This was my first cruise ever. On this cruise was myself, my husband and our 5 year old daughter. We decided on the 4th of July getaway cruise for several reasons and I had my expectations high since I heard that the Queen Mary 2 is an excellent ship and, since we were booked in a Queens Grill Suite, that everything would be top notch. To some degree, that was true.
We had priority check in and it was very easy and we went through that process quickly. We waited in a private walled off area and then we were allowed to board. Found our suite (10101) quickly, and wow....this thing was huge and very well kept. We had a butler, Edwin, who was eager to assist and kept our room clean and tidy and provided us with food and drinks as described in the booking materials. Beds were fine. My daughter slept on the pull out full size sofa. We had a jacuzzi tub and shower combo. We actually used the jacuzzi tub one day because our daughter wanted to go in the pool/hot tub and it was too cold outside, so we played in the tub. We had a nice walk in closet and a separate "beauty" area. We had ample outlets. The mini-bar was always stocked and we were provided with fruit at the beginning of the journey. The flowers, which I had read were to be fresh each day, were fresh the first day and those remained the whole length of the journey. By day 5, they were getting moldy.
We dined in the Kings Court Buffet the first day for lunch (only option) and for breakfast one morning. I never knew which "station" was open and when each one opens. A bit confusing for me. Because we were Queens Grill guests, we had breakfast in our suite every day, which I enjoyed. Going into port in our lovely room with breakfast was awesome. We ate lunch occassionally in the Queen Grill and when we did, it was marvelous. We ate dinner in the Queens Grill every night and it was very nice, but for some reason, I like lunch better. We had the same waiters and table every service there. I liked having our own private dining room, and know we could go at anytime during there open hours was very convenient.
The nightly entertainment was so-so. I guess I expected more. The first night was ships' dancers and singers and a hint of a show from a gymnast that would perform later that week (he was great). We also went to the string quartet show, but we had seen them in a more intimate setting just a day or two prior. There was a Mo-town show one night, but we heard their dress rehearsal during the day while playing checkers, so we didn't go. I guess I expected awesome, Broadway worthy, performances. Nothing too spectacular. We went to the ballroom 2 nights, because my daughter wanted to dance, and even though we went before that "real" dancing started (typically 8pm and later), I didn't feel welcome there (because we had our daughter). That ballroom is for "real" dancers, I guess. We stopped in to watch the "real" dancers on formal night and I was not impressed with the formal attire. I guess I expected "formal" attire on a "formal night".
I wish we had more times in port. I guess I didn't realize that we would have such limited hours in Halifax and Boston. Halifax was basically from breakfast to dinner, so that was nice. Boston was after lunch to night time, but because the bus service we were using ended at 5, we were back on the ship by 5. Yuck. I wanted to see so much of Boston, but never got to.
The weather was not tremendously nice, so we had limited time outside and in the pools. When we did have nice weather, on 1 or 2 days, the pools weren't crowded. I did allow my daughter to go to the kids club for 2 sessions in 1 day, and while she loved it, it was more of just a "we'll keep your kid in an enclosed place for you while you go off and do something else". She liked it because they let her play computer games as long as she wanted (not allowed in my house), and when I asked them, they said they allow the children to be on there as long as they want as long as no other child wants on there, and if so the child gets 20 minutes! Boy, so much for their schedule of activities. She did do a couple of the scheduled activities which were fun. Our daughter said she had a great time and "everything" was her favorite. There were not too many children on the sailing, but the kids I did see, 90% of them were well behaved.
As for what we did during the day, we used the gym, which was fine. None of the elipticals worked. I took a Tae Bo class which was too short. We played tons of checkers and chess. I did trivia games. My daughter and I took a napkin folding class, which was actually very cool! Otherwise, there were lectures you could go to, but didn't. They were rebroadcast at night on the TV which I liked .They had up to date movies showing and they had a planetarium show which was cool. They have an amazing library, so don't bring any books, they have everything. It really is a library. (Kids books can be checked out in the kids club).
The ship is pretty. We didn't do any of the port excursions; we planned things on our own to do. There was a smell of smoke basically hit or miss throughout the ship (which I don't like). Someone else said it to a staff member who replied "So, someone smoked. Big deal. What am I supposed to do about it?" Wow. Not what I thought a staff member would say.
I guess I expected more excitement, better entertainment, and better weather. The formal night was not as formal as I thought it would be. We didn't get to interact with the commander/captain at all. The bridge was closed the whole time on the ship. Service was above average, and our room was spectacular. There was little movement of the ship and no one got sick. Lots of hand sanitizer all over this ship.
It was a nice journey. Queens Grill is the way to go!