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9 Night Transatlantic Cruise from Hamburg

9 Night Transatlantic Cruise from Hamburg

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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
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Itinerary

Hamburg, Germany's foremost port and one of its most handsome cities, may also be one of Europe's most underrated destinations. Many Americans -- and even Europeans -- have yet to discover its charms, including its beautiful situation on the banks of the River Elbe and around the Alster lake, the loveliness of its mostly traditional architecture, its premier museums, and its long history and association with the powerful Hanseatic League. The city is also more sophisticated and walkable than Germany's capital, Berlin, a huge plus for visitors.

Founded back in 800 by Charlemagne, the city initially took off as a trading center, given its proximity to the rest of Northern Europe and its location on the Elbe River, which links the North Sea to inland Europe. While Hamburg was largely destroyed by Allied bombing during the Second World War, much of it was rebuilt in the traditional style, resulting in a powerful sense of continuity with the past. Few intrusive modern structures upset the skyline, so the churches and the lovely Rathaus (City Hall) dominate the cityscape. The notable exception is HafenCity, a separate district of brand-new housing, offices and cultural centers.

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  • Day 2

Located on the south coast of England, Southampton served as the historic ocean liner gateway for the British Empire and the intense North Atlantic passenger trade to the U.S. and Canada. Today it is the U.K.'s - and indeed Europe's -- leading cruise port.

Best known as the homeport of Cunard's Queen Mary 2, Southampton now hosts a wide variety of cruise ships in the booming European cruise market with the principal lines being Cunard, Fred. Olsen, Royal Caribbean, P&O Cruises and Saga Cruises.

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A city of endless possibilities, high energy and great diversity, New York has always been the benchmark for first-rate dining, unparalleled shopping and cultural activity. For visitors, it's an exciting city and, at times, is more than a little intimidating. New York natives always seem to be in a hurry, but with midtown traffic often at a complete standstill, it may be faster for them to walk across town than to take a bus. When you hear a foreign language, it could be international tourists -- flocking to the city in droves because of the weak dollar -- or it could be a New Yorker.

It's love at first sight when the Empire State Building comes into view, and the Statue of Liberty awes even the most blase tourist. Broadway shows will wow you; browsing Bloomingdale's will amaze you. It's always possible to stumble upon an unforgettable meal -- an oven-fresh slice of perfect pizza, Chinese food in Chinatown or a haute-cuisine dinner by candlelight. The views from the Staten Island Ferry are a knockout, and downtown nightlife will keep you busy in the city that never sleeps.

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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)

Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
4.5
1,131 reviews
Why Choose Queen Mary 2 (QM2)?

Pro

Drastically improved buffet restaurant; only kennels at sea; excellent specialty dining

