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QM2 not what it is made out to be

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We did the same cruise and will not cruise Cunard again.

Try Oceania. We still cruise Cunard on occasion but Oceania is now our preferred cruise line. Excellent food, great beds, small ships that look like ships, much better value in our opinion.

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Posted (edited)

Oh dear, it sounds as if the Christmas/New Year cruise was a disaster last year. We did it in 2009/10 & had a wonderful time although I do remember a few "interesting" characters on the return crossing.

Edited by Host Hattie

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We were on the 8th December crossing and it exceeded expectations. Overall food was excellent.

 

Just a thought but if guests were hit by the flu were a large number of staff also which then affected service.

 

Although I am not convinced those ships can ever be comfortable when you add in an additional 20/30% guests with 3 in a room occupancy.

 

 

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Our group of 6 pax recently cruised to NZ on the QM2, overall we were very disappointed with the cruise.Accommodation was reasonable in a Balcony, bathroom has a-shower curtain,Pillows were not good and limited choice.Food was very average and in the Britannia Restaurant it was very ordinary, the last night on board was the best meal,service in the restaurant was very pedestrian.Kings Court food was the ok for Brekky, terrible at lunch time ( same burgers and sandwiches everyday)and at night time the pasta and pizza ( thick bases yuck!)were the same .Service in the Kings court was hard to find. In the Corinthian room they serve food but it is the same choice Everyday!Beverages are expensive.Entertainment was reasonably good.

The Queens room was nice and Afternoon tea was well done .

Dress code was no problem for our group , but not always policed , Cunard should stay on top of the dress code.

NZ ports were great and the weather was very warm.

My cruising background is almost 600 days on many cruise lines, but Cunard for the basic passengers is not as good value ,as Holland America or Celebrity in my opinion .

 

 

 

 

 

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Agree.

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Oh dear, it sounds as if the Christmas/New Year cruise was a disaster last year. We did it in 2009/10 & had a wonderful time although I do remember a few "interesting" characters on the return crossing.

Not being an apologist (not trying to be anyway) but aside from the Cunard Cough (which we picked up about mid cruise) and some flu cases around us I'm not sure what everyone else found objectionable.

Cunard doesn't own the situation with decimated islands and the follow-on impacts even when we were at an unaffected port, sos I'm sure that's not the issue.

I've seen others' comments comparing the 12-day New York segment to a Norwegian cruise - I have no further comment there.

We've recently done a couple of shorter (7 and 14 day) HAL cruises and they're priced well but we still prefer Cunard and QM2.

 

Can someone point it the issues with the QM2 Christmas voyage that put so many other off from booking the ship again for Christmas?

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We would never cruise on any cruise line over Christmas. It is a very special time at home and with our church family. Cruising during holiday times often attract a different type of passenger. Certainly more children.

 

We cruise Cunard for the tradition and the elegance. We are not foodies and try to not overeat on cruises. Have always found something to eat, especially fish. We love the pub for a casual lunch or dinner.

 

If you do not enjoy Cunard, especially the QM2, there are many other choices in the market.

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HI. Three QM2 crossings. One (crossing) each on QE and QV. If anyone chooses to sail with Cunard based on food, know this - you have not made the best decision. CUNARD is not known for its culinary excellence in Britannia. However, the Grills offer a different dimension of dining at sea. I did have the privilege of crossing in a PG suite on my QE crossing - it was nearly flawless. Oceania does deliver great food, some of the best. Cunard's buffets on QV and QE are average at best, serving the same fare each day and in limited fashion. Very limited. QM2's Kings court is good with much more variety and fare than the twins.

 

Now, the QM2 is like no other ship. Period. Sail on her for the legacy, the tradition and the greatness of this fine ship - she is an ocean liner as we all know. Don't expect an experience anything near that of a cruise ship. On QM2, you can walk around the promenade in 25 foot seas at 22 knots. On any other ship - forget about it. Even the pools are open in really bad weather, in January.

 

Cunard has done the best job with the Vista/Signature class platform (QE & QV). The Interiors are awesome and carry on the Cunard tradition offering a wonderful array of lounges and spaces that are far superior than any other ships (and there are many) using this footprint of ship. It will be intriguing to see how Cunard outfits their new ship, comparing that to the Koningsdam which I have sailed on and was seriously disappointed with the fragmented design and layout of that ship.

