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36 Cunard Hamburg Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it was going somewhere we always wanted to visit. Also, we got a Queens Grill cabin for the price of a balcony, so the value was there. With the included drinks package, we thought we had gotten a great deal. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going somewhere we always wanted to visit. Also, we got a Queens Grill cabin for the price of a balcony, so the value was there. With the included drinks package, we thought we had gotten a great deal. We sailed from Hamburg on July 16th, our first day being a sea day. The ship is very pretty, but a bit tired. Could use some sprucing up. The carpets were worn in many spots, and you could see rust all around the ship. Our cabin, 5190 was on the back of the ship and had a very large balcony. However, compared to other cruise lines, the suite was quite small. I was shocked by just how small it was. We sailed HAL two years ago and our suite was easily twice the size. Queens Grill dining made up for the tired ship and small cabin however. The dining room was beautiful and the food and service amazing. Anything you want you can have. It is never too much trouble, and offered with a smile. Everyone who works there seems to really care about the passengers. What a great experience. The included drink package comes with one caveat. Any drink over $12 will be charged in its entirety. Most popular drinks on the ship are priced at $12.50. Makes the package not much of a perk. The one shore excursion we took through the ship almost had a mutiny it was so bad. People were leaving in droves, and everyone complained about it. It was boring and hot. The guide was not very good at what he did, and almost everyone could not wait until it was over. As an example, they took us to a pier for a break and there were only two restrooms. We spent the entire time waiting on line. We saw only one show, which was ok. Most of our evening time was spent either in one of the lounges, or sitting on our balcony watching the ship move. Since it got dark so late, we really enjoyed it. Also, the included liquor supplied in Queens Grill didn't run up our charges. Considering all of these issues, we did have a good time. I would say I am only 60/40 as to whether I would cruise on Cunard again. With the dressing up, the state of the cabins and the boring evening entertainment, perhaps it is time to try one of the smaller luxury lines. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship offering excellent entertainment options and an amazing dining experience. It does have some problems, as does every ship I've sailed on, but overall I think you'll enjoy your experience. ... Read More
Queen Victoria is a wonderful ship offering excellent entertainment options and an amazing dining experience. It does have some problems, as does every ship I've sailed on, but overall I think you'll enjoy your experience. First of all, it is not a young person's cruise. The average passenger on my cruise was 70+ years old. If you have trouble with elderly people walking very slowly in front of you and stopping suddenly for no apparent reason, you may be frustrated at times. At the height of the summer cruise season for families, there were hardly any children on board. Secondly, It is largely a British clientele, which I found charming. The average cruiser was well educated and well mannered. No line jumpers of chair hogs, which was refreshing. I could strike up a conversation with almost anyone I met and found most of them interesting. However, if you want to shoot the breeze about NASCAR, baseball and the NFL, you may be disappointed. Check-in was smooth on the dock, but scattered and unprofessional on board. No one met us in the lobby. There was no sign telling us where to go. We were boarded on the open deck three and had to find our own way inside. Even inside, no one greeted us or offered to help us find our cabin, lunch, etc.. We had to ask! Talk about a bad first impression. It got better after that. We had a suite and were dining in the Queens Grill. Our butler met us at the door (Suite 7050), took our alcohol orders for the in-room bar, showed us how to work everything in the room and walked us to the elevators to show us how to access the private Queen's Grill dining room. She was amazing throughout the cruise. She set up a cocktail reception in our room for a half dozen guests (the complimentary appetizer platter was huge and delicious). Lourdes took care of last minute laundry requests and kept our suite spotless. She also restocked the bar any time we were running low. The suite has a boxy crowded configuration which made the room seem much smaller than it was. There were plenty of electrical outlets with both American and British sockets. We had no problem keeping two cell phones, two tablets and two fitbits charged. The love seat is fine. There is adequate storage space and the butler stowed our empty luggage so we wouldn't have to worry about it. TIP: Don't remove your stateroom luggage tags. You'll need them to find your luggage at disembarkation! The balcony was large enough for a table and three chairs plus two loungers. The bed was very comfortable, however they do not use typical American sheets, on board, but rather European duvets. Very comfortable, but not what I'm used to. The bathroom was functional, with a private toilet room and a private room for showering and bathing, The tub was jetted and offered a very relaxing bath with bubbles. The towels were not soft at all, The teri cloth material made for the worst towels I've experienced in 25 cruises. The suite's bar was stocked with loads of teas, coffee and cookies. My wife and I each chose a brand of alcohol. I requested Crown Royal, even though it was not on the list offered by Cunard. The butler made it happen! The fridge was stocked with Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, 7-Up, tonic nd soda water, Carlsberg Beer and plenty of water, Again, our butler replenished our bar twice a day! We dined in the Queen's Grill, which is the best dining experience on the seas, in my opinion. The menus are very similar to those in the Princess Grill and Britania Dining Room. The difference is we were invited to order off the menu at every meal, and the dining staff did their best to accommodate us. Among the items I ordered off the menu were: Caviar, shrimp cocktail, Dover sole, chateaubriand, lobster, veal parmasean, fettuccine Alfredo, pistaccio ice cream, french onion soup and several different salads. Basically, the sky's the limit, if they have the ingredients on board, The tables are close together. My wife and I were seated at a table for two, but conversed easily and often with diners at nearby tables. When we wanted privcy, we were left alone. However, we all became instant friends. Here's a tip: Be the first to say hello to someone and do it early in the cruise! Coincidentally, one gentleman, at a six-top next to us, turned out to be a Cruise Critic member I had conversed with on line! He and his wife were positively charming! I found the entertainment on board to be excellent. The big production shows were good, but not amazing, Headliners like the magician and acrobatic dance team were marvelous. And it seemed on any given night there were six or more venues offering music and fun. I've never experienced such a wide variey of musical enterrtainment on any ship I've sailed. It truly was a highlight of th cruise.And it meant fewer crowds. We never had a problem finding a table or a seat in the showroom for the late shows. The only bummer was the Grills Lounge never had live entertainment. The enrichment activities were a disappointment. Cunard offers wine tasting seminars on its web site. High end wine seminars. However, after pre-booking a very expensive tasting, we got on board to learn the wine seminars were canceled. In fact our sommelier told us they han't done the high end wine tastings in six months. Cunard refused to credit the money from my canceled wine tasting to my shipboard account and told me I'd have to try to get refunded when I returned home. VERY POOR CUSTOMER SEVICE on that! Tip: Do NOT PRE-ORDER WINE TASTINGS! There were 3 speakers on board. One was a retired fighter pilot, who offered some fun anecdotes about his flying career. The other two sounded so boring, I cannot even remember them. I believe one woman was discussing the film career of an actor I've never heard of. We did not use Cunard for shore excursions. We booked everything independently. I suggest you consider private independent shore excursions as well. Remember, every group tour moves as fast as its slowest member. Everyone else has to wait on the slow poke. You may only have one shot to visit some of these ports. Do you relly want to wait on that last person? Additionally, Cunard builds profit into its excursions. The independent tours are almost always cheaper. Cruise Critic has an excellent section devoted to independent tours. Disembarkation for this cruise was difficult, because we got off in Kiel. It is an hour+ drive to Hamburg from there. It's pricey and difficult to reach the airport in time to make flights to the USA. Many people opted to spend an extra day in Hamburg. Don't take the negative aspects of my review as an indication I was disappointed. I was not. I will definitely cruise Cunard again if I can find the right itinerary. And I will definitely book Queens Grille for the dining experience. These reviews are supposed to help future cruisers prepare, I hope I have! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our trip started in Hamburg, Germany on June 21, 2019, stopped in Southampton for the day on June 24 and onwards to New York arriving June 30. The trip had 2 very different vibes: The Hamburg to Southampton segment had many more ... Read More
Our trip started in Hamburg, Germany on June 21, 2019, stopped in Southampton for the day on June 24 and onwards to New York arriving June 30. The trip had 2 very different vibes: The Hamburg to Southampton segment had many more families with "free range kids", noise, heavy patronage of the buffet, garbage on the floors, noise at night, kids running and knocking on doors, kids running free during the life safety segment, kids running down the promenade deck careening into guests and people sitting in chairs etc. Adults with loud voices and shouting in the public rooms. The Southampton to New York a quieter more refined experience with the amazing guest speakers and quiet conversations among guests. QM2 is an experience of a life time and each time we take a TA on the QM2 it is excellent, unique and designed to link the guest to the sea. The QM2 is the way a ship should be. QM2 did not disappoint - but we would say the food in the MDR and the Kings Court buffet was a significant step downwards from our last TA 2 years ago. Cunard, improve your general food offerings, make it the same as Celebrity. Your general food offerings should not be less than Carnival. Other than that, the QM2 was excellent. The positives: * QM2 is a ship, not a Vegas hotel. * There is no end of vistas so that a guest can feel and smell the ocean. The open wing deck under the bridge is simply amazing. Modern cruise ships are designed to keep guests looking inward so they can spend $. Well done Cunard. The step down stern open areas are spectacular and well patronized * A real promenade deck, enough said. It was heavily patronized. * Cunard expects guests to be able to entertain themselves during the day * This is a ship for intellectuals - meaning the amazing guest speakers and library enable guests to learn about the world. The guest speaks spoke on - being an envoy in Moscow in the cold war, a London theater actress speaking on the hidden gems of London, WW2 submarine technology and deployment in the war. What a joy versus the nonsense on modern cruise ships. * The historical boards towards the bow area recounting the glory days of the Queens and transatlantic travel * The service was excellent, excellent. The amount of staff, their training, their demeanor etc was top notch - a step well above our last QM2 TA. To be frank, the service in the common areas were as good as our trips on Crystal and Oceania. * The extra charge restaurants were - excellent. The Veranda was the equal of the steakhouse on Oceania. The most amazing food was at the Alternative restaurant located in a part of the Kings Court - Cunard, you have a winner here. There are themed nights - Coriandor, The Smokehouse, Azetec and Bamboo. The food was the very best I ever had on a ship period. Better than Crystal or Oceania. The tastes were sublime, the presentation, the quantity, the service by the hand picked staff was first class. There were Grill level guests there and many said they would abandon the Grills and book a non Grill and simply enjoy the extra charge Veranda and Alternative dining. * The officers - they were visible and pleasant and stopped to answer questions. * The Golden Lion fish and chips and the Indian food put most cruise ship venues to shame * The music on the pa was excellent - just loud enough, classic to modern. Excellent choice. Entertainment was good. * Well - the kennel. Being on the pool decks at the stern and hearing the dear dogs barking from time to time as they were out with their fur parents was to die for. It humanized the ship - it was a great hit with guests. * The sheltered balcony cabin was well maintained and very cozy. * The size of the public areas, the amount of space per passenger is amazing. * QM2 rides like a dream, never felt her move. * The side corridors on deck 3 which have tables for games and chairs for sitting. These areas are the closest to the ocean level and are amazing. * Smoothies and detox beverages in the Kings Court area - excellent * Room service was good. The chopped fruit salad was excellent, as good as the chopped fruit salad on Oceania. The pain au chocolate was not bad. Coffee was excellent overall with real cream Negatives: * Boarding in Hamburg - The Grills class passengers walked right in front of the non Grills class long line up to gain access to the check in staff. Disrespectful. Have a separate check in line for Grills guests. * Food in the Kings Court. Not good. Cheap looking, cheap taste. The hot dishes, breads, cold meats etc were set out - no garnishes around any of the food serving stations - just cold looking plates on a hard surface with no visual appeal. Simply the worst looking and worst tasting buffet I have seen. A steep decline from my last QM2 TA. The breads were the cheapest quality you could imagine. The cold meats were cheap. We had no interest in eating there. The realignment of this area was much better than before, the food was not. * The MDR. Fabulous room, the best on the seas. The staff were excellent. The food was not. The food size, garnishing, taste, quality was average to poor. The onion soup consisted of a dry powder soup base with a few onions. Served after was a small round bread piece with a few cheese shreds. Awful. It was returned. The protein portions were small and dry. Salads were small with minimum garnishes. The food did not live up to the amazing room. * The carpets since the refit are awful. The orange and yellow down the main corridor was glaring and cheap. It was the carpet in the cabin floors (all decks I think), beige on the right side trending towards a pattern and deep blue next the cabin doors. The carpet looked awful and cheap. Who needs beige carpet in a high traffic area? The carpet looked like you would have got it at the Dollar store. * Ah, the infamous post cruise mini bar in the room charge. Got dinged for $18.29 for a mystery charge. Will not be paying it. _______________________________________________________________ Having cruised since 1989, on the mass and luxury lines, we enjoy Cunard for the value it represents and the great itineraries and the real ships they provide guests. All cruise lines are cheapening their products. Cunard is as well. Cunard is best suited to guests who enjoy being on a ship, who wish to behave in a classy way and dress a bit better than the anything goes mass cruise lines. The Cunard guests are well travelled and well informed. If you want Vegas at sea, loud techno music, drunk guests due to the beverage packages etc do not choose Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We wanted to sali on QM2 for a very long time, and 5 day cruise from Hamburg was a great opportunity. First glimpse of her at cruise terminal and already: wow! Ship makes very good first impression, its grand, elegant, with golden ... Read More