Con

Poor quality of food in the main dining room hasn't been addressed

Bottom Line

QM2 retains its unique sense of occasion, melding tradition with fresh touches


Cruise Reviews

2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Assuming that we would receive a five star experience; we booked this crossing but in reality we have experienced better food and service at chain motels.The ship is beautiful but not entirely functional. Our room butlers were superb but ... Read More
Assuming that we would receive a five star experience; we booked this crossing but in reality we have experienced better food and service at chain motels.The ship is beautiful but not entirely functional. Our room butlers were superb but the rest of the staff is a horror. We lost water and heat several times during the crossing and in one case there was no heat for 15 hours. In trying to resolve the problem, it was discovered that the majority of staff has an attitude. I was put in my place by a telephone operator, told by another staff member that she had made a phone call so what else did I want. It is necessary to almost rant and rave to get problems resolved. This attitude permeates most of the staff.......spa, pursers, library, concierge. The food was ok. There was a strong start but quality declined as we got into the trip. Our servers were excellent and competent but that cannot compensate for mediocre offerings. The ship is massive and it took 7 minutes for me to walk to the library from my suite. It had to be a chore for some people forward to reach the Grill's Restaurants during the heavy weather. The Queen's Grill is long and narrow and the tables are set too close to each other, fortunately we had great neighbors or it would have been horrible. It sits on deck seven where other passengers walking by can literally stop and stare at you eating or evaluate your menu choices.It is a moderately attractive room. The brilliantly remastered Kings Court Restaurant resembles the Clara Barton rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike and after one meal there; the food is certainly better on the Turnpike. The food looks and tastes like my high school cafeteria lunches. Entertainment is standard ship board fare although several of the lectures were excellent especially the multi part talk on airline safety. You should get the message, by this point that Cunard, and the QM2 do not deliver on the promises in their advertising and they are selling a mediocre product.. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
How to explain the appeal of the North Atlantic in December - enormous skies, a vast gray ocean (sometimes roiling, occasionally serene), short days and cozy evenings, and the time-suspending experience of not seeing land for a week. This ... Read More
How to explain the appeal of the North Atlantic in December - enormous skies, a vast gray ocean (sometimes roiling, occasionally serene), short days and cozy evenings, and the time-suspending experience of not seeing land for a week. This was our second time on a mid-December crossing and likely not our last. First the good: The ship looks beautiful since the remastering last year. New furniture, carpets, and color schemes are lovely and very well done. The new Carinthia lounge is attractive at all times of day, and old favorites like the Commodore Club still please. We enjoyed some absolutely stellar lectures (ha, an accidental pun - one of the speakers was an astronomer); and heard several concerts from a wonderful classical pianist. Overall it was the best enrichment/entertainment selection we've had to date on any ship. One major quibble. We were in Queen's Grill thanks to favorable mid-winter rates, and although the stateroom was fabulous and the restaurant was very beautiful, we felt let down by the quality of the QQ restaurant food. The menu choices were limited and heavily skewed towards beef. The beef itself looked pretty but was strangely lacking in juices. The same potato dish (a sort of gratinee) was served at nearly every meal, and steamed cauliflower and broccoli appeared too often. One day we asked for spinach at dinner, and it was quite delicious, so the kitchen was capable of more. The best dish I had was a fish curry at lunch. The overall impression was that Cunard emphasized status foods (beef tenderloin, lobster, etc) that would satisfy people's concept of elegant dining, but didn't care enough about the actual preparation to please the palate, too. A couple of meals in the King's Court were frankly mediocre. One other minor quibble - we went to the Carinthia lounge one evening to sample the sherries there. The room was a mess - uncleared tables, bits of trash on the floor, and no sign of a waiter. We were there around 6 pm so maybe we arrived during a shift change or something. But we didn't bother to go again. The condition of that room was a glaring exception to the otherwise immaculate state of the rest of the ship. Others have noted the increased cost of bar drinks. We thought the wine lists and bar menus were fine and offered plenty of good choices, but the prices were indeed on the high side. We happened to be in the Golden Lion at trivia time one day and had a good time playing along. We didn't sample any of the shows. We love Cunard and will undoubtedly sail with them again. (Seriously, where else can we wear our formal clothes?) But are hoping to see that the quality of the food improves in the meantime. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
I decided to try QM2 again after sailing on a transatlantic in 2012. I had heard about the fabulous re-mastering and wanted to see if the ship had been changed. I'm afraid that I was not impressed. Obviously the accountants had the whip ... Read More
I decided to try QM2 again after sailing on a transatlantic in 2012. I had heard about the fabulous re-mastering and wanted to see if the ship had been changed. I'm afraid that I was not impressed. Obviously the accountants had the whip hand in deciding what to do with the ship. QM2 always had an ergonomic problem. It is the worst vessel at sea to get around; so many blind alleys, blocked off areas, exclusion zones and without doubt the worst use of space ever. What they have done is increased the spaces available to make money, though curiously they have turned a wonderful casino into little more than a slot parlour. I was amazed to see that Queens grill and Princess grill dining rooms are located n a non-descript part of the ship with wonderful views of the super-structure, providing they don't mind being stared at by lesser mortals promenading outside their dining room windows. A poor substitute for QV and QE where premium guests have the views of Olympian gods from their dining room, unobserved by lesser mortals. I was most unimpressed by the huge waste of space in and around the Queens Room and other areas of the ship. so much more could be done in these spaces with very little effort. As for the Kings Court, OMG it is like dining in a tunnel on the London Underground. It was cold outside so everyone uses it as a thoroughfare from one end of the ship to the other, a nightmare at busy times negotiating your way to a table through the throng. The service, rooms, food, entertainment were all wonderful as you would expect. I will avoids this ship like the plague, I hate the general layout and find it to be the biggest waste of space on the high seas. One last thing, don't book a cruise on this ship id you are a smoker. Cunard considers smokers as lesser mortals who must be punished for their nasty habit and will confine them to the most uncomfortable out of the way parts of the ship with plenty of wind and rain to cleanse them of their filthy habit. If you smoke you may want to find a another cruise line because the only thing Cunard will help you with is purchasing smokes, god forbid you want to light up. Maybe during the next re-fit they will find a corner of the bilge tanks for the smokers to use. Read Less
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