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Old January 17th, 2008, 11:21 AM
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Default Just back from Queen Victoria tandem crossing

Hi We have just come back from our first ever cruise and we were lucky enough to travel on the Queen Victoria tandem crossing from Southampton to New York and onto Florida. It was fantastic and we were all really sad to leave the ship. If anyone has any questions about the ship I'd be happy to try to answer them. As new cruisers we learnt a lot and I thought I'd let other people know our thoughts. One thing that I want to stress is that overall we were tremendously impressed and I can't wait to go back on the QV!

However I would like to warn people that the crossing from Southampton was very rough in the first few days. I had tried to research the likely weather conditions but I couldnt find anything negative. (Is this because most reviews of transatlantic are on board the larger QM2?) Unfortunately the crossing was so rough that it spoiled the first leg of the journey and nearly put me off cruises for life. We have dramatic photos of the QE2 with her bow submerged! Even Cunard didnt manage to get that shot!There were force 8 gales and the banging noise and movement was unbearable for several days for me. I just wanted to warn others who are susceptible to sea or motion sickness. I know that some seasoned cruisers enjoyed the rough weather but I feel that people should be warned in advance. I have been reliably informed that departures from Southampton either across the Atlantic or South through the Bay of Biscay are often rough with many people feeling really ill for days. I couldnt lift my head off the pillow the first day despite having the injection. For the record the injection doesnt work for everyone and in any case wears off after 6-8 hours. There is also a charge. Cunard recommended taking Avomine to prevent sickness and they sell it onboard. The idea is that you take Avomine beforehand but it didnt help me very much. However my symptoms also included dizziness or light headedness caused by the movement of the ship and even the vertigo tablets prescribed by the Ship's Doctor failed to alleviate the problem. The Spa were offered free 'taster' motion sickness acupuncture as so many guests were confined to their cabins and this 5 minute treatment helped me although others were not so fortunate. However the full acupuncture treatment to alleviate the motion sickness was pricey (around £300 for two treatments!) so I just had the free taster. I normally pay around £30 per treatment so I was annoyed at the inflated price. I wish Cunard were more honest in their literature as I would have flown out to meet the ships in New York rather than endure the relentless pounding and movement. I should add that our cabin was right at the front of the ship where the movement is at its worst I believe. However there were people in midships who were also suffering. It took me about 4/5 days before I could bear it as the weather then improved. A member of staff confirmed that there were still many people confined to their cabin even at this stage. It was such a shame that I was only able to start to enjoy myself by the time we reached New York. The arrival in New York surrounded by NYPD helicopters was breathtaking!

Luckily we stayed on until Florida where the sea was calmer. We were disappointed that we travelled so far out to sea that we couldnt see the US coastline at all but we did of course have the wonderful view of the QE2 so we couldnt complain too much! Overall we thought the ship was very impressive, the staff were brilliant and the food was outstanding. In fact we were so impressed with the staff that we needed quite a few 'You Are A Star' employee cards to complete as we wanted individual staff members to receive recognition for their service. Nothing was ever too much trouble and they took the slightest concern or criticism very seriously and endeavoured to ensure that we had a wonderful time. I have read other posts regarding the cabins especially the lack of drawers. Well we were lucky in one respect as we had a disabled access room (although we are able bodied) and therefore the room was larger with plenty of storage and with a large bathroom. If only it had been in midships then it would have been perfect!

One other aspect which surprised me was that I thought non alcoholic drinks were free but the only free drinks were in the Lido during the day (I believe) and these were teas, coffee, hot chocolate and iced water. In the mornings there was juices. However we presumed that soft drinks such as lemonade, cola, juice etc would be free during the day but we were billed. Actually the cost of the drinks seemed to vary according to which bar we were in as I'm sure the gorgeous nightclub Hemispheres was more expensive! It's not a major gripe but I wanted to let others know as its useful when budgeting. Room service is free but the food and drink is not! However I must say that room service is fantastic. One little tip - make sure you order EXACTLY what you need as you will get precisely what you asked for. So if you order toast say if you want butter too!

