The basic trip was fine. Our expectations with Cunard are no longer high so it is wonderful to experience the individual staff member that is kind, friendly, professional and helps to make your trip special. But as the years go by you see fewer and fewer of these wonderful people. Cunard now nickles and dimes you but the service gets worse and worse. They hire many European/Eastern Europeans and these staff members almost all have a chip on their shoulders, rarely smile and seem to hate working on the ship. The Asian staff are, for the most part, wonderful and just the opposite. The shops on board are a joke. The shop staff are not at all friendly and the products are so overpriced it is insulting that Cunard advertises these items as "duty free". The bar staff and various supervisors on board seem to spend so much time chatting with each other, the guests are constantly apologizing for interrupting their chats for service. Where is Carnival and the bosses? Or is the way their employees are trained to treat the guests.
The dining room menus: Breakfast is standard and never changes. But each morning the service staff act like it's their first day. Good luck if you want coffee and hot. Lunch menus are so uninspired and basically just weird. Oh, for breakfast and lunch you are seated at the discretion of the unsmiling maitre d'. And if you ask for a table for two, he pouts and acts like he is doing you a special favor (even when the room is almost empty!). We had early dinner, got there on time and waited. A few days we waited 20 minutes to just get the menus. But at 8:00 p.m., even while we were just served dessert we were told we had to leave so she could get ready for the 8:30 p.m. seating. On 3 different days we left our dessert and coffee and just left. Then went to the Court buffet for our self serve desserts. Weird and this never happened on any ship before. Carnival is sure downsizing. The King's Court Buffet is atrocious. In the early morning you will see women barefoot, in their robes (one was in PJs) getting breakfast. Children run around unattended at all meals. At lunch you see barefeet and bathing suits. This help yourself buffet area is rather seedy, unhealthy with people touching food and putting it back, etc. Not a place to go regularly so the dining room is the alternative.
The entertainment was non-existent. All week they gave us their cast and band. Only one night we had three singers doing a tribute to Motown. Motown should sue. And the ship's cast are nice kids but oh so amateurish. Our high school productions are better. This cruise was a 4th of July getaway. You would think that we would have all American music and entertainers but Carnival probably wouldn't spend the money. Each department and area is now seeing the effects of Carnival cutting back.
If you don't want to take planes and want to get from point A to point B in comfort, QM2 is fine. But get the cheap rooms and don't expect the hype the ads tell you. Cunard elegance, class and the famous White Star Service died when Carnival took over.
We did our own tour. Carnival is now charging too much money for their excursion. We have learned that booking our own tours is far cheaper and enjoyable without a busload of people.