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215 Cunard Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We sailed the Transatlantic and Autumn Colours cruises on the QM2 between 8th October and 27th October 2013. My wife and I have not sailed with Cunard before, but have sailed with other cruise lines. When we first boarded we thought we ... Read More
We sailed the Transatlantic and Autumn Colours cruises on the QM2 between 8th October and 27th October 2013. My wife and I have not sailed with Cunard before, but have sailed with other cruise lines. When we first boarded we thought we were going to be in for a tough ride as things seemed tired and not of a standard we’d anticipated from the brochures. We stayed in a deck 12 stateroom with an unfortunate interconnecting door, that had to be taped up by the steward, otherwise we might as well have shared the cabin with the couple next door! We dined in the Britannia Club restaurant and from here on in things got a lot better. The service was exemplary and the meals were wonderful for each of the 19 days we sailed. I cannot praise this enough. We dined in Todd English once, and whilst the menu was also excellent, the light heartedness and genuine service of the Britannia Club won us over. As the weather was generally bright throughout the voyages, lunchtimes were joyous watching the sea and sky from the restaurant windows. I found the ship itself fascinating. There are so many places to go and things to do, and of course Cunard has a very strong sense of history, evidence of which is proudly displayed everywhere and referred to in the daily programme. The entertainment venues were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed all the shows we were able to see: dance shows, comedians, lectures, some movies and the planetarium. We hardly touched on everything that was available, there really was a wide variety and I imagine something for everyone. We’d been to all the ports of call previously, Bar Harbor and Quebec are old favorites of ours. We’d not docked in Brooklyn before, which was a little out of the way. However, the view of Manhattan from the QM2 shone in the bright sunshine, along with the Statue of Liberty, so there are sight seeing advantages to the Brooklyn cruise terminal after all. We got a shock at Newport, Rhode Island, with the tender service queues - never seen anything like it! So we abandoned that outing! We had a tender to ourselves when going ashore at Bar Harbor, but didn’t want to get off for fear of having to queue to get back on! Most other people seemed to take the queueing in their stride though. This wasn’t such a big deal as the ship is our destination, as they say, so we’re not too bothered about the ports. Not being an all inclusive cruise made this trip a little more expensive than we’d anticipated so I’m not sure it represented good value for money in comparison to other cruise lines. Then again, the ship itself is something special and it’s not every day we get to travel on such a large and fascinating ocean liner! Even in 19 days we didn’t get to experience everywhere, but of what we did experience the outside decks, the Britannia Club and the Commodore Club were our favorites. There were other nice things too, except the Kings Court which seemed to us akin to a motorway service station. That said, we enjoyed an amazing ocean liner and were looked after by a wonderful and professional crew. The weather was wonderful, the sea was wonderful, so we’re very happy to have got over ourselves at the start of the cruise and had a fantastic trip! Oh and something else! That funnel is impressive... the size of it, the red paint, the noise of the horns! When you go up to deck 13 and see it for the first time, you know something good is going to happen! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My partner and I recently returned from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise onboard Cunard's QUEEN ELIZABETH. This ranks as one of those trips that was just about as near perfect as one could wish for. For those only interested in the ... Read More
My partner and I recently returned from a 12-day Mediterranean cruise onboard Cunard's QUEEN ELIZABETH. This ranks as one of those trips that was just about as near perfect as one could wish for. For those only interested in the pictures, and there are over 600, here is the link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eroller/sets/72157637358470363/ We flew to Rome nonstop from Miami on Alitalia. The agent took a liking to us and blocked four seats just for us in the center section. Off to a great start! The flight was very comfortable with good service, and it's the first time I've experienced live cameras providing a forward and ground view on the in-seat monitors. I thought that was pretty cool. Upon arrival in Rome we were met by Cunard's airport staff who really went out of their way to make us feel welcome and comfortable. They took our luggage and the next time we saw it was in our cabin. We only had to wait about 15 minutes before we were on the bus headed to the ship ... or were we? Actually since we were so early Cunard provided a motor coach mini-tour of Rome before heading to Civitavecchia where the ship was docked. This was certainly an unexpected surprise, and what a difference from our Costa experience in April where we basically had to loiter around the airport for almost four hours before they took us to the ship. Embarking QUEEN ELIZABETH was a breeze, with no lines, no waits, and a very simple check-in process. Disembarkation in Venice 12 days later was just as painless. I was anxious to see QUEEN ELIZABETH having already sailed on her sister QUEEN VICTORIA and the Cunard flagship QM2. The QE is the same basic design as QV but with some minor changes to the layout and a more art deco interior design. I quite liked it and immediately felt very comfortable in my new surroundings. The ship was spotless and essentially looked brand new. QE is a Vista Class, but with a custom layout for Cunard that includes far more multi-level spaces and public areas that are more airy and bright compared to her counterparts sailing for Holland America. In fact you would be hard pressed to realize QE was even related to her HAL cousins unless you knew in advance. The overall ambiance of QE is Cunard through and through. For those not familiar with Cunard, it's truly the last seagoing experience that beckons to a bygone era of tradition, formality, and civility. The atmosphere onboard is sophisticated, spacious, elegant, and yes very British! Our passenger compliment was probably around 60% British, 30% American, and 10% a mixture of Japanese and Europeans. Daytime activities include enrichment lectures, an afternoon message, lounging by the pool, and of course afternoon tea. Since this cruise was so port intensive, most days were spent ashore. In the evening a jacket is required after 6pm as the minimum dress code. Everyone honored the dress code which was a breath of fresh air. Not a single T-shirt or flip flops spotted in the dining room! Cunard cherishes its history, and is probably the only cruise line with an authentic bookshop onboard selling Cunard memorabilia as well as ocean liner books, cards, and puzzles. My partner who has little interest in ocean liner history really loved the Cunard experience, and surprisingly wanted to stop by the bookshop almost every night. It was something unique that he had not experienced on any other ship. To accompany the book shop is a fully stocked two level library complete with librarian. Proudly displayed all over the ship is artwork and artifacts from Cunard's illustrious past. If you require even more reminding that you are sailing with a company steeped in tradition and history, then a channel on your TV is dedicated to programs about Cunard history and its past vessels. Needless to say this was my favorite channel! Evenings on Cunard are quite elegant and formal, with music throughout the ship, costume balls in the Queens Room, ballroom dancing complete with gentleman hosts, big band, production shows of a fairly decent quality, and yes even disco dancing! The fine art of paying attention to the details is not lost on Cunard. There are nice touches like sparkling wine upon arrival, turndown service with chocolates on your pillow, Gilchrist & Soames bath products, robes & slippers, and even a daily newspaper delivered nightly with news from your home country. Many cruise lines have done away with these amenities, but Cunard continues to uphold the tradition. What you won't find on Cunard are endless revenue producing announcements, obnoxious art auctions, constant nickel & diming, bellyflop contests by the pool, rock climbing walls, shorts in the dining room, or buckets of beer. If these are things you will miss then Cunard is clearly not for you. We opted for a standard outside cabin thinking it would be too cold to make use of a balcony. Were we ever wrong on that one. The weather was amazing the entire two weeks with warm air and cloudless sunny skies. It might be the best weather I've ever experienced on a cruise. The seas were as equally calm as the skies, and never once did we feel the ship move. I was actually a little disappointed in that fact, but it was perfect for my partner who is prone to motion sickness. I really enjoyed our cabin and its location on Deck 1. Our midship Deck 1 location was perfect for a port intensive itinerary. The gangway was never too far away and the main lounges were a short jaunt down the hall or up a deck. The window and its opening was large enough to sit in and read a book. Bedding was very comfortable and decor was soothing. Our cabin stewardess Rosalina was one of the best we ever encountered. Three things lacking were drawer space, a proper shelf in the small shower, and an interactive TV. We did order room service on occasion and it was always delivered right on schedule and delicious. The dining experience on QE was quite good. We opted for late sitting and a table for two. We were in a nice section near the windows very close to three other tables for two. Two of the tables were next to us and another behind us. If you were looking for a private dining experience this arrangement would not have been ideal, as the tables were quite close to each other. As it turns out we got along great with our fellow two-tops and enjoyed some great conversations (thanks Dee & Michael!). Our serving team did a great job as did the wine steward who appeared every night almost as we sat down. I'm glad Cunard has kept the wine stewards and not placed the task on the already overworked wait staff as many cruise lines have done. One option missing from the experience was an "always available" selection on the menu. This is offered on most other lines and usually includes a steak, fish, salad, and chicken option. It's always nice to have such options in case nothing appeals to you on the main menu. Luckily we never had that problem but I'm surprised it wasn't offered in the Britannia Restaurant. We dined in the Britannia Restaurant every night except two. For my birthday we dined in the Verandah Restaurant, which is an a la carte speciality dining experience drawing its roots from the original QUEEN ELIZABETH and QUEEN MARY. I opted for the tasting menu which was very French and very unusual for my taste buds. I quite enjoyed it but it was a lot of food. The overall experience was quite nice but I still feel Celebrity Cruises has the best speciality restaurants at sea. Another night we dined up in the Lido Restaurant with the Spa Manager and the theme was a steakhouse. The upcharge was $10 per person. It was satisfactory but the steak was certainly no better than what was offered in the main dining room. Lunch was taken either ashore or in the Lido Restaurant & Grill. The quality was good as was the variety. This cruise was very port intensive, with only two days at sea out of twelve. For those ports where we docked in a remote location, Cunard provided a complimentary shuttle service into the center of town. This was certainly not expected as most cruise lines charge for such a service, but it was certainly welcomed! In almost all the ports we enjoyed lunch or at minimum some coffee/tea/soda at a cafe in order to take advantage of free internet. It's so much faster than what is offered on the ship. I'm not going to detail much on the ports, but I will let you know how we enjoyed each one ... Salerno. We booked a Cunard shore excursion to Pompeii. I was really fascinated with Pompeii and it was a great way to spend the day. Cunard did and excellent job with the organization of the entire tour. Highly recommended. Messina. We booked a Cunard transfer shore excursion to Taormina. Basically it was a motor coach ride to and from the small cliffside town of Taormina with free time once you are dropped off. Again highly recommended. Taormina is charming and picturesque. We enjoyed shopping, people watching, and lunch at an outdoor cafe. Santorini. One of my favorite Greek islands. We went into town on our own, taking the funicular up to the main town of Fira. We enjoyed some shopping, ship spotting, and an amazing lunch with a view to die for. Pretty much a prefect day in my book. Rhodes. Since we have been to Rhodes several times, we opted to walk the walled city on our own, again enjoying the sights and a lunch at one of the main squares of the old city. Kusadasi. We were here fairly recently and toured Ephesus. This is a must and we strongly considered going back for a 2nd look, but instead took it easy and strolled around the waterfront near where the ships dock. Athens. In that past we have toured Athens quite extensively, so again it was a light day of strolling around the port area of Piraeus. This is a great area for ship spotting if you're into that sort of thing. There is a hop-on-hop-off bus that circles Piraeus and another that goes into Athens itself. These are great options if you prefer to save a little money and have a bit more freedom to plan out your day. Both leave from the port area just outside where the ship docks. Corfu. We really loved Corfu. It's quite different from other Greek islands due to its location and the fact it's so green. It feels more like Italy to be honest. A free shuttle was offered into town but we felt