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Cunard the Odd Duck


JT1101
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Cunard is in many ways the "odd duck" in the world of passenger lines. For example:

 - You won't find water parks, go carts  or other theme park items on a Cunard ship. Cunard leans into the classical passenger ship motifs of decor and layout. 

 - Cunard ships don't fall into the "party ship" category (Hopefully this stays true with Queen Anne). The activity focus is more on old school cruise items with an emphasis on enrichment programmes. 

 - Cunard embraces a kind of "formalism" and respect for history and traditions. All of their ships have a bit of a feel of a museum in places. They have a real history and share it openly. They take their formal nights seriously. 

Also...

 - Cunard has a fantastically high repeat rate (guests who sail Cunard over and over). They also have a phenomenon where you are seeing multiple generations sailing Cunard (they sail it, their parents sailed it and so on). 
 - Cunard has its own subculture. There is a whole thread here about what a Cunarder is (the nickname goes back to Queen Mary). The stability of the crew on the ships leads to people knowing the crew and vice versa. 

Sure we'll kvetch on here about things we see we feel could be better; but even that shows we care. We have an investment that is not monetary. 

Just some thought about our odd duck - and in part why it is the best!
 

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Agree very much with this sentiment.  We've sailed on some of these gigantics of the sea (!) and whilst I freely admit that we did enjoy the cruises - please don't shoot me - we have always returned to Cunard where we feel very much at home.  Only 3 weeks until we board the Queen Victoria, but who's counting?!!

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I tried P&O and Princess this year after 12 trips on Cunard and I probably won't be back unless I see a good deal. It's not even that there was anything wrong with the cruises I took. But they weren't Cunard and boy was I glad to get that 'welcome home' feeling when I got on the QV last month.

 

Roll on the Queen Anne maiden, then QM2 in June and QV in October!

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7 hours ago, babs135 said:

Agree very much with this sentiment.  We've sailed on some of these gigantics of the sea (!) and whilst I freely admit that we did enjoy the cruises - please don't shoot me - we have always returned to Cunard where we feel very much at home.  Only 3 weeks until we board the Queen Victoria, but who's counting?!!

Don't worry no shooting. Of course other cruise lines can be enjoyable and they pursue their chosen audiences the best ways they know how - as does Cunard. Cunard is our "Odd Duck" simply because it's chosen path has been one that embraces the history and traditions, embraces elegance and is not going for either the "theme park" or "party" ship experiences. 

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21 minutes ago, JT1101 said:

Don't worry no shooting. Of course other cruise lines can be enjoyable and they pursue their chosen audiences the best ways they know how - as does Cunard. Cunard is our "Odd Duck" simply because it's chosen path has been one that embraces the history and traditions, embraces elegance and is not going for either the "theme park" or "party" ship experiences. 

I think 'party ship' all depends on a subjective definition.

 

I have been on cruises where parts of the itinerary were two and four day shorties and on our last cruise, I would say the last four days qualified for my definition of a party cruise.

Definitely a different vibe!

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Well, this “Old Duck” just reported its highest ever number of guest bookings over the Black Friday period. Source: Reuters. 
QA Med cruise bookings “gathering pace” according to Cunard. 
 

To be fair, Princess and HAL also had record bookings. 
 

Edited by NE John
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1 hour ago, Victoria2 said:

I think 'party ship' all depends on a subjective definition.

 

I have been on cruises where parts of the itinerary were two and four day shorties and on our last cruise, I would say the last four days qualified for my definition of a party cruise.

Definitely a different vibe!

Yep! Generally speaking a party ship is one like Carnival or Virgin like to do where you have big parties going on every night on deck that frequently are also raves. Cunard parties tend to be more "refined". 

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We love "duck", but also enjoy cornish hen, turkey, goose and the occasional red meat.

We are looking forward to being back on the QM2 this month, but we're also cruising with Regent and occasionally Silver Sea. All are different but the same in that they offer good food, great itineraries, and lovely passengers. Non of the above are as huge as the QM2.

Some people are totally loyal to one particular cruise line or ship, but we like to change the menu up, depending on destination and cost. With the track being so fast with so many choices, it depends on what you like. There are no bad choices these days.

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In some ways I would love to try Cunard, we only usually enjoy smaller ships. Sticking points are overpriced beverage package, (l'm not hauling my own wine on a cruise), traditional dining, (I want to eat with my beloved when he feels like it) dresscode. On a formal night on Princess I leave our inside cabin in a floor length gown hair up,  and tiria, my husband wears, super sexy jeans, a dress shirt, vintage silk waistcoat and an antique silver bolo tie. We can go anywhere on the ship and no one judges us. 

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7 minutes ago, Host Hattie said:

There's no need to buy a beverage package or haul your own wine, just pay as you go.

I did the sums and for us the cost would be prohibitive, we enjoy our wine - if you don't judge our drinking we won't judge your clothes!

