Having completed over 30 cruises, I decided to check one more off my bucket list and do a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2. Yes, I had high expectations, I believed the marketing materials based on Cunard's history. But sadly, this line really has nothing to do with that proud history of Cunard and White Star Line, this is about Carnival and cost cutting, I believe.
The good: The ship itself is lovely, but worn. Being a liner, versus a cruise ship it's layout is different, but interesting. Great planetarium, theatre and dining rooms. The outside cabin was roomy and bright. A leisurely 8-day cruise versus a cramped transatlantic flight, perfect. The check-in at port smooth and quick.
The could do better: The welcome on board left much to be desired, with no welcome champagne or even adequate direction to your cabin. The buffet seems disjoined and hard to navigate. The food and environment likened to a high school cafeteria by more than one fellow passenger. There certainly were some hits, and a lot of misses during the cruise. Quality control was lacking and their habit of putting rows of plastic serving trays up to block access to certain areas of the buffet, tacky. The entertainment was pretty pedestrian and amateurish with the exception of the two violinists. The four-tier ( Britannia, Britannia Club, Princess Grill and Queen's Grill) system of service is very evident in the quality of food. FOr example on one formal night, the Britannia passengers were served a single thing rock lobster (cray fish) tail, with some congealed tomato rice as the special farewell treat. This was not what was served in in the other dining rooms. Of course when you have a class system, this is what happens. The staterooms were not made up until after noon each day, even though we were out all morning. I suspect this was do to short staffing as the stewards seemed to be looking after an awful lot of cabins each.
The really bad: The hallway near our cabin had had some sort of major spill on it. Something like a bucket of really rank water. It was not cleaned until the day before arrival in port in NYC. The steward walked into our room without knocking one morning, while I was resting on the bed waiting for my husband to return. He admitted he had not knocked, because he "thought" we were both out. The shower hose and shower head were removed from our bathroom one morning for some time without telling us. Not good when you come back from the gym and have just enough time to shower and make it to the morning speaker. Someone also came into our room without prior warning while we were at dinner and glued something with very toxic and obnoxious smelling glue. We could not sleep in the room that night.
We did not get an evaluation form before disembarking, even though we asked the steward 3 times for one. The crew does not seem to be a happy group.
Overall: this was a wonderful way to cross the ocean, it is too bad that the ship/line does not live up to it's hype. We met 4 other couples who were using this cruise as a test before heading out on a round the world cruise on board QM2. At least 3 were cancelling and the other couple not proceeding to booking. Too bad, the concept is wonderful.