1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Cunard Line
  4. Cunard Line Cruise Reviews
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2009
About us: This was our second cruise. Our first one was about 10 years ago - Western Caribbean on the Celebrity Infinity. We're a 50ish married couple. Hotel: We stayed at Clairidge's. This was our first time in London. We knew ... Read More
About us: This was our second cruise. Our first one was about 10 years ago - Western Caribbean on the Celebrity Infinity. We're a 50ish married couple. Hotel: We stayed at Clairidge's. This was our first time in London. We knew it was pricey but did not realize how much! We read in a review about the hotel that if you have to ask how much, don't stay here. Our 3 night stay with room, food (we ate dinner in the hotel each night), drinks and taxes was almost $4,000 USD. The exchange rate did not help (the US dollar is worth very little in the UK and Europe). The room was a decent size but rather dark with no view. The marble bathroom was updated and had the most fantastic shower and toiletries. Getting to the boat: We were in shock to find out Southampton (the embarkation point) was a 2-3 hour car ride from the heart of London depending on traffic. After calling several cab companies we found out it was ~$500 USD for a taxi or ~$800 USD for a private car from our hotel. A couple we spoke to on board the QM2 said they purchased the transfer from Cunard and it was ~$500 USD but a nightmare. They were sent to the train station with all their luggage and had to wait around for hours, then board the train where there was little room for your luggage. They were quite grumpy by the time they arrived aboard. By contrast, although quite expensive, we had a smooth and pleasant trip from the hotel to the ship. Embarkation: Had to wait a bit but was very smooth - no real problems First impression on boarding the boat: Not impressed. Expected a fabulous and glamorous entry / lobby. But it was sort of blah. Room: We had a Queen's Grill Suite (Q6). Very spacious room, nice sized closet, nice sized bathroom. The balcony was a good size (not as small as we had feared) - you could stretch out on a chaise lounge at a bit of an angle. On arrival, a chilled bottle of champagne with chocolate covered strawberries awaited us. The cabin butler greeted us, showed us the contents of the mini-fridge which included another bottle of complimentary champagne, canned soda and bottled water. She indicated that we were entitled to two bottles of wine and offered us a choice of red, white or both. This was a very pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, it was downhill from there. The king size bed had no mattress on it. Instead it was a 2" foam pad over the box spring. When you tried to sleep at night, you felt the steel from the box spring in your back and a quite noticeable gap between the two sides of the bed. In the cabin, we heard a ship structural snapping and cracking noise in one wall. It sounded like the ship was going to come apart. We complained about the bed and the noise. They brought us 2 more duvets to put under the fitted sheet which helped but not enough. They told us the noise was normal and in all the rooms. We later learned that the cabins were constructed in modules with lots of plastic. When the ship twists / bends with the motion of the waves, the plastic in the walls creaks and snaps. The TV in the room was a modern flat panel. They played some great, newer movies around the clock at no charge. Room service was great. The butler and her assistant were friendly and attentive. We forgot to think about what side of the ship we should request a cabin. On these transatlantic voyages, one side of the ship is facing south the whole time. That is the side you want. So, go for port on Westbound and starboard on Eastbound. Food: The Queens Grill atmosphere was not the greatest. The food and service, however, was phenomenal. Plenty of choices on the menu, half of which changed daily. If you wanted something not on the menu and they had the ingredients available, you got it - no extra charge. In the Queens Grill, you do have an assigned table but no assigned time. You just show up during the dinner hours (I think they were 6-10) whenever you are hungry. Same concept for Breakfast and Lunch (same table). Each night, the cabin butler left us the next day's menus to preview. You can order as many appetizers or desserts or anything on the menu for that matter. No questions asked. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. Strongly recommend the Dover Sole and the Short Ribs. The wine and liquor are reasonably priced. If you don't feel like eating at the Queens Grill the buffets were also pretty good with a nice variety of offerings. You can also bring your own bottle of vintage wine or champagne (brought from home or bought on board) to the Queens Grill for a nominal corkage fee. Bars: Our favorite was the Commodore which was just down the corridor from our cabin. It occupies the front of deck 9 and is a great place to view during the day. At night, there is a piano player. Nice, upscale bar. They also have an enclosed, ventilated cigar room. If you are a smoker, this is one of the few public areas where you can smoke. The cigars for sale there were mostly stale (not fresh) so recommend bringing your own. We also tried the Queens Grill Lounge but didn't like it as well as the Commodore plus it was at the other end of the ship from our cabin as well as being 2 decks below. Every time we decided to try one of the other bars, they were too crowded. Entertainment: We didn't go to any of the variety shows at night. We enjoyed some of the afternoon lectures and really liked a classical guitar concert offered. They claim to have the largest library at sea and it does have a good selection. Our cabin was one floor up from the library and very convenient. They also have a book club. Prior to the voyage, they will announce the book on the Cunard website. Or you can pick up copies in the library (purchase or borrow) when you board. Near the end of the voyage, they have a book club discussion. If you want to see a planetarium show, you have to pick up your tickets that morning. There is an observation deck where you can watch the Captain and crew "drive" the ship. Very interesting! If you want to use the golf simulator - book immediately. They fill up fast. One of the things we most enjoyed was simply walking around the deck. Be careful though, it can get very windy. If the winds come up it gets quite strong (if the ship is travelling about 25 MPH and the wind is 25 MPH in the same direction = 50 MPH effectively). Internet access: If you bring your own laptop, you can pay by the minute or buy a package. If you want to just check your email or don't have a laptop, there are computers in the library or in the computer center you can use. Same thing, either pay by the minute or buy a package. Cell phones: We didn't realize that they would work but they do! Had a signal most of the time but the per minute charges while away from shore can be pricey - I think they said it was $10/minute. While you are near land, you just pick up the normal cell signals. We had considered renting a satellite phone (for emergencies) but are glad we didn't'. Formal nights: There are 3 on the transatlantic and really are formal. Pets: There is a kennel on the top deck near the rear of the boat. They have a fenced area outside for them to run around in. We saw quite a few dogs and they looked like they were having fun. Casino: Was smaller than we expected. They did have a special table for Texas Hold 'em which is automated and there were plenty of tournaments if you like to play. Plenty of slot and bingo tournaments too. Ship: This ship is built for the transatlantic voyage. It is smaller than many other cruise ships for this reason. Very stable. You almost never feel the motion. If you are worried about being seasick, stop worrying. The length of the ship is dictated by the docking area in Southampton and the room to turn there. The height is dictated by the Verrazano Narrows bridge in NY (had to be able to sail under it). In general, the ship is looking a little outdated and is in need of a remodel. The passengers: This is an adult ship. We saw some kids but not that many. You don't need to worry about seeing a bunch of kids everywhere. The age group was mostly 45-80 years old although there were some younger couples. The mix was mostly UK citizens (about 2/3), followed by US citizens and a few from many different countries. Many of our fellow passengers were repeat customers. Definitely a gay friendly cruise. Tipping: They automatically add $13/pp per day for "service" (tips) and gratuity charges for liquor were 15%. But, on your check in the bars and restaurants they still have a line for tips. All of the staff are definitely looking for an additional tip the last day or so of the cruise. Disembarkation: Queens Grill passengers are one of the first groups off the ship. If you want to, you can not put your bags out the night before and leave the ship whenever. If you opt for a transfer, you report to the theater and are called in groups for your transfers. We did this. The cost was reasonable but our bus drive appears to have never been to JFK before and didn't seem to speak English. I think we drove around the airport about 10 times while he tried to figure out how to get to the terminal we needed. Note: We emailed Cunard after returning home regarding our uncomfortable bed and the noise in our cabin. We never received a reply. Although Cunard seems British, they are now owned by an American company. The attitude seems to be if you don't like it, go pound sand because they aren't changing. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
This was our 4th cruise with Cunard (two each on QE2 and QM2), previously sailing on Holland America (4), Disney (3), Princess (2), Royal Carribean (2) and Celebrity (1). Overall, the ship's staff is very friendly and do ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Cunard (two each on QE2 and QM2), previously sailing on Holland America (4), Disney (3), Princess (2), Royal Carribean (2) and Celebrity (1). Overall, the ship's staff is very friendly and do everything they can to meet your expectations. The public rooms such as the Queen's Room and Illuminations for the planetarium are absolutely beautiful. The corridors are all so wide and grand. There is really nothing else to compare. Some cruisers we encountered seemed to think that they were the only passengers. Very demanding. The staff are doing their best. I still think Cunard have set themselves up for unnecessary criticism because through their marketing, the standard and expectations are set so high that passengers get upset or angry when everything is not perfect. We have sailed on a number of cruise lines and therefore have a basis to compare our experiences. Overall, attention to detail is still lacking on QM2. We drove from Toronto, stayed overnight in the Newark area and parked at the cruise terminal's parking lot. It's outdoors but it's in a secure area so minimal worries about someone breaking into your car. There are only spaces for 500 cars and passengers from Princess and probably other lines also use the terminal. When the ship sailed at 5 pm, there was not a single space left so arrive early if you drive. I had no backup plan for parking if there wasn't a space available. $23 parking charge for 1st day, $20 for each day after. We had an A1 deluxe balcony on 11 deck, cabin 11106 midship. It's our first time in a balcony on the QM2 and was surprised there wasn't a tub, only the standard shower. Small cabin compared to Holland America or Disney. The sheltered balconies that are partially obstructed by the hull on 4 or 5 deck apparently are not as nice. No more towel animals each night. We ate dinner at the Lotus and Carvery alternate restaurants in King's Court. They basically take sections of the buffet area on 7 deck, add tablecloths with full service and you have an instant alternative dining area. The other two nights were in the Britannia dining room where food was OK, nothing to wow you. Vegetarian choice on first night was tacos! For the one formal night, broiled lobster tail was actually half a lobster tail that had been cut lengthwise. Disappointed, yes. We should have asked for more. One sea scallop and a king prawn accompanied the half lobster tail. We had a very pushy sommelier who kept telling us our $28 bottle of Mondavi which we wanted was not a good wine and recommended, almost insisted, that we try a more expensive one. We insisted on the Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and was told it was out of stock. Really!! Ended up paying more than we wanted. Unpleasant experience. Will pre-order our wine next time so someone just has to open it at the table. The food in Lotus and Carvery was much better, cooked to order and with no extra dining charge, was a great experience. Excellent presentation, good portions and interesting menus although using basic ingredients such as chicken, duck and spare ribs in Lotus, pork rack (like a thick porkchop) and sirloin steak in Carvery. They only have about 50 spaces each evening and all the alternative restaurants may not open each evening. So for the 2538 passengers that were onboard, you have to make reservations as soon as you get on board. Better to reserve and then cancel if you change your mind. The same goes for the La Piazza Italian restaurant which we didn't try. Todd English has a $20 lunch and $30 dinner charge. The Chef's Galley also has a service charge of $25 I think. The only thing we didn't like about eating in King's Court for the two evenings was the high amount of pedestrian traffic walking through your dining area. It's hard to have a quiet or romantic dinner when people are walking by your table every few minutes. They should really get more portable dividers and make a better attempt at creating a more intimate or pleasant dining area. Nothing has changed since we sailed on the QM2 in its inaugural year in 2004. Still love the afternoon tea but miss the QE2 experience whereby all the waiters with the scones, cakes and sandwiches come out all at once at the outset, line up, music starts and then they go their separate way into the crowds. One main production show, Viva Italia, was fairly new. Someone mentioned that the first showing was on this cruise. Some interesting dance routines, dancing Mona Lisas, masked ball finale. We thought it was OK but you'll have to decide for yourself. Still some major problems with the Royal Court Theatre as there are many pillars on the balcony and no really good sight lines. We thought this had been fixed on the last major retrofit but we didn't see a difference from our first time in 2004. Internet charge was $47.95 for 2 hours or 75 cents per minute. As Cunard Gold Club members, you get 2 hours free. Only port was Saint John in New Brunswick. Very small city. We rented a car for the day from Avis, with an office at 4 Water Street, only 100 yards away from the ship. Cost was about $30 Cdn which includes taxes and insurance was optional. $10 of gas allowed us to drive to St Martin's fishing village and the sea caves, an hour away, and then around town in Saint John to Reversing Falls. We thought St Martin's would be like Peggy's Cove but it doesn't even come close. They didn't even bother giving us a survey to fill out and we rarely bother these days because I don't think anyone really looks at it. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
Our cruise was a Labor Day Getaway from Brooklyn, NY with one stop at St. John, NB in Canada. I would rate the cruise overall as above average. First the positives (and there were many). -The boarding process was pleasant with no waiting ... Read More
