Overall Review: Cunard Queen Anne Naming Ceremony Voyage ~So very much to like!

Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Anne could be Cunard’s best ship yet. Lots of thought went into the design because it is a balancing act between preserving the traditional and appearing to future generations.


There is very much to like about Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Anne. 

Overall Score: 96/100


There will be many articles written about Queen Anne, Cunard’s first new ship in 14 years – 4th  in the fleet and 249th in the company’s history.

How does it measure up in 10 categories?

Boarding and disembarking. Getting 3,000 people onto the ship will always be a problem. The lines moved pretty quickly because everyone checks in weeks in advance. Your credit card is on file. Same with your photo. This makes boarding easier, taking less time than it did a few years ago. Disembarkation was smooth, although it was complicated by a medical emergency at the onshore escalators. Cabins are to be vacated by 9:00 AM. Everyone should be off the ship by 10:00 AM. People carrying their own luggage can get off about 7:00 AM. We booked the shuttle to the airport and were off about 8:10 AM. Score: 10/10.

Health. This has become routine and is handled well. The Artesian Food Hall concept means you cannot touch food that might be touched by others. Staff prepare your plate for you. The cloth towels in the restrooms are gone. Paper towels take their place. There are sinks in the Food Hall entrance and hand sanitizer stations everywhere. Score: 10/10.

Ship design. The ship rides well. The ship is about 100 feet longer than the Queen Victoria, yet carries 1,000 more people. (2,996). This might imply it is crowded. The ship is about 25% heavier than the Queen Victoria and 10% wider. Combined with the added weight, this makes a difference, adding more space. The ship does not feel crowded. They have made some thoughtful decisions. The Britannia Club restaurant is adjacent to the Queens Room. If all the seats are taken at tea, the Britannia Club dining room can be used for overflow seating. Very smart. The Bright Lights Society venue adds a nightclub to the offerings. Score: 10/10.

Stateroom. We had an inside cabin, approximately 148 square feet. It was fine. The bathroom had a glass walled shower, an improvement to the shower curtains on other ships. There was one chair, making seating for two people difficult. We asked for another chair, and they found one. I think they shaved a few feet off the cabin widths, but I cannot complain about the accommodations. Score: 10/10.

Shopping. They are trying. In addition to the jewelry and perfume shops you would expect, they have a luxury goods resale shop. They also promote iconic British brands. The Cabinet of Curiosities is a new concept, showcasing one-of-a-kind pieces. I bought flowers for the cabin at the purser’s desk. They have a sheet to place your order, but no pictures of what the arrangements look like. This might be available online. Score: 9/10.

Food. There are four specialty restaurants. All serve dinner, only one also serves lunch. There are surcharges on all. Sir Samuels steakhouse is excellent. The menu in the Britannia main dining room was good. Michel Roux is the consulting chef. It featured premium dishes like beef Wellington, rack of lamb and lamb Wellington. However, the dining room offerings felt lightweight at times. There are no hors d’oeurves in the Commodore Lounge or the Chart room, just nuts and chips. Score: 8/10.

Drink. Cunard does a great job in this category. Drinks are reasonably priced. There are plenty of wines on the list priced at or below $45/bottle. The corkage fee is reasonable if you bring your favorite bottles. The wine list was familiar from other Cunard ships. Score: 10/10.

Entertainment: in my opinion, the quality was high. This was the naming ceremony cruise, which might have been a reason to give everything a boost up. Frank Bruno, Britain’s most loved boxing great, was a Cunard Insights speaker. Celia Imrie, a famous British actress, was a speaker too. The new nightclub venue, the Bright Lights Society, might be the closest people can get to a cabaret atmosphere. The plays staged in the Royal Court Theater were introduced by the West End producer himself. Score: 10/10.

Ports: This was a 14-night cruise around the British Isles. It stopped in seven places. These are exciting to us Americans, less so to British people, since most are in driving distance of their homes. Edinburgh was a tender port. The ship docked at all the others. There were plenty of shore excursions on offer. Score: 10/10.

Staff attentiveness. The ship is new. Our cruise was the third one. It appears many staff were brought in from other Cunard ships, but many crew members seemed new. We heard anecdotally a few hundred are returning to their previous ships. I assume this means Cunard is graduating a training class that will replace them. Add in the unfamiliarity when you are getting used to something new. We have found Cunard staff fit into three categories. The vast majority are excellent or outstanding. A few are adequate. Our cabin steward fit into the last category. Everyone is getting used to sailing on a new ship. Score: 9/10.

