We had the misfortune of being on the 6/11-6/19 Caribbean cruise on QM2.
From the beginning Cunard showed its ineptitude. Varying pieces of pre-boarding info gave conflicting requirements for passport. It was needed, it wasn't needed. Phone calls received the same yes/no responses. E-mail likewise yes/no. For this cruise, passports were not needed as it turned out, but conflicting answers from Cunard almost caused several members of our group to spend extra for rushed passports.
Boarding in NYC at 3pm went smoothly, greeted at end of gangway by crew members who smiled and pointed towards elevators, not very helpful, but not bad. Luggage was at rooms when we arrived. Briefly explored ship then decided to get a snack before sailing at 5. Eat before you get on, there was nothing open for dining until the restaurants opened up at 6pm. If you had late seating, as we did you could not eat until 8:30. Room service was available, but wait time was 2-2.5 hours.
Food overall was a major disappointment throughout the cruise. What there was was not very good, service of it for the most part was poor and hours it was available were limited. No food anywhere onboard at certain times except room service. "Midnight Buffet" opened at 11pm. This "buffet" consisted of the same thing every night..hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and a chinese stirfry along with a small selection of salads, lunch meats and stale desserts.
Menu in the Britannia DR was always very limited, with nothing available geared towards children. It took 3 days for the wait staff to figure out how to get chocolate milk, that one of the children with us wanted. Service was mediocre at best. Half of a table of 7 would get water or bread, other half had to request.
Menus at all the King's Court/Speciality Restaurants was the same every day of the cruise, as was the menu at Todd English. We did not dine at any of the Speciality Restaurants or Todd English. Menus did not look very exciting and reports from others said food/service was no better than Britannia.
Entertainment onboard was just ok. Featured entertainers were good, production shows terrible. Illuminations was enjoyable, movies were definitely not new...Chicago, Under the Tuscan Sun, Seabiscuit, Freaky Friday, Out of Time, Beyond Borders, and Cold Creek Manor. The TV system in the room was terrible with erratic and hard to use controller The same 4 episodes of Home Improvement and Friends played all week. News was often not available or a taped repeat of the previous day. The itinerary displayed on screen for our cruise was from the previous week until the last day we were onboard. The Cruise Director, Ray Rouse had all the personality of British Police Detective, which he was before going to sea.
We had a Hull Balcony which we enjoyed but does prevent sitting on the balcony and watching the ocean go by. Room was basic, service was erratic. We found dirty sheets under our beds when we boarded. Top sheets will only be put on beds if requested, otherwise it's just bottom sheet and duvet. Bathroom supplies were not replenished unless the empty bottle or cardboard tube were left on counter for steward to see. We made the mistake of discarding an empty shampoo bottle and TP tube in the trash. When not replaced, steward said policy is to see the empties. This seemed to vary from room to room depending on the steward. Ice was often not replenished in the ice bucket and the Stewards get off at 9 pm according to the purser. After that, requests got through the purser to room service or maintenance.
The ship is huge, meaning tenders at every port we went to. Besides its size, much of the lay-out is awkward with a lot of you can't get there from here, unless you go up this elevator and down that one. Traffic flow and lay-out in King's Court is poor. Grand Lobby is anything but. Shops are Limited and all high end. Illuminations hard to find, poorly marked and sort of between decks. Entrance for Planetarium events is only through the Port doors, though there are doors on the Starboard side
Announcements onboard, as annoying as they can be, are not normally piped into the rooms, though they can be. This meant going into the hallway to hear announcements. And we did have important announcements on our cruise, with a man overboard and a heart ailment helicopter medivac.
Overall the QM2 is a beautiful ship and we had a decent time. It could have been much better if attention had been paid to details, the crew been a little more friendly and helpful, instead of just polite, and the food and service was up to the 5 star standard that Cunard says it stands for.
Would I recommend Cunard or QM2 to friends....NO Would I ever sail Cunard or QM2 again....NO Save your money, book two cruises on another ship for the same price. All you're paying for with Cunard and QM2 are a name and past glories.