After flying in to JFK only hours ahead of departure we were moved efficiently to the Brooklyn Pier for an extremely swift and problem free boarding to be pleased to find our cabin ready for immediate use.
We weighed anchor in good time to beat the early closure of the port due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Sandy and set a high speed course to get as far \N as possible to avoid the worst. Although encountering a Force 11 gale and 7mt seas the ship did cope extremely well hitting 25knots and not rocking uncontrollably.
During our first full afternoon on board an extremely loud vibration noise began in the cabin preventing us resting for that evenings' Meet the Captain Formal Dinner. After much to and fro with the Pursers deck, cabin steward, deck superintendent (who said they had visited the cabin to listen when they hadn't!!) and housekeeping, a 'spare' stateroom was found as a replacement when we threatened to bring the matter up with the Captain at his Cocktail Party. We eventually got a new room a little after midnight and had to pack, move and unpack ourselves and belongings the morning after, being offered an invite to the "more select, Senior Officers Party" later in the cruise as a compensation. Big Deal!!
My husband being a non drinker we both took advantage of the cruise long soft drinks package but were often left in limbo as busy waiters often managed to serve those buying a la carte drinks before us. After a complaint as such to the Purser we were assured that was not the case - yet that very same evening we went to a Ghost Reading by the RADA company in the Winter Garden to be left sitting 35 minutes without a drink even though our order was taken after 10 minutes. Again a complaint was made to the Purser and we got a call the following morning from the Bars Manager saying that after investigation the waiter had 'forgotten us' and apologised by way of a couple of free shorts in the bar that evening - Big Deal!!
Poor service in the restaurant was also evident with orders for 'meat well done' being overlooked and served rare with no attempt to ask, until plate clearance, if the meal was OK?
Poor service was also accompanied by a very limited choice of entrees all served with the barest minimum of vegetables and potato and a nightly selection of different mousse, cheesecake, or ice creams all of which were of similar consistency and temperature.
The ship has a spectacular Royal Court Theatre which is sadly underused as evening shows seemed timetabled to clash with dining times rather than compliment them and daytime lectures with on American politics, measuring the size of space and the history of Concorde were hardly likely to galvanise the masses!
These were supplemented by ballroom dancing, American Bridge classes (where the teacher even managed to confuse herself in the first beginners class), RADA workshops, 3 pianists (plus a celebrity pianist), a harpist, a jazz quartet and a disco band were the other 'entertainers' , leaving many guests to find a corner to themselves to read a long book or go sit in the pub (a Cunard ploy to sell more extremely expensive drinks?)
Other things such as simple computing, watercolour classes or wine tasting, (which on many cruises would be free) came at a $20 to $40 supplement.
I feel that Cunard relies on a clientele who are happy to pay inflated prices believing that they are getting a 'White Star Service' and know little difference as to what other forward thinking lines offer due to a misplaced loyalty which from some of our views Cunard does not return.
Sorry to all those die hard folk who may be clocking up their 10th, 20th, 25th - or even 50th trip on the QM2 but all in all we were rather disappointed with the Cunard brand on a ship with even greater potential than it showed on this crossing