First time cruiser here, and I jumped in for the transatlantic cruise on the QM2. I didn't know what to expect, but Cunard was very helpful from booking through completion of the trip. I had a BB stateroom with sheltered balcony which was fine. I was a single cruiser so that made the 269 sq ft room more spacious for me, but still had to pay the single supplement.
Embarkation at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal: Surprisingly easy. Never had more than two people ahead of me in a line. Breezed through security, passport check, check-in, etc. in minutes. Disembarkation in Southampton was equally easy, and the Cunard-arranged motor coach to London was flawless.
Dining: Kings Court buffet was so so. It serves a purpose, but I learned early that better and more enjoyable meals were in the Britannia room for my cabin class. Not only dinner, but breakfast and lunch too. Definitely worth the less than five minute walk for lunch and it was also good and prompt. I asked for a large table at the late dinner seating, and was rewarded with meeting some of the most entertaining people in my life. Fellow cruisers do indeed make the journey. One word here: I'm 56, and guess that I was in the bottom 25% in age of all cruisers. Not a problem as I found people I enjoyed being with, just an observation. All I met were very good and nice people.
Ship: This is where I realized what I like about the QM2 so much. My reasons for selecting this cruise were simple: Good food, drinks where I didn't have to worry about driving home, smoke cigars, and gamble a little in the casino. I could do all of those within three minutes of my stateroom. Many other amenities exist and I took part in some of the lectures and pub entertainment, but I'd have to spend more than seven days to take advantage of all opportunities.
Staff: Nothing but good experiences here. Steward did everything I asked and more. Wait staff and bartenders were capable and friendly.
My secret hideaway: Churchill's Cigar Lounge. Spent many hours there enjoying excellent cigars and libations with like minded cruisers.
Summary: This was my first cruise which I now know I really enjoy. I've been researching other cruise lines and types of trips and see some I'd like to try. Having said that, the regalness of the QM2 and staff, and consistent top notch service will always be a consideration as I evaluate other options. It's like buying a Mercedes S500 for your first car; there may be better cars out there but it's hard to beat this one.