The Queen Mary II is a magnificent ocean liner. Her crew takes great pride in maintaining and caring for her. Her beauty and opulence brings you back in time and allows you to imagine what is was like to sail on the great oceanliners of so long ago. Her displays of paintings and posters of the great oceanliners of decades ago truly was delightful to see. The wall of celebrity photos, located near the Planetarium, enjoying great moments on the original Queen Mary, really captured the attention of the guests and reminded us all how lucky we were to be a part of a transatlantic crossing. In addition, the inlays of mosaic tiles displayed near the buffet areas added a lovely touch.
I was travelling with two other people. Our suite was large and had a walk-in closet with lots of closet and storage space throughout. We had a sitting area, a lighted china cabinet well stocked with water, wine, and champagne glasses. Our balcony was also large with two full-sized wooden lounge chairs and a snack table. The bathroom had a tub and shower and again with lots of storage space. In addition, toiletries from the Canyon Range Spa and heavier terry robes were provided.
The weather was really great for a transatlantic crossing. We had some clouds and sun, moderate temperatures, no rain, but we did have two days of fog. It seemed we enjoyed walking the decks through the fog and hearing the subtle sound of the ship's fog horns. No seasick pills needed -- the ocean was quite calm.
The negatives. The on-board shops were not well stocked. Some of the crew members advised me that the crossings which commence in Southampton offer better stock on those voyages. If you are a smoker, bring your own cigarettes. Cunard does not have a good selection of American cigarettes. Cartons purchased on board are delivered at the end of the voyage and you if want cigarettes you must purchase them at the bar. Of note: Bar service adds on a gratuity to cigarette purchases.
Our stateroom category included dining at the Princess Grill Restaurant. The darkness of the Princess Grill and lack of atmosphere including music almost made you feel like you were dining in a funeral home. The menu lacked variety and the waiters had no personality. Additionally, the quality and taste of the food ranged from awful to excellent so there was a lot of inconsistency. Unlike Celebrity cruises which I feel has the best quality of food, Cunard does not make their own butters, jams, or ice creams. In fact, the store brand ice cream at your local supermarket was better than what was offered on Cunard. The selection of chilled fruit soups was just that lacking and what was offered was awful. In fact, I was actually beginning to feel depressed eating in the Princess Grill and opted to dine a few nights in the Britannia Restaurant which offered better food, service with a smile, and a string quartet playing all the classic tunes.
The waiters do not offer to carry trays to the tables for passengers at the buffets. Indeed, this really needs to be changed because I noticed many elderly passengers struggling with their trays.
Cunard is so particular about their guests abiding to their upscale dress code that I was surprised to see people attending the proper English teas so shabbily dressed????? In addition, on casual nights, Cunard needs to actually relax their dress code from "Elegant Casual" to "nice casual" a bit and get more with the times.
The entertainment offered was good to excellent. The Planetarium was superb, the narration was excellent, and the technology was state of the art.
During our debarkation, a fellow passenger who was travelling alone, at the age of 91, discovered she left her hearing aides in her stateroom. When she picked up a housephone and requested that her hearing aides be brought to her, she was told, "go back to your stateroom and collect them yourself." After my travel companions went to this woman's stateroom to try and locate her hearing aides, they were not there and they were given misinformation as to the whereabouts of the hearing aides. After several phone calls by myself and other passengers, the situation was resolved. This caused an elderly passenger undue stress in addition to the fact that she had to make an airline connection.
The above scenario depicts much needed improvement in Cunard's attention to detail.
I loved the decor of the ship and enjoyed being a part of a transatlantic crossing. However, Cunard needs a lot of improvement in the quality, selection, and taste of the food served.
Celebrity and the Vision class ships of Royal Caribbean far exceed Cunard in service and in the culinary arts.