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pen June 3rd, 2011 08:09 AM

new to crusing, this site and have loads of questions
Hi. I am soon going on my very first cruise with my DH and i'm really worried cos i can't swim. I can see myself sleeping in my life jacket every night :D. So far I have read a great deal about the QV the ship we are sailing on and the thread on here for first timers. We have booked a balcony cabin on deck 6 room 6108 has any one stayed in this cabin? I cannot find any photos of it. We would have liked to book one of the suites just for the extra space however we found them to be a tad too expensive. Would anyone know if they provide kettles in the cabin or would i have to take my own, i would hate to bother room service every time i wanted a cup of tea. I know i'm going to have loads of questions and hope there is a kind sole on here who won't mind replying if the know.

thanks a lot

Pen x

Trip June 3rd, 2011 10:17 AM

Hi and welcome to Cruisemates. As a fellow tea drinker, let me address the tea issue first. You cannot bring a kettle, as that would be a major fire hazard. On some ships, some cabins, like mini suites, do have an appliance, like a hot shot, for in cabin tea/coffee. I had one on NCL. If you bring anything like a kettle, or appliance, it will be confiscated.

Make sure you pay attention when they have the muster drill. The crew will explain exactly what you need to do, and, where you need to go, if by chance there is an emergency at sea.I don't swim either,and, although I look good in orange, I keep the life jacket in the closet:):)

I have not sailed Cunard, but, I am sure other people who have, will jump in with answers...Any more questions, just yell:) We are here to help, whenever you need us....

Lakers Fan June 3rd, 2011 11:40 AM

We sailed on the Cunard .They have high tea every afternoon .I cannot swim either and I refuse to wear a life jacket at any time.

lannp June 3rd, 2011 11:47 AM

They do not provide kettles in the room and do not allow them on board. I too am a tea drinker and your options are to ring room service or go to the buffet which is open 24 hours/day and get your own tea. You can then bring it back to your cabin which I sometimes do and weather permitting enjoy it on your balcony.

I don't swim either and next week depart for my 8th and 9th transatlantics. There will be a muster drill prior to sailing which is compulsory to attend. They will thoroughly explain what to do etc. and then you can practice putting on your life jacket. You will muster to the area where if a real emergency occurred you would know where you are to go. Cunard muster stations are inside away from the elements in case you might be there for awhile until the decision is made about your safety. Some lines do musters out on deck which can be cold, wet, hot, etc.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the QV or the new QE since all my time has been spent on the QM2 but I can answer general questions about Cunard and sailing.

Welcome to the site and don't be afraid to ask questions. That is why we have websites like this.


PS - It can become contagious and you might develop Cunard-itis.rofl

pen June 3rd, 2011 04:45 PM

You are all lovely for being so prompt and replying thank you. Although I did think I was the only non swimmer daft enouh to go on a cruise I'm glad there is a bunch of us :D. By no kettles i'm asuming you all include travel ones too so I will take a flask for when i wake up during the night.

as to paying my room bill at the end is it paid in dollers via credit/debit card? I was hoping to exchange my money here at home for dollers as i have heard the exchange rate on the ship is very poor. if this is correct can i just pay with cash for crediting my room account

Thank you folks

pen x

kandajones June 3rd, 2011 05:54 PM

Hi Pen, I am trying to find some of our old photo's - we didn't have 6108, but had a similar one with the unusual shaped balcony, it it was a gerat balcony as it affords lovely views along the ship as well as out to sea.
I'll post another message I find them & upload them to the Albums section of Cruisemates.

As for your question regarding money, you will be expected to register a credit card, I don't think that the let you pay cash any more (and if they do you have to pay in advance every day). I do know that they won't accept travellers checques any more as one poor guy was trying to use them 2 weeks ago & was refused. He had several thousand dollars worth :(

There are a large number of tips to make this voyage much more fun, starting with the Theatre Boxes, these are a different way of seeing the shows as you have your own private box with much more space & even a table, bar waiters will take any drinks order you may have. They are chargable on the Theatre Group production shows as you have champagne, photos etc. but even on those nights if you want to use a box, ask the 'concierge' who will be stood in the upper entrance if any are nbooked & you can take those free of charge (without the goodies of course).
If you are travelling in the next few weeks, well done as the dance troupe had just changed so we had both the outgoing & the incoming, and the incoming group were really full of energy & enjoying themselves.

