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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We crossed the Atlantic from New York. Our 4th cruise on QM2 and it did not disappoint. QM2 never lets you down. The balcony cabin, close to mid-ship was superb with a bottle of wine waiting for us as we are Platinum members. Freshly ... Read More
We crossed the Atlantic from New York. Our 4th cruise on QM2 and it did not disappoint. QM2 never lets you down. The balcony cabin, close to mid-ship was superb with a bottle of wine waiting for us as we are Platinum members. Freshly laundered robes, shampoos etc supplied, chocolate on pillow every night. Very adequate shower. Comfortable King size bed. Coffee and tea making facilities. Don't be fooled by the coffee machine. It makes tea as well.Movies on the TVs. A little tip -go to the Pulsars desk to get a list and times of films. Our cabin Stewart, Bert, was efficient without being overwhelming. One night we could not sleep and ordered tea and toast at 3.00am. No problem and no extra charge. Shows in the theatre were good but a comedian would have been nice for a change. The food, well, it was wonderful. Lots of different dishes to choose from. If you didn't want to go to the King's Court buffet, check out the various bars that often serve wonderful, different food choices. Or the "pub" for fish and chips or shepherd' pie. We dined some evenings in the Britannia a Restaurant , the menu tended to be rather fancy but you could always order anything you liked as an alternative. Internet room was well stocked with computers with help on hand daily if needed. The library is the best at sea. Loads of books/Magazines. Comfortable chairs with sea views to sit on. The shops and spa are a bit pricey, but I think all ships are the same. The active casino is.a place to be avoided unless you don't mind loosing but occasionally winning.but in ether case the atmosphere is great. Embarkation was swift? We ignore our allotted time and always get off early with no problem. QM2 is an ocean going liner so just glides across the waves. The captain was superb, giving lots of interesting information at mid-day. He spoke very clearly and articulately. Nearly forgot afternoon tea in the Queens ballroom. This is a signature of the Cunard ships. I won't say anymore, just go and be surprised Finally, Cunard have a reputation sometimes for being "stuffy" . This is not the case. It has certain standards which benefit everyone. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
It was my first West bound transatlantic. The embarkation was very smooth. I recommend doing all forms on line before you leave. I sent a bag ahead with the while glove service. It worked prefect. I boarded the ship and my bag arrived ... Read More
It was my first West bound transatlantic. The embarkation was very smooth. I recommend doing all forms on line before you leave. I sent a bag ahead with the while glove service. It worked prefect. I boarded the ship and my bag arrived with in minutes. It is a beautiful and grand ship. The cabins were bigger. They added many new storage areas in the room. The service was unbeatable. From cabin steward to wait staff. The ship was clean and neat. It was very easy to get around. It was quiet and respectful. The entertainment was very talented and a good variety. Before I left I wondered about 7 days at sea. It was easy to stay busy or rest and relax. Your choice. I had read on cruise critic that west bound was easier. I totally agree. Each day at noon you gain an hour which was nice. Your on New York time when you arrive. The food was outstanding. We stopped one stop in LaHavre France. That was amazing port of call. At the end of our voyage we got in the end of a hurricaine. Yes, it was rain and high winds. But the ship is designed for such weather. The crew was always reassuring that the ship would be fine. For a non swimmer that helped me. That can happen. I would definitely recommend traveling on the Queen Mary 2. she is an elegant classy ship. You do need to be aware of the dress codes. The passengers do follow them. guys in Tux and women in long dresses on formal nights. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We picked the cruise for the itinerary, as i do not enjoy flying anymore. I had the choice as well as it was my belated 50th birthday present. The only way i feel i can do the review justice is do some comparison to Celebrity as they ... Read More
