in shorts and T-shirts on evening chic night and were allowed in, and then arm-wrestled at the table with the waiter and supervisor watching, we decided a change was necessary. We are fed up with chair hogs, feral children, an MDR atmosphere that is closer to a Texas Roadhouse than a cruise ship, and over-amplified music in the Constellation Lounge where we used to be able to meet other PAX over a drink without shouting to be heard.

We now have a cruise on the QM2 and one on Viking Ocean booked.

What can we expect on Cunard? Will it be a more genteel style of cruising?
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#2
East Lancashire
2,827 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
It will in part depend on the cruise you are doing. However, on the whole, you can expect a more civilised experience where people know how to behave.
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#3
Pennsylvania
6,523 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
I will report I've never seen shorts and t-shirts in the dining room in the evening. At breakfast on a port day, yes...
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#4
Seattle, Washington
1,193 Posts
Joined May 2009
Far fewer announcements, most likely more live music, excellent enrichment lectures, good entertainment, formal means formal, well behaved and interesting fellow travelers predominately from the UK, USA and Canada.
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#5
Dallas
89 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
Depending upon origin and ship this may vary but... My experience has been a nice global mixture of passengers. Majority more well traveled than most Americans, and all that- that entails. No beer pong or hustling pax every 30 minutes via public address system to buy something in a Las Vegas type environment. Formal dress code is enforced on QM2- We were casual at Commodore club as 6pm struck , our waiter told us we needed to finish up and come back in formal. I have found Cunard to be defender of tradition -this includes formal wear after 6 pm.
I am sure you will have a wonderful time.
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Mark & Clay

Queen Mary 2 05/2017
Coral Princess 05/2015
Queen Mary 2 05/2012
#6
London, UK
1,956 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
At the risk of incurring the wrath on the Cunard forum, may I suggest you also explore Crystal cruises. The ships are smaller than Cunard with 1000 pax but the food is better, all drinks are inclusive and passengers do dress up for dinner but jackets are not required except on Black Tie Optional nights. Anyone in shorts are turned away after 6pm from bars and restaurants as well.

We like both Cunard and Crystal for different reasons. It’s all about “growing up”. We like be dressing up in the evenings. The only thing that irritates me about Cunard is the nickel and diming charges since it is part of Carnival group after all.


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#7
The Sargasso Sea
609 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Thanks for everyone's observations. Very encouraging. We are looking forward to cruising on Cunard.

We like the sound of cruising for grownups.
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#8
4,273 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by JohnKen3
At the risk of incurring the wrath on the Cunard forum, may I suggest you also explore Crystal cruises. The ships are smaller than Cunard with 1000 pax but the food is better, all drinks are inclusive and passengers do dress up for dinner but jackets are not required except on Black Tie Optional nights. Anyone in shorts are turned away after 6pm from bars and restaurants as well.

We like both Cunard and Crystal for different reasons. It’s all about “growing up”. We like be dressing up in the evenings. The only thing that irritates me about Cunard is the nickel and diming charges since it is part of Carnival group after all.


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There is a substantial price difference between these lines. They aren’t comparable, even if you sail in the Grills where the cost is closer to even.
#9
US
536 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
I tried HAL just to see Alaska since Cunard did not go there when we booked (if I had only waited!) It was not to my liking at all! I thought since HAL has been around for many years they might maintain some semblance of tradition - nope! I love Cunard - the string quartet and cocktails before dinner, the lectures, the dancing every night to the orchestra, everyone dresses nicely as you stroll the ship, afternoon tea every day : )
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#10
591 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by JohnKen3
At the risk of incurring the wrath on the Cunard forum, may I suggest you also explore Crystal cruises. The ships are smaller than Cunard with 1000 pax but the food is better, all drinks are inclusive and passengers do dress up for dinner but jackets are not required except on Black Tie Optional nights. Anyone in shorts are turned away after 6pm from bars and restaurants as well.

