Cunard cruise line review

Old world charm aboard elegant ships.

Cunard is the longest running passenger cruise line in existence, founded in 1840, and still it oozes pomp and old world charm. Its traditional sailing experience features classical concerts and enriching lectures rather than water slides and casinos. Passengers staying in suites eat in a separate dining room than passengers in regular staterooms — a throwback to Titanic-era distinction.

If your idea of the perfect vacation involves afternoon tea and a ballroom dance or two, Cunard — serene and sophisticated — is worth considering.

3 ships

Number of ships



Price matches


Target demographic Seniors, Honeymooners, Singles, Disabled
Number of ships 3 ships
Contact options Phone, Email
Payment options Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card
Deposit required Deposit at checkout
Deposit required No price matching
Food Food included
Drink No free alcohol
Room service Room service included

Where do Cunard cruises depart from?

Cunard is based on the southern coast of England, and is perhaps best known for its transatlantic sailings, from Southampton to New York in seven nights. But it also offers itineraries that depart from ports around the world. Here’s where you can sail from:

  • Cunard currently sails from:Baltimore, Barbados, Barcelona, Bermuda, Charleston, Copenhagen, Dover, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, Honolulu, Jacksonville, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Mobile, New Orleans, New York City, Norfolk, Port Canaveral, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Tampa, Tampa/St.Petersburg, Vancouver, Venice

Cunard cruises destinations

Take a stately Cunard cruise to destinations around the world, from the Norwegian Fjords to the tropics of the Caribbean:

  • Here’s where it sails to: Alaska, Bahamas, Baja Mexico, Canada and New England, Eastern Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal, Southern Caribbean, Transatlantic, Western Caribbean

Things to do aboard a Cunard cruise

Cunard targets an older, more refined passenger than companies like Norwegian Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean. Instead of raucous water parks and rock climbing walls, you’ll find the following onboard activities:

  • Dance lessons
  • Indoor games
    • Bridge lessons
    • Board games
    • Cards
    • Chess
    • Backgammon
  • Deck games
    • Croquet
    • Paddle tennis
    • Shuffleboard
  • Film screenings
  • Cunard Insights lecture program
  • Classical concerts
  • Theater and ballet
  • Themed galas
  • Portrait studio
  • Art classes
  • Curated library

Why you should (or shouldn’t) cruise with Cunard

While Cunard calls itself a luxury liner, it’s worth highlighting that gratuities, alcohol, Wi-Fi and shore excursions are not included in the fare. So if you’re looking for an all-inclusive luxury cruising experience, consider Viking Ocean Cruises, Crystal Cruises or Silversea.

Still, Cunard’s old-world style can be quite charming. Here’s where it shines and falls:


  • Dining with white glove service and linen tablecloths included
  • Bottle of sparkling wine upon arrival is included
  • Bring one bottle of wine and one bottle of champagne on board
  • Afternoon tea is included at 3:30, every day
  • Gala evenings create an elegant, old-world atmosphere


  • Evening dress code might feel too stuffy for some
  • It’s not high-tech — no robo-bartenders — and amenities can feel outdated, as the ships aren’t frequently renovated
  • Entertainment options are limited — expect classic concerts, rather than Broadway-style productions
  • It lacks nightclubs and late-night parties

Smoking is allowed in designated deck areas, and in Churchill’s Cigar Lounge. That’s a pro or con, depending on your preference.

Here’s what you need to know about Cunard’s dress code

During the day, passengers aboard a Cunard ship can dress however they’d like. But during the night, formal attire is required in most of its restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. The formal attire is equivalent to what you’d wear to a wedding — dresses or skirts and a blouse for women, and suits for men. If you decline to adhere to the formal dress code, you’ll be asked to dine at one of its casual restaurants instead of the main dining area.

On gala evenings, you’ll be expected to “dress to impress” — think prom. For men, this means a dressy suit and tie or a tux. Women should wear gowns or elegant suits.

Cunard has a style guide on its website with examples of what to wear for each occasion, to get ideas.

Many loyal Cunard cruisers delight in the dress code, because of the elegant atmosphere it cultivates. However, if you’ll be sailing for a week or longer, make sure you’re up to the task of dressing up every night.

How much are gratuities on Cunard cruise line?

Cunard automatically charged gratuities to your account, with payment due upfront or when you disembark. For Britannia accommodations, it charges $11.50 per person, per day. For Grill Class accommodations, it charges $13.50 per person, per day. If you’d like to adjust the amount, visit the purser’s office on board, or get in touch with customer service.

For all bar purchases and spa services, 15% gratuity is automatically added to the bill.

Bottom line

If you’re craving a traditional cruising experience — like the Titanic, but with a happy ending — Cunard won’t steer you wrong. But if you’ve got kids in tow and are looking for a livelier atmosphere, or just don’t want to get dressed up for dinner each night, compare other cruise lines.

Frequently asked questions

Latest Cunard cruise deals

Ask an expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use and Privacy and Cookies Policy.
Go to site