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Old April 22nd, 2010, 12:34 AM
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Default Cunard Tips, Experience

Hello
We are thinking about trying a cruise on Cunard for 2011, perhaps the Fiord's. Considering one has to fly to the UK from the Pacific Coast of Canada then it becomes a special trip.
Any advice would be appreciated.

We have cruised since 2001 on Celebrity Infinity (Alaska) , Sea Princess (Mexico), Golden Princess (British Isles) and Holland America Maasdam (Canada / New England).

Cheers
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 08:27 AM
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Hi there Rob, wow tips, where to begin?? what sort of tips are you after? ports of call, Cunard entertainment, the ships errrr I mean liners ;o)

Let me start out by saying that neither Katrina nor I are big fans of the QM2 after a very badly organised voyage on her a few years back, and haven't heard enough good things yet to give her another chance.
However we absolutely love Queen Victoria, and are really looking forward to the new QE when she joins the fleet later this year.

Size wise, the closest match would be Infinity (QV is 90000 tonnes whilst QE will be 92000, both carrying i.r.o. 2100 pax). Both will provide equal levels of great service, with of course that very British afternoon tea in the ball room !!
I reccomend the website Cruise Ship Finder - Ocean ships, river ships - search by size, rating, cruiseline if you can access it, it has great write ups and reviews of all the ships around the world, with such details of facilities, crew numbers, entertainment, dining etc.

Entertainment & passengers ages will be at the upper end of the scale, especially for the Fjords or Baltics as most families head to the Med for the Summer - well they did when we had reliable flights, this could be a great opportunity for the cruise lines.

As for the ports of call, the further North you go, the more spectacular the cliff faces get. The tours are first rate, and if you like to just go off & hike, then the scenery will reward you for your efforts.

If you post more specifics on the sort of information you are after, we will do our best to help.

Happy voyages,

Alan & Katrina
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Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
QM2(2), QE2(9), QV(5), QE, Caronia(2), Minerva II, Fred.Olsen(8), NCL Jade, =X= Eclipse, HAL Ryndam
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 12:46 PM
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Alan & Katrina ,
Great reply,
We are Cunard members in terms of numerous brochures in the mail all the time. In terms of tips (not $), hearing from folks who have actual experience on their voyages is what I am looking for.
Am also on the Cruises - Cruise Forums and Cruise Reviews msg board (Rob Victoria Canada) so it is quite fun to explore and contribute to the various forums.

Just started to be retired after a few years of semi-retired so we decided to do some catchup.
Like your comparison to the Infinity at least in size but as you know QV and new QE are built as true Ocean Liners.
By going to the Scandavian countries via Cunard instead of the cruise companies we are use to it would give us an experience of this line plus be able to explore the UK again.

For us who are limited to 50lbs suitcases, how would you advise my OH to pack for formal night vs. the other lines we have both cruised on.
Are the staff much better than other lines in service and attitude?
I gather it was well worth the monies from your view.
I had one person tell me they had been on 25 Cunard cruises...

ps: Do have a great cruise next week
and I see you and I shared the same occupation. ( I was a Snr Business Consultant on Medical Claims Systems for the last main part of my career)

Cheers
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Last edited by robh; April 22nd, 2010 at 12:52 PM.
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 02:42 PM
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Hi again Rob, interesting, we have never really thought of writing reviews of the ships themselves, and have focussed on the ports of call & what can be done under your own steam whilst in port.

I'll put together some thoughts and observations on Queen Victoria over the weekend & get back to you then if that's okay. Obviously our comments will be in comparison to other UK based lines (P&O, Princess, and fred.Olsen) so may not reflect the product offered by the US based lines.

As you say, the flight weight limitation can be a real nuisance, especially as most nights will be fairly formal - I'll check with Katrina, but think you should be prepared to give a fair bit of your luggage space ;o) One trick is to pack a dark suit instead of a Tux, then 'posh it up' with a dress shirt & bow tie on formal nights, or down with a plain shirt & tie on the semi-formal nights

Service on Cunard has really improved over the last few years since they re-introduced the White Star training programme. but of course I can only compare that to the service levels on other UK based ships. The crew all seem really happy on board, and are all very approachable & chatty whilst not coming over as at all pushy or intrusive.