We like both Cunard and Crystal for different reasons. It’s all about “growing up”. We like be dressing up in the evenings. The only thing that irritates me about Cunard is the nickel and diming charges since it is part of Carnival group after all.


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I agree with JohnKen. We also sail both Crystal and Cunard, but for different reasons. Yes, Crystal is generally more expensive, but if you seek a friendly yet more refined experience, Crystal should at least be explored as an option. It may cost more, but the food and service are top notch. Don’t forget that alcohol is included. There is dancing every evening, and their entertainment options just keep getting better and better. While the dress code has been relaxed, guests on our recent cruises were very smartly dressed in the evenings.
#11
Oakland, CA USA
2,314 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
I will echo many of the others. I think you will find Cunard to be way more refined than what you described for Celebrity (which I have experienced as well). Yes, the dress code is enforced in the evenings. Yes, people are generally well-behaved, including young people. However there are certain aspects of the Cunard product that are definitely mass market, such as the buffet in Kings Court and the tacky merchandise sales held on folding tables in the otherwise beautiful public spaces. But on the whole, Cunard is not the wild party atmosphere that you (and I) have experienced on Celebrity. See what you think, and report back.
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Cunard: 109 Days
Seabourn: 68 Days
Azamara: 64 Days
HAL: 59 Days
Crystal: 38 Days
Princess: 28 Days
Oceania: 14 Days
Celebrity: 14 Days
RCL: 7 Days
Commodore: 7 Days
Carnival: 3 Days
Goodtime II: 1 Day
#12
Derbyshire, England
133 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Originally posted by SargassoPirate
We have grown tired of the dumbing down of cruising, even on what used to be premium lines like Celebrity. On our next to last Celebrity Cruise, there was no enforcement of the evening dress code in the MDR. When two guys showed up in shorts and T-shirts on evening chic night and were allowed in, and then arm-wrestled at the table with the waiter and supervisor watching, we decided a change was necessary. We are fed up with chair hogs, feral children, an MDR atmosphere that is closer to a Texas Roadhouse than a cruise ship, and over-amplified music in the Constellation Lounge where we used to be able to meet other PAX over a drink without shouting to be heard.

We now have a cruise on the QM2 and one on Viking Ocean booked.

What can we expect on Cunard? Will it be a more genteel style of cruising?
We used to sail with Silversea (when they had only 2 ships) then discovered Cunard, 19 cruises later we are still with Cunard. We still love Cunard, for many reasons. At the moment we see no reason to change that - but you may want to look at the Cunard thread Dress Code Designations. We love the formal/smart aspect of evenings on board a Cunard ship, as do many others. The dust has not yet settled on this recent concern, indeed we are holding off making a judgement until we complete our June 2018 TA double crossing.

We are also looking at booking either a Viking River Cruise or Viking Ocean cruises - if we want to try casual smart we wanted to try a smaller quality line assuming they are consistent in ensuring the dress code is followed.
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David

Silversea x4
Cunard x19
#13
Australia
79 Posts
Joined Jul 2015
Originally posted by ChansonDeLaMer
I agree with JohnKen. We also sail both Crystal and Cunard, but for different reasons. Yes, Crystal is generally more expensive, but if you seek a friendly yet more refined experience, Crystal should at least be explored as an option. It may cost more, but the food and service are top notch. Don’t forget that alcohol is included. There is dancing every evening, and their entertainment options just keep getting better and better. While the dress code has been relaxed, guests on our recent cruises were very smartly dressed in the evenings.
For what it's worth, I have sailed both Crystal and Cunard and prefer Cunard hands down. The price was very similar comparing balcony cabin on Crystal (A1 or A2 I can't remember which) to Princess Grill cabin on QM2 - single use of cabin. Drinks may be included on Crystal but as someone who drinks very little to not at all, I found this an unnecessary addition. I found the food better on Cunard - maybe it depends which continent you come from but I found the Crystal food very much to American tastes. The cabin was larger in PG, Cunard and better appointed. Overall, I preferred the decor and general ambience of the Queen Mary to that of the Crystal ship I sailed on.
#14
Toronto, Ontario
440 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by SargassoPirate
We have grown tired of the dumbing down of cruising, even on what used to be premium lines like Celebrity. On our next to last Celebrity Cruise, there was no enforcement of the evening dress code in the MDR. When two guys showed up in shorts and T-shirts on evening chic night and were allowed in, and then arm-wrestled at the table with the waiter and supervisor watching, we decided a change was necessary. We are fed up with chair hogs, feral children, an MDR atmosphere that is closer to a Texas Roadhouse than a cruise ship, and over-amplified music in the Constellation Lounge where we used to be able to meet other PAX over a drink without shouting to be heard.

