My wife and I have crossed many times on QE2 and QM2 since the early 90's in both grill and non-grill classes. We crossed on the August 8 westbound voyage, and were particularly observant of the dress standards on the ship because all of the recent reviews and comments expressing worry over Cunard's announcement of one less night of formal wear requirements.
Food Service. We sat in early-seating Britannia at a 2-top near the central well area on Deck 2. I am here to tell you that the dress and behavior "standards" are absolutely being maintained and enforced, and that the Cunard transatlantic experience is still very much what it has always been during recent decades. There were no non-formally dressed individuals observed in Britannia during the formal nights on our week. And, that included women. We saw none of the jeans, shorts, t-shirts, bras, and other assorted shabby wear that some over-the-top reviewers claimed to have seen, and we were seated in a location where we saw most people coming in. Every fine establishment has something that happens on occasion (a customer wearing jeans slips through or purposely evades staff), and perhaps that occurred on some crossings (as it always has). However, nobody can say with any credibility that Cunard is now allowing people to violate the formal dress code in any regular kind of way. In fact, people were doing their best to "dress up" on the non-formal nights as well, and during tea in the Queen's Room. As for food quality - take it from experienced crossers that the food is every bit as tasty as it has always been on Cunard crossings. Some reviewers expect individually-prepared plates in Britannia akin to what you get in a land-side 5-star restaurant with only ten tables. That is just entirely unrealistic here. As for those of you who hilariously complain about service in the King's Court, you get what you deserve. Why are you complaining about the service in a bustling cafeteria when you can get top-flight service in the Dining Room? By the way, for you readers of Ward's annual review of cruise ships - Ward will be stunned to know that in the King's Court Cunard now gives you silverware to stir your coffee with, rather than those little wooden sticks!
Cabin. The cabin cleanliness, steward attentiveness, and overall crew friendliness are still very good. The new ship is still very much a polished and beautiful thing to behold, and the cabins after 9 years are still in great shape.
Common Areas. We liked the renovations in the Golden Lion. The rest of the common areas were in good shape, clean, and showed no signs of unreasonable wear. And, we saw crew members tactfully deny admission to people who were under-dressed after 6 PM to the formal common areas.
Overall. You just cannot go wrong to go transatlantic on QM2, unless you are so over-the-top picky that you would complain about a window seat on the way to heaven. With all of its joys and quirkiness, a crossing is still the only way to go.