Our cruise was a Labor Day Getaway from Brooklyn, NY with one stop at St. John, NB in Canada. I would rate the cruise overall as above average. First the positives (and there were many). -The boarding process was pleasant with no waiting and a pleasant staff. We did however arrive early due to limited parking spaces. Our stateroom was ready when we boarded so we dropped off our "gear" and began exploring the ship. Our stateroom was on the 6th deck aft with what they call a sheltered balcony. This means that it is enclosed to protect from the high winds on transatlantic crossings. It was fine with us. The room itself was well appointed with an average size bathroom. -The public rooms were also well appointed and decorated nicely. They had a comfortable decor about them. Lots of wood versus the cruise ship brass and chrome. The lounges were also nice with our favorite being the Commodore lounge on the 12th deck. It was the quietest with the best service. The others were okay but noisier and just off indoor promenades. -The entertainment was okay with the standard comedian and Las Vegas-type shows. My wife likes them; I can pass. One very nice feature was in the Queens Room where they had a dance band with ballroom-type dancing. -Dining and this is where it gets negative. The service in the Britannia Restaurant was atrocious. The first night we waited 1/2 hour to get a menu. The staff appeared to be confused. They need more help. The assistant waiter schlepped food from the kitchen while the waiter had to serve and bus tables. It made for a inefficient way to serve people. The food was surprisingly bland and the selections were very limited. My wife has better presentations of our home dinners than this restaurant. We were very disappointed in the food and service. However, in the evening they section off the King's Court into separate restaurants (no extra charge). We tried the Italian, La Piazza, one night and the food and service were EXCELLENT. My wife attributes the restaurant chaos to the special getaway cruise versus a crossing. To me that's bunk. Overall we likes the ship and other than the restaurant the staff was very courteous and pleasant. One must be aware however that this is an ocean liner, not a cruise ship. The atmosphere is a little more sedate. I forgot, the planetarium was spectacular. Don't pass it up. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Embarkation: Upon landing in La Guardia, we had a driver waiting in baggage claim. He quickly took our bags and brought them to our limo, which then whisked us to the terminal. As our flight arrived early, we were one of the first couples ... Read More
Embarkation: Upon landing in La Guardia, we had a driver waiting in baggage claim. He quickly took our bags and brought them to our limo, which then whisked us to the terminal. As our flight arrived early, we were one of the first couples to arrive in the Brooklyn terminal. We were escorted to the VIP lounge, and my wife and I were the second and third people on board (after being raced past by a passenger who had a bigger urge than us to be first). Cabin: We were fortunate enough to have an upgrade as a result of our travel agent's efforts, and received a P2 cabin on the 10th deck (10088). Fantastic cabin position, as we were just outside of the hallway to the elevator. Take our elevator to deck 7, and voila, we were right at the entrance to the Princess Grill, and the Grill Lounge. Take the elevator up one deck, and again, we could walk right out to the Queens Grill Lounge. The cabin itself was well appointed with a nice walk in closet. Inside the closet was both a brush for brushing off your suits, as well as an umbrella and sewing kit. Both came in handy during the sailing. Our queen sized bed was very comfortable, and even my wife commented how unusually well she slept in it. Our mini refrigerator was stocked fully, and there was a complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon and a basket of fruit from our travel agent as well. Cunard also had a complimentary bottle of chardonnay placed in our refrigeration In recognition of our wedding anniversary. Three days into the cruise, another bottle of champagne arrived with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. This was compliments of American Express (who I will get to later) Our deck had two nice deck chairs (I believe they were teak), and table. All in all, it was laid out perfectly. Our cabin steward Kristine was wonderful and very attentive. Restaurant: We dined in the Princess Grill. I have numerous comments about this restaurant and its staff. As we walked in on the first day, we were greeted by the maitre de. He asked our names and welcomed us on board. The rest of the restaurant staff was lined up on both sides of the walkway into the restaurant, dressed in their tuxedos. This is where we first saw what Cunard professionalism is all about, and it was consistent throughout the trip. The dining room staff snapped to attention, smiles on everybody, and each staff member greeted us by name. It was pretty impressive. The meals on board were cooked to order. My bride orders her beef very rare (blue), and it was perfect every time. I have special dietary needs, and each day I was given a copy of the menu for the next day to circle my choices, so that the chef could address my specific needs. Again, complete and utter professionalism. Our waiter Yorgie (probably spelling his name wrong) was very attentive, as was our sommelier. The head waiter Rafal was amazing. When he found out my wife was Polish (as is he), he spoiled her at every chance. I must say as this was our first cruise with Cunard, the Queens Grill would be hard for me to go to, because we were treated like royalty in Princess Grill. Queens Grill Lounge: I experienced my first traditional English Tea here. We had made friends with a British couple who had the table next to us at our table for two in the Princess Grill. (For the record, sitting at a table for two is not banishment into solitude. We were able to converse with 4 tables to the right of us, all of which were tables for two). The English Tea in the Queens Grill Lounge was hosted by the head waiter Rafal. He was so polished and charming. Cudos to Cunard for their staff. It is the best I have seen. Canyon Ranch Spa: My wife enjoyed a day of spa therapy, but just one. She had a facial, manicure and pedicure, which she enjoyed. I rather forced it on her to get her relaxed. Once she gave in, she enjoyed it. I opted for a 3 day aquaspa pass, and enjoyed the aquatherapy, as well as steam and saunas. American Express Mariners Club: This was a maiden voyage for us as members of this club. It is supposedly an exclusive option for American Express Platinum Card members. Additional benefits for us included two cocktail parties, and a fully hosted shore excursion. The first cocktail party was a miscue from some party, and was scrubbed. As a result, we were sent another bottle of champagne. The second cocktail party was quite fun. By then we had gotten to know our host, and Bill was quite a nice man. Champagne Bar: We did venture here, and enjoyed a mini bottle of Veuve Cliquot. It was delicious, and the atmosphere there was quite nice as well. Library: We spent some time here reading the books we had brought on board. It was more for effect than anything, as our balcony was perfect for this task, and was used more frequently for this purpose. Captains Cocktail Party: He is a charming man, and his staff is of the highest caliber. We enjoyed the cocktails and snacks that were provided. We also met our table mates there, and had great conversations with them. Ports of Call: We sailed out of NY and had two glorious days at sea. I enjoy the time to decompress and really get into the cruising state of mind. This ship is magnificent and glided through the water effortlessly. St Martin: We opted for the Two Flags, one Island tour. Not sure if this is the exact name. It basically was a photo tour of both sides of the island on a nice bus, culminating in a shopping stop in Marigot on the French side. Our tour operator was very entertaining, and gave us descriptive details about our different areas we visited. Shopping in Marigot was ok, but with the Euro being high, we decided to wait until we visited a few more islands before purchasing anything of significant value. Grenada: I must say this island confuses me. We have been here before, and frankly, I think they miss the boat (pun intended). Most of the islands have a mini mall right in the cruise terminal, to make it convenient for shoppers to infuse their tourist dollars into the local economy. There was and continues to be nothing like that here. You could purchase some spices from the 4 tables or so that were outside the terminal, but that is about it. We did not opt for a tour here, and instead, I decided to walk in port. I was met by two crewmen that were on break. They told me I was welcome to join them on their walk. That consisted of walking around the bay to the other side. There was a bayside restaurant there where we enjoyed a few beers chatting. Then it was back to the ship, and some sunbathing on deck. Barbados: This continues to be a favorite destination for me. We opted for a photography tour, which was by bus. Our guide took us to numerous places on the island, where my wife took some rather spectacular photos. It should be noted that she has the eye for this. I am afraid my talents lie elsewhere. There was one curious note that was pointed out to us repeatedly. It seems that on this island, wherever there is a church, a rum shack is within walking distance. It was explained to us that perhaps some people go there to wallow in pity regarding their sins. In any case, it was interesting. St Lucia: The most beautiful island in the Caribbean. We were given a complimentary shore excursion from American Express. This excursion was quite lengthy. If memory serves, it was about 7 hours. During this tour, we visited botanical gardens, which had some very beautiful photo opportunities. We then were whisked off to a plantation for a tour. This plantation was a working banana plantation, as well as a cocoa plantation. They showed us how the cocoa bean is processed. It was interesting. We were then treated to a rather lavish Creole buffet lunch at the plantation. I say lavish, because it was fairly extensive and interesting. The food was ok, nothing spectacular. St. Thomas: In the morning we took a taxi downtown for shopping. I am grateful we did, as our US dollar had the best value here that we saw. My wife had her eye on a John Hardy piece. It was 90 dollars cheaper on St. Thomas. I still think that this island offers the best duty free shopping in the Caribbean for US residents. I am sure others will differ, its just my opinion. We had a shore excursion to Magens Bay that began at noon. A day of sunshine at a beautiful beach was enjoyed by us and our British friends. Magens Bay is referred to as crowded and over rated. I found it to be perfect, with lounge chairs available, as well as refreshments, and rest rooms. I believe I received my sunburn here. Following St. Thomas was an additional two days at sea. I believe that they lingered a bit in their speed, perhaps deliberately. I say this because it was blazing hot on our first sea day coming home. We spent the entire day on deck sunning ourselves and drinking iced tea (horrors). Disembarkation: Very smooth operation. We waited in our assigned area (Chart Room) until called. Our bags were waiting for us. Immigration was very smooth. We had just made it outside when my limo driver called my mobile phone to inform me he was waiting for us. We literally walked out, there he was. He took our bags, and off we went back home. Our flight home........now that is a whole other story, which I will spare you from hearing. General comments: You will note that I did not mention the casino or many other features on the ship. I apologize for this, but frankly we had no interest in gambling, or shopping onboard. We did purchase some logo items as gifts for family back home. I will say that from what I saw, you could purchase just about anything on board duty free. It seemed to be more expensive. However, if you did not wish to hunt on islands for values, this would be a great option for you, as the prices were not outrageously overpriced on the ship. You should always expect to pay a premium for convenience, and this is pretty much what you get here. Dress Code: I brought 3 tuxedos, and two suits. I found that I should have also packed a sports coat. My wife brought 3 formal gowns, and 4 elegant evening wear. The rest of our clothing was suitable for our entire trip. I will say it is a challenge to pack all your required clothing into your suitcases without going over the weight guidelines, but we didn't care. We wanted to dress up and enjoy the fantasy. I found that for the most part, passengers adhered to the dress code, at least they did in the Princess Grill. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
In 2009 I returned to travelling with Cunard after a break of 7 years; previously I had travelled with my mother on the QE2 (7 trips) and most recently the Caronia (1 cruise). This time I was celebrating a special birthday and travelling ... Read More
In 2009 I returned to travelling with Cunard after a break of 7 years; previously I had travelled with my mother on the QE2 (7 trips) and most recently the Caronia (1 cruise). This time I was celebrating a special birthday and travelling with my partner who had never cruised before. I had been slightly concerned as to whether he would enjoy the experience, particularly the formal evenings but we both returned from last year's voyage raving to family and friends about the whole experience (apart from the coffee, of which more later...) I was therefore looking forward to the same voyage twelve months later (we enjoyed the first one so much we decided to do the same one again). We travelled by car to Southampton and arrived less than 90 minutes after leaving our home in Berkshire. We booked a car parking space through Cunard's normal provider and we were very pleased to be able to drive straight up to the Ocean Terminal. As I am a platinum member of the Cunard World Club we were given a priority check-in of midday which meant we were in our cabin by 12.30 -only two hours after leaving home. The only point to note about the check-in is that I had to advise the customer service agent I was a platinum member in order to be directed to a priority line - the agent simply made the assumption I was an "ordinary" passenger and was about to offer me a card for the normal queue. Last year I made the mistake of not speaking up and thus ended up queueing rather using the benefit of CWC membership. We had originally booked a guarantee cabin in the B3 grade but were upgraded twice, eventually ending up in an A3 cabin - identical to the one we had last year but without a lifeboat obstructing the view. The cabin was again immaculate and the major wear and tear appeared to be to the bedspread - note to Cunard - these flimsy "satin-esque" covers may look lovely when pristine but after six years hard service they could do with being replaced. We had two cases each and found there was enough room storage for everything we brought - and all the cases fitted easily under the bedframe. Our only real complaint about the cabin on either cruise was the electrical sockets; they are situated in the wall on the dressing table and only work if your appliance has a standard plug (I took my own hairdryer as the one provided is rubbish!). When we wanted to plug in mobile phone or camera battery chargers we had to move the bed and unplug one of the reading lamps (and only one item could be plugged in at a time). Our stewardess kept the cabin immaculately clean but we had to ask for the shower gel to be replaced when it ran out and the napkins, coasters and notepad weren't replaced either when we used them up. I don't blame the stewardess - I suspect that this might be Cunard's approach to cost cutting.... Last year we had marvellous waiters in the Britannia restaurant who really engaged with us and made us feel as if they really wanted us to have a great time. This time around our experience was altogether different and echos that of some of the other reviewers for this cruise. Our main waiter was perfectly polite but made no effort to speak to us other than to take our orders, offer us bread (which didn't happen one night) and proffer coffee(which arrived with the dessert on the first night, not after). I felt we were really rushed on the first evening and we were on the dessert course by 9.30 having sat down at 8.30. I then developed techniques for slowing the service down on subsequent nights - asking to wait 10 minutes before ordering dessert after main course plates were cleared and requesting coffee to be served at the