Sailing from Southampton was excellent. The Ocean Terminal is slick and well organised from dropping off the car and luggage. Cunard operated excellent check in system - no huge queues. Given a alphabetical card ie a-z on arrival at the terminal door, we sat in comfort until our letter was called. About 20 people called at a time. We checked in, photos taken and credit card swiped and given cruise card incorporating cabin key. Then through security - no queues and straight onto the ship - cabin ready although we were early about 1 pm. Lunch being served on board. A little tip - there are free magazines ie The Lady, Hampshire Life in the terminal for you to take on board.
Luggage had arrived by the time we had had lunch - all unpacked and ready to cruise long before lifeboat drill. Sailed on time - disappointed no band (Cunard could learn from P&O)
First time on QM2 - booked cruise as much for ship as destination. We are Gold Cunard World Club members however.
The ship is unique. Large expanses of open teak deck for shuffleboard and deck quoits. Unusual to have buffet on deck 7 rather than near sundeck. Buffet has 4 serving areas but unfortunately it is a trek from one end to the other if for example you go to the carvery for meat but have to walk to far end for chips. However the quality of food is excellent. However some of the outlets opening times did not really correlate with demand due to timings of shore excursions. The ship is large - be prepared to walk if you have a cabin at one end of ship. The winter garden is nice but not airy like the Queen Victoria. There are lots of nooks and crannies on the ship - little secluded areas to read or have a chat away from it all. The Queen's room is large but personally I think the Queen Victoria's Queen's Room being 2 decks is more impressive. Really liked G32 and Vibz the band was excellent and the nightclub buzzed.
The cabaret and shows were excellent but the theatre has issues with sight lines and levels. On deck 3 there are many blind spots and pillars in the way whilst deck 2 is not really sloped enough for a good view especially if you are short and a tall persons sits in front. The angle is too high in the front row - you cannot see dancers' feet. Again views much better on Queen Victoria. Illuminations is a nice theatre.
The bars such as the Chart room are lovely and entertainment good - the Golden Lion very popular and quizzes very good.
Dining Room is dramatic and the food was excellent but unfortunately we had poor service - a lot of staff are being trained on board at present ready for Queen Elizabeth coming into service.
Disembarkation very smooth took less than 25 minutes to queue at gang plank, reclaim luggage find car and be driving out of dock gate 4.
We had 4 Norwegian ports. Alesund first call - there is a little train and you can easily walk from ship to town centre. Took a ferry boat up the fjord - recommended by tourist information office - they were very helpful in all Norwegian ports and offered tours and tickets - cheaper than excursions on board. Coffee was 32 krone There is a little train but with 2 ships in it was sold out very quickly Weather a little overcast but warm
Geiranger - second port of call. Beautiful and the clouds cleared so we could get the classic view of fjords - very hot in afternoon. Went ashore by tender very easy. We did tour up mountain however we could have done this in a stretch limo in tour sold by Tourist office Euro 50 MSC followed us into port and whilst it was lovely when we first disembarked it did become manic with 2 ships. Lots of woollens, fleeces socks etc. for sale. Lovely hot day once mist lifted.
Flam was port number 3. We took excursion on Flam railway - if you don't book this through the ship there is no availability - at 8.30 am all tickets were sold out on the train until 4 pm - too late. However there is an excellent little train going from Flam railway museum to Flam village - very pretty scenery and well worth it. Queen Mary 2 was the largest ship to come to Flam and everyone very excited. The Flam railway was dramatic - the curves and inclines. Excursion included delicious waffles, sour cream and raspberry jam - the Norwegian Cornish cream tea! Lovely weather with just a short sharp shower in afternoon