CHECK-IN: After spending two pre-cruise nights in Singapore, check-in at the port was a total shambles. After dropping our luggage and going upstairs to check in, we were faced with long queues. There was one Cunard employee - the rest were local staff. We were given embarkation and disembarkation forms to fill in. We were told only to complete the embarkation form. Reaching the desk, we were told both were required - they were for the call at India. People arrived at the desk with their luggage and were directed back downstairs to drop the luggage and rejoin the queue. We then had to go downstairs to wait for a coach to take us to the ship docked over a mile away. We waited about 30 minutes with no seats - required for the age of the passengers. No Cunard rep. was present. Eventually a coach arrived which could not accommodate all of the gathering crowd. The full coach then had to wait for lorries being loaded with the luggage to move off to facilitate a wide enough road to get away from the area.
ARRIVAL AT SHIP: The norm seems to apply here - mug shot taken and find your own way.
CABIN: Our first experience of a Q grade cabin. We were impressed by everything about the cabin, layout, cleanliness, etc, but the toilet wash basin was cracked. We would have expected to be able to have breakfast on our balcony but there was no suitable table.
FOOD: Food was of a high enough standard but menus were repeated. Service was excellent.
CLEANLINESS: Was of a very high standard. Unfortunately the ship was hit with Norovirus which apparently came aboard at Singapore affecting several hundred passengers. We were OK. Because of this, several facilities which entailed passengers touching things, (eg. newspapers) were withdrawn. We must compliment the Captain and his crew, and the medical staff, for the way the situation was handled and the virus stamped out.
ENTERTAINMENT: This was probably the worst aspect of our cruise. We had heard that new singers and dancers had come on board in Hong Kong. We look forward to 'West End' style shows. We were told new shows were being rehearsed but in 25 nights, there were only two full shows. Other nights were filled with comedians, violinists, saxophonists (2), vocalists (some good and some not so good), magicians and a ventriloquist. The 4 singers (part of the dancing group) put on the best show with a 17 piece orchestra and received a standing ovation.
PRICES: Everything, particularly the alcohol which is meant to be duty free, is very expensive, but this is common on all cruise ships. Shops were of the expensive type.
TIPS: The $13 daily charge per person added to on-board accounts is almost extortion. It may have been OK when there were $2 to the £1 but not now. We opted out from the charge and tipped as thought appropriate.
CONCLUSION: QM2 is geared up for 6 night transatlantic crossings. Menus, entertainment and other factors are OK for a 6 night voyage. We also missed binoculars provided by other cruise lines within the Carnival group but not Cunard; also the lack of in-cabin tea/coffee making facilities which are not provided because of 'Health & Safety' reasons, again provided by others within the Carnival group.