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 Is Cunard Right For You?

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PostSubject: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeFri Jan 04, 2008 9:05 pm

What To Really Expect On A Cunard Cruise
by Tina R.
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As my Christmas and New Year's cruise aboard Queen Mary 2 has come to it's end, I thought I'd discuss in some detail what makes the holidays aboard QM2 special and also give some insight to those of you who are wondering if Cunard is right for you. I'm sure you've heard this a hundred times already but, Cunard ships are ocean liners and not cruise ships... They are build to endure rough, heavy seas and, QM2 handles the ocean well.

First, make no mistake about it. Cunard Cruise Lines is formal when it comes to dress codes.
If you do not enjoy dressing for dinner and staying dressed for the entire evening, then Cunard is NOT for you. Cunard is very formal when it comes to dress codes and there are only three types of evening dress code: Formal (Tuxedos and Gowns), Semi-Formal (Jackets and ties for gentlemen and cocktail dresses for ladies), and casual elegant (Jackets on some gentleman and pantsuits or a sun-dress for ladies). There is never the great "jeans debate" on Cunard, it's simply not done, it is
simply not allowed. Period. However, if you enjoy the refinement and elegance of dress codes - then Cunard will be a perfect fit for you! People on Cunard ships expect refinement and elegance - they almost demand it! The best part is Cunard has no intention of lowering it's standards.

Secondly, entertainment on-board is more cultural and, it is geared toward international passengers and not just Americans. This does not imply boring - it's just not the typical cruise ship entertainment. No hairy chest contests, no belly flop contests and no games such as Quest. Instead, you might have a guest lecturer who is a sports figure or a GIA jeweler explaining different
gem stones to you. Production shows are very visual with singers, dancing, costumes, and often special effects. There are games such as dart tournaments in the Golden Lion Pub and more common, universal games such as trivia and bingo and slot tournaments. Themed balls are
another part of the Cunard tradition such as the Black and White Ball (passengers dress in black or white or a combination of both) or the Pirate's Ball where Cunard passengers let their hair down (so to speak) and dress as pirates and items such as eye-patches are available on-board for purchase. There is nothing "stiff" or "boring" about a Cunard cruise!

Other activities you might find on your Cunard cruise experience are Wine and Cheese tastings, Latin and Ballroom dancing (and dance lessons), golf tournaments, movies and, of course, on Queen Mary 2 there is the indulgance of Canyon Ranch Spa which offers everything from a Thalassotherapy pool to pedicures and manicures to a well equipped fitness center.

Rather spend the day lounging around a pool? Queen Mary 2 features five swimming pools including a children's pool and the Pavilion Pool which features a retractable roof so it can be used in any weather. And, speaking of children, Cunard offers families a nursery, The Zone for children and, older children and teens have games, sports, and other age appropriate activities. The children's programs are supervised by nannies and youth counselors.

The third item of distinction, especially on Queen Mary 2, is S-P-A-C-E!! QM2 is approximately the same size as Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. The difference, the number of people each vessel carries. While Freedom of the Seas carries 4,375 passengers at maximum capacity, Queen Mary carries over 1,000 passengers less. In fact, at full capacity, QM2 has 2,800 passengers on board. That's a big difference in both space and service!

Now, let's talk about food. I admit it, I'm a foodie and, I enjoy food and, I am not ashamed to admit this to you. The quality of food is good to excellent, and, I have never understood the "complaints" I've read on some cruise message boards. I've cruised on nearly every line from Carnival to Royal Caribbean to Princess to Celebrity and of course, Cunard. The mainstream cruise lines, in my opinion, simply don't compare to the quality of food found aboard Cunard. Please re-read that CAREFULLY. Yes, I am more impressed with QUALITY and NOT QUANTITY of food on any given ship. Cunard ships offer QUALITY.

Yes, it's true that Cunard DOES base your dining room on your cabin assignment. The main restaurant, the Britannia restaurant is absolutely wonderful. There is nothing sub-par about the food or service in this restaurant, where the majority of passengers eat. However, if you are
fortunate enough to be in "Grill" (suite or mini-suite) accommodations, then dining becomes a true experience from outstanding service to extra choices on the menus not found in the main (Britannia) restaurant. Dining in the Queen's Grill or the Princess Grill is similar to dining in a 4 or 5 star land based restaurant. It is something very unique to Cunard.

