Embarkation: Quick, Easy and Efficient (left from Brooklyn Cruise Port). Cruise Port itself is extremely difficult to get to, but easy to get around in, once inside the port itself. Everything went smooth with check and staff were very pleasant.
Arrival on Ocean Liner: Upon arrival and walking on board, we were shocked how faded the QM2 was. (We were used to seeing Royal Caribbean being painted on a regular basis to maintain it's freshness and newness). We stepped on board in the Grand Lobby and didn't even realize it, as it was small, cramped, was only about two decks high, and had nothing grand about it. A few crew said "hello, and welcome aboard," but it was very, very, low key. No one asked us if we needed any help finding our room, offered no champagne, etc. We didn't even know they had a Bonvoyage Party until I read other Cruise Reviews when we returned home.
Public Rooms: The public rooms were very, very, small, and segregated, depending on what deck your cabin was on.
Overall Ship Design: We found out shortly after arriving that this was not a cruise ship, but an ocean liner; which is why Cunard can advertise they are the most luxurious ocean liner every built. We were expecting gracious, luxurious, and grand, but to much disappointment, there were no areas that were memorable. Décor appeared to be somewhat of an "art deco theme" (plastic/wood wall coverings). No luxury anywhere that we saw.
Overall ship design/layout was extremely poor, confusing and choppy. Walking from one area to another usually involved up and down half floors and around stairways and elevators to reach one section to another. Example: the indoor (small) poor area you had to walk directly through the dining room, or up and down half floors to reach it. The library was very nice, but the only way to reach it was to walk all the way to the front of the ship past staterooms, which was very odd.
Cabin: We had a Quad (inside) Cabin on the 6th deck, staying with 2 children under 12. Upon booking, we requested our twin beds be separated in the room to allow more floor space due to the upper beds. This was one of the more smaller staterooms than on other ships. Upon arrival, the beds were not placed as we requested and when we asked the Cabin Steward to correct it, she repeatedly told us to try it like it was. We gave in to her, but found it to be cramped and unusable. We wrote a note and left it on the bed requesting it be moved apart again the next day and it finally was.
The beds did not have a flat sheet or blanket, but rather a duvet - which made us wonder if they were ever washed? This was a little unsettling.
The cabin was clean, but the floor in the bathroom always had a pool of water on it due to the shower curtain and liner that was 4" or more too short. There were four of us in the cabin and we only had two bath towels. We asked for two more and she told us she always puts two in there. We explained we had four people and were eventually brought two more. We did not receive bath robes until the second night of the cruise. Our ice bucket was filled with ice when we arrived, but was not re-filled again the entire cruise or emptied of the melted ice so we had to walk up to the dining area to retrieve water and ice ourselves. The room was kept clean, however, upon check in, my husband found dirty toilet paper stuck on the toilet.
Fitness & Recreation: We did not use the Canyon Ranch Spa or the Fitness Center, but did take a look at it. Again, this area was very small.
Enrichment: This ship boasts a "Planetarium" on board. We were one of a lucky few that did get to see it, as they were experiencing technical difficulties during our showing, as part of the picture on the screen was shaking. The next day, all of the Planetarium shows were cancelled, and did not take place for the rest of the trip. There was a Watercolor Class offered that was just o.k. and I cannot remember anything from this short 4 night cruise where any other activities were offered, other than wine tasting which you had to pay for.
Rates: Overall, for the service and amenities, the price of the entire cruise was outrageously overpriced! We were expecting to be "wowed" by Cunard's WhiteStar, five star service, they advertise and promote everywhere, and ended up with disappointment after disappointment. If we had not cruised on other lines before, we probably would have thought this was fine, but we know what other's can do.
Biggest Pet Peeve: Cunard automatically applies an $11 per day, per guest charge to anyone staying in inside or outside cabins on floors that do not have suites; suites pay more. This is their tipping policy, but, of course, if you wish to tip more, you could do so. This is a joke! It was quite apparent that everyone on board knows they will be getting "X" amount of dollars for tipping each cruise, and therefore does as little as possible, because they know it does not matter how they perform. I highly recommend that you stop at the Purser's Desk and request the automatic tipping be removed, and ask for Cunard envelopes for you to personally tip as you see fit.
Second Biggest Pet Peeve: While on board, the fact that you are not a passenger staying in a suite is thrown in your face repeatedly. There are special restaurants, lounges, rooms, pools/spa's, and sun decks, specifically reserved only for use by suite guests. For example: suite guests have teak lounge chairs, as everyone else gets white plastic lounge chairs. I suppose QM2 has not evolved as the world haswanted to maintain their "class" stereo-typing and old school separation of mixing peon's with upper class from the days of the Titanic; this practice is reprehensible.
Dining: Breakfast Buffets were the basics. Nothing special, no omelet or Belgian waffle stations. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and a few pieces of fruit; nothing more that you would get at a Holiday Inn.
