Our cruise was to be a time of relaxation with our children. The discovery of the removal of the Basketball goals was horrible for two of my children who wanted to play and shoot every day. Over 2000 passengers would thus be awaiting to play on the one paddle tennis court or two table tennis tables. There was no dedicated space for young people (Teens) as they don't even have a video game console dedicated to youth. The two daily times when youth can use the Zone facilities are during meal times....thus the pool or a 25 dollar per half hour golf similator is basically all you have (and a golf driving net with a few clubs and shuffleboard). Unless your children want to sit and read quietly for hours and play scrabble, this sort of cruise will drive them, and you crazy. I am not sure Cunard sees young people as their market and it is obvious in the lack of provision. The failure to notify guests of the removal of the Basketball court is just wrong. Their virtual tour today still shows this as an option for guests...."sports enthusiasts can enjoy a game of paddle tennis or basketball in the sea air".....it is not true! And your teenage son or daughter will be very angry with you when they stand on the lined sports court staring at steel poles.
The ship is beautiful and it is clear that some things clearly are five star, but I was suprised by the disparity in the service at the purser's desk with young people who varied in their helpfulness and competence. The buffet becomes small in the evening as they try to make money by creating fee paying themed resturant areas...and the sparkle of white star service fades when you have to search out a single working ice cream machine (which will often have been turned off perhaps to save a few pennies.
You can see where staffing levels in the Britiannia are very thin and servers are having to work very hard to keep up, and when you are travelling with children you don't really want to wait 30 minutes to order. No doubt quality is compromised on the QM2 in places which means the consumer has to work hard to seek out things which I am guessing used to be more commonly available.
Finally, be careful in choosing to sail through Germany unless you want a German cruise complete with duel announcements in German throughout. 2000 Germans joined our ship in Hamburg and the culture of the ship naturally changed. Entertainment options changed and several of the English speaking things were apparently eliminated from the schedule. I think one should not underestimate the way the FEEL of a cruise changes when it is dominated by a single group.....this could be true of Americans or English....but for us, it was Germans...and by the look of things, Cunard had a special 7 day offer out of Hamburg which was cheap as the passengers who joined us were not refined professional Germans but working class holiday makers.
So.....combine a boat full of workingclass Germans with some bored teens and you don't have a lot of easy relaxing fun.
I imagine the transatlantic cruises on this boat would be better with a steady hum....but I think the "bean counters" are making it more and more difficult for the ship to feel like anything more than a tarted up Carnival party boat.
If you have children, avoid this boat. If you are older and more refined in your tastes, enjoy the cruise, that is they have not cut back more of the quality of things such that even you will find it less than satisfactory.
They almost took our bags to the wrong ship! Watch your bags get loaded in the right spot.
Also think it is terrible that you can no longer walk to the cruise terminal....forcing all passengers to either arrive by car or pay a taxi. A shuttle from the train station on the hour would be great....but would cost taxi drivers the chance to fleece cruisers.
Never pay more than 10 pounds for a taxi from the station to the terminal!!!