We both decided to take this unplanned cruise from Southampton to New York 22nd May to tick one box more from the bucket list. In April we were on Celebrity Eclipse and had a great 7 day cruise so May was definately not planned.
Finding a one way reasonably priced flight from Miami to Heathrow was difficult, it never ceases to amaze me that when you enter airline websites and price a return, then change to a single and the price increases by $300.
Using the web I finally managed a BA flight for $625. We had a short weekend with family before driving to Southampton and seeing Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 berthed.
We handed over our luggage kerbside and entered the terminal to be given a coloured numbered card. After oabout 40 minutes our colour/number was called and we checked in went through security and walked onto the ship. The process took about 90 minutes start to finish.
We were directed to our stateroom (Deck 5 #5190) where we found a luggage waiting by the door.
Stateroom 5190 is a sheltered balcony that has a steel front in place of the regular glass.
The cabin is basic, very typical of other ships but we did like the four deep drawers provided and al in the wardrobe worked very well considering that I alone was travelling with three suits. I found the TV was to small and it was not easy to watch from the bed. Why they did not wall mount and provide a decent size I do not understand. You get no interactive menus and considering the recent refit I think Cunard could have done better. Cabin guy was ok we hardly saw him and only one day did he not service the room till quite late in the day.I would not recommend this cabin to anyone who has trouble sleeping, you hear the sounder or chime from the nearby elevator and the crew door opposite has no closer on it and just slammed shut everytime someone used it.
Many have written about the QM2 so I will just highlight a few thoughts, plus opinions are all about taste and expectations.
Britannia Dining Room. Started on a table for 6 with two Germans (this cruise was a 9 day from Hamburg with 700 plus German guests) We approached Stanley Williams the Ass/MD and he found us a table for two on deck 3. We both liked the MDR, tables were spaced out and it was not too noisy.Food was ok, just. I have had better quality and variety on Celebrity and HAL. Salads in particular usually turned out to be a be a plate of lettuce and not much else. The food was always hot and I did like that you could order cappuccino without being charged. Service at our 8.30pm seating was always good but a different story some lunchtimes. It was almost like a fast food restaurant and at lunchtime staff seemed to have no time to talk with you and it seemed like waiters had to many tables.
Deck 7 Eateries. This selection of food stations was well thought out and never had that crowded felling most cafe type stations have. Generally on other cruises I stay away from them as the sight of peoples hands over and around the food selections worries me. QM2 has a great well thought out set up that was spoilt by the food. It was not poor quality, it was just things like the pastry selection was repetitive and boring. There seemed to me a lot of men in suits walking around and again not a lot of table waiters. Our friend told us they saw a man with a walking stick trying to hold a tray and two waiters walked bye not offering to help.
Shops. Small selection but with all the important items if you had forgot something. Had a big sale late in the cruise.
Golden Lion Pub. Big letdown, Yes they have fish and chips but it was hard to find a seat and being honest having been brought up in a real Golden Lion pub this could have been a NY bar or anything else.
Coffee Shop. OK but they stocked no pastries.
Library. Fantastic selection of books but very limited seating.
Outdoor decks. Seems to be great space but forward area was closed off due to high winds, seemed strange what do they expect on a transatlantic crossing.
Rear decks - sheltered and when the sun was out very busy.
Photographer's. Everywhere usually blocking walkways etc. Ten 8" x 6" prints $145 was the offer of $25 each.
Promenade Deck. Great facility. I never understand why ships have these blocked at the front of the ship. Three laps was a mile and we did this and never used the gym.
Queens Lounge. Great afternoon tea, and some good performances in that room.
Planetarium. Worth a visit you go for tickets at 9am on a first come basis. Pity may of the seats were broken and did not fully recline.
Entertainment. I thought the performances were excellent almost on a par with Disney. Singers could sing, dancers could really dance and the German rock band was fantastic.
Kennels. Spoke to a couple that had their terrier with them cost was 300gbp.
Cleanliness. Ship was always clean with the exception of male restrooms. On Celebrity they have staff on hand keeping them clean. QM2 restrooms had paper towels overflowing from bins and liquids on the floor.
Officers. You never saw them walking around the ship. maybe the Grille people saw them ?
I might have missed some things but to conclude I liked that ship and its layout. 12ft seas and not any movement. Entertainment was very good, food was very average. Glad I took the voyage would not have wanted to make the return trip. Generally the staff were ok but nothing like as friendly or professional as the HAL people. Europeans are not always the friendliest !