Author: Hugh Mc Comb
Have just completed a 12 night Greek Island and Holy Land cruise starting on 9th November 2013. This was excellent and it is a pity Cunard are not repeating it again in 2014. We did the tour to Jerusalem / Bethlehem which was excellent along with our guide Hughie I don't think he could had shown us much more. It was a hectic day leaving the ship at 0730hrs returning 2100hrs but we would do it again, our second trip was to Nazareth / Galilee what an emotional experience all round. Having been on the Queen Elizabeth in July to the Fjords we looked forward to sailing with Captain Wells and his crew, just a pleasure.The food was to the usual standard in all locations, enjoyed the themed nights but the ambiance of the Britannia Restaurant was excellent. The waiters serving us looked a bit tired and it was hard to get a smile out of them but this did not distract from the excellent service, disappointed with some of the stakes but after speaking to the Head Waiter he assured us the Head Chef was aware and would be addressing this with the suppliers. The standard of shows was in keeping with the west end with beautiful costumes and excellent stage layouts. I agree the main down side is flying to/from Rome plus we had an overnight in Heathrow which was a drag. At Rome Airport the queue for immigration was ridiculous, Cunard need to address this on a urgent basis. The transfer from the airport to the ship was effortless, the coach journey was just over an hour. Departure from Rome was a nightmare for some. We were lucky to get in the queue early but had to stand for nearly two hours as no seating was available. Would not consider going from Rome again sticking with Southampton. The wait was over a hour. It seemed to us that Cunard wanted to get us off the ship early and we were on a coach for the airport at 10.30 a.m. for a flight at 3 p.m. We arrived at the airport at 11.15 a.m. and the BA check-in desks did not open until noon and then they only had 2 desks open. Later they increased that to 4 desks. One solution would be to allow passengers to stay on board a bit longer and then stagger the transfer of passengers to the airport and also to get BA to lay on more check in staff. The airport arrival and departures spoilt what was otherwise a great cruise and we will now think very carefully before taking a cruise from Rome.