like walking. We strolled around the waterfront and then into the city. Chris went to a "fish spa" where these little fish suck all the dead skin and calluses off your feet! It was an interesting experience for him and fun to watch. Dubrovnik. This was probably my favorite port of the entire cruise next to Venice. We took the free shuttle from the ship into the walled city and just spent the day exploring all the amazing sights this beautiful city has to offer. This is someplace I would truly like to return to for a week or more. Some of the cliffside hotels outside the walled city looked quite inviting. Ravenna. Probably the most disappointing of all the ports. The ship was supposed to overnight in Venice but due to port congestion the overnight was canceled and Ravenna was added in its place. The closest major city is Bologna and tours were offered there, but we were not interested enough to book one. The ship docks in a fairly industrial area and it's about a 30-40 minute ride into Ravenna itself. We were there on a Sunday and things were pretty quiet, but if you're into Mosaics then this is the place for you! Ravenna is quite famous for them and they are beautiful, but I would have preferred the overnight in Venice. Venice. We took a water taxi from the port area directly to our hotel which was really cool. I quite enjoyed the experience but be forewarned that water taxis are very expensive. Roughly 80 Euros for a 15 minute ride. Our hotel was the Westin Europa & Regina located right on the Grand Canal. We had a superior room facing the Grand Canal and I can tell you it's not a view I would ever tire of. I highly recommend the hotel and a visit to Venice in general. It's one of those places that really lives up to every expectation and perception and even exceeds them! From Venice we took a train to Milan and spent a night there before our flight home. I was disappointed in Milan as it lacks all the Italian character we came to enjoy in Venice, Salerno, Messina, and even Ravenna. We stayed at the Sheraton Malpensa which is actually connected to the airport. This is without question the most modern and luxurious Sheraton I have ever stayed in. Since the hotel is connected to the airport, it made catching our 9am flight to New York JFK quite simple. We flew home in Business Elite on Delta and it was a fantastic way to end a truly wonderful vacation. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this trip was nearly perfect in every regard. We loved the ship (including the food, service, and entertainment), the new friends we made, all the ports, and were treated to picture perfect weather. The logistics of getting to and from the ship went without a hitch, and spending some time in Venice at a truly gorgeous hotel helped ease the disappointment of having to part ways with the lovely QUEEN ELIZABETH. What I've found is the best way to get over a great vacation is to have another planned, and next up is ROYAL PRINCESS this coming Sunday! Please enjoy the pictures and let me know if you have any questions. Ernie   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I wrote a review a while back titled "Declining standards in a single year," complaining that the food in the Britannia was not what it had been. This was our third crossing in 2013, and I'm happy to say that the food is ... Read More
I wrote a review a while back titled "Declining standards in a single year," complaining that the food in the Britannia was not what it had been. This was our third crossing in 2013, and I'm happy to say that the food is back to what we expected -- i.e., very good, indeed remarkable under the circumstances. The service is now, if anything, even better. And my fears about the simplified dress code have not been realized: On the "elegant casual" nights (at least at the late sitting) many men wore ties and many who went tie-less wore suits. Of course the women were for the most part extremely well turned out. And the great majority on "formal" nights were actually in formal dress. My principal complaint now is just that Cunard seems to be constantly trying to sell you stuff. About half of the cable channels are devoted to peddling various products and services, and one is constantly fending off pushy photographers. In my earlier post I said something about the HSN/QVC vibe, but threading the maze of photographers to get to dinner feels more like traversing a souk. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
When I booked this voyage, it was a last minute something to do over the summer. It was one of the best ever, and I started sailing in 1949 with the Queen of Bermuda from New York to Hamilton. My husband and I did a lot of cruising and ... Read More
When I booked this voyage, it was a last minute something to do over the summer. It was one of the best ever, and I started sailing in 1949 with the Queen of Bermuda from New York to Hamilton. My husband and I did a lot of cruising and river cruising, and now that I am widowed, I still enjoy this form of travel. You meet wonderful people who are fellow travellers and can contribute to conversations over dinner regarding where they have been and what is not to be missed at various ports. My cabin was called a "sheltered balcony" on deck 6,and was cut into the hull rather than out over the side of the ship. Wonderful - even though it was a bit chilly to sit out, I did enjoy watching the calm seas through the glass door as we sailed. The room had wonderful closet space and a nice refrigerator for my spare cheeses. My bed was very comfortable, the shower nice and hot, and the cabin steward very attentive to doing his tidy-up the minute I left the room. The lecture series were something I had never had on another line, and I attended just about all of them. The subjects were varied, and the speakers certainly knew what they were talking about! I enjoyed the Titanic lecture so much on the eastbound trip that I went to it again on the westbound leg. The young man has facts and information I had never heard before, and was amazed to hear this time. The planetarium shows were also something new and different, and most enjoyable. It is a bit difficult to get the tickets, but I did stand in the long 9:00am line to get them on several days. Never regrated it! I found the Apassionata show simply wonderful - saw it in both directions and was most appreciative of the Vienese walty opening and the Russian dance later in the show. How they can change those fabulous costumes so quickly is another wonder - and where or where can they store all of them? I must take another trip with the QM2 just to be able to enjoy all of the daily activities that I missed because of other things I had to do the first time.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
hello everyone i will begin by saying this was my first transatlantic crossing. we sailed on the 8th august from southampton and enjoyed great weather not just on this day but throughout the duration of our cruise,having only a short ... Read More
hello everyone i will begin by saying this was my first transatlantic crossing. we sailed on the 8th august from southampton and enjoyed great weather not just on this day but throughout the duration of our cruise,having only a short period of rain on one day and fog on the day before we arrived in new york. the crossing was absolutely unbeleivable - it was like a millpond in both directions with the sea conditions being described as small wavelets by the guide on the tv channel. we thoroughly enjoy the ship,having sailed on her once before, however the planetarium was not working then. this time we attended talks/lectures by eamonn gearon - arabist - i found him to be extremely interesting to listen to, both in subject matter and his manner. andy adam - medical scientist/historian - again very interesting in subject matter and manner. bill miller - maritime historian - DO NOT MISS ANY TALKS BY THIS GENTLEMAN he is so enthusiastic,knowledgable and entertaining.he certainly is "mr cruise liner". also a "fellow guest" mr maurice collins - gave a talk (in the connexions room) on intersting gadgets and contraptions bringing quite a few along with him and showing and passing them around for us to see close up.he was absolutely fascinating i do hope cunard realise how popular he was and employ him to do these talks. as usual the service onboard is second to none. the food onboard is absolutely fantastic (unless you happen to be vegetarian - which two of our party are. but i will start another thread on this subject.) the entertainment is, well to be completely honest, not my cup of tea. i thoroughly enjoy the talks given - the planetarium and the choice of istudy teaching available, but the shows i find to be lacking - but many people do enjoy them. it just goes to show - you can't please all of the people all of the time. we took advantage of the manhatten transfer tour at a cost of $40,as we had been told the traffic is so bad in new york and getting a taxi to go back to the ship is very difficult as they do not like to go there because they cannot get a fare back from there. the embarkation and disembarkation is very well organised and therefore very easy. overall we had a great time and would recommend it to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
My wife and I have crossed many times on QE2 and QM2 since the early 90's in both grill and non-grill classes. We crossed on the August 8 westbound voyage, and were particularly observant of the dress standards on the ship because all ... Read More
My wife and I have crossed many times on QE2 and QM2 since the early 90's in both grill and non-grill classes. We crossed on the August 8 westbound voyage, and were particularly observant of the dress standards on the ship because all of the recent reviews and comments expressing worry over Cunard's announcement of one less night of formal wear requirements. Food Service. We sat in early-seating Britannia at a 2-top near the central well area on Deck 2. I am here to tell you that the dress and behavior "standards" are absolutely being maintained and enforced, and that the Cunard transatlantic experience is still very much what it has always been during recent decades. There were no non-formally dressed individuals observed in Britannia during the formal nights on our week. And, that included women. We saw none of the jeans, shorts, t-shirts, bras, and other assorted shabby wear that some over-the-top reviewers claimed to have seen, and we were seated in a location where we saw most people coming in. Every fine establishment has something that happens on occasion (a customer wearing jeans slips through or purposely evades staff), and perhaps that occurred on some crossings (as it always has). However, nobody can say with any credibility that Cunard is now allowing people to violate the formal dress code in any regular kind of way. In fact, people were doing their best to "dress up" on the non-formal nights as well, and during tea in the Queen's Room. As for food quality - take it from experienced crossers that the food is every bit as tasty as it has always been on Cunard crossings. Some reviewers expect individually-prepared plates in Britannia akin to what you get in a land-side 5-star restaurant with only ten tables. That is just entirely unrealistic here. As for those of you who hilariously complain about service in the King's Court, you get what you deserve. Why are you complaining about the service in a bustling cafeteria when you can get top-flight service in the Dining Room? By the way, for you readers of Ward's annual review of cruise ships - Ward will be stunned to know that in the King's Court Cunard now gives you silverware to stir your coffee with, rather than those little wooden sticks! Cabin. The cabin cleanliness, steward attentiveness, and overall crew friendliness are still very good. The new ship is still very much a polished and beautiful thing to behold, and the cabins after 9 years are still in great shape. Common Areas. We liked the renovations in the Golden Lion. The rest of the common areas were in good shape, clean, and showed no signs of unreasonable wear. And, we saw crew members tactfully deny admission to people who were under-dressed after 6 PM to the formal common areas. Overall. You just cannot go wrong to go transatlantic on QM2, unless you are so over-the-top picky that you would complain about a window seat on the way to heaven. With all of its joys and quirkiness, a crossing is still the only way to go.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Although we have been on a fair number of European cruises, this was the first time we have sailed transatlantic and was the last part of an overland trip from California home to the UK. We booked in advance a cabin (stateroom) with ... Read More