 

I began my cruising life at age 10, 50 years ago on the SS Rotterdam. I like old world, old style, traditional voyages and today, I find that it is only CUNARD that can deliver those memories in any type of manner or fashion. I tolerate mediocre food and shower curtains. I sail CUNARD because they still produce what this whole business was founded on - a seafaring experience. No rock climbing, no skating rinks, no neon. It's about the only pure, authentic ship line left and that said, it is a stretch. It requires a certain level of tolerance and CUNARD is not for everyone. The trade off is worth it. I love CUNARD.

I was so relieved to read this post. I leave in a few weeks for my first QM2 experience, 21 days which,as a solo traveler, is costing rather a lot. And now yesterday I was delighted to receive an email informing me of an upgrade! But then I went online and saw so many negative reviews and started to worry. But your post has eased my mind, I now know what to look for and what to ignore. And I’m happy again :)

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Doing a transatlantic "crossing" has always been on my bucket list. Taking a "cruise" has never appealed to me. Since the QM2 is the only ocean-liner still still in service, that's the only ship I've ever considered sailing on.

 

I'm not considering any other cruise line (& for the same reason I won't consider QV or QE either).

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Onehappycruiser, I'm with you. We oncedid an inexpensive, port intense Carribean cruise with friends. Wehad a good time, we were with our friends, but I did not care for theship nor the constant on and off. The QM2, however, was on our bucketlist, because my father left Northern Ireland for Canada by himselfas an indentured 14 year old farm worker, travelling steerage on aCunard ship. He never saw his parents again. We did Princess classon the QM2 in 2013, because I thought that he would have been soproud to have his daughter make the same trip that he did, but up ontop! We enjoyed it, but found the dining room a bit stilted (couldhave just been this crossing). Later that year, Cunard offered us acrossing for $900 Cdn each, Britannia class, and we were hooked! Wehad access to everything that we enjoyed, the lectures, the theatre,the concerts, the planatarium, the Promenade deck, plus we found thatwe enjoyed sharing a table with others, rather than being byourselves. Food is very subjective, but we preferred Britannia. Ihave a dodgy knee, so having a walk in shower rather than a tub wasvery welcome. We have now done 5 crossings and two cruises on QM2,and find that we enjoy the crossings the most. The cruises wereinfinitely better than our Carribean experience, but we are crossers. Nothing handles what the ocean doles out like the QM2.

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I was so relieved to read this post. I leave in a few weeks for my first QM2 experience, 21 days which,as a solo traveler, is costing rather a lot. And now yesterday I was delighted to receive an email informing me of an upgrade! But then I went online and saw so many negative reviews and started to worry. But your post has eased my mind, I now know what to look for and what to ignore. And I’m happy again :)

 

 

 

You will have a fabulous time on QM2. She is a lovely liner. I have sailed in her a lot and have trips already booked to sail with her again. However, this thread was about the way QM2 was not as she should be on the Christmas New Year cruise 2017 /2018.

People in here have only posted what they found to be their experience of that particular voyage

Go and enjoy, you will love her.

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.. However, this thread was about the way QM2 was not as she should be on the Christmas New Year cruise 2017 /2018.

People in here have only posted what they found to be their experience of that particular voyage...

 

After reading your previous reply in this thread, I'm more than ever convinced that the passenger mix on board will greatly affect one's overall experience and enjoyment.

 

I was on a B2B Dec. 8th - 22nd and it met my expectations of a QM2 TA. So service and standards could hardly have gone to hell that fast. Or could they?

 

What would have changed is the passenger turnover. On the B2B there are international travelers who enjoy civility and varied interests. On a "holiday" cruise nobody is into the Cunard ocean liner ethos but instead into a party mode and their personal trilateral commission. (Me, myself, and I.) Would it affect service? Sure would if the crew has to deal with constant rudeness and entitlement 24/7. Those who save loungers with no thought of anyone else are just plain mean and selfish. That's likely not the only thing they do that is mean and selfish. Ditto with anyone who would come to a theatre in a bath robe. It's an announcement, "It's not worth my time to get dressed for you." Rude and arrogant.

 

Another sailing that I now avoid in the 5-day NY-Halifax-Boston loop. For much the same reason. Maybe Cunard thinks of these sailings as necessary evils as the fares are higher and likely so is onboard spending.

 

Situations like this make these boards so valuable. Those who choose to sign on are at least forewarned. But I feel sorry for the first timer who gets sold elegance and refinement but gets mediocrity and coarseness.

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Nice to see you back Maggie...thought we had lost you.....:D

 

Hi Roscoe. Nice to see you also. Miss your blogs.