I hope this info helps others. I want to stress that we had a fantastic holiday despite the awful start it was one of the best holidays I have ever had. The meet up in New York will stay with me forever! We have some fantastic photographs which we will post over the next few days. We are now thinking of doing the maiden voyage of the new Queen Elizabeth in the future. Does anyone know that appropriate way to pre-register for this trip? Of course we will be hoping to join the ship at New York rather than sail from Southampton!
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Old January 17th, 2008, 03:55 PM
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Thank you for your report. There was one little bit in it which rang bells for me ... "There were force 8 gales and the banging noise and movement was unbearable for several days for me".... yes the banging noise is frightening when she crashes back down into the next wave

We had to miss Gibraltar and had four days of that and when we saw some pictures of her digging her bows in on that Transatlantic crossing, I thought 'Yes, been there, done that, don't envy them at all'

Yes she is a wonderful ship inside and the crew are superb as is the food, but I feel she should be tied up alongside the wall somewhere, throw away the keys to the engines and turned into a Novelty Hotel.

Mike
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Old January 18th, 2008, 02:56 PM
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Thanks for your reply Mike. Have you been on the QE2 or QM2? As it was our first cruise I dont know if the other ships would be better. As we saw the QE2 dip her bow too I would imagine it was just as bad for them. But she had to slow down to keep to our slower speed so I am not sure if that made it worse for them. I am wondering if I am suited to cruises as I couldnt bear another crossing like the transatlantic one. I'm considering sticking to the Caribbean and hoping that we don't encounter any storms! I read your post on another thread stating that the QV is not suitable for people prone to sea sickness and I totally agree! Even my boyfriend who is used to boats and sailing was ill for the first time ever and doesnt want to experience anything like it again.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 04:08 PM
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Hi Charliemouse.

No not been on QE2 or QM2, in fact this is my first cruise with Cunard, however there were seasoned Cunarders on board and they were complaining about the movement and stated that the other two did not suffer the same way. QE2 has a 'sharper' bow and cuts through the water. Yes she dug her bows in, but she is sleeker nearly all the way up to the deck. Her action is similar to a chopping action with the side of your hand, but Queen Victoria, if you look at her bows is sleek at the waterline, but further up is shaped like a saucer, consequently where the hull is flat bottomed, she rides up over a wave and then crashes down into the next one and it is the 'saucer' hitting solid water which causes the shudder and the bang.

Yes QE2 had to slow down and it was reported elsewhere that it gave her a rougher ride. The report did say that at night she sped up to give her passengers a better nights sleep then returned for Queen Victoria in the morning. How true I don't know.

Please please please do NOT be put off cruising by your first cruise. You were very very unlucky both to have bad weather and to have a bad ship as well.

My cruising experience has been three cruises into the Med on Thomson ships, a Round the World on P&O's Aurora which took three months, January to March 2006. A cruise, again on Aurora down to the Canaries in November 2006 and this will interest you. When we left Madeira to return to Southampton, we hit bad weather. The waves were 10 - 13 METRES high (Captain Ian Walters estimate) and I have a video of the seas from my cabin balcony. I then pan down to the balcony rail where my mug of coffee is. The coffee is like a mill pond and hardly moving. We got to Southampton and we were continuing on the next cruise so did the Bay again. Aurora is a different shape and the ses roll round her and she cuts through them. Wonderful sea kindly boat.

In March last year I flew out to Barbados to join P&O's Arcadia and brought her back across the Atlantin to Southampton. No problems.

You were very very unlucky. Please do not be put off. I am back on Aurora for Greenland, Iceland and Norway in June and a completly new ship and line, (still Carnival), Diamond Princess cruising New Zealand and Australia next Winter.

If it is of any help and comfort to you and your boyfriend, my first "Cruise" was with the Royal Navy, throught the Bay in 1959 and I spent 3 days on my back we went to Gibraltar and then were told we were having a 3 week excercise in the Bay of Biscay Like a Mill Pond

Don't be put off. There are better ships on the water.