Although we have been on a fair number of European cruises, this was the first time we have sailed transatlantic and was the last part of an overland trip from California home to the UK. We booked in advance a cabin (stateroom) with balcony directly with Cunard as they offered a good deal with an inclusive airfare to LA; from experience we prefer to have an outside cabin despite the extra cost. We were independent passengers so arrived at Brooklyn with our hire car. It is a shame that Cunard do not use the main Manhattan terminal: we found it very difficult to find the Brooklyn terminal despite our research and it was not helped by such minimal and appalling road signage: it was almost as though Cunard had been banished to the outskirts of town. After dropping my wife and luggage I had to drive the car back to the centre of Brooklyn as there are no hire car facilities at the terminal. I returned to the terminal in a NY taxi, whose driver had no idea where the terminal was so I ended up directing him. Back at the terminal, our baggage had already been loaded; check-in and boarding was a quick and efficient process. Our outside stateroom was on deck 6 and was perfectly adequate and comfortable; everything worked properly and our cabin steward was very discreet and highly efficient throughout the voyage. We had allocated dining in the Britannia Restaurant at second sitting and had requested a table for two, which we actually had. It has to be said that this was definitely NOT a cruise ( we never expected it to be), but rather a voyage. The ship itself is exactly as would be expected for a classic liner and no expense has been spared on its internal layout, facilities and elegance. There was always plenty of space for everyone, despite the ship apparently being at capacity on this voyage. Most ships generally have an inbuilt identity: QM2 seems to struggle in this respect. It is almost as though the ship is trying to do its best to pretend it is not British and pander to its American and German clientele. This was especially true with its on-board US Dollar accounts and automatic 15% gratuity system, rather like Royal Caribbean. The restaurant menus were obviously tweaked towards American tastes while the vegetable portions were decidedly miserly. We were quite disappointed with the wine list which we thought was unnecessarily large and expensive, especially with the 15% on top. Every one of the less expensive wines that we requested was out of stock so we ended up paying a minimum of $41.00 for a bottle of decidedly average wine. We never expected wine to be cheap (if we are going to do it we do it properly!) but this really was excessive. The Kings Court Buffet was certainly adequate although there was not nearly as much choice as there would have been on a P.& O. ship and generally seemed to aimed towards German tastes. It was nevertheless refreshing to see that most plates were not piled to the obscene heights seen on some cruises, although we were concerned to see that so few passengers appeared to make use of the hand sanitizers. Some areas of the ship, especially in the theatres and Britannia Restaurant, felt very cold to European tastes and I know we were not alone in this opinion. The indoor games area in particular was so cold that it was impossible to stay there without a warm jacket. Presumably the AC was set to American tastes..... The theatre presentations were the most professional and slick performances that I have ever seen on board a ship and the quality of the musicians was superb. There was a little too much emphasis in the bars towards 3-piece jazz for my liking but it was nevertheless good. The on board lectures were absolutely first rate, particularly Bill Miller who entertained packed theatres with his knowledge of ocean liners and Nigel West who did likewise with his knowledge of security and spies. We felt as though we had been to college for a week....... All in all, we had a very enjoyable time on the voyage and I would definitely do it again; however I do not think that a conventional cruise with Cunard would be for us: P.& O. have the edge there. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend the experience.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This 21-day New York  Norway  New York voyage was my fifth on the Queen Mary 2. The elegant ocean liner experience is a high priority for me and I had voluminously posted my opinions regarding the new ''loosened up'' ... Read More
This 21-day New York  Norway  New York voyage was my fifth on the Queen Mary 2. The elegant ocean liner experience is a high priority for me and I had voluminously posted my opinions regarding the new ''loosened up'' dress code in the Cunard forum. My previous reviews had gushed so many superlatives that CC members there regarded me as a ''Cunard Cheerleader''. Well, there was good and bad with the bad being a huge disappointment that kept me from booking another voyage on board. (This review will also explain why my ratings for this voyage are so skewed.) First the good. We had a special sail away that took us up and close to the Statue of Liberty as it was the liner's 200th Atlantic Crossing. The Catholic Chaplaincy has also been restored on QM2. (Chaplains also serve the crew who can be away from home up to nine months at a time.) My Princess Grill stateroom was mid ship, very comfortable and had plenty of storage space. Insights Speakers, except for one shameless and boring self-promoter, were good to excellent. I dined in the PG where the service was excellent especially when our table was served by Andrea. I had requested a table for six and was seated with one other solo and two couples. Stanley Williams is a very attentive Ma'tre D'who spends a lot of time supervising his restaurant. (I've seen other Ma'tre D's just sit at their kiosk.) Food was also excellent and going off menu was no problem provided the request was made by lunch time. A table mate requested an American breakfast regional specialty and the staff found an online recipe and prepared it. There were only two so-so meals where the meat was dry or tough. Upon arrival there was a note in my stateroom that the call at Geiranger, Norway had been replaced with lesund. Not having been to Norway previously and having no ''must see'' list it was OK by me but several passengers were disappointed to have missed Geirangerfjord. The reason given was concern with obtaining a safe anchoring position at Geiranger. I can only speculate that perhaps the ship could have drifted and partially run aground. She had to navigate into some pretty narrow spaces. Docking at Stavanger I had heard some high RPMs and vibrations coming from her aft propulsion pods  as if the bridge crew was coaxing her to quickly ''move her ass'' out of harm's way. To make up for the missed Geiranger call however we made a special tour up the Hj'rundfjord after leaving Bergen. It was a spectacular sight not just for us but also for the locals who must have wondered, ''what is THIS doing here?'' In all I was on four ship sponsored excursions in Norway and felt that they fulfilled their advertised expectations. The ship had two embarkation calls in Southampton and Cunard offered tours for in-transit passengers. I would recommend taking a tour because there is really not much to do in Southampton other than riding a free shuttle to a second tier shopping mall. Walking about on ones own can be a long hike if the ship docks at the QEII or Ocean Terminals. Queen Mary 2 of course is a ship beyond comparison as there is no other ocean liner in service. On the eastbound Atlantic crossing we encountered the calmest seas the ship had ever seen. Two table mates, who had been on literally dozens of cruises but never on QM2, gushed over how remarkably smooth she was. We really could not feel the ship move  there was only the smooth throb of her engines beneath us. Now the bad. The first was a minor annoyance. Cunards new wine list has dropped de-alcoholized wines. There had been only one white and one red but it allowed me to enjoy dinner without calling attention to the fact that I cannot drink alcohol. I brought some bottles on board and the sommelier provided excellent service by keeping them for me so I didnt have to lug them from my stateroom each evening. Now the big, big disappointment. Cunard is not enforcing formal dress on formal nights. When Peter Shanks announced a ''loosening up'' on non-formal nights it was pledged that formal nights were part of ''Cunard DNA''. Those who wanted to go casual on formal nights would be welcome in the Kings Court and the Winter Garden but formality would be required in the main and specialty restaurants as well as the theatre. What has instead happened is a de facto ''formal wear optional'' standard. While most passengers did dress nicely for the evening I saw sweaters and daytime tops in the restaurant with women by far being the worst offenders. The slack to non-existent formal enforcement trickled down to complete loss of daytime decorum: as in two men in the Kings Court whose attire consisted of swim trunks and pool towels wrapped around their torsos. Ive ranted on this in detail in the Cunard forum where some have said its my problem to ''worry about and judge people over how they dress''. Thats too bad because it is impossible to maintain an elegant evening atmosphere if a substantial number of people go casual. I see that many passengers are now waiting for ''deals'' before booking so perhaps Cunard has found that satisfying this casual ''getaway fare'' demographic is more profitable than pleasing their traditional customer base. The traditional customer base being those who book in advance because they anticipate  and expect - and elegant and luxurious experience and were willing to pay for it. Cunard tossed away something special. The Cunard dress code acted as a filter on guest behavior  compliance to the expected standard of dress enforced courtesy and consideration to fellow guests. All in all I had a good voyage but not a great one because I saw Cunards own self-destruction of the elegant Queen Mary 2 transatlantic experience. Since this was an important consideration for me I will take a wait and see approach going forward before booking in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We took an eastbound transatlantic, spent a month in Europe on two other cruises, and took a westbound transatlantic back to New York. We had ample time to explore the ship and find our likes and dislikes. CON: (1) Our Verizon I-phones ... Read More
We took an eastbound transatlantic, spent a month in Europe on two other cruises, and took a westbound transatlantic back to New York. We had ample time to explore the ship and find our likes and dislikes. CON: (1) Our Verizon I-phones did not work for calls and texting, even though they worked fine on Royal Caribbean during the same vacation period. In addition, the internet was extremely slow, though you would expect this in the middle of the ocean. (2) The dress code is ridiculous. I know there has been much discussion and it will continue forever. We don't like the fanfare of the dining room, and eat exclusively in the buffet area or smaller areas, like Chef's Galley or Golden Lion Pub, on all cruise ships. It is understandable if some people enjoy dressing up every single night, but there are some who do not. We should not be excluded from the theater and other parts of the ship, only the dining room. This is how it is on most other cruise ships. Yes, we can stay off of the ship entirely, but it was going in the right direction at the right time. (3) There is no central gathering area, such as the atrium on Princess, or the Promenade on Royal. Everyone sits around reading in little corners or sleeping on deck chairs. There is really no place to go if you don't hang out in bars. PROS: There were four excellent lecturers on our cruises. They were very knowledgeable and very interesting speakers. The evening shows were standard cruise fare--OK, but not memorable. There are numerous tables for two in the buffet dining room, unlike on other ships we have been on where there are mostly tables for six and the staff tries to put strangers at your table. The buffet food was mostly good quality, though there was not as much selection as you would like. Desserts were adequate. Chef's Galley has great hamburgers and fries at lunch, and great pasta and salad in the evening, in addition to freshly-made pizza. Would we do it again? Yes, if it were going where we want to go. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Having got your attention with that subject line, I can tell you that, in practical terms this is a reality. As I write this we are in the middle of the North Atlantic, en route from NYC to Southampton, UK. It is day 5 of a 7 night ... Read More
Having got your attention with that subject line, I can tell you that, in practical terms this is a reality. As I write this we are in the middle of the North Atlantic, en route from NYC to Southampton, UK. It is day 5 of a 7 night "crossing" on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. We decided, because this is Cunard, that we would set our expectations high (we've cruised before with several lines). We are constantly amazed at how those expectations have been met and significantly exceeded on this ship. Being an ocean liner, rather than a conventional cruise ship, QM2 and its staff have a bewildering variety of top-notch activities on board. No belly flop contests here, folks. The word that keeps coming to mind is "elegant". If you ever wanted to be treated like a queen or a king, or wondered what it might be like to stay at the world's best hotels (say, the Savoy in London), without the humongous bills, book a trip - any trip - on the QM2. So, if it's so darn good, why do I say it's a free cruise? Top quality theatre and shows, music concerts (we especially love all the jazz on board). If "enrichment" lectures sounds a bit stiff, don't believe it; they are entertaining as well as informative and very well presented; you know, by people who really do know how to work an audio-visual computer presentation. The variety show last night was as good as anything I might expect at the London Palladium; I just wished my British father was there too, he would have loved it, God rest his soul. I confess, I wept as the show proceeded on what must be the biggest stage afloat, all to a (count 'em) 20+person live orchestra. The planetarium is awesome. The glamour and glitz of the formal nights and the grand balls (there's a disco / live night club too) is a must, even if you never set foot on the dance floor. If I was to price all the events we have been to so far on this cruise, by going to them in our home town IT WOULD HAVE COME TO MORE THAN WE PAID FOR THIS CRUISE. So put it another way, the cruise itself has been a free bonus. I'll leave others to talk of the fabulous food, service and facilities on board. Our regrets? We have two. Firstly, there is no way we can possibly get to all the events we want to each day. Secondly, we have to get off this magnificent ocean liner in three days time. But we have more to come. The cost of a one-way fare back home is way more than the cruise fare, so we are taking her back to New York! Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was our second transatlantic voyage and 3rd cruise of the Queen Mary 2(World Club Gold Status). We left Brooklyn Terminal in great weather and was thrilled with going under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridges, again. Our PF suite, 10022, ... Read More
