It was meant to be the highlight of the centenary world voyage of the Queen Mary 2. Cunard chose the iconic site of the Flower Field Gardens at the Bay in Singapore. They promised “ you a night to remember”. Instead it became a night you wanted to forget.
The combination of the chaos at the event and the long bureaucratic Singapore immigration system which meant long queues both took the pleasure out of the evening.
It began with a long 45 minute wait for immigration to allow anybody to leave the ship.When we had cleared immigration we met our next disappointment. Cunard had promised to lay on disability transport to the event for people like my wife who is in a wheelchair. When got there we were not on the list to get any transport.Indeed from what I saw of the list only six people out of hundreds attending the event qualified. They did rustle up a minibus with two high steps which we shared with another couple who was also not on the list and who was hobbling around on two sticks.
Getting to the event added to the disappointment.Cunard had promised that all diets especially diabetics would be catered for . Their FAQs with the invitation said waitress would be”educated” about diets. Well apparently not. Presented with six starters we asked our waiter for advice about which were lactose free. His response was to go and find his manager. Worse was to come when we joined the long queue for a curry. Asking the server which food was diary free I got the brusque response “everything has dairy in it “
Eventually after someone just ordered rice and flatbread I got someone to give me just that – but helpfulness was not on the agenda. No wonder we learned later that one group of guests had spurned the Cunard haute cuisine and gone to the Gardens on site McDonalds to have their meal.
One group of guests spurned the food at the venue to eat at McDonald’s
So we’re there any redeeming features?Yes the Lion Dance was good and the flowers gardens beautifully lit up.
But it was not over yet. Going back we encountered the same problem in getting disabled transport back to the ship as we were not on the list.Luckily a Cunard rep did intervene and she got a shared minibus.
The gremlins at Singapore immigration had their last throw. At customs we were diverted to an empty line as my wife was in a wheelchair to speed us up. What we didn’t realise as we went straight ahead is that we had joined the line to board the Spectrum of the Seas the other cruise liner in port.actually It was only a person checking passengers passports who realised the green sticker on our passport meant that we must be on the Queen Mary and diverted us.
Finally I must thank the kindness of fellow Cunard passengers who took great care to help my wife on and off the minibus and the one kind gentleman offered to take my wife Margaret down a staircase that we had been misdirected to at the venue. We did decline and later found like the rest of Singapore the venue had wheelchair lifts to get to the lower floor.