end of the meal. As far as the food itself was concerned, the big disappointment turned out to be the fact that the menus for the voyage were identical to those of twelve months ago. I know Cunard rotate them every three months so we were obviously unlucky with our timing. The quality of the food was comparable to last year and we generally enjoyed everything, with beef and lamb being cooked as requested. A few points to note however. We were never offered more bread - so we just asked for it! The cheese plate consisted of four small squares of cheese and a few crackers and grapes - much less generous than last year. The petit fours, which used to be so superb on QE2, consisted mainly of little pieces of crystallised ginger, and on the first night, some disgusting Bakewell tart-type confectionery. Having said that, I should balance this review by adding that Cunard now offer two vegetarian entrees not one - and this is not at the expense of the meat and fish dishes. I'm not vegetarian but I imagine this is a change for the better for many passengers. We had one meal in the Todd English restaurant which was superb and well worth the extra money - lots of people seem to go there to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries - but we managed to get a window table by eating slightly earlier than we would normally choose to do. Now time to mention the coffee. Nowhere on QM2 can you get a proper cappuccino. Even in Sir Samuel's which is pitched as a specialist tea and coffee venue during the day, cappuccinos come out like slightly frothy lattes - there is no proper head of foam - and the cups are too small. The choice of tea in Sir Samuel's is disappointing too - tea bags only, no leaf tea. Service in the bars was usually very good and fast - not surprising since the stewards make most of their income from the 15% service charge. We liked the Chart Room best and I would like to praise Cunard for the hot & cold canapes, nuts and crisps offered with early evening drinks - this does add a little something extra to the experience. The Commodore Club was a relaxing venue for a post dinner drink - we found Sir Samuel's to be too dark for this purpose. We only went to a couple of shows in the Royal Court Theatre; the West End performer Robert Meadmore has a superb voice and the 55 minute adaption of "The Importance of Being Earnest" performed by RADA graduates was a welcome breath of fresh air from the normal fare on offer. We noticed more queues for afternoon tea in the Queen's Room this year; I really think Cunard should consider putting this event on in the Winter Garden as well which seems an under-used venue (apart from the tacky art auctions). There was also no choice of tea although the array of sandwiches, cakes and scones remains delicious. The harpist performing there on the first few afternoons was very good (as were the string quartet in the Chart Room). More queues were noticeable outside the Britannia Restaurant for lunch (though this is a better experience than going to the King's Court). As mentioned by other reviewers, queues for hot food at breakfast in the King's Court were long and the whole set up in the Carvery was badly managed. Everyday my partner had to wait for bacon and fried eggs were only cooked to order, yet there were three types of sausage sitting on the hot counter! I can't believe that the hotel managers haven't spotted these problems and tried to deal with them. The bookshop remains excellent and we bought a copy of Captain Nick Bates' book. A word about Captain Nick - he is a real star who I'm sure has a future as an after dinner speaker when he retires from the sea. We did not use the Spa or swimming pools but took the opportunity to play shuffleboard one afternoon whilst in port - the shuffleboard kits have been relocated one deck up but no one has bothered to move the rules so we made our own up! The gym is very good and the bikes are particularly popular though on both occasions at least one bike was not working properly. The normal array of Cunard day time activities was on offer, including bingo on sea days - $20 for four games and additional $10 if you wanted three extra chances in the jackpot game. A word of warning - you now need a pen to play bingo - and if you don't have one with you you'll end up paying $1.50 for a "dabber". My partner picked up some useful tips about managing his back pain when he attended a lecture by the spa's chiropractor. Apart from the bingo and a couple of evening pub quizzes we did not participate in any other organised activities but the range and quality seems very similar to that offered on QE2. We attended and enjoyed a couple of cocktail parties but I was disappointed that there was no senior officers' party for platinum and diamond CWC members as there was last year. I did receive all the other benefits for my membership level, however. We again enjoyed all the ports of call and thought Alesund was an excellent replacement for Stavanger which we found a bit dull. We did our own thing in each port and still found there was plenty to see having been once before. There were lots of opportunities for walking and exploring - and burning off the calories being consumed each day! A couple of tips about Flam. Firstly, the Cunard tour, "Walking the Flam Valley" is a rip off - we did it last year and it is a very simple walk from the ship to an old church and back again. You can figure this out for yourself and the few bits of local information you get from the guides are not worth what you pay (about £30 for each adult). The Flam railway is also bookable in advance over the internet so you can get ahead of the tour groups (and probably pay less too). Disembarkation was very easy - my level of CWC membership entitled us to use the disembarkation lounge in Todd English where newspapers and light refreshments were on offer - we went straight there rather than try to get breakfast in the King's Court - last year they were desperately trying to close most of the seating areas despite passengers still arriving before the advertised closing time. All in all we had a great holiday despite the queues, the terrible coffee and the disappointing service in the Britannia (apart from our wine waiter who was very good and dealing with 70 guests including us!) I definitely want to travel on QM2 again (and Queen Elizabeth). However, I will be closely monitoring the queues, standards of service and levels of generosity towards the guests. The experience was value for money - I hope future ones will be too. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2010
Having cruised several times before on other lines, namely Princess, we decided to try Cunard this year. Princess also offers a British Isles (some different port calls and 2 days longer) which was about half the price of this one and in ... Read More
Having cruised several times before on other lines, namely Princess, we decided to try Cunard this year. Princess also offers a British Isles (some different port calls and 2 days longer) which was about half the price of this one and in restrospect I'm sorry we didn't stick with Princess. (1) The Ship Itself While the decor of the Queen Victoria is more luxurious than that on Princess ships it is marred somewhat by the fact that there was water leaking from the ceiling in several locations including the card room and the Lido Buffet. Our balcony cabin was similar in size and amenities to what we've had on Princess so certainly nothing there to justify a large price differential. The meals in the dining room were not creative or inventive although they were presented nicely. Items that we have seen in the past on every nights menu i.e. steaks or crab legs or shrimp cocktail were not ever offered. The Lido Buffet was smaller than we're use to erg. selection of salad was rather sad and for for parts of the day the Buffet was closed i.e. during afternoon tea nothing else was available, the ice cream machine's were broken or under service and the ice machines were frequently out of ice. Would recommend the made to order pizza's and sandwiches in the Buffet. Atfernoon Tea in the Queens room - I was expecting the typical tiered plate with finger sandwiches, petit fours and scones with clotted cream. You are served each ndividually by waiters walking around wth plates and the scones come with a miniscule amount of cream (which was not clotted cream) --- overall not a proper "cream" tea in my opinion. (2) The Service Dining Room - On past cruises we have opted for the anytime dining which generally means a different waiter(s) every night. We've always been advised with fixed seating you get better service from waiters in anticipation of tips on the last day. This was probably more disappointing than any aspect --- meals that came that were wrong, glasses of water than never came. Advice was never offered or given on menu items - poor level of service given that this was fixed seating on a supposedly higher end cruise. Cabin Steward - Very acceptable level of service - nothing above and beyond though - and again we've had some excellent stewards aboard Princess ships who gave us tips on everything from less busy dining rooms, to worthwhile tour excursions, to good sunbathing spots. Entertainment - pretty standard fare, a troupe of singers and dancers, a comedian and an opera singer. I think Cunard may be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. If you're going to market yourself as a high end cruiseline with superior service, dining and entertainment and your going to charge quite a bit more than your sister cruiseline Princess you have to be able to deliver on it!! If you don't passengers are simply going to feel ripped off and that they could have had as equally as good a vacation on another cruise line/ship for a lot less money. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
Nine inches of Snow - New York, January 2011, joined the Queen Victoria at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, alongside us The new Queen Elizabeth. Embarkation was a fiasco, the agency handling it for Cunard had a total computer breakdown for ... Read More
Nine inches of Snow - New York, January 2011, joined the Queen Victoria at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, alongside us The new Queen Elizabeth. Embarkation was a fiasco, the agency handling it for Cunard had a total computer breakdown for about an hour! Our first time on the ship although we had done the Queen Mary 2 (just amazing) and the bless her 'QE2'. Went to our lovely Princess Grill Suite on deck 8, wow, perfection! This was going to be our home for the next three weeks! Champagne on ice, strawberries dipped in chocolate and a welcome note from our room steward. Asked Cunard prior for a table for two, so went in to the Princess Grill and were shown to exactly the table we would have chosen ourselves. The trip took us from New York (with its very special amazing Cunard firework 'Three Queens' display that night) to Fort Lauderdale, Bonair, The Panama Canal, one stop in Porto Rico and three in Mexico, eventually washing up in Los Angeles. The ship we found to be truly lovely, like a country club, as usual with Cunard every member of the ship could not do enough for us, the food was excellent (getting to much for us by the cruise end!}, what ever we asked for the answer was 'yes'. Small story...we wandered out of interest in to the lovely Britannia Restaurant to look at their menu (generally exactly the same as our in the Grill restaurants), the maitre'D asked if he could help us "No we said....except there's a course on the menu we have'nt had in the Princess Grill"..."Oh really" he answered.."well can I arrange to send one up to you this evening"...we declined! The Panama Canal crossing was was what we call a true 'pinch yourself. moment, a wonderful day and everyone should do it. The Theatre is stunning (my wife sings Opera so we know a fine theatre when we see one), the boxes were always full, and a lovely touch if you wanted one for a special evening. The Commodore Club (piano player rather to loud for a late night} was where we washed up for a late night drink pre. heading back to our State Room. A tear or two was shed as we headed for Los Angeles where we disembarked This was for us a trip of a lifetime. We went on board to enjoy every day of it, and Cunard and the Queen Victoria made it just that. We are saving our pennies for perhaps (and only perhaps) one year sometime in the future to do another small Cunard cruise..but that's for the future, and all fingers crossed! Wishing happy cruising days to you all who will cruise in the future...Bernard and Elaine ps We read on this site of so many moans about Cunard, their service, tipping, etc. We looked upon our Cunard trips as a privilege not to be squandered. We have worked very hard throughout our lives to enjoy such luxury in our senior years. Yes, we know that it's 'expensive', we know the tipping system before we get on board (same as most others), we know very occasionally the service may fail - but for us we are just grateful that we are still part of the very very few who could enjoy such special holidays, there are many thousands who will never be able to afford such luxury and service, so why spoil a trip like this by moaning about it, when really its not necessary....life is for living to the full... not finding usually petty things to moan about. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
The procedure for boarding the ship was amazingly fast and efficient. From arrival at the dock to being on-board took no more than 10 minutes. However, once on board, travelers were on their own, with no assistance available to orient ... Read More
The procedure for boarding the ship was amazingly fast and efficient. From arrival at the dock to being on-board took no more than 10 minutes. However, once on board, travelers were on their own, with no assistance available to orient themselves or even find their cabin. Fortunately, the ship is laid out logically and signage was good. Luggage arrived very quickly and was undamaged.The QE is a really beautiful ship. The interior is very elegant and the ship sails amazingly smoothly and quietly. Docking was so smooth that the only way to tell it had occurred was to look outside. The theater is the most beautiful I have seen among the 10 ships on which I have sailed and had charming box seats available for a few lucky patrons. Shows were limited, but of high quality. Other entertainment included a harpist and string quartets which were very good and added to the subdued, elegant mood. Food in the main "Britannia" restaurant was consistently very good. The specialty restaurant (The Verandah) was exquisite. The food there was truly extraordinary, service outstanding and atmosphere elegant yet inviting. The onboard service elsewhere was usually very good with well-trained staff. The exception was a few dour-faced eastern Europeans among the crew whose attitude was not up to what one expects of a 5-star cruise line. The informal dining buffet experience was a disappointment especially when compared to the parent company (Carnival) and Royal Caribbean. This was offset by the Britannia being open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a result, we typically ate there and were pleased. Afternoon tea was an unusual and wonderful treat. White-gloved service, excellent tea and snacks, and live music made this a "must" for all days at sea.One feature that stood out, especially in comparison with other ships, was the library. Not only was it architecturally beautiful, it was extremely well-organized and had a nice supply and variety of books. I spent much more time there than envisioned at the start.Unfortunately, shore support was truly dreadful. In spite of several requests for assistance as far as 6 months in advance, Cunard was completely useless in assisting with visa requirements. It was truly amazing that they could provide no information at all (except for India which requires visas from everyone) for most ports of call. Oddly enough, Cunard magically acquired this knowledge once we were on board, leading to a huge fiasco with last minute requests for 50 passengers trying to get to Dubai. Although ultimately resolved at the 11th hour thanks to persistence by the purser, the stress of not knowing where we would ultimately leave the ship detracted from our enjoyment of this otherwise enjoyable cruise.Summarizing, I would say that while we enjoyed the trip and really admired the ship itself, the atmosphere was a bit too quiet for our tastes. We would be unlikely to rebook on this ship or the very similar Queen Victoria, but might explore the larger Queen Mary 2 at some time in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2011
