Booked this cruise because it was the right time of year. Having seen this cruise many times, I thought - OK. Remember - be careful what you wish-it may come true.
First thing-never drive to New York cruise terminal. We took a local shuttle service which was fine except we arrived too early, and spent the better part of 2+ hours driving around the insanely crowded New York streets until we were able to actually get the the terminal. The pier help left a bad first impression of "Welcome to New York."
Upon arriving at the terminal, it was "hurry up and get the heck out of the van." Found my suitcases tossed onto the street-not the best way to start a vacation. Both the QM2 and a Carnival ship use the SAME pier to embark-only separated by "cattle-pen" ropes. Fortunately we found the QM2 line by accident and stood in a LONG line. Check -in was relatively painless for us-can't same the same for other passengers who did not have passports, etc., and were turned away. More
What was sad was the fact that eceryone "rushed" to line to get on board-guess it must have been feeding time.
What I found interesting was that this was part 2 of a 3 part crossing, and those coming from the UK were FORCED off the ship during the stop in New York for reasons I cannot understand.
Long gone are the days of being shown to your cabin. We somehow found our way to Deck 5, aft, across from the laundry room. A semi-good location if you must do wash. However upon entering our cabin I was really shocked to find we had a steel-rail balcony which means if you want to see the ocean, you need to STAND UP. Room was ok-the shower was slightly larger than a real phone booth but water was everywhere even if the curtain closed-the light was out the entire trip in the shower so it was like showering in a dark closet.
OK - on to the actual ship-very impressive, as far as size goes, although not as impressive as it should be. While the main deck is quite expansive, it is in fact poorly laid out. SOme areas are qite expansive;others look like they were an afterthought. There are half decks, with handicapped accessibel elevators which did not work. Great art throughout the ship.
Leaving New York is one fantastic event - especially sailing under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge - it's as if you could touch the bridge - of course you can't but it certainly does look like it. The sail-away event was impressive, although expensive for a glass of champagne - which could have been free.
Next day at sea was foggy and cool - so we took in the Illuminations show on the Universe. If you have vertigo or wear bifocals, it's impossible to take full advantage of this great show.
Stops: Halifax, Nova Scotia - a clear, bright day, perfect for touring. We have been there numerous times, and just walked the boardwalk and the cruise terminal. I did purchase something from the Scotia glassworks and the pewter store-because of the difference in the currencies, they were far more costly than previously.
Boston July 4- excruciatingly hot - most places are NOT air-conditioned, so after a quick tour of Fanuel Hall, it was back to the ship, air conditioning and rest.
We did do the "chef's Galley" which was great - in fact it was the best meal of the trip.
Food - definitely have had better. The Britannia Dining Room is 1 step above a highway rest-stop. Every night was a different experience-you quickly learn to take all the rolls you want the first time because there was no second time. Portions, ok, we could all loose some weight, but this was ridiculous. A serving of lasagna the size of a post-it note pad was the "entree." We missed lobster night - that was, as we were told, frozen shrimp.
We did do the afternoon tea-what a cattle call. If you were not first in line, you were quickly run over by angry passengers demanding scones and clotted cream. After (1) cup of tea and (1) small sandwich, we left.
The Kings Court buffet is bizarre-it's open some of the time; portions are closed at different times, and dinner time you pay $10/per person for less and edible "buffet chain" food. The help look down on the passengers. I asked the wine steward for a menu and was told "NO," as if I were a bad little child.
Entertainment - on this trip - awful. First nights show was a "comedian" with a foul mouth-there were children in the audience and he did not "get it" to "tone down your act." The show room was about 20% full. Never saw another show.
OK - we did the QM2 thing. Unless I get another trip gratis, I think I;ll stick to the real cruise lines. Cunard, while owned by Carnival, needs work from the snooty front desk to the waiters-with-attitude. Friends of ours took the same ship and experienced a wonderful time-same ship-different outcome.
Disembarkation - not too awful, except there's a VERY LONG walk from the ship to the outside to wait for your ride home. We were the very last passengers to be picked up.
My wish to be on the QM2 was granted, and while I'm not sorry I went, certainly won't do it again. As we were told, "on board Cunard if you're not first class - Princess or Queens Grill, you have no class."