And, your choice of dining is not limited to the dining rooms on QM2. There is the King's Court which offers buffet style service for breakfast and lunch (not to mention late night snacks) but at dinner time it transformed into four different and distinct dining venues: Lotus, which features a fusion of Asian cuisines; the Carvery, is for meat lovers and offers entrees such as Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding; La Piazza offers Italian cuisine; and, the Chef's Galley where your dinner is
prepared in front of you. Reservations are required for each of these restaurants and, offers passengers a nice variety in addition to eating in the dining rooms.

Culinary experiences don't stop with just the dining rooms or King's Court. Also on-board QM2 is chef Todd English's namesake alternative restaurant - Todd English which is open for both lunch and dinner and offers Mediterranean cuisine. A small surcharge applies but it is very worthwhile. There is also lunch service in the Golden Lion Pub which offers a taste of Britain with favorites such as Bangers and Mash and Fish and Chips. The Boardwalk Cafe is also open - weather permitting - and is a casual outside grill offering hamburgers and hot dogs - perfect for lunch time by pool. And for a mid-day pick me up there is Sir Samuel's (which is a wine bar in the evenings) that offers coffee bar style beverages plus light sandwiches and salads, quiches, and desserts.

One of the highlights of any Cunard cruise is tea-time. This oh-so British tradition is held throughout the ship but, the main focus is in the Queen's Room where scones, finger sandwiches, pastries and, of course, tea is served by white gloved waiters and waitresses. Usually accompanying tea-time is entertainment such as a harpist which adds to the elegance of the experience.

WHAT ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS ON CUNARD?

The holidays are magical on a Cunard sailing...


  • Upon entering QM2 you are greeted by carolers in the grand lobby, not to
    mention a Christmas tree, wreaths and various other holidays
    decorations throughout the ship.

  • The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts performed "A Christmas Carol".
  • Santa was on-board to meet all the children and have photos taken with them.
  • Christmas Mass services were performed by a Catholic priest and there was also inter-denominational services held by a pastor.
  • Christmas dinner includes turkey, roasted potatoes, Christmas pudding, and
    mincemeat pie as part of the offerings. Christmas crackers are given to
    passengers during dinner and children receive gifts.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeSat Jan 05, 2008 8:50 pm

Tina,

What an absolutely great review!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeWed Jan 09, 2008 1:23 am

Excellent, just excellent Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeThu Jan 24, 2008 8:32 pm

Thanks! You answered a TON of questions I had about Cunard and the holidays!
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PostSubject: Very helpful review   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeWed Feb 06, 2008 4:46 pm

Thanks, Tina for the very helpful review! I bet Christmas is magical onboard!


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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeSun May 11, 2008 1:22 pm

I'm surprised by this review, which seems to reflect eating in every restaurant. That is, unless it has been edited by means of quotation, paraphrasing and assumptions.

Not only that, but there are mistakes in it. The Formal Dress code is NOT "Tuxedos and Gowns"

Cunard say, on the USA site:

Formal: Black tie or formal dark suit for gentlemen. Evening dress or other formal attire for ladies.

Semiformal: Jacket and tie for gentlemen. Cocktail dress or trouser suit for ladies. No jeans.

Elegant casual: Jacket, no tie required for genetlemen. Dress, skirt or trousers for ladies. No shorts or jeans.


And on the UK site:

Formal:
Black tie or formal dark suit for men. Evening dress or other formal attire for women.
Informal:
Jacket and tie for men. Cocktail dress or trouser suit for women. No jeans.
Elegant Casual:
Jacket, no tie required for men (no jeans or shorts). Dress, skirt or trousers for ladies.


I really do get fed up with people misrepresenting the situation on this.

You've also perpetuated the nonsense that "Cunard Ships are liners". That was true until December 11th last year. Queen Victoria is not a liner, and nor will Queen Elizabeth be. Don't let Cunard mislead you with this nonsense.

Dining in the Queen's Grill or the Princess Grill is similar to dining in a 4 or 5 star land based restaurant. It is something very unique to Cunard.

