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Everything posted by 3rdGenCunarder

  1. I'm looking for a Death in Paradise tour for next winter. Has anyone used Low-Key Tours (Get Your Guide)? Or Karukera? Eight years ago we went with Guadeloupe Shuttle. It was good but rushed because it had extra stops.
  2. I just saw that for my cruise next winter, the spa pass is available to buy in advance. That's the first time I've seen that. It always seems to work out that when I have HIA I also have a lot of OBC. Grats will use up some of it. I had planned to use the rest of my OBC to buy the spa pass, but now I'm concerned that it could sell out in advance. Has anyone had that happen? I know for tours you can cancel and rebook onboard to use OBC, but I don't think that will work with the spa because it's run by an outside vendor.
  3. How much is the deposit for this? Can you book HIA items now, or do you have to wait until you're confirmed? And I hope it's refundable if you don't clear the waitlist.
  4. Wow, that is one angry person! Comparing a sea day on a Cunard ship to Riker's Island???? (For those on the other side of The Pond, Riker's is an infamous NYC jail.) When someone spouts hyperbole like that, I find myself questioning everything in the review. And the name "CUNARDinternetAWFUL" tells me that he/she joined CC just to vent about this one thing. That's one reason I don't take bad reviews too seriously. Too often they're "one shot wonders." They come to CC to squawk and never comeback. I'm still working on my review. It won't be all sunshine and rainbows, but it will be better than one star!
  5. On a sunny day, light reflecting off the lifeboats gives the cabin an orange glow. I definitely prefer the sheltered balcony to obstructed.
  6. Somebody listened! There now is a little "cheat sheet" on the wall, identifying the symbols. Oddly, it isn't near the main instructions (I used deck 4 launderette) and the type is small, so it's easy to miss. Given my many years of laundry experience, I was able to decode the machines on my own before the "cheat sheet" appeared. Each time I was there, I saw someone staring helplessly at the controls and took pity on them and gave lessons. The machines are better than those on QV/QE and the room itself has more space. But there are no chairs. I sat in the hallway outside while my clothes were in the dryer, just in case I had to "defend" my possession of a machine.
  7. I wear a lot of cotton and it doesn't shrink because I'm careful in how I use a dryer. Queen Anne's dryers are new and modern. You can use a low heat setting. They have sensor settings in addition to the traditional time settings. You can set it for "less dry" and your clothes will be slightly damp. They will finish drying on the line in the bathroom--leave the shower door open. For tees or polos, take them out of the dryer and immediately put them on hangers--I use the plastic-hangers from my garment bag. If it doesn't all fit on the line, the hangers will go on the closet doorknobs. If you time the dryer right, the clothes will be close enough to dry that they'll be ready to put away in an hour or two. One caution about the dryers. You can walk away from a washer because the door locks during the cycle. But you should hang around while the clothes are in the dryer. People open the dryer door to see if the clothing in it is done and then they don't restart it. Then your clothes sit in a damp heap.