This was our sixth cruise, we have "cruised" Alaska, the Caribbean, the Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands. As it was our Silver Wedding we wanted something a bit special. We chose the Fjord and Waterfall Cruise as we wanted ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, we have "cruised" Alaska, the Caribbean, the Barrier Reef and the Galapagos Islands. As it was our Silver Wedding we wanted something a bit special. We chose the Fjord and Waterfall Cruise as we wanted to spend the longest day of the year as far north as possible (our anniversary), and to get a real sense of long days and short nights. Embarkation in Southampton took just minutes and we even enjoyed a delicious lunch, on returning to our suite the luggage had been delivered. We chose a Princess Grill Suite, on the Port side and more or less in the mid ship. The stateroom could not have been better. There was a huge walk-in robe, an additional wardrobe, loads of storage space, a spacious bathroom, balcony with two loungers, TV, mini bar, sofa, etc. Everything was perfectly maintained and our attendant Eugene did a wonderful job. The Princess Grill was excellent, we had our own table, very private and it was nice to have flexibility with meal times. Our waiters, Kim, Viktoria and Benelito were superb, soon noticing all our preferences and making the meals even more pleasant. We are not big wine drinkers but Bruno helped us with the wines and was a walking encyclopedia. I found all the staff excellent, very well trained and the service was perfect, lots of choice, we never had to wait long and when we did chat to Bruno about our love of Curries, he somehow arranged for us to be served a Curry dinner the next evening - with all the trimmings. The Grill didn't seem at all crowded and there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere. Afternoon tea served in the Queen's Grill Lounge was out of this world. I loved the QM2, compared to other ships there seemed to be a lot more space in the public rooms, I loved the library and bookshop, the shops were varied, and the Queen's Room is impressive. We enjoyed the shows in the theatre, we also went to the Guitar and Violin recitals- all excellent. The planetarium was excellent and we enjoyed looking up at the stars. We did tours in all four ports of call. Stavenger countryside, Norway in a Nutshell (Flam), Mountain Panorama (Geiranger) and Bergen through the ages. We enjoyed them all, and the fact that a crew member escorted us on the tours was nice. In Flam and Geiranger they were full day tours and the lunches included were very good, with non alcoholic drinks and tea and coffee. We had two full days at sea but there was so much to do. The spa circuit was very relaxing and it was even nice to lay on the loungers on deck (with the blankets). The weather was perfect, I don't think we had a single drop of rain and it was always the perfect temperature on the ship. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was quick and very well organised (as it was at all the ports of call). This cruise really was perfect, not a single hitch. I would definitely cruise with Cunard again the Queen Mary is a magnificent Ship, even crossing the North sea she seemed to glide over the water with no movement noticeable, at times we forgot we were on a ship. All in all, a beautiful ship, excellent crew and Norway a great destination. Thanks for an unforgettable anniversary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2011
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2011
My husband and I took the transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary II and were very pleased with almost all aspects of the cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and well organized. Our room was pretty and clean and ... Read More
My husband and I took the transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary II and were very pleased with almost all aspects of the cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and well organized. Our room was pretty and clean and the design was elegant. The robes and slippers in every stateroom are another nice touch. Food was very well done in the restaurants with a good selection and presentation. Room service breakfast was lovely and the staff would try to accommodate written special requests, even rather strange ones. The one negative with the food was that food in the cafeteria was often cold or not fresh. However, even the buffets had beautiful presentation. Our waiter was WONDERFUL!! He was not only funny, very fast, and polite but he let us know some of the ins and out of how cruising worked. He also remembered I loved dark chocolate, so when there were dark chocolates after dessert, he always made sure to bring a couple more for me. We were quite a bit younger than the couples on-board, but for us it was not a problem, as we are a bit old fashioned. Almost all passengers were well dressed for the occasion everyone seemed very friendly and helpful. We especially enjoyed afternoon tea as well as trivia in the pub, where you could win real prizes. Our only one complaint was that the Cunard travel agent promised us a special complimentary honeymoon package with champagne in your stateroom on arrival, fresh flowers in your stateroom on arrival, a congratulations card from your Captain, and a formal portrait photograph. These things were not delivered and when my husband asked why, they took two days to get back to us eventually saying that we are Americans and it did not apply to our country. This disappointed us quite a bit, as we were looking forward to the extra touch. Overall, it was a great cruise and we would happily travel on this ship again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2012
We have just got of the QM2 having travelled from New York to Southampton, it continues its journey to Hamburg later today. We are a couple in our mid 40's having been on a single cruise before (7 days bay of Biscay last year on ... Read More
We have just got of the QM2 having travelled from New York to Southampton, it continues its journey to Hamburg later today. We are a couple in our mid 40's having been on a single cruise before (7 days bay of Biscay last year on P&O Oceana) We have travelled to New York before and flew out for 3 days before joining the QM2 last Friday. 1st Impressions were of a truly massive ship as we approached the dock. Check-in was trouble free. We found our stateroom easily using the maps located near most lifts. Our thoughts were as follows : 1. Ship/Weather The ship is very impressive and coped weather with what was described as typical transatlantic weather - rough sees (up to 12 foot swell) and force 7-8 winds (40+knots across the deck) for much of the trip. There was some movement and we did feel a bit queasy in a high cabin on deck 12 on 2 or 3 occasions, but nothing that spoilt our enjoyment or that needed any medication. It did mean that the upper deck (13) was closed for much of the journey. We thought the interior was clean and well maintained. There was a lot of information all over the walls about Cunard's history - previous ships and famous passengers for instance although we never found time to read it all. We had a small map, but i found the deck plans by each lift most helpful, and within a day we had no problems navigating. 2. Accommodation - we were in a Britannia club balcony room on starboard side on the 12Th deck. The bed was very comfortable and the room was perfectly adequately sized, with just enough hangars in the wardrobe - perhaps we would have struggled for clothes space on a much longer trip. The bathroom again was fine, with a decent size shower. Arthur kept it very clean for us. We did use the balcony at the start and end of our trip, but it was too windy to spend much time mid atlantic. We did not notice much noise, although i was woken around 5.50am once by a couple talking loudly as they walked past. 3. Activities/Entertainment. It would be fair to say that we did not partake in many of the enrichment activities as we entertained ourself quite a bit. We did listen to 1 speaker which was ok, and saw another couple on the TV - the days talks were repeated on the TV in your room on channel 42 after 5pm each day , although my wife found some quite boring, they perhaps were targeted more to the older male -code-breaking machines, Alan Turin, voyage of the beagle etc There were also talks on murder and art history but i did not see those. RADA - we did not use their workshops, although enjoyed their version of 3 of Chaucer's Canterbury tales Juilliard Jazz - we never quite managed to get to these either. Bingo/quizzes/ballroom - not really our thing Cocktail Party - We bypassed the queue for the captain and met the hotel manager instead. We had our free sparkling wine and a couple of canapes. The captain spoke about the titanic and carpathia and it was over quite quickly. We did speak to the safety officer and i think the hotel managers pa, who were pleasant and fun to talk to, but after the Captain introduced his heads of dept, every-one vanished before we could talk to them. Mingling for 1/2 an hour would have been nice for at least some of them. G32 DISCO- We only spent any time here on one night, when it was abba night for an hour. The dance floor was empty apart from us at the beginning, although had filled by the end of the hour. The strange bit for a disco was that the DJ said nothing for the whole 90 minutes we were there, just kept playing the songs. Exercise We did a lot of laps of deck 7 promenade -it is 1.1 miles for 3 laps. It can take some concentration to match the slow walkers, power walkers, electric buggies and joggers but i never saw any collisions. We also enjoyed a walk on deck 12 to have a look at the dogs in the kennels -i think there were 11 on this trip. They had some fun pictures of the dogs in their life jackets in the photo image area of the ship. Pool We were never brave enough to use the outdoor pools, although did see them used by the occasional brave person. The covered pavilion pool was very close to our room. It did get very busy though, with loungers being saved with towels, although people seemed to pack up and leave, but left their towel on the lounger, so it was very confusing which loungers were still occupied or free. It was nice and warm under the glass roof and we did spent a few hours their once or twice. Gym I used the gym daily (for the 1st 5 days). It had decent equipment but at many times seemed too small, with the cross trainers/cycles in particular being fully used. A bigger gym, or limiting use of a machine to 20minutes at a time would be helpful. We found that lunch time was generally a good time, between 1-2pm. I expect 6am would also be good, but never managed to get there that early. We had a look around the spa but never used it - cost and not really expecting enough benefit to justify the cost to ourselves. 4. Food/Drink Drink- we tended to have a drink or two pre dinner and usually went to the Commodore club at the bow on deck 9 as it seemed quieter than the other bars being furthest from the dining room. We generally had cocktails ($8.95-9.95) each although also tried the chart room and the golden lion on the last evening when they were quieter.Half a pint of cider seemed more reasonable there at $2. We usually had some crisps or nuts and canapes as well-initially cold ones, then hot ones if we stayed long enough. We also tried the Sir Samuel coffee bar - $3.50 for a decent coffee and also had a nice quiche one day for lunch there. Kings Court - 24 hours a day food of course - dinner ends at 11- then have another buffet hot meal until 4am, then cold breakfast until 6, then hot breakfast, lunch, cream tea, afternoon snacks, and back to dinner etc We had some hot food once to say we had tried it -1am after our trip to disco - chinese noodles/sweet chilli chicken etc - it was fine, but we preferred the slower pace and service of the main dining room. The cream tea we tried once but were a little disappointed by the scones (dry) and the whipped (not clotted cream) We did have breakfast in bed once to try. We left the order on our door (before 1am) and received exactly what we had ordered at the right time (15 minute windows). The only negatives was that the hot food (oat meal and cooked breakfast) was warm and not hot, but moving hot food across the ship, i think it was as hot as one could reasonably expect and certainly edible. The rest of our food we ate in the main club dining room - less frenetic pace and we looked forward to seeing the waiters/maitre d - In general we found the quality of the food to be excellent and hot. for much of the week i did enjoy the "canyon ranch spa" choices which list the calorie/fibre/fat content. It was one way of trying to limit any weight gain and i usually found they were still very tasty and in fact on "lobster night" my wife preferred the sauce and rice of my spa lobster to her standard version. I can appreciate that people perhaps do not want to know the calorie content of everything they are eating, but personally i did not want to spend a month or more trying to lose weight i had put on, and would have welcomes the choice of having the option to see a menu with calories listed besides all dishes. Portion wise at dinner, we found a 3 course meal without extra veg, was just the right amount to avoid being overfull. Appetites vary of course and some of our fellow diners enjoyed 2 starters and 3-4 desserts and extra veg on occasion. we did find on the last few days that we had had enough eating and tended to miss lunch in the dining -perhaps having the quiche in sir Samuel's or 3-4 finger sandwiches from the afternoon tea. We did not feel the need or inclination to use the a la carte kings court options or the Todd English restaurant. 5.Service we experienced excellent service from the bar staff and in the restaurant. "Danny boy" as he referred to himself was excellent in the commodore club, making suggestions of drinks to try for my wife. In the restaurant "Willy" and "Jimmy" our two waiters were brilliant as well. I think they were a little bemused by our choice of healthier options and tried to fatten us up as the week went on. I made the mistake of saying i was torn between the beef wellington and the canyon ranch lobster, and despite my protestations i ended up with both! We also made use of the flambe dishes for dessert especially later in the week with baked alaska (flambe cherries) and crepes Suzette - these were done by your table by the maitre'd. We started off on a table for six -this was really due to an oversight on my part -the agent making our booking in September never asked me what size table i wanted -i would have chosen 2 and for some reason i never thought to try and change it. Our fellow passengers were perfectly pleasant, but while we are under 45 both other couples were in their 80-90's. They were keen to chat and shared many interests/experiences with each other - flying, the war etc, while being younger we had little that we could share and we consequently spent much of the evening listening to their interesting stories and really had no time to talk to each other or appreciate what we were eating. Perhaps many people would see that as the benefits of cruising, but we would have preferred some time to talk to each other and to be quiet and appreciate the food. We spoke to Iolata (apologies for spelling) our polish maitre d who was excellent. She could see we were embarrassed and concerned about how the other couples would react. She put us at ease and assured us this happened all the time and that they were happy to be a table of 4. Most of the other tables also had an average age of twice our own, but we did move to lunch the next day with a slightly younger German foursome and by the evening we had a table for 2 which we kept for the rest of the week. She really made our cruise by being so understanding and helpful, and we looked forward to seeing her smile every meal time. We did keep the auto-tipping on our bill - $22 per day for the two of us. We also felt it appropriate to leave a small envelope tip for our waiters and also for our maitre d at the end. 6. Final Thoughts / Preconceptions from a younger 1st time Cunard couple a. We will be the youngest there ? - yes there were a lot of older guests, but some young children, and quite a few of a similar age, we did not feel out of place b. We will be bored - we were never bored even though we used only a small part of available entertainment. We enjoyed a leisurely drink for a couple of hours before dinner, eating at a relaxed pace, doing a lot of walking, using the gym and also reading and talking. c. Its too formal - we enjoyed dressing up - ladies wore all sorts of length dresses on formal nights, there was no rigidity -in fact people did ignore the dress code all together especially in the commodore club we noticed and no-one was singled out or made to leave ,but it was nice to see everyone in their finery (even if my dinner jacket was one of those cheap M&S ones) d. We got many lovely photos from the excellent photographers. It was a shame that they were so expensive, $24.95 each print, or as we chose $149.99 for 10 - they print all the photos they take, so we ended up choosing our 10 at the end of the week and giving them back 40+ more to throw away - there would be no extra cost to them by just giving us the photos, and it would be nice if this was an option for similar fee , say $200. All the shots were clear and well focused e. Can i have the job of the customs officer ? - there were twice daily sessions on 3 days for each deck to have passports checked to avoid delay in Southampton. Our check took about 5 seconds, no electronics were involved, just a visual check. The accompanying crew member told us the customs agent is free for the rest of the week-we saw him in the bar and restaurants - seems a good job to me- perhaps its on a rota basis ? f.Would we do it again ? Yes, perhaps we would try a cruise next time instead of transatlantic, but we would use Cunard again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2012