This was our second transatlantic voyage and 3rd cruise of the Queen Mary 2(World Club Gold Status). We left Brooklyn Terminal in great weather and was thrilled with going under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridges, again. Our PF suite, 10022, was perfect (381 Sq. Ft.). Last voyage in PRincess Grill made us opt for the same. Our room stewardess, Donna, was fantastic for the entire 19-day voyage. Stanley Williams, our PG Maitre'D assigned us to a fabulous table for two at the window. This perk was requested by our travel agent through Cunard's special service desk. Andrea and John were our primary lead waiters in the PG restaurant for the different segments. They both gave us top service along with the other PG staff. The food and presentation were excellent and has improved over the two years. St. Peter's Port, Guernsey and Bruges were superior ports to visit. Definitely, book an early Cunard 9:00 bus tour for "Bruges on your Own" as it gets you in town by 10:00 which allowed us to make the first 10:00 water canal tour. Unfortunately a light but constant drizzle started after the canal tour and chilled the day. The secrets of sea days, especially transatlantic, are to savor the style, lectures, and elegance of the QM2. Formal evenings and ballroom dancing in the Queens Room are always wonderful. We used White Star luggage for the first time from our home in Virginia to and from the ship. It was well worth the money. The 50-lb. luggage arrived in our stateroom that morning. Everything is trackable online through FedEx's website. Truly, a piece of mind. We were so impressed with this voyage that we booked another 18-day voyage in June 2014, NYC-HAM-NYC.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Okay, so we decided not to fly for this cruise because who likes to go through security all the time and then sit on a plane? So we took this from New York(Brooklyn really although cruise critic doesn't have that for a choice) and ... Read More
Okay, so we decided not to fly for this cruise because who likes to go through security all the time and then sit on a plane? So we took this from New York(Brooklyn really although cruise critic doesn't have that for a choice) and went to the North Cape of Norway by way of Southampton(UK) and Hamburg(Germany). The weather was terrible on the first crossing: foggy and cold. Why doesn't Cunard use the southern route in June? Who knows. We (my mother and I) had last sailed on the QM2 2 years ago to Canada. There were some strange potholes outside the restaurant, in the lobby and in the casino. They were still there. Let me say too, I am a Platinum Cunard member and my mother is a Diamond member and Cunard's reward program is pretty chintzy. The ship needed painting. Our cabin smelled of smoke although all cabins are supposedly non-smoking. Service in the dining room was slow and no one refilled the water glasses. The food was bland or worse. No one helped carry trays in the King's Court(the Lido area on most ships) even for my mother who uses a walker. The lecturers were, as is usual on Cunard, a high point. When we got to Hamburg approximately 1800 Gernans boarded and, according to the pursers' office and the cruise specialist office, this cruise was now a "German cruise" and we Americans, along with the British, certainly felt unwanted. The Germans got the best venues, special breakfasts and brunches, and preferential tour treatment. The poor weather continued. New stop Andelesnes had nothing to offer, although Bergen was charming and Trondheim would have been if the rain stopped. The pursers office, filled with German speakers, was less than helpful much of the time, for example demanding our passports for review in Hamburg nearly a week before we got there and while we still had two ports left in Norway. By the way you needed your passport number to get the Norwegian VAT back, but, also by the way, that didn't really matter because somehow Cunard arranged for the Norwegian VAT rep to be on the ship only during the hours of our shore excursion, and although we rushed back and got in the line, the woman left, claiming Cunard had told her the ship sailed at five. Reader, it left at midnight due to a recurring generator problem. On the return trip, after leaving Southampton, we had new waiters in the dining room and a table where no one else came. What did I like? The lectures, Sir Samuels - the coffee bar for sandwiches at lunch, the strawberries for Wimbledon, the ever patient and polite maintenance staff who waited to clean the public toilets, and the fact the casino was non-smoking(even if the machines were the same ones there two years ago). What did I miss most? Service. It just wasn't there -- not in the lido, not at the dining room table, not at the pursers office. And the idea that this was a luxury cruise makes me laugh. I was on the Breakaway in May and, although, it had some problems, it also had service. And it was a lot cheaper/ Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
A transatlantic voyage has been sold to us all on the basis that it is a grand experience. Well, on the QM2, it is and it isn't. Boarding at New York is something of a let down. I expected something more than what is effectively a ... Read More
A transatlantic voyage has been sold to us all on the basis that it is a grand experience. Well, on the QM2, it is and it isn't. Boarding at New York is something of a let down. I expected something more than what is effectively a large shed with a slab of concrete next to it. Where were all the waving crowds and streamers we've all seen? My partner was in her wheelchair, and access is not easy. The ramps have raised joined plates and little lip to aid getting over. Granted, we had not paid full tilt and thus we were assigned a stateroom on Deck 4 and midships. Now here is the first thing Cunard don't mention. The vibration midships is horrendous. My partner suffers from MS. If Cunard are going to send out medical questionnaires, I fully expect them to have an understanding of the condition upon reply. Thus, in my partner's case, the lesions on the brain associated with MS were nicely being vibrated against her skull, triggering an episode there and then. To their credit, the Pursers office (not for the only time on the trip, kudos to them) sorted the situation as fast as possible and moved us up a deck and forward. So my advice is try and get a forward cabin. At least that way, your teeth will stay in your head. Dining. The Britannia Grill. God help you if you are, like me, a non-meat eater. I phrase it that way as I am not fond of vegetables, so if you want a vegetarian option that does not include rabbit food or lasagne, be prepared to go hungry. Also be prepared for a table than can be vibrating heavily underfoot turning your stomach into a blender and snotty waiters getting upset that you don't wish to eat from the menu. Again, to the credit of the maitre'd, he was superb in trying to sort our table problem, but the whole experience meant we gave up eating there and opted for the Kings Court instead. Now, again, this is a problem if you are a vegetarian. Yes, you can get pizza. Yes, you can get salad. Yes, you can usually get some sort of potato product. But that is not what you came on board the QM2 for. There were days when I existed on bread rolls and nuts as the choice was meat, meat, and more meat. Something simple like a hot cheese and onion pie would have sufficed. The Kings Court needs to put on a simple vegetarian option alongside other food. On the plus side, once warned, you can take your fill at breakfast of hash browns, toast, beans and suchlike. So here is the second thing Cunard fail to mention. Certain other areas of the ship also do food and it was not until the very last day that my partner and I discovered the Golden Lion pub did Quorn pies. Perfect! You are not charged extra for this. I'm sure there must be other parts of the ship where food is served too, but the staff neglect to tell you. However, where the staff are magnificent is looking after those in a wheelchair. My partner was able to move about the ship independently as the staff were always willing to lend a hand, particularly in the Kings Food Court, where credit must go to a waiter called Manoj. Make friends with him, he is the guy to know in that area. The ship requires you to search out places. Take your first day to have a really good look round as many decks as you can. Do this before midday if possible. Not a lot happens prior to that. The ship really only comes alive after 6pm, when the dress code kicks in and you actually feel like you've entered the era of cultured cruising. The balls are great fun if a little cringeworthy thanks to the singer. The Chart Room has a terrific jazz trio. The Golden Lion pub has quizzes most evening, but if you are under 40 you will struggle with the music ones as these are orientated towards the older generation. The Winter Gardens are a good place to chill out for a while, although this is where the big screen tv is deployed if a major event is taking place, such as the French Open Tennis. The productions at the theatre did not really grab my attention, and neither did the lectures or films. None of these lasted more than 30 minutes, which I felt did not give me enough time to enjoy the subject in depth. If you are a cigar fan, the Commordore Club has the Churchill Room within it, and I must say it was great fun puffing on a stupid size cigar whilst chatting with fellow passengers about all things under the sun. So that is the third thing Cunard don't tell you. There are places you have to find for yourself. The map they provide is small and not really descriptive enough. For example, there are games on board, such as Scrabble, Monopoly, etc, tucked away down on the lower decks which you can play next to a large window with the sea mere feet away. These help pass away gray days yet you still have a sense of travelling. Be prepared to spend cash. On-board prices can make you blush. If you are feeling lucky, try the casino to win back some that you will have to spend. The shops are limited and if like me you have a sudden craving for say, peanuts, you are out of luck. Here again, Purser's office to the rescue. They suggested I try the pub, and it turns out nuts and crisps are complimentary in there. Another little thing Cunard fail to mention. So, in summary, if you can find the hidden delights, if you can find food that will suit your own requirements, and if you manage to get a stateroom that does not shake, rattle and roll, there is much to recommend this. Hellfire, you can say you actually crossed an ocean! The sense of history as you stand on the promenade looking at at this vast expanse is awesome. Take time to understand where you are. The QM2 offers an experience that is either brilliant or a nightmare. There is no in between when on board. When it is good, it is magnificent, and when it is bad, the Purser's office will usually do their utmost to help. Would we do it again? Yes, but only because we now know where to look, where to eat and who we need to clap round the ear if something is going wrong.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
OK, well, there was nothing really bad about the QM2, but I still came away from the cruise feeling dissatisfied. I am 60 y/o. I would guess the average age on this ship was probably 80 y/o. I mean there were probably 90 year olds plus ... Read More
OK, well, there was nothing really bad about the QM2, but I still came away from the cruise feeling dissatisfied. I am 60 y/o. I would guess the average age on this ship was probably 80 y/o. I mean there were probably 90 year olds plus roaming around this ship....no kidding. That's great, because when I'm 90, I hope I'm still inclined to jump on a ship and travel across the Atlantic. So, not really knowing whether my problem with this cruise was the ship or the itinerary, I thought I'd just give you my impression of the QM2 and leave it at that. First, the ship is laid out in a way unlike any other cruise ship I've ever been on. Yes, there's a small central atrium, but most "go to" spots are at either end of the ship or on deck 7, 3, 4, 9, 10 or 11. Get the picture? That's right, it's kind of spread out and almost hidden in a way. Get off elevator A on deck 9 and walk around to the right and "presto" you're in the Commodore Club. There's no real special entry or sign there to let you know it's there. In fact, if you had turned to the left, you'd have been walking past staterooms. For those of us who've cruised on other ships (including Cunard's Queen Victoria), the lay-out of the Mary is unusual. That doesn't mean it's bad, mind you, just, let's say, different. It's obvious that the QM2 specializes, and expects you to take advantage of, the regular dining rooms for all meals. The buffet seemed to be an afterthought on this ship, and somewhat of a disappointment. They only open one or two of the food stations every three hours. So, if you are used to finding food at one corner of the buffet, you may find it closed the next time you visit the buffet. The food was OK both in the dining rooms and the buffet, but they still seem to be stuck in that old, bland British fare that, fortunately, the UK is pulling itself out of. Still, with an older clientele sailing on this ship, I'm sure the Chef would get more complaints if he tried to "rock the recipe boat"(pun intended) and introduce more contemporary offerings. They had 2 soft-serve ice cream machines in the buffet. One that didn't work well and the other that didn't work at all. I think the highlight of the buffet was the "Chef's Galley". This is a specialty sandwich area of the buffet that serves really decent burgers, hot dogs and designer sandwiches throughout the lunch hour. Service....what can I say. It's the Cunard. How could you ask for better service? The crew that work on these ships seem pleased to be there. They are happy to help in any way they can, and genuinely care about you while you are a guest on their ship. I have yet to find a Cunard crew member that is anything less that professional and congenial. With that being written, let me just mention a crew member on the QM2 that, I feel, is truly exceptional. His name is Atilla (from Hungary) and he is the Assistant Dining Room Manager. The man is a machine. I mean he never, never stops. One minute you'll see him on the lower dining room floor picking up dirty plates, and (honestly) literally, the next minute he'll be seating some people at the table next to you. He is, without question, the most phenomenal worker I've ever seen on any cruise ship. What's more, the smile never leaves his face the whole time. He will absolutely captivate you if you are at all into noticing how hard service people work on these ships. We are not keen on attending the shows in the theater on any ship we sail. They seem to all have the same idea of what's entertainment, and I think another Cruise Critic reviewer said it best when he described it as one step above a high school musical. This transatlantic voyage, however, had 3 or 4 lecturers on board during the daytime, that seemed to captivate all travelers across the age spectrum. Kudos to Cunard for choosing people to speak that so many of your guests would love to hear. Cunard is known for providing laundry rooms on each deck for its passengers(unlike Celebrity and Royal Caribbean...booooooo to you).Thank you, Cunard! These little rooms have 2 ironing boards and 4 washers and 4 dryers (all for free including detergent). OK, so why did I have this feeling of lack luster after the QM2 cruise was completed? I'm thinking that the journey was really one of utilitarian nature. I was sailing from one place to get to another. I should not have expected to be mesmerized by the ports of call, the scenery or tropical weather any more than I would be taking a commuter train between New York and Washington,D.C. This cruise got me whare I wanted to go in comfort and without distress. What more could I ask?   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