Anyway, as I said, I'll put some more bits together over the weekend, between packing for our trip out to Aqaba and Egypt - well as long as Iceland keep a plug in their volcano :o)

Alan & Katrina
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Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
QM2(2), QE2(9), QV(5), QE, Caronia(2), Minerva II, Fred.Olsen(8), NCL Jade, =X= Eclipse, HAL Ryndam
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Old April 22nd, 2010, 02:59 PM
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Look forward to your reviews. I've posted then thru this site also if you have time to check my blog out then you will find all four of them. See signature..
We sailed Sea Princess on the West Coast of Mexico in 2001, she went back to P & O and now she goes to Australia in 2011 but we will be on her under the UK flag out of Barbados this November. I'm married to a Barbadian and I was born in the UK so we do not have a problem being with majority of Brits, part of our blood stream and culture.

Ah. Formal night, such varied thoughts across the cruisers. Good idea for the bow tie and agree as I've gone to the dark suit with varied cuffed shirts so one can wear links.
Cheers
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Old April 25th, 2010, 11:05 AM
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Default Queen Victoria experiences (1 of 2)

Hi Rob, as promased here are a collection of experiences and thoughts from our trips on Queen Victoria. I've had to split them into 2 sections as there is a lmit of 10,000 characters per message ..
I haven't had a chance to look at your blogging site yet, but it is here on my to-do list (when we finally get packed)

All the best,

Alan

==================================

Living just outside of Southampton, UK, makes cruising very easy for us - maybe too easy. Especially when chatting with our fellow guests and realising that they had travelled from all around the globe, some for several days. So we arrived at Southampton Cruise Terminal 101 nice & early, left our luggage at the drop point, and after a long check-in (despite having pre-filled the forms on line) we relaxed in the embarkation lounge, listening to a local school choir who were singing Christmas Carols.
After a short while, we were invited to board the ship, which despite only being a few feet away from the lounge required walking up & down an air bridge some 4 or 5 times to get to the Promenade Deck which is where they were embarking everyone. Fortunately despite being December, the weather was relatively warm & dry as we all stood in the queue for the security photos.
Once officially on board, you were left to your own devices as far as getting to your stateroom. There were white gloved crew welcoming you, and pointing the way, but no-one to escort you or help with your hand luggage.
Our stateroom (inside) was perfectly adequate for a short voyage, despite there being no sets of drawers, there were 2 small ones in the bedside cabinets, and a further one in the vanity unit. This was an issue for some people on board, and we understand that Cunard were to address the problem in the New Year. The height of the beds did however allow easy storage of suitcases, so any additional clothing was easily stored there. One other comment was that some women may experience issues with the height of the wardrobes, the maximum drop length is only suitable for long dresses of ladies up to about 5ft.
In most grades of stateroom, there is only one power outlet per standard (i.e. US, EU, UK, Japan), so you may want to pack a multi-gang extension lead.
The room layout & lighting felt spacious, and thankfully all the staterooms have flat panel TV’s, which allow much more shelf space, and look more in keeping with a quality brand.
There was also a couple of forms asking if we wanted Personalized Notepaper, and our names entered into the Passenger List for the voyage. But we are not sure if this is going to be the norm, or just a one-off.
 
Afternoon Tea
This was held in the Queens Room, where white gloved waiters serve teas, coffees, and a selection of sandwiches & cakes. Unfortunately the number of tables are very limited, and queues soon formed where the number of passengers outweighed the capacity of the room.
Afternoon Tea was also served in the Queens Grill Lounge, and Lido Buffet, which provided a 24 hour eatery, with the selection & styles of food available changing throughout the day.
 