There is a big difference between the Grills experience and every other accommodation. From preferred embarkation, to the food provided, to the convenient access to information, we experienced the best available. As Grills guests ... Read More
There is a big difference between the Grills experience and every other accommodation. From preferred embarkation, to the food provided, to the convenient access to information, we experienced the best available. As Grills guests (Q6-9065), we loved Julian, our butler, who would come by frequently to ask how we were doing and to answer our endless questions--this proved invaluable. "Happiness, and happiness, and happiness." One trip to the buffet for breakfast was enough to convince us that this experience should be avoided--I don't like being elbowed to get to the eggs. What a different experience to having your own table ready whenever you are, with your own sommalier. The food was wonderful and the service was very good. As Grill guests, we met the captain at an afternoon tea. Activities on the ship met our desires for a traditional experience--deck games like shuffleboard and quoits, organized into contests, was great fun. My wife enjoyed her spa, although she thought the massage was average. The lecture on Cunard's history was fascinating, as I learned the speaker was the author of several books I own. The two formal nights (one extra) and dancing in that incredible room was memorable. The cigar lounge was enjoyable and well run, the people who arrived in swim trunks and put their flip-flopped feet on the couch table were asked to politely remove them by the attendant (this is why I paid the money ;)). I felt like James Bond gambling in my tux. The casino was small but uncrowded. For some, there will be downsides. The age averaged high. At 40 I was younger than most. The disco had very few visitors. There are activities for children, but you will not find a giant megaship waterslide on the fanny end of the ship. Disembarkation takes time. This has always been--movie stars in the 1930s had the same experience. We wanted a traditional, classic experience, and we were not disappointed. Just as it was, you get what you pay for--thankfully. We saved and loved every minute. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
We had previously only cruised with Disney with our kids and for our anniversary cruise without kids, we thought we would try something other than Disney. This cruise came to my attention because it left from NY (driving distance from ... Read More
We had previously only cruised with Disney with our kids and for our anniversary cruise without kids, we thought we would try something other than Disney. This cruise came to my attention because it left from NY (driving distance from home) and was 5 nights (not too long, not too short), ports that we had never visited and I remember seeing QM2 being featured on Entertainment Tonight in 2004 when it first sailed. Stateroom: We booked a D8 GTY and was upgraded to a D4. The cabin location was excellent, very quiet, close to Stairway B, one flight up was King's Court and open deck. The room was spacious enough for 2 people, really nice layout, lots of storage area, no complaints about the room. I was pleasantly surprised by the counter space in the washroom. Food: I was a bit disappointed with the food. I had read before hand that food was very average, and it was just that, average. I find selection at the buffet to be very small, not a lot of seafood at the buffet. Maybe because it is a British cruise line, I find the selection of food very non typical North American. We had an enjoyable lunch at Golden Lion Pub, highly recommended. Breakfast in Brittania was also much better than the buffet, I wish we had time to do that more than once. Dinner in Brittania was just okay. Servers did not seem very knowledgeable about the food. Answers were always very vague. I did enjoy Afternoon Tea very much, I think that would be my highlight in terms of food on this cruise. It is a must do on this cruise. The scones were delicious, as were the pastries. Activities: Most activities were pretty tame, darts, virtual golf, shuffle board,lectures, bridge lessons, knitting, you get the picture. Plus side is that the pools were never really busy. Being used to Disney ships, the pools were ALWAYS jammed packed. We saw 2 kids that owned the pool area by themselves at one point, that NEVER happened on Disney. Shows: We really enjoyed the comedian, and the performance by the Julliard Music School students was also quite impressive. I did not enjoy the show by the Cunard Singer/Dancers. Movies were okay. Odd selection one night where they showed "Adventures of Tin Tin" (animated). Planetarium was cool. Live musics at pubs were really good. Excursion: We did the Peggy's Cove excursion, that was great, we had really good weather, knowledgeable tour guide. Would we cruise Cunard again? Probably, but not with kids and probably not any time soon. I think if you are adults and don't mind a quiet relaxing environment, and enjoy dressing up, then this cruise is good. If you want to party, then this is not the cruise for you. If you are big on food, then perhaps this cruise is not for you either, or maybe try one of the grille level rooms, food there is supposed to be better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2012
We have cruised for several years with P&O Oceana, Aurora and Ventura (Ventura big, creeks and plastic decks, never again) We wanted to test out Cunard with a view to a transatlantic in 2013, having been to all the ports on this ... Read More
We have cruised for several years with P&O Oceana, Aurora and Ventura (Ventura big, creeks and plastic decks, never again) We wanted to test out Cunard with a view to a transatlantic in 2013, having been to all the ports on this trip before, apart from Valencia so we could concentrate on the ship. We had an outside Cabin on deck 5 with what is described as an "in hull" balcony,. Our check in at Southampton was smooth as normal however we did seem to have a relatively long ques for the scanner. about 15 minutes !! QM2 is Not a cruise ship, it is a transatlantic Liner we noticed this from the start..after we went straight to our cabin as we didn't get any other offers when on board and we found it to be much bigger than expected and the in board balcony was massive (compared to P&O) and when the sun was on our side gave plenty of sun. when sitting down you couldn't actually see out but i guess if its blowing a gale across the Atlantic it gives some nice shelter but plenty of fresh air. We had some lovely sunsets and breakfasts. We loved the very large promenade deck on level 7 lots of real teak, however on nice sunny days you need to be quick to get a deck chair ! Afternoon tea inthe Queens ball room is to die for, Harpist and Pianist included Entertainment during the day is "ok" don"t expect izzy wizzy ...as its a relaxing and and sophisticated way of traveling. However i did learn to water colour, take your own paints or there is a fee for the materials...35 dollars.. The cabin steward was excellent and very friendly, we gave him an extra tip even though the gratuities were taken upfront and on each ticket.. We usually have a table of eight but for some reason we had a table of ten, all the other guest were pleasant and good company as usual..ranging from 45 to 70 in age and Engineer to Lt Commander. With 5 formal nights in 10 days; if your not keen on dressing-up you will miss out on lots of evening fun .. if you can ball room dance or sequence then you won"t be disappointed, equally the B45 club goes on until very late if you like to boogie. our favourite was the Chart Room with live Jazz trio until after midnight. The Pub food lunch time in the Golden Lion was excellent, Food second sitting in the Britannia was very good with just the correct size of portions and a good selection, wine from 30 dollars to 2548 bottle or 7 dollars a glass. If its not on the menu then just ask and they will try and accommodate. We dinned in the pay extra "Tod English" which although very nice and service was very attentive the portions were American sized and the restaurant was virtually MT so lacked atmosphere. good points. relaxing, art deco traditional grand voyage feel lots of space. negative, we were billed 15 dollars corkage for the "complimentary" wine in our state room...some parts of the ship smell of cigarette's hardly worth noting..we loved it and will be booking the trans atlantic next year Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2012
We have mostly cruised on larger cruise ships that have much more activities and options ice skating, wall climbing, wave runners and large malls. We were repeatedly reminded by staff and fellow cruisers that the QM2 is not a ... Read More
We have mostly cruised on larger cruise ships that have much more activities and options ice skating, wall climbing, wave runners and large malls. We were repeatedly reminded by staff and fellow cruisers that the QM2 is not a "cruise" ship but rather an "ocean liner". We did enjoy meeting people from all over the world -- with a strong representation from the UK. Everyone was VERY friendly and fun to be with. The shows were good. We loved the comedian and the Nat King Cole impersonator but we thought that the dancers were not up to the same level as other cruises. We enjoyed the disco club nightly that had a great live band. Didn't care too much for the formal dancing in the main ballroom. There were MANY hired dancers that catered to the single ladies and formal dancers. The food was good and nice variety. Formal afternoon tea was incredible. Overall, this was much more formal and traditional than we have experienced in the past. The average age of our fellow cruisers was much older than we are -- and we're 63. I don't mean this to be a knock on the experience. We really enjoyed ourselves and were VERY fortunate to have 3 wonderful dining companions that quickly became friends -- who we still stay in contact. PS: This ship is extremely accommodating for those with physical challenges. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2013
This was cruise #2 on the QM2. We are two gay men in our late 50's and wanted to do one more short cruise to make certain we could handle a much longer cruise. We loved the QM2 ship last year and it did not disappoint us this year. We ... Read More
This was cruise #2 on the QM2. We are two gay men in our late 50's and wanted to do one more short cruise to make certain we could handle a much longer cruise. We loved the QM2 ship last year and it did not disappoint us this year. We booked a BC Balcony on deck 11 forward part of the ship. Last year we were Britannia Club in the middle on deck 12. We did not notice a substantial difference. For the money, the location on ship wasn't that noticeable. In some ways, we liked being forward in the ship more. We were closer to elevators. Although we had set times for dining, we actually liked the large restaurant better than the small Britannia Club. The service was better, the Maitre 'd friendlier and got us a better table. The ambience of being in the larger room was grande...the views nicer. It is something to consider if you are thinking about paying more for the Club rooms. Save your money. I really can't understand some of the poor reviews about the food. We ate in the dining room for each lunch and dinner. Choices were great, timing was perfect, and the food really good. Perhaps it wasn't like a $200 meal, but it was elegantly presented, creative, and interesting flavors...and nice diverse choices. You would have to be either picky or a snob to not find plenty to eat from the Britannia menu. The Britannia state rooms are compact, but there is plenty of storage, closet space, drawers and nightside table storage. For the price, you really can't beat this level of room. We like the balconies because it does extend the room and we spent time on the balcony. If you haven't sailed on the QM2 it is a grand ocean liner. It is wonderful to hear string quartets playing in the restaurant, bars. Great piano music. For the most part people dress and it is just a lovely, upscale traveling experience. The Kings Court is not horrible as some depict it. It is very busy, but food is great and you can get a nice breakfast, lunch, or dinner there if you are on the run and don't want to spend a lot of time at a meal. We loved walking the decks...all of them. The top of the ship is fun and lots of walking or promenade space there, too. The entertainment was good. Good song and dance numbers and a very talented former Olympic gymnist. On this particular cruise there were 75 or so GLBT travelers. We met couples in the Commodore Bar. It really became like a gay bar from 5:00 to 7:00 during cocktail hours and after dinner. Everyone is friendly and just a terrific atmosphere. We made friends that we are still corresponding with. One bad thing I will mention. We had problems with our toilet flushing on days 2, 3, and 4. It was frustrating. Reported it each day. It wasn't like it didn't work the entire time, it was just intermittant with the suction system. But it was annoying. Finally, I had to go down to the Pursers desk and demand to speak to a supervisor. That was difficult. They do not want to come out. But, I did and it was odd. They are extremely beaurocratic and focus more on filling out the paperwork for the problem than appeasing disgruntled passengers. It was annoying that they didn't see this as a big issue to have sewage standing in your toilet in your stateroom. It was finally completely repaired on day 4. If you are reading this and considering a cruise, don't freak out. There are 1200+ cabins on the ship and we just were unlucky. Even having this problem, we are looking at the 16 day Panama Canal cruise because we like the ship so much. We will just go down the purser's office sooner next time. All in all...it is a great ship and I highly recommend it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2013
