First an most important I can must say, that I had a great cruise and loved the style and overall service on QM 2!
Pre Cruise Stay: Booked the Millennium Hilton in Lower Manhattan, right across Ground Zero to stay overnight. I asked for a room on one of the top floors to get a good overview. So I ended up in the 54 th floor. Wow what a spectacular ( and somewhat saddening ) view. As I visited both Towers on their Top Floors it is still and I thing ever will be unbelievable that they are no longer there. All in all a very nice Hotel in the ( for me) perfect location. Due to the ongoing construction work- if you look for a quite Hotel- this would be the wrong choice for you. ( Is there one in New York City- I doubt it)
Embarkation: Went to the terminal by a yellow cab- the cab driver hat a hard time to find the terminal- which surprised me really, because the QM 2 was in sight from quite a distance. So I pointed out the QM 2- which worked after the third try. After arriving at the Terminal everything went very fast, security check, a very fast moving line for check in and within 30 minutes I walked right into the Grand Lobby- Shivers down my spine- unforgettable- after all I read, all the pictures a looked at- I finally was there.
Public Rooms: Right from the entrance one can feel the sheer elegance and the style which makes this ship- in my opinion- unique. The appearance of the decks, public rooms, bars and lounges is exceptionally clean and well taken care of. Cleaning takes places all the time, but it is done really discreet. My personal favorite bar was the Chart Room Bar, mostly because of the size, the space and the high ceilings. All this is giving the room a certain grandeur. The Commodore Club is great for after dinner Martinis, because it is nice cosy and very relaxing there, most evenings with nice Piano- Music and/or a singer. During the day it is a great spot see the ocean and ships bow. For my in between tea I choose usually Sir Samuels, also a very nice bar. The Golden Lion Pub was not my cup of tea, but thats just my opinion. I spend hour in the Library and the bookshop. The bookshop itself is mostly a place for ship buffs ( like me) as 90% of the books are ship related. I joined the High Tea ceremony 3 times ( next time more- thats is something I promised myself) and found the Queens room really stunning and very nice. A great place for people watching. ( discreet of course- as everything on board QM 2) The Veuve Cliqout Bar is the most elegant Bar I have every seen on board a ship.
Food: Overall I liked the food in all Restaurants I choose. For breakfast I went to the Kings Court. Nice laid out, nice corner tables with great views, facing the sea. Sadly there is no outdoor breakfast location. The Selection for breakfast was quite good. Only thing I missed or maybe just did not found was my all time favorite Peanut Butter. The waiters were very friendly and cleaned up the room all the time, so there was a minimum sight of used tables with all the used plates and cutlery. I usually take a late lunch so I can not tell much about the Selection there, but I always found something to my liking! As booked in a B1 cabin I had all my dinners in the Britannia Restaurant. A beautiful room ( or better " hall" ) I was seated in a corner of the 2nd floor, with a big window behind, very nice. I always ask for a large table, when traveling alone ( which was the case this time) so I got a table for eight. So fare so good. It turned out that I was seated all with german travelers. I usually prefer a more international group and was a little bit disappointed in the first- as it turned out we had much fun on our table. This brings me to the only thing I had to complain about. The Service in the dinning room was compared to Celebrity quite poor. Celebrity would get a 10 out of 10, Cunard a 3 out of 10. I guess it all stands and falls with waiter one get´s! The waiter did not serve the food, he just brought it. No friendly smile, many mix ups with the meals, I don´t remember one evening that each of us got the right and ordered course. With a friendly smile or just a few friendly words I would´t even have mentioned it. In the end he always made it look as if it had been our mistake. Some evenings we ended up to be the last to leave the dinning room. It did not bother us- as we had fun and nice talks around the table, but very obviously it disturbed our waiter. One evening he asked if we would like to have anything else. We declined, he turned and pointed to his watch. ( with rolling eyes to his assistant waiter) This evening before our after dinner Martinis we had a little talk about the incident at the pursers desk. I could not praise them more so nice did they handle it. The girl at the pursers desk was attentive, understanding and assured us she would take care of it. Which she did- we got a nice plate of stawberries covered with chocolate to our rooms and a call from the Maitre´d . It got slightly better after that, just slightly....! I don´t know if it has anything to do with our complaining, on the last evening we had at least a half an hour talk with Executive Chef which was german and made a visit at our table.
Itinerary: I liked the west Indies very much. For me the ship was the real destination so I will not go further into it. Nothing really new as I knew the islands, except of Tortola.Tortola is a wonderful and and not yet overwhelmed with cruise ships. The Tour, booked pre cruise with Cunard was nice and very well planed. Cunard Compared to Celebrity: I found Cunard a very good alternative to Celebrity as they are very comparable in style, service and decor of the ships. What did I miss on the QM 2 that I found on Celebrity ( I sailed on all Millennium- Class ships, Summit and Millennium twice) : Well most important I missed the outdoor dinning option I found board the Millennium Class ships( attached to the casual dinning room ) I though I will miss the Cova Cafe- but found in Chart Room Bar or Sir Samules a nice alternative. Dinning Room Service was inattentive and with a major lack of friendliness-for this time a agreed with Douglas Ward who said" The Service lacked a little polish! So on this Celebrity wins hands down. The Highlight for me was entering the New York Harbour accompanied from the Queen Ellisabeth 2 and the Queen Victoria. All in all a wonderful voyage ( I don´t dare calling it a cruise- as the QM 2 is not a cruise ship- which they constantly reminded you on board- and they are right about this) So I even considered to switch my next cruise form the Solstice to the QM 2 or the Queen Victoria. I did not as it is really exciting to board a brand new ship and we have a wonderful Roll Call already. LOL! ( Hello to all Solstice Cruisers ) Michael Bayer , Germany