I have recently completed two crossing on the QM2 from New York to Southampton (May 16th) and Southampton to New York (June 5) and I can truly call both crossings magnificent. There is little I can add that other people have not already said --but I will and I am truly surprised at some of the previous negative comments. To each their own I suppose but I thought I would offer some of my personal observations:
QM2: truly a wonder of a ship....grand looking on the outside and grand on the inside. You do feel special when you are aboard and truly do feel connected to the sea with wonderful views from the public rooms all the way to the uppers decks. I think this is the true value of a transatlantic crossing and particularly all the viewing options offered by the QM2: being connected to the ocean and enjoying the incredible colors; the power of the water and the weather; wonder skies and beautiful sunsets. To me this beats any Vegas show or rock climbing wall. That is the marvel of the QM2: it affords you the time and the opportunity to appreciate the many things we tend to overlook on a daily basis. I found the ship in great repair. Did not see rust or mold and it was fantastically clean! Spotless! There was always someone wiping, vacuuming and sprucing up any mess people might have left. We had some very rough seas and the QM2 rode them beautifully!
Public Rooms: all were great each with their own unique flavor and character. The decor was fantastic and all furnishings of high quality and comfort. Golden Lion was a fun place to drop in for a pint and the Commodore Club offered great views with a high end modern elegant feel. Enjoyed Sir Samuel's for a morning coffee and sitting outside on deck 8 (despite the weather) offered great views of the horizon.
Service: the crew were phenomenal always saying hello with a smile as you walked down the halls and never a shortage of some one to help if you needed it. I found the staff in all the lounges friendly, happy, helpful and surprisingly they always remembered my name. They were always talkative and looked like they were enjoying their job. You certainly did not feel you were aboard a vessel with 2600 other people. Found it was more like going to your neighborhood pub.
Britannia Restaurant: this is truly a fine dinning experience. Service was marvelous and so was the food. I certainly did not see food being sent back. What surprised me, being a fussy eater and selective eater, was that there was always a menu choice that suited my tastes and personal preferences. Any steak I ordered was cooked exactly how I liked it. Food was always served hot. Portions sizes were perfect and a fine selection of deserts. One more comment about the service: in such a large dining room I found the service to be extremely personal, friendly and fun. I always looked forward to my meals in the Britannia.
King's Court: not sure what people complain about---it is a buffet. Yes a buffet. It has great food, of which there was a large selection which changed everyday. For those who complain about lack of service (ie. wait staff) then remember it is a buffet and by that very definition this means self serve. If you want fine dinning then travel 5 decks down or visit other locations (i.e. Golden Lion) where you can order your food and it will be brought to your table. If people thought this reminded them of high school cafeteria food then they must be going to some out of high end private school cafeteria. That aside, I found it a great place to sit down, enjoy a snack or a quick meal. I enjoyed the roast beef they had on offer and always a great selection of deserts. Nice selection of fresh fruits One day at lunch they had a superb selection of Mexican food and one evening great Italian pasta I always found it easy to find a table by a window and in fact as soon as you were finished your plate there was someone there to take away your empty plate. I don't understand the confusing layout comments. I found it easy to get around. Again, great food, great setting with great views of the promenade. Granted on any one day the selection many not appeal to your particular taste but overall I do think most reviews of King's Court are unfair.
Room Service: was fast, quick and most important delicious. Pre-ordered breakfasts were spot on time. I recommend the Spicy Chicken Thai Curry for dinner or lunch! Room service always arrived hot and within 20 minutes.
Cabin: spacious, well kept and very clean. Very comfortable beds and pillows and beds and bed linens were super soft. Room stewards in both directions were fantastic. Room always cleaned in the morning when I left and turn down service occurred while at dinner. Perfectly discrete!. The cabin was extremely quite with very little sounds from the hall way. One evening I did hear the wind from the gale blowing outside but it was very low. Very easy to control the temperature of the room and very great storage. Water was always hot. One warm days the deck chairs on the balcony were enjoyable and a great place to relax. Only negative for me-not a big fan of the Gilchrist & Soames toiletries but understand that is changing.
Embarkation/Disembarkation: quick and easy embarkation and disembarkation. Security and check-in was easy. Probably an average of an hour from check-in to boarding the ship. Faster than an airport! Luggage delivered promptly. Disembarkation took 20 minutes from ship to curb side(used self help).
Suggestions for Improvement: just a couple of things I think could be improved--but hardly a deal breaker. The first is the gift shop. I thought they could have a better selection of gifts and various "knick/knacks". My second suggestion would be to have a channel on the TV were you could see the actually position of the QM2 (ie. where in teh ocean you were). I thought there was one but could not find it.
After 15 days on the QM2 I can honestly say I am willing to go again! Everything was perfect---based on all the research I did prior to my trip (and it was extensive) both crossings lived up to and in many cases surpassed my expectations. My biggest surprise was when leaving the QM2 after getting off and looking back was the sheer size of the ship. After being on board for a week you lose perspective on how big she is--especially as there is no sense of overcrowding on board. That is how well laid out she is and how many different places there are for people to enjoy.