Pre-cruise....we booked 2 staterooms in June; one for wife and I; one for mother-in-law (at double occupancy rate!). Unfortunately mother-in-law had to have unplanned cardiac surgery in early September and it became apparent that she could no longer travel. We asked our travel agent if we could substitute our son and daughter-in-law in the other stateroom. They said no problem, but Cunard refused point blank and also did not refund any of the Â£1800 we paid for that room.....yet they re-sold it to someone else!! This made us particularly annoyed and far from impressed with Cunard, with whom we've had positive experiences in the past and we are Gold World Club Members. So much for their White Star Service and one of its facets,'.....we never say no, we offer alternatives.....'
Embarkation....smooth organisation in the Terminal, yet we were left to our own devices as we boarded the ship. Found our way to stateroom and bumped into our steward Joseph in the corridor, who was most welcoming and then helpful bringing our luggage to the room promptly.
Stateroom....spacious, clean and well-maintained. Not unduly noisy, but some extraneous noise from nearby lifts (constant 'ping' as lifts arrived at deck level!)throughout the night.
Dining....originally booked first dinner sitting (to suit elderly mother-in-law), but managed to change to our preference of later sitting with assistance from a helpful assistant maitre d'. Most meals taken in Britannia Restaurant; good selection of quality food always; service also very good. Kings Court buffet was visited occasionally, but that area was severely curtailed for several days mid-cruise, due to an outbreak of Norovirus. Afternoon Tea was an elegant treasure in the Queens Room. Room Service was prompt, efficient and free!
Destinations / Excursions....ship berthed alongside at each port, so no tendering thankfully, as this can be tedious on QM2 with its large number of passengers. Free courtesy buses provided in all ports where they were needed. Excursions were plentiful, but quite expensive. We 'did our own thing' at all ports as we'd been to all of them previously.
Prices....drinks somewhat pricey; $30 for a bottle of 'house' wine, plus their obligatory 15% service charge that is '....added for your convenience....'; more likely for their benefit!
Norovirus....we were surprised that there was no sanitisation regime as we boarded in Southampton. There was the usual declaration to sign that you'd not been unwell etc in the preceding few days. I've always viewed these as useless as who is going to say 'yes'? Anyway, a few days into the cruise as we board at one of the ports, the Captain makes a PA announcement before we sail that a significant number of people were reporting to the sick-bay with GI symptoms. An advisory note it then delivered to staterooms later that evening from Cunard's medical adviser detailing the problem and what their intended course of action was. We had to endure about 4 days of intense disinfection of public areas and also lock-down of the buffet counters etc resulting in long queues as waiters had to serve food and drinks individually. The main restaurant tables lost their flowers, cruets and table numbers from then until the end of the cruise too. Can't help wondering if an early personal sanitisation regime might have prevented the outbreak in the first place.
A couple of general minor irritations that are disappointing....1-SMOKING - it is a shame that Cunard have not adopted UK legislation on no smoking in closed-in areas. A particular example of this is the G32 Club on Deck 3L which smells throughout like a dirty ashtray whatever time you go in there. 2 -INTERNET - 4 years ago when we were on this ship they had a brilliant system of email and interactive services etc available in each stateroom. Where has it all gone?? Seems that a wifi network is now available in places, but I found signal strengths sporadic; speed poor and cost almost prohibitive!
Overall....an enjoyable cruise. One of the great features of the QM2 that never fails to impress is the lack of awareness of sail-away or berthing movement. Many ships we've travelled on vibrate excessively during such manoeuvres, mainly due to the cavalier use of bow thrusters and their old design.