I am still around, just had a busy year moving countries, cruising and travelling etc. I hope you are well. Regards Magggie. X

 

 

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I feel the same way... except I would dig a skating rink, since it is my preferred method of exercise. My husband always laughs when I say that.

Dining in the Grills is great - we have been doing that for our last 7 voyages on her. We take fewer (once yearly instead of more) so we can enjoy the large cabin, and the relaxation of the Grills. I love QM2 for the elegance and atmosphere, and I was sorely disappointed in HAL on an Alaskan trip this past fall. Never again. I have never been on the Elizabeth but we sail her next year to Alaska for 10 days - trying to be patient : )

 

We went to Alaska in 2015 on Holland America. A reasonable price was available for a Neptune Suite (identical in size and otherwise similar to a basic QM2 Queen's Grill suite but without the benefit of a single-seating dining room). I won't say we were disappointed with the amenities of this level of accommodation because we knew what not to expect, but overall we were not pleased with the food and entertainment.

 

 

We are delighted that Cunard is going to offer Alaska cruises next year. We had a cruise to Norway on the Queen Elizabeth in 2013 and were very pleased. A significant lowering of the Grills fares encouraged us to upgrade ourselves to Princess Grill. We enjoyed the PG restaurant, lounge and deck space much more than on the QM2. The staterooms, however, are not nearly as good in our opinion. They are just longer versions of a regular narrow stateroom with a full bathroom and a tiny balcony.

 

 

For the QE Alaska cruise, the fare for PG would be 2 1/2 times what we are paying for a Britannia balcony stateroom. Of course we will miss the benefits of PG, but we have always enjoyed our crossings/cruises no matter which of the four restaurant categories we have travelled in. I do not feel "hard done by" in the least in Britannia.

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On a "holiday" cruise nobody is into the Cunard ocean liner ethos but instead into a party mode and their personal trilateral commission. (Me, myself, and I.)

Respectfully, I disagree with your characterization of that cruise (which you point out you were not on).

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After reading your previous reply in this thread, I'm more than ever convinced that the passenger mix on board will greatly affect one's overall experience and enjoyment.

 

I was on a B2B Dec. 8th - 22nd and it met my expectations of a QM2 TA. So service and standards could hardly have gone to hell that fast. Or could they?

 

I don't think there is any question that the passenger mix affects the experience. Like BlueRiband, we were also on the B2B Dec. 8th - 22nd crossings and found the experience equal to same high standards of our previous crossings. Obviously, something changed in the very next cruise/crossing and it wasn't the ship or it's crew. Just like at home, holidays are a different than your usual day to day living. I'm sure many on holiday are not on the QM2 for the Cunard/QM2 experience and it shows to those of us who are.

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It must have been something about this year's Christmas cruise. I wasn't on this year's trip but I was on the previous three trips at Christmas and they were nothing like described here.

 

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I can agree with most of your post. Although there are still some of the older traditions still around on Holland America ships. They still have the working bellboys, still play the chimes to announce dinner. Still have teak decks.

I have been sailing for many years and actually started out my cruise life working on the SS Rotterdam. I did my first world cruises on her in 1981.

I have always loved all things Cunard and have clocked up hundreds of nights onboard various Cunard Ships. I love what Cunard offer.

I have three cruises booked for the coming year, two in Britannia, one in the Grills. I do not care where I stay as long as I am onboard.

Unfortunately, there were too many things that were not a Cunard style on my last cruise.

Even Cunard customer services told me they had been many complaints and they were looking into this.

Good that they do as they need to keep one step ahead of the game as cruisers are now a different breed to the ones that sailed on the ships like SS Rotterdam. They do not have the same style of the glamour of the old style ships. Wearing anoraks into the bars on a formal night etc is not what one expects.

As a point of interest. This time last year we took a cruise on the MS Rotterdam. Sailed on her repositioning cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rotterdam. The ship is 20 years old. Has a wrap around teak deck and. Still has portholes. I loved her!

Plus the food was far, far superior to what we had on QM2.

Stephan Payne who designed QM2 took his idea if the wrap-around teak deck from the SS Rotterdam, plus the Staircase in G32 is his modern take if the stairs in the Ritz Carlton.

He told me this himself .

The SS Rotterdam is now a floating hotel and conference centre in Rotterdam harbour.

We stayed onboard last year after disembarking the present day Rotterdam. She is in incredibly good condition and it was wonderful to step back in time to what had once been my home. Fabulous dining rooms and other rooms still in tact in their original state of design, well worth the visit.

