We just returned from our Fjords adventure on QM2 from Hamburg to Hamburg departing on 26th May 2014 for an 8 night voyage. This is our third time on Cunard having previously done a crossing on QM2 as well as a mini break on Victoria. We booked a P1 (Princess Grill) cabin but were delighted to be upgraded to a Q5 (Queens Grill). All of our experiences on Cunard have been in the Grills as we like flexible dining and more a la Carte options.
Embarkation in Hamburg was a bit unorganised there seemed to be very few informed people who were able to know which queue we should be in waiting in. Once we reached a certain point we were asked to produce our tickets then split into two queue’s on for Grills and one for Britannia. The whole setup seems very temporary and think that Hamburg should really have a better facility to deal with the number of ships coming in. It is worth mentioning that we embarked from Haffen City cruise centre. Once on-board we found our stateroom 9074 and it was lovely. We were introduced to our butler and room steward and asked how we would like the bar stocked. One thing that I would have expected was an explanation of what they are able to do for you. Cunard makes a big fuss on their site about the pillow concierge service however it was only when I asked that they were able to provide feather pillows. In fairness I realise turnaround days are quite hectic for the staff however a simple introduction of all services would have been appreciated. Our stateroom had a lovely unobstructed balcony view (some Queens grill room midship have the lifeboats directly beneath the balcony and that can partially block your view downward. Overall the service in the stateroom was superb and we had several breakfasts served in the room and the butler was always on-time. Room was very clean and was refreshed throughout the day. Mini-bar was always replenished as was the fresh fruit and bottled water. We never had to ask for anything.
We had a lovely table in the Queens Grill and Osman the Maitre’d and Krishna the Head Waiter as well as our lovely Waiters provided excellent service. Osman let us know that we could order off menu and provided helpful suggestions. On my last night I had the seafood pasta made table side and it was so good! We also had table side Caesar salad prepared by Osman which was ridiculously good. From the service side our expectations were surpassed and we felt really special the whole time on board. Anything we requested just once was always remembered such as extra hot coffee and half and half at breakfast. Having travelled in grills since 2008 we have noticed the quality of the food has dropped and there does not seem to be as many choices. On previous occasions there was always at least one flambé desert on the menu each night this time only one. That being said we requested crepe suzette however it was never offered on the menu. The same for caviar, it was never on the menu and had been on previous voyages. So our advice is to ask for it if you don’t see it on the menu. The only other restaurant we tried was The Golden Lion for fish and chips which was lovely. One complaint they did not have heinz tomato catchup, they had some other concoction that did not resemble catchup.
Having last been on QM2 in 2008 we were delighted at the condition of the ship. I know there was a refurb a few years ago but at 10 she looks just as good as at 4 years old. The ship was very clean and staff always greeted us in the hallways. One of my biggest gripes with Cunard is the entertainment. The shows have not changed at all over the past 6 years and seem stuck in an age that is not relevant to today’s tastes. They did bring onboard 3 musical guests, a violinist, an opera/westend singer and a classical guitarist. The violinist was OK, however her repertoire seemed aimed at the over 70’s crowd. The singer was better and sang a few classic opera arias and some classic broadway but like many of their entertainers its seems they are a little past their sell by date. The notable exception was the classical guitarist who was spellbinding and extremely talented and entertaining. We did attend one RADA performance of arabian nights and thought the quality of the production was average. What we would like to see more of is abbreviated west end or broadway productions much like they do in vegas. We could not believe they were still flogging that old horse appassionata which really needs to be put down.
We were blessed with amazing weather in Norway and all the stops were excellent. We tendered once and it was very smooth and the 2 excursions booked were flawless. We could not fault the ports and getting on and off the ship at any of the ports. Our ports not in order were, Alesund, Bergen, Olden, Stavenger, Andalsnes. We cannot fault the off boarding/boarding procedure.
Our advice is to always book the stateroom you are happy with but book the highest grade of that class to have the best chance of an upgrade. We booked P1 and got Q5, no guarantees but if you are at the highest grade in your class the chances are better. We would not opt to pay for Queens Grill as the food in Princess is equally good. Obviously if you want more space in your stateroom and larger balcony then books QG.
I have read some bad reviews over the past few years and it does seem based on conversations with passengers who have 100+ nights say that QM2 does seem to be turing herself around service wise, that being said grills in our opinion is always the way to go.