Britannia Restaurant - Breakfast
All the standard Cunard options were available, from healthy fruit to cereals, to light options to the full English Breakfast. Service did seem to be a bit stretched at times, but all the waiting staff were friendly and eager to please.
Britannia Restaurant - Lunch
Again the speed of service needed to be addressed, with table waiters working away from their usual area not knowing where things were, but time will resolve this as they become more familiar with their surroundings.
The food was well presented, full of taste, and most importantly for me, hot.
After the meal, when asked if you wanted tea or coffee, we always opted for the Cappuccino, which btw is free in the restaurants. These were always piping hot.
Britannia Restaurant - Evening
We had opted for early dining so that we could catch the evening entertainment, and late sailaways. All of your meals are pre-plated & therefore well presented and show off the crew‘s artistic flair. But if you want extra vegetables, you have to make sure you ask when ordering. There was a very good selection of wines suitable for all tastes with a wide range of prices.
As with the lunchtime service, after dinner hot drinks included tea, coffee, or Cappuccino. Of course you can also get these around the various bars on the ship, but remember there is a charge in these locations.
Todd English - (cover chargeable restaurant)
Although we didn’t try an evening meal here as the menus weren’t to our liking, two of our table companions did & enjoyed the experience. We did however have a lunchtime meal and were bitterly disappointed - maybe our expectations were too high, but having eaten in other cruise line’s themed restaurants (Rhodes, and Marco Pierre White) Todd English just wasn’t worth the money.
If you are tempted, then please be aware that it gets booked up very quickly, so if you have a special date in mind, try & book up as soon as you board.
Lido Self Service
The self service Lido was pretty well organised, although for a while the food did need to be kept warmer. There was a good selection & the quality of the food was very good. The Lido provides food, on a self service basis, throughout the day, from breakfasts, pastries, hot & cold lunches, afternoon tea, and late night snacks.
In the evening one side of the Lido was taken out to provide ‘speciality’ dining, the details of which are below.
At various points around the Lido, there are tea/coffee/hot water stations, which meant that there were very few delays. There was also iced water and an ice-cream machine with warm cookies which kept us very happy.
Lido Pizzeria
Every day from Lunchtime until afternoon tea, fresh pasta & pizzas are made to order. They rotate the selection of toppings each day, so there’s plenty of choice. Try walking past with the aroma wafting & NOT stopping for a slice !
Lido Evening Specialities
To eat in the speciality section in the evening, you will need to make reservations as thy were very popular. There is NO cover charge for this meal option.
Basically what happens is that when you arrive, you are shown to your table, which has been laid up in keeping with the theme, by equally theme-dressed waiters, the table is your for the evening, so there is no rush. They will bring you the menu and take any drinks orders. When they return with your drinks, they will take you through the menu making recommendations, which we found most useful. They then bring you each course of your meal, and return a couple of times to make certain that everything is to your liking. Once you have finished one course, they will clear away the plates & ask if you are ready for the next course - so you control the speed of the evening.
Once the chefs have finished all their work for the evening, they come out to meet the guests & chat with them, checking that everything was alright, and seeking suggestions & observations.
There were 3 different themes during our cruise, each night had 2 of them in operations. They were Indian, an English Carvery, and Swiss Fondue - unfortunately we were too late in discovering these & missed out on the Fondue which looked very interesting, and booked up very quickly.
Golden Lion - Pub Lunch
Again, in a mirror of the usual Cunard offerings, a ‘pub-style’ lunch is served in the Golden Lion, with such items as Fish & Chips, and Curries. All washed down with a range of draught or bottled beers, ales, and lagers.

Part 2 to follow .......
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Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
QM2(2), QE2(9), QV(5), QE, Caronia(2), Minerva II, Fred.Olsen(8), NCL Jade, =X= Eclipse, HAL Ryndam
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Old April 25th, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Default Queen Victoria experiences (2 of 2)

