My husband and I (we're both in our mid-30's) just got back from our Queen Mary 2 vacation to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. We had a WONDERFUL time! We were a little bit worry before the trip because of the negative reviews on the websites. However, I think Queen Mary 2 had worked very hard to make the necessary improvements this year. Most of the complaints I read on the websites no longer exist. I would recommend this ship to my friends.
This is my 9th cruise. I have been on ships of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (Caribbean and Alaska), Holland America (Europe), Disney Cruise (Caribbean), and Princess Cruise (Western Caribbean and Mediterranean). In terms of service and food quality, I think the Queen Mary 2 is the best so far. We were on the Star Princess to the Mediterranean this past summer (July 2004) and we felt that Queen Mary 2's food quality is much better than that on the Star Princess. My husband and I often go to 4- and 5-star hotels for fine-dining so when I say the food quality was good, I mean it was comparable to a nice fine-dining restaurant back home. We did paid more to go on the Queen Mary 2 than if we were to go on the Royal Caribbean or Princess, but we felt that it was worth it considering the food was good.
Strengths: Good quality food, good service, the ship is beautiful, king sized bed is very comfortable with soft fluffy comforters and pillows, amazing afternoon tea, Planetarium was interesting, interesting classes and Oxford lectures, Chef's Gallery dining experience was long (3 1/2 hour) but fun (it was USD$30 per person but you get unlimited wine and champagne with your dinner), G32 is a very fun club for dancing. The passengers on the QM2 are more matured in age. Even though we are only in our 30's but we enjoyed the calmness and elegance.
Weakness: Embarkation was extremely slow (took us one hour), the ship was rocky at times (even though it is such a big ship), not a smoke-free ship, internet access was expensive, photos were expensive, cannot fit into most ports so have to tender and tender rides were rocky, itinerary was limited. My mom and I got sea-sick on two of the at-sea days. We had to purchase the sea-sick pills from the Purser's Desk for a pack of 15 pills for USD$15. It was very surprising to me that the ship was so unstable for its massive size.
Cabins: We were in a D3 category cabin (inside stateroom) and were happy to find out that there was no cigarette smoke smell in our cabin (since smoking is allowed in the cabins). However, the inside stateroom was still smaller compared to the inside state room we had on the Royal Caribbean cruise. I expected the cabin to be bigger because Queen Mary 2 advertised their inside cabins to be bigger than other cruise line. My parents stayed in a B4 category cabin (hull balcony cabin on Deck 5) and their room was a bit bigger than ours. They have a love seat in their cabin but our inside cabin does not have room for a love seat. We only have a chair and a mini table at the corner.
Food: Britannia dining room has good dishes for dinner (lobsters, filet mignon, duck breast, rack of lamb, and a wide variety of fish). Afternoon tea (traditional tea, scones, tea sandwiches, and desserts) are available every day from 3:30-4:30 p.m.. in the Queen's Ballroom. A harpist or string quartet played music while we have the afternoon tea. It's a great experience and the scones are delicious. Kings Court's buffets have a great variety of food to choose from. The Asian section (Lotus) always has Asian-style noodles, rice, and fish for lunch. All restaurants have good salads.