One has to wonder what QM2 will be like when she reaches the grand old age of 60 like SS Rotterdam.

 

 

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My first cruise in 1967 was on the SS Rotterdam. I celebrated 50 years of cruising last year on her in Rotterdam as well - in an original suite which I stayed in back in the '70's. I sailed on her frequently through the 70's. In the past year, I have sailed on HAL 3 times: MS Rotterdam to Norway, Westerdam TA and the Veendam to Cuba. Just two bellboys left per ship and staffed mainly in the dining room to serve mints and ginger and seat people to their tables. No chimes at dinner time in any of the lounges. Payne was also inspired by the original QM and Normandy which gave QM2 a lot of her inherent and iconic liner design features. You would enjoy this book, about QM2 which includes Payne and the SS Rotterdam...www.qm2divine.com.

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I have sailed on the Victoria, numerous b2b t.a. crossings on the QM2 and i have sailed numerous Caribbean Christmas/New Year sailings. I have sailed on the SS Rotterdam, the MS Rotterdam and several other H.A. ships. I have sailed Princess and Celebrity. Nothing compared to 2017/18 Christmas voyage.The standards were way off. Not what I would expect from Cunard.

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We went to Alaska in 2015 on Holland America. A reasonable price was available for a Neptune Suite (identical in size and otherwise similar to a basic QM2 Queen's Grill suite but without the benefit of a single-seating dining room). I won't say we were disappointed with the amenities of this level of accommodation because we knew what not to expect, but overall we were not pleased with the food and entertainment.

 

 

We are delighted that Cunard is going to offer Alaska cruises next year. We had a cruise to Norway on the Queen Elizabeth in 2013 and were very pleased. A significant lowering of the Grills fares encouraged us to upgrade ourselves to Princess Grill. We enjoyed the PG restaurant, lounge and deck space much more than on the QM2. The staterooms, however, are not nearly as good in our opinion. They are just longer versions of a regular narrow stateroom with a full bathroom and a tiny balcony.

 

 

For the QE Alaska cruise, the fare for PG would be 2 1/2 times what we are paying for a Britannia balcony stateroom. Of course we will miss the benefits of PG, but we have always enjoyed our crossings/cruises no matter which of the four restaurant categories we have travelled in. I do not feel "hard done by" in the least in Britannia.

 

Ours was a Neptune on the Eurodam - it was a disappointment, but I will say HAL has a nice on board program highlighting Alaska - they had Alaskan beer tastings, some nice food options (a salmon bake on deck though the rest of the food throughout the week was blah) they had a nice day in Glacier Bay with a park ranger. But in general - did not compare to Cunard. We booked PG so i am excited to check out the Grills on another ship - and just check out another ship in general, having only sailed the QM2.

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Thanks for the many posts on this thread. You did a very good job of convincing me not to do a crossing in October.

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Thanks for the many posts on this thread. You did a very good job of convincing me not to do a crossing in October.

 

 

 

Well they are not for everyone. If you don’t like the idea of 7-days at sea on a beautiful ocean liner, with lots of tradition and formality it’s best you didn’t book.

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Make no mistake, I love Cunard (as a scan of my past cruises in my sig will verify) but feel that they are in danger. Not only from the aging of their customer base, but from falling behind the competition. No, not in razzle-dazzle, but in other ways.

 

Internet. More lines are offering high-speed Internet. These have also been accompanied with a variety of plans, many not timed. As we all know, that is not the case with Cunard. Improvements have been mentioned with no specifics and no dates. It's not just millennials who are tied to their phones. (Of course, given this platform, I'm clearly preaching to the choir here). It's becoming more common for cruisers to have expectations for something better than two-generations-old connectivity.

 

Related to this, I think every line exceeds Cunard at providing access to reservations and folios and ability to order and manage excursions and dining, before and during the voyage. Literally. I haven't encountered a website which lacks so much information and is so limited in over a decade. Bottom of the pack. Login? Creaky. Advance reservations for excursions, transfers, and dining? Limited. In cabin online reservations? Nope. They certainly must have a review of charges?? No such luck.

Literally, the worst in the industry.

 

What once had been sufficient or even leading (I remember the original QE2 Computer Learning Centre before they could be connected to the Internet or anything else and I went up to the radio room to enter an email on their equipment) - is now woefully out of date. And these aren't frills. They have become expectations.

