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Windsurfboy

P&O suite vs Grills Vs Seaborne

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I've weakened and booked our return from South Africa in 2022 on Q.V.,  have quite a bit of stuff that wont fit into suitcase to bring back. As a last minute thought couldn't get QG so went PG. Very interesting to see if I feel QG is worth the extra £5k over QG. 

 

I originally said we'd  not cruise to 2023 but we now are thinking about booking summer 2022 onwards. 

 

My choice of cruise will always be intinary first. But open to 3 options 

 

1) Suite in a medium level line (e.g P&O in carnival family) , with a large balcony, and then make very daily use of select dining to enhance experience. 

 

2) Cunard Grills ( or other ship within ship concept )

 

3) Small "luxury" ship , e.g. Seaborne

 

What are people views/experience 

 

 

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We have faced the same choice and went with Seabourn. The Grill cabins and dining are very good,  the Queen’s Grill may be the best restaurant at sea. But the minute you step out of them, you are on a standard cruise line (first world problems).  However, on Seaborne, the whole day, and everywhere you go, you are on a first-class line.  I am sure others will disagree.

Edited by Halfmoonfan

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Hit there,we used to always go in a suite with P&O,Ventura & Azura,the suites are fairly spacious but wouldn't say there's a huge amount of room in the wardrobes etc,standards have sadly slipped with P&O and now we sail with Cunard,there really is no comparison,Suite passengers have so many perks,no queuing for dining for one,your own bar and restaurant,free bottles of water and free coffees(any kind)in the private lounge,we always take a suite at the back of the ship as we love the big balcony.Never been on Seabourne 

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On 9/9/2020 at 6:03 PM, Windsurfboy said:

I've weakened and booked our return from South Africa in 2022 on Q.V.,  have quite a bit of stuff that wont fit into suitcase to bring back. As a last minute thought couldn't get QG so went PG. Very interesting to see if I feel QG is worth the extra £5k over QG. 

 

I originally said we'd  not cruise to 2023 but we now are thinking about booking summer 2022 onwards. 

 

My choice of cruise will always be intinary first. But open to 3 options 

 

1) Suite in a medium level line (e.g P&O in carnival family) , with a large balcony, and then make very daily use of select dining to enhance experience. 

 

2) Cunard Grills ( or other ship within ship concept )

 

3) Small "luxury" ship , e.g. Seaborne

 

What are people views/experience 

 

 

 

Cunard Grills certainly suit my requirements although on QV & QE I am not over keen on the PG cabin layout - it is a bit "long and thin".  Grills restaurant on the 11th floor of the QV & QE is delightful - just a shame the lounge is a little small. "Perfection" for me  on either QV/QE  is an aft QG suite and the most forward table in the restaurant.

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15 hours ago, laktex said:

 

Cunard Grills certainly suit my requirements although on QV & QE I am not over keen on the PG cabin layout - it is a bit "long and thin".  Grills restaurant on the 11th floor of the QV & QE is delightful - just a shame the lounge is a little small. "Perfection" for me  on either QV/QE  is an aft QG suite and the most forward table in the restaurant.

Yes I agree,the lounge is small,also closes at 2pm which is a shame,we had to trail to another bar for a glass of wine then take it all the way back to the grill lounge,oh well,need the exercise on a cruise 😆

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Grills on Cunard is very good. We also tried the Orissa suite on the P& O Oceana and were bitterly disappointed ( eg. I spilt a cup of coffee on the bed and the bed was remade with the dirty wet sheet!!!).

We have found Cunard To suit us although I agree that PG cabins on the QV/QE are not ideal. The restaurants are delightful and the private sundecks  very pleasing. QM2 grill suites are nicer but the restaurants are not so attractive particularly as people can look in  through the windows

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QG and PG are wonderful but it really isn't a ship within a ship concept like the Haven is on NCL, the rooms are larger and you do have the private lounge and restaurants.  We've done the Caribbean and transatlantic on Cunard and totally love the experience.  Would do it again.   Seabourn is a luxury cruise experience with far less passengers and totally all inclusive.  Definitely a different experience.   I can't comment on P&O.   I can't imagine that you would go wrong with any of those choices though.

