Having been on 25 cruises, and on the QM2 three times I feel I'm qualified to give a fair assessment. Embarkation: was smooth and staff friendly did an excellent job getting us on board quickly.
Disembarkation - not nearly as smooth 1 ½ later than predicted which is not a terrible thing, but your left waiting in crowded lounges and when told you can line up for disembarkation the lines were crowded and unmonitored for line jumpers and unpleasant merging. Previous 2 cruises went better than this 3rd. HonestLy if disembarkation of cruises could be sharply improved people would cruise more. I always find myself dreading disembarkation from the moment of embarkation. Two cruise lines have this down well Disney and NCL. I've only cruised Disney once so I won't comment except to say it went very smoothly. I've sailed NCL three times and all were very smooth. I believe it's because your allowed to remain in your cabin unit you luggage ticket color is called. By the time you reach the gangway deck the line is nearly out the door. QM2 is not the worst, but a lot of room for improvement here.
Stateroom: Larger than most ships and well maintained by stewards. You get nice little bottles of shampoo and fresh bars of soap everyday. In fairness this is something you won't get on NCL, instead you get wall attached squirt bottle dispensers of soap and shampoo, content quality so so.
Dining: Number of selections Very Good, but meals bland, by no means Very Good. Service lacking, and slow, not in par with far less expensive cruises. This was our only disappointment, but a big one. Let's face it good dining is an expectation in cruising. Our previous 2 cruises on the QM2 weren't much better and left us puzzled. We were hoping each time maybe it was just our waiter or bad luck - not so - needs improvement. Dinning rooms almost everyday opened late and crowds would form outside, not a pleasant experience at all. Positive note for us, formal nights are formal and everyone dresses up. In fact you'll see more tuxedos on the QM2 than any other vessel. We like that because it's expected, after all it is the QM2.
Activities: Your find the same array as on most ships, but not being a big participant I won't comment.
Shore Excursions: Good number of Selections - Well handled, but book early on some or you'll miss out. Service: At Information desk, Shore Excursions, Cabins all Excellent, Dinning Rooms Fair, and lounges Good.
Entertainment: Shows were good overall in the theater and in lounges the big band and top 40 bands were Very Good, Lounges: The deco and layout of QM2 lounges is probably its greatest strengths. The cathedral ceiling in the ballroom and sheer size of the dance floor are unmatched by any other ship. Anyone loving ballroom dancing will surely sail this ship more than once. The Disco Tech is just that a technical wonder of modern displays and lighting. These areas and others really help compensate for any other personal disappointments.
Summary: Would I sail her again – honestly not sure, I suppose if I found a real great promotion price – Yes. However subject to previous fairs no. Although it is normal not to be as impressed the 2nd and 3rd time around, we honestly felt the service was slipping away. The ship deserves a 4 ½ to 5 ½ Stars. But service overall 3 ½ to 4 based base on dinning
Final rating 4 Star – dinning experience is just too important especially at QM2 rates. However - everyone should cruise her once – she a Beautiful Ship.