We wanted to sali on QM2 for a very long time, and 5 day cruise from Hamburg was a great opportunity. First glimpse of her at cruise terminal and already: wow! Ship makes very good first impression, its grand, elegant, with golden age liner look. A rare view comparing to other ships nowadays. Embarkation: Very, very smoth and very fast. It tooks us 35 min from entering terminal to get to ship! There was around 20 counters open, so Line was moving all the time. Fun fact: our emabrkation time was set on 3pm. We arrived at terminal at 12:30 and at 1pm we were already onboard! Pleasant surprise! Ship: Like i said, its magificent. Vast public areas, never feel crowded. Lot of nice artwork, sculptures and little details. Pictures dont give up all her beauty. Layout of decks may be little confusing at first but after some walking we get use to it quickly. And yes, WALKING. Due to size of this ship there is a lot of stairs and distance from one room im front to aft deck can be quite big, but we really enjoy our strolls, especialy in this kind of surroundings. Very smoth sail, almost no movement is noticable. Also very quiet inside. Like you may already guess average passanger age is 65+, but it really doesnt make this Trip worse, to be honest alot of passengers are very friendly and open, and there is always a chance to have nice, inteligent chat with someone onboard. Majority of passengers were German (we heard that almost 2000 are German) but it didnt couse problems for english speaking people. All announcements were In english and then german. Dress code: during day almost every option is avalible. Anything that makes you comfortable ll do. After 6pm its time to shine. There is No way to be overdressed on Queen Mary but there was also alot of more modest, yet stylish outfits. We thought that all that dress up thing ll make this trip stiff and pretentious but we couldnt be more wrong. Its a integral part of this ship, and make it more special. Cabin: We were staying In sheltered balcony cabin on deck 5 mid aft. Very nice location, between two main stairways. Quite big (for todays standard) balcony. Metal structure prevent strong wind. Cabin itself was nice too. Good size, everything Thats needed is inside. Very clean. Big storage for clothes, very comfortable bed, and most important very quiet. Dining: We tried all avalible options, but Brittania Restaurant was our favorite. Great taste, variety and presentation. We ate all dinners there and that was best idea. Our waiter was also superb and trying his best to make everything perfect. My only complain ll go to sommelier. He was not very polite, and speaks way to quiet, but worst thing was, when he started to make strange faces when i told him that we want order any alcohol tonight. For that one moment i felt guilty and bad. experience... Kings Court - always lots of people, that only one place onboard that feel crowded. Food is ok, there is many thing to choose from but for lunch we preferred Brittania, for breakfast room service. Veranda Grill - one word: excelent. Everything was top quality. No problem with booking a table. Drinks - tough subject. We are not heavy drinkers, so there was No need for us to buy lot of alcohol, but prices are quite high. May be a problem for someone who like to drink few drinks every night plus champaigne during day but well... this is Queen Mary. Entertaiment: Live music playing In various areas was really nice. Not to loud, or too agressive. Our favorite was Vladimir Zinchenko Trio In Chart Room. Quality jazz, makes you travel back In time, to golden era of ocean liners. We watched two shows In Royal Court Theatre and we enjoyed both. Rythm of the night and Three Voices. Great production value and entertaiment team was giving their best. Queens Room Ballroom dancing was a new, but nice experience, especially with big band music. Fun fact: during night at stern, there is some quiet, lounge music playing. Nice idea! We didnt perticipate In daytime activities but they were not disturbing our free time. There was many options to choose from but very relaxing ad slow paced. Swimming pools were almost every time empty (surprisingly) so we can enjoy them fully. Service: Top quality. Very polite, descrette, patient and helpfull. Top Marks for our stewardess Janette. Such a nice and friendly soul. Always smiling and gives us tips and advices how to enjoy cruise more. She keept our cabin In best condition. Port and Excursions: We went off only In St. Peter Port, by tender boats. Very well organised. No rush so you can leave when is the best time for you. (All booked excursions went off shore first) Nice touch, when you re going back to ship they take more scenic route, so you can make nice photos of the bow and whole ship. Reassuming that was a great trip, so great that we already booked next one, and we cant wait to go back on this magnificent ship! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
There’s no point beating about the bush. Booking my first cruise filled me with dread; at one stroke I was destroying my credibility as an independent traveller. 15 years and 40 cruises later, I admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. ... Read More
There’s no point beating about the bush. Booking my first cruise filled me with dread; at one stroke I was destroying my credibility as an independent traveller. 15 years and 40 cruises later, I admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sea travel has opened up a new world of exploration and last week I repeated my first ever cruise, but this time with Cunard. Would the grand histories of the Baltic ports be matched by the royal splendours of Queen Victoria? THE PORTS Every city on the Baltic itinerary is steeped in history and if palaces, galleries and cathedrals are your thing then this cruise does not disappoint. And if, like me, you appreciate Scandinavian art and design, the ports have some wonderful specialist shops and art studios as well. Be prepared for eye watering prices, however. A cup of coffee and a pastry in Copenhagen for £9 is one thing, but £925 for a cake slice is quite another, albeit an exquisite one designed by Georg Jensen. St Petersburg remains the highlight destination and these days there is more of an effort to make visitors feel welcome: immigration formalities have been streamlined and stern faces replaced with occasional smiles. This is one port where organised excursions are the only way to enjoy the city’s palaces and museums because independent sightseeing is impossible without a visa. I started with a four-hour walking tour, led by a witty and knowledgeable guide who was as happy to be quizzed about Salisbury as she was to rib Putin. One of many highlights was the Church on Spilled Blood with its onion domes reaching to the sky, still beautiful despite a major programme of renovations. Stockholm’s royal palaces are as good a starting point as any for understanding the city’s history but there is so much more. The Museum of Modern Art on the island of Skeppsholmen is worth a visit, its gardens home to colourful and zany sculptures. Although there is a shuttle bus service available, I found it as quick to take the riverside walk past the Film Museum and enter Stockholm via the warren of narrow streets in the Old Town. Of the other ports, Tallinn is compact and the easiest to explore on foot. My starting point was the 13th century cobblestoned main square where I enjoyed a coffee in warm sunshine. From there I walked up to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, an orthodox and gloriously ornate cathedral funded by public donations. Kiel on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast was less impressive. It is twinned with Coventry but has not been as successful in rebuilding after the devastations of war. The Rathaus, or Town Hall, with its ornate interior survived the bombing but Kiel is one place where the best plan might be to book an excursion. THE SHIP Ask loyal Cunarders which is their favourite ship and the answer more often than not is Queen Victoria. I can see why. My cabin was spacious and the public areas luxuriously comfortable, with deep sofas and armchairs waiting to help relieve tired legs after busy days ashore. The dark wood veneers, deep pile carpets in golds and creams, and art deco marble tiling all recall a golden era for passenger ships. The elegant Queens Room on Deck 2 is a popular haunt, not only for afternoon cream teas served by waiters in white gloves but also because it is a ballroom where every evening there is dancing to live music. Cunard dance hosts offer to partner single guests and during the day there are classes led by a professional dance couple. Guests Jane and Robert from Harlow in Essex are keen dancers and the ship’s ballroom was one of the reasons they booked the cruise. “The setting is beautiful,” Jane told me. “We love dancing and enjoyed our times in the Queens Room – but more opportunities for sequence dancing would have been nice.” The handsome two-storey library is well-stocked and the two librarians impressed me with their courtesy and knowledge. At the Purser’s Desk, international receptionists like Lisa from Berlin, Martin from Vienna and Charles from Cambridge were fine ambassadors for Cunard, cheerfully responding to my questions and often providing me with additional maps before going ashore. I cannot think of any area where service was less than excellent. On deck and in the bars, stewards were attentive however busy they were and in the Chart Room ($4.83 for an Illy cappuccino), waiters Julito, Martina and Rolando made every visit special thanks to their professionalism. It was the same in the Britannia Restaurant with waiters Gede and KC delivering faultless service at our table, and Cyril offering expert wine advice. The House wines were good although $14 for a glass of red made my eyes water! The galleys prepare around 5000 meals a day and standards are high. My beef sirloin and pork medallions were first rate, piping hot and full of flavour, and the fish was also excellent, whether the roasted monkfish or the grilled turbot. When I asked for chips, they were delivered immediately. For desserts, and knowing that coffee and chocolates or petit fours would follow, I generally restricted myself to the ice creams. Yes, there were disappointments but they were remedied quickly. My roast turkey one evening was lukewarm and Gede handled the matter without fuss, apologising and returning promptly with a hot replacement meal. There was a wide range of activities to choose from on sea days, from bridge and watercolour art classes to port presentations and talks from guest speakers, all of them well attended. Captain Tomás Connery was seen around the ship every day – always a good sign - and at midday updated us with navigational details. In the evenings, The Royal Court Theatre Company presented music and dance shows to packed houses and there were guest artists too. My favourites were Roy G Hemmings who spent ten years as a singer with The Drifters and Jon Courtenay, an energetic pianist comic. Perhaps because of the Baltic itinerary, there was an international dimension to the cruise. The majority of passengers were British but there were several other nationalities as well – mainly Australians, Americans, Germans, French and Dutch . . . and one South Korean. Does such a mixture have a major influence on menus? Not according to Jackie Bott, the ship’s Hotel General Manager (HGM). “People generally come to Cunard because it’s Cunard,” she told me. “Our international guests tell us that they don’t want to be served with their local dishes. They want to taste British food.” Nancy and John Keisman, guests from Brandon in Mississippi, took the same view. “We loved this cruise,” said John. “Not only for the ports with their different cultures but also for the opportunity to enjoy some great British food - Yorkshire pudding was new to us but we kinda liked it!” Nevertheless some of the food did reflect Continental tastes. The variety of bread and pastries served at breakfast in the Lido restaurant on Deck 9 is one example, with white, black, rye and brown breads, along with bagels and croissants, available each morning. WORTH BOOKING? The Baltic itinerary features throughout the Cunard 2019/2020 brochure and, although I have now done it twice, I would happily do it a third time because each port offers such a diverse range of history and culture. But the real star of this cruise was Queen Victoria and I can’t wait to return on board. HGM Jackie Bott unwittingly summed up the ship’s success when she told me what appealed most about her work in leading a department of 800 officers and crew. “Passengers think it must be the chance to see the world that is the best part of the job, but ports are secondary to people and in any case I’ve visited most ports more than once. People are far more interesting and complex and they are central to everything we do at Cunard.” No surprise, then, that Queen Victoria delivered such a successful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I always wanted to cross the Atlantic on a real ocean vessel, which is the QM2. The ship met all of my expectations and then some. We were lucky enough to have the National Symphony onboard who entertained the guests with a wonderful ... Read More
