I have always wanted to cross the Atlantic on a classic Ocean liner. There isn't but one choice, so we booked an August Westbound crossing on the QM2. My wife and I wanted to cross instead of fly, both for the history and to experience what the timeless luxury of a crossing was like. The Queen Mary 2 and her crew delivered everything we hoped for and more.
The embarkation was flawless, we arrived late in the afternoon after touring Stonehenge and Winchester. We were on board and at our cabin, with our luggage within 30 minutes. Our cabin was a sheltered balcony on deck 5. This was the largest cabin that we have had on a cruise, and the sheltered balcony was large and useable even in harsh weather (more latter). Everything was clean and maintenance seemed to be a top priority, as most everything was in great shape for a 4 year old ship. The crew was very attentive, our room steward was very good, and the wait-staff in the Britannia were excellent. We sat at a large table with two other couples. Most passengers were British, although one of our table mate couples were New Zealanders, we developed a wonderful ship-board bond with both couples. We really felt comfortable with our fellow passengers, everyone was on their best behavior, there was a relaxed atmosphere, but everyone who we encountered were so friendly and possessed classic manners. There was never a "cattle car" mentality, and even though there were 2,500 passengers onboard, the ship never seemed crowded, there were never long lines.
The food was slightly better quality than Carnival fare. Food was hot, beautifully prepared and served promptly. The weather was not perfect, overcast and rain almost every day. The second day out we ran into a force 11 gale. Everyone was concerned, the waves were up to 30 ft. high. The storm lasted all afternoon and into the night. Welcome to the North Atlantic! The crew performed wonderfully and the big ship plowed on through the gale. The sea was wild, but the Queen was unflappable. I fear I may never experience anything like that storm at sea again, such excitement! This ship is a work of engineering art. Thanks to ships architect, S. Payne, who was on our crossing and was approachable and very interesting. Also, one of the worlds pre-emminate Ocean Liner historians, John Graham and his wife. His lectures and their one act play on the last full day, were fascinating and entertaining. The other activities were mostly fun and entertaining. The planetarium show was very difficult to get tickets for, and we didn't. The ships library was superb, well managed and with a huge selection as well as a great location directly below the bridge.
Disembarkation was smooth and uneventful, like it should be. Only a certain melancholy of leaving our newly made friends, crew members and this magnificent ship. We came to Cunard for a different way home from Europe, for the history of the event of crossing, and for the luxury. This we received. What we didn't count on was the deep relaxation and sense of accomplishment that was ours from our six days at sea with the QM2.