Our embarkation on the Queen Mary 2 at Southampton began on October 1, 2010. After being dropped off and leaving our luggage to be taken aboard the ship, we proceeded effortlessly through the preliminary paperwork,ID picture taking and security, we walked up the gangway, proceeded to our cabin to leave our hand luggage. After a quick lunch we returned to the cabin to find our luggage waiting for us...a good sign for what was to be a most pleasant transatlantic voyage.
Each morning my husband and I went through the listed activities in the ship's paper to select the events we wanted to attend. There was so much to do that the six days passed all too quickly. Certainly, the best parts of the trip were the "enrichment" lectures. Talks and lectures were presented by authors Bill Bryson, Joanna Harris (Chocolat),MP David Plunkett, and Professor Simon Newman who spoke on Ben Franklin and Churchill. Each evening the stage shows in the Royal Court Theatre were excellent. Whether if it was singing, dancing,or the RADA giving performances of Othello or The Importance of Being Earnest we never left disappointed.
The in-room TV had continuous connections to the BBC, Fox, MSNBC so IF you wished you could keep up with the news from the outside world. Plus, there was a collection of movies (free) and TV programs that you could watch while relaxing in your cabin. (There was a different movie shown nightly in Illuminations (the large auditorium/planetarium venue).
The food and wait staff were fine and did their jobs well although the evening wait staff did seem to be more attentive. Our waiters quickly mastered what we each desired and after the first night we rarely had to ask for it. Everything was elegantly served (our table even had real candles)Although the ship was filled to capacity we never had trouble finding a table at the King's Court. The only time you sort of realized there were nearlt 2500 people on board was when the shows let out and it was difficult to get on an elevator.
The cabins (we had an obstructed balcony room) were pleasantly decorated with more than enough storage space. The bathroom was roomier than other ships we have been on. At our first meeting with our cabin steward he knew our names and until the end of the trip greeted us by name. The mints on the pillow each night was a nice touch.
Disembarkation in Brooklyn went well.
From other comments by reviewers, those in charge apparently have listened because the Afternoon Tea now is also held in the King's Court. The congestion in the Queen's Room made the tea not pleasant. Although the King's Court is not as elegant as the Queen's Room, not being jostled or not getting a seat, sitting at a window seat watching the ocean makes up for it. Not being a smoker, we didn't pay much attention, but smoking is no longer permitted in the casino and I think they now allow smoking in cabins (but don't quote me!)
Cruising on the Queen Mary is an exceptional experience and we are looking forward to our third time around.