We have traveled transatlantic both ways on QM2,loved every minute of it and therefore decided to take this opportunity to try out the QE.
Embarkation was a little slow but not too bad. The ship itself felt smaller and less "spectacular" than we had expected.
Our initial lunch at the Lido buffet was quite enjoyable but in all honesty we found that the selection seemed a little limited. For five days it was fine but we certainly wouldn't want to be on this ship for more than a week. Some of the decor was lovely (the glass panels and lighting for example) but some things were just really tacky. There were strange plasticky models on the tops of the buffet stations which looked very odd indeed.
Our cabin was absolutely fine and we slept very well indeed. The bathroom was pretty basic though and did not impress. Our cabin steward Fidel was excellent.
The Britannia restaurant was the main disappointment. Service was rushed. We had just sat down when a menu was thrust into our hands. We had barely time to read it before they wanted to take our order. As one plate was removed, the next course arrived straight away - it was not a relaxing way to dine. The food on the first two nights was substandard (it was the last two nights of the world cruise). We were asked what we felt about the food and gave our honest opinion. The food improved on the third night but went downhill a little again on the fourth night.
On the fifth night we dined in the Verandah Restaurant and had a lovely meal and a wonderful dining experience.
The staff in general seemed subdued and on one occasion downright miserable. Our sommelier in Britannia and Pilar who served us pre-dinner drinks in the Midships bar were the exception to the rule with cheerful and efficient service.
Entertainment - the ships singers were not up to the job, the dancers weren't too bad. We very much enjoyed two piano recitals, a Beatles tribute band and a lecture on Nat King Cole. The entertainment director seems out of her depth. She struggled to get any reaction from the audience.
All in all we did not feel that this was a "higher end" cruise. We had expected more following our time on the QM2.
Our last cruise was on the Celebrity Eclipse and it may be that the food and service on that boat has raised our expectations to unreasonable levels.
Nonetheless we are of the opinion that Cunard believes itself to be a superior brand and, on this experience, we cannot agree.