Having cruised about 4 times before I wondered if QM2 would live up to the expectation and reviews that it would be the most magnificent experience I had ever had. Whilst the overall experience was very pleasant and there were many good activities and facilities, there was nothing outstanding about anything really.
Food: generally good in all venues that i tried. Good choices and quality. Being on a circumnavigation of Australia I would have loved to see more Australian influence in the food and at least some fresh Australian produce being used.
Drinks: Wine was expensive however the spirits and cocktails seemed well priced.
Stateroom: we had a sheltered balcony midships deck 5 which was my specific choice for a variety of reasons. Room was well equipped with all that was required. There was plenty of storage space and the beds were very, very comfortable. Bathroom was very small (smaller than other ships I have been on). Balcony being 'sheltered' did not allow enough airflow and was on the whole unusable as it was at least 100% humidity out there and combined with the air temperatures was most unpleasant.
Decks/facilities: Not enough shade or covered areas on the top deck. No where to sit out of the sun or wind so quite disappointing. A few sheltered areas around the pool or nice big lounges or day beds would be beneficial and would mean that people would be more likely to use this deck and pool area. The pool area on this deck also smelt bad as the stacks churning out black smoke were just above it. The indoor pool was nicer but sometimes I just wanted fresh air and a swim.
Bars were nice and well decorated.On the whole the ship was beautifully decorated and furnished and there were some particularly nice spots to sit.
Some areas were underutilized and others used too much.
Activities: The guest speakers onboard Sydney to Perth were excellent. The entertainment was also first class. A few more interesting activities in the afternoons would not have gone astray.
Organisation: this is where I think Cunard fell down in comparison to other ships/lines. With such a top reputation I expected much more in this regard. Some activities were held in areas that were not suitable creating great congestion for those wanting to be involved but also those that did not, therefore inconveniencing a large number of people. There were queues everywhere and for everything! Getting off the ship was mayhem at times and there was very little consideration given to those with walking difficulties who could not stand in a queue for 1 hour or walk around in circles through the lobby to eventually get into to the queue. It was bedlam trying to get into the shows at night particularly if you had a walking issue. The Planetarium (where many of the guest presentations were held) did not offer any or enough spaces for disabled to sit or get to. More staff needed to be stationed at the entrances to these venues to guide people in and some preference should be given to those in wheelchairs and with walking aids - and there were a very large number of them on the ship at this time.
So our over all experience of the QM2 was pleasant but it did not live up to the hype that is created about her. I don't think that I would cruise on her again and definitely not at full price. There certainly were some bargains to be had if you booked very late! At those prices I may be tempted.