  8. Interesting comments from Captain Albert. I liked seeing the ship through the eyes of a professional. Some comments I agree with, some I don't. Disclaimer: I did not like Koningsdam. Sailed on her twice, just not my ship. I liked Queen Anne better than K'dam, but she isn't my ship, either. I guess I just don't like the pinnacle ships. QA in fourth place after Queen Elizabeth (definite favorite), Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria (happy to be on either of those). On HAL, my preferences is also for Vistas. I was on QA's third cruise. I am happy to report that many of the "shakedown" issues that Captain Albert saw had improved by that time. The buffet was much better than Captain Albert experienced. Food was not as sparse as that photo, and service was efficient. Although I, too, was in Princess Grill, I usually ate lunch in the buffet to avoid a large meal and have a good salad instead. The salad bar was served, as on HAL. Nearly everything was served. The buffet was laid out in stations, as it is on HAL. When I had early tours, I ate breakfast in the buffet. I didn't have to deal with long lines at either lunch or breakfast. Small correction about the Princess Grill menu. Three a la carte ("always available" items) could be ordered at dinner without advance notice. Others that involved heating/flambeeing tableside (duck, rack of lamb, chateaubriand) did require notice by lunchtime. I was not near the dishwasher area Captain Albert spoke about, but I didn't hear any complaints, so that issue was probably resolved. I had heard about the MDR issues on the first cruise, but those seemed to have been worked out. I have to say, the Britannia Restaurant (Main restaurant) is stunning. So much prettier than the whale's ribcage on K'dam. I have to agree that wardrobe space was tight. Several passengers commented on how difficult it would be on a world cruise, when a 2-week cruise filled all the closet space. Closet space on HAL didn't seem as tight, but then on HAL I'm not traveling with my posh frocks for evenings. OTOH, the bathroom was good. Shower only, but it was about 4 feet long and it had a DOOR!!! No shower curtain! I think all the cabins have a shower with a door. (Queens grill have a tub separate from a stall shower) I also agree that the Queens Room is too small. Yes, the walkway is narrower than Music Walk, but closing off the pub and Bright Lights means music doesn't spill from one area to the next. (I know I'm in the minority, but I am NOT a fan of the Music Walk on HAL's Pinnacles. too crowded, too loud.) Bright Lights was a lot of fun. They invite passengers to be minor characters in the plot. They don't tell you what your character will be, just that you'll read your lines off a few cue cards. I took part, and I ended up being the murderer!!! It's new, it's different, and I hope they find a way to do it in a venue on the other ships. Cunard's entertainment is miles ahead of HAL's. An orchestra (for ballroom dancing!) with two good singers, plus a production show company, and a jazz combo, and a classical group. Two piano players. And guest entertainers as well as guest speakers. The one entertainment on HAL that beat Cunard was Lincoln Center. And now that's gone. The duo may be good, but it isn't the same. Interesting that Captain Albert said the ship was "in the Cunard style." I have to differ here. Many of the long-time Cunard passengers said that QA did not feel like a Cunard ship. The Stephen Card painting the captain showed in his blog is one of only TWO ship paintings on the WHOLE SHIP! On the other Cunarders, the Commodore Club has ship models and paintings. Cunard memorabilia is showcased in various areas. Like HAL ships, the other Cunarders have maritime paintings (including Stephen Card's) in some of the stairwells. I always enjoy looking at them. The less said about the stairwell art on QA, the better. I know, I know, it's just a staircase. And I suppose it isn't as weird as some of what's on HAL ships. I get that the move of the spa to below the theater is practical. But I hated the thermal suite on QA. I always get a pass, but not this time. Just a round pool and 8 ceramic loungers in one room. No conventional loungers. With the back massage showers going, it's loud in there. I don't know about spa treatments and exercises, but yes, Captain Albert, I DO like to have a view of the sea while I relax on the heated lounger in a quiet room flooded with natural light. As @RuthC commented one time, there's something wonderfully decadent about lying on a heated lounger and watching the sail-by of a glacier in Alaska. Something that Captain Albert didn't mention is the "promenade deck." What can I say, it's a Pinnacle ship.
  9. I did not have the trendsetter question on my post-cruise survey. I did have a question about how I perceived QA compared to the other ships--very similar, somewhat similar, different. I chose different. Most of the survey was specific to my voyage and the elements of it I had rated. I did say that the Cunard shop was rather pathetic in its offerings, especially with no merch for the naming day. (They did sell tees and tote bags in a van on the street in Liverpool, but nothing on the ship). I commented on the lack of "sundries" in the shops, just some packets of crisps and other snacks. And @exlondoner will be pleased that I complained about the LACK OF A BOOKSTORE.
  10. NO!!!! Don't be greedy! You may have one Vista, but please let North America have QE!
  11. I think I was one or two cruises ahead of you that year, and the tendering in Juneau was a mess. I didn't go to get my ticket right away, figuring let the people in a hurry go first. I sat and waited for over an hour. I'm tendering in Juneau again this year. I have a tour, so that should get me off the ship in a timely manner. If the tour is cancelled, as it was 2 years ago, I won't bother to go ashore.
  12. On QA, I had a full bottle of Cunard Prosecco on boarding. A half bottle of PA showed up at some point. I don't think there was any sort of card explaining why. It just materialized. I drank the prosecco, left the PA.
