ARRIVAL & EMBARKATION: We flew to New York and overnighted in Brooklyn the day before this cruise. The Brooklyn Car Service from La Guardia was a good recommendation by another Cruise Critic member but the Holiday Inn Express on Butler Avenue was a bit of a disappointment. We took a car service to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at Red Hook around 1:00 p.m. the day of the cruise, cleared security and were on board the Queen Mary 2 in record time - less than 1/2 an hour this trip.
CABIN: Our inside cabin was ready but be warned that the bow location was noisy in the tender ports when they started lowering the anchor at 6:00 a.m. and was very rough sailing the day we encountered the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia and gale force 11 winds. Next time we will pick another cabin location - closer to the middle of the ship. Inside cabins are pretty small but there is lots of storage space.
DINING & ENTERTAINMENT: This was our 4th cruise on the Queen Mary 2 and it was nice to know our way around the ship. The downside of familiarity is that we had seen most of the shows held in the Royal Court Theatre and even the menus seemed similar to previous cruises. We went to the Chef's Galley one night as that is one of the things we especially enjoy. The food and presentation were good but despite the $10pp charge imposed this year, it seems that the number of courses have been reduced and we weren't in a hurry to book another night. Menu in the Golden Lion Pub hasn't changed and we really enjoy eating lunch there occasionally.
SERVICE: While there seem to be fewer waiters in the Britannia Dining Room, we had great service (Salvador) at our table for 6 and ate most of our meals there. We had requested early seating which was confirmed but when we boarded our dining room card indicated late seating so we had to wait in line to see the maitre d' to get that changed. No real problem just annoyed that happens repeatedly. Room steward (Dennis) was pleasant and obliging. Only service complaint was waiting 20 minutes in the Pub one day at lunch time and feeling invisible. Finally walked out and went to the King's Court.
PORTS: Weather was a factor and we enjoyed some of the ports less than others because of that. Tour guides on the bus trips we took in Bar Harbor (Acadia National Park) and Halifax (Peggy's Cove) were super. Bus tour in Boston was disappointing - not a good way to see this fabulous city - a 'hop on/hop off' type tour would have been a lot better. Did a lot of walking in Newport and Quebec City - best way to see QC.
OTHER: It seems worth noting that the storm we encountered after leaving Quebec City was pretty wicked. Other ships that left port before us returned to wait it out but the Queen Mary 2 is built for the North Atlantic and tackled gale force 11 winds and 8 meter seas with no problem. A small fire on Deck 12 during the storm had us worried for a few minutes but it was quickly under control and we were kept informed by the Captain throughout the alert in regard to what was happening. In my opinion, those passengers who panicked and ran around in life jackets looked ridiculous - LISTEN people and follow directions otherwise you are just contributing to the problem and interfering with the crew. I would also like to say that the ship is showing some wear and tear - especially the elevator corridor near the dining room where there are lots of 'potholes'. We heard that there is a retrofit scheduled for November and hope some of the more obvious problems are addressed.
DISEMBARKATION: Very quick - only 20 minutes in the terminal to get our luggage and clear customs. Then caught a town car to midtown for a night in Manhattan before heading home.