My wife and I just returned from the September 10, 2013 sailing of Cunard's Queen Mary 2 to New England and Canada and, although we liked the cruise, we learned that preventing the Norovirus is easier than getting over it. Upon ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the September 10, 2013 sailing of Cunard's Queen Mary 2 to New England and Canada and, although we liked the cruise, we learned that preventing the Norovirus is easier than getting over it. Upon sailing from NYC on Tuesday afternoon, the only advice we received from Cunard staff and literature was to wash hands frequently and use the hand sanitizers frequently. To Cunard's credit, the hand sanitizers were amply available throughout all public areas of the ship. My wife is sort of a "Clean Freak" and always washes her hands frequently plus utilizing the hand sanitizers. I would place her in the top 5% of passengers with respect to hand washing and sanitizing. I, on the other hand, would place myself in the top 40% of this category. On Saturday afternoon around 3 pm and four full days into the cruise, my wife displayed the first obvious symptoms of the Norovirus and I followed suit about 5 hours later. From that point on, my wife and I were extremely ill. When I called the Medical Center onboard, pain and dehydration medicine was prescribed and delivered shortly thereafter. Although my wife's symptoms ended after 12 hours, my illness was more severe and lasted more than 24 hours. I was advised to confine myself to my cabin for 48 hours _after_ the last symptom ended. Due to the number of passengers exhibiting symptoms of the Norovirus, Cunard offered complimentary laundry and room service which I had to utilize since I was confined to my cabin for a total of 3.5 days. During the last 36 hours of confinement, I finally had somewhat of an appetite but the complimentary room service only consisted of clear broth and other liquids - and room service would not accommodate my request for more solid food. Cunard, to their credit, after the outbreak of Norovirus was evident late on Sunday afternoon, instituted stringent sanitary procedures in the King's Court Buffet. Passengers could no longer serve themselves but rather, everything, including coffee and tea, would be handed to or served to them by a crew member wearing gloves. And those procedures lasted until the very end of our cruise. Cunard began showing a prepared Norovirus video on channel 41 explaining all of the new sanitary procedures and advising passengers not to touch hand rails or even the buttons on the elevator without some sort of barrier between your hand and the object. The video further stated that "These safety precautions are usually only instituted the first 48 hours of your cruise." Lessons learned from this unfortunate experience: 1. A passenger does not want to contract the Norovirus - it is extremely unpleasant - I consider myself to be very healthy and took all usual and typical precautions and yet I contracted the Norovirus and it made me extremely sick for well over 24 hours. 2. The Norovirus is transmitted by touching surfaces - so don't touch handrails, buttons on elevators, chairs, tables, etc. directly - carry and use a paper towel to touch those surfaces. Don't use public toilets onboard. 3. Cunard's video made one rather damning statement: "These safety precautions are usually only instituted the first 48 hours of your cruise." Why weren't these extreme precautions instituted for the first 48 hours of our cruise as stated? If they had been instituted, would that have likely prevented the outbreak? I think the answer is, "Yes, possibly." Daily announcements by the Captain after the initial outbreak stated that right up to the end of the cruise, there were still new cases of the Norovirus onboard the QM2. We were, of course, never told exactly how many passengers onboard the QM2 contracted the Norovirus. My wife and I have sailed different cruise lines to many ports around the world including two visits to Istanbul and have had no health problems before this one. We certainly find it ironic that we were both struck by the Norovirus on the QM2 while sailing off the coast of New England. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
I sailed twice on the QM2 in 2004, a year after she was launched and our experience in the Queens grill category and the Britannia was excellent. Unfortunately, our most recent trip to New England/ Canada paled in comparison. Embarkation ... Read More
I sailed twice on the QM2 in 2004, a year after she was launched and our experience in the Queens grill category and the Britannia was excellent. Unfortunately, our most recent trip to New England/ Canada paled in comparison. Embarkation - Brooklyn. This cruise terminal is not easy to get to and the roads are atrocious. We drove from Maryland with our own vehicle. Usually for cruises departing New York, we travel by train. The Brooklyn terminal location made that very difficult. To get from a station to the port would not have been easy nor inexpensive. It was so much nicer when she docked in Manhattan. Everything seemed very business like and although we boarded almost immediately there was little fan fare and no personal escort to our cabin as we had in 2004. Not a big deal. Our Queens Grill Suite was in decent shape, showing just a tad bit of wear and tear. One of our first activities was to visit the restaurant to see which table we were assigned to. (Note: we booked this cruise a year ahead, and let them know we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary). We were speechless when we were shown a table for two jammed in the corner next to the serving door to the kitchen. Really? It took an exchange of some bills to get a new arrangement. This would have never occurred in 2004. Overall Service: We don't require much when we travel, but our butler really was not very good at his job. Any request, such as more ice, was met with an indifferent stare. He was not overly friendly and often seemed annoyed when called. The concierge was not that much better, but at least he was friendly. Some requests or questions were often dismissed as we were told to "read the program". On other cruise lines, the concierge made it a point to know who you were and always addressed you by name. By the 11th day of our journey, our concierge still didn't know what cabin we were in or our names. (Since my husband had contracted the norovirus while on board, there were quite a few arrangements that had to be done through the concierge, so the fact that he could not retain a sliver of our personal information was disappointing). Queens Grill (QG) Dining Service - The service we received here was exemplary. Our waiter, the sommelier, and the assistant waiter (none of whom were the recipients of the cash gift), went beyond the call of duty to make us feel comfortable while lavishing us with great personal attention, good humor, and much kindness. It was pure joy to see them during the dinner hour, and we always looked forward to David's recommendations for the evening. He would often suggest an entree as an appetizer, where he would then ask the kitchen to scale down the portion accordingly. A request of a lobster tail for the main entree always seemed to multiply into two or three depending on whether David thought the sizing of the portion was adequate. One evening, I gasped as three perfectly grilled tails arrived on my plate instead of the one that was listed on the menu. HIs thoughtfulness and professionalism really made our dinners here magical. Food - Unfortunately, breakfast and lunch in both King's Court (buffet) and in the Queens Grill have seriously gone down hill. One thing I noticed is that many of the items offered in QG were the same thing that could be had at the buffet. Nothing special nor exclusive. In 2004, the court would offer omelet stations, waffle stations, etc. Now everything was integrated into the hot food line which caused all kinds of chaos and delays. If you wanted to order an omelet or fried egg, you had to wait in the regular food line for your order to be filled, while others following you who just wanted to get the the prepared items stood not knowing what to do. I only learned after the third day, that omelets could be made by request as the signage was not very visible. I didn't even know they made waffles, until I heard a gentleman order one and he was told it would be 10 minutes. Again, inefficient, confusing, and disappointing as you often ended up with a hot egg entree, but cold sides. Once the code red was issued due to the Norovirus, all of these problems multiplied since no one was allowed to serve themselves. That included waiting for salt, pepper, butter, water, coffee, and any and all food and drink items. Of course this was necessary but if they had a better system in the first place, the alert would have not caused such disruptions. The lunch service in the court was also seriously downgraded. In 2004 they would have multiple stations where you could get things cooked to your liking i.e. pasta, stir fry, carving station. Now it was just one hot food line with almost everything pre-cooked. In the evening, the court would offer alternative dining - Italian, Indian, and Asian all without additional cost. Now it was $10 per person. Although the service in the QG restaurant was excellent the food ranged from poor to outstanding. Luckily, it was mostly on the positive side, but there certainly were some serious shortcomings depending on the dish. In general, the amuse bouche would often be the highlight of the meal. Soups and appetizers were mostly very well prepared and delicious. Anything prepared table side, was always an excellent choice i.e. grilled lobster, sole, caesar salad, beef, dessert, etc. For many reasons mentioned above and others, this Queen just lost its luster for us. Carnivals' purchase has had to have an effect on the state that the QM2 is in now. We so looked forward to this trip, and sadly, any future anticipation about sailing her once again has been dimmed. This review is lengthy enough, but the way the crew handled my husband's Norovirus illness also left a bitter taste behind.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2013
We travelled to New York the day before the cruise and stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. This is a great location if you are sailing from Red Hook and want a basic, clean and inexpensive hotel for the night. Be ... Read More
We travelled to New York the day before the cruise and stayed overnight at the Comfort Inn, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. This is a great location if you are sailing from Red Hook and want a basic, clean and inexpensive hotel for the night. Be sure your driver knows where you are going though as we have experienced a lengthy excursion with a driver who had problems finding the hotel, GPS notwithstanding. There aren’t many places to eat in the area if you are there around supper time but lots of delivery menus on hand and a great free breakfast in the a.m. We arrived early at the cruise port, thanks to the Comfort Inn's free shuttle service. Check in was very speedy but we waited more than an hour to board the ship. Our cabin was ready so we dropped off our hand luggage and went to the buffet for lunch. We were happy to have our suitcases delivered very speedily and were able to start unpacking well before the lifeboat drill. I am amazed how many people don’t follow instructions at the drill, arriving at the wrong life boat station, wearing their life jackets and ignoring the staff. As a result, the drill seemed to take forever. We prefer early dining and had to visit the restaurant to change from the late seating scheduled for us this trip. The young assistant maitre‘d seemed very overwhelmed with all the requests and took our name. On previous cruises, we were given another table right away so were a little worried and it took another day till things were sorted out. While we eventually got early seating and a nice table on the upper level, this was not the level of service we are used to on the Queen Mary 2. At supper we were disappointed in the changes to the wine menu and the inflated prices. It seemed like a lot of people were bringing their own beverages on board and this was obvious in ports where there was a lot of alcohol evident when checking back on board through security. While Cunard has not changed their policy on alcohol (one bottle of wine or champagne), they were clearly not enforcing the policy this trip. We only ordered wine once as a result of the high prices and limited choices. The supper menu in the Britannia Dining Room was also a disappointment. On previous cruises there were so many wonderful choices I had a hard time deciding but this cruise there were so few things I liked on the menu that I often found myself struggling to make a selection. I will say that the fish choices were excellent though and very nicely prepared. Service was slow at times and there were a few mistakes made by the waiter. The meals at lunch time in the Golden Lion Pub were terrific and we ate there a few times. We were very, very disappointed that the demonstration cooking at supper time in the Chef’s Galley has been cancelled. We especially enjoyed those evenings even after an up-charge was added a few years ago. Hope that is something that is restored in the future! The entertainment this cruise was so-so although we enjoyed the wonderful music of the Royal Court Theatre and Queens Room bands. Speakers were great on this voyage particularly Bill Bryson and Richard Holdaway. Time just flew by when they were speaking. We have taken this cruise before but this time St. John, New Brunswick was added to the itinerary. We particularly enjoyed Halifax where we took the excursion to Lunenburg and Mahone Bay which are beautiful communities and well worth the trip. This cruise was our seventh on the QM2. We are now "Platinum” members of Cunard’s World Club loyalty program. While we will get some additional perks on our next voyage, we are in no rush to book another trip as we were let down by Cunard this time as far as service and dining are concerned.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2013
My Husband and I are new to travelling via cruise, and as such we decided we'd try out the shortest cruise we could find. That lead us to booking a last minute deal to join Cunard's QM2 for 2 nights on a sailing to Hamburg. ... Read More