I always wanted to cross the Atlantic on a real ocean vessel, which is the QM2. The ship met all of my expectations and then some. We were lucky enough to have the National Symphony onboard who entertained the guests with a wonderful program that included passengers in the chorale. The paintings of Cunard's ships past and present are all over the walls. History adorns the QM2 (in addition) on the walls. The sailing was completely sold out with folks from many different nations. MY wife and I boarded in Hamburg while most of the passengers boarded in Southhampton, England. The food on the ship is very, very good. We dined in the Britannia dining room with a staff that moves and operates like a fine Swiss clock. The waiters and staff in the dining room are so professional. If you are like me and could care less about ports of call, then take a trans-Atlantic crossing and treat yourself to this majestic, wonderful vessel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I did a short cruise on QM2 to see whether the 2016 refit had made a difference. In 2008 I had sailed to New York on QM2. The ship's decor was tacky, cheap and tasteless and looked more like a cinema multiples than the liner she was ... Read More
I did a short cruise on QM2 to see whether the 2016 refit had made a difference. In 2008 I had sailed to New York on QM2. The ship's decor was tacky, cheap and tasteless and looked more like a cinema multiples than the liner she was meant to be, and the service was dismissive and grumpy. The Kings Court buffet was no better than a cross channel ferry buffet in offerings and atmosphere and Britannia Restaurant dining was embarassingly poor to say the least. Jump forward 10 years - and wow. The QM2 has come of age. She now feels like a grand liner. She had character and a sense of identity all stemming from stunning new decor throughout, and being perfectly honest I would have happily remained on board for the rest of my life. The public rooms no longer felt like areas lined with chairs in vast corridors. They were now inviting and intimate. Service was exemplary. No other word. My cabin steward. The restaurant Maitre D', the restaurant waiting staff, the bar staff. Everyone. Fast - never rushed - friendly, efficient, smiling service from beginning to end. The restaurant offerings were magnificent. No other word. Afternoon tea - very good - not as good as on the Queen Elizabeth 2 but then I guess nothing can ever be that good. The remastered Kings Court - is now a much more pleasant environment with much better food, though it would be nice to see hand-made pastries and cakes at this level and not the commercially massed produced items which are on offer. The Carinthia Lounge was the ultimate spot for a quality breakfast. Quiet, intimate, soothing and with stunning food offerings. My cabin was the typical pre-fabricated affair associated with modern ships but more than I expected with qualilty fittings and furniture. Bathrooms could be larger and more bespoke they seemed somewhat out of character with what the ship is now and maybe Cunard can take a leaf out of the Seabourne bathroom book. When I travelled on QM2 in 2008 she was a disgustingly gaudy unthemed mess. The Cunard machine continually told passengers how special she was and how privileged they were to sail her. It was the equivalent of a Disneyland version of a European Castle. It looked like it but it just wasn't the real thing. Now, QM2 speaks for herself. A modern take on art-deco throughout. A sense of luxury and style and grandeur while achieving a sense of intimacy and homeliness. The only disappointment I had was with Cunard and not with QM2. Check in at Hamburg required queuing (lining up) for the best part of 3 hours. This was beyond the worst shambolic efforts of Ryanair during a pilot strike and Cunard should be both very embarassed and disgusted with themselves for allowing this to happen in association with such a quality product. I, personally had been going since 5.00am on Friday the 1st. I had to deal with my flight to Hamburg being cancelled and all that involved. When I arrived in Hamburg, Cunard met me and transferred me to QM2 in luxury, where I and the other transfer passengers were then dumped like baggage in a large warehouse to join the end of a line with 1500 others. In short, QM2 from Hamburg to Southampton was a perfect experience apart from check in, man-made fibre bedsheets and some mass produced food offerings which just felt like the accountants were cutting corners. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Spring is a great time to cruise the northern area, and we hit it just right by sailing from Hamburg on May 12, 2018. The cruise started on May 10 in Southampton with a boatload of folks from Australia doing the "Three Queens", ... Read More
Spring is a great time to cruise the northern area, and we hit it just right by sailing from Hamburg on May 12, 2018. The cruise started on May 10 in Southampton with a boatload of folks from Australia doing the "Three Queens", and picked up passengers from The States, Canada and Germany itself in Hamburg. My friend and I had two of the new solo cabins on Deck 2. Until now, there had been no passenger cabins on that deck, and we found it necessary to get help from a ship's officer to locate ours. Just pass the wall of slot machines in the casino and enter an alcove with a large white door that had nothing to indicate there were now cabins in there. Open said door, and there is a hallway with nine ocean view solo that had just been added. A great three quarter size bed - no mere twin here! A three drawer dresser as well as bedside drawers and the good sized closet gave all the space a solo traveler could use. There was an electric kettle, china and silver, and all the bits and pieces needed for a cuppa tea or coffee. The bathroom was compact and had the cloth shower curtain that no one especially loves, but it was well arranged and had plenty of shelf areas for cosmetics. Best of all, our huge windows matched those in the dining room in size and shape. What more could you ask for ? We had booked many of our excursions with the ship, and a two day independent with ALLA Tours for our St. Petersburg visit. We had a day at sea to settle in, followed by our visit to Copenhagen. The Tivoli & Harbour Cruise was not quite up to our expectations. We were dropped at Tivoli with instructions "enjoy yourself" and meet in two hours to make the canal boat connection. We arrived at the boat after two other groups had already boarded and taken the majority of the seats....not much of a scenic cruise over shoulders and past heads of those near the windows. We had a few minutes to view the Little Mermaid, and back to the ship. Our Stockholm day included the Vasa museum which is always interesting, and a city tour on the bus. Tallinn offered "Rags to Riches" with visits to parts of the city where both categories of natives had once dwelt. Nice stops with plenty of photo ops overlooking the towers of the city. We arrived in St. Petersburg early in the morning, and met our ALLA tour bus at 0830 after clearing Russian customs. They had booked our needed visas, and we had no problem with moving through the arrival area. I had been in St. Petersburg many years before, and found this a marvelous company. Our hostess spoke perfedt English, and we had those ear pieces that allowed you to follow your guide easily. The tour covered every possible cathedral and palace the city had to offer, and a grand lunch was included. Our 16 passenger Mercedes bus was comfortable, and our driver was always ready to assist as you got on and off. We returned to the ship in time for dinner, and were met the next morning at 0730 for another full day of touring. A ride on the subway was one of the most interesting times. The subway passes under the Neva River, and returning to the surface on the fast moving escalator took a full three minutes. Amazing! My friend's watch kept tract of steps, and we learned we had walked five miles each day without actually realizing we had done so. The royal wedding of Prince Henry and Meghan took place while we were docked, but a special dinner was set up for Saturday (19 May) evening with a souvenir menu that had a beautiful photo of the couple and a list of all the Royals who had sailed Cunard since l861. Replays of the wedding were run on ship's television several times. Our next port was Kiel, but the excursion titled Castles and Boats never stopped in the city for a look around. We drove quite a way to look at a few schloss buildings (no entry) and then had a little boat ride around several small lakes that had nothing to offer. This was another disappointing tour that cost $97.00 for very little. The final stop was at the far north end of Denmark in the city of Skagen. The locals were very welcoming of cruise passengers, and the tour covered an outdoor museum and a trip to the far spit of land by a tractor pulled "sandworm". Really a fun day this time. Next day was "at sea" and we docked in Southampton on 24 May. A transfer to Heathrow had been prepaid, and all went perfectly. It had been a good cruise, with weather you could not have ordered to be any more perfect....warm and sunny most of the time but never chilly or too hot. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We had a wonderful time on our recent voyage on the Queen Mary 2. For a more detailed daily description please see the Cunard Forum for our daily reports titled “Join Pete and Judy on their FIRST crossing on the Queen Mary 2”. We ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on our recent voyage on the Queen Mary 2. For a more detailed daily description please see the Cunard Forum for our daily reports titled “Join Pete and Judy on their FIRST crossing on the Queen Mary 2”. We are experienced travelers and cruisers in our 60’s with most of our cruise time on Holland America and Princess, with a few cruises on Celebrity, NCL, RCI and Viking. The Queen Mary is now permanently moored in Long Beach where it is a museum, hotel and event center. My father sailed on the Queen Mary when he returned from WW II back in 1945. It is also where Judy and I spent our Honeymoon so it will always be a special ship to us. While cruising on the Queen Mary is no longer possible, we decided to try the next best thing and sail on the Queen Mary 2 on her iconic voyage – a westbound crossing. Why westbound? You get an extra hour of sleep each night for 5 of the nights and you get to sail into New York Harbor and see the Statue of Liberty the way she was intended to be seen, from a ship arriving from Europe. Our cruise – er, voyage – started in Hamburg, Germany, and would have a single port visit in Southampton before continuing the crossing to New York City. One thing you learn quickly on the Queen Mary 2 is that she is not a cruise ship but an ocean liner and great pride is taken in pointing that out whenever they have the chance. Cunard vessels also go on voyages, not cruises, and have an entertainment director, not a cruise director. As a final note, the QM2 is an OCEANLINER, not a cruise ship which make her seakeeping abilities much superior to a typical cruise ship. The seas picked up quite a bit as we closed on NYC and the remnants of Hurricane Hermine, but we sailed along much smoother that I would have expected on another vessel. SUMMARY We loved the QM2 and plan to sail again on her, particularly on another crossing. The prices of some of the crossings can be competitive with business class airfare which makes taking the QM2 to Europe an alternative worth considering If you have the time. By their nature, a “Crossing” is all sea days which will often feature a special theme or guest like Fashion Week or Jazz legend Herbie Hancock. The Cunard website will feature these special crossings on their web site. Other features of the QM2 we enjoyed include: • Formal night means Formal night. Tuxedos required in all public areas after 6pm (except the Kings Court) and we found almost 100% compliance. Every other night is informal night which on the QM2 means jacket required, tie optional. • The large central hallway presents a grand appearance and allows you to quickly get around without weaving thru the casino or lounges. • 34 musicians are on the ship and you will find live music everywhere. In addition to the Royal Court theatre orchestra there is another wonderful 7-8 piece orchestra in the Queens room playing ball room dance music nightly. On one night, the two bands joined forces for a Big Band night. If you like ball room dancing, I can’t think of a more accommodating ship. The QM2 has the largest dance floor at sea and is one of the few ships with dance hosts on such short cruises. • The lounges are busy after midnight. For a ship with an older demographic, this was pretty amazing. On many ships catering to older clientele, the bars and lounges can become ghost towns after 9pm. We found most of the QM2 bars and lounges comfortably full until past midnight. • There is a nice suite of classrooms in the Connexions area and the theatre, “Illuminations”, which is also used as a Planetarium and a lecture space is another nice venue. Plenty of enrichment activities, classes and lectures available. • The Photo Gallery features large flat screen monitors which makes finding your pictures easier than wandering up and down rows of photos trying to find your picture. • The weather wasn’t great so we didn’t spend much time outside or use the pools. • While the ship carries 2600 passengers, it never feels crowded and there was rarely much of a line for anything. Our voyage had 1000 Brits, 600 Americans and 400 Germans. • Afternoon Tea features a live string quartet and is quite elegant. We went twice. • While still slow, Internet was faster than on other ships, but the per minute cost was a little higher. • Lounges are not taken over by artwork in preparation for Art Auctions. There are not Art Auctions on the QM2. A few negatives: • The casino floor space was cut in half during the remastering and they removed the poker table. This may be a pro depending on your point of view, but I missed not having a poker table. Note: It was advertised as the largest casino at sea before remastering, but no more. However, no one was forced to walk thru the casino to get anywhere. • A pet peeve of mine – no room service on disembarkation day coupled with a requirement to vacate your cabin by 8:30 am. • On board purchases, from drinks to photos, to spa services seem to be 10 – 20% more than on Holland America. For example a men’s haircut on the QM2 was $38 ($25 on HAL). A few more details CHECK IN Check in at the Hamburg cruise terminal was unremarkable. There were 9 check