Stateroom Service
Having introduced himself on the first day, we never saw our steward again, the room cleaning & organising itself as if by magic each morning & evening. With fresh fruit and refilled ice bucket also appearing from no-where.
Returning late one day from tour, we tried room service, which offered a very good selection of snacks & meals. The efficiency of the service was excellent, and & quality of the food we ordered was most enjoyable, one other bonus was that unlike many lines, the room service carries no extra charge. When we phoned the order through, we were warned that due to workload it would take about 20 minutes, and some 25 minutes later the waiter knocked on the door with about twice as much food as we’d been expecting.
If you wanted breakfast in your stateroom, you simply filled in a pre-selection form & hung it on your stateroom door in the evening. The food was delivered within the 15 minute band that you also selected.
The Crew & Staff
The crew were eager to ensure that you had everything you wanted to make certain that your time on the ship was memorable for all the right reasons. Examples of this were on the first day we discovered the Lido Evenings, having not fancied the main restaurant menu, the Maitre D’ advised us that they were fully booked, but if we were able to come back at a given time, he would ensure that a table was set up for us. On another occasion we were unable to make early dining due to an invite to a social function, but the Restaurant Manager found us a table for 2 for the later sitting, which turned out to be very close to where the harpist (Chiara Capobianco) was playing - a most romantic experience.

The senior officers were very approachable and enjoyed chatting to the guests about the ship, the ports, their experiences, and your own thoughts.
 
Themed Evenings
Cunard are known for their themed evening, and Queen Victoria maintained this tradition with Masquerade Ball, Victorian and Ascot Evening, which a great effort was made by quite a few passengers with all sorts of hats being worn. Some had been made on board, during the afternoon art classes, but plenty had obviously been carefully packed & brought aboard just for this night.
 
Royal Theatre Private Box Experience
One of the highlights of the ship for us were the Theatre Boxes which accommodate with 2 or 4 persons with very comfortable chairs & a table for drinks - which could be ordered from the box & delivered to you prior to the shows.
An extension to this feature, and something that we weren‘t sure would be VFM was the Private Box Experience. For a charge, you were invited to the theatre side seating for champagne & hors d’oeuvres, then just before the show, you were escorted to your box by white gloved, fully suited Bell Boys, where you were served with another half bottle of Champagne, and chocolate truffles. After the show you were presented with a signed photograph of the troupe as a certificate of your experience. A truly unique experience, and worth the money for that special evening.
 
Café Carinthia

This are overlooked the central atrium, and served speciality coffees, at a price, with cakes & pastries. A very nice are to sit & relax & watch the world go by, but we preferred to be one deck up in the Midships Lounge

 
Drink Prices
With the ship currency being the US Dollar, prices to the Brits & Europeans were very good. There was a good selection of wines, beers and spirits available, including a feature called ‘flights’ where you can buy a selection of ‘sample’ glasses of wines.
The soft drink card that many people were use to on the QE2 has been revamped, and basically now only covers drinks available from the soda gun - most of which were flat due to lack of demand.
 
Library

This wonderfully organised haven carries books from every walk of life, along with daily newspapers from the ports of call, and onboard quiz & crossword sheets.
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Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
QM2(2), QE2(9), QV(5), QE, Caronia(2), Minerva II, Fred.Olsen(8), NCL Jade, =X= Eclipse, HAL Ryndam
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Old April 25th, 2010, 03:01 PM
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Hello Alan
That was quite a writeup, must have taken you some time.
Much appreciated, really good content.

You know that you could take it from your Word document and paste into an actual review on the site , a lot of folks would find it informative. :-D
We overnighted in Southampton prior to on cruise around the British Isles in 2005 on the Golden Princess.
We stayed in London prior for three days and I had arranged for a Hire Service to pick us up from London to Southampton, to the Hotel, to the pier, from the pier and back to Heathrow. Worth every penny including watching my OH read 'Hello' in the back and drinking the bottle water, Course we bypassed Farnborough where I was born, have to show her next time.
If you are in Southampton near 'Imperial Cars Southampton Ltd ', drop by and say hello to Anthony for us.

Well, I took a quick read and will read in comfort later today as we are looking after 'Pinot' , my daughters bordar collie , who is rolling his eyes at me, meaning it is time for a walk, get with the program.

Was this a Christmas shakedown cruise, or a special short adventure to nowhere.

Our first cruise ship docks Monday during its Alaska run so I;ll have to take a boo and a picture.

