Our six week holiday began in NYC after a 24 hr flight from Sydney. Phase I included 3 days in NYC and the Transatlantic on QM2. Phase II was driving around the UK for 8 days and then Phase III was on the Crown princess for 26 days around the UK then Iceland, Greenland and back to NYC. On that basis I was really looking forward to cruising with 'royalty' and after 3 very hectic days in NYC, it was so exciting to see the Queen at Red Hook. I couldn't wait to get onboard
Having experienced the QV in her maiden year, my expectations were that the QM2 would be just as grand and elegant and be above the rest in all aspects, as only Cunard can do. Well, I think most of my expectations were met but not all
EMBARKATION I think Cunard needs new computers or something because the processing at the desk is plain slow. Otherwise, it was smooth getting onboard and our luggage was there very quickly. Only unpacking 1 of my 2 cases, we were able to have lunch in Horizon Court without a mass of people and found a seat on the Promenade deck to watch the helicopters and SWAT guys walk past every few mins!! Muster was easy - although they sent us to the wrong location - we just covered the numbers on our vest in case they told us to move on!!
STATEROOM Having gone guarantee on a very low inside category cabin(this would be a very expensive trip) we were very pleasantly surprised to have been upgraded to an Atrium View Inside cabin - so much better than what I was expecting. Certainly not as nice as our previous balcony on the QV but then... it was only 6 nights and just to have a window with some light was better than no window at all. Just to be on the QM2 was a privilege for me
DINING We had a lovely table for 6 under the large picture in the Brittania Dining - great for watching everyone come in and out on formal nights!! The food was good but not as good as I expected. It seemed to me that the food was no more superior than that on Princess or HAL - it was more or less the same - not bad but not brilliant. The service was fine, no problems. One day we had fish and ships in the Golden Lion Pub and as usual in a hurry to get to the next lecture. Whilst the beer and cider came quickly, the food did not and I mistakenly forgot to say NO SALT on the chips, which meant I rejected them and asked for more without salt. What a mistake - they took nearly 30 mins to come by which time I was so annoyed and had to run off to the next venue, that we just left without them - lunch was one small piece of fish. Not that I was going to starve but I was looking forward to some 'plain food'
ENTERTAINMENT This is QM2's strength. On a non stop transatlantic, one expects to be kept entertained right through and this they did well, we thought. Our biggest dilemma was how to be in 2 places at the same time in order to take it all in. The RADA actors were excellent. We saw The Importance of being Earnest and Othello, so to the speaker who was an ex airline pilot, telling us about the history and workings of modern aircraft. I never wanted to miss his lectures - they were so informative and entertaining. The John Cleese interviews were not that interesting for us and really hard to get a good seat, given that we were always somewhere else just beforehand!! The Celia? interviews were somewhat more intimate, being in the Planetarium - a smaller venue and more enjoyable. We could then stay around there for the planetarium film - although getting the tickets was quite problematic, again given that we were always somewhere else when they became available!
DISEMBARKATION It was smooth and painless - we were off before we knew it and so ended Phase 1
I would do another Transatlantic in a flash, in fact I will contemplate a return to the QM2 after our expensive QE trip in Jan 2011 BUT not too soon. We love Cunard despite the far too many formal nights and its at times lapses in service and ordinary food. Till next time Bon Voyage to all who sail on her