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Anonymous11 Feb 2016
We are experienced cruisers and have travelled twice before with Cunard on the QM2 transatlantics in the Princess Grill. We loved both trips so when we saw a short post Christmas cruise on Queen Victoria to Copenhagen and Hamburg we took the plunge and booked. Originally we booked a Britannia balcony stateroom but decided to upgrade to Princess Grill as there was an excellent offer. We travelled with a friend who booked the adjoining stateroom.
We live in Devon and travelled up to Southampton the day before, staying the night in the Novotel, a somewhat tired hotel. Embarkation took place under monsoon conditions. We arrived at the Mayflower cruise terminal at about 12.15 and despite having priority embarkation it took about 50 minutes to checkin and pass security. However, everyone was very good natured and we were soon in our cabin 5094. These P2 staterooms are comfortable with a sitting area by the window and the queen sized bed in the interior of the room. The bathrooms are adequate although one showers in the dark when the shower curtain is drawn as there is no light over the bath. The room does not have a kettle, which is a nuisance, as Cunard room service tea is not hot! The bed was configured as requested and although 2 of the surfaces had not been properly wiped down and had a sticky residue, the room was generally clean. A bowl of fruit, a dish of chocolate covered strawberries and 2 bottles of Pol Acker sparkling wine awaited us.
We headed up to the Princess Grill where we had requested a table for 3. We were shown to a table which was located very close to the serving station which proved to be very noisy. A word with Maitre d’ ensured that when we came back for dinner on the first evening, our table had been changed to a delightfully private quiet round table to 3 by the window at the rear of the room overlooking the aft decks. Olga was our charming and so efficient waitress, Unni the sommelier. Between them they saw to our every need. Having read reviews on this forum, I was prepared for disappointment on the food front but I can honestly say that every dish that we had was first class. From evening 2 – a comprehensive a la carte menu was offered alongside the table d’ hotel and there was no problem with mixing the menus. Table side gueridon cooking was offered every evening and on 2 occasions the flambe desserts were outstanding. Apart from 2 pretty ordinary room service breakfasts, we ate all our meals in the Grill.
The ship is lovely and very well kept. She absorbs her passengers very well- she was full on this trip and there was never a feeling of being crowded. The decor is warm and elegant and somehow suited the cold North Sea very well.
The weather was windy and cold and the sea was sometimes choppy which caused problems for some people. One problem was that for the first 3 days, the ship’s public rooms were very cold as the heating did not seem able to cope. Our packing had allowed for light clothes on the sea days as we thought that the ship was likely to be overheated – definitely not the case. However as we were visiting cold countries we had also packed warm clothing so the problem was resolvable.
If there was a disappointment – it was on the entertainment front. Although there was a full programme of events, very little of it appealed. There was only one production show which was dance led and took place on the Thursday night – we booked a box ( a nice treat) but it wasn’t for me. On other nights there were cabaret acts such as a pianist, a comedy juggler etc.
One thing that really struck me was how good the crew were, our cabin steward was not really up to the mark but without exception, everyone else from the spa to the reception were charming smiling and helpful – what a difference from the crew of P & O’s Oceana aboard which we cruised a couple of years ago!
The ports of call were interesting, we took ships tours in both, the Hamburg tour was particularly good. The Queen Elizabeth was in Hamburg on the same day and a spectacular fireworks display was arranged when both ships sailed together at 20.30.
During the voyage, my wife was unfortunate enough to be taken ill and had to spend a considerable amount of time in the medical centre. The care and attention she received was simply excellent.
We enjoyed our cruise very much – Queen Victoria doesn’t have wall to wall gizmos such as flowriders and bumper cars but delivers a very comfortable relaxing high quality experience. We’ve booked again!
1 user thanked author for this post.11 Feb 2016