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Everything posted by david,Mississauga

  1. While there is no doubt that the QM2 is the most stable ship I have ever sailed in, it is not a hotel. On a bumpy sea it can be stable but it can also pitch. I wouldn't say I was knocked off my feet, but on one voyage - forward on Deck 10 - my wife and I were thrown into the bulkhead. On another crossing on Deck 13 I was thrown into the edge of the bathroom door. Fortunately there were no injuries or even lasting pain. I would definitely prefer to be on the QM2 than any other ship when the sea gets rough. The lovely old QE2 could go into a significant pitch even in moderate seas. Many years ago we encountered a rough 24 hours on one of the Royal Mail ships of the Union-Castle Line. Clothes and fruit went flying across our cabin which under the bridge. Those older liners had a long and gently-narrowing bow, but even with a short bow the QM2 can handle "bumpiness" as well as can be expected.
  2. In September of 2016 we had a stateroom on Deck 13. Although it was a Britannia Club balcony room, I did see inside one of the inside rooms. It was not small and looked quite comfortable. We enjoyed being on Deck 13. It was rather bumpy one day and night when the Atlantic was acting up, but the odds are you should have mostly good weather in June. The only lift/staircase is, of course, "A", but if the weather is fine you can go out the aft door on Deck 13 and make your way down to the "B" stairs/lifts and shorten your trip to most of the ship. The Britannia Restaurant is quite a hike from the Deck 13 staterooms, but this is an advantage for anyone who needs the exercise and can handle the walk easily. My wife and I like to climb some stairs, but going from Deck to 2 to 13 is no longer possible for us. Thankfully there are plenty of lifts.
  3. Thank you for posting the photos. I agree that the Flamsbana is a fabulous excursion. We booked it in advance through the cruise line (Cunard). We were glad we did. The Queen Elizabeth was at the dock and there were two smaller ships which had to tender their passengers ashore. There was also a large tour group that had been travelling by rail. Some people who had not booked in advance were unable to get tickets at the railway station. There was a small but interesting railway museum in the town, which was a bonus.
  4. That was my experience as well. On a 10-day Alaska cruise there were only two gala nights. The first night was listed as smart - jacket optional. Even the lunch-time reception for top-tier Cunard World Club members was jacket optional. Many passengers ignored this and dressed traditionally. This was a significant lowering of standards since our first cruise on the QE a few years ago. On the seven-night cruise to Norway there were three formal nights. I heard no complaining about this.
  5. Two years ago we were quoted about $1200 per person for premium economy for a one-way flight London-Toronto on Air Canada or British Airways booked through Cunard. (We ceased even considering basic economy years ago.) For slightly less than that our travel agent was able to get Club Class on Air Transat booking directly with them. You are interested in getting to Ottawa and Air Transat doesn't go there according to their site. If you were willing to take a train or bus from Montreal or Toronto you can get economy one-way fares as low as $366 and Club for $1166.
  6. There is a video on Youtube taken by a passenger who walked around the entire promenade deck of the Koningsdam. There were places where it was extremely narrow. In places it might be difficult for two people to pass. I realise that the promenade on the QE and QV is fairly narrow around the aft, but nothing like that. Sadly this may be the new style of promenade decks. This summer and autumn I have seen several ships in Vancouver and Halifax. Many of them have their lifeboats on the deck. Some of the promenades are only partial ones, so I suppose a narrow one that does go all the way around is something to be thankful for.
  7. I appreciate the effort that members make to post a review and rarely comment on them. But one line in this review made me chuckle: " the ambience was more like a cafeteria" in reference to tea in the Queen's Room. I have experienced many cafeterias in my time, but not one had servers wearing white gloves pouring tea from china or silver teapots into Wedgwood teacups on tables set with tablecloths and silver cutlery. Nor have I ever enjoyed a string orchestra or harpist providing soothing music in a cafeteria. Kings Court, however, is a cafeteria.
  8. A surprisingly large number of people do like that sort of thing, no matter how horrid. I have a friend who every three years is enticed by his wife to go on a cruise (not Cunard). He eats all but one meal in the cafeteria and with great reluctance has one dinner in the real restaurant. A while back I went to Paris with friends. One night most of us ate at the fabulous Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon. One chap went to a US chain burger place. To each their own, of course.