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Thanks for your comments,  I'm a relative cruise newby  4 cruises,  3 of which Cunard QG, 1 P&O. Three of the four have been A to B trips coming or going to south Africa, only the Cunard Baltic was a simple cruise for its own sake.

 

For the long journey north and south Atlantic and bay of Biscay, a midships cabin is a must. We also went midships on the Baltic although it was wasn't necessary, but after a bad BoB it was the only way to get my wife on a ship again. We now both agree that for Med , Caribbean etc we'd go aft Q6, but midships for crossing oceans 

 

First cruise was P&O Capetown to UK , I thought the suite was better laid out than QE/V  q3/4 cabins, the Q3/4 was fine for ourselves but cramped for guests. Anyway all we could get for 2022 Capetown to UK midships was a PG . I think although long and thin it offers almost as much practical space as the badly designed Q3/4s. Interesting to compare PG food to QG, over the 3 QG cruises the novelty of ordering off menu for me wore off quite quickly. Only went off menu once on last cruise.  

 

Comparing the P&O trip to Cunard , clearly the P&O main dining doesnt compare to QG but neither would brittania.  As we were on Aurora only select dining was Sindhu, a very nice Indian restaurant but not for every day.  I'd choice another ship with more select dining. The P&O evening entertainment was superior to Cunard by a long way. I didn't find the ambience on P&O any different to Cunard.

 

Thanks for thoughts about smaller ships e.g. Seabourn. There is great appeal, especially in the smaller ports they can get into. I don't think we will go down the Regent route with excursions included as we like to do our own thing. I'm also 50:50 about the idea of all inclusive on the smaller luxury ships . Tend not to drink in the day, but at night I like to choose something special .

 

In the end we do like cruises even if a bit late coming to them, and can't wait for new brochures,  but I think I will be flexible and timing and intinary driven, not ship or cruise line driven.

 

 

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I think the easiest thing to do, is to look at what's on offer.
 
I like to think we like a bit of luxury but before we chose the line and then the ship, we had a few criteria to look for after deciding where we wanted to go-:
 
medium sized ship
all inclusive
   no
excursions included
  no
set dining table for the whole period of the cruise, but at  times of our choosing , not the cruise line
 most definitely
good food  and excellent, discreet service   
most definitely
 
and taking these all into consideration, we were advised to look at Queens Grill. The ship was chosen for the  required  itinerary.
Weigh up the requirements and see which Line and ship fits the bill.
 
 
 

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On 9/10/2020 at 2:31 AM, Halfmoonfan said:

We have faced the same choice and went with Seabourn. The Grill cabins and dining are very good,  the Queen’s Grill may be the best restaurant at sea. But the minute you step out of them, you are on a standard cruise line (first world problems).  However, on Seaborne, the whole day, and everywhere you go, you are on a first-class line.  I am sure others will disagree.

I'd certainly agree with your overall synopsis AM,HMF though I wouldn't go so far as saying the Grills are the best restaurants at Sea by any stretch of the imagination. The Grills are of course up there and the real pleasure is the class and style they offer as opposed to the actual dining.

 

I too have cruised with Seabourn, plus Silversea,  Regent and of course the real show stopper Hapag-Lloyd's Europa 2: all of whom offer outstanding dining experiences. Though the true advantages with the smaller luxury ships has to be their itineraries which accounts for my gradual move away from Cunard. 

 

The one  exception, where the ship comes above itinerary,  is of course Queen Mary 2 for Trans-Atlantic. I feel you have never truly tasted Cunard until you've done both ways.

 

But I digress from the OP.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Windsurfboy said:

 

 

Thanks for thoughts about smaller ships e.g. Seabourn. There is great appeal, especially in the smaller ports they can get into. I don't think we will go down the Regent route with excursions included as we like to do our own thing. I'm also 50:50 about the idea of all inclusive on the smaller luxury ships . Tend not to drink in the day, but at night I like to choose something special .