Mike
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Old January 19th, 2008, 08:51 AM
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Thank you so much for your reply! That information is unvaluable. The first cruise ship I ever saw was the Aurora in Madeira and I was very impressed. Your explanation of the banging noise made sense too. At the time it was very frightening especially as there were rumours circulating that the ship wasnt designed to deal with such strong waves and the structure was under strain. It certainly sounded like there was something wrong as we couldnt believe that Cunard knew the ship was going to bang and rock in heavy waves. They are so keen to make the trip perfect in terms of service, food etc so it defies logic that they chose a ship design which causes so much suffering.

I was amazed to read about your coffee mug in 10m waves! We had about 8m waves (Captain's estimate) and it was chaos in our room. All the bottles in the bathroom fell off the sink. I left my make up bag on the floor as it kept falling off the shelf. Items on the dressing table had crashed to the floor. Our little balcony table was upside down and our cigarette dish is presumably under the Atlantic! In comparison my parents' cabin was in midships and they mentioned that their cigarette dish didnt move on their outside table so we were clearly in the worst part of the ship. However even my parents found the movement and banging too much during the worst weather. We were also surprised that the top suites were at the back of the ship where the movement was also worse. The Britannia restaurant was also at the back and there were several evenings when the movement prevented us from eating there.

There were a lot of angry guests on board and talk of petitions and World Cruisers wanting to get off at NY. The QV may get a bad reputation quite quickly.

One point you made,
"...QE2 had to slow down and it was reported elsewhere that it gave her a rougher ride. The report did say that at night she sped up to give her passengers a better nights sleep then returned for Queen Victoria in the morning. How true I don't know." We watched the QE2 closely and each night she stayed along side and then at dawn she would slowly pull back and then pull next to the other side of our ship. We never saw her speed off into the distance. The sight of her really made the trip memorable and gave me reassurance in case anything went wrong with the QV!

Although we are thinking of sailing on the new QE which is due in a few years time I am disappointed to hear that she is the same design as the QV. The Aurora sounds like a much better ship for us. I really appreciate your replies and suggestions. Thank you
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Old January 19th, 2008, 08:17 PM
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Hello,
Thank-you so much for your report on the Queen Victoria. We have done 6 transatlantic crossings. 5 on QE2 and 1 on Qm2. WE are booked on an eastbound crossing on QM2 on July 8 of this year.
All of our crossings were either in May, June or Sept. I have been told that the crossing is much rougher in the winter months and your report, I belive substantiates that. MOst of the time we have had to look at the wake from the ship to remind ourselves that we were moving. I am the first one to admit that I would not want to experience a crossing like the one you have related. It is not a good expereince at any time especially when it was your first cruise.
We hope to be on the Queen victoria at some time in the near future but it will probably be a transatlantic again.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 12:30 AM
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I agree with Haze60. I've done 9 crossings both on the QE2 and the QM2 and I haven't experienced any sea sickness at all--never needed to take any pills or injections. The sea was calm most of the time and I remeber days when there wasn't much of a ripple in the ocean. But of course these were in the summertime (June through September)--I imagine wintertime crossings are another matter as you have decribed. The north Atlantic can be a very mean place in the wintertime, that is why I make it a point not to schedule a crossing during this time. So don't let this experience sour you on Atlantic crossings, next time schedule your travel in the summertime and most likely you won't have any problems with motion sickness. Happy cruising.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:36 PM
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I had a meeting this afternoon, and during a lull and we were waiting for refreshments, the subject of cruising came up. Without ANY prompting at all, the Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Victoria came up (

This Gentleman is an avid Cunarder. He couldn't find ANYTHING good to say about the crossing. They were not happy. The crew were not happy and of the couple of Plumbers on board who had been working to fix the tolet problem all the way across, one is supposed to have got off and said "That's it, not going back on there"!

Cunard have lost another avid customer (

Mike
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