  9. Sorry, my mistake. I should have noticed the tiered stern decks for one thing. The Aurora was last in Halifax on the 12th of Sept.
  10. The Arcadia, which departed Halifax, Nova Scotia on the evening of Monday the 23rd has returned to the port on the 24th around 5:00 p.m., almost 24 hours after it left. It is not listed on the port schedule. There were three ships at the usual cruise berths, so the Arcadia was heading into one of the container terminals. The attached photo is not very clear because it was a photo of the Pier 21 Webcam. Does anyone know what the problem is?
  11. There was a time when P&O was our favourite cruise line. That was many years ago - and the ships were the Oriana (the first one, that is) and Canberra. As Canadians we never felt that we didn't belong. Of course, we were not the only Canadians on board. I suppose it helps that both my wife and I are very fond of Britain and have some British friends and relatives. Prior to our P&O experiences we had three liner voyages on the Union-Castle Line and I must say the passengers made a fuss over us - as did the captain and his wife on two of those trips - as not too many Canadians travelled on that line. I mention this just to put your mind at ease about being Canadian on a British ship. I can make no comment about Celebrity.
  12. (This was not the posting I intended to reply to. It was a question about pens!) On a recent cruise aboard the QE my wife asked at the shop if she could buy some Cunard pens. They said they didn't have any and directed her to the pursers office. They gave her three at no charge. They weren't fancy but better than the pencil provided in the stateroom.
  13. I have booked a transfer several times after the voyage has been booked. I don't see where that can be done on-line and have always had my travel agent do it by a phone call to Cunard. If you have not booked through a travel agent you will likely have to phone Cunard. If you paid your fare in £ you may be able to pay for the transfer in the same currency. (I have friends in England who have done so.) We have always paid for our fares and transfers in Canadian $ which has worked out cheaper than paying in U.S.$.
  14. Indeed. "Everyone really wants to be there" is what I say to people who don't understand the joy of a crossing or who dare to criticise me for doing so. I point out the difference in moods between people waiting to board the ship in Southampton or New York and those in an airport. I see more tired, hot and fed up people waiting in airports than I do in ship terminals. Even those who have to endure a queue for a ship seem happier than those in airports.
  15. Thank you so much Hattie. Yes, Reykjavik is the only port on your voyage that we will be calling at on our voyage next summer.
  16. For different reasons I like the QM2 and the QE equally. For cruises I prefer the QE (I have not yet been on the similar QV) and for crossings I prefer the QM2. We have previously discussed the Grills, but the QE has some aspects which to me are superior to the QM2, namely the Grand Lobby, the Royal Court Theatre and the Commodore Club, which appears to be bigger although that is not possible. The QM2 has an additional theatre, Illuminations - which is great for lectures and films - an outdoor observation deck, and real teak decks. I could go on about other comparisons. Other than the QE, I have been on only one other Vista Class ship: Holland America's Noordam. That ship has only two things that are superior to the QE: real teak decks and some scenic lifts. There is nothing else that appeals to me. The small main lobby surprised me. It is a low-ceiling area with what appears to be a rather small hole cut in the deck above. There is one narrow curved staircase connecting the levels. The QE has a vast lobby space with gorgeous staircases. The Noordam lacks other areas that give a feeling of spaciousness other than the main theatre. The shopping area is cramped. I don't know what other Vista Class ships are like, but Cunard did very well with the QE. To me, it feels more like a liner than a cruise ship. As I have said before: if we could take the best of the QM2 and the QE that would be, to me, a perfect ship.
  17. I don't think anyone would disagree that the Grills facilities are superior on the QE (and QV) over the QM2. But the Princess Grill staterooms on the smaller ships are nowhere near as nice as those on the QM2 - just a longer version of a typical balcony stateroom - with a tiny balcony - and a bigger bathroom with tub and overhead shower.
