We travelled to New York the day before the cruise and stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. This is a great location if you are sailing from Red Hook and want a basic, clean and inexpensive hotel for the night. Be sure your driver knows where you are going though as we have experienced a lengthy excursion with a driver who had problems finding the hotel, GPS notwithstanding. There aren’t many places to eat in the area if you are there around supper time but lots of delivery menus on hand and a great free breakfast in the a.m.
We arrived early at the cruise port, thanks to the Comfort Inn's free shuttle service. Check in was very speedy but we waited more than an hour to board the ship. Our cabin was ready so we dropped off our hand luggage and went to the buffet for lunch. We were happy to have our suitcases delivered very speedily and were able to start unpacking well before the lifeboat drill. I am amazed how many people don’t follow instructions at the drill, arriving at the wrong life boat station, wearing their life jackets and ignoring the staff. As a result, the drill seemed to take forever.
We prefer early dining and had to visit the restaurant to change from the late seating scheduled for us this trip. The young assistant maitre‘d seemed very overwhelmed with all the requests and took our name. On previous cruises, we were given another table right away so were a little worried and it took another day till things were sorted out. While we eventually got early seating and a nice table on the upper level, this was not the level of service we are used to on the Queen Mary 2.
At supper we were disappointed in the changes to the wine menu and the inflated prices. It seemed like a lot of people were bringing their own beverages on board and this was obvious in ports where there was a lot of alcohol evident when checking back on board through security. While Cunard has not changed their policy on alcohol (one bottle of wine or champagne), they were clearly not enforcing the policy this trip. We only ordered wine once as a result of the high prices and limited choices.
The supper menu in the Britannia Dining Room was also a disappointment. On previous cruises there were so many wonderful choices I had a hard time deciding but this cruise there were so few things I liked on the menu that I often found myself struggling to make a selection. I will say that the fish choices were excellent though and very nicely prepared. Service was slow at times and there were a few mistakes made by the waiter. The meals at lunch time in the Golden Lion Pub were terrific and we ate there a few times.
We were very, very disappointed that the demonstration cooking at supper time in the Chef’s Galley has been cancelled. We especially enjoyed those evenings even after an up-charge was added a few years ago. Hope that is something that is restored in the future!
The entertainment this cruise was so-so although we enjoyed the wonderful music of the Royal Court Theatre and Queens Room bands. Speakers were great on this voyage particularly Bill Bryson and Richard Holdaway. Time just flew by when they were speaking.
We have taken this cruise before but this time St. John, New Brunswick was added to the itinerary. We particularly enjoyed Halifax where we took the excursion to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay which are beautiful communities and well worth the trip.
This cruise was our seventh on the QM2. We are now "Platinum” members of Cunard’s World Club loyalty program. While we will get some additional perks on our next voyage, we are in no rush to book another trip as we were let down by Cunard this time as far as service and dining are concerned.