This was our second TA on the Queen Mary 2. We were a little disappointed in our first crossing in 2008. After having seen the promo DVD, we expected a level of service and comfort that is available only to cruisers in the "grills" and lets face it folks, those of us in other cabin classes don't get quite the same service or amenities. We picked this crossing because we planned to return in June on NCL's new ship the Epic and found it was less expensive to cruise to England on the QM2 than to book a one-way flight. What's with these airlines? It would have cost nearly twice as much for a one-way flight than it would have for a round trip so when we determined that travelling on the QM2 was cheaper (by $400 pp) even with the return flight to New York, we jumped at the opportunity to give the QM2 another chance. And we were very glad we did!
We arrived in Manhattan the day before the cruise. Because the QM2 was docked at Pier 90 rather than Red Hook in Brooklyn for this cruise that turned out to be a good choice as we were only minutes from the pier. Embarkation took less than 30 minutes. Our cabin was ready and included a welcome aboard bottle of bubbly. Our wonderful room steward Gina stopped by within minutes of our arrival and certainly deserved her reputation as employee of the month. We decided on an inside cabin this cruise. On our last TA we had a sheltered balcony and while it's nice to step outside occasionally, on a TA there really is nothing to see and there is a significant price difference if you are on a budget. The cabin was comfortable for 2 and had adequate storage. We were close to the laundry on deck 6. That was convenient but I think a cabin beside or immediately across from the laundry might be noisy as it was a busy place all day everyday with line ups and lots of noise from the equipment and friendly chatter from those using or waiting for a machine.
We prefer an early dinner seating and as they had us down for a late dinner, we were able to change that right away. We had wonderful people at our table for 6 and were often almost the last ones in the restaurant but never felt rushed or pushed out of the restaurant as we did on the 2008 TA. We enjoyed the meals in the main dining room but booked for the Chef's Galley a couple of nights and had great meals there. There is no extra charge for the Chef's Galley - just book early on the day you want to go (we chose Pan-Asian and French nights). Both were great and the experience is lots of fun.
The entertainment on this cruise was fabulous. We especially enjoyed the RADA performances of Taming of the Shrew and Hobson's Choice, the Cunard "proms" with the U.K. National Symphony, Penny Mathisen, the orchestras in the Royal Court Theatre and the Queen's Room and the Cunard singers and dancers. While the weather wasn't the best for being outside or in a deck chair there was no lack of things to keep us busy and the week passed too quickly.
We noticed there is a little wear and tear showing from the years the QM2 has been in service and some significant vibration from the engines noticeable at times (especially around the elevator corridor near the dining room). Still, this is a great way to cross the Atlantic and we would take another trip on the QM2 any time.