No ship or hotel is ever going to be perfect. I think that I'm a relatively demanding and "high maintenance" traveller - so i knew that the QM2 was going to be interesting after reading so many informative and fascinating reviews!
The ship is magnificent. It's as simple as that. Its huge without being overwhelming. It's maintained in immaculate condition - with hardly a spot of rust to be seen anywhere. Of course this is an ocean liner - and it feels like it. No rock climbing but the aura of the grand days of transatlantic ocean liner travel. The ship was full with 2,550 passengers but it never seemed crowded.
So, her are some insights into what I think many other travellers may have issues with - and what prospective passengers might find useful.
Embarkation - seemed crowded but orderly in Brooklyn - once you have managed to find the place! We were Princess Grill passengers - so whizzed through and up the private entrance and gangway in no time. Once on the ship - no real greeting from anyone (no issue with that) but a bit of a wait for an empty elevator!
The Cabin - spacious, comfortable, and very clean. Large bathroom, well lit, nice decor with blond colored wood. Walk-in closet. Lovely balcony. And superb service from the cabin attendant. Fresh fruit replenished.
To Grill or not too Grill? Do you spend the money or don't you? Well, we lucked out and got upgraded from A1 to P1. The Grill dining rooms are well located. And their deck location is NOT too high up (that's just rubbish!). Service was impeccable. Everything about the place sparkled - including the attentiveness of all the staff from Jamie, Oliver, Rakesh and everyone. The only moan I have is the menu got a bit boring. And the food - for foodies like us seemed a little bland at times. The food could have a been more consistently a higher temperature too. The portions are not small - unless you are used to eating say, at Red Lobster. The wine list was good and reasonably priced. The main ships restaurant the Britannia looked spectacular. There is a menu common to the Britannia and the Grills - and then they add some a la carte items. The Dover Sole was superb one evening, then like cardboard another time! On the four formal nights they tart the menus up a bit - but we only saw caviar on the last formal night of the cruise. Table settings glistened. Would I pay for a Grill cabin if we went on the QM2 again? I'm really not sure. Frankly, the Britannia Club - with its own single sitting - and entrance and a very airy feel to it might be just fine. The single sitting for us would be important. If we good a good deal on the cruise fare I'd consider it.
Fellow passengers - we met a most interesting array of friendly, interesting and chatty fellow passengers. And though we'd requested, and got, a table for 2, we were able to chat with those around us.
Bars - we liked the Commodore Club, which was rarely crowded. The prices were reasonable and the staff superb, plus they'd bring around tasty canapes with drinks. The Chart Room was great too. The Grills have their own bar and lounge which was also great - and especially for afternoon tea - so we have no clue about the apparent bun fight everything day in the Queen's Room! The Veuve Cliquot bar was always empty - no surprises there.
Entertainment - we dined late by choice and were not very interested in the shows or guest speakers. The orchestra were quite good in the Queen's Room where we had a digestif and a spin around the floor on a few evenings.
Land Tours - save your money. A waste of time. After the first tours of St Thomas and St Lucia we cancelled the rest! More regular cruisers seemed to just take taxis to beaches or whatever they wanted to see.
What was weird? Well, for sure, as many other reviewers have commented - the King's Court mess. We couldn't understand why - if you could eat in the Britannia restaurant would you possible want to experience the King's Court dump? Must be the breeding place for norovirus. Now they do smarten it up in the evening for their reservations only service in the Asian and Italian themed restaurant - but the self service mess of it is just a totally baffling aspect of a glamorous ship!
All in all. We'd go on the QM2 for certain. It's a wonderful ship. It's probably more formal, and less rowdy than other lines - but there we are. It was superb value for money too - $3,800 for 11 nights.
The Queen Mary was memorable.