Drinks - please be aware that as with most 'US' style ships there will be an automatic 15% charge added to your bar bill for 'tips'.

In your stateroom, you may find that you run out of storage space really quickly - take a look under the beds, there are large drawers at the end of them (ok in my opinion the handles are upside down - see what you think ;))

If you take a look at the following link you will find a report we did a couple fo years back, if you follow the thread there are all sorts of tips & commenrts which may be of help. If there is anything in particular, then feel free to shout. If we don;t know, then the guys here are all so friendly that someone is almost certain to have the answer.

Just a couple of questions for you which will makeit easier for folks here to give you more appropriate answers & advice.
When are you taking your voyage? What are the ports of call? and where in the World are you - answers for American passengers can be different to EU / UK / Australian etc. e.g. power supplies in the staterooms.

Hope you have a great time, and hopefully speak to you again soon.

Alan & Katrina

johnthed0g June 3rd, 2011 06:09 PM

I may well be wrong but most British style ships have kettles & tea/coffee/chocolate makings in the room. P&O do, Celebrity Eclipse has but I can't remember if Cunard do, I would think they do. As for swimming don't worry about it if yoiu do end up in "the drink" the sharks would get you anyway!! :-)

pen June 4th, 2011 08:53 AM

Hi Captain and everyone else, thank you for your replies. Captain we sail on the 18th Aug 2011 from southampton to Venice and we live in Cheshire, England.

I doubt we will be using the ships tours service as we are more inclined to find our own way round. I did read that you have to hand over your passport when boarding the ship and do not get it back until the end of the cruise. is this right? is so what happends if you are late getting back to the ship or worse still miss it and have to fly to the next port to catch up with it, how would anyone do that without their passports? can you refuse to let them detain your passport for the duration of the holiday.

What happends if you are seated at dinner with people you don't it better to put on a brave face and act like we are enjoying their company or can we ask to be moved? I think that's the thing i am most going to enjoy, meeting new people and having a good old natter at dinner but i would worry if I spotted someone from our table sitting somewhere else. how bad would that be :D
thanks again
pen x

Lakers Fan June 4th, 2011 10:33 AM

My thinking is that if you are seated with people you do not like just rationalize by the realization that it is only one meal.

We were on a cruise 3 years ago .A couple sat down at the table and asked where we were from .When they heard NY I thought they were going to get up and leave .They introduced themselves as did we .When they heard our surname they muttered something and turned away ,it was as though they thought us to be lepers .

kandajones June 4th, 2011 10:55 AM


Originally Posted by pen (Post 1374496)
Hi Captain we sail on the 18th Aug 2011 from southampton to Venice and we live in Cheshire, England.

I doubt we will be using the ships tours service as we are more inclined to find our own way round. I did read that you have to hand over your passport when boarding the ship and do not get it back until the end of the cruise. is this right? is so what happends if you are late getting back to the ship or worse still miss it and have to fly to the next port to catch up with it, how would anyone do that without their passports? can you refuse to let them detain your passport for the duration of the holiday.

What happends if you are seated at dinner with people you don't it better to put on a brave face and act like we are enjoying their company or can we ask to be moved? I think that's the thing i am most going to enjoy, meeting new people and having a good old natter at dinner but i would worry if I spotted someone from our table sitting somewhere else. how bad would that be :D
thanks again
pen x

Good afternoon Pen, I rather liked the formality of calling me Captain, I hadn't actually realised I had reached that level in here until I looked at who 'Captain' was & saw it was my ranking :D

Right, you're from the UK well that makes life a lot easier - we are just north of Southampton.

Okay the main reason I asked for nationality, is that you need to be aware that there is only ONE Uk style 3 pin socket in the room, and even that is positioned in such a way that you cannot always get adaptors to plug into it :( so you may want to pack a 4-way extension lead.

No, there is no need to hand over your passports, unless you are travelling on a restricted passport, or need entry visa's, which I suspect is not your case. At check-in they will take them scan the details & hand them back.

For dining, we always ask for a table of 6 or 8, as there is less risk of having an objectionable person, and if you do you can simply chat to the other table members. If that fails, have a chat with the Maitre D', or dining room manager & ask to change table, they are usually more than happy to help - it may take a day or two, but don't worry.
If it was to become unbearable & you can't face the main dining room (MDR) then the Lido offer an excellent self service option - just remember to pop down to reception & ask to have your tips removed (as they are automatically added each day) and explain why. You can then ask for envelopes & hand out tips at the end of the cruise where you feel they were approrpiate.
As for the old table members seeing you, if they ask why you moved, just explain you met some nice people who asked if you could join their table - a little white lie that will hurt no-one.

