Embarkation: we arrived earlier than time advised on ticket and were able to board about 1pm in time for lunch
Room: room itself was nice with in-hull balcony. However it was directly opposite the pantry that was used by the cabin stewards for food and drink service. We were woken every morning before 6am when the stewards would start rattling and banging pots and glasses and running the dishwasher. If you tried to catch up on your sleep with a quick nap in the afternoon, they would start again about 3pm. On the last day they obviously forgot the clocks had gone forward as they started their activities just before 5am. Never get a room near the service rooms- I have come home for a good night’s sleep! We also had some issues with vibration on a few occasions. It was particularly bad on the first night and seemed to affect cabins on different locations in different decks rather than one section of the ship.
Food: generally good standard given the mass catering however service in the Britannia restaurant was dreadful. We had a table of 8 on the late sitting – we would all arrive at 8:30 but be lucky to be out for 10:30 in time for the show. Good job we all got on really well and didn’t mind chatting while we waited. On more than one occasion tables around us were on their main course before we had starters. They used the excuse that 2 of our table had special diets however as they ordered their choices the night before this didn’t add up. Food was sometimes tepid by the time it got to us. We preferred not to eat in Kings Court as it was usually busy and I didn’t come on a cruise to queue for ages with a tray and then fight for a table. At breakfast we tried to eat in Britannia if possible but even that had poor service. There was a chronic shortage of tea pots. We waited ages for tea on most days, often getting the food before the tea. We noticed that they were getting teapots off other tables and refilling them before we would have one. Not what we expected on a luxury liner. We had breakfast in the room on one occasion. It was good but there was limited choice so may have got boring everyday. We went to the Al La Carte at the Italian Restaurant in Kings Court for one night and both the food and service were excellent.
Bars: The soda card was good value and worth getting. Wine in the restaurants was very expensive but some cocktails are good value. The practice of putting a 15% service charge on every drink is annoying and adds up over the week. We liked the chart room before dinner as there was a lovely string quartet and they came round with little trays of canapés. We liked the commodore club in the evenings but service was hit and miss.
Entertainment/Activities: These were inconsistent. There was some really good evening shows but one the 2 sea days the daytime activities were less inspiring. There was one good speaker who gave an entertaining insight into the Norwegians but other speakers were boring and whilst we enjoyed the quizzes, we would have liked a bit more variety. It seems geared for the older guests – bridge, tea dances, knitting and line dancing! Presume its better on transatlantic.
Alesund: a pretty little town. We took a trip on the tourist train to see the views from the observation deck at the top. It also had a taped commentary which gave us some history and pointed out some local points of interest.
Geiranger: A highlight for us. We got up at 6am as advised to watch the sail in up the fjord which was beautiful but you saw the same thing on the sailaway. The whole area is amazing. We took the full day mountains and fjords tour which was great and the local guide was both entertaining and educational. Tenders were used and these were plentiful and well organised.
Flaam: If you definitely want to take the train then book the trip as very few people travelling independently got on. We were lucky enough to be in a small group that got off quickly as soon as we were allowed. We ran to the station and got on the 8:35 as it was ready to leave and paid on the train. Anyone who missed this train could not travel as all others were full of pre-booked tours. We saw dozens of coaches that came from miles around for this train so be prepared to pay the premium if you want to travel. It was amazing, especially the waterfall.
Bergen: Shuttle buses were provided and were plentiful and well organised. We took the funicular to the top but get there early or be prepared to queue. The area round the old harbour was very quaint and well worth a visit.
Overall impression: I was so looking forward to this cruise and had very high expectations which were not met. We met some great people and saw some great sights. The fjords were amazing but the boat was a letdown, especially the service. A number of the people we met who had travelled extensively on the QM2 said they had noticed a drop in standards over the last 6 months. I do not think I would travel on the QM2 again unless we got a real bargain.