My family and I's first cruise, added to a 10th Anniversary, and a Transatlantic crossing on QM2 coinciding perfectly with the date made this a no-brainer. Our honeymoon was the Orient-Express, and this seemed to be another 'classic journey' which 10 years on would now be accompanied by twins of 8 years old.
This did not dis-appoint at all, and everything promised was delivered within the confines of a highly organised staff and structured and defined activities. If I have one criticism - some of the concierge-desk staff were a bit "full of it", and on occasion I felt some were not 'stretching' as far as they might in the equivalent grade of landlocked hotels.
The facilities were excellent, and the activities, available to all, are well worth the time and effort.
However - As a Queens Grill passenger we know we had most of the best of the ship, and much of the attentive staff, and on many occasions when going through some of the other dining areas, I knew clearly that I would not have enjoyed my cruise at all if I was crammed, crowded, and subjected to the canteen-type services seen elsewhere.
The dining, the staff, and menus were of a standard I expected, the formality of the experience and the formality of the formal evenings are essential to the experience. My children learned so much, enjoyed themselves and the formal dressing tremendously - and if for this alone it was an investment in education for them.
I must say however that we did arrange one dedicated function (Renewal of Vows) with the ship - and it was here that the best of everyone came out - from the Captain, to the Functions Organiser, to the Florist couldn't do enough. This met the level of hospitality seen on land in great hotels - and I cannot praise enough the coordination and gracious attention of a very good man - Captain Kevin Oprey.
Dignified and personable - but very happy to show close attention to the kids, I could not fault his sincerity and hospitality.
If I had one complaint - modern aircraft have incredible in-flight GPS systems - great entertainment systems, and even inter-passenger digital connectivity. I believe the same could be offered on a ship of this caliber, and would certainly enhance the journey, and remove the need for going to pick up the odd DVD or video game for the kids!