Even if you are not planning on booking any of the ship tours, I would encourage you to go along to the port talks in the theatre - or catch them in the stateroom TV as you're getting changed, as they are full of useful ideas & tips which may give you ideas of things to do. We usually do our own thing too, but there are a couple of places where you really need to take some sort of tour to make the port worth while.

If there are any ports you are not too sure about & want someone's experiences, then again just shout. If we've not been there you can guarantee many other Cruisemates (CM) members will have been & will be full of good advice.

Have a lovely afternoon, good luck with the planning & shopping for what wil be a fantastic time on board.

Alan & Katrina

lannp June 4th, 2011 01:37 PM

If you discover that you are not compatible with your tablemates ask the maitre d' for another table. I've had to do that twice over the years (I did wait until the end of dinner). If by chance you see them, frankly it's none of their business but you can say that you didn't like the table location or as the other poster stated, lie and say you ran into friends and were able to be accomodated at their table.
When you check-in at the pier you are asked to produce a credit card. During the voyage you can go to the Purser's Desk and put cash on your account to handle your on board expenses so that nothing need be charged to your card. The charges on a credit card are not posted to the credit card company until the end of our voyage.

kandajones June 4th, 2011 04:23 PM

Ooooh another thought on Credit Cards, if you do dedcide to take that option be advised the Cunard will add a 3% handling fee for exchanging the rate from $UD to £GB so you find a card which does not charge for exchanging the rate (we use the Post Office as their card has no annual fee either).
You should ask then ask at check-in for the cruise account to be kept in Dollars.

Alan & Katrina

Trip June 4th, 2011 05:26 PM

If you chose traditional dining,and you find yourselves incompatible, ask the maitre'd to move you to another table,and don't feel badly. Realize you may not get any better, but the odds are in your favor. Since dining and socializing, is so nice at sea, you need to have a good mix, to chat the night away.

Waiting for more questions, we love to help;)

pen June 5th, 2011 05:40 AM

Ha ha ha what a wally, i am so sorry Kandajones i did think your name was captain, and that of the Admiral, Familier face etc it's only on closer inspection after your comments that i have realised my mistake :oops: sorry guy's

PORTS: the ones we are visiting is Cadiz, Corfu, Messina, Dubrovnik and Venice.

Credit cards. I'm glad i can pay by cash i'm quite happy to hand over my credit card and put all my dollars onto my room account. I have a friend who works in a bank and can get a much better exchange rate for me although how much to take is going to be guess work as i am not sure about extras on a ship other then the ones i expect such as tips, drinks, paying to go into a box at the theater. I don't drink alcohol but OH likes the odd pint and night cap. oh and internet chargers as i must be able to keep in contact with my family. just out of interest my land line has free international calls but i don't know if that includes cruise ships so i must check with my provider if it does it may be better for them to contact me. otherwise i'm sure i can use skybe when were at the ports of call from my iphone

When I get on board If I did want to upgrade to a queens suite. Thats, if some are available what would be the chance of getting a better rate for one. Has anyone done this? I looked at upgrading now with our TA but it would cost an extra £4,000 for the both of us and there's no way i would pay that. for one thing we could'nt afford it and I don't love myself enough to waste such an amount on our enjoyment :). However this is a really really special holiday for us and a one off for which i would love to surprise my loving husband.

Oh and one more thought which i cannot find any info on! if one of us has to visit the doctor would there be a charge? not that were planning a visit to him but just in case.

Kandajones, I looked at your photos and they are really good thank you for posting them they have made me more and more excited about our trip OH has bought himself a new Tux and i am dreaming about all the lovely dresses i am going to wear so thank you

Thank you to everyone else who has taken the time to reply, i really appreciate the information and tips you have provided me with. It has saved me a great deal of time searching the net for the information I need. it's nice to get it for people how have been on a cruise and know what they are talking about.

Pen x


kandajones June 5th, 2011 06:16 AM

Doctors & Upgrades
Good morning Pen,

Yes the doctors will charge for everything that they provide, and it is expensive as they expect all bills to be picked up by your insurance. When you come to book your insurance, it is always worth considering paying a few pounds more to cover/waive any excess so that you know you will have nothing to pay.

