Our title here says it all. We had extremely high expectations and the QM2 and ALL her staff exceeded them. It was astounding from the moment we arrived by cab at the dock. Aboard in no time flat. Greeted as we boarded by a line of staff all with smiling faces welcoming us and next we knew we were in our Princess Grill suite on the 10th deck. It was beautiful. Elegant furnishings, extremely comfortable bed, warm lighting with lots of options and an amazing amount of space to put everything away. Oh and a large bathroom as well. Our cabin steward, José was a magician. I do NOT know how he was able to get in and straighten our room without ever being seen. I mean sometimes we popped back to the room because we forgot something, and still, it was already gleaming.
Indeed,everything on the ship shone and was immaculate. No matter where you were, someone was polishing, repairing, cleaning...
The Princess Grill restaurant staff (thank you Jugul, Rose, Carlo, Shakir, and Fr...?) well just one word -- wonderful. They were attentive without hovering, always apparently delighted to see us and very pleased to serve us whatever we wished. We had the speciality -- order 1 day ahead - meals on 2 occasions as a table -- after the 6 of us became happily acquainted and wanted to ensure we dined together. Those meals were spectacular -- but so was every other meal! I have been disappointed by another cruise line where I had been told the food was terrific; it was simply "okay." on the QM2 it really is terrific! All the time. Every time. The serving sizes are perfect so that one can indulge in 3 course meals and walk away from the table satisfied, but not stuffed.
Speaking of our table companions. QM2 did a wonderful job of matching the 2 of us with 2 other couples. We were absolutely delighted with the company.
There was so much to do...we took ballroom dancing lessons, we went to lectures (Cole Porter and his music; Art Deco; the life at the bottom of the sea; the history of the port of London;) I enjoyed the spa on 3 occasions -- next time I'm buying a multi-day pass so that I can use the thermal spa as I like -- and I had 1 massage which was very nice.
And to sit on our balcony and just look at the sea was a wonderful wonderful experience. Now having experienced being on board while the ship is in dock; I think we only want to do transatlantic cruises. We simply aren't interested in sailing at night and being in harbours during the day for excursions. It is the sea we want to experience.
It was very nice to dress for dinner each evening and to see that the other guests honoured Cunard's dress code. It's not that it's "stuffy"in any way. Simply the ship and her crew are elegant and it's rather nice to honour that in our own appearance.
It was such a smooth crossing, and warm, we slept with our balcony door open most nights. What a treat to wake up in the middle of the night and wander out on the balcony to listen to the sea and feel a fresh breeze in our face. Magical!
When we boarded we had been warned of a norovirus outbreak and the necessity for some practices to be changed those first few days on board. The precautions we were asked to take were modest and it was easy to comply.
On a high note -- we were aboard when the QM2 was asked by the Quebecoise crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat to "pop by"and give her a few things (new sea anchor, some fresh foods, new satellite phone.) That was amazing!
THis was so wonderful an experience overall that it was, I think, day 3 when my husband starting saying "the next time..." And we will indeed do this again. The only thing we would change would be to get off at Southampton rather than Hamburg. There were masses boarding at Southampton who were only going to Hamburg and the atmosphere on the ship changed to "party boat." After the quiet elegance of the preceding week, it didn't quite fit. A minor quibble after a week of nonstop wonder.
Thank you Queen Mary 2 and your staff!