in stations for most passengers with an additional 3 set aside for suite passengers and others at the Platinum or Diamond loyalty level. We arrived around noon, which was probably the peak check in time and waited about 1 hour to get to the head of the line. Once we checked in, there wasn’t any line for security and we were quickly onboard. The pre-voyage photo was taken on the ship in the Grand Lobby instead of inside the cruise terminal. We enjoy embarkation photos and find they make a wonderful memento of our cruise. After our photo we were on our way to our cabin. Our first impression of the ship was wow! The Grand Lobby is spectacular. One feature that is quite striking is the height and width of the central hallway on Decks 2 and 3. Most cruise ships usually have parallel hallways on either side of a central core and you are generally required to pass thru the casino and other lounges to get most anywhere. On the QM2 the central hallways are Decks 2 and 3 extending forward and aft from the Grand Lobby with the Britannia Dining Room at one end and the Royal Court Theatre at the other. This central hallway is very wide and very high and runs along various lounges and eating venues, but you are not required to pass thru any of them to get anywhere and people in the various lounges are not distracted by people in transit. THE CABIN By the time we got to our cabin, our bags were already waiting for us. We chose Cabin 6036 which is one of the larger oceanviews since it is adjacent to the balcony cabins nearby. You end up with the space of the balcony only inside your cabin. If you carefully review the deck plans you can find other cabins like these. Although the cabin could have accommodated more closet space, there isn’t any more storage in these larger cabins. The cabin was newly remastered with a flat screen TV and carpeting. The bathroom was not upgraded and had a shower only, no tub, which was fine with us. As a sign of how the times have changed there was a built in ashtray next to the toilet. All cabins and balconies are no smoking on the QM2. The room had a small refrigerator stocked with a few sodas and beer at reasonable prices (as far as a mini bar goes) and there was plenty of room to add your own items if necessary. The flat screen TV has HDMI inputs and a USB input. There isn’t a DVD player, but if you have a USB stick that contains movies then this TV is capable of playing them. A note of caution – some TVs in some rooms were bolted to the walls and I wasn’t able to check if you could still access the rear input ports on these TV’s. If using these ports is important to you then it may be wise to bring along a USB and HDMI angle adapter which are available from many places – search for HDMI or USB angle adapter and you will find them. There were quite a few selections on the TV, with all the cable news outlets represented: CNN, FOX , MSNBC, and Sky News. Like most ships these days, only the most pressing of safety announcements are broadcast inside the cabins. There is one of the channels, that plays all the announcements so if you quickly flip to this channel, you can avoid having to open your door to hear what is being said. A TV guide that covers your entire voyage should be waiting for you in your cabin or delivered the next morning. Your cabin will have the usual booklet with all the safety features along with a room service menu and services available onboard. The cabin has both North American electrical outlets and UK electrical outlets, bring an adapter and you will have access to an extra outlet. Another nice touch was a kettle that will make hot water along with an assortment of instant coffee and teas. We were surprised to find clothes hangers that don’t have any hooks on them that require a matching adapter on the hangar rod. The other closet didn’t have any hangars at all, but our cabin steward brought some more once we asked. Our Cabin Steward didn’t have an assistant, or at least one that he mentioned. Another observation was that the cabin stewards worked from carts (containing spare towels & supplies) in the hallways similar to what you would find in use by room service personnel in hotels. The bathroom has a nice selection of soaps, shampoos and conditioners in small sizes, as opposed to dispensers on the walls of the shower you find on other lines. Water pressure was fine and the temperature was easy to control with a thermostatic valve in addition to the water volume control. There is a digital thermostat to control cabin air temperature and it worked fine. Our cabin was directly below the Deck 7 promenade and we only heard footsteps a few times, not often enough where it became a nuisance. One time when I left the room and looked at the foot traffic on the promenade, I was surprised to see how busy it was while I had heard nothing below in our cabin. I can only surmise that the few times I heard footsteps it must have been walkers wearing very hard heels or boots. THE FOOD All of our breakfasts were from room service and our dinners were in the Britannia dining room (late seating). For lunch we ate in the Kings Court, Chefs Galley, Golden Lion Pub and room service. We tried the Hot Chocolate and a desert at Sir Samuels in addition to attending two afternoon teas in the Queens Room. The food was excellent in every venue and our only disappointment was that we didn’t have an opportunity to try the Verandah Restaurant and the Boardwalk Café. The Boardwalk Cafe was never open during our voyage since it requires nice weather which is less likely to occur on a crossing due to the prevailing winds and cooler temperatures normally found on a crossing. BREAKFAST Room service breakfast is our standard for all our cruises. The QM2 did not disappoint with its wonderful hang tag menu of hot and cold choices. I was pleasantly surprised that it was possible to write in items like Eggs Benedict, waffles or French toast and had them all delivered the next morning. All of our breakfasts were delivered hot and on time. One day I went to the Kings Court for Breakfast and found a wide variety of choices, everything from eggs benedict, fried eggs and omelets to order, cold cereal, oatmeal, a variety of breakfast meats, fried tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms. The Kings Galley (Aft) is home to pancakes, waffles and French toast in addition to eggs and other selections. We never went to the Britannia Dining Room for breakfast. LUNCH The Carinthia Lounge has a small buffet with a few sandwiches and other light fare and is a very relaxing place to linger with friends over a light lunch. Beverages are available for sale from the bar or otherwise you have to get something from the beverage bar in the Kings Court. The Kings Galley is the place for burgers, hot dogs and pre-made sandwiches. I stopped by here a few times for something quick and the burgers were hot and good. There were always some empty tables and one time the Captain and his wife sat down nearby for a quick bite. Kings Court (aft), which is right next to the Chefs Galley, serves pizza and pasta in addition to salads and desserts. I never tried the pizza, but it certainly looked delicious. The main Kings Court Buffet had a wide variety of hot and cold selections. The center section has breads and desserts while the aft buffets have sushi, salads, meats and cheeses. Soft serve ice cream is available from machines on both the port and starboard side and is very good. There are four beverage stations serving complimentary coffee, tea, orange juice, lemonade, apple juice and cranberry juice. One of the four stations serves iced tea instead of lemonade. I found the various buffet stations not very crowded and easy to get around even during busier times. It did take about 10 minutes of wandering around the Kings Court, Chefs Galley and Kings Court Aft to understand what was offered in the various areas. We are a big fan of Fish and Chips and we enjoyed two lunches in the Golden Lion Pub. The place is packed when it opens at 12 so be prepared to wait until the first wave gets thru the kitchen. People tend to linger here and this was the only venue where there was a little trouble finding a table from time to time. Lunch is available in the Britannia Dining room, but we never ate there. AFTERNOON TEA DINNER We ate all our dinners in the Britannia Dining room at an oval table for eight. We find that an 8 top is a good size as it allows even people sitting across from one another to have a conversation. The menus offered 6 choices for starters, entrees and desert. Not listed, but I have been informed by others, there are some always available options like salmon or chicken, but they are not listed on the menu. There is not a separate desert menu as they are listed on the main menu and when it is time for your desert selection they pass around the original menu once again. FOOD SUMMARY We enjoyed the food very much and it was typical of our experience on most other cruise lines. Trying to review food is something that I don’t spend much time on as it is so subjective and can vary somewhat from day to day. My general observation was that the food on the QM2 was excellent and about the same as you would find on any other cruise line in this price range. ENTERTAINMENT The QM2 presents the typical type of entertainment found on many cruise lines. They have a house cast of singers and dancers which are augmented by guest entertainers of the usual genres. Original singers, comedians, tribute singers and novelty acts. ROYAL COURT THEATRE Queen Mary 2’s main stage is the Royal Court Theatre (RCT), a large theatre with 2 levels. One of the new features from the remastering was the installation of a large video flat screen behind the stage which can display city scenes and other images to support the production show taking place. The theatre is beautiful and has wonderful sight lines and acoustics. We never had trouble finding a seat for any show or lecture, although a few events were pretty full, we were able to find seats off to the side which still provided a good view of the stage. The Royal Court Theatre Singers and Dancers presented 2 excellent production shows, with the second show called, “Rhythm of the Night”, that made full use of the newly installed video wall. The late shows were at 10:30 and were surprisingly well attended. QUEENS ROOM The Queens Room is a large ballroom with the largest dancefloor at sea. The ceiling is high and the room is very open and a perfect venue for parties and balls. You can expect 3 formal nights on a Crossing with 2 of the 3 being themed balls. CASINO Small – no poker table, but $3 minimums on card games during the day and $5 at night. SHOPS A nice selection of shops selling the stuff you would expect. If you forgot to bring your formal wear, they sell tuxedos and they are also available for rent. LIBRARY This library is huge with over 10,000 books and is the largest library on any ship sailing today. ART GALLERY The QM2 doesn’t have Art Auctions found on other lines, but sells art thru its Art Gallery during scheduled shows. The Art Gallery is on the way to the Queens Room and you almost have to walk thru to get there, but you are not bombarded with sales pitches along the way and browsing the collection is interesting and the art displayed changes frequently. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We were on the post-remastering cruise for the QM2, boarding in Hamburg immediately after the dry dock. We love the QM2 and love the experience of transatlantic crossings. This was our 20th cruise and our 6th time on Cunard. ... Read More
We were on the post-remastering cruise for the QM2, boarding in Hamburg immediately after the dry dock. We love the QM2 and love the experience of transatlantic crossings. This was our 20th cruise and our 6th time on Cunard. Re-Mastered Ocean Liner: The re-mastering was largely a success. The cabins have a more modern and subdued color scheme. New carpets throughout the ship, most with classy designs. The old problem of spongy holes in the carpets seems to have been fixed. The new furniture and design in the Carpathia Lounge and Kings Court are all beautiful and inviting. We did not like the changes in the atrium lobby so much as it now looks like a tired hotel lobby from the 70s. Food: We were in Princess Grill for the first time and enjoyed the food very much. It was old-fashioned cruise line cuisine done very well. We had lunch and dinner one time each in the new Verandah restaurant, enjoyed both meals, and recommend the experience for a little splurge. Verandah's cuisine is quite modern and inventive, much like fine dining in a major world city. But while the King's Court design had been re-mastered, the food had not been and was pretty much the same as before and as in the buffet on all Cunard ships. In fact I think Cunard has standardized it across the line. Kings Court food was so mediocre that we tried it only once and never went back. Service: Adequate. All bar and drinks staff did a great job. Abelardo, the sommelier in Princess Grill was outstanding. Unfortunately we had the worst cabin steward of all of our cruise experiences. Day after day, things would be not quite right and communications were poor. Service in Princess Grill (other than Abelardo) was just OK, not close to a luxury level. Note that the pillow menu is no longer available in Princess Grill cabins, even though Cunard's PR info claims that it is a benefit at the Princess level. And note that it is no longer possible to order off-menu in Princess Grill. Queens Grill yes, but not possible in Princess. Entertainment: Loved, loved, loved the jazz performances in the Chart Room, our favorite room on board. Enjoyed the guest performances by the Overtones and the Beatles tribute band. But the big shows ("Rhythm of the Night") were the same-old same-old fare on all cruise ships, not our cup of tea, and we did not stay. Internet: Extremely slow, much slower than other cruise lines. We roamed the ship trying to find a WIFI hot spot that was truly "hot." The best we found was only mediocre, and it was impossible to deal with files that were at all large. The service was completely turned off at midnight on the last night, so those of us with remaining minutes lost them, and I was unable to conduct vital business to make arrangements for our arrival in New York. Customers were pissed off. Embarkation in Hamburg: Again I reiterate that we love the QM2, love crossings, and we have booked another. But I feel obligated to warn people about the terrible job Cunard does at embarkations. We had a substantial delay in Hamburg, and since we have also experiences big delays in New York, Los Angeles, and Cape Town (the worst, 3 hours!), it now feels like a clean sweep. Once again, systems were not ready, hundreds of people arrived with no place to sit, no refreshments, no organization. The lines were huge and chaotic