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Gene Wijffels

Age: 51

Occupation:Manager

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Cunard

Ship: Queen Mary 2

Sailing Date: 2013-03-28

Itinerary: Singapore-Brisbane

My only other cruise has been with the Sea princess around NZ in 2012. Naturally I have compared the services on the QM2 (on a voyage from Singapore to Brisbane over Feb-March 2013) with that of the Sea Princess.

My critique is as follows:

The good: the beautifully appointed QM2 has superior

Wine list with restaurant rate pricing

Coffee is good if you ask for the better option (i.e. espressos and cappuccinos although some staff did not know the appropriate cup for an espresso)

State room space

Lounges and bars (esp. the Golden Lion pub)

The Britannia restaurant food and service was very good

Lecture programs and lecturers

The Planetarium is lots of fun

And cruising stability for those that need it

The bad: and it's really bad:

The King's Court buffet restaurant is an anachronism in layout, presentation and food. Poor design and poor food offerings. No better that a department store cafeteria from the 1970-80s era. Go and get some tips for the Sea Princess.

Worse still were the buckets of dirty water and accompanying filthy mops left right beside tables and guests. Disgusting!

Your shore excursion/tour people are disorganised, uncaring, unhelpful, uninformative and disingenuous. They fabricate fascinating excuses and obfuscate over problems rather than attempt to solve them.

Furthermore, their hands-off attitude to people with mobility problems is breathtaking! They have seemed to have no realisation that there is a continuum of mobility issues and that there are just not 2 categories: wheelchair or no wheelchair! They have placed a pall over the whole voyage for us. Once again get lessons from the Sea Princess where a practised eye by the tour department leader/manager could quickly identity and give alternate instructions to those that may walk more slowly or could not walk any great distance.

Your internet site is another anachronism! Slow, clumsy and unstable. As a person working 10-14 h a day I do not have the time or patience to spend hours on your unresponsive and poorly presented website. I attempted three times to book shore excursions online but with the system being slow and unstable I gave up. I have conversed with many others on the voyage and most people had similar issues with your site globally not just Brisbane or Australia. When I finally did get the time and the site stability to book all 16 excursions for my mother and I, the process took 45 minutes! But at least the bookings were done! Or I had thought so! When I board in Singapore however, I am curious that we received no shore excursion tickets. So I queue up with your Tour department office only to find out that the bookings did not go through!! I was quite angry. I had to rebook shipboard though your office now at shipboard prices! On receiving the tickets, 4 are missing. So queue up once more and book the missing 4 shore excursions. I enquired and followed up 10 days later about getting the shipboard price reduced to the internet price. Well the obfuscation over that was impressive. Another story! Toward the end of the voyage, I spoke to the tour department manager about the site and she admitted that in contrast, the Princess website is fantastic! As a customer, I find the Princess website is standard. This level of flexibility, responsiveness, information, stability and speed is an expectation of any on-line consumer!

The co-operation/co-ordination between your services! I complained to the Pursers office over the above booking issue; the response was "Oh that's tour department's problem". On complaining to the Pursers office about the website and its issues, the staff member was surprised that there was an issue. How is that possible when so many people I spoke to from several locations and countries also had issues with the site? In discussing the website with Tour department, "Oh that's the IT department".

On asking about how they might pass this feedback to the company, "they would try". It seems at that they also are victims of the system and higher management. This passing the buck attitude is not an effective business practice and does nothing for the Cunard brand. It is unfortunate that the Cunard line brands itself as giving a superior offerings but not delivering on expectations. Resting on old laurels? Speaking to other travellers on that voyage it is apparent that several competitors have as good as or very similar quality offerings. Admittedly, there are differences in coffee and wine offerings, and amenities. This beautiful ship, QM2, has been let down.

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