Cruise line: Cunard Cruises,
We really enjoyed our cruise to the Greek islands onboard Queen Victoria, and it was a wonderful itinerary helped by lovely weather. I am not quite sure why we had not been there before and it is certainly a trip we would be happy to repeat.
The Titan flight out was excellent. Certainly the write-up on their web-site seemed pretty accurate. However the Jet2 return flight was awful due to the crew who sat in the front of the plane, did little work and talked non-stop, Ron likened them to Hi-de-Hi! We were about 10 rows back and I could hear almost every word they said. They were so loud it was hard to concentrate on a book. I really would not wish to fly with them again and I am really surprised Cunard used them. The security at Gatwick was superb and certainly the south terminal is much improved.
We both thought that Cunard had offered us a sight-seeing tour in Rome when our flights were altered but no-one on board seemed to know anything about it which was disappointing.
Rome airport was also grim. We seemed to walk miles and had to queue for about half an hour for security. I noticed people did not appear to be showing bags with liquids so tested the system. I went through with my liquids in my hand luggage and a bottle of water in my handbag. I just cannot understand how it is allowed to be so lax. We then had to stand for nearly an hour in an area with about 10 seats for about 120 people. We were eventually called through and had to go on a bus. I suppose the plane was not ready as we then had to stand on the bus for nearly half an hour before it left the terminal building. I would do anything to avoid that airport in the future.
Queen Victoria was, as before, lovely. I think it is the public rooms that make this ship so special; the Queens Room which is so well used for dancing, concerts, etc; the beautiful theatre which is also used for the excellent lectures; not forgetting the Commodore lounge which is a lovely piano bar in the evenings and in the day-time a place to sit and read quietly. We were always able to find a sun lounger (although those on Celebrity Cruises are padded and far more comfortable) when we wanted one and that is often a criticism on some ships.
We enjoyed our day in Venice and wandered round all the little paths and water ways. The Captain opened up some of the crew decks so we had a wonderful view when we sailed down the Grand Canal - what an experience!
Istanbul was a bit troublesome. Apparently there must have been a mistake by someone over our berth. A ship had left but it was 16 metres too small for Queen Victoria. The Captain announced that we would still arrive at 1.30 p.m. and the afternoon tours would go off by tender and then it would move to the berth at 3 p.m. when a Carnival ship was leaving. When we got back from our tour QV was still in the middle of the Bosphorous and the Carnival ship was still there and she eventually left at 5.15. We were originally told we would have to wait no more than half an hour but in the end we were standing for nearly 2 hours in what was just like an empty warehouse. Fortunately it was not a very hot day otherwise I think Cunard would have had some poorly passengers as there was no seating at all and no water available. When we eventually got on board there was such a mass of people on the stairs and boarding area we had a job to pass them. The last straw was when we went to the Lido restaurant for a cup of tea and sandwich to recover from the ordeal, as it was a few minutes past 6 all the tea had been cleared away. I really do feel this should not have happened. In hindsight we should have had room service but it is easy to be wise after an event!
We have now learnt one should not go on QV too frequently as the shows do not change and we have now seen them three times. The music on the ship was good but some of the entertainment was nothing special.
We were amazed to learn that there were 50% British and 50% other nationalities from 35 countries on board. We had expected far more from Europe.
Captain Ian Hutley was excellent and always gave very full and interesting announcements.
Sincere apologies for the delay in letting you know about our holiday and again sincere thanks for all the extras The Luxury Cruise Company provide, they are very much appreciated.Overall rating: 4