By crossing the Atlantic Ocean 'the-old-fashion-way' was truly an inspiring experience. Although we did not look faults or mistakes, as we were on a vacation and not participating in a detailed inspection tour, we really could ... Read More
By crossing the Atlantic Ocean 'the-old-fashion-way' was truly an inspiring experience. Although we did not look faults or mistakes, as we were on a vacation and not participating in a detailed inspection tour, we really could not find any to comment. The service that provided was fantastic everywhere we present: friendly staff at all outlets we visited. Also the ship's interior and exterior was very well kept and looked stunning. Our stateroom was kept very tidy and our cabin attendant was always nearby to assist where needed. The Princess Grills staff was fantastic and the food was delicious and our wine waiter had always a bottle ready which we ordered via the wine package (makes life a little easier as the wine selection is vast). Room service breakfast was punctual and food & coffee was hot. What we really enjoyed is to take part in the enrichment programme with lectures, RADA or other activities. We did not realize how interesting these can be and at the same time, you are meeting fellow passengers. The public spaces are well laid out and the 2,500 passengers spread really evenly over the outside decks, lobby, theatre, bars, library, etc. Entertainment is wonderful: where do you find a hotel that provides over 6 different bands to play music in public areas, bars or ballroom? In addition you can enjoy RADA in the afternoon or evening, shows or (3D) movies in the late afternoon and evening. We selected a star board stateroom as we thought to enjoy more more sunshine hours on our balcony with an Eastbound journey: only to realize that the decks on the aft side are really the best places to bake-in-the-sun. Nevertheless to sail with an open balcony door is lovely and we used the balcony to relax in private. Nice touch is the free use of washing machines, dryers and washing powder with steam irons& boards. We even received a special offer for laundry and the dry cleaning a couple of days prior to embarkation, which was not more expensive than the service we used in New York prior to sailing. We will return happily on QM2 again as this week was well spent and we did not have time to visit the Spa, Casino or some other areas of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Who, What, When, Where, Why? We sailed from New York to Southampton on the 1st-8th June 2013 crossing on the Cunard Queen Mary 2. This was our first time on Cunard, although we have cruised many times before, predominantly on Celebrity, ... Read More
Who, What, When, Where, Why? We sailed from New York to Southampton on the 1st-8th June 2013 crossing on the Cunard Queen Mary 2. This was our first time on Cunard, although we have cruised many times before, predominantly on Celebrity, but also on HAL, Azamara and (never again) RCCL. We are British expats who have been living in Maryland, USA for 25 years, and this trip was planned so we could visit friends and relatives back home and also to celebrate my husband retiring, although by the time we sailed, he had been persuaded back to his old job part time and had taken on a teaching job as well! We are very low key people, we can amuse ourselves and do not need a great deal in the form of entertainment, and after a very hectic two months prior to this crossing, we were very much looking forward to having permission to do nothing at all for seven days! How did we get to New York? Usually we take the train to New York, but this time we flew because when we bought Cunard air for the return trip from the UK, it included air to the departure port as well. The downside of this was the hassle of flying, coupled with having to pay for each of our 3 bags, but the upside was that flying into La Guardia gave the most spectacular birdseye views of Manhattan I had ever seen, and, thanks to the rules that severely limited carry-on bags on the small plane, I had to check my larger carry-on at the gate so had my camera with me under the seat, and was able to take some brilliant photos through the plane window. Where did you stay in New York? Pre-cruise we stayed at the Millennium Broadway Hotel Times Square, and while the room and facilities were very nice, other guests partying and playing loud music at 2am were not so nice and kept us awake despite Security having a word with them. We had stayed there before but probably will not choose to again, and after a sleepless night we were really looking forward to boarding the QM2. How did embarkation go? The QM2 was docked at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and check-in was in a nondescript warehouse-like building. Our documents showed a boarding time of 2pm but were able to walk right in and check in at noon, became part of boarding group number 5, and after a short wait were on board well before 1pm. It was nice to be able to go straight to our cabin and drop off our carry-ons before tracking down lunch. Usually embarkation day lunch in the buffet is my least favourite meal of the cruise (other than disembarkation day breakfast!), as I am not a buffet fan in general, nor do I enjoy the hassle of finding food and then scrambling to find somewhere to sit. On this occasion though I was successful in not only procuring a pretty darn good fish pie, but also an empty table. Did you get things done? We spent the afternoon taking care of business, as I like to put it, setting up spa appointments, checking that we really do have a table just for two at late seating, ordering an internet package and finally unpacking. That taken care of we went to muster drill. All the other passengers, bar us, must have been psychic because by the time the ship sounded the muster signal, we were the only people in the corridors and everyone else was already waiting at the muster station! How was Sailaway? Sailaway from New York is always impressive and we went onto the highest deck to watch the ship glide under the Verazzano Narrows Bridge, with inches to spare, and head out into the Atlantic. What is the cabin like? Our cabin, 8102, was an obstructed-view verandah. It was helpful to be able to go on the Cunard website and view the obstruction of each cabin before making a choice, and we were lucky enough to get one where there was a small gap between the lifeboats, so we had slightly more to look at than just a blob of orange! The bed was very comfortable and hard to tear myself out of. The bathroom was small, but functional and the shower had a soft spot in the floor that I was hoping would not give way and leave my leg poking through someone's ceiling! Toiletries were by Gilchrest and Soames. There was a half bottle of something fizzy in the cabin, a gift from Cunard. We had read about it online, but threw caution to the wind, drank it and survived! Our cabin steward Robel was very attentive and ensured that I had feather-free bedding and extra towels. We rarely saw him but he did an excellent job servicing our cabin twice a day while we were out. How is the ship? Initial impressions of the QM2 are that she is very classy. Lots of hardwoods, comfy sofas, quiet little spots. She looks more like a well worn country house hotel than a modern glitzy cruise ship, which of course she is not, she is an ocean liner. We spent a good few days getting lost on her as she is not laid out like most ships with the dining room at the back and the buffet, disco, crows nest bar and the pools on the top deck. Not all the staircases and elevators go to all the floors which can be very confusing, and I never did master the layout of the Kings Court Buffet. I always saw people eating nice looking things but could never find out where they got them from! On the last day we discovered that the Photo Gallery was not an enclosed room, and that there are stairs at the back leading to the Queens Room and Nightclub! We never did find the Planetarium. Did you try the Spa? We went to the Canyon Ranch Spa for a Couples Hot Stones Massage. Although it was pricy it was an excellent massage and there was no attempt to sell us anything afterwards which made a pleasant change from other cruise lines. Did you snoop around the library? Yes indeed I did. I confess I work in a public library and usually on cruises I sneak into the ships library and do a bit of therapeutic tidying and alphabetising. On the QM2 I did not. I could not. Everything was pristine and totally alphabetised. All the time. I had hoped it would be my home from home, where I could sit and write my blog every day, but it was a Shhhhhh type of library where no one spoke, just sat in silence and read, and I was unable to type in case it disturbed them, so I left. How was the latte? Sir Samuels was the go-to latte place and they made an excellent one if you were lucky, although they were always disappointed I chose not to add a flavour. I'm old school. A latte is a latte. It tastes of coffee. It is meant to taste of coffee. Why would I want it to taste of anything else and be ultra, teeth cringingly sweet? Sir Samuels was also the place for sitting by a big window, watching the waves and dolphins go by while you read, did a crossword or typed. This, became my home from home. How was the food for a picky buffet-phobe like you? We tried to find alternatives to the Kings Court Buffet for breakfast and lunch. As we were never awake early enough for the dining room breakfast, we typically ordered room service breakfast, either a full english (eggs, bacon sausage, mushrooms, beans, grilled tomato), or fruit and porridge. The room service order was always delivered properly without anything missing, although usually a few minutes before the designated time. As they do not call ahead they caught us in our dressing gowns a few times! Any good lunches? We enjoyed some great lunches at the Golden Lion which served traditional english fare such as Fish and Chips, Steak and Mushroom Pie, Cottage Pie and Bangers and Mash on piping hot plates. They always told us not to touch the plates, they were hot, but we always did, just to check! They also offered a traditional pudding of the day with custard, but we were always too full to partake. Another alternative was Sir Samuels which offered lighter fare, sandwiches and quiches with salad, which made a nice change. We never did get to the Queens Room for afternoon tea, although we did pop into the Kings Court occasionally for a scone! How about dinner? We ate dinner each night in the dining room. I had noticed that recent reviews had mentioned that the Britannia dining room food was bland and cold. Luckily that wasn't our experience. Our food was served hot by our wait-team Albert and Marlon under the supervision of Elvis, the MaitreD. I had to wonder whether these were their real names or whether they get to pick a new identity when they join Cunard?! The food itself was delicious, and I can be rather picky. Even when the menu did not look too inspiring, what showed up on the plate in front of you was surprisingly good. All the courses were nicely sized, with appetisers small enough to not leave you full before your main course arrived. I have to say that after many years of living in the USA, it was a pleasure to just be able to order tea after dinner and get what I wanted, rather than ordering hot tea please, english breakfast (not green tea or herbal tea) with milk (real milk not cream or dairy creamer in those little sachets) on the side please. Anywhere good for an evening cocktail? We would often have pre-dinner and post-dinner drinks in the the Golden Lion Pub or the Chart Room, and if they were full the Veuve Cliquot Champagne bar, which served other drinks as well as champagne. All the venues had evening music which was very pleasant. Did you go to any shows? We are not generally show people, (and if we do go we sit on an aisle at the back, ready to beat a hasty retreat!), but we did try a couple of evening ones . The first was a concert showcasing certain artists, in this case, ahem, The Osmonds and Neil Sedaka and some rather obscure songs from even obscurer musicals. We also saw a pianist / comedian, Jon Courtenay, who was actually rather good, and then later in the week he shared billing with Dale Kristien, a singer (actually melodramatic me me meeeeee diva) whose claim to fame was being chosen by Lloyd-Webber to be the lead when Phantom of the Opera opened on Broadway. She seemed rather full of herself and had a shrill, piercing voice that drove us (and others) hastily away. Was there other entertainment? There was some excellent music in the lounges, including a couple of pianists, a jazz trio and a string quartet, who performed in the evenings. There was also a party band but we never really got to listen to then as they performed