It is very very unlikely that you will be able to obtain any sort of upgrade once you are on the ship, as they are nearly always sold out. What I would advise is that you check that your travel agent has put you on the upgrade list. Some of these will come up & you will be offered a reduce rate upgrade, others with small upgrades are often free, but with the free ones you rarely get to choose exactly which stateroom you want, you would simply be told that you can be upgrades from say a B4 to B1.

Speak later,

Alan & Katrina

Trip June 5th, 2011 09:37 AM

Pen, last month I was in Messina,and we did an excursion that took us to Taormina. This has to be one of the prettiest places I have ever seen. The picture below is just a hint of it's captivating beauty. .

We also went to Dubrovnik,and what a fabulpous city this was. We did a Jewish Heritage tour, and then, toured the old city...just fabulous. I have some pictures in the gallery, titled Trip's Magic. Check it out.. if you click on this picture it, it will also take you to the gallery Here is a taste of Taormina, which also has an ancient Greek theater.

lannp June 5th, 2011 11:44 AM

I visited the Medical Centre in December 2009 for an ear infection and I think the doctor's fee was approx. $60. US which was charged to my on board account. You then have to settle this with your insurance company when you return.
The ship rarely sails with empty cabins since they upgrade passengers already booked and then offer really low rates for lower grade cabins.
Automatic tipping is $11.00/day each and 15% is automatically added to all bar tabs.
Internet is $47.95 for two hours and it can be very, very slow at times eating up your minutes.
I also tip extra to my room steward and waiter BUT this can depend on their attitude, and extra service and whether I have asked for extra things. But you need not feel you must do this. Lots of time I have given them a heartfelt thank you and no extra cash.

pen June 5th, 2011 01:50 PM

Oh you are such lovely people thank you. I will now add a small first aid kit to my luggage along with everything else for OH to carry. He's going to love me :D $60 for an ear infection i'm glad I have been warned thanks Lannp and kandajones. Linda i have just clicked the link to your photos and others since i was on the gallery page. Those cities do look lovely,you write as if you have a wonderful time there as i'm sure we will, I know you went on a tour but can i ask if it was difficult to get from the ports to the town centres? was there a shuttle supplied by the ships at all? We have travelled to many places around the world, long haul, including Boston but for some reason we never bother going to Europe, maybe it's because it's on our doorstep so to speak which is why we are particulary looking forward to it this time.

As to tips. I know you have all mentioned them and i have read a few of the threads on this site relating to them but i think i will follow the kind advice from Kandajones and opt out when i board. I'm more then happy to tip as i believe in the saying " treat others" etc etc. but the more i read about the subject of auto tipping the more angry i get which i can only put down to my ignorance. I don't feel that a boss should have control over a persons tips. Would it be fair to say that if every person on a cruise decided to opt out of auto tipping and gave personal tips instead then the cruise company would have to pay a fairer wage and the staff would be better off all round? Ok don't reply to that one there is such a big debate on here already I will just keep reading and maybe i will understand it better.
this site is getting to be a bit addictive i am going to have to stay away from it for a while before OH starts shouting at me :o and you all get fed up answering my questions and reading my long posts however it has been really nice chatting to you all.

hope to speak to you all again soon
pen x

Trip June 5th, 2011 02:50 PM

Pen I envy you the experience that is coming your way. I am back, not yet a month, and, several times a day, my mind goes back to all the beautiful places and experiences I had.

I was a 1st timer as well, and, finally had my chance to see in person, places I have watched on tv for so long. It may sound very hokey, but for me, these places/sites moved me, more than I can say.

For my itinerary, Rome Florence,and Sicily had the farthest rides from the ports. We were in Florence on a Sunday, so our ride was shorter, bit would have taken a bit over 2 hrs. The ride from Sicily to Taormina was a testement to the bus drivers training, because screams were heard:)

If you can do private tours, I would say go for at. Less walking from the drop off point to the sights,and personal tours. Ships tours worked out well for us. The one private tour we had booked in Monte Carlo, was canceled due to rough seas.

Enjhoy every second of planning, that's half the fun.

lannp June 8th, 2011 06:24 AM

I checked with a friend who has been on all 3 Cunard Queens recently and she reports that the QV and QE are like the QM2, no kettles.

pen June 13th, 2011 02:11 PM

Lannp your such a love. thank you for finding that out for me
Pen x

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