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david,Mississauga

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About david,Mississauga

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Mississauga, Canada
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Transatlantic

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  1. They sometimes had on-board prices in £ but that was a long time ago on the QE2 when Cunard was a British company. But even then the prices were sometimes in U.S.$.
  2. Last month we received a 15:00 check-in time for the QE in Vancouver. Our travel agent spoke with Cunard about this (and another matter) and although the rep. didn't admit it was an error she said to ignore it as Diamond members may board with the Grills starting at 12:15. We were on board at 11:15 with staterooms available about 12:30.
  3. I highly recommend the VIA Rail service for comfort. Your date is a Sunday, so there are only two earlier trains from Montreal at a convenient time for boarding the ship in Québec. The first is at 9:06 and the second one at 12:45. The first train does not have a baggage car but there is plenty of space on board for luggage. The second train is the Renaissance train. Even in economy you get first class seating (singles on one side of the aisle and doubles on the other) and there is a baggage car on that train. At the moment the best economy fare on these two trains is $51 plus sales tax and Business Class is $165 on the early train and $123 on the 12:45 train. Meals and drinks are included in Business Class. In economy you can buy snacks and drinks or get food in Montreal’s Central station and bring it on board. One large case (50 lb.) is allowed in economy and two in Business. I have in recent years boarded the QM2 twice in Québec. The regular check-in – meaning the long counter with several clerks – closes at 6:00 p.m. but you can board the ship at any time because it departs the following late afternoon. The security people will radio the purser’s office and one of the staff will come off the ship with your “cruise card”. I have found the most convenient time to check-in is between 2:30 and 6:00.
  4. Don't be put off by the Pan Pacific - or any hotel - being sold out 10 months in advance. You can keep checking and there is a good chance rooms will become available. A friend recently decided to join our group for the November train trip. At the time he made that decision the Pan Pacific was showing as sold out but a week later there were rooms available at a reasonable rate.
  5. Even if we don't count the free drink packages sometimes offered to Grills guests and the generous in-suite alcohol in Queen's Grill staterooms and suites, there are still some free alcoholic beverages. Some would say we shouldn't count the Pol Acker provided to all passengers on embarkation, so we won't go there. All passengers are invited to a drinks reception with the captain. Members of the "club" at the Gold level and above get a second reception and those at the Platinum and Diamond level get a third. The "regulars" know all this and I mention it only because there are often new members of the forum and other members who have never travelled on Cunard and might not know this.
  6. Although I would never start a conversation about the QE2 I would certainly join in when someone else started it. To me, the QM2 in almost every way is a superior ship to the QE2, but there are a few things I miss – one being the traditional dress standards. It was jacket and tie for gents every night, at least on crossings. On our last crossing of the QE2 just six months before her retirement in 2008, every night except the first and last was formal, i.e, four formal nights. Also, on boarding the QE2 there was a certain je ne sais quoi one felt immediately. I have never experienced that feeling on any other ship before or since. Regarding changes to the QM2 the crossings took six nights until 2010 when they became seven. Unlike many on this forum, I like the seven nights but if the crossings went back to six maybe there would be a few more every year. Regarding the dress code, on our 2009 crossing there were three formal nights and one semi-formal. In 2010, our first seven-night crossing, there were four formal and one semi-formal night. As we all know that has been changed to three formal. As to the redecoration, I don’t care for most of the new carpeting except in the staterooms. That, of course, is a matter of personal taste. I agree that the Carinthia lounge is attractive, but I also liked the previous Winter Garden. I know I’m in the minority on that opinion, but there are others who agree. I do like the slightly more elegant décor of the new Club balcony staterooms on Deck 13. As for service and food, I have noticed no downgrading. I have had the good fortune of dining in all four main restaurants. I like them all.
  7. Until two years ago I was reluctant to book a sheltered balcony for the reasons given above and by others. But we liked it very much - again, for the same reasons that others have stated. I am tall enough that if I sit up straight I can see a little of the ocean. Another plus is the balcony is bigger than a standard balcony.
  8. I'm not sure when the procedure changed, but as of this year there is the necessity of "up and down to board." Previously everything was done on the lower level where the taxis and buses drop off passengers. Now you start off on the lower level with baggage drop-off, then you go up to the convention centre Hall C to check-in with the cruise line, then back down where you started, then everything else (security, U.S. border control, waiting area to board) is on that level. If you can use the escalators it may reduce the amount of walking, but if accompanying a person in a wheelchair you have to use the elevator and I recall a fair amount of walking. That is fine with me but not everyone will be as enthused as I am. It is straight-forward, though. There are plenty of signs and a lot of helpful staff. If hotel porters have taken your luggage you can skip step one and go straight to the check-in at Hall "C" from the west side promenade of Canada Place. Further information is available here. Click on "boarding and disembarkation." The graphics shown are the same as those in the cruise terminal. https://www.portvancouver.com/cruise/passenger-information/
  9. There was on time when we did not stay in the Club section. We had the breakfast buffet in the restaurant. It was good - lots of smoked salmon as well as everything else that is usually found on hotel breakfast buffets.
  10. If you have luggage you want loaded on to the ship you will need to go down to the lower level to the drop-off area. There is a ramp from street level down to the lower level. You have probably read that you then go up to the check-in area in the convention centre then back down to where you started to go through security, etc.
  11. We don't have "saver" fares in Canada and the U.S. but there is no apparent consistency in whether we get a booklet or not. For our three voyages in 2016 and 2017 we did not. I was surprised to get one this year for our Alaska cruise. It went to the travel agent who forwarded it to us.
  12. Yes, I accompanied my wife. It is a good thing I can walk quickly because it was a fairly long route and the chap pushing the wheelchair moved quickly. The shore staff - employees of Intercruise - are not permitted to go on the ships. So the passengers in a wheelchair will have to wait at the foot of the gangway for a crew member to come off the ship. At least for the Queen Elizabeth it was a very short distance to get up the gangway ramp to the boarding of the ship on the promenade deck and into a lobby where the lifts/elevators were. The same applied to our previous cruise on a similar Vista-class ship, the Noordam. My wife elected to walk (slowly) on board from that point as did some others. Similarly, it takes two people to get a person off a ship.
  13. The underground passage actually goes into the convention centre, but there is a large opening to the adjacent hotel lobby. If the luggage has been taken from the Fairmont hotel (people who have stayed at the Fairmont have told me the staff does that) you need not go to the lower level of the cruise terminal. The same with luggage collected by the Pan Pacific. The lower level has the baggage drop-off area and it is also where wheelchair assistance is offered. Those without luggage will be directed along the west side of Canada Place at street level to an entrance marked "cruise passengers." Another thing to remember about this underground passage is there are stairs at some point. I don't recall specifically what part of the tunnel has the stairs. I seem to recall it is worse going from the convention centre to the food court than in the other direction, though. If stairs are a problem you can go from the food court to the underground entrance of the Skytrain. An escalator will take you to the street level right beside the cruise terminal entrance.
  14. For our stay at the hotel a few weeks ago bookings were available about 11 months in advance. The rates for booking well in advance are quite steep. For every time we have stayed there the rates have come down about four to six months in advance and we were able to re-book. A usually significant discount is available to members of the CAA/AAA.
  15. Although I have never booked the cruise package, I have noticed two aspects of it which can be appealing: the breakfast in the restaurant and late check-out. If you are really hungry in the morning you could have a light breakfast in the Club lounge then a significant one in the restaurant. As for luggage transfer to the ship, that is available to all guests. For those on the cruise package maybe the tip to the porters is included, but they don't make that clear.
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