in the nightclub and as it was smoky and smelly in there we could not stay. So how was the smoking on board? Well as a non-smoker who likes Celebrity because of their strict no-smoking policy indoors in public rooms and cabins and on cabin balconies, I was a bit worried that I would find the smokers on QM2 annoying, but there was no problem. Luckily there were no neighbours who smoked on their balcony and there was no real cigarette smell anywhere other than the aforementioned nightclub and inexplicably C staircase on deck 7, which I avoided. What about the dress code? It had been well-publicised ahead of time that there was now a new 2-tier dress code on board which was stricter than other cruise lines, but laxer than the former Cunard dress code, so we went prepared with tuxedo, suit, blazer, cocktail dresses and gowns. The jeans curfew, as we called it, was 6pm, and anyone not suitably attired after that time was banished to the Kings Court and the Winter Garden for the evening. Our crossing had 3 formal nights and 4 informal. It was really nice to spend the evening with nicely dressed people who had taken time and effort to look their best, rather than with lazy slobs in T shirts, flip-flops and backwards baseball caps who really just could not be bothered. The dress code really added to the elegance of the evenings and we never saw anyone inappropriately dressed. How about laundry? I had no plans to do it myself, and the prices for getting it done by the ship were astronomical, so I thought I'd give it a miss and wear smelly clothes, until near the end of the week there was a laundry special, 30 items for $30 and I was hooked. All the items came back either on hangers or neatly folded and wrapped in tissue, (yes even underpants!), and it was well worth the money. So what do you do for seven straight sea days apart from climb the walls and go insane? I have to say they were numerous activities on offer. Lectures, Book Club, Crafts, Planetarium Shows, Trivia, Theatre Shows, Live Music, Bridge, Exercise Classes, but we pretty much did, er, nothing, and loved it. I read a book from cover to cover in 2 days. I did crossword puzzles, took photos, wrote my blog, and generally chilled. I had an afternoon stroll round the deck. I stood and looked at the sea. I tried and failed to get a good internet connection. I tried to see through the mist. I listened to the foghorn. I ate.... So how was the weather on the crossing? When I asked what sort of weather to expect on a crossing, the answer was everything. We didn't quite get everything. It didn't snow. We started out with unseasonably hot and humid weather for June in New York. Then came 3 days of fog, followed by a couple of grey cloudy days with sun occasionally breaking through, some wind, a bit of drizzle and finally cool sunny weather when we arrived in Southampton. So a bit of everything really, and very smooth seas. The QM2 is a very stable ship and if you did not look outside, it was hard to believe you were at sea. Did you get ship-lag? Sort of, yes, but it is nowhere near as bad as jet-lag. Everyday at noon, after the bells had chimed, the Commodore, (the title given to the Chief Cunard Captain), gave an update on weather and position and then announced that the clocks would go forward an hour, and that the time was now 1:05pm. This happened for 5 consecutive days and although it is a gentler adjustment than flying overnight to the UK, effectively missing a night of sleep, arriving very early in the morning and having to stay awake all day, you do still feel it, most noticeably on the last night when you are eating dinner at 8:30pm but your body still feels like it is the afternoon. A crossing is much more civilised than flying, but it must be even nicer sailing west and having an extra hour in bed for five consecutive nights! How was the people-watching? OMG it was amazing :) There was probably an equal mix of British, American and German passengers, as the crossing continued on to Hamburg, and it was fun trying to guess who was who. I had worried that the passengers would be snobby and unfriendly, but that was not the case at all. We met some very nice, interesting, well-travelled people on board. Of course there were the occasional miserable buggers, who, unbeknownst to themselves were entertaining in their own way, to everyone else. The crew, it has to be said, were polite and friendly and had the patience of a saint. Anything uniquely Cunard that you noticed? Some passengers had pets on board in the kennels and the photo gallery had photos of each of the animals on display. The dolphin sculptures at the front of the ship, just off the promenade were in fact, spare propellors! You get petits fours after dinner. If you are crossing both ways and have a few days in Europe in between, Cunard will store luggage you don't need, such as formal clothes, until your return trip. So it sounds like you had a good time. Is there anything that could be improved? Yes! The internet was mind-numbingly slow and with so many people trying to use it, it was perhaps a little dishonest of Cunard to sell such big packages of minutes that you were ultimately unable to use because it was so hard to log on. Service was much faster on disembarkation morning, but we still had lots of minutes left when we disembarked. So, all good things must come to an end. How was disembarkation? We had reserved a rental car for 10 am, so chose a 9:30 disembarkation time. Cabins needed to be vacated by 8:30, so we were up by 7am, in the dining room at 7:30 for their very good express breakfast, and headed for the theatre, our designated waiting room, around 8:30. We were called for disembarkation shortly before 9:30, dinged our ID cards and then had them confiscated (so no getting back on!). We found our bags easily and because we had completed immigration on board ship during the crossing, just walked through the green customs channel headed out into the zoo that was the ship terminal at Southampton. Would you do it again? In a heartbeat, but both ways next time, as I was really envious at the number of people that were also sailing back on her after their travels. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Queens Grill first impression, priority embarkation means nothing except 3 dedicated staff, we still had to sit and wait while general boarding passed through security? The Queens Grill Suite was not that impressive. A freshen up ... Read More
Queens Grill first impression, priority embarkation means nothing except 3 dedicated staff, we still had to sit and wait while general boarding passed through security? The Queens Grill Suite was not that impressive. A freshen up especially the grouting in the tiles which were discolored and missing. The Vanity lighting (VIP) was poor, no magnifying mirror, the cheapest cotton buds you have ever seen break as you pick them up. No i pod dock or pillow concierge, which were both in brochure. The Butler service was fair but he didn't fall over himself meeting our requests. Coffee served in the room we were directed to the concierge area to help ourselves. The laundrette in our case either 1 floor up or down with only 3 irons available was far too busy at the start of the voyage with ongoing passengers catching up with there laundry. The food was disappointing until we complained bitterly, the quality improved dramatically and the restaurant staff were all very good. 2 days out we went from force 3/4 to force 7/8, this is a big deal which no one tells you about, even on this gigantic liner we were all over the place and the higher you are the worse it is. Queens Grill is on 9th floor, so far too much movement for anyone except regular sailors. Always cold and windy out on deck even in late May (no one tells you that either). The biggest issue on what should be the experience of a lifetime is the useless scheduling of events, classes and talks. There is no co-ordination and if you would like to try one thing you can guarantee that another of your choices will be on at the same time or start before you are finished. A classic example is the beginners bridge class, (full) crammed in to 45minutes at 9.30am followed by pushy intermediates (poorly attended) then nothing else all day? What is the rush, no one is going anywhere. The evening's entertainment under the control of the very smoothy E Director was holiday camp standard at best, where are the big shows? The photographer had left by the time we arrived to have our picture taken with the Commodore but we caught him in the corridor, he took all the complaints and ribbing in his stride and has obviously dealt with grumpier passengers than us. In any event 7 days is too long with the same scenery every day but all is forgotten when you arrive in NY on a beautiful morning and watch the sun come up over the world's most spectacular city. Even though service is included tipping on top is definitely expected. Disembarkation was a treat (for QG) out in 15 mins. TSA please copy at all US airports. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Although I had taken a number of prior cruises, they were all, with one exception, in the Caribbean, and frankly nothing like a Trans-Atlantic voyage on the world's only liner exclusively built for long ocean-going trips. If you like ... Read More
Although I had taken a number of prior cruises, they were all, with one exception, in the Caribbean, and frankly nothing like a Trans-Atlantic voyage on the world's only liner exclusively built for long ocean-going trips. If you like the multi-level plastic and brass atriums of the ordinary ships, I'm afraid the Queen Mary II may not be to your liking. The grand entry atrium area is only three stories, and appointed mostly in dark woods, graceful staircases, and red carpet, with the Cunard Coat of Arms everywhere. The only nod to modern ships are the brass and glass elevators. Once on board, the style is decidedly "old school", with more dark paneling and sedate carpets throughout. The Britannia Dining Room, where most of the passengers are assigned is absolutely beautiful; three decks tall, with two levels of seating for 1,250 guests, overseen by a massive tapestry of a classic ocean liner and an artificial Tiffany-style skylight; it features an appetizingly patterned carpet, and glass-railed balconies, supported by numerous carved columns. I have no doubt it is the most spectacular dining room at sea! However, I chose a Princess Grill Suite, and had most of my meals in the Princess Grill Restaurant, seating a more comfortable 80 or so, and far more sedate, if a little more stylish. Our maitre'd knew each of his guests by name, and our wait staff was outstanding. The menu was varied, and as to be expected, offered any number of gourmet specials, although our waiter encouraged the six seated at our table to order "off menu", offering just about anything we could possibly want. Some great desert, served en flambe' was ordered just about every evening. I think there were five waiters assigned to our table, in addition to the head waiter, and the service was the best I've ever experienced! I'm afraid I will never be satisfied with anything less than Cunard's legendary "White Star Service" again. There are also several other dining venues, that I only sampled, and for a small additional fee-the Todd English Restaurant-where I had one very nice lunch. My cabin was large, airy and more than comfortable, with a large bathroom, featuring a tub/shower combo; a big walk-in closet, in addition to three other wardrobes; a wet bar with mini-fridge, and a nice seating area with sofa and a couple of easy chairs. There was a generously sized desk, and bookcases with Cunard histories and charts of our voyage. WiFi is available in your stateroom, for an astronomical additional cost-the most expensive purchase I made on board! As a smoker, I especially enjoyed the fifty or sixty square foot private balcony, with real teak deck chairs, and an ashtray! I was always entertained by the ship's multi-channel television, with most major news networks 24/7, movies, and purser's info and ship's schedule/position channels available. There is something to do on board the Queen Mary 2, all day, every day. In fact, I'd need another week to do all that I wanted to. In addition to the Canyon Ranch Spa, there are planetarium shows, lectures by leading artists, authors, and broadcasters (Ted Koppel was a fellow passenger-although he did not speak publicly); ballroom dancing every night-the formal masked ball was my favorite! There are large, resort-style floor shows in the Queens Room, and the Julliard Faculty Jazz Quartet played in the Chart Room Lounge. I did not venture into the casino, but spent a lot of time in the Churchill Cigar Bar. Dark paneled walls, with two floor to ceiling humidors show off a truly magnificent selection of Cubans, all priced fairly! (I paid two or three times as much for Cuban cigars on Royal Caribbean or Holland American ships than I did on QM2!) There are several high-end shops, a bookstore adjacent to the largest library at sea, overlooking the bow. I found a great sale on Tag Hauer wrist watches (half price). All in all, the Queen Mary II is everything I had hoped it would be and more! I may never fly to or from Europe again!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
Background:I consider myself an experienced cruiser, and have sailed most of the world. While my favorite line is Crystal, I like to cruise more than I can afford with them and have also sailed with Windstar, Silversea, RCI, Cunard, HAL, ... Read More
