EMBARKATION: A warning for anyone who has a mishap in the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal or walking up the gangway to the ship. Until you set foot on the QM2, Cunard isn't responsible for your safety despite the Cunard uniforms worn by the personnel who process you in the terminal and greet you as you make your way to the ship. If you fall (as I did when I tripped over a raised metal joint in the gangway), you MUST report the accident to the Port Authority Police, not to Cunard. I discovered this too late. To not imply liability of any sort (I assume), the ship's personnel showed zero concern for my injury with the exception of the ship's doctor. Although the purser's office became aware of my fall as soon as I hobbled onto the ship, at no time was I informed that I needed to report the accident to the port authorities. Instead, I was told to proceed to my cabin where I could scoop ice out of the ice bucket to treat my knee. There wasn't even one inquiry about my condition from any member of the purser's staff which is in charge of "guest relations" aboard ship. They didn't relate to this guest at all.
CABIN: Our cabin was midship on deck 8 and we had a balcony with a semi-obstructed view. The room was comfortable. Its decor had a tasteful, contemporary theme and the only complaint was a lack of closet space for a 10 night cruise with several formal nights. One closet had a standard clothes rack, but the other had a pull out system that made it difficult to hang and remove clothing. Our cabin steward was attentive, friendly and professional and the bed was comfortable.
DINING: Like many other reviewers, we found service and food in the Britannia Dining Room to be no better than on the Carnival cruise we took last winter. Because Cunard is now owned by Carnival we weren't surprised, but it was disappointing, especially since passengers pay a premium to sail on the QM2. The layout of the King's Court Buffet is a disaster and service there needs a great deal of attention. The grill, which is the only place to obtain a sandwich or a burger at lunch, is in a small hallway and always had a long line. Ditto the waffle station at breakfast where my husband stood in line for 20 minutes one morning. Once passengers discovered they could order freshly made eggs on the buffet lines, those ground to a halt as they waited for their orders. And since the QM2 sails in tropical water, there should be an opportunity to eat outside in the fresh air away from the buffet's tumult, but there are no outdoor tables. There was a lot of griping from fellow passengers about the cafeteria atmosphere of the King's Court.
ENTERTAINMENT: A couple of the acts were outstanding, but the majority of the shows were mediocre. We enjoyed the full size movie screen in the combo planetarium/theater. The casino is woefully inadequate for a ship this size and its tired decor isn't in keeping with the rest of the ship. On a sea day we tried the dance lessons in the ballroom, but for some reason the instructors didn't stand on a raised area and it was impossible to see their feet and follow any steps. We left after 10 minutes. The deck is lovely for strolls, the Commodore Club is a wonderful place to sip a drink or read a book and the library is outstanding.
We had high expectations of a Cunard voyage, but unfortunately the experience didn't live up to the line's hype. This was an impression that was echoed by many others, especially the international passengers we met. One man from South Africa was incredulous that the gym, connected to the Canyon Ranch Spa, had no shower facilities. It's little things like this that detract from what should have been one of those trips of a lifetime. We will not sail with Cunard again.