My first cruise was a great experience. I took the subway from Times Square to the first stop in Brooklyn then a $15 cab to the pier. I carried my bags on (and off at Southampton) so got on board very quickly. Fantastic departure under blue skies. Cloudy and cool with calm seas for most of the voyage which was fine when walking round the promenade deck. My premium balcony (quiet)cabin was great and the daily newspaper and programme were very informative. Food and service was good.
I dined 4 evenings in the Britannia restaurant. I had asked for a table for 10 and got 5 (including 1 couple) ages 50-90, good company. No queues at the self-service King's Court. From day 2 I lunched in the Golden Lion pub.
The highlight was a fantastic RADA 65 minute production of Merchant of Venice - one of the best I've seen, with an original and stunningly sung Jewish religious chant. Their Canterbury Tales was also excellent. Music (Juilliard jazz, Dixie, harp, string quartet and piano) in the Chart Room and Golden Lion was great.. I preferred the quieter Commodore Club for pre-lunch drinks, avoiding the quizzes (interesting though they were).
I had great Cuban cigars and conversations in Churchill's. I used the 75c a minute cabin wifi with no problems. There were excellent lectures repeated on the good-sized cabin TV.
The purser's office dealt with queries efficiently and there was only a short queue at lunch times. I did have to be persistent on 2 occasions: I wanted to settle my bill with 2 credit cards but was told that was impossible. I returned to complain and was told by another receptionist (in the presence of the first) that that was fine, by opening a secondary QM2 card account. I was told by the cigar bar manager and the purser's office that I had to pay a 15% service charge on a box of cigars to take home (no charge in the second deck shop on its very limited range). The purser's office manager to whom I complained immediately cancelled the charge. I recommend the informal solos coffee morning, ages 25-70; and if you get to the bars, lounges and eateries early, you get the best seats. Fellow passengers, mostly Brits and Americans were friendly. I hope to be back next year.