Leaving aside the nonsense of something being "very unique" - and the misplaced apostrophe - I'm not sure what you mean by this. Certainly in the UK restaurants to not have stars. I also understand that the Queens' Grill on Queen Mary isn't the equal to that on Queen Elizabeth.

The best part is Cunard has no intention of lowering it's standards.

Possibly not, but they have already significantly lowered them when QM2 was introduced a few years ago. At the moment QE2 flies the flag for higher standards, but come the end of November she will be no more...

Matthew
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeWed Jan 07, 2009 7:53 pm

But Tina's review was based on first hand experience , I would think that is better than what is written as a guideline on the website. The Actual as opposed to the theoretical.

Anyway it sounds fabulous and perfect for me.

One question though. I had heard that there tended to be more smoking on Cunard than other ships. Is that true ?
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeWed Jan 07, 2009 8:07 pm

DancingQueen wrote:
But Tina's review was based on first hand experience , I would think that is better than what is written as a guideline on the website. The Actual as opposed to the theoretical.

Anyway it sounds fabulous and perfect for me.

One question though. I had heard that there tended to be more smoking on Cunard than other ships. Is that true ?

Kindlychap is longer with this forum. He was irritating people left and right, making snide remarks left and right and, Tina drew the line when he started going after Nina. I wouldn't put a lot of stock into his comments. Wink On the bright side, I think he holds the honor of being the only person ever banned from here! lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeWed Jan 07, 2009 8:53 pm

well i thought that was probably the most pompous ass i'd ever 'met'
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeWed Jan 07, 2009 10:34 pm

Oh I should have looked at the date of his post it was ages ago. The topic title was interesting.

I was a bit shocked at his tone. Not a very 'Kindly chap" at all.

Can anyone comment on my question about smoking on the QM2 ie is there more of it than other cruise lines , more smoking areas , some people have said they would not take Cunard because of that . But to me it is a rumour someone who had been on lots of different cruise lines could offer a valuable comment.

queen
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeWed Jan 07, 2009 11:19 pm

I also was intrigue by the topic title. I think that eventhough it was posted over a year ago it gives us a good insight on what to expect. And for those of us that have never cruised Cunard before and education we can get before we do would be so helpful so I for one don't embarass myself!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeThu Jan 08, 2009 11:53 pm

it sounds like the rich and famous cruise lines, maybe by then i will win the lottery and i will fit right in, looking forward to cruise on this line.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeFri Jan 09, 2009 12:40 pm

Good riddance. And can I say how much class Tina showed by not deleting his rant?

DancingQueen - that's a good question. I haven't heard the same kind of complaints but I will be interested to hear the responses from the people here.

A few days ago I did receive an email from someone who just got off the QM2 Christmas sailing with a child. I'll have to ask her if she noticed alot of smoking onboard. She did find one of the couselors in the kids program asleep on the couch when she went to pick up her child. Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeFri Jan 09, 2009 12:57 pm

well isn't that comforting to pick up your child and the person watching them is sleeping? they were supposed to give the jello shots to the kids!
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeFri Jan 09, 2009 5:40 pm

oesnjstar wrote:
well isn't that comforting to pick up your child and the person watching them is sleeping? they were supposed to give the jello shots to the kids!

I know I know! Laughing I think maybe they took the jello shots themselves. Laughing

Actually from what I understand, they hire college students to help during the holidays on these sailings. I don't know if this is true or not. Question Maybe they brought their own beer funnel. Laughing
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeSat Jan 10, 2009 12:45 am

Very Happy "I" am that person who just returned that Michele referred to. Smile

We do not recall anyone smoking anywhere indoors. With the exception of an ashtry in the bathroom of our cabin as well as an ashtray on our balcony. Our family had three cabins and none had a "smoke" odor.

My dh is sensitive to smoke and he only recalls smokers outdoors near the pool, but we do believe it was only "allowed" on one side of the ship.

As to the sleeping counselor, yes, dozing/watching TV and a "contract" college student of which there were others.

Imo, and our family, the food was also a bit disappointing, unless you love game. We were not looking for quantity, we were looking for more than half of a lobster tail and salmon which on three separate occasions was dry dry dry.

I am still gathering some notes and thoughts and will post them when I have everything together.


