My wife and I flew into LGA, took a limo to the dock, got into line (we're only Silver), and waited and waited and waited. We arrived at 1PM and finally boarded the ship at 2:20, an ominous beginning which, fortunately, was the low point of the trip.
STATEROOM On the 12th deck was very nice, lots of storage, and I didn't have to lift the bed to slide a suitcase underneath it. Bathroom had real tiles, not plastic, and the shower was large enough to accommodate my 6"5". 230# body with no trouble. The steward was like a phantom, rarely saw her but always had a neat and clean room, freshly made up.
FOOD we ate in the Britannia Club due to our cabin selection. Very nice as it's a single sitting. At times we would arrive at 6:45 and leave after 9. The food was OK, some meals actually were excellent, but the "lobster" is,as usual on a ship, crayfish, overgrilled and I don't recommend it. Cold soups were always excellent and the desserts actually had some flavor to them, a surprise on a cruise ship. We ate one night at Todd English and I highly recommend it, even with the additional $30 p/p cost. If you order wine by the glass there, be sure to inquire about its cost. I didn't and would up with a $21 French pinot noir which was no better than my wife's $13 American pinot noir. Serves me right. The Britannia staff was very attentive, especially the maitre d'hotel. Being recognized by name upon entering is a very nice touch and I appreciated the staff's accessibility without their being too chummy. The Golden Lion Pub is very good and very crowded. Try it on a port day for a more relaxing experience.
ENTERTAINMENT The best we've seen in more than 30 cruises between us. Dance troupe was excellent, their costumes magnificent. Theater is beautiful, was never crowded, and had no one hawking drinks. A classical pianist, a violinist, and a trained female singer were all excellent, as were the pianists in the lounges. A harpist and a string quartet played in public areas. Clearly, this is not a ship geared to youngsters and that's what made if so enjoyable for us.
PORTS OF CALL Well, we chose this ship because my hard working wife needed a break and her lazy, indolent husband needed to maintain his retired life style. So we never took a tour of any kind, but merely wandered the streets of St. Kitts, Bon Aire, and Granada. One shopping note: the ship's shopping expert kept pushing Diamonds International in St. Kitts. We went there, spent 5 minutes checking it out and then beat a hasty retreat. If you're spending thousands on diamonds, this place will not give you a warm feeling. Maybe it's OK for trinkets. Two doors down was Kays, a much nicer shop with nice items but pretty high prices. We stumbled on a place called Glitter Jewelry, a name designed to discourage serious shoppers, I think, but to our joy, the managers both claimed GIA certification and the merchandise we looked at was top quality with good pricing. Bargain, bargain, bargain!
FACILITIES The ship is magnificent, though some areas are not as grand as on other ships. We had high seas the first two nights, and the Queen plowed through them easily with virtually no movement even on the 12th deck. If sea sickness is a concern, this is the ship for you. Our cabin was quiet and we had to open the door to hear PA announcements. The Lounges are comfortable but I must warn against mixed drinks. They always seemed watery. My wife thinks it's because the ice cubes are so small they disappear in a shaker. Stick with wine, beer , port, etc. The theater is beautiful, as is the planetarium, which serves multiple uses. There's an extremely extensive library and a cigar room, too, where a Cuban is not priced out of sight. I signed up for $90 worth of Wi-Fi minutes but when it didn't work in our cabin, I cancelled the service and found places ashore to use my laptop.
TIPPING A charge of $11 p/p per diem ($13 in suites)is made automatically to an account. But typically, additional tipping directly to stewards, waiters, and such is done. I cancelled the automatic charge and put tips directly in the hands of those who earned them. People behind the scenes, as important as they might be, should be paid by the company, I feel.
DRESS Three formal nights on an 8 night cruise. Most men wore black tie and it really adds to the sense of class the ship so richly deserves. During the day most people slipped back into their normal style of dress. Too bad. Or am I really showing my years?
GENERAL OVERVIEW I once read that unless "Sir" or "Lady" proceeded a name, Cunard staff was haughty. Maybe that was true 30 years ago, it isn't today. Smiles and greeting abounded and I really felt they were given sincerely. This was our first venture on the QM2; it won't be our last. Simply an excellent experience overall. Thank you, Cunard.