 

Likewise the food is missing the boat for many. For years, the cuisine was international "country club fancy" dining, as we'd refer to it in the states. And budgets have been shrinking on all lines. In this case, Cunard Britannia is certainly far from the worst amongst its competitors, but Britannia falls short of the consistently luxurious experience that is sold. Perhaps more often a factor of unrealistic expectations, but a cause for disappointment nonetheless.

 

Additionally, today's new passenger profile has different expectations. They like having different experiences and options. With the explosion of food programming and interest in cooking, there's interest in cuisine that goes beyond the old standards. (Dining in foodie San Francisco, I think many restaurant menus come from a "Chopped" mystery basket.) Personally, I found that Celebrity went too far to the trendy in that the best part of some of my meals was the description in the menu. Adding a "Something different" daily dinner option would be helpful for those growing numbers of foodies. On the other end, I think all the other lines offer a standard list of basic items which are always available. Adding these items explicitly to the Britannia menu would help here. (Especially if a new cruiser is feeling "trapped" by fixed dining and few menu choices) I'd also consider adding a truly good burger with good fixins (not the usual preformed patties with a thin slice of pale tomato). Yeah, it's downmarket - but it's also found at some of the top restaurants in New York. I'd also make the alternative dining option more well known. Not only can you not make reservations before boarding, and again, not from the TV either, but if you want to know the schedule for the week, you must chase down the Maitre d' upstairs.

 

Finally, Cunard REALLY needs to step up its presence and interaction with its customers.

 

Note, these are different from the ever-present difficulty reconciling the expectations of ultimate luxury with the reality of being one of 1500 (?) passengers in Britannia - at a per diem of as little as $150. Also none of these suggestions disturbs Cunard's niche and special traditions of formal dress code and fixed dining assignments.

 

I fear that Cunard is sitting on its laurels and has missed how customers have changed and how the rest of the travel and hospitality industry has moved forward and left them behind.

 

Reading the reviews can be enlightening.

 

This was a very well-written post. I agree that Cunard needs to meet changing needs. All cruise lines do. It need not give up what makes it special--tradition and a greater formality than other lines--but does need to constantly improve. There is no excuse for not using modern technology.

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This was a very well-written post. I agree that Cunard needs to meet changing needs. All cruise lines do. It need not give up what makes it special--tradition and a greater formality than other lines--but does need to constantly improve. There is no excuse for not using modern technology.

 

 

 

I agree as well. The internet is inexcusable especially when a massive upgrade could have been accomplished during QM2's and QV's recent refurbishments. Having recently sailed on the newest ships of MSC and Royal Caribbean, the differences in technology are abundantly clear. If Cunard is not investing in this technology because they think their current demographic is not interested, they are making a huge mistake. Fast internet and interactive technology is becoming the norm, not the exception. What is interesting is that QM2 had a great interactive TV system (for the time) when she first made her debut. Cunard decided that it was too expensive to maintain, and that their demographic wasn't interested.

 

Regarding dining, I've enjoyed my meals in every category on Cunard. Queens Grill, Princess Grill, Britannia Club, and Britannia. Where Britannia falls short is selection. Every other cruise line has an "always available" selection of favorites in case nothing on the main menu appeals to you. Cunard doesn't do this in Britannia because they use it as a selling point for the Grills and Britannia Club. When pretty much every other cruise line offers such a selection, even in "steerage", it indicates that Cunard needs to step up its game and come up with other selling points for the Grills and Britannia Club.

 

Lastly regarding the Grills, I think Cunard needs to step it up there as well. Many other cruise lines offer a much more inclusive experience when you book a suite. Beverages all around the ship and often times gratuities included. Cunard doesn't unless you happen to catch a special promotion. Drinks should always be included when you book into the Grills. I was impressed by many small touches on a recent cruise in the Yacht Club on MSC. For instance no waiting in line with everyone else to go through security in the terminal. They met you outside the terminal and escorted you through, to a private check-in area. Even in various ports of call there would be one of the Butler's outside the gangway holding a Yacht Club sign to whisk you back on the ship. On final debarkation, we were able to enjoy breakfast and then when we were ready to debark, a butler escorted us on a direct elevator to the gangway area then off the ship. It was the personal touch I was most impressed with. You could even select your newspaper of choice, which was printed daily onboard and delivered to your suite each morning. Nice touch.

 

So I would love to see Cunard step up its game a bit, but I don't want them to go overboard. I fear to gain market-share they will eventually take drastic measures to appeal to the masses, especially with a new ship on the way. I'm talking about open sitting dining and dumbing down the dress code, the two biggest obstacles why people don't sail Cunard. I'll be very disappointed if they do this, as then Cunard will be no different than the 30 other cruise lines out there. There are plenty of other cruise lines that offer casual dress and open dining. What makes Cunard special is its tradition, formality, and structure. It's an old-school way of cruising. I realize that has limited appeal but I hope there are enough of us out there that enjoy it to keep it going.

