Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by Footloose Oz: North Cape on QM2
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North Cape on QM2
Destination: Baltic Sea
This was our first cruise on Queen Mary 2, or with Cunard for that matter. QM2 is a magnificent ship, with lovely public rooms and spaces. We wanted to see North Cape and experience the midnight sun and while several cruise ships were offering this, we decided on QM2. We had read much about the "class" system and were a little uncertain about it as we have never experienced that with other cruise lines. However, it was the destinations we were interested in and, as a bonus, we wanted to experience this legendary cruise line.
We had an interior cabin and were allocated to the Britannia Restaurant. The food was generally very good. The service from our assigned table staff was friendly and efficient. Since we enjoy a simple breakfast we mainly had this in the King's Court as this suited our style. We did note however that there seemed to be an emphasis on clearing dishes by the staff, with little or no helpful service. We did go to one High Tea in the Queens room and while we More enjoyed the white glove service, the queues to get seated were lengthy, so it was easier to simply have afternoon tea elsewhere. Sir Samuel's was a nice venue to enjoy a coffee (at a charge). We really enjoyed our pub type lunches at the Golden Lion. And on the sunniest day we had in port (Stavanger), we enjoyed a lunch at the Boardwalk Cafe on the main top deck looking down on Rotterdam and Braemar. Beautiful.
The library at the front on Deck 8, with a huge collection of books, offers a peaceful place to sit and watch the ship's progress. The Royal Court theatre is a great venue in which to sit and enjoy the mostly great entertainment. However get there early or your view will spoiled by one of the many support columns. The ballroom has one of the largest dance floors I have seen and having "gentlemen dancers" for unescorted ladies is an excellent idea. The 3 on our cruise were certainly kept busy. G32, the disco area was lively but spoiled a little for us as non-smokers by smoke drifting down from the balcony above. The planetarium had some excellent displays on the sea days. It was used as a movie theatre as well as lecture theatre at other times.
A couple of issues. On all other cruise lines we have used our Mastercard preloaded with US$ to finalise the account, however it was not accepted at the pursers office with the excuse offered that it would crash their system. Having used it at over a hundred points of sale, including other cruise lines under the Carnival banner, this seemed rather lame. Too much trouble maybe?
For our evening meal in the Britannia restaurant, we shared a table with 3 German couples. Lovely people as it turned out. But had they not spoken some English, and gone to some trouble to include us in conversation, it would have been much less comfortable. We know there was another table where a lone German couple shared with 3 English speaking couples. Seating speakers of the same language together would seem to be an obvious strategy for convivial company.
It is also worth commenting that the sail away from Hamburg en route back to Southampton was quite spectacular. Thousands of people lined the shoreline, and sightseeing boats surrounded the QM2 while a band played onshore. Flags were waving everywhere, British, German and local
Hamburg flags. It clearly demonstrated the special affection that German people have for QM2.
Bonus was the availability of a free self service laundry on several floors. When on a 16 day cruise it is great to be able to do laundry without cost.
Also there was heaps of activities and choices for the days at sea. In fact there was so much it was hard to fit it all in.
NOTE many ports of call were not available from port list on this site. So real ports listed below:
Southampton, Hamburg, Bergen, Andalsnes, Trondheim, Honningsvaag, Tromso, Alesund, Stavanger, Hamburg, Southampton. Less
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Cabin review: IB6210 Standard Inside
While our interior cabin was the smallest we have stayed in, it was quite liveable. It had sufficient wardrobe space for our needs, with a fridge. But it was not possible to invite friends back for a drink, given its size.Read All Standard Inside (IB) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
This was our second visit to Bergen. We took the free shuttle into town and refreshed our memories of this pleasant city. On a fine day the view from the top of the funicular is excellent, and there are walks up the top for those of an exploring bent.
Mostly, we like to explore ports of call on our own, walking or catching local transport. Hamburg was good from this point of view and we explored and saw the local sites with the help of a good map, and the free shuttle to the centre.
On our return call to Hamburg we caught the train to Luneburg. Pretty old town and easy to explore in a few hours. Back in Hamburg it was a public holiday, and the local Harley Davidson club had organised a ride-in with hundreds of Harleys on display.
Caught a free shuttle into town, but walked back after our explorations as the queues for the shuttle were too long. Only 15-20 minutes. Weather was wet and gloomy but saw the Nidaros Cathedral and Archbishop's palace (expensive). The adjacent military museum was very interesting, with displays relating to the various Scandinavian wars. Also walked up to the fortress past the bike escalator. Paid US$ 9 for a cappuccino in town!
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