We now have a cruise on the QM2 and one on Viking Ocean booked.

What can we expect on Cunard? Will it be a more genteel style of cruising?
_________________________________________

We too are refugees from the mass lines, mostly from Celebrity.

We have thoroughly enjoyed Cunard - highly value the tradition, graciousness and linkage to the ocean - Cunard does not operate Las Vegas/Disney World floating barges.

Our preference is Oceania at this point because it is a "one class" operation in all public areas and dining and has stellar service and food. Oceania also facilitates the maximum amount of customization of your booking, cruise only, cruise with air, cruise with air and OLife OBC or excursions, beverage package separate - you can purchase what you want. We will not book Viking/Azamara because they force you to pay for booze for all/shore excursions (Viking).

Premium category is perfect for us, not interested in luxury level cruise lines.

On our last Oceania voyage, Baltic in September 2017, there were too many guests to count who had also left Celebrity (mostly) and Princess - we were all more than pleased with our move to Oceania.

It really depends upon what you want - but with all the downgrading going on in the mass cruise line segment - it is important for consumers in that segment to stop being loyal to one line. Otherwise it will continue to be rising prices and lowering product.
#15
Kansas City
522 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by JohnKen3
At the risk of incurring the wrath on the Cunard forum, may I suggest you also explore Crystal cruises. The ships are smaller than Cunard with 1000 pax but the food is better, all drinks are inclusive and passengers do dress up for dinner but jackets are not required except on Black Tie Optional nights. Anyone in shorts are turned away after 6pm from bars and restaurants as well.
Do Crystal's ships have real, well maintained, sprung wood ballroom dance floors or is it the typical postage stamp size dance floors found on most ships other that Cunard? As ballroom dancers, the Queens Room Ballroom with it's live 7 piece dance band (plus vocalist) playing most nights is one of the big reasons we keep coming back to Cunard year after year.
#16
New Hampshire
6,447 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by ABoatNerd
_________________________________________

We too are refugees from the mass lines, mostly from Celebrity.

We have thoroughly enjoyed Cunard - highly value the tradition, graciousness and linkage to the ocean - Cunard does not operate Las Vegas/Disney World floating barges.

Our preference is Oceania at this point because it is a "one class" operation in all public areas and dining and has stellar service and food. Oceania also facilitates the maximum amount of customization of your booking, cruise only, cruise with air, cruise with air and OLife OBC or excursions, beverage package separate - you can purchase what you want. We will not book Viking/Azamara because they force you to pay for booze for all/shore excursions (Viking).

Premium category is perfect for us, not interested in luxury level cruise lines.

On our last Oceania voyage, Baltic in September 2017, there were too many guests to count who had also left Celebrity (mostly) and Princess - we were all more than pleased with our move to Oceania.

