8 things you should know before cruising with Cunard
I recently went on my first ever Cunard cruise, there were quite a few things which surprised me about the cruise line and the cruise ships. This blog post is what I started this blog for. I came back from the Cunard cruise and just thought ‘Why did nobody tell me any of this stuff?!’
Below are 8 things which I wish I knew before cruising with Cunard.
1) You have a set meal time and a set table
You don’t necessarily have to eat there and then but if you want to eat dinner in a main restaurant then this is the only option. Eating in alternative restaurants, the pub or buffet are also options, but the food isn’t normally as good. If you’re in a couple or small group you may be placed on a table with somebody else, we were a group of four so had our own table. I did see some couples at their own tables so this may be something which you’re able to request when booking. I didn’t really like the set time and table, it would have been nice to have been able to sit in different parts of the restaurant. This is the main reason that I usually choose freestyle dining but I do understand that a lot of people like this.
2) The dress code for formal nights is strict and informal nights are still pretty formal.
For the formal nights men have to wear a dinner jacket, shirt and tie. Women wear a nice dress or ‘stylish separates’ as they say. The dress code I would describe as any outfit you would wear to a prom/wedding. Everybody dresses up and anybody who doesn’t stands out, I doubt the staff would comment if you were dress inadequately but it may prompt a few disapproving glances from other guests.
The formal nights tend to be on the sea days, I suppose to give you hours to prepare. There are also informal nights but Cunards definition of ‘informal’ is still more formal than you’d wear in your normal day-to-day life. The only difference really is that the tie is optional for men, and women can wear any nice dress as opposed to a ball gown. I’ve read many posts on cruise critic where people say that another guest wearing chinos would ruin their holiday! Some people seem to take the dress code extremely seriously.
3) The dress code includes most public places after 6pm
Asides from the buffet and conservatory the dress code extends around the ship after 6pm. I had no idea that this would be the case before I cruised Cunard. The idea behind creating an atmosphere does make sense but being unable to go into public areas because you forget your jacket was quite annoying. I really did begin to miss my jeans!
4) 24 hour room service – and its free!!
One of the best things about Cunard without a doubt is that the room service is free and available 24 hours a day. Meaning that if you don’t fancy getting dressed up you can sit on your balcony and enjoy a really good burger. You can also pre-order a room service breakfast the night before, always good. I was really craving a burger when onboard, room service was the only place that managed to satisfy this craving.
5) There is a laundry on board – and its free!!
Each floor of cabins has its own laundry. A cruise is of course not for doing laundry but it’s nice to be able to iron out any creases in your dinner shirt. If you wanted to do this on other cruise lines I have been on there has been no option other than to pay for the service. I never found that I had to wait to use the laundry room.
6) Cunard ships are quiet
I’m not sure if this was just the cruise I was on but the cruise felt so quiet. You could sit in the evening having a drink and not see another guest. Very different from what I have experienced on larger ships where you’re fighting for a seat at the bar. Even on the at sea days the ship never seemed busy. I was always left wondering ‘where is everybody?!’
7) Mostly aimed at the older generation
Cunard try their best to engage the younger audience by having informal 18-30 get togethers. They even have a DJ called DJ Graham which I think sums up perfectly their attempt to connect with the younger audience. As expected most of the activities on board are about knitting, bridge or ballroom dancing. I did enjoy the afternoon tea. What Cunard do they do extremely well, I’m not sure however that I am their target audience.
8) No corkage fee
Unlike other larger cruise lines I have been on, on Cunard you can bring on alcohol/wine onboard at no extra charge. Maybe this explained why the bars were always so empty.
Have you ever cruised Cunard? Did you know about these things? Please let me know in the comments.
THE TRANSATLANTIC CROSSING WITH CUNARD – THE CRUISING BAKER
Thanks for that Emma, good tips!
I have been on the P&0 the fantastic Regent
Explorer. I am going on the QM with my daughter which should have been her 40th present to see her brother/my son in New York but Covid came along snd was postponed. I was a bit concerned it may be a bit stuffy for her but she does interact with everyone. We both like to have a good time but love will the sophistication of the dining snd afternoon teas. However, I was glad to hear that you mentioned bern able to bring our own wine as I just assumed we could not do this so I wonder if there policy had changed. At the moment she doesn’t really have any cruise outfits snd doubt whether she could afford much, although I will try to help her out. Your blog has helped me think about this.
Friday 21st of January 2022
What level of cabin did you have? On the website it appears that free 24/hr room service begins at Brittania Club level.
Tuesday 9th of April 2019
Hi Emma thks for reply.. I’ve been in touch with our booking agency it’s another £3, 250.00pp to upgrade.. not sure my husband and I would get more value than
our booked balcony suite?? Hopefully be able to take
few bottles on board in Cape Town..
Sunday 7th of April 2019
Hi has anyone done the Cape Town to Perth cruise?? It’s a 16 day cruise with only 3 days in ports. We’ve been offered to upgrade to Queens grill, we’ve paid for a cabin with a balcony.
Will this be worth it, re having free drinks?? Do we get a bigger cabin? Will we have sun beds on the balcony on either cabins??
Emma Le Teace
Sunday 7th of April 2019
Thanks for your comment. Are you on Facebook? I don't know the answer to your questions but we have over 4000 members in our Facebook group who may be able to help. If not, drop me an email at email@example.com and I'll try and find out the answers!
Sunday 13th of January 2019
Useful blog- thank you. There appears to be some conflicting information about whether one is allowed to take alcohol on board. Our understanding is one bottle of wine per person is permitted . Are you able to clarify this? Thanks.
Emma Le Teace
Sunday 13th of January 2019
Hey Phil! I'm getting really mixed messages about this one too. It seems like one bottle is definitely okay but most people I've asked in our Facebook group have been taking on whatever they want in Southampton without any trouble. It sounds like it's a different story in the other ports though.
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