I have just returned from a superb 17 day voyage on the Queen Mary 2 with my husband. The Spring Adventure left Southampton, after 5 days at sea arriving in New York it then became The Memorial Day Getaway, which left New York, visited Halifax Nova Scotia, Boston then returned to New York 5 days later for the voyage back to Southampton.
We arrived at the port in Southampton independently after leaving our car in a nearby car park. We arrived a little after our allocated time and found a large queue but there were plenty of check in desks so it moved pretty quickly, we were onboard in about three quarters of an hour.
As you enter the ship's grand lobby there is definitely the wow factor. Members of the ships crew greet you as does the sound of the harp. On arrival at our inside stateroom we were greeted by a bottle of wine chilling in ice. The room was very nice and spotlessly clean, the bathroom slightly bigger than any we have encountered before on cruise ships. There are plenty of hangers for a 17 night stay. We also found is useful to have a fridge in the room. The only gripe about the room is the position of the sockets they are too low to plug in large chargers for phones etc. without an adapter. The cabin stewardess Maribeth was an angel everything was always perfect and she was so happy. Our luggage arrived as we were checking out the room.
We set off to explore the rest of the ship and were not disappointed at what we found. It does take a few days to remember where everything is though. There are a few places to hide away with a good book and views of the ocean. With the size of the ship and the few passenger is carries it never seems crowded.
In the Britannia Restaurant we chose to be seated at a table for six and luckily we all got on fine. The food was great, always plenty of choice and even I managed to find something I enjoyed every day. The service in here was never very swift, but I think more down to the number of tables the waiters had to serve than to the waiters themselves. We did learn that the smaller tables always get served first and the bigger ones last. Due to the time factor we only ate in here at night.
For breakfast we chose the Kings Court which is self service, it serves all the usual breakfast foods and was always good. Lunch time we either went to the Kings Court or the Golden Lion Pub. The Golden Lion serves bar food this was also very good, a bit more difficult to find a table unless you wait until after 1.30 though. Kings Court has a Chinese counter which we used a lot (excellent), a Carvery, La Piazza, which are also good and Chefs Galley where they cook burgers and hotdogs while you wait (excellent). Kings Court venues are used as separate dining rooms at night some which require booking, we never tried these at night, as with the Todd English which applies a cover charge. (ok for special occasions I suppose) As with any ship you can eat 24 hours a day.
There were lots of activities going on all the time, quizzes, darts, lectures, dance classes, bingo, casino lessons, golf, art auctions, shopping offers, wine: martini: cocktail and whisky tasting (not all together though, charge applies), all the usual for cruise ships but on the Queen Mary there is no pressure to join in and no announcements every few minutes (bliss), so if you don't read your daily programme you miss them. All activities seemed to be well organized, but we didn't really do many ourselves. The planetarium shows are not bad I especially liked Cosmic Collisions out of the four different films. The ship has a Canon Ranch Spa & gym which looked wonderful but regretfully I did not use either. I did manage to climb into the hot tubs a few time though. My favorite one's are at the back on the ship looking out onto the wake. Unfortunately on a transatlantic crossing you do not get much of a chance to use the outdoor pools and hot tubs as the wind is too strong even hurricane force. The indoor pool area is not very big and soon fills up on bad weather days. Every evening there was a show of some kind with either musicians, west end singers, comedians, the Cunard singers and dancers or a RADA performance. With our holiday being three separate voyages some of the shows were repeated but is didn't really matter as there were so many other things going on as well. All the shows we went to were good but not really our cup of tea. We preferred to sit in one of the bars (the Commodore Club was one of our favorites) or the nightclub which had a live Caribbean band playing. The Casino and the Golden Lion tend to get a bit Smokey. A different film is shown every night in the cinema at various times.
One down point was that the immigration procedures for leaving the ship were not made very clear and we often had to collect the forms from the purser which should have been delivered to the staterooms, this did cause a little confusion, especially in New York with customs forms.
In New York we took the excursion transfer to times square (40 Dollars) and wandered about on our own for six hours visiting the Empire state building, Grand central station, and the shops around times square before transferring back to the ship, it's to long a walk from the Brooklyn cruise terminal to Manhattan. The Brooklyn bridge was celebrating 125 years with a fireworks display the day we were there, and Captain Wells delayed our sail away by 4 hours so we could watch them as we had a prime viewing position in front of the bridge. It was a fantastic 10 minute display.
In Halifax we wandered along the boardwalk by the Harbour in the morning, found Alexander Keith's Brewery which is in a very busy market complex which is nice. It is possible to walk into the city here. After lunch we took the excursion scenic drive to Peggy's Cove which is a very pretty cove with a lighthouse a little crowded because of the tourists off the ship. (We did see our only whale here though) (44 dollars).
Boston was my favorite port of call, we took an excursion Boston city sights and amphibious duck tour. (74 dollars). After a highlights tour on land we boarded a duck with Admiral Amnesia and splashed into the Charles River this was great fun and enjoyed by all. We then stopped at Quincy Market for lunch in an Irish Pub to sample the Boston Clam Chowder (delicious). After a bit of shopping we strolled around the harbour area before taking the ship's shuttle back to the ship (9 dollars).
Back to New York and a Land and sea Tour (99 Dollars) which took us to Manhattan for a highlights tour by coach and then we had an hour to spend at Pier 21 a small shopping mall before boarding a boat for a trip along the Hudson river and past the Statue of Liberty. A nice way to spend a sunny day in New York.
On arrival back at Southampton there was time for a leisurely breakfast before leaving the ship at approx 10.00am. The disembarkation is done by deck as it is fairly well organized.
This cruise (voyage) was definitely the best we have been on so far. (we have also travelled with Fred Olsen, NCL, and Royal Caribbean). The ship and crew were first class. You do have to be prepared to dress up a little in the evenings, and be patient in the dining rooms. After reading some of the reviews on this site I must admit we were a little apprehensive but having now been on Queen Mary 2 we would definitely recommend her.