and Cunard sent only one staff person out to manage the hundreds of passengers. No announcements, no explanations of what was wrong. We have never ever experienced anything like this on the other 7 or 8 lines we have cruised and where you pretty much step out of your taxi and walk on board the ship. This chaos and delay seems to be a trademark of the Cunard experience. Staying on Board in Southampton: As we were in transit and the weather in Southampton was grey and rainy (big surprise!), we decided to stay on board. The process was a total disaster and breakdown. First we received no written information on what we should do, apparently an oversight of our cabin steward or housekeeping. The concierge assured us that all we needed to do was get our passports stamped by UK immigration officials on board and recommended that we wait until most passengers had disembarked. So at 10:30 we went to the immigration guy who stamped our passports. Then a second immigration official insisted that we exit the ship and pushed us toward the Cunard staff who were scanning key cards for those leaving. The second official told us that we could immediately re-board. Over our protests, we followed along like good soldiers and were forced to make a complete exit down to the Southampton dock where Cunard was throwing a champagne party for travel agents to promote the re-mastered ship. We went completely through the layers of security to re-board the ship, only to be confronted again by the same immigration official who told us that we could not re-board. I reminded her that she had told us 15 minutes earlier that we could re-board, but she seemed to have amnesia. The Cunard staff did not know what to do, and it was chaotic as there were now several disabled passengers who wanted to stay on board, but who were being forced to exit. Cunard staff did manage to herd us into a holding pen in champagne lounge (alas, no bubbly available, not even any water), and our unhappy group were told that Cunard had no idea how long we would be jailed there. A number of us made a very vocal protest, and eventually Cunard staff went around the lounge and wrote down our names and cabin numbers, and once that was complete, allowed us to re-enter the rest of the ship. So while embarkation and the Southampton debacle were unacceptable, we will be returning to Cunard and the QM2, mostly because we love the ship. We wish that we could love certain parts of the experience. Cunard seems to devote resources to marketing and PR (champagne parties for travel agents, glossy brochures full of handsome models), but often has only mediocre follow through with its actual delivery. But in spite of this, we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Conventional cruising wisdom recommends avoiding any sailing right after a major refit for good reasons: work is still ongoing and the crew members have been off their service routines for a few weeks. These issues were evident on the ... Read More
Conventional cruising wisdom recommends avoiding any sailing right after a major refit for good reasons: work is still ongoing and the crew members have been off their service routines for a few weeks. These issues were evident on the first post-refit transatlantic sailing on QM2 Hamburg – Southampton – New York. But these “teething pains” will be worked out and overall Cunard has made huge improvements to the ambience on deck 7. First I’ll get the bad out the way. Embarkation was a mess with long lines in Hamburg, Southampton, and in New York. I boarded in Hamburg where it should have started at Noon but didn’t until 12:50 and then first for Priority passengers. The Steinwerder terminal has limited seating and those seats were primarily used by passengers needing boarding mobility assistance. While I didn’t need to check in at Southampton and New York on both calls I was returning from shore after 2PM. Both terminals were a sea of humanity at a time when the initial crush should be long over. This is an excellent way to turn first time passengers into last time passengers. Cunard needs to give fixing this first priority because one has a sour experience before they even boarding the vessel. The other negative things were related to ongoing work and the interrupted service routine. It wasn’t surprising that some menu items were unavailable – as the ship’s stores had to be completely restocked – but I didn’t have bath towels until after dinner and this was in Princess Grill. The restaurant had been completely configured so even the pre-refit staff had trouble with the new setup. Some cabins had issues with HVAC, hot/cold water adjustment and malfunctioning TVs. None of the pools or hot tubs – including those in the spa – were ready for use until day 4. Now for the good. Kings Court buffet had been much maligned as “Kings Chaos” and for good reason. It was a confusing layout and had all the charm of a corporate cafeteria. The refit has completely gutted out the old setup and replaced it with a main buffet that is both pleasant and logical in layout. The main buffet is just aft of the B stairway. Seating runs aft with plenty of tables and napkin-wrapped cutlery already on the tables. Servers offer beverages. Just before the D stairway (opposite the Chefs Galley which was retained) is a smaller buffet that has been labeled the “aft buffet” that is more limited but in the late evening hours it’s the central go-to place for a quick meal or snack. No wandering about to find which buffet is serving at those hours. I consider the Remastered Kings Court to be a huge positive improvement. It’s now a pleasant casual dining area more befitting an ocean liner than the crew mess it had been. The former Winter Garden was way underutilized and was replaced with the Corinthia Lounge. This has a small buffet table offering ready to grab light breakfast or lunch plates. There’s a hot side and a cold side. No beverage stands but the lounge has full bar service and specialty coffees. Before the only place for coffees had been Sir Samuels. The lounge offers comfortable seating and tables. Entertainment is offered in the evenings. Usage seems to be hit or miss – since the lounge is new passengers have not yet fitted this into their routine as they have the Commodore Club or Chart Room. The Grand Lobby appears more open since the elevators were removed – a necessity as they would have gone right through the new Kings Court buffet serving area. Unfortunately, it also gives new space for the tacky sales tables. (But they obviously make money or they wouldn’t continue to put them out.) On to staterooms: my PG cabin was refreshed with new chairs and sofa. The teak balcony loungers were replaced with wicker-like padded reclining chairs and an ottoman. Unlike the teak loungers the new ones recline flat and in my opinion are more comfortable and conducive to outdoor dosing but some will miss the traditional teak ones. The cabinetry was the same but the pull handles were replaced. The glassware cabinet table now has a kettle and coffee maker. Headboard paneling and lamps were replaced. The wall mounted TV is much easier to view that the old spot on the desk. LED lights are brighter but the two sconces over the deck have very low light output as these were probably intended to provide low level lighting for those who want it at night. Dining in PG had some slow service as the dining room was completely reconfigured. The serving stations that broke up the length of the room were consolidated into three. There are also more tables for two as demand usually cannot meet supply. Food is highly subjective, but I found quality, presentation, and taste to be excellent. The new menus have not forgotten the long time favorites and at least one “Cunard Signature Classic” was offered each evening. I’m a Friend of Bill but there were positive comments on the new wine list. Entertainment offered some new productions shows but I cannot comment on them as I prefer to take in the ensemble groups and soloists. Internet speeds were mostly at near DSL levels, although two days before reaching NY it had sagged to less than that of dialup. I don’t know if it was a rush to “use it or lose it” that hogged up bandwidth or if something had failed. I had used White Star Luggage Service to send my 29in case to Hamburg. This was handled smoothly and it was delivered to my stateroom. However with a pickup two weeks before sailing everything will need to be pressed. Overall the Remastered QM2 shines. Cunard addressed some long term sore points on deck 7 and the results are very positive. The staterooms received long overdue refreshment. This was however an 8-day crossing from Southampton and I would not do an 8-day again. The sense of motion is just too slow and as somebody who is still working I’m time poor. I went prepared for some post-refit glitches. Cunard however won’t be able to use this as on ongoing excuse for continuing delays in embarkation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The QM2 has just finished a 25 day refurbishing in Hamburg dry dock . The QM2 now has 30 suites added on the top deck. There are also 15 more cabins (I believe geared for solo cruisers. 6 on deck two where the passenger photo gallery ... Read More
The QM2 has just finished a 25 day refurbishing in Hamburg dry dock . The QM2 now has 30 suites added on the top deck. There are also 15 more cabins (I believe geared for solo cruisers. 6 on deck two where the passenger photo gallery used to be. And 9 where the back half of the casino had been. I was surprised to see that the port terminal facility had been moved from Haven City (near downtown) to the new 3rd cruise terminal called Steinwerder which is next to the Bloom/Voss shipyard on the south side of the river to permit larger ships a better place to berth. It is still possible to take public transit (including a city ferry to cross the Elbe River) to the new terminal, but you will need to walk the last 1/2 mile on a new sidewalk, The new Steinwerder terminal was not well managed. It was probably the worse ship boarding I ever did. Concerning the ship, the cafeteria area was re-configured. I think traffic flow was a little better than in the past. The crew was all new. The food was ok, but I think it had been better in the past. The dance floor in the queens room was completely replaced with new hard wood that made for good dancing. Lots of good speakers gave talks. The entertainment was good. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Chose this cruise because they cancelled the earlier Victoria sailing and we wanted to cruise back to the states just having completed a Costa cruise. We were celebrating our 60th Anniversary/and 80th birthdays. Because there was a lapse ... Read More
Chose this cruise because they cancelled the earlier Victoria sailing and we wanted to cruise back to the states just having completed a Costa cruise. We were celebrating our 60th Anniversary/and 80th birthdays. Because there was a lapse in time between Costa and joining QM2 we drove to Italy and "killed time" there before joining the Hamburg departure. QM2 had just completed being remastered [refitted/upgraded/new engines/etc.] in Hamburg. It was to spend the two days to Southampton as a trial run. All was perfect on the trial run. Embarkation was the pits. Surprising since Cunard typically has its act together. For people like us, traveling overseas for over three months with a lot of luggage and being allowed 2 ea. 70 lb. suitcase flying business class the apparently new (?) weight restriction by Cunard on suitcases was a problem. Regardless of which category, you are restricted to 44lbs. maximum weight per individual bag! The "threat" in the notice that if you exceed that weight, you will have to meet the weight limit (getting on/off) before they will touch your bag! The aforementioned is not consistent with what they have posted on the Internet. Bottom line here is to insure you meet whatever the requirement is. (Rather than be stressed or have to deal with the bureaucracy, we bought two suitcases [on sale] and activated the two duffle bags we had in reserve in the four suitcases we started with...and yes, we had two had carry too.) The cabin was freshly painted with new carpeting. Cabin steward was exceptional. Cabin was Ok considering we weren't traveling an upper class. Had a nice balcony. The bathroom was miniscule. Dining room was fine. Their alternative dining was excellent! Every three days they "changed" the menu in the non "fine-dining" alternative dining room to cater to a different cuisine at a reasonable extra charge. The "fine dining" alternative was a bit pricey but worth it. We typically ate breakfast and lunch in their Lido (buffet) which was recently renovated. They did a good job. You have to check out all the different serving stations. It is a plus. Service was excellent. Seating was better than usual but still not always able to fined. The ship had 4 formals. On non-formal nights men in jackets/tie optional. The formal nights were disappointing!!! Travelers ado not adhere to the dress code and the ship doesn't enforce the dress code. This trend is apparent on other cruise lines (like Costa and Princess). Entertainment was overall excellent. Seating is mostly raised so views are OK. Shopping on board was less than thrilling. Lots of special sales to reduce inventory. Disembarking: was at the Brooklyn terminal. You are given colored luggage tags based on what you advised your schedule. I had arranged a limo from the Internet to take us to JFK to get a car; canceled it and used transportation through the Shore Excursion. (Thought it would be "safer" but either way is fine). For planning you were told allow two hours from leaving the ship to get to whatever transportation. The good news is that your luggage is in the terminal in groups corresponding to the color; the bad news is that the ship's porters are apparently color blind since our luggage wasn't in the correct "color pile" it was supposed to be. It turns out that the luggage is first brought ashore by color; having completed then it is brought ashore by numbered decks. Our missing piece, properly tagged, was with the wrong group ((deck 6). Having gotten our luggage and slowly got through customs/immigration finding the limo was a bit of a challenge since there was no one holding a placard w/our name...but found where the ships arranged JFK limos were and off we went. Note that there are porters in the terminal. The ship also offers white glove service which is shipping your luggage to wherever at a cost but you don't have to lug it anyplace. FYI the nearest car rental is Avis in Brooklyn at a place it is said difficult to find, which is why we opted for JFK since also we'd be returning the car to an airport (Newark). Bottom line: Cunard is (I believe) the only cruise line offering transatlantic crossings all year long as opposed to the other lines only when repositioning. For that reason it is worth the cost (although the cost is more pricey than others). Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This is not the quality product I thought I was paying for and would strongly advise people to avoid Cunard ships if you expect this to be a quality upmarket cruise company. Cunard are first class at the glossy branding and marketing but ... Read More