Last edited by Arubalisa on Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:23 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : addtl info)
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeSat Jan 10, 2009 10:39 am

Good to note that smoking wasn't prevelant. But if it is allowed in cabins and on one side of the ship is that not more than on other ships ? I had the feeling on RCCL cruises that it was either in the casino or in dedicated smoking rooms ?

The comment about he food is a bit surprising for a luxury liner.

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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeSat Jan 10, 2009 1:31 pm

Hey Lisa!!!!!! Welcome

Thanks, I was just coming to post your reply. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeSat Jan 10, 2009 2:37 pm

DancingQueen wrote:
Good to note that smoking wasn't prevelant. But if it is allowed in cabins and on one side of the ship is that not more than on other ships ? I had the feeling on RCCL cruises that it was either in the casino or in dedicated smoking rooms ?

The comment about he food is a bit surprising for a luxury liner.

queen
Laughing I forgot about the casino! Embarassed Yes smoking was allowed in the casino! Was only there once to make a "donation". Rolling Eyes The visit did not last long.

There may some people who get really upset with me but in the opinion in of our family of six, sailing in a "B" category cabin on the Queen Mary 2. It MAY be a very different experience for those sailing in Grill Category cabins.

For perspective and history, my parents generally cruise twice a year. I have been on about 13 cruises. Perhaps because we are Americans? I do not know. We went into this 15 night voyage with open eyes and after seeing some menus on the internet, had an idea of what to expect in regards to cuisine. Needless to say you will not starve to death on any cruise. There is always the buffet. Smile We choose to take dinner in the dining room.

From our history, there was no luxurious differences from our sailings on Princess, Costa, RCCL, HAL, NCL or Celebrity. Again, for our perspective, Not always Shocked, but in the past, we have sailed in mini-suites on Princess, superior suites on HAL, junior suites on RCCL and sky suites on Celebrity, but for the most part sail standard balcony cabins. I suppose it comes down to one's expectation of luxury. My Mom was debating purchasing a tuxedo for my father to sail on the Queen Mary 2 and ultimately decided against it and going with a dark suit. This was perfectly acceptable.

In my mind, an example which comes to mind in regards to luxury were the tables in the center of the Britannia dining room (surrounding the captain's table), all had poinsettia centerpieces. All other tables had simple single stemmed lilies. On formal nights, all tables had tealight candles. Tables in the center of the room had candlelabras.

Dh had venison which was offered for dinner the first night and it was very good. He also ate goose, duck (two times) and lamb (two times). The surprise was that there were no "plaina" alternatives offered for an entree such as even chicken. One night we requested an alternative and were told because it was a "formal" night no exceptions could be made. Another night my Mom requested an alternative and our waiter stated he needed to check with his supervisor (assistant maitre 'd). He received approval for Spaghetti Bolognese, which when served was not the same as the Bolognese served earlier in the cruise Rolling Eyes but edible nonetheless.

Our next to last day on the cruise we did have a conversation with two other families. One family was from the UK and the other were originally from the UK/Scotland and now living in the US. The family from the UK had sailed Cunard previous and felt though quality had declined, the food was still very good nonetheless. The other family thought the food much better on Princess which they had sailed on their previous 8 cruises. At least we knew it was not just us. Does this have anything to do with the fact that Princess "runs" the Cunard brand for Carnival? I do not know.

Again, I will be posting some additional thoughts. All in all she is the most beautiful ship we have sailed on. Christmas decorations were on par with RCCL and way above and beyond Celebrity. Christmas decorations and activities were nearly identical to HAL. Carolers upon embarking, midnight mass etc. All lines have done Santa on Christmas morning with gifts for children and cabin gifts for guests.
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeSat Jan 10, 2009 2:44 pm

Slightly off topic but, board member Beyondships has an excellent website with tons of info on QM2, you all might find it helpful: http://www.beyondships.com/QM2.html
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PostSubject: Re: Is Cunard Right For You?   Is Cunard Right For You? Icon_minitimeSun Jan 11, 2009 2:00 pm

Thanks for your perspective. One other thing, having done 13 cruises did you find there were many more ballroom dancers using the dancefloor on the QM2 then other ships ?

The 'beyondships' site that was very informative and good to know of that site for other ship info.
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