See they elevated me to 'Passenger' status on the site while I'm an 'Able Seaman' on cruise.co.uk under 'Rob Victoria'

take care
Rob
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Old April 25th, 2010, 04:26 PM
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Whoops!
Helps if you tell Anthony 'Hello; from Robert and Elizabeth Holloway Victoria Canada

I tried to edit my post but once you sign off the Edit feature is not available
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Old April 25th, 2010, 07:12 PM
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Hi AandK! Although there's very little chance of us ever sailing Cunard (just because we're not "dress up" people ), I loved reading your review and agree with Rob that you should post it in the "Reviews" area here.

I'm sure many people would benefit from reading your review,
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Old April 25th, 2010, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fern View Post
Hi AandK! Although there's very little chance of us ever sailing Cunard (just because we're not "dress up" people ), I loved reading your review and agree with Rob that you should post it in the "Reviews" area here.
I'm sure many people would benefit from reading your review,
Fern, Thank you for the followup.
You know if you have a Military Formal , that would count and even a dark suit or gray pants and a dark Blue jacket. Hate to think of you missing a cruise on a Cunard liner.
Here is an extract from below, many of course. Know you know this..but
quote: Most cruise lines have a formal evening which requires guests aboard to dress formally: tuxedos or similar for men and formal gowns for women. Having said that, you are not required to dine in your dining room on those nights. You may go to other restaurants on the ship or eat in your stateroom. Attendance is not compulsory at Captain's Dinner or formal night. Most cruise lines assign you to a table and a dining time, both of which are fixed.

Here is a link, sure I know their are many but this one should help you.
Are there cruises that don't require formal dinner wear?

So, let us know when you do book that experience on a Cunard Ocean Liner.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 04:07 PM
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Default OK, OK, I surrender :o)

I have taken our FULL Queen Victoria review & submitted it to the reviews section.
It has not only the ship review, but also the review on the "voyage" (Cunard speak ) itself, which has made it quite long, but hopefully people will be able to pick out the bits that are useful.

If you want to read it, pour yourself a drink first

best wishes, and happy cruising to all,

Alan & Katrina
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Last Cruise: P&O Adonia June 2014
Next Cruise: Azamara Journey August 2014

History :
Golden, Grand(2), Caribbean, Sea(4+1 aborted)
Adonia(4+2), Arcadia, Artemis(2), Aurora(5), Azura(2), Oceana(3), Oriana(11), Ventura(2), Victoria(5)
QM2(2), QE2(9), QV(5), QE, Caronia(2), Minerva II, Fred.Olsen(8), NCL Jade, =X= Eclipse, HAL Ryndam
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Old April 26th, 2010, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kandajones View Post
I have taken our FULL Queen Victoria review & submitted it to the reviews section.
It has not only the ship review, but also the review on the "voyage" (Cunard speak ) itself, which has made it quite long, but hopefully people will be able to pick out the bits that are useful.

If you want to read it, pour yourself a drink first

best wishes, and happy cruising to all,

Alan & Katrina
Thank you both,
I'll take a read tonight with a nice glass of scotch :-Dafter supper.
Just off to see the first cruise ship into Victoria for our start of the Alaska season.

I guess we can leave you alone with the packing. Have a great trip
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Old April 26th, 2010, 10:25 PM
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We love the QM2 and feel nothing beats her on the North Atlantic , but for the destination you are going to we have sailed Celebrity and feel it is very good for this type of sailing. We use the QM2 for crossings to Europe and Princess or Celebrity back to the US. We're sailing the Grand Princess in Sept( back to the US.)
For 2011 were are doing QM2 over and Celebrity Eclipse back. (all sailings are from Southampton)

Best Wishes
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Old April 27th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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Thank you cookie1207,
I gather you stayed for awhile at New York or Southampton before returning across the Atlantic.
Would you prefer a Balcony or Outside when doing the Fiord's.
Did you find crossing both ways same as airfare?
When I was researching a trip , discovered :eek: a one way airfare was same as a return and this was same even when going across to Australia from the Pacific coast of Canada.

Cheers


ps: Alan, did not find your review yet, think it takes a few days for them to review and post officially.
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