We picked the cruise for the itinerary, as i do not enjoy flying anymore. I had the choice as well as it was my belated 50th birthday present. The only way i feel i can do the review justice is do some comparison to Celebrity as they are our favourite cruise line. Embarkation had a little of a shaky start as the gangway malfunctioned, so we had a bit of a delay. Got on about 1pm. Disappointed no glass of champagne to greet us, which celebrity do. Our cabin was ready, when we got on which was great. The cabin was lovely we were happy with the size, very clean and that we had a sliding balcony door, which saves a lot of banging doors. Lots of clothes hangers as we ended up with too many as we always pack some of our own, I plead guilty in i took my own pillow and quilt with us, so cannot comment of the bedding. The cabin steward we had the first 3 weeks was excellent, we did the little things like clean the bathroom glass every day that we kept our toothbrushes in, as previous cruises and hotels, they do not. The steward emptied our mini bar fridge for us, as we know we will never drink any of it. When we get on board we always check out dining table as we do like a table of 2, so we can eat at our own pace. We were happy they had got this right. The 2 waiters we had for dinner were excellent, you could see they worked well as a team. We heard lots of comments that the service in Britannia restaurant could very hit and miss, as we found out when we decided to try breakfast, where the service and the food was terrible; the food was cold and once the waiter and taken our order and brought it out, we never saw him again. We never went back for breakfast in there again,. We did have room service breakfast as few times and that was always hot and on time. Lunch buffet in Kings Court, could be dull sometimes, the food was good and tasty, but does not even compare to Celebrity's buffet lunches on Oceanview Cafe and the late night snacks were very disappointing. We did have fish and chips in the pub Golden Lion, which was very good, but would not recommend going in when England are playing football; far too crowded. We did go to one afternoon tea in the Queens Room and was very disappointed, it was very noisy, the sandwiches were dry and curled and you had to keep getting the waiters attention if you wanted more. Not the glamorous experience we hoped it would be. The entertainment was excellent except one act (can't remember her name) but she was meant to be a stage show sensation, but she was dreadful. We had Roy Walker (commedian) but sorry he has had his day. The production shows where very good, and we were worried been on the ship so long, we would have lots of repeat entertainment, but we only had the 3 repeat production shows, on those nights we either went to the cinema or the Queens Room. We did learn that to get tickets for the Planetarium, with quite a lot of Americans on board, you have to queue half an hour before they put them out to get one. On our way over the Atlantic we had amazing weather and calm seas, except for the last 48 hours, where we caught the end of Hurricane Hose, so happy i was on QM2 for that, we manages the high seas so well, nothing moved in the cabin and we could walk around easily. The only time we noticed it was when we were in bed, when we felt like we were either floating or going to role out. The ports of calls were great except we had to change one port of call due to the Canadians slowing the speed limit down, so we ended up going to a Canadian port of Sept illes, and it had nothing; very disappointed. We were unable to dock in Rhode Island, due to bad weather, we took it in our stride, but many moaned, but the captain did try up to an hour to see if we could stay. We did excursions on all the ports of call except Sept Illes, and we enjoyed them all. All the days we were on board, we were not bored once, which has got us keen to save up for a world cruise one day. We did not realise how highly the Canadians think of the QM2 and it was great the greetings we received when we arrived and left; apparently QM2 was on the news in Canada when we arrived in most ports. The Captains cocktail parties felt a bit like, here is your free drink, speeches done, now go and have your dinner. Celebrity have free drinks galore and wonderful nibbles. We are disappointed with Cunards loyalty scheme as you do not really get any benefits with them for been loyal, where we get excited with Celebrity when we manage to go up a level, due to the extra perks you get. I agree with most reviews i have read, alcoholic drinks are very expensive, so we did not drink much alcohol at all. As we did a long cruise we did have trouble with the photography side of things as we always had to make sure each week our photo's were saved as they wiped them off as each week was considered a separate cruise, and trying to get the code to get the photos back into our folder could take a couple of days. My husband bought one of the welcome aboard packages and we had trouble with using the vouchers we had for money off spa and photo's as no one seemed to know how they were used, so we had to go the purser desk a few times to get our bill corrected. I liked QM2, as you had lots of places to go and would usually find a quiet spot to sit, as i know with celebrity that is harder to do, but the temperature difference around QM2 was quite frustrating as one minute you would be okay, but then you go to another part of the ship and you would feel cold. We did get woken up on at 7.10am on the morning before we got back to Southampton, with the Coast Guard coming to airlift someone off, which was a bit of a shock as the helicopter was very load. Would i cruise cunard again, yes definately. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was part of our bucket list, to sail on one of the Queens to England, that is basically why we cose the QM2. We had a very nice flight to LaGuardia fro6tnm Toront. We had the Black car driver from heaven for our transfer to the ... Read More
This was part of our bucket list, to sail on one of the Queens to England, that is basically why we cose the QM2. We had a very nice flight to LaGuardia fro6tnm Toront. We had the Black car driver from heaven for our transfer to the cruise terminal, who gave us the best tour of NYK as we inched our way along the fast route to the terminal. (My advise is to get a flat rate taxi or car). Then it turned into a nightmare. We arrived around noon and met the first line up of those who were waiting outside the doors to get into the lineups inside. We were about 30 minutes in that line, then we got inside and were directed into another line. Where we inched along for the next 2 1/2 hours. We were told by the staff that "Its never like this...everybody came at once, sorry for the delay." I know everyone was getting angry. We had five staff serving our line, plus they also were taking the priority and special needs line. The other line had about 10 serving, and you can imagine that they were moving a lot faster. This fiasco should have been handled better. There was a sitting area which could have been used as a staging area with a numbering system as is done by ther cruise lines. By the end of all this people were exhausted. We got on board at 3pm, I'm not sure I'll got on their line in future. Someone should mention to cunard that first impressions are the most meaningfuull. After that embarcation the cruise was just OK, a little over dressed, but food was good, activities OK, weather was mostly foggie, not good to go outside. Disembarkation was slow, but heck of a lot better than embarcation, don't expect to make a train reservation. As to the stateroom, it was a good size inside. The bed was comfortable, there was a nice chair for relaxing and we were given a welcome aboard bottle of sparkling wine. Lots of wardrobe room for our clothing. The room stewart was good, always made up the room while we were gone, so we seldom saw him. Ship buffet was on the prominade deck, which I thought was different from other cruise ships I've been on, but it was large with lots of seating tucked along the way. Lots of choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner there. If you don't want to join in the dressup you can have a good dinner here, mostly the same as in the main dining room. There are a lot of areas of the ship that you can spend some alone time, just to sit and read or play cards with your friends. We did participate in the trivia and went to the planetarium show, but most of the other entertainment was not our thing, others we met enjoyed the lectures. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Friends were taking the New York to Southampton crossing and it sounded like lots of fun so we tagged along. This was our first cruise and we sailed in early September. The ship certainly lives up to its billing; it is as beautiful as ... Read More
Friends were taking the New York to Southampton crossing and it sounded like lots of fun so we tagged along. This was our first cruise and we sailed in early September. The ship certainly lives up to its billing; it is as beautiful as pictured on the Cunard website. What we loved. * Dressing up for formal nights - such fun! * Promenade Deck - it was wonderful sunny, rainy, or foggy. The sea is fascinating in all its guises. * Our balcony - sitting out with a cuppa or a glass of wine was grand at all times of the day and in most weathers. * Our stateroom - it was perfectly suited to our needs and our steward, Mayo, was attentive and friendly. * The welcome bottle of bubbly. * The food - quite good in the Britannia Room and in the Royal Court. * Music in all of its many forms - we loved the jazz, the piano, the harpist, the singer, and the orchestra. * Top notch entertainment - in particular Nathaniel Rankin’s magic show, Bryan Batt’s performance, Penny Mathisen’s show, and the National Symphony Orchestra's Dvorak: Serenade for Strings. * The hydro therapy spa - steam room, two saunas, foot bath, hot tub, bubbling pool, lots of towels, lounge chairs, and great staff. * Smooth sailing = no sea sickness * Staterooms were very quiet - no noise from the halls or the neighbours What we did not like. * The three hour queue to embark in New York - not a happy start to the voyage. * Changing the time ahead at noon - why can’t this be done at night when it doesn’t interfere with scheduling or lunch? * The lack of communication about scheduling - we never knew what might be happening on any given day until the evening prior which made planning and coordinating with friends somewhat difficult. * Not receiving a statement of on-board purchases as promised. The queue to get a printed copy at the purser’s office was very long and if land-based hotels can provide a statement upon check-out, there is no reason a floating hotel can’t do the same. I am still waiting. * Wifi was slow, weak, and expensive. Compared with flying the QM2 is a very pleasant, jet-lag-less way to cross the Atlantic and we will very likely book it again. What we would do differently. * Take the 8:00 PM seating for dinner in the Britannia Room. That would leave us more time to enjoy the late afternoon activities. * Take more dance lessons Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose this round trip crossing because I wanted to enjoy the ship and not get on and off everyday. It was just great! There was plenty to do everyday if you wished. I tried to do the least and still kept busy. I took in lectures I had ... Read More
I chose this round trip crossing because I wanted to enjoy the ship and not get on and off everyday. It was just great! There was plenty to do everyday if you wished. I tried to do the least and still kept busy. I took in lectures I had not planned, music programs I had not planned and even bingo. Most of the time I just enjoyed the people and the public rooms. Our 8:30 dinner was a constantly awaited event. Two couples and two singles and strangers to all, we closed the restaurant from the first to the last night. No one made any evening show plans because we had such a good time at our table. I enjoyed the buffet self serve breakfasts in the Kings Court and the pub lunches in the Golden Lion. The wait staff were terriffic and always happy and patient with us. There was a Catholic Mass every day and that was most appreciated. Embarkation was a drag. 1 1/2 hours to zig zag around but disembarkion was breeze. I left the ship at 9:00AM and was out to be picked up at 9:25 luggage in hand. The shore excursions went well with fun and knowledgeable guides. I would do this trip again in a heart beat. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We originally were looking into a 'fly - tour - sail home' trip, but decided against flying and booked the round trip Brooklyn - Southampton - Le Harve - Brooklyn. We did not know [was a pleasant surprise] that the eastbound crossing ... Read More
We originally were looking into a 'fly - tour - sail home' trip, but decided against flying and booked the round trip Brooklyn - Southampton - Le Harve - Brooklyn. We did not know [was a pleasant surprise] that the eastbound crossing was the National Symphony Orchestra crossing. Has we known that in advance that would have been a real reason to prefer that date [the 2018 National Symphony crossing is October 18, westbound] Everything that Cunard could control seemed to go smoothly - this explicitly excludes a long pre boarding delay in Brooklyn [started late, ran slow]. We booked one of the deck 5 'sheltered' balconies, on the starboard side. We were greeted with a whole bottle of Pol Acker [ended up leaving it in the fridge at the end of the cruise, unopened. If you are in room 5215 - check your refrigerator :-) ] We selected Britannia late seating and a round table for 6 [table 200 for those keeping score]. We enjoyed all of our dinners there. Eastbound, my wife enjoyed rehearsing for the passenger chorus that 'backs up' the symphony on the last night. There were two other performances, including an afternoon performance by the string section. The NS director [Anthony Inglass] was also one of the more popular speakers - filling the main theater. There were other popular speakers, with a diverse set of subjects [astronomy to the British royal family]. We chose ship's excursions for Southampton [Winchester] and Le Harve [Normandy D-Day beaches]. I wil just say that the Winchester tour was too short - we returned in time for lunch, when we could have easily played tourist for s few more hours. An extremely nice part of a Southampton excursion is that all the Customs paperwork is completed on board, prior to arriving in Southampton [my passport got is first stamp on the second sea day]. Southampton should get bonus points for the pre-sailaway double rainbow, with one end of the rainbow on a parking lot full of Mini's waiting for export. The Normandy excursion was perfect. We had stops at the Museum of the Landing, Ponte LaHoc, Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery. The ship's tour included a nice lunch in an inn The security / passport control was glacially slow - only two screening stations and two passport officers. About an hours delay from the terminal door to passport stamp. [hard to imagine how all the passengers boarding at Le Harve were handled if four busloads took an hour] For things not under Cunard's control, the last sea day provided interesting weather [tropical storm Jose] The ships information displayed the wind as 'force 11' and sea state as 'rough'. While waiting for dinner time in the pub, the windows were frequently obscured by waves [30 feet or so above the waterline] Read Less
Wow
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose a transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton. We had never cruised at all and were apprehensive, about the formalities really and not coming up to expectations. Why on earth did we worry. I can honestly say that ... Read More
We chose a transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton. We had never cruised at all and were apprehensive, about the formalities really and not coming up to expectations. Why on earth did we worry. I can honestly say that this was easily the best holiday ever. It did take quite a while to embark and was a little confusing for the first time person such as ourselves. It was Labour Day though and we understand was exceptionally busy. A lot of our anxieties were dispelled when we got to our stateroom. We were introduced to Chris who explained that he would be looking afted our needs on the corridor and would be maintaining our room. He was lovely and explained lots of procedures to us. Our room was quite big enough for us and had a wonderful enclosed balcony. We used that often all times of the day to go out watch the waves ad movement of the sea and enjoy the fresh air. Chris worked his magic on our room each morning after we had left it, replacing towels,making the bed and just generally looking after us. The best bit in the evening was the lights on,bed turned down and two chocolates on the end of the bed! We ate in the Britannia Restaurant. We had two regular waiters but am embarrassed to say I only know the name of one ,Michael. We had a lady Somellier who was lovely. All the meals were delicious and so varied. The activities were amazing plentiful and varied. All the evening entertainment als brilliant. I could go on and on. Suffice to say Cunard is amazing. Definitely not my last! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
An amazing experience. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a true ocean liner is the only way to go. Never want to fly across again. Everything was wonderful and exceeded our expectations. However, we'd researched ahead of time and knew ... Read More
An amazing experience. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a true ocean liner is the only way to go. Never want to fly across again. Everything was wonderful and exceeded our expectations. However, we'd researched ahead of time and knew what to expect-horrible food! If we hadn't known this heading into the crossing we'd have been very disappointed. Food quality aside, the ship and its entertainment and enrichment activities were superb. The high evening dress standards and formal nights were such more enjoyable than expected, very special indeed. Music onboard is seconds to none in the cruise industry. We were fortunate enough to have the British National Orchestra performing on our crossing. Stick to the main dining room or Grills for all meals, they are the least bad option. The buffet is TERRIBLE, so, so bad... Wine list is extensive if a bit over priced but not badly so. Extremely comfortable bed, pillows, and linens. Excellent service all around once onboard ship. Great spa and fitness facilities. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
To judge from the adverts, Queen Mary 2 is a veddy, veddy British ship, right? The answer is, sort of, but not always in that good way. She is a Cunard ship, something you are never allowed to forget, given that every deck is plastered ... Read More
To judge from the adverts, Queen Mary 2 is a veddy, veddy British ship, right? The answer is, sort of, but not always in that good way. She is a Cunard ship, something you are never allowed to forget, given that every deck is plastered with “historic” Cunard posters and displays. But in fact, “Carnival Corporation & plc,” the Miami-based company that owns many of the major cruise ships today, also owns QM2. Carnival tries to give each of its lines “brand identity,” and Cunard is the “classy” brand. Words like “posh” and “traditional” describe her ships, and they work hard to keep up the image, from the plummy Thames Valley voice announcements in the elevator (“Deck Fowah”) to the well-scrubbed, Bristol-bright bridge officers. But thus is a classic case of selling the sizzle in place of the steak. Queen Mary 2 is about as authentically British as Disneyland’s “Main Street” is genuinely American. If you’re prone to like that sort of product placement, then QM2 may be just the ship for you. Stephen Michael Payne, QM2’s chief designer, built her as a trans-Atlantic ocean liner, not a cruise ship. She has a much deeper draft hull than most cruisers. It takes about 33 feet of water to float QM2, meaning she cannot dock at many of the Caribbean destinations and other shallow ports favoured by the cruise industry. But that keel depth also gives her stability in the open sea and a capacity to cut through the waves that most cruise ships cannot match. Where they wallow, QM2 slices the water like a speedboat. Well done, Mr. Payne …. But QM2’s interior is a kind of mash-up mixing Edwardian and Art Deco. There is a certain clientele for this kind of pseudo-historical rubbish, and it is mainly old people. QM2 is essentially a floating Old Age Home. On our trip, the average age was certainly well past sixty. This is not meant to be ageist. I am 73 myself, and as I have aged, I have become more aware of how bad design impinges on older people. By this standard, Queen Mary 2 is a shameful failure masquerading as a Downton Abbey set. Her design should accommodate the special needs of seniors far better than it does. Her sight-lines are broken and confusing, and her passageways often meander up and down staircases in utterly maddening ways. This is entirely Mr. Payne’s fault. Add some confusing – or completely absent – directional signs (which may or may not be Mr. Payne’s fault) and you create a burden on the elderly that any ship should be ashamed of. And for anyone with mobility issues, QM2 is a nightmare. The Edwardian theme of Cunard’s advertising suggests QM2 was built with a kind of old-world craftsmanship. When she was launched in 2004, The London Times gushed purple, “She will be heir to all that has gone before, and will carry the grace and elegance of a bygone era into the future.” (7 November, 2000) Well, in fact she was built in France at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard using the same techniques used to build the “Liberty Ships” of World War II, i.e. box-like segments that were fabricated and then welded together. This isn’t quite what Cunard wants you to remember about QM2. You might be reminded, though, whenever you exit on Deck 3 from “C Elevators,” because the segments there were so mis-aligned in fabrication that there is a 10-inch rise or fall between them, something the builders welded plates over, but which remains as an unmarked tripping hazard or a ramp-way for wheelchair passengers to negotiate. In a land-based building, the law would forbid this sort of hazard, but I stumbled over it several times, so I suppose it’s alright if you’re veddy, veddy Cunard …. Steven Payne is on record as wanting a ship that would assert historical linkages between QM2 and her predecessor ships, particularly Queen Elizabeth 2. That seems to mean using a whole lot of columns, particularly big, fat columns. Mr. Payne seems never to have met a column he didn’t like. QM2 is riddled with them, everywhere you could imagine, even in passageways scattered where they interfere with foot traffic. He even thoughtfully included a great many columns throughout the Queen’s Room (a concert and show venue) just so your view would be almost certainly blocked. Arrive early for any show or be prepared for a neck-ache the next day. There is an on-board chiropractor who seems never to lack customers. The worst of the bad design is the buffet restaurant on deck 7, the “King’s Court.” Words cannot describe just how badly designed it is. Food is served at unlabeled stations that appear to shift from one meal to the next. No signs disturb your befuddled meanderings, meaning once you have examined the dishes on offer, you are left to ponder where the one you really did want might have been located. More than once, I just gave up and ate whatever I found in front of me. Self-service drink stations (hot and cold drinks) are so badly designed that language cannot capture how poorly they function. I observed seniors staring in bafflement as they tried to get something to drink with their food. This part of the vessel was supposedly radically redesigned during the 2016 refit. Good Lord! The mind quails at the thought that this abomination could be somehow better than whatever went before. Really, the whole area amounts to a monument to design truly awful. It should be filmed and studied in design schools all over the world as an example of what NOT to do. Once you get some food, any food, you have to make your way to seating that is mainly invisible from the serving area, and is divided into so many small alcoves that you cannot see where you want to go. (Did I mention all those columns?) And because you cannot use a tray, you have to make several trips between the serving areas and your seat as you get drinks, dessert, etc. Don’t get lost, or you’ll wander blindly about in search of your spouse, your family, and all your other food. I recommend leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to guide you back. This kind of bad design means most people try to sit as close to the serving stations as possible, leading to a sort of Darwinian competition for seats at busy times. All of this, of course, is infinitely worse for those who use canes, walkers, or wheelchairs. Survival of the fittest, indeed. Signage – or its absence -- on QM2 deserves its own special mention. Their motorways aside, the Brits are often not good at putting up signs. Some sort of genetic quirk makes them consider signs of any sort as blight on an otherwise pleasant view. In this, QM2 is indeed a “veddy British” ship. Something similar should be said about maps and printed material on board ship. Signs and directions are conspicuous by their absence. QM2’s graphic design people should be sacked immediately and competent people should be hired in their place. Here are a couple of hints: However cool it may seem to a twenty-year-old, light grey text on ivory-coloured paper is very hard to read, particularly by seniors in the dimly lit spaces favoured by QM2’s planners. Maps of this ship should include the designated elevator bays by name -- just to eliminate guesswork. Deck plans fixed to the walls should be oriented in the direction the maps point (i.e. not at right angles, so the bow points left or right). Some cruise liners use figures woven into their hallway carpets to suggest directions; Cunard might want to consider something similar – if that wouldn’t mar the Masterpiece Theatre atmosphere. Most of these, and similar points, are commonplace in better design schools all over the world. Some of their graduates might consider working for Cunard if offered enough money. One strange issue: I don’t drink alcohol on a sea voyage – I tend to get seasick and alcohol triggers me – so I bought a soft-drink-and-juice package for about $50 that allowed me unlimited non-alcoholic beverages. Somehow Cunard’s carbonated soft drinks – served in a glass, never a can or bottle – taste funny, all of them. They have a soapy or chemical under-taste. They’re like East German soft drinks in the 1970s. (Really, I remember the taste from when I was there.) Plus, the soft drink sticker on your ship’s card is a foolproof way to get all the waiters to ignore you. It’s like you have become the Ship’s Leper the moment they see it. This is especially true of the Golden Lion Pub. My recommendation: fool the waiters by pretending to order something alcoholic and then switch to apple juice at the last minute, but please don’t bother with the soft-drink package. Finally, some practical hints to would-be voyagers: Cunard seems allergic to putting up hooks in the suites that might allow you to hang up hats, windbreakers, or other light things. But the walls are steel (whatever their finish), meaning strong refrigerator magnets with hooks can hold clothing items, while flat magnets can pin up papers, including the daily schedule, which otherwise scuttles under the bed the moment you look away. Also, the bathrooms in your suite lack any sort of night-lights (an issue for us old guys who use the loo several times a night). Dollar store battery-powered fake tea lights make great night-lights for cabins and bathrooms. There are free washers and dryers aboard, but they get booked up quickly near the end of the voyage. You might think if you arrive when their signs say they open at 7:30 AM you can surely get a machine. Foolish child. You will find that the stewards have kindly opened the launderettes early to accommodate the end-of-voyage rush and all the washers are busy. Plan to arrive at 7:15 or even earlier. Signs don’t count for much on Queen Mary 2, even where they do exist. To sum up, you don’t have a lot of choice if you want to experience a North Atlantic Ocean crossing. QM2 is basically it. Overall, the experience is about what you can expect on any cruise ship, better sea-handling, about average service, but the pseudo-British veneer and badly designed interior spaces may limit your enjoyment. The food is reasonably good – apart from the soft drinks – regardless of what others say in reviews. Avoid the King’s Court and just expect to be baffled by how to get around on the poorly signed main decks. And mind that unmarked tripping hazard on Elevator C, Deck 3! Read Less
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