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Cunard does not have to change much. Just to continue to deliver what it does well and improve a few things it does not.

 

The main dining room was better than azamara and celebrity in my opinion

 

Service was as good - could be better but the maitre d knew his dining room.

 

Drinks were better than the other lines - celebrity refused to make a real line margarita. Cunard not only did this but had limes squeezed and ready for the next evening.

 

The music on Cunard - fantastic pianists - was better than on any other line.

 

The cabin was clean and tidy and the attendant was super polite.

 

Was not a fan of the pub and some of the activities but there were plenty more things we did like.

 

In summary - Yes tweak a few things to make it better but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water trying to dumb down and be all things to all people.

 

 

 

 

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I'll toss out some experiences from another line (surprise - it's Holland America - but I mentally took notes comparing the experience with Cunard).

 

Here's what I can do via a phone/computer and WiFi on a HAL ship:

  • Review my detailed portfolio for charges
  • Verify expected onboard credit has been applied
  • Look at scheduled events for the day and future days
  • Review main restaurant dinner menu (this wasn't always available as early as I would have liked).
  • Review and book available shore excursions
  • Review menus and book alternative dining
  • Read the complete NY Times online edition (including my crossword subscription)
  • Send and receive messages to/from other passengers

All of the above is available without the clock running on a timed internet package.

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I haven't see a responsive (mobile) web site / ap from Cunard yet. When you check out the CUNARD web site on your phone, it's a desktop version.

 

Honestly.

 

Don't let this comment fool you. I too hope CUNARD tweaks what's right, and gets rid of what's not (which is very little.)

Just booked QM2 TA 11.04.18. Hoping for rough seas - the only way to cross.

 

SV

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I'll toss out some experiences from another line (surprise - it's Holland America - but I mentally took notes comparing the experience with Cunard).

 

Here's what I can do via a phone/computer and WiFi on a HAL ship:

  • Review my detailed portfolio for charges
  • Verify expected onboard credit has been applied
  • Look at scheduled events for the day and future days
  • Review main restaurant dinner menu (this wasn't always available as early as I would have liked).
  • Review and book available shore excursions
  • Review menus and book alternative dining
  • Read the complete NY Times online edition (including my crossword subscription)
  • Send and receive messages to/from other passengers

All of the above is available without the clock running on a timed internet package.

 

 

 

Pretty standard stuff to be honest. Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Azamara, NCL, Disney, MSC, Crystal, etc. all offer similar services through their smartphone apps, dedicated intranet site, or interactive TV/Info screens.

 

 

Cunard is really behind the curve. If pax on HAL appreciate it, surely they will on Cunard as well. I usually consider HAL to have one of the highest age demographics in the cruise industry, even higher than Cunard. I think Cunard would be surprised how just how many of their older demographic would appreciate such services. And fast internet too ... please! The internet on QM2 was like the dial-up I had 20 years ago. Pathetic, even by ship standards.

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Faster internet would be nice but most of what I accessed on the HAL ship was unaffected by satellite speeds (I'm not sure whether the ship was caching any of the NY Times content locally but some/most of it was served by the satellite connection).

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Faster internet would be nice but most of what I accessed on the HAL ship was unaffected by satellite speeds (I'm not sure whether the ship was caching any of the NY Times content locally but some/most of it was served by the satellite connection).

 

 

Yes because all those services use the intranet within the ship and not external internet. But I'm a person who enjoys staying connected even while on a cruise, and reliable and even fast internet is now available at sea and many cruise lines offer it. Not Cunard. Royal Caribbean's VOOM is the best I've experienced. It was like being at home, that fast. I could even sit in bed in my cabin and FaceTime with my husband and friends at home. It was awesome. Many of these cruise lines (including Royal Caribbean) have also gone with unlimited packages that are reasonably priced so you can always stay connected. Talk about a win win. Faster internet and cheaper pricing. None of this watching the minutes tick away on Cunard because of super slow internet and package prices that have not kept up with the times.

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Drinks were better than the other lines - celebrity refused to make a real line margarita. Cunard not only did this but had limes squeezed and ready for the next evening.