  18. Have a great voyage, Hattie. I look forward to reading about excursions in Iceland. We will be calling there next August on the QM2. From what I have read, most excursions are rather long. As an aside, I see there are a mere three gala nights in a fortnight. On our first cruise on the QE ( Norway in 2013) there were three formal nights out of seven. The dumbing down continues. (sigh)
  19. Although I never travelled in the Grills on the QE2, we were encouraged to make special orders in the Columbia restaurant, which was the First Class single-seating dining room. In the later years of the QE2's service, the restaurant had been renamed Caronia and there was no longer any special orders encouraged. I'm not saying the staff wouldn't prepare something special, but by the last year (2008) that didn't appear likely to me. (It was still a lovely room with single-sitting and flexible times, like the Grills and Britannia Club is now.)
  20. Diamond level members have received a free lunch at the Verandah. If this has been changed in the few weeks since our last voyage I'm not aware of that. It is still showing on the Website as a perk for Diamond members.
  21. Fortunately we have never experienced this embarrassment. Frequently we have been asked if we "enjoyed our excellent service" but I took this as a not-so-subtle hint to indicate this on the survey. When a selection of menus has been presented, a note, signed by the waiters, says the same with "excellent" underlined. I understand it is important that staff receive an excellent rating. We have almost always given a modest extra tip to the restaurant and stateroom staff, but that is because the service was excellent and not because we felt any pressure to do so.
  22. I have not been on Princess, but in the photos their mini-suites look very much like the PG staterooms on the QE and QV. I wouldn't be surprised if they were made in the same factory. According to the Princess diagrams they are narrow, have a large bathroom with tub, a large (but mostly open) closet area, a sitting area and a tiny balcony - just like on the QE and QV. I had a Princess Grill stateroom once on the QE and was not at all impressed with it. I won't say I was disappointed because I knew what I was getting. It was worth going PG on that cruise because the fare was reasonable and we found the PG restaurant and lounge to be in a better position than those on the QM2. The large exclusive deck area was also appreciated. We recently had a cruise on the QE in Britannia. Our unusually-shaped stateroom had a balcony that was twice the size of those in PG. The PG staterooms on the QM2 are different. Being essentially square they appear much larger than those on the smaller "Queens" even though statistically they are of the same or similar square footage. They have a large walk-in closet with a door so your visitors don't see your clothes. The balcony is much larger than those in PG on the QE and QV.
  23. Sometimes it can be cheaper or more expensive depending on the accommodations on the same round-trip. For example: the 14-day e/b crossing on 31 July 2020 followed by the 7-day w/b crossing on 14 Aug. A balcony stateroom is considerably cheaper if booked as two separate voyages but a Princess Grill is cheaper if booked as one 21-day voyage. I have seen this anomaly several times, but the aforementioned voyages are the first time I have saved a considerable amount. The two of us have saved a total of Can.$2400 by booking it as two voyages. We did get the same stateroom on each segment even though we booked the second segment two months after the first.
  24. Cunard will need to know what flight (real or phantom) you are arriving on because there are three terminals. Cunard will tell you where to meet, but at all airports I have used there is a person with a Cunard sign at the exit of the baggage/customs area. https://www.newarkairport.com/at-airport/airport-maps Two friends flew from Manchester to EWR. They were the only two on that flight who had a transfer booked. The Cunard rep. put them in a taxi. I have not taken the Cunard bus from EWR, only to EWR. It took about an hour. We have used a car service a few times from EWR to Red Hook. It took about an hour to an hour and a quarter. There can be a huge traffic bottleneck at the entrance of the tunnel, no matter which one they use.
  25. You don't need to be dead in order to appreciate some peace and quiet. Fortunately any piped-in music on Cunard ships has been quiet and has not been offensive to me - so far. If people must have music everywhere they could bring their own ear-buds. Holland America used to be known for its quiet ambience. There are plenty worse, from what I hear, but I was disappointed in the lack of quiet areas on an Alaska cruise a few years ago. We tried to enjoy a snack on the rear deck but the pop music was a little too loud. Fortunately the side promenade decks were quiet. One morning we went to the equivalent of the Commodore Club to enjoy the sunrise over a mountain. Before long an employee turned on some horrid music which completely spolied the experience. The racket in some of the venues was so loud even with the doors closed it could be heard 100 metres away. I hope Cunard does not become like this.
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