Recently returned from the last West transatlantic crossing of 2000 - 11th Nov to 17th Nov. Brilliant deal (they are out there), so just had to go! We booked a coach via Cunard from our area to Southampton - so once the luggage was on the coach, we didn't see it again till we got to our cabin. It wasn't cheap, but well worthwhile - turned out to be a 14 seater with 8 people on it including me and my friend, so it was chat chat all the way, and like a private taxi! Good start to the holiday, and picked up a few tips right at the start. If you can live without alcohol, the soda package is well worth having, and we got it as soon as on ship - just went to one of the bars, asked for the soda package, and we were sorted for the whole cruise for a princely sum of $27.99! You can get tea, coffee and some fruit juices at King's Court almost 24 hours a day included, but this package is for all bars on ship. The sailaway party - bear in mind the champagne is not free - we had our soft drinks and were happy! The first thing I did when getting to the cabin before even starting on the suitcases was to read all the literature - the hotel style folder on the desk with loads of info in it, and the programme - don't want to miss out on anything! TIP - read all the daily info you get as soon as you get it - you will know all you need to know, and it pays off - especially re sales, etc and it's worth planning ahead to make the most of your time. Some things are on every day at the same time, but we didn't do too many of these or every day would have been the same. I learned how to play bridge - difficult to get someone to show a beginner how to play - so if you want this chance and it's there - worthwhile doing. My friend went to the art classes and now has a new interest. This was a very rough crossing as admitted by the captain, but we survived! The captain spoke to us every day at mid-day (channel 39 if in room), but on the stormy day, it was every 3 hours, which highlights the significance of the conditions on our cruise! OK, so keep informed, then get out and enjoy yourself!
The food was fantastic. If you like waiter service, go to the restaurant. You can have breakfast in your room, less choice, but a lovely thing to do a couple of times. Kings Court always has something to offer, and a good selection. Afternoon tea in the Queens Room is a fantastic experience - go early in the cruise before everyone else finds out - as later in the cruise it gets queued out, and you get exactly the same food, albeit self served in Kings Court. Food in the Britannia was wonderful. We met so many people, all friendly, and from all over! Some of the courses are very small but it doesn't matter, food is available all the time somewhere, and it's a good opportunity to try new things without risk!
Good entertainment - went to the show in the Royal Theatre every night - get there about 1/2 hour before the start to get a good seat as there are quite a few places with restricted views. Didn't try the spa or treatments due to price but for those who can afford it I expect it's a fantastic experience. Lots of special offers on sale every day - not sure if they're cheaper than similar in the UK, but have to get something and say it was bought off the QM2!
We had a balcony - described as sheltered - didn't matter this time of year but great to be able to go outside from the cabin - I wouldn't want to cruise without one. No stops on this cruise, which suited me as it was my first cruise. As at top, I strongly recommend - doesn't have to cost a fortune for those with a budget, and if you have the money - go for it!!!