Lunch Buffets were pathetic! The same lunch buffet was served every day and consisted of the following: Bowl of salad greens, pasta salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, and a type of pasta. No pasta stations, carving stations, and tasteless desserts. No decorative displays of fruit or vegetable carvings, and no fancy displays of breads. There were soft ice cream machines, but most of the time were empty. The same went for the ice cream cones which usually ran out, resulting in people using coffee cups to put ice cream in; no toppings, etc.
Dinner in Britannia Restaurant: (This is the Restaurant we were allowed to eat in since we were not paying for a suite). The food was good, but again, nothing exceptional, or that brought out the "wow" factor. Same Grilled Sirloin Steak on menu each night, as well as the same children's menu which never changed.
The Waitstaff were the worst we have every experienced anywhere! They were unfriendly, inattentive and asked at the end of the meal how everything was. Never asked if we needed anything. We have never experienced such unfriendly, curt staff on any ship like this one. We requested a large table for 8-10 and found out if it would not have been for the fact that an older couple requested to be moved, we would have sat by ourselves. We then sat through most dinners with empty water glasses and plates waiting to be cleared. We were never offered refills on our lemonade, and had to ask for everything. We had to ask for fresh ground pepper, sour cream, ketchup, etc., a number of times, and it usually took them about a half hour or more until we ever got what we wanted. The Waiter and his Asst. didn't seem to know what was on the menu half the time, and we always felt like they were rushing us, and being very stern. The Maitre'D, of course, was very pleasant, and always said the right things, however, we never saw him doing anything other than talking. At one point I asked the Asst. Waiter (since she was the one that took our orders) if I could have a soup from the previous evening and was told yes, however, a few minutes later, the Waiter came over to me and basically scolded me for asking for a special request and told me that special requests like that need to be made far in advance; he made me feel very uncomfortable.
Presentation/Displays of Food: What can I say here? There were absolutely no presentations or displays, and only one or two carvings of a watermelon. That's it! No fancy bread displays, fruit/vegetable carvings, etc., nothing.
Special Easter Decorations: I will give them credit on this one. I was surprised when we went back to our room on the night before Easter and found a China plate with eater grass and a wrapped small chocolate bunny and a few pieces of candy on the plate. We later found out, every cabin got the same. What confused me was, the next morning while walking around, we saw some easter decorations, but they were the kind you would find in the dollar store; paper and cardboard cut outs of bunnies with some crepe paper wrapped around posts or pillars. (This to me was really odd for an ocean liner that is advertised as the most luxurious - something didn't seem quite right - but at least they made an attempt).
Entertainment: There was absolutely nothing to do on board. They had Bingo and a Casino, but other than that, there were no activities. This was the most boring cruise we have ever taken. We didn't even know they had an entertainment staff until the third night and they actually had a "Liars' Club" game.
The evening shows were basic and somewhat below average, and could be compared to a high school production. One night there was a man and woman, who looked like they were in their 70's, and he banged on the piano and she played a banjo - one number would have been o.k., but an hour of this! We left shortly after the third song (?). The Final nights show was to include pyrotechnics which never happened. Once again, we expected so much more, and got so much less.
Service: Extremely poor! Actually, overall, for this ocean liner's reputation and 5 star WhiteStar service and reputation, it was a complete an utter joke! The staff did not smile, they ignored you, and no-one, absolutely no one, offered to carry trays, etc., no one asked you how you were enjoying your trip, etc. No one was attentive at all. The staff appeared to be robots, doing their job, but nothing else. Every time you did have to ask for something, they made you feel like you were bothering them. Everyone seemed so miserable. The unfriendliness on this trip from staff was incredible! Other passengers were polite and helpful, but staff, no way!
Children's Program: The children's program was pathetic as well! Usually our children, between ages of 10-12, look forward to attending these programs while on board, but on this cruise, there was nothing for them to do. Their activities staff geared the activities to under 8, and they only had a very small space for games; 4 X-Box, etc. My older child never had anything to do as they did offer a 12-15 group, but all they did was watch movies. What!!!!!
Shore Excursions: We only went to Eluethera Island-Princess Cays-Bahama's, and they only had a few rentals of water toys, so we cannot fairly evaluate this piece. What was really nice was Cunard brought food on the island and had BBQ Spare Ribs, Chicken, and
Value for the Money: To sum it up - this cruise was over-priced. We have been on 5 other cruises with Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, and they both, have exceeded our expectations. Granted, they have their own share of minor issues, but the QM2 in no way, shape or form, stand up to its reputation and I ask myself why anyone would want to travel on this line when you can get so much more elsewhere.
Overall Cruise: Anytime we can get away is wonderful, and we did enjoy our time. We kept thinking the experience on the QM2 would get better, and after taking to numerous other guests, we found out our experience was the same of everyone we talked to. It was a very, very, low key, un-attentive, boring cruise, with extremely unfriendly staff - no fun or wow factors to mention. I would suggest if your looking for a cruise, I would not recommend the QM2, as there is nothing worth seeing or experiencing, and for less money, you can have so much more on other cruise lines.