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24 minutes ago, Catchum said:

I did the sums and for us the cost would be prohibitive, we enjoy our wine - if you don't judge our drinking we won't judge your clothes!

I believe the package is currently $70 per person per day for cruises of 5 days and over if booked in advance. That gives you up to 15 drinks per day and includes the 15% service charge. Plus it covers real coffees soft drinks and bottled water.

Would you drink the wines by the glass that are included in the package?

And how much cheaper would a similar package be on Princess?

Edited by D&N
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5 minutes ago, D&N said:

I believe the package is currently $70 per person per day for cruises of 5 days and over if booked in advance. That gives you up to 15 drinks per day and includes the 15% service charge. Plus it covers real coffees soft drinks and bottled water.

Would you drink the wines by the glass that are included in the package?

And how much cheaper would a similar package be on Princess?

Currently Princess plus is $60 a day which covers daily crew tips/service charge/gratuities, alcohol (with service charge) coffee, water, juice etc. and unlimited wifi.

 

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Sounds a fair bit cheaper if all tips and wifi are included. Although I can't find that deal searching on Google. What I've found suggests it's increased to $64.99 + 18%. But that's not from Princess itself so I wouldn't trust it to be correct.

From what I've seen of their wine lists I wouldn't consider drinking many of their wines. Our travel agent has been on their ships a few times this year and posted hundreds of photos on Facebook, including menus. Generally apart from sparkling I don't normally drink anything other than French.

We sailed with Princess once 25 years ago when our tastes were different and enjoyed it.

 

We only want to sail on QM2 anyway so have no choice but to pay up!

 

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Jt1101- could not have said it better. I really hope they keep that way. There lots and lots of Partyships with all those gadgets. They may be perfect for families with children and Party all day all night long -cruisers.

This Odd Duck feeling is what makes " Cunarders" and me - coming back. I still struggle to book Queen Anne- curious that I am - I don´t see a propper Prom- Deck there...so- QM2 stays first choice QE and QV-next up. The ocaissonal Celebrity Cruise thrown in- even though they went in the direction of Partyships in the last decade, which made me cruise with Cunard more and more.

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7 hours ago, D&N said:

I believe the package is currently $70 per person per day for cruises of 5 days and over if booked in advance. That gives you up to 15 drinks per day and includes the 15% service charge. Plus it covers real coffees soft drinks and bottled water.

Would you drink the wines by the glass that are included in the package?

And how much cheaper would a similar package be on Princess?

 

I took a 5 day cruise a few weeks ago on Princess to try it out. Firstly, their packages are convoluted and confusing. From what I can understand, to take advantage of the wifi + drinks+ gratuities (for US market only the latter element) + other nonsense, you purchase a particular fare which includes those things. You can buy a drinks package alone but that doesn't include the other components - only the drinks (not the wifi etc).

 

I purchased the fare which included the whole shebang. Before I boarded they changed what the package included to great international uproar. Once I got onboard, and note that I had the highest level of package so could access the better range of drinks, I found that there were only four red wines on the list, only one of which they had in stock. The cocktails I found impossible to drink as they were made with such a sickly sweet pre-mix that they were like one of those kids' frozen drinks. Impossible to drink let alone enjoy. The package was not cheap but impossible post facto to say how much more it was per day than the regular fare but it was above the cost of the Cunard drinks package (the inclusions of which I find perfectly fine).

 

The list price of the drinks on the Princess ship I thought were very high. I wasn't paying per drink as I had the built in package but I wouldn't have paid what they were asking without it. I won't repeat the experience particularly as I found the food very much not to my taste.

 

I know a lot of people rave about that line but to my taste Cunard is no more expensive in terms of money and much better value in terms of enjoyment. I've tried to be a little restrained in my assessment as I understand it is all very subjective and this is just my opinion. As far as Cunard drinks being expensive I just don't believe they compare unfavourably with other lines.

 

 

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I honestly don’t think Cunard drinks are that expensive compared with, say, a London bar or restaurant. And remember, you get served at your table, provided with hot canapés, if you are lucky, and, from the Commodore Club at least, have the best view in the world. In fact the wine prices compare very well with the traditional hotel we sometimes stay at in Devon.

Edited by exlondoner
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I don’t drink much but my adult children who like a cocktail  a beer and glasses of Prosecco were happy with the prices and felt thy compared favourably to what they pay in the sort of establishments they frequent. Interestingly the Cunard beer is brewed at an Artisan Brewery a short walk from where they live but sadly not available for sale as it’s both my son in laws go to beer when onboard.  

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The ingredients used in and skillful preparation of cocktails in Cunard are literally top-shelf and worth any slight premium. The drinks served onboard rival any high end bar in NYC at half the price of NYC drinks. Plus, Cunard uses Fever Tree and Fentiman’s mixers for cocktails. The best. Period. 
The beer and ale selections on Cunard appeal to me over what I see on other lines too, especially the ale names we can’t get here. 
Why go on vacation to have a Budweiser? Try something different. 
 

Edited by NE John
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