After a wonderful wedding in New York, we Dallasites booked our first cruise about the QM2. We wanted something elegant with great music and "old world" cruising feel. We didn't know whether or not we could like cruising, so the 5 day was a "test" for the transatlantic we had our eyes set on.
The cruise was wonderful and several things surprised us. We decided to do the Club Balcony with a few perks. Our stateroom was great. For the price, the space was adequate. We liked the location on the 12th deck, there was easy access to the top of the ship which we enjoyed walking on. One surprise was that it is tradition not use top sheets on bedding. We requested one with no problem. The only other slight problem was that the ship became very hot while docked in New York loading the luggage. It took one night for it to cool down in the staterooms. But for the rest of the voyage rooms were comfortable.
We had paid extra for the small Britannia Club restaurant, and it was okay, but we found ourselves eating at the Kings Court more. At home, we have to go to formal functions and dinners, and by the second night, we found the relaxed dining at the buffet was more of a relaxing vacation for us. I am somewhat surprised by some of the negative reviews--we found the food quality to be just as good as the table-service restaurants, and in some cases better. We could always find a wonderful table by the window and enjoy an ocean-view, which we could not do at our assigned table in the restaurant. We also ate in several courses--there were appetizers, soups, salads, great main courses, desserts, cheeses...you can make a marvelous dining experience, with the only exception...serving yourself. But we enjoyed serving one another dinner. Part of the fun.
We also enjoyed just lounging on the deck in the wonderful period deck chairs. We could pass hours just reading and watching the ocean. And this is coming from two professionals with activities normally scheduled every moment.
We got off at ports--did the Titanic museum in Halifax and the Kennedy library in Boston. Both were enjoyable, but as we rebook for this year, we have decided to stay on the ship at port because we enjoyed the ship so much.
Everyone could not have been nicer to us as gay men. Everyone was congratulatory of our marriage. There were flowers in our stateroom, a "wedding cake" sent by friends, champagne, special gifts...and the ship had everything ready for our check-in to our state room. A great welcoming, surprise.
We did go to the Commodore Club for the GLBT happy hours. But, in our case, we found it a little awkward in making friends there. Our straight couple friends we would meet at dinner and at other places were generally friendlier and we had more fun with. Perhaps we needed more martinis and more courage in breaking into foursomes and sixsomes already in conversation. This is really for the GLBT travelers thinking of going on the QM2...on our cruise, there were probably 50 or 60 GLBT we noticed. But the ship is so sophisticated, that there are no worries about being out of place or "stares."
We stay in 5 star hotels and have demanding tastes when it comes to spending $ on travel. The QM2 lived up to its reputation for us. It was amazing to hear string quartets, a harpist, and classical piano playing in bars rather than screeching music. And...there was a nice retro feel in the evenings for jazz from 40s and 50's--Sinatra like singers. It is nice having a dress code and not an imposition. You just "feel" like you are on one of the great luxury liners on our time.
Tips: Take a power strip for devices. Check into Internet and roaming charges. I thought I had it all covered with AT&T, but still ended up with a 300 cell phone bill for 5 days. You have to buy the Cunard package if you are going to use the data portion of your phone. Try the "Steamed Pudding." It took us a day to figure out that this was like yummy moist American cake. And you can only get it on the buffet. Book on the Starboard side of the ship. You can see better leaving and entering ports. And if it is your first cruise, no worries about sea sickness. We were on the 12th level and hardly felt the ship move. It is smooth with no motion. Down at the very bottom of the ship on decks 2-3 in the very front, you can feel some movement, but other main areas of the ship, no.