Background:I consider myself an experienced cruiser, and have sailed most of the world. While my favorite line is Crystal, I like to cruise more than I can afford with them and have also sailed with Windstar, Silversea, RCI, Cunard, HAL, Celebrity and Carnival. I have now sailed all recent Cunard ships, QM2,QE2,QV, and now QE. Hotel Info: Pre-cruise:I stayed at the Gem Hotel at 449 W 36th Street. The location was superb and the hotel was fine, but I was a bit surprised that as a member of the Choice group they don't provide a breakfast. Post-cruise:I had a same evening (19:35) flight out of Heathrow and arrived at the airport just after 11. I booked a cabin at the Yotel Heathrow. It was well equipped but tiny. It was a good option for a few hours, but I don't think it would be either very comfortable or a great value for an overnight stay. Ship: At 90,000 tons and somewhat over 2,000 passengers the ship to me is big but is small to medium size in today's market. It is a very modern ship, as would be expected having been built in 2010. Everything is well laid out and there are ample open spaces. Service: Very Good. My waiters and room steward did an excellent job and service was generally good around the ship. Port & Shore Excursions: This was a direct transatlantic crossing with no ports. There were 2 things that might have come under the heading of "tours". 1. I booked the behind the scenes tour on the ship. We saw pretty nearly everything on the ship, backstage, mooring deck, medical center, engine control room, a fire locker, trash area, print shop, food storage area and galley, bridge, and perhaps some things I have overlooked. At $120 it covered a lot and I believe was somewhat less expensive than similar tours on other ships. 2. At the end I had a transfer to Heathrow. We were moved up in the departure sequence and our bus was pretty uncrowded. Our arrival was delayed by close to an hour for one party that couldn't be located. I don't believe anyone had tight flight connections but it could have been a problem. Summary: While Cunard talks about ocean liners, QE is a cruise ship through and through. QM2 handles a crossing much better than QE does. As a cruise ship, it is very nice. Travel To Port of Embarkation: I used Amtrak the day before for about the 2 1/2 hour journey from BWI to New York. For me the hotel was within walking distance and an uptown bus took me within walking distance of the dock. Stateroom: My inside stateroom was a bit small but more than ample for one. It was very well appointed with US(2), UK, and European electrical outlets and a mini-fridge. One thing to be careful about is the electricity. The lights are controlled by inserting your room key in a slot by the door. If the key is removed one or perhaps 2 of the outlets will be active but the rest will lose power. The bath was quite tiny with only a small shower. Leaving the TV on the bridge channel gave a good idea of what conditions were outside. Dining: As is traditional with Cunard, your cabin category determines your dining arrangements. The 3 upper categories (about 15% of passengers) have a reserved table for all 21 meals per week with about a 3-hour flexible time period. I was with the 85% of passengers who dine in Britannia and the food and service were very good, at least in line with other mainstream cruise lines. The cold fruit soups were one of my favorites. The lido was set up cafeteria style and lines occurred but were generally pretty short. There are stations for custom omelets, pancakes, waffles, and pizza. It does have a cafeteria feeling but all the food I had was good. I had lunch in the extra cost Veranda restaurant. For me, it wasn't worth the price for regular use but it was an excellent meal. Entertainment:The Royal Cunard singers and dancers were excellent. I thought the guest entertainers on board were of variable quality. There were a number of bands, pianists, and small musical groups in various places around the ship with a wide variety of entertainment choices. Disembarkation:There is one nice thing about Cunard crossings that happen before we even get to our destination. UK immigration officials sail with the ship so there is no need for the traditional checks as we disembark the ship. Disembarkation times are mostly by deck. Since I had a transfer I was fairly early in the process, but things seemed to be moving fairly smoothly up to that time, and i assume it continued that way after my departure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Just got off the Queen Elizabeth in Ft Lauderdale,after a 14 day transatlantic & Caribbean cruise ,14 days of purgatory,what a boring & truly lifeless ship with no atmosphere. Most passengers on board think they are someone they ... Read More
Just got off the Queen Elizabeth in Ft Lauderdale,after a 14 day transatlantic & Caribbean cruise ,14 days of purgatory,what a boring & truly lifeless ship with no atmosphere. Most passengers on board think they are someone they aren't because they are on a "Cunard " ship.As one chap said one day when we were cuing to get back on board after a day on a beach,a woman pushed past us up the gangway, "There goes one of the Cunard Mafia ". Embarkation from Southampton was very well organized & when we got on board our cases were already in our cabin.The ship is quite old fashioned inside but very well set out, plenty of Bars etc,but the noise from the engines is very loud on deck 2 especially in the cafe/bar & the vibration in our cabin on deck one was very noticeable. The service on our table in the Britannia restaurant was disgusting ,not once did our waiter call us by name as we have always have been on Celebrity & Royal Caribbean & was very rude to other guests & we had to order our desert with our starter & main course .One evening he cut his finger & carried on serving us ,dripping blood onto the table cloth,the Maitre D stood by & said nothing.The food was acceptable but nothing out of the ordinary. The Lido buffet restaurant was a joke.Tables took ages to be cleared & were hardly ever wiped down when the were.The breakfast selection was always hot but quite limited .The only ray of sunshine was the young chef who fryed our eggs every day ,she was lovely & new how we wanted them cooked after the very first day 10 out of 10 to her !!.The lunch selection was o.k. with made to order food available as well as the normal buffet food. Now onto the entertainment or should I say lack of it unless you like violinists, harpist,piano recitals,trivia (4or5 times a day),ballroom dancing & bridge & more bridge.One day there was even scarf folding (please bring you own square scarf ).The evening entertainment was not much better with people constantly walking out of the shows & to top it all one evening the show was A FILM,(not in the evening ) The library containing 6000 books says it all, you hardly ever saw any body walking around or sat without a book in hand. Bar waiter service around the ship was good the waiters being very attentive once they knew who liked a drink.No drinks served in the theatre. We were sat upon deck one morning above the Lido pool & all that could be heard was the splashing of the water in the pool as the ship rolled,the sound of ping pong being played & the snoring of the Mafia NO music being played Or the sound of people having FUN. If you have not got a plum in your mouth & are not up your own ar--,don`t even think about it. To cap it all once we arrived in Ft Lauderdale we were supposed to disembark at 8-30 am to pick up a rental car to continue our holiday in Florida but it was 12-15pm when we finally got through customs,due to a lack of customs officials so we were told ???. After now having been on over 25 cruises on various lines ,this has to be by far the WORST to date & we will have to be hard pushed to venture onto a Cunard ship again !! well perhaps when we have " ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE " Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Had booked this trip back in the Spring as required both these dates (in school holiday) and a 4 berth cabin. (Though as an aside, we came across fellow passengers who paid far less than us by booking at the last minute Getaway fares ... Read More
Had booked this trip back in the Spring as required both these dates (in school holiday) and a 4 berth cabin. (Though as an aside, we came across fellow passengers who paid far less than us by booking at the last minute Getaway fares offered by Cunard, so could probably have got two balcony cabins for less than the price of our standard 4 berth outside if we'd risked waiting...) Had never done a Transatlantic before (previous cruises have been to the Med and to Norway) but we always loved the sea days so 7 days without a stop didn't faze us. Embarkation at Southampton took about an hour from arriving to get on the ship, with most of that time waiting in the very long queue to actually check in. But once through Security we were straight onto the ship which was great. First impression of the QM2 were very favourable. Love the Art Deco flourishes everywhere and the Public Rooms have a very upmarket feel about them. We were in the lowest numbered cabin on the lowest deck (4001) so we weren't expecting a great deal from our room but were pleasantly surprised. Fitting 4 people (including two teenagers) into any cabin is going to be a squeeze but this room felt wider than similar cabins on P&O and Princess, and they're was plenty of storage space and luckily all the cases fitted under the beds. Being close to the bow meant that we obviously did feel a fair amount of movement on the choppy days (on this voyage it tended to average about Force 8 with one memorable night when it reached Force 11) but we've all got reasonable sea-legs so that wasn't a problem for us. Over the week we packed many activities in and it's fair to say that the time whizzed by with not enough hours in the day (even with the 25 hour days on most of them) to fit everything in. Particular favourites were: 1) Walking around the wide promenade deck. (QM2 has a expansive promenade deck, something that's sadly lacking on many new ships). 3 times round = 1 mile so a good way to try and burn off all that food. 2) The Library & bookshop. (Once again these are things that are rare now on other ships. 3) The choice of bars all with their own ambience. I particularly like d the Commodore Club up front at the top, although my wife reckoned that is still suffered from smoke pollution from the adjacent cigar room 4) The lectures given by the experts on-board. (On this trip we had some fascinating talks about New York , plus the actress Celia Imrie discussed her life & work) 5) The full sized cinema, with multiple daily showings of all the films 6) The dressing up for the formal evenings. I realise that this topic generated more debate on these boards then anything else, but my take on it is if people book Cunard then they should know the dress code and should go along with it. And certainly based on the evidence of this crossing nearly everyone does. Even the children looked suitable smart. 7) Friendliness of both the other passengers and all of the staff (certainly didn't come across teh unsmiling sould that others have mentioned) Dining: We found the food in the main dining room to be of a consistently high standard, and the service couldn't be faulted. We didn't feel the need to try Todd English although we did have several lunches (and late night snacks) in Kings Court. This is comparable to the self service dining on other ships although I agree with previous reviewers who have commented on the idiosyncratic layout. We also never experienced a problem finding a seat. (Indeed considering the ship was full, and that the majority of the outside deck areas were not being used - because of the poor weather - the ship does very well at absorbing over 2,500 passengers and no areas ever felt crowded) Our two sons (12 & 15) signed up for the kids clubs activities and after te first day they'd made many new friends and we hardly sway them until dinner! There were about 150 children on board, which compared to the summer cruises we've done previously is a very small number. Cunard aren't trying to sell themselves as an all out "family friendly" brand but for this number of kids they coped admirably. Disembarkation at the newly re-opened (after Storm Sandy) Brooklyn terminal was reasonably swift. We opted for self-disembarkation as being on a lowly deck meant we would have wasted the morning waiting for our bags to be off loaded, and this works fine (useful to have strapping sons to help carry the bags!) Plenty of taxis outside and we were in central Manhattan before 9.30am. Overall Cruise Experience: Excellent. Would have been nice to be able to use some of the outdoor facilities but booking a December Transatlantic crossing you know what to expect! (Would also like to recommned the CC roll call functionality on this site. We had a couple of on-board get-togethers following on from contacts we've made over the past few months, and it was great to actually put faces to names. Many thanks Andi for organising) Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We sailed on the beautiful QM2 early January from NY to Southhampton. We boarded about 5 hours late as the crew was disinfecting the ship because of a norovirus outbreak on their previous Caribbean sailing. We scoped out the whole ship ... Read More
We sailed on the beautiful QM2 early January from NY to Southhampton. We boarded about 5 hours late as the crew was disinfecting the ship because of a norovirus outbreak on their previous Caribbean sailing. We scoped out the whole ship before leaving NY and were spellbound by the size and spaciousness. That's where the thrill ended however. We dined in the Britannia and Todd English restaurants. The food in the Britannia was dull, flavorless and cold when we were served. The restaurant staff in the Britannia seemed disinterested and in a rush to get the food out above anything else. The sommelier seemed put off that we decided to drink water and even grimaced at my companion when she ordered club soda. Todd English was decent and the staff quite good. The Kings Court buffets were fair at best. They had the same food options every single night, with no change in the menu whatsoever. Quite dull. It seems they took the leftover finger sandwiches from the afternoon tea time and put them out for the buffet hours later - nicely dried out, bricks for the buffet. Enough about food... For a week long transatlantic crossing the entertainment was pretty pathetic. Unless you like ballroom dancing. Certainly the seas were rough a few of the nights and they couldn't put on any shows in the Illuminations Theater. The planetarium was great, and lecturer Bill Miller was fantastic and drew big crowds. Our balcony cabin was amazing as was our cabin steward. The ship is so huge but there are many vacant, unused areas. It would be great if mgmt planned another unique restaurant or two for the ship, and had more unique entertainment in the future. It was telling how many other guests we talked to that were disappointed. We kept hearing from them how Celebrity puts Cunard to shame, and they do. Our last transatlantic crossing on Celebrity was amazing, and the food superb. What a shame a billion dollar transatlantic liner has to be so dull. We expected so much more from this cruise and were let down. Several friends back home were waiting with baited breath to know how the QM2 was and if we recommend it. Definitely not, unless they plan on offering more for the money especially the cuisine. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our 4th trip on the Queen Mary 2. We traveled once each of the past four years on the transatlantic. Three of the four trips we went Queen's Grill (first class) including this one. Three of the four were westbound ... Read More
