This cruise was my Christmas gift to my husband Carl, which I gave him back in 2019. We were originally meant to go in December 2020 which was cancelled due to covid, so we moved it to December 2021 but beginning of 2021 we were still not sure how things would be so we moved it again to November 2022 and FINALLY we get to go!
Neither of us have tried Cunard before, although we did have booked a 2 week transatlantic to NYC booked for my birthday in April of 2019 but with my dad passing August 2018 we didn’t have enough money due to paying for his funeral so had to cancel and unfortunately lose our deposit as it wasn’t worth claiming insurance especially due to cost to cover all my conditions. After we cancelled my husband did express he was a little nervous doing a Cunard with regards to people treating us like 3rd class passengers or it be too snobby. I joined a few Facebook groups and of course you always get the snobs and internet trolls which I just ignore and I found that the many were extremely kind and I thought let’s just try a short cruise first hence why he got this as a Christmas gift!
As per usual we booked car parking with CPS and we were docked at the Mayflower terminal and just like my Sky Princess blog it all went very smooth. We have been very lucky to not encounter a problem with CPS. We headed to the Assistance area and showed our boarding passes, passports and proof of vaccines. You don’t get your cruise card at check in they are sealed at your cabin, so after security opened at 12:30 we boarded and went to our assembly point which was A at the Royal Court Theatre deck 2 forward. After we were scanned via our boarding pass we got into lift and went to deck 6 to our cabin 6002 to collect our cruise cards and unpack our hand luggage and medical supplies and watch the safety drill on our tv, which is the new way to do your muster drill. Once we had done our necessities we popped to the spa to book our times for the thermal suite on the 28th Nov and then enjoyed a drink!
Onboard facilities include 7 restaurants and 11 bars, ballroom, show theatre, 3 swimming pools. The bow has heavier steel plating to be able to do Transatlantic crossings. The ship has 20 wheelchair-accessible cabins. She holds just over 2000 passengers.
The public rooms are located on lower-level decks- Decks 1, 2 and 3.
The ship has a similar staircase to the grand lobby as on Queen Mary.
Deck 1 (the lowest passenger deck), has;
- 3-storrey Lobby and Royal Court
- Internet Centre
- Shore Excursions
- Pursers Office
Deck 2 has;
- Steakhouse at the Verandah restaurant
- Lower levels of the Britannia Restaurant
- The mid-level of Royal Court Theatre,
- Golden Lion Pub
- Queen’s Room,
- Chart Room bar (adjacent to Britannia Restaurant,
- Voyage Sales Office
Deck 3 has;
- Top levels of the Royal Court Theatre,
- The upper level of the library
- Midships Lounge
- Royal Arcade (Shops)
- Upper level of Britannia Restaurant
- Art Gallery
- Book Shop
- Photo Gallery
- Card room
Decks 4 to 8 contain passenger cabins.
Deck 9 has;
- The Health Club and spa (Mareel)
- Hydrotherapy Pool
- Fitness Centre
- Lido Restaurant
- Lido Grill & Bar
- Pavilion Bar
- Winter Garden lounge
- Two outdoor pools
Deck 10 has;
- The Commodore Club (a large observation lounge, with ocean views and late-night room for interactive entertainment)
- Yacht Club
- Churchill Lounge (which is for smokers)
- The Zone (Kids Club)
Deck 11 has;
- The Princess Grill
- The Queen’s Grill
- With their lounge and open courtyard
- Sports deck
Our accessible balcony cabin is right at the front of the ship which was a new experience and a little nerve racking too due to sea sickness which was not a problem, we had a smooth sailing. Our cabin 6002 is port side and a little quirky due to the shape being at the front of the ship. There is a slight obstruction on balcony due to the metal from front of ship but it didn’t really notice.
Cabin size is good, a bit smaller than others but a lot bigger than MSC and can be made up as a twin room, and access both sides of the bed, in my vlog which can be seen here of my cabin https://youtu.be/M3KgrODsIlE. You will see behind the pillows are 3 sets of switches, 2 one my side the other hubby’s side control the lights and another set my side is the emergency alarm! Not a good location, on our first night I had a few seizures which set it off and while hubby is making sure I’m safe and ok the telephone rings which is across from the bed! He leaves me briefly to answer and it’s the pursers office saying the emergency alarm has been pressed are we all ok? Hubby explains I’m in seizure but ok and sorry and comes back to me when I have started to come back round. The next day he told me I was mortified! The second time it happened was hubby when he put his arm over to me so we could snuggle up to watch tv and his elbow must have hit it, as it’s behind the pillows and then the phone goes, pursers office calling emergency alarm has been pressed is all ok? Hubby said it was pressed by accident as it’s behind the pillows, sorry we are both ok! Not a great place for the button, also if I was in distress why put the phone over on the desk opposite the bed instead of next to the bed? Oh well I’m sure we weren’t the first or be the last! The height from floor to toilet seat is 46cm, Which is the same for the shower stool and 68cm From floor to bed. We would certainly go into this cabin again but only a short cruise up to 4/5 nights as the steward said you really do feel it at the front in weather and you also feel the thrusters vibrate through your brain, we were very lucky with weather but we could feel movement.
