I had to twist my husband's arm to get him to agree to a cruise but fortunately all (or mostly all) was well. We were very happy with our cabin which, as we expected, wasn't spacious but was quite adequate for our needs and was kept scrupulously clean by our steward, Nimo. Our best piece of luck was when we were seated for dinner with four very lovely and interesting Liverpudlians - the fact that we got on so well together made each evening varied and entirely enjoyable. I don't know how anyone could find fault with the food because it was both delicious and beautifully presented. Service at our table was super and we all made an effort to find out about out waiters and where they were from etc. They all work hard and many of them are away from their families for months on end which is something perhaps some of the clientele forget. It was only when we were seated with different people at lunchtime in the Britannia restaurant that we realised how fussy some can be! Generally speaking though, we didn't hear too many people make complaints about the staff. My favourite place on the ship was the library which is situated right at the front (sorry, bow!) and designed for someone like myself who needs a quiet place just to read and chill out once in a while.
The lectures were excellent and we were particularly impressed by the three lectures given by the chief architect of the Queen Mary 2, Stephen Payne. Also very impressive was the guitar virtuoso Robin Hill who came across as a very nice person also. This being our first cruise we have nothing to compare it with entertainment wise and I have to say that this is the one area which provoked the most discussion with other passengers. Those who had experienced different cruise lines generally felt that Cunard could up their game but as I say,this isn't something I could comment on objectively.
As for the ports of call - anywhere up the fjords is beautiful but Norway is really, really expensive so it's something to be aware of once you get off the ship. Vigeland park in Oslo is absolutely amazing (and I'm not even into sculptures) but it's worth seeing. Sadly the day we were there it was very cold and very, very wet which was a disappointment.
One of the highlights of the cruise was the sail-away from Hamburg. It's something I won't forget in a hurry with thousands of people waving the Queen Mary off, accompanied by a flotilla of smaller ships, as she sailed out to the open sea. There was a tangible connection between those on the land and those of us who were fortunate enough to be on the Queen Mary 2 - in this day and age when there is so much friction in the world, I thought it was wonderful.
So the big question is - will my husband agree to go on another cruise? Well, he says yes but it would have be somewhere really special like Alaska so I'm working on it. As for myself, I felt that for a first cruise it was maybe a day or two too long but that's not much of a criticism. And value for money - well, it would be very hard to beat when you consider what you get in terms of food, entertainment, service etc.
And Cunard? You get the thumbs up from me.