In this article we will discuss Cunard Line, which is known for its luxury cruises with a sense of occasion and heritage. It will cover Cunard’s dress code and everything else you need to know if you are looking at booking your first Cunard Voyage.
About Cunard Line
For more than 175 years Cunard Line has been defining luxury ocean travel. With its ‘Three Queens’, its has a very young fleet of ships, and a fourth due to join in 2022. From the ocean liners of yesteryear to the present, Cunard’s philosophy is that travel is to be savoured and crossing the oceans should be a majestic and memorable experience – this isn’t about getting somewhere fast, its about the journey and arriving in style.
The current Cunard fleet consists of three ships, known fondly as the ‘Three Queens’. Their largest ship is the one of a kind RMS Queen Mary 2. QM2 is defined as an ‘ocean liner’ rather than as cruise ship, she’s designed to cross the Atlantic, designed to take a beating by the seas while providing the upmost comfort and luxury to her passenger’s. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, which are sisters complete the line-up of the current Cunard fleet.
Steeped in history, and this shows on all their ships. Sailing with Cunard isn’t just a holiday, its an experience. Even with some of the youngest ships at sea this isn’t all glitz and ‘bling’ – its traditional style and Cunard’s roots show wherever you are on the ship. From Embarkation when you are welcomed onboard by the signature Cunard Bellboys, the history and art dotted around their ships along with their program of activities such as educational talks and seminar’s really make Cunard stand out. There is even a planetarium onboard QM2, the only one at sea.
You can learn to tango in the Queens Room and not worry if your other half can’t dance, there are even hosts onboard specifically there to dance with you.
Don’t miss a Cunard Afternoon tea – being served those little sandwiches and cakes by your white gloved waiter as a string quartet plays in the background is magical. You can even opt for champagne to make it feel really special.
Cunard ships still to this day operate a class system, regular passengers are given Britannia Staterooms, but those wishing for something special can opt for The Grills, here you can experience the very best Cunard has to offer in one of the Grill Suites and dedicated restaurant and lounge.
When it comes to dining, the very grand Britannia restaurant on all the ships offers a very elegant experience, superb surroundings with food to match. Those wanting something special can make a reservation at the Verandah restaurant for an additional charge, cuisine which is out of this world.
Fare and Prices
Fares vary by cruise, the standard fare being the ‘Cunard Fare’ – requiring only 15% deposit, you are offered a choice of stateroom numbers and given priority for upgrades. Cunard operate a set dining of 6pm or 8pm, so by selecting Cunard Fare you are given priority choice of what dining time you would like and for cruises of 7 nights or more there are additional benefits such as Onboard Credit, car parking or coach transfer.
Cunard also offer two saver fares, the Early saver and Saver fare. The early saver gives you less choice, still only required a 15% deposit, while the Saver fare is usually sold nearer departure and requires full payment at time of booking.
The currency onboard a Cunard’s ships is US dollars. Passengers are able to settle their account via Debit or Credit card or in cash at reception. Read more about setting your account at https://cruisemonkeys.com/settling-onboard
Cunard Dress code
What to wear or the dress code can be seen to be formal compared to other cruise lines – it certainly is more traditional. You are onboard a Cunard ship, steeped in history, dating back to the time the Top hat and Tails were common place at dinner – think Titanic. Fast forward to the present and the dress code is far more relaxed, but a dinner jacket is required for men and a cocktail dress or stylish separates for ladies. On formal nights the ship will be full of men wearing tuxedos and women in their elegant cocktail dresses.
Gratuities and Service Charges
Cunard charges a daily service charge / gratuity as follows:
Britannia Grade Staterooms $11.50
Grills Suites $13.50
All bar purchases also have a 15% gratuity added on top of the price advertised in the menu.
As previously mentioned, Cunard have a 6pm and 8pm sitting in the Britannia restaurant. All guests will be assigned their dining by Cunard, but depending on fare you can request specific seating and table size.
Those booking a Britannia Club stateroom have more flexibility and can dine any time between 6:30pm and 9pm, known as Freedom or ‘Any Time’ dining on some other cruise lines.
Grills Suite guests have a dedicated restaurant, where they are able to dine any time they wish, or thy can choose to dine in the open on the Grills Terrace.
All guests can book speciality dining experiences in the Verandah – we have sampled this on all ships and all we can say is the food in Britannia is very good but the Verandah is exceptional – truly out of this world.
So, there you have it, a quick guide to Cunard – if you are looking to book your first Cunard Cruise or are eagerly anticipating your next cruise, we hope this has helped. Make sure you check out our YouTube for our videos of each of the Cunard ship, we also have a blog post about our QV cruise which you can find here.
And finally, if you would like to see all three ships together make sure you check out our video where you can see all three in Southampton in January 2016 before they were due to leave on their world voyages.