Although I had taken a number of prior cruises, they were all, with one exception, in the Caribbean, and frankly nothing like a Trans-Atlantic voyage on the world's only liner exclusively built for long ocean-going trips. If you like the multi-level plastic and brass atriums of the ordinary ships, I'm afraid the Queen Mary II may not be to your liking. The grand entry atrium area is only three stories, and appointed mostly in dark woods, graceful staircases, and red carpet, with the Cunard Coat of Arms everywhere. The only nod to modern ships are the brass and glass elevators. Once on board, the style is decidedly "old school", with more dark paneling and sedate carpets throughout.
The Britannia Dining Room, where most of the passengers are assigned is absolutely beautiful; three decks tall, with two levels of seating for 1,250 guests, overseen by a massive tapestry of a classic ocean liner and an artificial Tiffany-style skylight; it features an appetizingly patterned carpet, and glass-railed balconies, supported by numerous carved columns. I have no doubt it is the most spectacular dining room at sea! However, I chose a Princess Grill Suite, and had most of my meals in the Princess Grill Restaurant, seating a more comfortable 80 or so, and far more sedate, if a little more stylish. Our maitre'd knew each of his guests by name, and our wait staff was outstanding. The menu was varied, and as to be expected, offered any number of gourmet specials, although our waiter encouraged the six seated at our table to order "off menu", offering just about anything we could possibly want. Some great desert, served en flambe' was ordered just about every evening. I think there were five waiters assigned to our table, in addition to the head waiter, and the service was the best I've ever experienced! I'm afraid I will never be satisfied with anything less than Cunard's legendary "White Star Service" again. There are also several other dining venues, that I only sampled, and for a small additional fee-the Todd English Restaurant-where I had one very nice lunch.
My cabin was large, airy and more than comfortable, with a large bathroom, featuring a tub/shower combo; a big walk-in closet, in addition to three other wardrobes; a wet bar with mini-fridge, and a nice seating area with sofa and a couple of easy chairs. There was a generously sized desk, and bookcases with Cunard histories and charts of our voyage. WiFi is available in your stateroom, for an astronomical additional cost-the most expensive purchase I made on board! As a smoker, I especially enjoyed the fifty or sixty square foot private balcony, with real teak deck chairs, and an ashtray! I was always entertained by the ship's multi-channel television, with most major news networks 24/7, movies, and purser's info and ship's schedule/position channels available. There is something to do on board the Queen Mary 2, all day, every day. In fact, I'd need another week to do all that I wanted to.
In addition to the Canyon Ranch Spa, there are planetarium shows, lectures by leading artists, authors, and broadcasters (Ted Koppel was a fellow passenger-although he did not speak publicly); ballroom dancing every night-the formal masked ball was my favorite! There are large, resort-style floor shows in the Queens Room, and the Julliard Faculty Jazz Quartet played in the Chart Room Lounge. I did not venture into the casino, but spent a lot of time in the Churchill Cigar Bar. Dark paneled walls, with two floor to ceiling humidors show off a truly magnificent selection of Cubans, all priced fairly! (I paid two or three times as much for Cuban cigars on Royal Caribbean or Holland American ships than I did on QM2!) There are several high-end shops, a bookstore adjacent to the largest library at sea, overlooking the bow. I found a great sale on Tag Hauer wrist watches (half price). All in all, the Queen Mary II is everything I had hoped it would be and more! I may never fly to or from Europe again!