It really depends upon what you want - but with all the downgrading going on in the mass cruise line segment - it is important for consumers in that segment to stop being loyal to one line. Otherwise it will continue to be rising prices and lowering product.
We did the Riviera this past Jan. It was outstanding. It's true that the dress code is more "relaxed". It does NOT mean shabby. Jeans are NOT allowed in any dining venue at night. Overall, most wore dress shirts & dress slacks. Most men wore a suit/sport coat in the complimentary specialty rest. We enjoyed it so much we booked a 14 day trip next Jan. We're cancelling a 14 day Celebrity cruise to do this. We've done 3 Celebrity cruises in the past 3 years. Though their specialty rest. were still excellent, our Jan. 2017 Eclipse cruise had the worst food we've experienced on any cruise. Not garbage, mind you, but hardly what I'd refer to as premium. The Maître D actually dragged the chef out into the dining room to explain the poor quality of food. I heard it was done again this year. Glad we switched to Oceania for a time. I will admit cruise lines do cut back, but when it comes to the food(we're foodies & have a food service business)either charge extra for quality(which I don't mind)or prepare to loses us to another line. We'd do Cunard more often, but in my business the slow season is Jan-March. The time when the world cruises start.
#17
near Oxford
1,773 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
A friend and I went on two Celebrity cruises in 2016. There were several things we noticed, as compared with Cunard.

1. There was nothing to do in the evenings except sit in a bar with music playing so loudly that you couldn't talk easily to each other. I'm used to the Queen's Room where there's something to watch, even if you don't feel like dancing. We were actually bored in the evenings.
2. We gave up on the Celebrity shows. We generally walked out of them after the first 10 minutes of each. We gave them a good try! On Cunard we went every night and only walked out once, and that was when a comedian had a second night and had obviously used all of his good stuff the first night!
3. I mostly travel alone and I would not feel comfortable doing that on Celebrity. On Cunard I know I will meet people in the ballroom and at the dinner table but I could not see any equivalent on Celebrity.
4. My friend is a foodie and felt that Cunard's food was better than Celebrity's.
5. The staff are much friendlier on Cunard. I always feel that their enjoyment and their friendliness is genuine. On Celebrity we often felt it was put on and there was almost a sneer behind the solicitous approach. (We had a strange incident. The waiter took the order of everyone at the table except my friend. The waiter turned his back and actually walked away and I politely called him back ('Excuse me ...') and pointed out the omission. He then turned it into a big deal (when it was something I would have forgotten about otherwise) by insisting he hadn't forgotten us and hadn't finished taking the order. From then on there was an over-solicitous approach but no genuine friendliness. We were made to feel we were difficult people.)
6. One thing I love about Celebrity, though, is that coffee shop! We had one of the 'free' drinks packages so I made full use of the coffee shop and the specialty coffees.
7. I also noticed that my rooms in Celebrity were far quieter than on Cunard ships. I think their doors have a tighter seal and keep out the noise better. On Cunard I can see light around the door, which also means that sound comes through.
#18
Kansas City
522 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by fantasy51
7. I also noticed that my rooms in Celebrity were far quieter than on Cunard ships. I think their doors have a tighter seal and keep out the noise better. On Cunard I can see light around the door, which also means that sound comes through.
That's interesting. The only time that I can recall hearing excessive noise in our room, it was from the adjoining room. Apparently they were deaf and had the TV volume up loud enough to go right through the walls. I don't recall a noise problem from the hallway coming in through the door, but that may depend on room location and the amount of hall traffic.

On the plus side of the light coming in under the door, I don't need a night light to find my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night .
#19
near Oxford
1,773 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by BobBranst
On the plus side of the light coming in under the door, I don't need a night light to find my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night .
I have often seen light all around the sides of the doors as well - which of course means noise can come in.

I sleep late (health issues) and am disturbed by doors banging as early risers make their way around the ship. At times I have also had the steward park his trolley outside my room and so I hear all the clattering of the cleaning equipment.
#20
Kansas City
522 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by fantasy51
I have often seen light all around the sides of the doors as well - which of course means noise can come in.

I sleep late (health issues) and am disturbed by doors banging as early risers make their way around the ship. At times I have also had the steward park his trolley outside my room and so I hear all the clattering of the cleaning equipment.
Yes, if you sleep that late, there is going to be noise.