This is not the quality product I thought I was paying for and would strongly advise people to avoid Cunard ships if you expect this to be a quality upmarket cruise company. Cunard are first class at the glossy branding and marketing but the product is very poor. In summary, you are on a British ship where the currency is dollars and most staff struggle with the English language; so if you have a question or an issue they simply nod their head and agree, but do nothing. Areas of the ship are in poor condition. The food is very average, in fact I’ve had better on an aeroplane. The entertainment was basic and frankly second rate. We upgraded to a Queens Grill suite, as close to first class as possible and it was not cheap, but still it was a very very poor experience. I had expected elegance at sea and a first class experience. It was more like a 4 start hotel with a ‘Faulty Towers’ service style. There where various issues with the cruise, including Cunard leaving us stranded for one night as the ship was late to arrive. We had to find our own accommodation which was a challenge and they never even said sorry. When we got back their customer service staff were not interested in how bad it was for us. I even spoke with the CEO David Noyes and his attitude was poor. This says a lot about a company’s culture to me. I will not sail with Cunard or Carnival again and would strongly persuade anyone who is thinking about it to look elsewhere and avoid the disappointment. Cunard are trading on their connection with the British Royal family which is a mere name on a ship combined with some past glory. If you get a late deal at a bargain price then by all means it could be worth it but do not expect too much. Definitely do not pay over the odds and expect to have a good experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We thoroughly enjoyed our World Voyage. Hamburg-Hamburg from 8th January - 12 May 2016. The cruise lasted 125 days, The service was excellent.. The crew were fantastic and we would definitely repeat a cruise with Cunard. We planned this ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our World Voyage. Hamburg-Hamburg from 8th January - 12 May 2016. The cruise lasted 125 days, The service was excellent.. The crew were fantastic and we would definitely repeat a cruise with Cunard. We planned this cruise 12 months in advance and did 5 overland tours plus the normal stops. A voyage like this is really what you personally put into it. We did a lot of research on the destinations we would be visiting. We have cruised many times before so yes, we are experienced travelers. We both joined in a lot of sport activities on the ship and really enjoyed the possibilities offered. Our Cabin was most comfortable. We travelled as a retired couple (65). This voyage gave us the possibility of visiting many destinations that were still on our bucket list and get a good impression of whether we wanted to return. Which was our highlight? There were many highlights:. Namibia, Africa, Australia, China, Japan, The Lost city of Petra in Jordan, Malta. So many wonderful destinations. Thank you Cunard and thank you to all members to the Queen Elizabeth for making this an unforgettable "One in a Lifetime Experience" Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Always wanted to try Cunard and expectations were set high, so we booked a mini-cruise Kiel to Southampton in an ocean view room. The good.... Stateroom was nice size, good decor and well serviced. 1/2 bottle of fizz on departure ... Read More
Always wanted to try Cunard and expectations were set high, so we booked a mini-cruise Kiel to Southampton in an ocean view room. The good.... Stateroom was nice size, good decor and well serviced. 1/2 bottle of fizz on departure was a nice touch. Quality Penhaligon's cosmetics were also lovely. Plenty of storage for a longer cruise. The passenger areas in general were very tasteful and elegant, spotlessly clean and lots of space to spread out. Some of the artwork of the other Cunard liners was really lovely and took lots of pics with it as backdrop. Unlike some of the other cruiselines, i didn't feel that the photographers were intrusive / persistent and i didn't feel like we were being continuously nickel and dimed like you are on Celebrity. The drinks were reasonable and the bar service generally in the commodore club was very attentive and courteous. The staff in the lido buffet were attentive and courteous, though the lunch / dinner selection was very poor compared to the other cruises we have been on. Breakfast was quite good. The entertainment was of good standard in the main theatre with good singers, musicians and comedy performances. There was also a lot of pianist based entertainment and string quartet entertainment leading to a sophisticated background ambience in the public areas. The bad... In two words - Britannia Restaurant. I don't know if they are understaffed or under-trained but this was a dreadful dining experience compared to Celebrity or Princess. The waiters, though polite, were as polished as the Chuckle Brothers with no sense of occasion or service delivery. Bread was thrown onto the plate, meat was cooked entirely different to the ordered spec and timing was very slow. The executive Chef is clearly past his sell by date as his plate combinations were just plain odd. One starter i had was a 'green salad with goats cheese.' What arrived was a few pieces of iceberg lettuce with a sad looking tiny piece of french stick and some dried out smeared goats cheese. The 'gala dinner' was lobster (1/2 tail, not full tail as on all my other cruises) service with rice and a congealed seafood sauce. On another evening, my partner ordered prime rib medium-well, what arrived was raw meat, bloody and impossible to cut or eat. As usual, our waiter didn't reappear until we were all finished, so too late to exchange the meal. Deserts were uninspired, missing classic staples such as a top notch cheesecake or creme brulee which everyone likes. Petit fours rarely ever include choco rice crispy cakes!! They did on this ship.... Poor interactive / no interactive TV service or onboard wifi apps - this should be copied from your colleagues at Princess.... The ugly... White glove afternoon tea....complete and utter shambles and the manager of this should be offloaded. I was expecting a calm sophisticated environment with string quartet and elegant white glove service (think Cunard brochure). What was delivered was sitting at a table for 15 minutes with 1300 other folks without even being acknowledged by the few staff which weren't selling champagne. Getting sick of waiting for service, we attempted to get some of our own food from the self serve area, but this was as calm as the opening doors at an Asda Walmart black Friday event. We left early in disgust at what should have been a highlight being a memorable disaster. Again, this was in the Britannia Restaurant, so a common theme appearing here..... Note to Cunard: I'm in my early forties and have a lot of disposable income spending several thousand £'s each year on cruising. If you only want to appeal to older passengers that can afford to be in Grill Suites and have the better service levels, then you have achieved your goal and should convert to Grill only ships. The rest of your passengers will recognise they can get better value, feel more valued and get significantly better service and not darken your doors again. It is highly unlikely you will receive another booking from me, certainly not if there's an alternative cruise line on the same route. I had very high expectations of you, you didn't meet them. This saddens me as a Brit wanting to have great British service and support a great British brand (i know you are Carnival, but let's gloss over that....). Many of the faults i found are free to fix and cost neutral, so you have no excuse. The next time i pull into a harbour alongside one of the Queens, rather than envy, I'll be thankful to be on an alternative vessel. You would do well to take some guidance from Princess and stop delivering Titanic steerage class levels of food and service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Motley Mix Of The Ecstatic And The Unexpected: This was Queen Mary 2’s and Cunard’s big cruise of 2015, it’s 175th anniversary cruise. We embarked at Hamburg and sailed to New York. But the 175th anniversary cruise was ... Read More
Motley Mix Of The Ecstatic And The Unexpected: This was Queen Mary 2’s and Cunard’s big cruise of 2015, it’s 175th anniversary cruise. We embarked at Hamburg and sailed to New York. But the 175th anniversary cruise was technically supposed to start at the first port of call after Southampton, Liverpool, and continue first to Halifax, Nova Scotia and then to Boston before finally ending up in New York on the morning of July 14. This was apparently the route that Samuel Cunard took on the first transatlantic voyage of Cunard in 1840 on a ship called the Britannia. And true, there were commemorative moments to last a lifetime. But there were also unexpected events and occurrences onboard that make you wonder about some of Cunard’s policies. The journey up the River Elbe at dinnertime a few hours after we boarded on June 30 was a highlight of the cruise. We sat at our window-side table for four on deck 3 in the Britannia Restaurant upper level and watched all the sights drift past including first the Cruise Terminal that has not been completed yet and then the Lion King. There were also hotels waving white sheets and flags at us as well as lots of onlookers lining the banks of the river. On July 1 in Southampton we got treated to a performance by the Irish Guard sent down from Buckingham Palace for the day. My husband attempted to crowd into the elevator to make the journey up to deck 13 to take movies of their performance. But there were too many members of the Irish Guard at the same time. So he hiked up to stand in a big crowd. Still he held his camera up high enough to film all the marching and music. He felt as if he was witnessing the Changing Of The Guard at Buckingham Palace itself. The next port of call, Liverpool, was a little more disappointing at first. During the day certain members of the public there decided to perform in the water quayside. One man rode on a hose, performing circus tricks which I thought were inappropriate for the occasion. But that night on deck 6 I got to witness a spectacle of fireworks against the backdrop of the Liverpool waterfront around Albert Dock which is a World Heritage Site including the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building, and the Port of Liverpool Building. Aft on deck 6 we were high enough up to be on the level of these historic buildings, and we got lots of movies and snapshots of the fireworks exploding over the harbor. Although it wasn’t part of the 175th anniversary celebration, we enjoyed sailing past the Irish Coast after we left Liverpool. You could see the dark hills very clearly from 3 miles out to sea. We especially appreciated getting very close to Kinsale where the Lusitania sank on May 7, 1915. The captain made a speech about it at lunch and sounded the ship’s whistle to commemorate those who lost their lives that day. Of course the Lusitania was a Cunard liner. Once we reached North America the next port of call was Halifax, Nova Scotia in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada, a place I never thought I would visit. It was all quite a surprise, and right at breakfast we discovered a highlight of the trip sitting on a small island in the middle of the harbor, St. Georges Lighthouse on St. Georges Island. It’s owned by the Canadian Park System. But the lighthouse keeper doesn’t live there anymore. And no one visits except on special occasions. We had the best vantage point of anyone for filming a helicopter landing on St. George’s Island and taking off again. We also got to observe the fortifications from the island’s history. Later in the afternoon the ship was serenaded by Scottish bagpipers all dressed in kilts on the quayside. We didn’t have to leave our cabin to enjoy this performance. Apparently Nova Scotia means “New Scotland”. That night due to the exceptionally deep harbor we got to sail around the city right next to the quay. Up on deck 7 we could see the bridge at sunset and hear dinner goers sitting out on patios calling up greetings to the ship while passengers called down to them. The historic Citadel gave us a twenty-one gun salute as we sailed past. Again in Boston on July 12 we were treated to a night-time harbor tour once it grew dark out. That was followed by another round of fireworks which we could watch from our cabin. But unexpectedly the last morning of the cruise on July 14 at 5:30AM in the morning I took my best photo of the trip. We woke up early because we were doing self-disembarkation. I looked out the window and captured a shot of an antique fireboat in the harbor against the skyline of Manhattan including the new Freedom Tower. But while we were enjoying all these iconic sites other things were going on onboard the ship that made you doubt Cunard’s judgement. We were sailing from Southampton to Liverpool when we started to hear loud knocking and tapping in the walls and floors of cabin 4072, which was our original assigned cabin. We complained. The purser’s desk on deck 2 sent the cabin steward up to examine things. He couldn’t find the source of the tapping. So they assigned us another cabin, 5062 which was apparently vacant. But when we were out on the Atlantic we heard tapping in that room, too. We started to really look around the ship. My husband heard tapping next to the Royal Arcade Theater entrance on deck 3. Finally it became all too obvious what was going on. Ladders suddenly started to appear in the hallways on deck 5. I even took photos. They took sections out of the ceiling and left them that way for days while they worked. Up on deck 7 in the King’s Court we started to hear hammering during lunch and before dinner. It became the accompaniment to our meals. At another time our toilet wouldn’t flush. We called the purser’s desk. The purser flushed it from outside the cabin. But it kept on getting clogged repeatedly. In addition our shower had problems draining. None of these things occurred on the going voyage to Europe that we took on June 3. None occurred three years before during the summer of 2012 when we sailed on the Queen Mary 2 right after the last refit in December of 2011. The ship seems to be driven too hard. I hope it lasts until the next refit in June of next year, 2016, in Hamburg. They have to do a world cruise before then and they plan to sail around Cape Horn of all things, which sounds pretty extreme. I think it would be a good idea, for instance, to disembark passengers on one day and board passengers the next day instead of the same afternoon. That way Cunard might have more time for maintenance. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
If it was not for the poor experience of embarking and disembarking for this first time surface Atlantic crossing was absolutely great. I realize that it is not all that easy to have many hundred people embark and disembark but it ... Read More
If it was not for the poor experience of embarking and disembarking for this first time surface Atlantic crossing was absolutely great. I realize that it is not all that easy to have many hundred people embark and disembark but it rerally soured my experience. I travelled in Princess Grill class cabin No. 10068 and received the instruction to arrive at the terminal at 12 noon, which I did only to find that it was already very difficult to get close and thus had to carry my luggage quite a way to the baggage drop. Then a long cue and once I made it inside the building my ticket was checked and I was directed towards a long zick zack cue with hundreds of passengers standing in line. The fast track which I was actually entited to was not marked and anyhow I was directed into the endless cue. Not for me I decided as I was not prepared and able to stand in line that long. I talked to the ticket controller and she told me that I could sit in a waiting area until there would be less people. The cue grew even longer. Another passenger who had checked in already came to sit on the same table and he advised me that there actually was a fast track. I returned and tthis time the ticket controller appologized and afterall directed me to the fast track. Why does Cunard ask seemingly all passengers to be there at noon with a sailing time at 23:00 hours? Why not give out different times with the strict advice to stick to these instead? Why is the fast track not clearly marked with Queens and Princess class passengers. For New York I booked a bus transfer to Central Station. Nobody was there to advise which of the many waiting busses was the one. After having been sent back and forth with all the luggage I was finally told that this bus had not arrived and that together with others I sould wait. Finally after an hour's wait the bus came. When actually disembarking QM2 the crew members in charge who were ever so friendly during the voyage were no longer the same and let one feel that one was no longer a passenger but someone one wanted to get rid off as quickly as possible. The impression of a wonderful passenger ship, great and very varied entertainment a super atmosphere and wonderful hospitality is compromised by poor handling of the embarkation and disembarkation procedure which after 11 years of experience could certainly be better. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We really lived the perfect dream of our life! We had big hopes (not even expectations) on our dream - and also fears. Hopes as we fulfilled a dream of our life and you want to have it perfect then and fears as we thought that a) the ... Read More
We really lived the perfect dream of our life! We had big hopes (not even expectations) on our dream - and also fears. Hopes as we fulfilled a dream of our life and you want to have it perfect then and fears as we thought that a) the average age is very high and b) that we might be bored. Actually there we even younger couples than us (48+50) and also families with kids and teenagers. So this was a surprise already, although there is no doubt that the average is possibly >65 years. Boring is something which can not happen! I had books with me – and even did not manage to read one page. Instead we preferred to be outside, although weather was not the best, and I enjoyed just looking to the Atlantic and relax. Or walk around, have a coffee, (champagne) afternoon tea etc. I truly can not recall having had such a relaxing and wonderful vacation before! No phone, no mails, no computer, no TV – we just disconnected ourselves from any communication! GREAT! The service in the stateroom (Thank you, Tita!), restaurants, the G32 – just everywhere – was great! For the Kings Court you need to get used to – not on the service at all, but on the guests and how they sometimes behave. But to have snack or late breakfast it was good. We were very lucky to get tickets for the behind-the-scenes tour. It is worth standing at 8am at the tours office already (opening at 9am only....) to assign for it. Only some 16 tickets are granted – first come, first serve. The 3,5hrs tour was amazing and gave us an insight how hard the crew is working and what one as a guest never sees. We therefore – already before but after the tour in specific - can not understand guests, refusing the automatic tipp per person as they state they only tipp the person they have direct contact to. But the cabin service can only be as good as the washing is done properly, and the waiter is only as good as the chiefs are working etc. The food and wines were very good and we enjoyed late seating on a table for two in Britannia – and would do the same again. Big thanks again to Kenneth and Jimmy – our waiters – and Ekaterina – our sommelier. We experienced breakfast and lunch on a bigger table wit 4 or 6 – and have to say that you can be lucky with nice people – but also the opposite. You can really meet people complaing on anything and constantly. It is annoying that they can not simply enjoy the crossing, respect the crew and just look for the good. Yes, the QM2 is not a new ship and if you look for something to comlain about, you will find it. But is this the sense of a vacation? And what in life is perfect? Some remaks: Check-in and embarking: If everybody would just follow their check-in times and simply do not show up all at the same time and far before even the first are planned for embarking, it would be much easier and quicker. Our time was 12:30 (for deck 11 +12), we arrived 12:15 – and it was terribly full already. Temperature: Have to admit that I am easily freezing in normal life already and I am not used to aircondition at all. Therefore the first nights in evening or cocktail dresses were a bit cold. Got used to it and all was fine after some days. Formal/informal dress code: Still can not understand why people book QM2 when they refuse or ignore the dress code. This is part of the fun and why one books QM2. If you do not want to follow, book something else. There is so much more to tell about this awesome experience, but the „short“ version really is: Our hopes were all 100% fulfilled and even more. There is simply nothing we would like to have had differently or would do different – beside staying on board in NYC and going back home the same way! We will come back! For sure! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Before and after the booking I was looking for some personal information on weddings on QM2, but it was hardly possible to find a review – therefore I add one to help future brides. Beside fulfilling the TA dream we also got married ... Read More
Before and after the booking I was looking for some personal information on weddings on QM2, but it was hardly possible to find a review – therefore I add one to help future brides. Beside fulfilling the TA dream we also got married during our crossing! We had booked the wedding package with Cunard and after all documents from our side and the wedding booking details for the wedding itself were done, we were very excited how everything would work after embarkation. And what shall we say? It was another dream! Everything was so well organized and very personal. We soon after - as part of the package - priority embarkation had a meeting with our wedding planner and we still were able to adress wishes. We went through all details – decoration, music, ceremony, picking up, who had to be where and when etc. The wedding took place in the Atlantic Room. It was closed for hours for re-decorating for our wedding. You would not have recognized the room again. It was Captain Christopher Wells doing the ceremony – what a humerous and wonderful personality! We could not have been more lucky. As we were travelling on our own, we decided for witnesses from the crew – our wedding planner and the social hostess. Two wonderful young ladies. The spa was already preliminary booked for me for a trial before and the final on the wedding date. The flowers were beautiful and came well in advance, the wedding planner helped me with the dress, the bell boy was so nice and watching my steps, the ceremony so wonderful as Captain Wells really made it so much personal, easy and and memorable. We will always remember - and still have a big smile on our faces - the important advice from Captain Wells to my husband: You only need to learn two important words from now on: Yes, dear! All flowers and the cake from the ceremony were then brought over to the Todd’s English were we had booked the wedding dinner. The table looked just beautiful and everybody was so nice. Then all came to our stateroom – it looked like a flower shop as we also got surprising gifts from family and friends including wine and champagne. So we were covered with all for the rest of the crossing. The photographer did a great job during the ceremony and the walk around – we have perfect pics and I can’t stop watching them again and again! It definitively was the perfect choice to have the wedding on QM2! In this respect it is a pity you only do it once! Thanks to everybody making this day unforgettable and a wonderful life time experience! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We left NY on August 5 from JFK and took Air France to Hamburg via Paris CDG Airport. We stayed one day in Hamburg at Holiday Inn Express St. Pauli which is very close to Hamburg historical Port and other city attractions. We boarded the ... Read More
We left NY on August 5 from JFK and took Air France to Hamburg via Paris CDG Airport. We stayed one day in Hamburg at Holiday Inn Express St. Pauli which is very close to Hamburg historical Port and other city attractions. We boarded the ship from Hamburg, embarkation was fairly smooth the port was not crowded; it took us less than 30 minutes to board the ship. This is our 4th cruise on QM 2, still impressed by her elegance. We went to our balcony cabin on Deck 8 which is very spacious. The cabin 8058 balcony was partially obstructed by the life boats, lacks privacy as maintenance works done on the boats on and off. We went to King’s court for a bite to eat. On our return to our cabin, luggage was promptly delivered by ship staff. Our room stewardess very sweet Filipino lady Jeanette greeted us with a warm welcome. We went around the ship familiarize various facilities spread throughout the ship. At 5 PM we went to King’s court on Deck 7 for drill. We took a shower, dressed semi formally with a jacket tie for me and dress for Sharon. The ship had 5 formal night where Tuxedo or Jacket and tie for men and dress for ladies required. Our dining table was in Britannia Deck 3. Our waiter Rose was another fantastic Filipino lady. She knew my dietary requirements even before I sat on my chair. Tour able was # 336 and we met our tablemates, from Florida, Dallas Texas. The service in the Britannia dining was excellent. We enjoyed our table mates company very much we were frequently among the last tables to leave at our early seating, so we were not looking for quick dinner. Britannia offered a wide selection for dinner including a Canyon Ranch Spa selection with low calorie for the diet conscious as well as several vegetarian offerings indicated with a “V”. Then we went to a variety show at the Royal Theater. Sharon unpacked the luggage and put away all our clothes while I was whiling away on the ship finding my ways to Queens’s room and club G32 which were at the very back of the ship behind the dining room on Deck 3 one has go through a maze to find them. This is the only ship on high seas equipped with planetarium “Illumination” in the forward section on Deck 3 behind Royal Court Theater, which is also a lecture hall and movie theater. While walking between Deck 2-3 passage ways, there are rows of tables along the windows with variety of board games and jigsaw puzzles, or offered a place to watch the ocean streaming by. On Deck 8 the QM2 library is well stocked with 8000 books on various subjects from, biography, travel, mystery, fictions. I got 3 books written by Alex Rutherford on Moghul Empire, Humayun, Akbar and Jahangir. The ship has to wait for the low tide before her funnel can clear the bridges. The sail away occurred almost at mid night was unbelievable with the bright lights of Hamburg receding on the back ground. Queen Mary slowly glided on the Thebe River like a black Swan on a Pond. Then she passed under the various low Bridges her funnel was so close, look like she was almost touching the bridge. Every day between 3:30 and 4:30, a formal white glove tea is served with fresh warm scones, little sandwiches, and pastries while Big band era was playing. Every evening is a special time on QM2; we had 5 formal nights, 5 semi-formal nights (equally formal) and 3 smart causal nights. After dinner we went for little dancing and headed toward Royal Court Theater for evening shows. Every day we had different performances, some by Cunard Dancers and other performers from outside. All the shows were of 4 star qualities. Cunard big production show “Viva Italia” was great; “Apassionata” was quite good. At the end of each show we went to Queens Ball room where some times Cunard Orchestra played Big Band Era Music and other days other band played popular Music. One day we had Black and white Ball, another night we had Ascot Ball where ladies wore different fashionable hats, men wore Tux and some wore ascot and top hats. All in all it was fun to dance through the night. We called off our night around 11:30 PM. In the morning we had room service around 7 AM consisted of Danish, juice, cup of coffee or tea. On the sea days we walked 1-2 miles on the Promenade Deck (7). Three round the ship =1.1 mile The Planetarium had some great shows and we were sorry we only had time for two of them. A small grumble concerned the too frequent attendance of the photographers. Perhaps those who want to pay $25 for each photograph of every special evening and gangplank arrival could make a special arrangement, while the rest of us won't need to keep saying 'No, thank you'. Furthermore, with such an advance in digital photography available today, passengers should be in a position to view their photographs in their cabin TV monitors rather printing all the photographs and shredding the unwanted prints thus wasting all those papers and inks. To sum up, it really was one of the best ships we have sailed on; it was so elegant with excellent service throughout and the delight was in the details. We can hardly wait to book another cruise. Disembarkation due to high tide QM2 has to wait for the low tide to sail into the harbor. She was docked at 10 AM. We disembarked at 11:15 took a Taxi to Hamburg to catch our Amsterdam flight. KLM flight got delayed due to mechanical problem of the plane. We missed our connecting flight to NY. KLM booked us the first flight on Tuesday and also arranged accommodation at IBIS near the airport which is a descent airport hotel.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We recently spent 2 fantastic nights on the QM2 . We have cruised many times before but this was our first with Cunard . I have to say that having read all the negatives on this site my expectations were not that high .We regularly stay in ... Read More
We recently spent 2 fantastic nights on the QM2 . We have cruised many times before but this was our first with Cunard . I have to say that having read all the negatives on this site my expectations were not that high .We regularly stay in 5* hotels and eat in good restaurants so we expect a certain standard . Ok the Kings Court buffet is a bit canteen like , but the food was good , fresh and a good choice. We also ate in the Britannia restaurant and again this was very good , some of the service was a little lapse and I was given a wrong drink , but lighten up people , relax and enjoy yourselves. Our balcony room was fine , clean and well looked after , bathroom was quite small but fine. Some people say the ship is tired looking ..... its a liner not a cruising resort, it looks traditional and elegant , if it was all ritzy and flashing lights people would moan about that too. Staff were pleasant and helpful.Some of the activities were not to our taste and I think 5 days on a transatlantic crossing maybe a bit boring personally but on the whole you have to try it , and make your own mind up , some of the negatives on here really do not reflect the ship at all . Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Just arrived in New York after 10 days on QM2. Have sailed on the other Cunard ships many times but first time on QM2. Along with many other reviewers, I found that the ship does not live up to expectations or the Cunard hype. Our Queens ... Read More
Just arrived in New York after 10 days on QM2. Have sailed on the other Cunard ships many times but first time on QM2. Along with many other reviewers, I found that the ship does not live up to expectations or the Cunard hype. Our Queens Grill suite on deck 9 had a constant vibratation, and several cabins had serious plumbing issues. My father had no water in the wash basin for three days and the bath kept spitting out black grime. The maintenance staff said that the vibrations had caused sediment in the pipes to be dislodged - but of course they maintained the water was safe. We are sending Cunard the photos as the Pursers office could "only apologise". Overall the food was not as good as the other ships and despite the best efforts of the staff, it was pretty clear that they are having significant issues with this ship. I mentioned that I had enjoyed Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth more to a staff member, who responded they are a bit more fun and QM2 is strict. We did enjoy the performances from a visiting group of actors from RADA. Sad to say, first and last time on QM2 for me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
One of the highlights of travelling transatlantic is arriving into New York's Manhattan Island with the fantastic skyline. Sadly, Cunard decided in order to cut costs they would put in at the very unpicturesque Brooklyn cruise ... Read More
One of the highlights of travelling transatlantic is arriving into New York's Manhattan Island with the fantastic skyline. Sadly, Cunard decided in order to cut costs they would put in at the very unpicturesque Brooklyn cruise terminal instead. This required a half hour taxi ride to Manhattan, where everyone on the ship clearly wanted to be. They kept the fact they would put in at Brooklyn well out of any of the brochures. I had invited my dad and wife to travel with my partner and me but my dad developed a heart problem and was forced to pull out of the trip. We informed Cunard of the situation yet they refused to offer any compensation and we were forced to pay the full fare for both cabins even though we only needed one. One of the cabins had a rumble so when it came time to sleep we slept in the other cabin. My partner's parents had to do without any water for three days in their cabin and when the water did come out of the taps it was full of black soot. The Cunard people said, "we can only apologise". I would say they were probably right since clearly they couldn't fix the pipes. Some of the entertainment was good but much was not. Especially a violinist who played many concerts on route but never played well. The food was quite boring and the vegetables were frozen and over cooked. There is a good restaurant on board but it is not complimentary. The wines were either very expensive or bad. The butlers were very good, but that seems to be the norm on all cruises.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We are veteran cruisers, and this was our 35th, the fifth with Cunard, the second on the QM2. We chose this crossing because it would give us a few days in Hamburg beforehand, an excursion in Southampton, and a crossing, which would give ... Read More
We are veteran cruisers, and this was our 35th, the fifth with Cunard, the second on the QM2. We chose this crossing because it would give us a few days in Hamburg beforehand, an excursion in Southampton, and a crossing, which would give us the opportunity to dress up and dance every evening in the Queen's Room. My husband and I (from Florida) met our son Ron (from Tennessee) in Newark where we enjoyed a leisurely overnight stay in the wonderful new Embassy Suites at Newark Airport. The next day we boarded our nonstop flight on United Airlines to Hamburg. The flight was long but enjoyable, even in economy class. The price for the flight through Cunard Air was amazingly low. In Hamburg we had arranged through Cunard to be met by a driver who was waiting to take us to the Hamburg Marriott. When we arrived at the hotel around 9 AM, they had our room ready, and invited us to have breakfast in the Executive Lounge which was part of our package. Our stay at the Marriott was outstanding in every way. We enjoyed the huge pool and fitness room, as well as the complimentary tasty meals and snacks provided all day long and late into the evening in the Lounge. We especially enjoyed the complimentary "wine and spirits" that were available. Service was the best we'd ever had in any hotel. We nearly walked our legs and feet off trying to see as much of Hamburg as we could see in a short few days. Our favorite was the trip to the Minitaur Wunderland, a three floor extravaganza of model railroad (and other forms of transportation) exhibits. Absolutely breathtaking creations of miniature towns, ports, cities, and attractions. On embarkation day we took a cab to the port in Hafencity, and after a bit of a queue boarded easily, where we were nicely greeted by two rows of staff and directed towards our cabin 4223. We were instantly charmed by our cabin with the sheltered balcony. Our cabin steward, John, introduced himself to us just minutes after we entered our cabin, and took care of us very well for 10 days. After getting our luggage settled we headed up to the Kings Court for lunch. This was one of the few times we actually used the King's Court, which is indeed (as noted by other reviewers) the weak point of this particular ship in some ways. Not that it is bad, but just not outstanding, needing some upgrades in furnishings, selection, quality, and layout, in our opinion. (However, there is one secret that I must divulge: The only decent coffee on the ship--unless you buy it in Sir Samuel's--is found in the King's Court, at one of the beverage stations sort of in the middle section, from a machine marked "German Classic Coffee, always available". On the other side of the same machine is really awesome hot chocolate. My son and I both bought large mugs in the gift shop and filled them with this coffee each morning as the coffee in the dining room was not to our taste at all). After lunch we headed back to the room where the guys took a quick nap before lifeboat drill (which was quick and painless compared to others we have endured). I of course got busy unpacking their things, finding it easy to put everything in proper place with plenty of room for all of us. The beds turned out to be rather soft, but we adjusted to them over the course of the trip. The bedding and pillows were of high quality, comfy and warm. My son had a pull out couch which was supplemented by an "egg crate" pad that we requested, and he said that it was comfortable enough. The bathroom was very tiny, and the shower miniscule but serviceable with good water pressure. The slippers and robes were a welcome touch. The balcony was huge and we enjoyed it when it wasn't too chilly out. One annoyance is that when the sofa bed is pulled out you have to crawl over the bed to get to the balcony, and actually fold it up a bit in order to open the fridge. Having requested early seating, it wasn't long before we had to prepare for dinner. Jackets for the men, nice dress for me. One of the high points of our trip was the companionship of our delightful tablemates. George was an author returning from a European book tour, and the other a couple, John and Anne, from a town near Stonehenge. We enjoyed all of our meals in the evening with these new friends and are still keeping in touch. The food in the Britannia dining room was very good, no complaints except for the venison they served on the first night which my son and several others ordered. If they are going to serve game meat, someone needs to go in the kitchen and show them how its done! I knew better than to order that, and was more than happy with my broiled fish (Plaice); in fact, I got fish almost every night and was very pleased with all of it. On the nights I ordered steak or beef, it was also very good. My companions enjoyed the lobster one night, and all concurred that it was delicious! I am certain we got the best waiter in the dining room, Mariano, who was absolutely one of the best waiters ever. Everything arrived quickly, and at the appropriate temperature. It only took us a day or two to decide that we would eat all three meals in the dining room (or lunch at the Golden Lion Pub) for the most part, and we enjoyed all of them! Sometimes we were lucky enough to get Mariano at lunch. The wait staff works so hard, I don't know when they ever get any rest! There were so many wonderful things to enjoy on the QM2. We made sure to attend the lectures by Bill Miller, ship historian, and never missed a dance class taught by Ilona and Wilfried, our onboard dancing stars who performed a routine for us nearly every evening in the Queen's Room, where a live orchestra played heavenly music for ballroom dancing on a big and beautiful rectangular wood dance floor. Now, this floor is not as big as the floor was on the QE2, and got VERY crowded on the 5 formal nights when special parties took place. Everyone was having a great time, but some dance couples were not aware of the "line of dance" direction, which created a few hiccups on the dance floor especially if the dance happened to be a quickstep! Fortunately there were many dance hosts to dance with the single women, and they were kept busy! The dance show, Appassionata, in the Royal Theatre, was one of the best shows we've seen shipboard; we also very much enjoyed the RADA production of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice". One night we enjoyed the film "Shadow Recruit" in the Illusions theater. During the afternoon, HighTea in the Queen's Room is so popular that if you're not there 15 minutes early, you'll have to wait for a seat. The view from the gorgeous library in the bow on deck 8 is so wondrous that the book selected from the thousands available falls unread to the lap! If all of this isn't enough to do, head over to the row of tables with games along the enclosed promenade near the Royal Court and start a game of chess with someone. We enjoyed all of these activities and more! In Southampton we took a tour to Stonehenge and the Medieval town of Salisbury. The Salisbury Cathedral was one of the most magnificent sights I have ever seen. We would like to go back and spend more time in that town as it was utterly charming, like stepping back in history. Of course Stonehenge was breathtaking as well. There is simply nothing else like crossing the Atlantic on a real ocean liner! This was our third crossing, and we were loving every minute. One night at dinner, the seas were so rough that a huge wave crashed way above the windows in the dining room, giving us the momentary illusion that our deck was under water. The whole room broke into applause! Seas may have been rough, but the QM2 is built for it! No one missed a meal or a dance even though the floor sloped from time to time. On another night, the captain announced that we were altering our course south due to icebergs! We finally arrived in Halifax and it was a beautiful day. Having decided not to purchase a tour, we walked easily off the ship and along the wharf of this lovely harbor town. It was fun to just look at the many sailboats and enjoy seafood snacks along the way. Once back on the ship we sadly realized that our voyage was almost at an end. Two short days later we were disembarking in Brooklyn, where once off the ship we waited in a queue for nearly an hour to get a cab to our hotel in Manhattan. I made a note to self to circumvent this situation next time, somehow. After an overnight at the Conrad Hotel, enjoying some New York pizza and the Battery Park area, we were driven in style by Carmel Limo back to Newark airport where our flights were delayed but we eventually made it back to our homes. We loved our trip on the QM2 in every way, and can't wait to do it again! The three of us are unanimous in our agreement that this was the best vacation we'd ever had. We've decided that next time ("Lord willing and the creek don't rise...") we intend to cross the pond BOTH ways by ship, spend a few days in Southampton visiting the friends we met onboard (they've invited us!) and avoid that loooong flight. Maybe a crossing isn't for everyone, but it certainly is for us!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
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