High points

  • Stability of the ship. The ship rides well. It was quiet.
  • Wi-Fi. The ship has Starlink internet service. The connectivity and speed are fabulous. There is a cost, but “poor internet service” should no longer be a complaint.
  • Movies on tv, quality of signal. Veterans of previous Cunard voyages over the years will remember there was little selection on the TV. Today, you have hundreds of movies. You can stop watching and pick up where you left off later.
  • Bright Lights Society. This is a new, closed door entertainment venue. It’s a nightclub! They put on great performances with singing and dancing. If you remember films like Cabaret or Victor, Victoria, it is like being in the audience. The shows are interactive, but they are careful to ask audience members first if they would like to participate.
  • Overflow for afternoon tea. A problem on Cunard ships is the popularity of Afternoon Tea. Why is it a problem? If everyone wants to join in, they can reach full capacity. On the Queen Anne, the Britannia Club dining room is adjacent to the Queens Room. This allows for additional seating during peak periods, so no one needs to be turned away.
  • Pavilion as large event space. The Queen Anne has a huge pool area with a retractable roof in the center of the ship. It features a huge screen, similar to a drive-in. (Anyone remember them?) This is an ideal all-weather event space.
  • Not feeling crowded. Although there are moments when many people want to go somewhere (shore excursions) the ship does not feel crowded, generally speaking. You can find seats in cocktail venues. We heard the Commodore Lounge is double the size of the same venue on the Queen Mary 2. The theater seats slightly under 1,000 in comfortable chairs with plenty of legroom.
  • Cunard guest choir. This might be unique to Cunard. We have seen it on every voyage. The staff asks for volunteers, and they practice on sea days. They perform on the last sea day. There were 50+ people singing on this voyage.

Areas for improvement:

  • Chair in room. We booked an inside stateroom with a king-sized bed. Obviously, there were two of us. When breakfast arrived one of us needed to sit on the bed, constantly holding their coffee while the other used the chair. We did ask for another chair and got one.
  • Reaching your cabin steward. There is no button for the steward on your phone! Calling the Purser’s office put us into the “Your call is important to us…” loop a few times. We heard there should have been a card in the room introducing our steward along with a phone number where they could be reached. We heard our steward should have greeted us on arrival. None of this happened.
  • Lunch in specialty restaurants. There are four specialty restaurants. Sir Samuels, similar to the Verandah Restaurant on the other ships along with an Indian, Japanese and Mediterranean restaurant. Only Sir Samuels serves lunch and only on sea days. We wanted to try the trio of specialty restaurants but could not find the time because we were engaged with our really great tablemates at dinner. They should offer lunch on sea days.
  • Wine lunch and learn. This is one of my favorite onboard activities. Imagine a multi course lunch, paired with several wines, lasting 2+ hours. It’s an $80 cost I am happy to spend. I asked about it on day #1. “We don’t know if we are doing it.” I asked again later. “We are doing it, but it is fully booked.” That shouldn’t happen.
  • Officer cocktail party. This usually happens during the voyage, sometimes on a formal night. It’s a perk for the two higher World Club tier members. We did not get any word if one was happening.
  • Captains welcome cocktail party. We realize this might have been eliminated post pandemic. It is a great opportunity to mingle. If it is held on a formal night, you see people in black tie alongside people in kilts, standing near people in traditional dress unique to their country. This showcases the diversity and inclusiveness of the passengers onboard.
  • Religious services. There are often religious services on weekends. If they are not conducted by a priest or minister, there is an interdenominational service conducted by the Captain. The turnout is good, and the singing is often amazing. This did not happen, although there were unhosted daily gatherings.
  • Flowers. I always order flowers for the cabin on the first day. When I visited the Purser’s Office, they had a form and could take my order, but the form did not have pictures of the arrangements. You want to know what it will look like before you buy it.

There is very much to like about Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Anne. They have a few kinks to sort out. I think it has the potential to be the best ship in the fleet.


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Cover photo: QUEEN ANNE AT SEA, CREDIT CUNARD

 

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