 

 

 

I'm surprised the read this part. I thought drinks on Cunard were weak and overpriced. No free pour like I've experienced on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and other lines ... and the only line I've ever sailed that charges separately for the alcohol, then another charge for the mixer. The end result is a higher price for a cocktail than I've paid on probably any other line except Oceania.

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Posted (edited)
I'm surprised the read this part. I thought drinks on Cunard were weak and overpriced. No free pour like I've experienced on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, and other lines ... and the only line I've ever sailed that charges separately for the alcohol, then another charge for the mixer. The end result is a higher price for a cocktail than I've paid on probably any other line except Oceania.

 

 

 

More alcohol does not make a better drink, in fact the opposite in many cases. But from looking at the boards for the various lines, there are various complaints with alcohol policies and particularly recent changes.

 

Anyway, I thought that the wine packages were decent value. Some drinks more expensive than land, others similar but that comes down to where you live. But the fresh lime for the margarita was a nice surprise - previously this was refused on celebrity - the bartender laughed when asked. Maybe were were lucky on qm2 and unluckily on Celebrity.

 

Best measures and prices we have experienced was on Star Clippers (15 euro a bottle of house wine and 5 euro for a generous measures of good rum) but the cruise fares are more expensive.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Edited by Pavovsky

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More alcohol does not make a better drink, in fact the opposite in many cases.

 

 

 

Perhaps, but for someone who is used to a decent pour of a basic mixed drink, which is generally what I like, I found the pour on Cunard generally insufficient compared to the mixer. In most cases it felt like I was drinking the mixer with no alcohol. I know in Europe things are different than the US, and a measured pour is truly regulated and measured. Not so here where a free pour is generally the norm. On most lines I've sailed, the bartenders will use the measure but then pour a bit extra in. Not so on Cunard, at least not recently. I've been sailing on Cunard many years and the stinginess with pours, as well as the higher drink prices, and the separating of charges for mixers and alcohol is all relatively recent. I would say it started with QM2's major refit. On some other posts it was suggested this is the way it is on P&O, and since they share the same management I can understand some overlap, but I certainly don't want Cunard to become another P&O.

 

Will it stop me from sailing on Cunard? Absolutely not. I love Cunard and especially QM2 but I'm not loyal to them. I sail on all cruise lines and enjoy the variety. It's just one of the those things I have found to be superior on most of the other lines I have sailed. I'm also not a big drinker and rarely drink at home, but on a cruise I find it enjoyable and sociable and do like a decent drink, especially when I'm paying $12-$13 for basic cocktail.

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Regarding some of the recent postings about the selections in the Britannia dining room and Cunard's on board digital services, I completely agree. It was something I mentioned on the questionnaire after my fjords cruise last July and in the subsequent online survey I was sent. In my view, the poor digital offering and reliance on paper based communication channels whilst on Cunard ships, is the one thing I think is truly woeful. I see passengers of all ages using smart phones and tablets so there is certainly no argument to be made that Cunard passengers are not tech savvy. Addressing this issue, is for me, the one area where Cunard definitely needs to improve.

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I was once in the Grills Lounge and mentioned to the waiter that I fancied a margarita but that they tended to be very weak on cruise ships but he promised me a real one and it was.

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I'll toss out some experiences from another line (surprise - it's Holland America - but I mentally took notes comparing the experience with Cunard).

 

Here's what I can do via a phone/computer and WiFi on a HAL ship:

 

  • Review my detailed portfolio for charges
  • Verify expected onboard credit has been applied
  • Look at scheduled events for the day and future days
  • Review main restaurant dinner menu (this wasn't always available as early as I would have liked).
  • Review and book available shore excursions
  • Review menus and book alternative dining
  • Read the complete NY Times online edition (including my crossword subscription)
  • Send and receive messages to/from other passengers

All of the above is available without the clock running on a timed internet package.

No doubt these things are important to a lot of people - and yes, I would avail myself of some of them - but it takes way more than that to impress me about a ship.

 

We found HAL's food was all right at best and inedible at worst, except in the extra-charge Pinnacle Grill. The benefits of a suite (other than no-charge laundry and dry cleaning) were not up to what other lines offer, especially Cunard. The cost of a Neptune Suite is often similar to Cunard's Princess or even Queen's Grill fares. Suite passengers can have breakfast in the Grill on many - but not all - of the ships and that is the only dining benefit. As I mentioned in another post: generally, HAL's entertainment is geared to those who are fond of over-amplified pop/blues. On our Alaska cruise the violin/piano duet was the only exception. There were rumours of a pianist in a small lounge but that was closed for private functions or otherwise closed every time we went to it. Lectures/talks were only about shopping in Alaska except for the day we were in Glacier Bay. As for formal nights (now called gala) baseball caps and T-shirts were acceptable in the main dining room.