We arrived in Amsterdam at 13:30 We had planned to do a dummy run to the blue boat canal accessible trip using the trams & metro ready for February 2023 when we are back to celebrate hubby’s birthday on P&O Ventura. We headed out with app in hand and went to the tram, which we saw come and go as we were on the wrong side! 😂 we then decided to just walk/roll the 20 minute to the main train station which was ok. It was Saturday so very busy with people, bikes and motorbikes and it can be confusing to what is pavement and road if not been before, top tip if the ground is red it’s a road, hubby bless him almost got knocked down. Accessibility wise it’s not too bad in an electric wheelchair as the suspension handles the cobbles and tram lines well, we took our portable ramp and used it once to get off the road and later to get on the tram although the tram is accessible with its own ramp.
We got to the blue boat canal cruise and we decided to just do it now so we booked onto the next accessible one which left us enough time to go over the road for a toilet break. 16:30 the canal cruise started and it lasted 75 minutes and hubby enjoyed it, I’ve done a few of these in the past when I was able bodied but it was nice to see Amsterdam at night on the canal which I hadn’t done before and the accessibility was great!
When it finished we used the app again to get to the metro and it was alot more quiet now so we could relax a little more and enjoy some of the views. From the metro we then headed to the tram to try again and this time we got it right although be aware they are mental! The tram managed to throw me in the electric wheelchair on just two wheels! That certainly was an adventure. This tram stopped basically 1 min from the cruise terminal so we walked/ rolled back onto the ship, it was about 19:30 now.
We went straight to the bar I ordered and downed a double amaretto and then took a glass of champagne back to the room and hubby had the same along with half a lager 🍺. We felt violated by Amsterdam but had a great time!
The next day we were also in Amsterdam but we took advantage of looking around the ship and gaining information. We changed our thermal pass from the 28th to today as it was nice and quiet and although there is no hoist in the hydro pool there are steps or you could plop in from the side which I did with help from the hubby. It was wonderful!
One of Cunard new offerings on board is now open dining which is better suited for me with my disabilities and it was great! The food in the main dining room we found to be good, I wouldn’t say the best of all the cruise lines I’ve been on but it was nice. You can get hot breakfast in cabin free and there is a menu of free room service items to order during the day and night again for free which we liked.
Afternoon tea is served each day from 3-4:30pm either in Queens Room, MDR or you can have it in your cabin at no extra charge which is what we decided to do this time and oh my, Cunard hands down have the best afternoon tea at sea!
General accessibility around the ship is very good especially for an older ship. If you need a hoist you can request it and it will be put only at the Lido pool and you will be shown how to operate it.
The theatre has 2 floors, the most accessible is on deck 2 where there are spaces for wheelchairs.
Deck 3 is the promenade deck which goes all the way round, some doors are better for electric wheelchairs to get in and out of than others but all do have ramps but no electric doors, looks beautiful though and worth the effort to get out there.
There are disabled public toilets located around the ship which are lovely and big and they have automatic doors which is great!
The only slight issue I experienced was getting along the corridor when the stewards trollies are out as it’s more narrow than any cruise ship I’ve been on, I did manage to past most but there are a couple which are too wide so hubby or steward had to move them.
Cunard, Queen Victoria truly won us both over and we loved every minute of this cruise and so glad we tried them! There was no snobbery everyone including passengers, staff were so kind and just nice, I never once experienced anyone jump over me to get into a lift, in fact people went out there way to make room or hold a lift for me. We certainly found the type of people on this cruise were kinder. The dress code isn’t really a huge issue, on a smart casual night I wore a dress and cardigan while hubby wore shirt and jacket.
On our black and white gala night we did go all out with hubby in tux and medals and myself in ball gown.
We certainly fell back in love with cruising as Cunard gave us the traditional cruise which has been pulled back from other liners unfortunately, which we really missed so for us and Cunard this certainly is the start of something special and you’ll certainly see more Cunard going forward but probably after 2025 as we are booked up!