We recently returned from a 21 night leg of the Queen Mary World cruise, embarking in Dubai and disembarking in Hong Kong. We have cruised several times with Thomson, P&O and Holland and America but this was our first experience with Cunard. Embarkation in Dubai was extremely slow and tedious and I was surprised to learn that there were over a thousand passengers joining the ship. We arrived at the port two hours early as we had to vacate our hotel room by 12 noon. It took us three hours to board but as this was only one hour after our specified arrival time I didnt feel we could complain. Nevertheless, we and all the other embarking guests received a bottle of wine and an apology for the fiasco. We had booked the cheapest guaranteed inside cabin and were given stateroom 6027. It is a fairly small room but perfectly adequate as we didnt intend to spend much time in there. Unfortunately though, it is situated directly beneath the free weights section of the gym which was being used by inconsiderate guests from 5:30 most mornings even though the gym didnt open until 6am. Numerous early morning calls to the pursers office resulted in restrictions being imposed until 8:30 but the problems with noise started again when there was a change of passengers in Singapore. Add that to the fact that the cabin is in very close proximity to the anchor which was dropped on two consecutive mornings, we were starting to feel a bit sleep deprived! Noma in the pursers office was very sympathetic and as well as receiving a complimentary meal and bottle of wine in The Verandah we were moved to another much quieter stateroom (4004). This is an outside cabin, a little bigger than 6027 and at the end of a very quiet corridor close to the forward lifts. In spite of the problems we encountered with our cabin we had an amazing experience on the Queen Mary. She is a very stable ship and we noticed hardly any movement even when there was quite a swell. The engine also seemed very quiet although there was an area midship which seemed to suffer with noise and vibration on most levels. We ate in the dining room most evenings and shared a table with six other guests who all helped to make our holiday so enjoyable. The service was excellent and the food was generally of a good standard considering the number of passengers being catered for at the same time. Some portion sizes were a little on the small side but on one occasion our waiter appeared with extra lamb chops without being asked. There was always the option to order more if required. Our meal in the Verandah was excellent and well worth the extra they normally charge. We had lunch in The Golden Lion one day which was also very good but didnt repeat the experience as we found that two main meals a day was just too much. There were much lighter options available in the Lido and also the Corinthia Lounge. The Corinthia was also a good place for a quieter bite to eat. Breakfast and lunch selections were always good in the Lido but we were disappointed with the choices available at dinner when we arrived back too late for our 6 oclock sitting in the dining room. Service in all bars was excellent and most of the staff were cheerful, friendly and efficient. Our only real complaint about the entire cruise was the extortionate bar prices, particularly wine. There were plenty of activities onboard and plenty of sunbeds and deck chairs in quiet locations. The quality of the entertainment varied from excellent to not quite so good. We particularly enjoyed the comedian Mike Doyle but thought the ships singers and dancers should have been better. Tendering in Phuket and Penang went extremely smoothly and the best tender experience we have ever had apart from the brief backlog that occurred because of an incident beyond the control of Cunard. Immigration fiascos were also beyond the control of Cunard but they dealt with them very well. Port shuttle services were provided where necessary and were operated well. The only place we took a ships excursion was in Chan May where we felt there wasnt really a good alternative option. We went to Hue which included lunch and a Perfume River cruise. Lunch was excellent but the cruise was a floating shop with hard sell and a captive audience. We would definitely consider sailing with Cunard again as it was a great all round experience but if we were comparing two similar cruises I think the drinks prices might be a major consideration in our final choice.
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