This was our 4th trip on the Queen Mary 2. We traveled once each of the past four years on the transatlantic. Three of the four trips we went Queen's Grill (first class) including this one. Three of the four were westbound (Southampton to NY) including this one. The first trip was in June 2009, the second in January 2010, the third in October 2011 and this last one in November 2012. It was our final trip on Cunard (Carnival). Never again. This time we took a red eye from JFK into Heathrow (LHR)and had a car service pick us up at the airport and take us to Southampton. The embarkation area has not changed over the last few years and is unexciting. There is a roped off area for Grill guests to wait but the hard plastic chairs are no better. There was food and drink available for purchase. I would not recommend arriving early or well before your boarding time as it is quite boring to sit there and wait. The security process prior to boarding was worse than in any airport I've been through and I've seen quite a few as I am an Executive Platinum million miler with American Airlines. Many, including my husband, were frisked very closely and embarassingly. The staff was rude as if we were inconveniencing them by showing up. Once aboard, we were happy with our cabin. Since our last trip, there was a minor refurb. Last trip the furniture and carpets, etc. were really showing their age. The bed was much more comfortable and the worn out furniture replaced. One negative was the TVs had been replaced with smaller ones. We feel the new TV is a little small for the size of the room. The food and service at the Queens Grill restaurant was horrible - especially in comparison to our previous trips. Food was served cold when it should have been hot. My husband's steak ordered medium was served cool and was like shoe leather. We were constantly having to ask for our water glass to be refilled and for more bread. One positive note - they do have gluten free bread available that was some of the best we've ever had. We resorted to eating at the deli/pizza place at the King's Court many nights. The food and service must be a cost cutting measure for Cunard. We did complain nicely but the next night things were worse. We ordered prime rib. The cart came out and the maitre d served us himself because he knew we were unhappy. As he started to cut into it, you could see it was still frozen in the middle. He apologized and off to the deli we went in tux and evening gown - eating pizza and drinking wine. The food there was actually pretty good. We saw many of the ship's officers eating there as well. The lectures/speakers on this trip were not quite as interesting to us as on previous voyages. We did enjoy the way that the lectures are replayed on the TV so you can catch ones you missed or listen to it again. We also enjoyed the trivia in the Golden Lion Pub. Our favorite bar is the Commodore lounge with its view from the front of the ship and the piano music as well as the Churchill Cigar Lounge. They have outlawed cigarette smoking in Churchill's which seemed very odd to us. Every trip we've met some really interesting fellow passengers. In a way, it is sad to say the "entertainment" option we enjoyed the most this trip was watching a movie in the theater - great sound! A week or so prior to our trip, because of Superstorm Sandy, I called Cunard to confirm if the ship was going to be able to dock in Brooklyn as it normally does. The woman put me on hold to check and told me yes there was no damage to the pier. A few days before the trip, we received a message from Cunard that we may have to dock in Manhattan due to the storm damage. The day of disembarkation came and it was a complete nightmare. They did the immigration check on board because the facilities available in Manhattan were not as accommodating as in Brooklyn for this. The line was humongous and it took almost two hours. It was all one line instead of splitting up US vs. non-US citizens. You are supposed to have an assigned waiting area and be called by groups to disembark but this procedure did not work at all well due to the immigration hold up. Again due to the facilities in Manhattan, we could not disembark through the lobby as usual, we had to take an elevator to a lower deck. Again the line became quite lengthy and we had an inadvertent tour of some of the crew only areas before finally getting off this ship. There were no taxis immediately outside the building. We had to walk a block in the rain and cross a street - very inconvenient. I realize Cunard had no control over the storm damage but it seems there was plenty of time to plan how to handle the disembarkation much more smoothly. The Queen's Grill restaurant staff used to be the most experienced, top servers and chefs. It seems they are now rotating staff throughout the ship and the servers and chefs were more up to Denny's standards. We are big tippers and we learned from our other trips to tip up front with the wait staff. The first dinner, we always give the maitre d $200. As you sit down, the whole staff for your table comes to welcome you. The head waiter we gave $100, the other waiter $100, the bus boys/assistant waiters (three of them) we gave $50 each. It appears the tipping does not have anything to do with the service received. The table staff often ignored us. We filled out a guest comment card about this yet we never heard from Cunard. Guess they don't care about unhappy passengers. Several of the public restrooms were just disgusting this trip. Also, a few days after disembarkation, another charge for over $200 was made to our credit card. I called for an explanation. The representative I spoke to asked me if I had taken a bath robe or anything from the room. I was so insulted! Then I was told they would look into it then get back to me because they had to contact the ship and the ship would not be in port for a few days. I guess they can't use the radio or cell phones? He finally did get back to me and told me it appeared to be a duplicate charge from one of the bars and that they were issuing a credit. Finally, three weeks after our trip and multiple phone calls later, the credit was issued. Beware of giving your credit card to Cunard. I now understand why several passengers were paying in cash. Don't be fooled by the brochure. The pictures and the descriptions are less than realistic. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Having returned home today from our QM2 back to back transatlantic I feel we should offer this review. This has been our best holiday to date the QM2 experience was absolutely fantastic. Stateroom was great, not that we spent much time ... Read More
Having returned home today from our QM2 back to back transatlantic I feel we should offer this review. This has been our best holiday to date the QM2 experience was absolutely fantastic. Stateroom was great, not that we spent much time in it as we enjoyed all the opportunities this magnificent ship offers. Embarkation at Southampton was fine with no significant hanging around we were asked to report for 1430, arrived at 1410 and were on board at 1445 and having lunch in Kings Court. Throughout the voyage both ways the food we were offered in the Britannia restaurant can only be described as GLORIOUS. Our table waiters were brilliant, endlessly helpful and courteous with nothing too much trouble. The entertainment was very good in the Royal Court Theatre, we went to the show each night bar one and enjoyed most of them very much with Rolf Harris daytime unscheduled show on the westbound leg being a huge highlight and Adrian Walsh and Craig Dahn providing brilliant shows of comedy and piano virtuosity respectively on the eastbound leg. The day to day entertainment throughout the ships public rooms was very good and we enjoyed the pianists in particular. We really appreciated the space around the ship there was never a time when a comfortable seat to chill and read a book could not be found and the ambiance in our favourite public rooms, the Chart room and the Commodore club was always very pleasant with the staff always cheerful and helpful. Prices in the public rooms for drinks are certainly not cheap but neither are they a rip off, I consider them on a par with what you pay in a decent bar or club. The only negative point was our tour in New York - we started off some 50 minutes late did not visit all of the places we should and the lunch stop provided in place of Seaport due to damage from Hurricane Sandy was grubby and most unappealing. The tour was frenetic, uncoordinated and disjointed and was very poor value for money. I made these points that evening at the pursers desk and had no response whatever. Disappointing, however while a blip it would be impossible to take the gloss off what otherwise was a wonderful holiday on a magnificent ship which handled the rough seas we experienced beautifully and while I gather some people had some problems with sea-sickness we had no problems at all having taken our Avomine each day starting from 24 hours prior to sailing. cant think of anything else to say other than in summary NY tour - yuck!, Pre-sail admin very good,QM2 on board experience FANTASTIC UNTRAMELLED LUXURY. Look forward to next time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I wasn't going to write another transatlantic review but after reading so many negatives I thought I would stick my two pennies worth in! I really don't understand people that give the Queen Mary 2 less than four stars, it is ... Read More
I wasn't going to write another transatlantic review but after reading so many negatives I thought I would stick my two pennies worth in! I really don't understand people that give the Queen Mary 2 less than four stars, it is simply a wonderful experience . Is it perfect? Well in my opinion it comes very close with only a few little things that let it down. Anyway my partner and I originally planned to fly out to New York and join the ship there but after a really tough few months at work we decided to do the back to back crossing thus enjoying 14 days of relaxation without having to enter an airport. EMBARCATION This is our third crossing with Cunard and In my opinion this is the area in which Cunard falls down the most! We arrived at 12:00 as per the instructions to find a huge queue and to be told by a rather abrupt female that there was a problem so we had best take a seat. After sitting for about 10 minutes we were told to rejoin the queue which had grown significantly. When we finally reached the counter and completed our booking in process we were told that we were to be met by our butler and escorted on to the ship. BUT there wasn't one available so we could either wait or just join the security queue. We decided to just join the queue. When we boarded we were escorted to our cabin, a very nice touch but the crew member didn't even offer to carry our hand luggage and was rather surly. THE SUITE We booked a Q4 penthouse on deck 9 and we were not disappointed, the suite was large and comfortable and well laid out. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of storage, the guest bathroom was wasted but a nice touch! The only negative was that considering the ship only had a refit this year the carpet in places didn't fit properly and was very noticeable! Below is a link to a video we made of the suite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtRDS8A_Lc0 BUTLER The butler and his assistant were fantastic, breakfast was served on time and the food was hot. The suite was kept spotless and tidy, the fridge was stocked and the fruit basket was always fresh. We ate dinner in our suite one evening and the butler served it by course. QUEENS GRILL RESTAURANT The food and service was fantastic, service did get sloppy one night but I would put that down to everyone seemingly turning up at the same time. I can honestly say that I didn't have a bad meal I enjoyed every single one. The only negative is that Caviar and foie gras were no longer listed on the menu but the maitre d did get us both on request. KINGS COURT So much has been written about the kings court buffet and mostly negative but it very much suited our needs. We wanted to have a relaxed lunch experience so being able to have a slice of pizza, hot dog or simply some salad suited our needs. We didn't find it crowded or confusing as is much complained about. ENTERTAINMENT I attended at least one guest speaker a day and on the whole they were all very good and interesting. My partner and I also completed the behind the scene tours which cost $120 each. In my opinion the cost as worth it, the tour was very well organised and well executed. We attended a few shows in the theatre which were ok but nothing to exciting, we didn't get round to seeing any of the RADA productions this time so I cant comment on them. NEW YORK Sailing up the hudson and docking in a Manhattan pier was a wonderful experience which I would love to repeat one day, beats Brooklyn hands down! HOWEVER ....... getting off the ship and then back on again was hell on toast! It took us more than an hour just to get through immigration. It was surprisingly stressful and not an experience I would not like to repeat! Summary After 14 days of being spoilt and very much pampered I felt very sad to get of the ship! I was worried about spending 14 days at sea but the QM2 is a wonderful ship and I was very much kept busy and entertained. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
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