My Husband and I are new to travelling via cruise, and as such we decided we'd try out the shortest cruise we could find. That lead us to booking a last minute deal to join Cunard's QM2 for 2 nights on a sailing to Hamburg. BOOKING: We phoned to book our cabin and opted to upgrade to a Princess Grill room. The staff on the end of the phone were very helpful, and gave us lots of hints and tips to get the most from our journey. EMBARKATION: This could not have been simpler or quicker for us. We arrived at shortly after 12pm, our luggage was unloaded from the car we arrived in, and whisked straight away. We walked straight up to a desk, checked in and were shown straight through to the ship. No waiting, no stress. We met our concierge as we boarded and were directed straight to our room. Our luggage was not there when we arrived but it was no surprise as it would have been virtually impossible to get it there before we arrived as we literally walked straight on. We had a lovely bottle of wine and some delicious nibbles waiting for us in our room which we thoroughly enjoyed on our balcony as the ship sailed off. ROOM: We were on deck 10 in room 095 and it was better than we expected. We're used to staying in luxurious surroundings and enjoying some of the finer things in life and the rooms lived up to our expectations. It was spacious, light and airy and the balcony was lovely. When we booked, cruising friends told us we'd never use it, but we spent so much time enjoying the fresh air on our balcony, I don't think we'd have enjoyed cruising without a balcony to step out on to last thing at night and first thing in the morning. RESTAURANT & FOOD: Due to having a Princess Grill suite, we were able to eat in the Princess Grill restaurant. This made all the difference for us, our eating habits in normal life are quite erratic so it would have been difficult for us to get into a routine enough to want to eat at set sittings. The Princess Grill was not only beautiful and intimate (we had a table to ourselves) but we could please ourselves to a large extent with what times we wanted to eat. The food was beautifully presented and tasted sublime. Our waiters were attentive and remembered everything from our names, to snippets about our life, to how much sugar I liked in my tea. I also highly recommend the Wickham Vineyard Fume wine - we had rarely tried English wine and were so surprised by how good it tasted that we have since visited the vineyard and now regularly buy the wine from there! They only did afternoon tea one day in the ballroom and the crowd to get in was crazy. We did que for awhile and try to get a table but it was impossible and the stampede to get there was ridiculous. In the end we decided to visit the Queens Grill Lounge for a drink, not realising that they served Afternoon Tea here too. We actually preferred this area for afternoon tea, no mad rush, no crowds, just relaxed and refined atmosphere with plenty of delicious food beautifully prepared, presented and served. ENTERTAINMENT ONBOARD: We really enjoyed everything about our stay onboard. Although we weren't so interested in taking classes, or listening to talks, we did enjoy a bit of shopping (I'd forgotten my perfume and thankfully the shops onboard stocked Chanel Chance). We also spent a lot of time at the tables in the casino soaking up the atmosphere and making back some of the money we spent on the cruise itself! We enjoyed the Planetarium experience and saw a couple of the shows in the theatre. There is virtually NOTHING better than sitting in your seats, watching a show and having a member of staff bring you drinks so you don't have to get up! We enjoyed drinks in several of the bars, including the Commodore Club and the Chart Room. I highly recommend trying to Shipwrecked Martini! DISEMBARKATION: I think the only disappointment of the whole journey was how early we had to leave the ship. Our bags were required to be outside our room by midnight the night before, and we didn't manage this due to being in the Chart Room with family members who were also onboard at the same time until gone 2am. I don't see how anyone can be expected to be dressed up and enjoying their time onboard only to be told they basically have to be fully packed and go to bed before 12am. As it turned out, it was OK though as we forgot whilst having a good time, rushed to pack and get our bags out at about 2-2:30am and all was well. In the morning we got up, had a lovely breakfast and then sat in the Chart Room until our numbers were called to disembark. At which point everything was again seamless. We walked straight off the ship, our luggage was right there and easy to find, and a taxi rank was available to take us on to our hotel in Hamburg. All in all, the whole process of disembarking took less than 10 minutes. OVERALL THOUGHTS: We thoroughly enjoyed our entire experience with Cunard on the QM2. The only regret was that we booked such a short cruise. We are now about to book a much longer cruise and can't stop talking about what a fantastic time we had onboard. The main problem we had was that there were so many opportunities to eat that after the first 24 hours we felt like we'd over indulged and we actually missed dinner on the 2nd day as a result of not being able to physically consume any more! We look forward to joining Cunard for a cruise (or two!) in 2014. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2014
My wife has never set foot on a Ship. If I was going to get my wife interested in cruising it had better be comfortable and luxurious. Answer book a cruise first class on QM2. We spent the better part of the voyage in Q5 Queens Grill ... Read More
My wife has never set foot on a Ship. If I was going to get my wife interested in cruising it had better be comfortable and luxurious. Answer book a cruise first class on QM2. We spent the better part of the voyage in Q5 Queens Grill and for last 3 day Q1 Sandringham Suite. Just sensational. The dining breakfast lunch and dinner in Queens Grill is without parallel you could have whatever your heart desires from caviare to truffles, fois gras etc. etc.. The wine list amazing and the service just impeccable. We may have been among the youngest couple on board but had an absolute ball the whole time. We loved getting dressed up. Putting on Black Tie and evening gowns for the formal nights. Loved going to the Commodore's Club bar for drinks and then into Churchill's for Cigars and port. Made some great friends and, met many interesting people. The acts the shows the speakers were all world class entertainers. Sir Jackie Stewart was guest speaker and we took over his suite when he disembarked in Melbourne. The Sandringham Suite was opulent and enormous on two levels with king size bed overlooking the stern and out to see just amazing. Down stairs the lounge and dining room all with massive balcony the perfect place to party with friends we had made on board for our last two nights. I can honestly say, it was the only time that after getting back from holiday we wanted to stay on board and keep going. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
I must say after reading some of these reviews, we were more than a little bit worried about cruising with Cunard! But We were very pleasantly surprised. I really can't see what Anyone would have to moan about?! I'm a non ... Read More
I must say after reading some of these reviews, we were more than a little bit worried about cruising with Cunard! But We were very pleasantly surprised. I really can't see what Anyone would have to moan about?! I'm a non confined wheelchair user, in other words I can, on a good day, walk a Little. We drove to southampton and had prebooked our car in with CPS. We were directed to the kerb and I was helped out of the car into my chair whilst my husband unloaded the luggage. The luggage was taken on board and placed in our room whilst a very chatty gentleman wheeled me through security, passports and check in and then to our room! The room was more than big enough with 2 doubles and 1 single wardrobe, several drawers a table and sofa, dressing table, fridge, hair dryer etc and the bathroom although small had everything you needed plus complimentary toiletries. Everything was so simple and nothing was too much bother. Every single member of the crew greeted us with smiles and fell over themselves to help. Each meal time ( we decided the Lido was a better fit for us) they carried my tray reached over and got whatever I asked for and then escorted us to the table. They would come over several times to ask if you wanted anything else! The food was varied and plentiful, even a fussy eater like myself was able to find plenty to eat from the selection of cold meats, cheeses, salads, breads, fruit, vegetables, hot meat, fish, etc. oh and dont forget the pudding 😊 there is also a grill by the pool at lunch times for hotdogs/burgers etc, a pizza bar, vanilla & chocolate ice-cream on tap as well as nightly specials. From 6am until 11pm there is food available and soft drinks, tea & coffee. We had one night in the Britannia restaurant and they even did me a special meal with plain chicken when I couldn't find anything I liked on the menu! The jacuzzis and pools were great, everything was clean and the bar service excellent. Disembarkation was just as easy, there were lots of men waiting to help with the disabled passengers (make sure you advise them of your disabilitys and fill in the medical questionnaires when you book) they took us straight down to check out, straight through customs and was met by another man that collected our cases and then both took us to our car and helped pack the car up. FANTASTIC! The only thing that would have made it better for me would be to have a parasol as I did burn quite badly but other than that it was perfect. Very mobility friendly and We will definitely be going again.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
First I will start by saying my wife and I are travel agents whom when on any cruise we look at it from the point of view, could we place a client on this ship or this cruiseline, with confidence? We do compare with other cruiselines and ... Read More
First I will start by saying my wife and I are travel agents whom when on any cruise we look at it from the point of view, could we place a client on this ship or this cruiseline, with confidence? We do compare with other cruiselines and with what the cruiseline is portraying in their pre-cruise advertising, basically "will my client receive the treatment that (in this case) Cunard is selling." On this Cruise, Cunard missed totally. It seemed that everything was based on what was convenient for Cunard not the Passenger. EMBARKATION I will start with EMBARKATION IN ATHENS- We had arrived in Athens 3 days prior to departure and decided to take a taxi from the Hotel to the port. We arrived approx. 11am and were on the ship immediately after they started the embarkation process. Embarkation went very smooth as there seemed to only be, approx. 250 people who arrived early. We were also allowed to enjoy our stateroom right off the bat and were surprised upon entering, that our luggage was ready for us outside our room, that was great. Cunards policy is to take your passports for the duration of the cruise which I find is a blessing as we did not have to worry about it for the entire voyage, although I have heard that some people refuse to hand it over, which is their prerogative. (We will get to that later) STATEROOM We booked an Interior room as we are smokers who have decided that, with the balcony non-smoking policy and the fact that we have cruised the Medit. previously, there was no need for the extra cost and love the total darkness you can get with the inside room. Stateroom was impeccable other than the previous passengers sock and clear bags being left in the drawer. We are not hard reviewers, and are easy to please but being Travel agents we must analyze these things, personally, it didn't bother us, but it might offend some of our clients. The bed and pillows were the most comfortable we have slept on which came in handy as the entertainment was a little lacking and repetitive. Bathroom was a good size and storage was excellent. It could have been cleaner but with the turnaround time we were happy with our stateroom and attendant. STATEROOM ATTENDANT- was excellent, I only request my ice bucket filled daily and we give many days off to our attendant as we feel these people work very hard and always attain 1 of the 12 rules of the staff which is "to always smile". - Posted about the ship is 12 rules that Cunard requires of their staff at all times and can be found on their website and on the ship, we found that Cunard employees fail to reach 6 out of 12, regularly. The biggest was "We never say NO, we find an alternative"- It was very disappointing to hear more "no"s on this ship than all our 7 cruises in the last year and half put together. As well, I forgot that upon embarkation I had asked where the smoking areas were to the girl working at the Pursers desk on the ship, she broke another RULE that "our employees are well prepared and know everything about the ship hence she could not tell us where the Smoking lounges are- not a big deal but Disappointed. Back to the stateroom, it was excellent as well as attendant. ENTERTAINMENT- The shows were adequate but the same, Cunard Singers and Dancers were mediocre at best. 1 Comedian for 1 night, who was very good and broke up the singing and dancing theme, hence we did not go to every show. The library was excellent but the cases are locked up most of the time which I thought was a slap as with the type of clients on this ship I thought there would be more trust. The extra charges for there tutorial type classes was disappointing as there was really not much else to do as an alternative for us- we don't drink. I will say that my wife and I are really not suited for the type of entertainment that was offered and we knew that going in so we really could not put down the type offered, but the variety and quality was not there. PORTS- well this is where it gets very DISAPPOINTING- after cancelling Tunis 2 weeks before departure (mind you with good reason- Safety!!) the alternative was Albania- nice if it was July or August. This port is still in the begining stages and we were tendered in which is no big deal but there was nothing to do unless one visited the Archeological site(Butrint) It seemed to me that this port was picked out of convenience and financing as I am sure it did not cost much for Cunard to float in the bay for the day and use the lifeboats as tender ships, there are loads of Greek Isles they could have picked in place of "OLD CARTHAGE"- and Albania Disappointing again. MONTE CARLO- Well this is the biggest "lunchbag letdown" I have ever witnessed and actually took me to the point of anger. Many, many of our fellow passengers as well as ourselves chose this Itinerary for the port of Monte Carlo. 8 hours could have been filled very nicely with a visit to the Princes Palace and Casino and glimpsing at the very expensive Yachts that frequent this City State. I was dying to see this port. THE SAGA-The day before Monte Carlo, we arrived in Livorno. It was raining in Livorno and Pisa on and off for the day. With everyone back on the ship for the night and ready for the journey to Monte Carlo during the night. Early dinner was being served and a few minutes in to dinner, the Captain comes over the speaker to inform all passengers that due to the "possibility" of rough seas, 30 knot winds and rain, that for safety reasons, she would be cancelling MONTE CARLO the next day and we would be staying in Livorno the next day. WHAT!!!!, the whole dining room went into a heavy sigh- MAJOR DISSAPOINTMENT-. This was the talk of the ship for the next few days. Now I know you are saying to yourselves "well these things happen, but safety first, it has happened before, what are you going to do?" and yes I have had this happen to us many times as well. But to cancel it 12 hours ahead of time for medium seas???? We watched The Costa ship leave heading to Savonna, ferries galore, container ships and a Seaborn Yacht leave for the same Ligurian Sea we were going to be crossing, so we are thinking whats up with that? How come these ships are not worried? The reason I am so upset about this is because after the announcement, the wife and I went to the Pursers desk to change some American to Euros, It was only us and 3 other people standing there, while standing there we overhear the attendant calming these 3 people down saying " Don't worry the Captain is aware , all is good you will be able to go to the embassy tomorrow in Livorno and we have already talked with them, you can get new passports, it is already looked after, no worries.. Now I am more disappointed, as this is 15 minutes after the M.C. cancelling announcement. We have been on a Disney Cruise with many families and young children in October, we were following around a hurricane which had devastated many Caribbean Islands and YES it was rough, but HEY we are on a cruise ship, a huge ship, this is what they are built for. All passengers know that there is the possibility of some rough seas, but we are cruisers we can handle it, we will all be in bed on the way to Monte Carlo so no Biggie. So now I am thinking that here we are not going to Monte Carlo so these people can get their passports the next day, hold the whole ship hostage for 3 people who obviously decided contrary to most of us, not to hand their Passports over. BAD DECISION ON THE CAPTAINS PART. and the BIG KICKER it was sunny, 60 degrees and 6 kph winds in Monte Carlo all day the next day. The second day in Livorno was the worst weather, we stayed on the ship and I checked the weather in Monte Carlo every 2 hours on the internet just to get more Dissapointed. I and most did not get off the ship for round 2 in Livorno. The weather was brutal it downpoured all day with thunder and lightening in LIvorno all of day 2. Here is my conclusion- The weather for the night crossing was the perfect excuse to not dock in the one of the most expensive ports in the world to visit (for the cruiseline) thus saving Cunard money and conveniently now they will be able to get these passengers passports. Now this is just my opinion but c'mon 30 knot winds is not that bad- and this brings me to the reasoning again that this cruiseline looks after what is good for Cunard not what is good for their passengers. I am not the only person who felt this way, it was the talk of the week, there was no reason not to go to Monte Carlo- there must have been more to it than the rough seas. TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT. DINING-Food was Hit and Miss, no garlic butter. Again another "no" I even asked after the first "NO" the week before that if there was Lobster the next Wednesday, please could I have garlic butter. Come Wednesday "sorry sir but "NO" there was no garlic butter. I saw chopped garlic upstairs for pizza and I had butter on my table- how hard would it have been to put together some Garlic Butter??? No cold milk anywhere for cereal???. It seemed that first nights pork went a heck of a long way with pork related dishes lasting for about 4 days. Lack of desserts 3 at dinner and Minimal desserts offered at the buffet Compared to, say, Princess, who has that wonderful International Cafe with wide selection of changing desserts constantly. Food was definateley nothing special, coupled with missed salads and no Garlic butter, hmmm!! DISSAPOINTING. As for Cleanliness, we never saw anybody outside picking up stray glasses or cups. Very infrequently you would see someone clean outside, some cups would be there all day and into the next day. VAT tax of 22% for the second week of the cruise in international waters was odd!! or for some people their whole week cruise. Charging to get from the pier to port entrance in Barcelona was silly, 4.50 euros each way. If you are going to take us to a port, it should be your obligation to take us to the action. The whole outside areas of ship put away at 5pm every day apparently an S.O.G forcing passengers to be inside all night, 5pm- just never seen this. Never was I offered a drink in the buffet, waiters had to be asked, everybody just found this odd. I had to put the burning ashtrays out on deck 3 approx. 