 

 

 

 

 

I had considered mentioning an MSC ship for your return journey from Cape Town but it would have depended if the particular ship(s) catering for that route had a 'Yacht Club' then, having spotted the above statement it would probably not been a good idea.

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13 hours ago, Solent Richard said:

 

I had considered mentioning an MSC ship for your return journey from Cape Town but it would have depended if the particular ship(s) catering for that route had a 'Yacht Club' then, having spotted the above statement it would probably not been a good idea.

 

 

Thanks, it's  pot luck coming back from wintering in SA, we need a ship going from Capetown to UK in either the last week or so of March or first two of April. Also want to go the quick way up the Atlantic,  not through Suez. We take what we can get , so far it's been only Cunard and P&O .

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On 9/15/2020 at 7:02 AM, Windsurfboy said:

Thanks for thoughts about smaller ships e.g. Seabourn. There is great appeal, especially in the smaller ports they can get into.

Seabourn (on their original triplets) and the QE2's Queens Grill used to be nearly identical back in the day-- would make sense too since they were both run by the same management. They even had the same waiter's uniforms with different logos in the collar. Since then, with the introduction of the larger Seabourn ships and the slight dumbing down of the Cunard Grills experience (when the QE2 went the Grill's food has never been quite as good IMO), they have diverged a bit but they still have a similar feel. 

 

Seabourn obviously isn't as formal as Cunard which is usually a plus for us. We tend to much prefer the small ship environment as well-- no matter how nice Cunard makes the Grills, you are still on a large ship with thousands of other people. We still love Cunard for their unique transatlantics, but pretty much limit our time with Cunard to those. The Seabourn ships are far superior in terms of itineraries and where they are able to go that larger ships cannot.

 

I think I might be tempted to consider Cunard over Seabourn on longer voyages (3-4 week plus) where having some extra venues might be a plus and outweigh having to share them with thousands of people. 

 

On 9/15/2020 at 7:02 AM, Windsurfboy said:

Tend not to drink in the day, but at night I like to choose something special .

Its also really nice, regardless of drinking habits, to never have to sign a bar chit or see the bill come at the end (yes, I realize that Cunard will occasionally include drinks for Grills). 

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14 hours ago, princeton123211 said:

Seabourn (on their original triplets) and the QE2's Queens Grill used to be nearly identical back in the day-- would make sense too since they were both run by the same management. They even had the same waiter's uniforms with different logos in the collar. Since then, with the introduction of the larger Seabourn ships and the slight dumbing down of the Cunard Grills experience (when the QE2 went the Grill's food has never been quite as good IMO), they have diverged a bit but they still have a similar feel. 

 

Seabourn obviously isn't as formal as Cunard which is usually a plus for us. We tend to much prefer the small ship environment as well-- no matter how nice Cunard makes the Grills, you are still on a large ship with thousands of other people. We still love Cunard for their unique transatlantics, but pretty much limit our time with Cunard to those. The Seabourn ships are far superior in terms of itineraries and where they are able to go that larger ships cannot.

 

I think I might be tempted to consider Cunard over Seabourn on longer voyages (3-4 week plus) where having some extra venues might be a plus and outweigh having to share them with thousands of people. 

 

Its also really nice, regardless of drinking habits, to never have to sign a bar chit or see the bill come at the end (yes, I realize that Cunard will occasionally include drinks for Grills). 

 

I fully concur Princeton.

 

Indeed, I mentioned that exact view two days ago # 10.

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18 hours ago, princeton123211 said:

Seabourn (on their original triplets) andy a plus for us. We tend to much prefer the small ship environment as well-- no matter how nice Cunard makes the Grills, you are still on a large ship with thousands of other people. We still love Cunard for their unique transatlantics, but pretty much limit our time with Cunard

 

I think I might be tempted to consider Cunard over Seabourn on longer voyages (3-4 week plus) where having some extra venues might be a plus and outweigh having to share them with thousands of people. 

 

 

Twice you mention thousands of fellow passengers. The QM2 carries about 2,600 pax, the other two about 2,000. OK there may well be extra children and so on, but, if you take out the Grill pax, that hardly leaves thousands. For that you need MSC or RCI ships. On Cunard, I find the ships so spacious, that, other than times like the end of lectures, they often seem more or less empty. I admit I never use the Lido, which may make a difference to my perception.

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1 hour ago, exlondoner said:

Twice you mention thousands of fellow passengers. The QM2 carries about 2,600 pax, the other two about 2,000.

I mean, not to be argumentative, but I think by simple definition that qualifies as thousands of passengers. It's not necessarily a knock against the Cunard ships, but when comparing them to a Seabourn ship that sails with 400 passengers, 2600 or 2000 passengers is a lot. 

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28 minutes ago, princeton123211 said:

I mean, not to be argumentative, but I think by simple definition that qualifies as thousands of passengers. It's not necessarily a knock against the Cunard ships, but when comparing them to a Seabourn ship that sails with 400 passengers, 2600 or 2000 passengers is a lot. 

 

Well, as you are being argumentive, two points. Thousands is, I agree plural, but, as generally used, tends to give the impression of more than a mere couple of thousands, rather a teeming mass. And saying you have to share the ship with thousands gives, I think, a rather false impression. Second, I have been on a river raise ship with a mere hundred odd aboard, and it felt very crowded compared to QV and her  'thousands', so the space ratio is really the issue. This is outstanding on the  Seabourn ships, but good enough on Cunard for the ships to seem almost empty a lot of the time, I find. 😀

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3 minutes ago, exlondoner said:

good enough on Cunard for the ships to seem almost empty a lot of the time, I find. 😀

"Good enough" and "almost" are words of compromise. The whole value proposition for Seabourn, and other small luxury ships like them, is there is virtually no compromise. The lowest category accommodation onboard a Seabourn ship is slightly nicer than the lowest category Queens Grill suite on a Cunard ship, the main dining room is equal to the Queens Grill in quality on a Cunard ship, sharing the ship with hundreds of passengers vs thousand(s), accessing smaller more specialized ports vs being regulated to those that large ships need to dock at, etc. 

 

Again-- I think Cunard has a sweet spot and we enjoy traveling on their ships in certain circumstances (mainly transat), but the original question was about comparing the experience on Seabourn vs Cunard Grills and while there are some subtle similarities, they are totally different products. 

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13 hours ago, princeton123211 said:

"Good enough" and "almost" are words of compromise. The whole value proposition for Seabourn, and other small luxury ships like them, is there is virtually no compromise. The lowest category accommodation onboard a Seabourn ship is slightly nicer than the lowest category Queens Grill suite on a Cunard ship, the main dining room is equal to the Queens Grill in quality on a Cunard ship, sharing the ship with hundreds of passengers vs thousand(s), accessing smaller more specialized ports vs being regulated to those that large ships need to dock at, etc. 

 

Again-- I think Cunard has a sweet spot and we enjoy traveling on their ships in certain circumstances (mainly transat), but the original question was about comparing the experience on Seabourn vs Cunard Grills and while there are some subtle similarities, they are totally different products. 

 

With respect, aren't you also paying twice as much for a basic cabin on Seabourn as for a 'lowest category Queens Grill suite'? In which case, it would be expected that the quality were higher.

 

 

 

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Surely compromise is the key to everything.  Smaller ships can access a greater variety of ports, but, if caught in severe storm,  will be far less comfortable than bigger ships. So you have to compromise and risk a night feeling like death for a small and interesting port.

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21 hours ago, princeton123211 said:

...The lowest category accommodation onboard a Seabourn ship is slightly nicer than the lowest category Queens Grill suite on a Cunard ship...

I'm curious - what is your criterion for "slightly nicer?" 

 

The lowest category accommodation on Seabourn is an Oceanview, approximately 295 square feet with no outside space (it does have a rather large window). The lowest category Queens Grill on Cunard, according to the latest Grills brochure I saw, is 484 square feet on QV and QE, 505 square feet on QM2. All of those have good-sized balconies (size varies by location). That definitely gives the advantage to Cunard on accommodations, judged by two of my personal criteria of preferring more space and having a balcony.

 

My experience on the two lines was that there wasn't a significant difference in decor and furnishings between them. That is according to my taste, of course, whereas you may have felt there was a difference. Everyone has different criteria, though, so I am always interested to see what other people value as compared to my own preferences.

 

For the record, I thoroughly enjoyed transatlantic crossings - which negates the difference in which ports can be visited - on both Seabourn (lowest verandah category, which did not have a full glass front balcony) and QM2 (PG and lowest QG on separate crossings). Totally different experience on each, both of which I'd be willing to repeat.

 

Edited by ExArkie
Corrected an error

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13 hours ago, LittleFish1976 said:

With respect, aren't you also paying twice as much for a basic cabin on Seabourn as for a 'lowest category Queens Grill suite'? In which case, it would be expected that the quality were higher.

No, not necessarily. In fact there are times that Seabourn is much less than Cunard Queens Grill. Take the QM2's April 26th departure, 7 day transat from New York-- lowest category Queens Grill suite is $5400 per person. Seabourn Odyssey's similarly timed 7 day Caribbean is $3400 per person in their lowest grade verandah suite. And thats not a fluke-- Seabourn, with the exception of holiday sailings is at least very competitive, if not sometimes below, Cunard QG pricing. Which is why we have such a hard time choosing Cunard except for things they do uniquely like transatlantics. 

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4 hours ago, ExArkie said:

That definitely gives the advantage to Cunard on accommodations, judged by two of my personal criteria of preferring more space and having a balcony.

The bathrooms are a big selling point for me, especially on longer trips, and Seabourn wins here hands down. Large bathrooms with separate glass shower and soaking tub as well as two sinks. Have you tried climbing in and out of those large tub/shower combos on QM2?

 

I agree with you that the balcony in QG is a bit longer and nicer. But overall, while larger, I don't think the Queens Suites have as much usable space. I think the Seabourn suites are just better laid out with a comfortable sitting/dining area etc where Queens Suites devote space to silly things like that wet bar with the glassware in it, large vanity, writing desk (that you have to pull the other chair from the vanity and reposition the desk to eat at, which is all its good for) etc. 

 

 

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We were in a Penthouse suite which has the worst bathroom we have ever had on a so called luxury cruise which the QM 2  QG was not. 

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Thought I'd update you and perhaps surprise you with the conclusion  of my search for a 2022 cruise to complement  Cunard ended up somewhere I never thought of.

 

Still have Q.V. booked for  2022 coming back from Capetown.  Still want to leave time in 2022 to go to see grandchildren in Australia later in year, so that left,  late May, June  and July. We want sun but not a fly cruise. 

 

After reading SolentRichard's, excellent blog about the new Saga spirit of discovery,  and seeing a very interesting intinerary chose a black sea cruise out of Southampton. Some very interesting ports in the Med and Black sea.

 

Saga has repositioned upmarket, new ships new positioning, new (higher) price point,  starts 20% above Brittania club,  through to 20% QG but more included. They are all balcony smallish ships , 58000 tons only 1000 passengers (actually 999 so it can be called  small ship), space ratio 58 compared to 34 for  QE/V, and   44 for QM, nearer to Seaborn's 64. Cabins are a bit bigger than Brittania club through to QG. One sitting for meals, same table every night if you want it.

 

Thinking about the class debates on Cunard forum , there is a much smaller spread of cabins sizes and prices on Saga, price range 2 to 1 c.f cunard range 4 to1 . All dinning rooms open to everyone. Not as formal as Cunard on normal nights , no jacket , but proper shirts required, however 2 or more formal nights a week with very high compliance .

 

My plan is to keep Cunard as a core, but explore new lines. Long way to go to catch up with SolentRichard

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