  13. That's sensible. A woman at my table had a 1:00 flight. She was on the first coach out, so I was hoping that she got through before the accident backed up traffic so badly.
  14. That is what they did. Because nobody has ever tossed a bottle into the Mersey... The bottle ziplined down to a target on the foredeck and smashed. The next day I went to the photographer's gallery and asked if they had any stock photos of the naming ceremony. They had one, a shot of the fireworks. The woman said the photographers couldn't get passes to the shoreside events to take pictures there. Sounds stupid to me, but perhaps the media company contracted to handle the event had sole rights to images. They didn't even put a photographer on deck or in the Commodore Club to take pictures of the bottle smash. I can't be the only person who would have bought that instead of trying to take a picture on the TV. The lack of stock photos was a lost chance to make some money. So was the lack of naming-specific items. The merch van ashore had t-shirts (the same one the dancing kids had) and tote bags for the naming, but none of that was on the ship. The Cunard logo shop was tiny, and the colors were mostly shades of green/teal, not the classic Cunard black and red. And our "special souvenir" was a booklet about Queen Anne's "journey" from design to ship. It was a compilation of articles from Cunarder and the website.
  15. I agree with both of you. I was on that cruise and I decided not to stay ashore and stand in the holding pen when I realized my cabin had a comfy sofa and a nice TV. The general feeling about the ship from people I spoke to was that we were NOT the target audience for this ship--too old (not "trendy" enough"). I felt that Cunard is deliberately downplaying their history (not ONE maritime painting or model in Commodore Club????) because they don't want to seem dated or stuffy. The ship is pretty but she doesn't feel like a Cunard ship.
  16. Don't wait until the last minute. Because booking the coach transfer affects your assigned disembarkation time, you need to fill out the form a few days before the end of the cruise. I travel solo, and for me it's the best combination of price and convenience. Last week there was an accident on the ramp we needed for fastest access to the tunnel to Terminal 2, and traffic was snarled. My flight was at 4:00, so I was in no danger of missing that, but some people on the bus were worried. I think I have an option for a 1:00 flight, but that's too close for comfort for me, so I stick with the 4:00. I think 1:00 is the earliest flight time they will accept for the transfer. Anything earlier and you need to get off asap and have a car service waiting.
  17. OMG, Dennis!!! I have so many memories of Dennis. Then Roger, then Martin. In one of his cocktail party talks, Captain Wells talked about QE2 leaving, accepting that it was time, and commenting that we'll always have our memories of her. He was with Cunard a long time, moving up through the ranks and commented that he remembered his kids learning to walk holding Dennis's hand. I had to go up to him later and thank him for mentioning Dennis. I said he was quite a character. Captain Wells said, "He was rude to people and they loved him for it!"
  18. Is there a display that shows where each car is? I find that helpful so I know where to stand.
  19. I don't know how large the group was, as they didn't keep to themselves the way some groups (not RS) on large ships do. Because there was only one lounge, other passengers were invited to attend their lectures, which I thought was nice.
  20. It would be great if he could get the Lakelorian we had on Navigator. Great speaker, good information. I wonder if he could get Road Scholar back again. They booked quite a few Great Lakes cruises.
  21. I wish him luck with this (and I don't mean that sarcastically). I had a great cruise on the Navigator, although I know other cruises last year had problems, including the generator. But if he spruces them up and can match or beat Viking and ACL's prices, he could make it work. I hope he can.
  22. That must be the company line to avoid giving details. I had an issue with the buffet on QV last fall, and I wrote a note to the head of F&B. I ended on a positive note, saying that our table in Britannia was fantastic. 10 people from 5 countries, age range at least 30 years, many-time cruisers and first cruisers. On paper, we seemed to have little in common, but we gelled quickly and had a wonderful time together, becoming the rowdy table in the back of the Britannia restaurant, laughing all the time. I asked how do they know what people to put together. She said "arranging tables is an art."
  23. late Oct (10/30) in Alesund. Hurtigruten would be better for summer, to see a variety of small towns.
  24. November in Narvik, on the "Arctic Train."
  25. Ohhh, I have fond memories of tea served on Sun Deck on QE2.
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