 

 

I agree that Cunard should improve their technology to compete with other lines and give passengers what they have come to expect. But there are far more important aspects of the cruise/crossing experience that makes Cunard special.

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No doubt these things are important to a lot of people - and yes, I would avail myself of some of them - but it takes way more than that to impress me about a ship.

 

We found HAL's food was all right at best and inedible at worst, except in the extra-charge Pinnacle Grill. The benefits of a suite (other than no-charge laundry and dry cleaning) were not up to what other lines offer, especially Cunard. The cost of a Neptune Suite is often similar to Cunard's Princess or even Queen's Grill fares. Suite passengers can have breakfast in the Grill on many - but not all - of the ships and that is the only dining benefit. As I mentioned in another post: generally, HAL's entertainment is geared to those who are fond of over-amplified pop/blues. On our Alaska cruise the violin/piano duet was the only exception. There were rumours of a pianist in a small lounge but that was closed for private functions or otherwise closed every time we went to it. Lectures/talks were only about shopping in Alaska except for the day we were in Glacier Bay. As for formal nights (now called gala) baseball caps and T-shirts were acceptable in the main dining room.

 

 

I agree that Cunard should improve their technology to compete with other lines and give passengers what they have come to expect. But there are far more important aspects of the cruise/crossing experience that makes Cunard special.

Our cruise later this year will be our first and we chose carefully.

 

I am looking forward to availing myself of the wonderful library and reading a book on deck with a margarita to hand.

 

Learning to play bridge, hitting the gym with its panoramic ocean view, the spa, visiting places I've never been and meeting fellow travellers, learning things I don't know and enjoying the night life.

 

I am ecstatic that the internet is a bit flaky as it reduces the temptation to stay 'connected' to work.

 

If it's good enough to keep in touch with home that's enough for me.

 

Sent from my SM-G950F using Forums mobile app

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Yeah, just pointing out what's easily accomplished, not arguing one line's total experience over another.

 

We found ourselves ordering from HAL's "always available" options (Caesar salad, French onion soup, salmon or steak) more often than we'd ever need to on Cunard.

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The TA we have always enjoyed is the final Eastbound crossing of the year before the World Cruise commences in Soton.

Normally leaving NYC 3rd January, its nicknamed the 'winter crossing club" from the legacy of QE2's Winter Crossing Club days.

On this TA back to the UK we invariably see familiar faces and high proportion of Diamond and Platinum World Club members who have flown out to NYC at the start of the new year to return home on this TA.

I mention this specific TA because it is attached to the Christmas Voyage, with QM2 having returned previously from the Caribbean.

Every time we have joined the ship in NYC we have seen and heard a variety of stories mainly from the crew about the atmosphere on QM2 and how it changes on that last 7 days back to the uk.

Obviously people new to Cunard, family groups, young adult families etc look to book the Christmas Caribbean voyage becasue it allows families to escape the clutches of Winter etc. It also allows people to relax and enjoy themselves, yes a party atmosphere is encouraged apparently.

The 3rd January is normally when the schools in the UK start the new term so a lot of guests fly home to avoid the potential bad weather en-route home (although bizarrely one year we had snow, sea fog, then brilliant warm sunshine for 4 days before returning back to winter conditions in UK waters)

Now the reason I mention this is of course the best gossip can be found in the laundrette and often we hear guest's opinions on the long 26 Soton-NYC-Carribean-NYC-Soton voyage.

Families falling out with each other, arguments in the dinning room and children/young adults (16+) wandering the corridors of the ship desperately bored. Its not uncommon to hear that some of the guests had a wonderful trip but the final 7 days make it too long and they wish they had left the QM2 in NYC.

My thoughts are that the ship really isn't designed for the Caribbean combined with lots of families, young adults, children etc.

The reason Cunard send QM2 down there is that it books out every year and the cost of the basic balcony can be £4,000 per person which essentially means its a very profitable voyage for Cunard.

 

Now getting back to the original thread, we all know that QM2 has made money for Cunard/Carnival and continues to do so at quite a rate. I would just like to see more of this money invested back into the ship, its catering and her onboard facilities which would invariably mean loyal Cunarders booking repeat voyages and not being tempted by the array of new cruise companies who are looking to grab the higher end premium traffic, it might also mean QM2 has another 25+ years of service...who knows ... we can all wish

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