Best & Worst Cunard Line Ships (Ranked By Reviews)



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Cunard Line is one of the most established cruise lines sailing, and one that still retains that sense of tradition that makes cruising so special.

The cruise line remains popular with those who love that classical cruise style, and the ships are some of the most famous in the world – the ships are truly iconic.

Four Cunard ships

But which is best?

I wanted to find out which of the Queens was the world’s favourite, and even though this will be a short list due to the size of the fleet, it’s still fascinating to see if there’s a clear winner or if the ships are all very closely linked.

So in this guide, I’ve ranked each of the Cunard ships based on real reviews. Let’s take a look.

How I Gathered the Data

Before we dive in, I wanted to clarify how I put this list together.

I’ve not (yet) had the pleasure of sailing on all the Cunard ships, so using my own personal opinion would be biased. Instead, I’ve used genuine reviews for the ships from those who have sailed.

I gathered the data from three of the biggest independent review sites – Cruiseline.com, Cruise Critic, and TripAdvisor. Those sites are big enough that they aren’t skewed by one or two reviews – the averages are fair.

I’ve then calculated the average review score across all three sites and come up with the ranking order. I’ll be honest, the scores are pretty tight.

Also, the worst average score on this list is 3.73 out of 5. That’s a pretty good average. So even the ‘worst’ ship on this list is a good ship.

Now with all that context, let’s get into it.

What Is the Best Cunard Ship?

According to customer reviews, the best Cunard ship is Queen Mary 2, although Queen Victoria is only marginally behind her.

The largest ship in the fleet, Queen Mary 2 is classed as an ocean liner unlike her sisters, and offers classic transatlantic sailings from Southampton to New York.

1. Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 at sea

Queen Mary 2 came out on top for the Cunard ship review scores, which demonstrates that people just can’t help falling in love with the traditional ocean liner experience.

The flagship of the fleet, she was designed specifically for transatlantic crossings, although during winter months she will offer other itineraries including Caribbean cruises.

She’s faster than cruise ships too, with a top speed of just over 30 knots and a cruising speed of 26 knots – around 4 knots faster than most cruise ships.

She’s also the largest ship in the fleet, but with a guest capacity of just 2,695. Many ships of a similar physical size would be pushing 3,500 passengers, showing that she instead prioritises public spaces and isn’t designed to be overcrowded.

Queen Mary 2 is also one of the only cruise ships with kennel facilities for dogs and cats. It is possible for your pooch to sail with you on this ship, making her ideal for those who can’t bear to leave their pets at home.

pet dogs on Queen Mary 2

The overwhelmingly positive reviews of the ship talk about the wonderful atmosphere onboard, and that authentic experience. Negatives are from long-time fans who feel standards have dipped a little, and that the ship is a little understaffed even.

2. Queen Victoria

Cunard Queen Victoria cruise ship at sea

Queen Victoria is a much smaller ship than her elder sister Queen Mary 2, and the smallest of all the Cunard ships, but only by a fine margin.

And when discussing fine margins, let me be clear – to separate Queen Victoria from Queen Mary 2 in the review averages, I had to go down to the third decimal – QM2 scored 3.894 out of 5, while Queen Victoria scored 3.893. So it was very tight, and Queen Victoria could easily claim top spot.

Despite being a smaller ship, she still has a lot to offer guests, including three swimming pools, a ballroom, a theatre, seven different restaurants and thirteen bars.

Queen Victoria Britannia Restaurant

Again, a lot of the positive reviews focus on the Cunard atmosphere, while the decor of the ship is praised for harking back to the golden age of cruising.

But negative reviews mention slipping crew standards and poor cabin design, including very small showers – a lot of people warn that any larger guests would really struggle, with one review saying their shower was smaller than a caravan’s.

3. Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth cruise ship at sea

Queen Elizabeth is almost an identical twin of Queen Victoria, in terms of design, although she launched three years later and so still looks slightly newer. She is marginally bigger too, thanks to a steeper stern, and has capacity for around 40 more guests.

While the ship designs are similar, the decor is not – she has more of an art deco style, as a tribute to the original Queen Elizabeth ship that launched in the 1930s.

The lobby of the Queen Elizabeth Cruise Ship

But in terms of features onboard, there’s little to choose between the two ships. Queen Victoria’s sliding roof over the Winter Garden is replaced with a static glass roof for Queen Elizabeth’s Garden Lounge, and there’s a Britannia Club section of the main restaurant on Queen Elizabeth so that solo passengers can dine alone, which is available on Queen Mary 2 but not Queen Victoria. That’s it for differences, really.

The negative review scores seem quite picky too – it’s mainly long-time Cunard guests who are unhappy that the smaller touches are being lost over time.

There are some complaints over the crew, including restaurants seeming short-staffed and some crewmembers being less attentive, but again for the most part the reviews are positive, and some of the criticisms come from guests that have very high standards of Cunard.

Special Mention – Queen Anne

Queen Anne

Queen Anne will become the newest Cunard ship when she launches in May 2024. She will blend the classic touches of the cruise line with more contemporary features, offering sailings throughout Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

She’ll feature some exciting new dining experiences, beautiful pool deck areas, and the Bright Lights Society venue exclusive to the ship, offering some stunning entertainment.

Next year she’ll be added to this list – will she jump straight to the top?

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FAQs To Help You Choose a Cunard Ship

Which Is the Biggest Cunard Ship?

The largest Cunard ship is the Queen Mary 2. She has a volume of 149,215 gross tons and she is 1,132 feet long. She is the last true ocean liner still sailing for any cruise line.

Which Is the Newest Cunard Ship?

The newest Cunard ship is Queen Anne, launching in May 2024. Prior to Queen Anne, the most recent ship launch was for the Queen Elizabeth ship in 2010,

Which Cunard Ship Is the Most Luxurious?

As the newest ship, Queen Anne features the most modern decor and furnishings, has more spacious accommodations and the most contemporary spa. Queen Mary 2 offers more of a classical take on luxury, serving as a time capsule for the golden age of cruising.

Which Cunard Ships Have Single Cabins?

All Cunard ships have single cabins, as the cruise line is popular for guests who wish to travel solo and meet new people. However, if you wish to dine alone and you don’t want to pay for a suite, you’ll have to avoid Queen Victoria.

Which Cunard Ships Allow Dogs?

Queen Mary 2 is the only Cunard cruise ship which permits dogs to travel onboard. The kennels on the ship can cater to dogs and cats, and guests are allowed to visit their pets throughout the cruise. Dogs are never allowed in the cabins.

The Bottom Line

Unlike some of my other ranking articles, there really isn’t a lot to choose between the Cunard fleet, and you’ll enjoy a very similar experience across all the ships. Queen Mary 2 is marginally more special due to her ocean liner design, but Queen Elizabeth is the more modern of the fleet, at least until Queen Anne launches.

Do you agree with the order, or do you have a particular Cunard favourite?

P.S. If you’re interested in other cruise lines being ranked in this way, check out the guides that I have for the Best and Worst Royal Caribbean Ships and also the Best and Worst NCL Ships.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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2 thoughts on “Best & Worst Cunard Line Ships (Ranked By Reviews)”

  1. These were the best, where are the worst?

    • Cunard only has three ships sailing currently, so this is the whole list. Jenni

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