Myself, my daughter and two grandchildren of 6 and 9 left Southampton for the back to back transatlantic crossing to New York on the beautiful QM2. It is the second time we have sailed as a family on her. I opted for an oceanview cabin for four people and we had a much larger space than the previous year when we had an inside. The upper bunks were full sized, so the children had plenty of room and headspace, and in the daytime when the steward pushed them back up it was a spacious cabin with a small sofa as well as an easy chair.
The bathroom had only a shower, but, being British we are used to much smaller facilities, and so we none of us felt that the shower and loo were a great deal smaller than home!
Our steward was great, the cabin was kept as tidy and clean as was possible with two small children and a host of toys and books for a 14 day cruise. This back to back meant that the children came free, which is a fantastic deal from Cunard, and was indeed the same last year when we did the New England and Canada cruise. This, and only this feature made it possible for me to take my family away on a cruise.
This particular cruise was during the London Olympics, which was initially a sadness as we all thought we would miss it. However Cunard had negotiated to have the whole games on a large screen in the Winter Garden, which was designated only for watching the games. It was fantastic, we could coffee there, bring food in from the buffet, and have a drink and not miss any of the action.
The food was wonderful. Steak cooked just as rare as my daughter likes it, lobster tails, incredible desserts etc etc. my grandson has many food allergies, and the kitchen could not have been more helpful. They were simply marvellous. My daughter was given the next night's menu at each dinner and her and the small boy could decide what he would like and they would make it for him without dairy, wheat, soya and yeast......a feat, which was greatly appreciated by our family. The waiters and maitre'd were so good to him, he loved the mango sorbet, so he could have it whenever he wanted etc. They were so friendly with the children, we could not have had better service.
I bought a massage for my daughter as a birthday gift which she loved, and I enjoyed a wonderful session in the spa. Expensive, but around central London prices. The children only used the child facilities once. We were there to enjoy family time so that was fine. My daughter enjoyed the gym equipment and I enjoyed the quieter places, although being a transatlantic cruise it was pretty full and quite noisy. The only thing I could ever complain about in any and every cruise I have taken is the fact that every venue feels obliged to provide music almost all day. I wonder if they assume that folk do not like peace and quiet anymore. I, and my daughter are professional classical musicians and teachers ( in Conservetoire !) and I LOATHE the constant bombardment of music, often indifferently played and sung. That said, as it is my job, I would obviously prefer a music free zone!
The children and my daughter went to the shows, I went to none, except a sparsely peopled 3D showing of the Met Madame Butterfly, which was superb. I am the wrong person to give stars to the shows and performers!
The embarkation a was smooth, but crowded, and we queued longer than usual. We were told there was a computer failure at Southampton so everything had to be done by hand ! Leaving to spend a few very hot hours in New York was very easy, and all the staff were very kind and helpful.
14 days was a long time without ports and we did not know what to expect, but it was wonderful for both children and adults. The buffet was wonderful, the afternoon tea was a great experience for the children and they even provided gluten and dairy free cakes for the little man.
It was a great holiday indeed.