This is a rather cheeky look at things to do on board a typical Cunard cruise to get your imagination going. These are written with tongue in cheek and present things for you to have a laugh at or to do on board that you may not have though of or have thought of but have never said! Here goes:
- 1 Attend the sailaway parties with a camera!
Many people miss out on this as they are busy acquainting themselves with the ship, unpacking and getting ready for dinner on the first night. Definitely leave these things till later. This is a great way to check out your fellow cruisers, spot the likely characters of the cruise and meet people. Ask them to take a picture of you and offer to take pictures for others. As the band strikes up and the party atmosphere gets going – try out the cocktail of the day. Sail away parties are always held on the aft pool deck of all all 3 ships. The setting and photos from here can be very picturesque with the wake of the ship, the setting sun and your last destination disappearing in to the distance. Plus sail away party photos are a good measure of what you looked like at the start of the cruise!
- 2 Have a Pre-breakfast in bed every morning
This is an absolute luxury and a great way to wake up in the morning. Fill out your room service card before you go to bed at night and hang it outside your door (room service is FREE). Even if you plan to have breakfast in one of the main restaurants – perhaps just order a cup of tea. As we all know there is nothing like a cup of tea in bed!
You don’t have to book treatments to use the facilities of the spa but there is usually an entrance charge. Instead of booking daily you can book a spa pass for the length of your cruise to save money on the daily entrance fee. As the entrance fee keeps the crowds away – it is usually a quiet relaxing place. This is well worth it particularly if you want a tranquil wallow in the thermal pool, read a book or maybe do suduko in peace & quite on a lounger in a fluffy bathrobe. Perhaps use the sauna, steam room or have one of those invigorating showers. The Canyon Ranch spa on board Queen Mary 2 has a large thermal pool with bubbling spring areas and an underwater communal lounger plus a separate hot tub pool. The Royal Spas on board Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth have a thermal relaxation chamber with heated loungers overlooking the sea. These two sister ships also have free saunas in each of the changing rooms for the fitness centre.
This can be fun as an unofficial bar crawl. On Cunard ships it is a challenge with many bars onboard all very stylish to suit different moods. This is for a bit of lively entertainment in the evening if you don’t fancy the show – plus you have not got far to go home!!! Key drinking establishments include:
- The Golden Lion pub serving traditional English Pub Grub at lunch time, pints of bitter, Karaoke and pub quizzes.
- The Commodore Club for a perfect cocktail in stylish Art Deco surroundings accompanied by a Pianist.
- The Chart room is a great place for a pre dinner aperitif accompanied by a string quartet.
- The Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar for a true indulgence.
- 5 Have formal photo’s taken!
This is great for filling up spare moments during the cruise and can be rather hilarious. Photographers around the ship will offer to take your picture before dinner when you are dressed in your finery with no obligation to buy. There are usually an ever changing variety of back drops to choose from – a fake New York city skyline or Titanic grand staircase or huge picture of the ship to an ornate flower display or simply a white canvas. This then gives you an excuse to seek out your picture in the photo gallery (or rogues gallery as we call it). In so doing you can see everyone else’s picture which is a great talking point. You might spot who is travelling who and have a giggle some pictures that have not turned out quite right. Play spot the bad ones – perhaps a grimace at the wrong time or the top of a palm tree sticking out of someone’s head from the back drop behind.
- 6 Have Breakfast & Lunch in the Britannia Restaurant
Many people prefer to limit the formality of the main restaurant to dinner only – choosing to have breakfast and lunch in the casual buffet restaurants ( Lido on Queen Elizabeth & Victoria or Kings court on Queen mary 2).. Because of this the Britannia restaurants on the Cunard ships are not as busy as they normally are for Dinner and the atmosphere is surprisingly tranquil. During breakfast and lunch the Britannia restaurants have open seating where breakfast is cooked to order and the choice of menu at lunch time is excellent.
- 7 Gatecrash Cocktail Parties.
This one is a bit naughty – but if you have ever attended a cocktail party on board ask yourself: “How many times have you been asked to see your invitation?”
- 8 Try out any Free alternative dining venues at night.
Cunard is keen to encourage you to try out their alternative dining venues for dinner instead of the Britannia restaurant. Visit the Todd English restaurants on Board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria or the Veranda restaurant on board Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth. There is a charge for these of $30 per person. It is well worth trying them out particularly if you have received bonus on board credit. However – there are also FREE alternative evening dining options in a section of the buffet restaurants at night. A part of the self service buffet restaurant in the evening is converted to waiter service with set tables, tablecloths and menus. These are very good and give you even more variety to your evening meal choices on board such as Indian, French, Asian Fusion, Thai, Steakhouse and Italian.
- 9 Have a cocktail at sunset in a hot tub.
Ahhh – Only on a cruise! As your fellow cruisers are running off back to their cabins to get ready for dinner – chill out and head for the hot tub by the pool instead. Try out another of those cocktails of the day and watch the sunset for a relaxed start to an unhurried evening.
- 10 Attend the Nightclub on the 2nd night and the penultimate night of the cruise.
Most people are too tired to go the nightclub on the first night of the cruise. But lots are tempted to explore the atmosphere on the 2nd night – however if it’s quiet many do not return. Therefore take the opportunity to be a night owl for once, put your dancing shoes on and let your hair down. By this time of the night people are much more relaxed and it’s a great way to make friends. Similarly on the last night of the cruise the nightclub tends to be virtually empty as everyone has packed and are getting ready to depart early the following morning. So the penultimate night of the cruise is when things really get going – inhibitions are thrown aside, the dad dancing is hilarious, requests for popular tunes are in abundance and it’s the prefect way to celebrate an enjoyable cruise.