8 times in 14 days due to smoke and at one point flames. They have no garbage cans on deck 3 promenade so people will use these odd shaped ashtrays which are attached to the pillars to put there garbage in and I felt it was really dangerous. Now, I know it seems like we are slamming Cunard pretty hard but they really have to take a look at what they are promoting and what they are offering. They push this "White Star Service" and for the most part we did not feel it was there, I have been treated way better on just about every other Cruiseline I have been on. Considering Carnival owns most of its competition they should really have a look at what they are promoting and see if it really is offered to the customer. They have a beautiful ship which is set up for great movement and no crowding but as stated I think the are missing the real concern for their passengers- SERVICE, Monte Carlo should never have been missed and I think they should all be compensated in some way due to the Mickey Mouse reason for missing it. If there was a real safety concern then fine, things happen, but c'mon -30 knot winds??, and to leave us in a thunderstorm in Livorno was ridiculous. Even if the Captain had apologized for a bad decision it would have been soothing - the least she could have done. She should not have cancelled Monte Carlo they should have cancelled Toulon- they take us to a port on a Tuesday whose claim to fame is being a Naval Base- -and the only day the Naval Museum is closed is on Tuesday, HUH!! We are not petty people and love cruising, all in al,l the base service on any cruise is some of the best you will see in the Travel Industry, BUT don't promote something so heavily, and not offer it. This is definately not high class service as promoted. The only thing high class about Cunard is the passengers being dressed up every night. We give it the Luxury status. There was one fella who worked in the buffet who should be teaching all other staff how to serve the passengers.Named Palo. Him and our stateroom attendant were the only two who made us feel like we were appreciated instead of a burden. Cruiselines - they are all great- but with Cunard the only really enjoyable thing was the the relax time. there was plenty of it due to the fact that there was very little to do that interested us, We had the most relaxing time. The ship is beautiful, The insights program would be great if there was more than 2 hours of lecture time a week- by each speaker. We don't play bridge, drink alcohol, or ballroom dance, we really enjoyed tea but those sandwiches are different. I don't know how they can physically put a "HINT" of the filler so thin on the bread.-Odd, I hope this wasn't a long whining review, that was not my intent, I am just looking at this from the point of view -"could I place my clients on this line confidently" and I am sorry to say that there was more negative than positive, but it could be fixed very easily, PUT the client first, not Cunard, their pocketbook and their employees. This Cruiseline must have a small, loyal following that keeps it afloat. As you can tell we were very disappointed and hope that maybe some of these things will change, as stated it was relaxing, and maybe that is the attraction for most of these positive reviews, but I think that it would be nice to have the option, not to be forced on you due to lack of activities,and please think of the all passengers first- not just 3 of them.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Accommodation: Suite 10043, Queens Grill Q5, Queen Mary 2 We boarded the Queen Mary 2 at Southampton just before midday. The Queen Mary 2, part of the Cunard line, holds fond memories for Hus and I; he proposed on this ship in 2012. ... Read More
Accommodation: Suite 10043, Queens Grill Q5, Queen Mary 2 We boarded the Queen Mary 2 at Southampton just before midday. The Queen Mary 2, part of the Cunard line, holds fond memories for Hus and I; he proposed on this ship in 2012. Hus has a preoccupation (as most men do when it comes to size) that the size of this ship gives it greater gravitas than its sister ships, the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. I, however, find it much more difficult to navigate internally, and find that the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are much more manageable in terms of learning quickly where everything is (which I think is especially important on a mini cruise). The Queen Mary 2's decor is traditional, timeless and classic and on this Christmas Markets voyage it looked sublimely seasonal – it would be impossible to walk an inch and forget that Christmas was fast approaching. There was an imposingly grand christmas tree centred in the six-deck-high atrium lobby, christmas garlands draped around the sweeping staircases and gingerbread house displays littered around the shopping and bar hub of the ship. We also had a poinsettia delivered to our room during our very short stay as a present which was a lovely touch. After boarding the ship, we were almost instantly treated to a seasonal 'welcome aboard' performance by the Boy Choristers of Salisbury Cathedral in the atrium lobby, followed by a programmed performance in the Royal Court Theatre (a three-deck-high theatre designed in the style of a classic opera house). The choristers sang a number of well-known hymns and some more obscure ones, with the audience encouraged to join in on a couple! After the performance we settled into our room and enjoyed our complimentary boarding champagne (Delamotte) and chocolate dipped strawberries, before wrapping up to enjoy a pre-dinner firework display from on deck. Dining on board The three Cunard ships (known at the three Queens) have different dining venues depending on the category of cabin that guests are assigned to; the main dining room is the ‘Britannia Restaurant’ (plus the ‘Britannia Club’ restaurant on Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 which has single seating, not fixed meal times) for guests staying in staterooms, the ‘Princess Grill’ for princess suite guests, and the ‘Queens Grill’ for queens suite guests. As the majority of guests travel in staterooms, the main fixed seating Britannia restaurant is the largest on the ship and is fittingly grand. The Britannia Club, Princess Grill and Queens Grill restaurants are all much smaller by comparison. We booked a princess suite for this voyage about a year in advance, and were upgraded to a queens suite just a month before it set sail. I much prefer the layout of the Princess/ Queens Grill Restaurants and deck areas on the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria to the Queen Mary 2. On the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria if you book a Princess or Queens suite your cruise card (which you use to “log in and out” of the ship and put your many drinks orders on), allows you access to a certain deck of the ship (accessible by insertion in a card slot in the lift), which is reserved for Grills guests. This does draw criticism from some as creating a “class system” on Cunard, but I think the segregation of the Grills away from the bustling main area of the ship means that the Grills are not flaunted in the faces of those who may feel it is dividing. The Grills deck is primarily dominated by the Princess and Queens Grill restaurants, which are essentially mirror images of one another (although the Queens is decorated with gold tones and Princess with silver). On the Queen Mary 2 the Grills restaurants are just along from the Kings Court buffet restaurant- they are not separated on a different floor. Indeed, the restaurants almost pop up out of no-where, and to get there you either have to take a convoluted walk throughout the internal decks, or walk through the Kings Court (a humongous buffet restaurant, a place I tend to avoid unless forced, it reminds me of a hospital canteen in terms of decor and an African watering hole in terms of diners…, although Hus' more affectionate term for it is smash and grab and he is keen on it!). The Queens Grills restaurant on the Queen Mary 2 once you are inside, is really lovely and spacious; I think the shape of this restaurant adds to the atmosphere, and it was a pleasure to dine in here, as we did for every meal of this voyage. Other alternatives for dining on the Queen Mary 2 include the Kings Court, which does cuisine “themed” evenings, and the speciality a la carte restaurant, ‘Todd English’. Our first night on board All guests in Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites are served afternoon canapés in their rooms before dinner (usually late in the afternoon, at around 5pm). The standard canapés delivered are cold toppings on blinis and this was the first time on a cruise in a suite that we asked for hot pre-dinner canapés. We had clearly expressed our excitement at the prospect convincingly as we were rewarded with an immense amount of hot food, enough to fill us both up all night! We followed this 'pre dinner nibble' by steak in the restaurant – Hus had a sirloin, and I had the fillet au poivre which is an option available on the ‘a la carte’ menu, an additional menu to the daily menu which the Grill restaurants exclusively provide. For dessert I had one of the best lemon meringue slices I have ever had. Petit fours after the meal with tea/coffee are standard at dinner. Day At Sea We missed breakfast on the second day as I didn't feel up to it, much to my Hus’ upset (but he sweetly only told me he was upset about it once I felt better). Even though it was very cold, we wandered around deck and joined in a dancing lesson with the on board dancers to warm us up and build up an appetite for lunch. This brief stint of activity was followed by - you can guess- more food. Both of us had a chicken tikka masala curry for lunch which came with all the trimmings; the mini naan bread was really good, but the curry was not anywhere near the standard of the one that can be ordered off the ‘a la carte' menu with an afternoon’s notice. My fruity meringue dessert was gorgeous, light and chewy inside – something sweet enough to prevent me from stuffing myself with afternoon tea, but small enough to not make me feel too guilty. Hus had jelly, also light enough for lunchtime. In the afternoon the sun came out and we enjoyed sitting on our balcony (our Cunard robes over our clothes providing some protection from the cold), playing cards and enjoying working through our minibar. The minibar was stocked with complimentary Peroni beers for Hus at our request (other beers are usually put in as standard), and I made a bucks fizz concoction out of orange juice (which I always request on the first day of a cruise to be put in the minibar) and the truly awful sparkling wine, Pol Acker, which Cunard continue to insist on giving to all passengers as a complimentary boarding drink (notwithstanding many blogs and reviews continually berating this drink!). However, the bucks fizz is really palatable and a great way to use the paint stripper, sorry, Pol Acker, if you are struggling to think of uses for it. Getting ready for dinner is always fun on a Cunard cruise; the ceremony of getting dressed up makes dinner feel a special occasion. On this evening we pre-ordered our favourite dinner - (until a honeymoon discovery- to be blogged soon) - chateaubriand. The meat is fantastic quality and cooked to your liking in front of you at the side of your table by the Maître d'. All of the vegetables and accoutrements can be dictated by your own preferences if you do not like the suggested options, and the sauce brings it all together wonderfully. We must have had this dish on Cunard at least 10 times and we have never been disappointed by it! To start I had ordered another a la carte special, Jumbo Shrimp Tempura. This is one of the best al la carte starters in my opinion. The chilli sauce is fiery and sweet and the tempura batter is always crispy. We concluded our meal with another firm pre-order favourite, Crepe Suzette, which is like heaven on a plate; I could literally eat these Crepes all day for the rest of my life! Entertainment There is a variety of entertainment on the Queen Mary 2, my favourite being the planetarium but there is always a rush for tickets for showings. In the evening there are usually two shows in the Royal Court theatre in addition to various musical performers at bars located throughout the ship. The nightclub on the Queen Mary 2, which picks up later in the evening, is quite large and has two floors – the upper floor is a good place to spy on the dance floor if you don't fancy getting involved in the action but is smokey as smoking is permitted. There is also open dancing or dancing performances in the ballroom in the evening, so people can practice the dances they have been learning on the ship. We went for an evening drink at the grills lounge, located outside the Queens Grills restaurant, and went to bed given our action packed day coming up of guzzling mulled wine and chocolates by the bucket load. Bruges Breakfast is always a full on affair and we make pigs of ourselves (especially in light of the fact our normal breakfast at home consists of, at most, some breakfast biscuits). I had a fillet mignon to make up for the fact we had missed breakfast the previous day, which was lovely but definitely too much for me to be eating at 9am! After overindulging at breakfast we hit Bruges. The ship did not offer a free shuttle to Bruges; there was an arranged coach at >50$pp to get to Bruges and back (with an enforced time of stay) or guests could brave a complimentary shuttle bus to the town of Blakenburg and make their own way from there by cab or train. The train is exceptionally cheap but it does not run very frequently which is my only bugbear with it. A cab would be more reasonable than the ship shuttle but much more than the train. We travelled by train and wandered into the town centre where the Christmas markets dominated the main centre of town, together with a large ice skating rink. We enjoyed mulled wine whilst wandering around the stalls (€2 to keep the glass which we thought was a bargain and great souvenir) before buying chocolates from a few local shops. Would we do it again? We find with our busy lives that a short cruise is a perfect way to have a relaxing long weekend away, and wouldn't hesitate to book another short cruise with Cunard given the quality of the food. In fact, we have a short weekend in Hamburg coming up with Cunard this year! Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise