We booked early and later asked for an upgrade as we were in a an obscured view balcony midships. My wife got nowhere with the travel agent and finally contacted Cunard direct. We eventually after much persuasion got an unobscured view balcony at the bow. This was even though they were selling and upgrading others to better cabins.
I should have known right from the beginning that this cruise was going to be different, based on the wait in the departure lounge at Southampton. We were earlier than usual - the checkin was deserted but for a few Grill room passengers. However, the seating area was jammed packed - the computers had gone down.
The decor was a bit of a let down after being on QM2 i.e. the panelling looked like wood finished formica and the paintings were all photographs or the new canvas based photos you can get on the internet.
The entertainment was poor except for 4 shows - the introduction with the showgirls, the celebration of song, and two singers. The Bridge classes were geared to Americans - the conventions differ. there were under 50 Americans on the ship -not well thought through by the entertainment's director.
The weather was glorious, so much so that getting a sun bed was difficult. The pool guy eventually brought one down from a whole stack at the top of the ship. There seemed to be no staff control over 'reserved' sun beds being left for over an hour.
The food. First ship I've been on that has run out of smoked haddock, fresh tomatoes, lemons and bacon!. Disappointed that there was only smoked salmon for the sandwiches - none for breakfast or lunch on the buffet.
The cabin. Constant whistle from the balcony door and vibration from a wall panel as well as a delay to the loo flushing. Balcony door fixed at second attempt.
The Wine and shops in general. Overpriced compared to P&O, so improvements could be made here. Cigarettes at the bar are all American and you cannot buy booze or cigarettes from Fortnums shop until the end of the cruise.
Not my favourite ship and would be hard pushed to go on it again. Not sure what Cunard will do to put it right.
So overall, quite a tarnished Queen.