Having previously cruised on QM2 in 2007 from Brooklyn around the Caribbean, we were raving about our holiday when we returned, so we thought we would have a short break again on this lovely liner and it is lovely, however, we have ... Read More
Having previously cruised on QM2 in 2007 from Brooklyn around the Caribbean, we were raving about our holiday when we returned, so we thought we would have a short break again on this lovely liner and it is lovely, however, we have returned and are a tad disappointed, perhaps we are getting too picky. Booking was easy, price very fair for a balcony cabin, we used Cunard car parking and this again was so simple and easy, reasonable priced and friendly staff. From handing over our car and depositing our cases, we went through check in so quickly and the folk were again professional and welcoming. It had been pouring in Southampton and so looking like a couple of drowned rats we just wanted to get to our cabin and get sorted. Before you got to the scanning and security, you had to pass the photographic team, We were asked how many, and I replied that I did not want our photo taken, to which the staff member asked deadpan and even louder HOW MANY, I said I just did not want our photograph taken, and he gestured with his arm that way, I was a bit taken aback, what had just happened, so I returned and asked his name, I said that I was not hard of hearing and that he should not speak to people like that, so on we went.
We quickly found our room and outside were our cases which impressed us. When we entered our balcony cabin, there was a bottle of bubbly welcoming us back, which was a nice touch. Rooms are okay, similar to those on RCI, NCL and P&O, we preferred the balcony on the Ventura, however we were not expecting too much sunshine and fresh sea air is a tonic. We had been allocated 6.00 pm dining and so I had to stand for almost one hour to change to the 8.30 dining, very glad we did. On NCL we had to give our cabin number at the Muster and those that had not attended were notified and had to attend, on QM2, this was not the case. We dolled ourselves up for dinner and then found we could not get into the Golden Lion Pub, too busy, so sat opposite in Samuel's bar which is a coffee bar through the day, and so a little calmer, however they did not have cocktail or bar menus, so the waiter had to go get these, then bring them, then go back through into the Golden Lion for cocktails, this happened on all four nights, you would think they would have twigged to put cocktail menus out on an evening. We were twice given the wrong key card back, on one occasion a chap sat close by asked if I'd had a pear cider, I thought he wanted a taste, he said I thought so, I have your card and took it out of his wallet, by chance he'd checked his receipt, this also happened to our fellow diners who were locked out of their room, this does give opportunities for abuse.
Dining was just lovely, food first class, wine waiter so attentive, you could not complain, we sat with another two couples and got on very well. The first stop was Zeebrugge, I had read about the train and the shuttle bus, however as it was a Sunday and the trains were every hour, did not fancy taking a chance on missing the boat, so to speak, so we paid $63 each fare to and from Bruge. One couple on our table got on the free shuttle bus (there was a small notice in the Daily news-sheet) and paid €3 each way, so felt a little ripped off. Bruge was lovely, chocolates, history, canals, beer, and the sun shone, walked for miles. We were to have a sea day on Monday so went along to book the planetarium, which was full, the indoor pool had a capacity of 14 and so to get a lounger you did have to loiter a while, but they were emptying. I saw one man go into the ladies toilet and shower room, but there was no one around to mention this to, luckily there were no ladies in at the time, very odd. The seas were getting a little rougher, however QM2 hardly rolled, but when the Captain told us we were heading for Cherbourg as the weather was deteriorating and that we were just off The Isle of Wight, can you believe it, I think we were sailing in circles.
The Black and White evening for me was a bit of a damp squib, but you make your own fun and we did, however on other cruises, I like to people watch and we did not see anÅ· Senior staff members at all or the gorgeous ball gowns. The men did scrub up well and almost all wore their dinner suits. The shows were again not spectacular, good, but not as good as other cruises, perhaps again this is because it for me Cunard was just killing time until their transatlantic cruise on Wednesday 8th October. Cherbourg, raining so, we had a quick walk around town, I would have loved to do Mont Saint Michel, however DH has mobility problems, everywhere in Cherbourg had Welcome QM2' so seemed like a big occasion for them, we got to speak a little class room French, found a beautiful patisserie which soon filled with QM2 fellow passengers sheltering from the rain. We returned on board early thinking, we would have fish and chips in the Golden Lion Bar while it was a little quieter, however, we could not get a waiter to make eye contact or come down to where we were sitting, as there were two couples, we eventually went up to the bar, our fellow passengers managed to get served and my DH just could not get served, one staff member serving everyone, not their fault, so returned to the table. this had started to be a quest. So, I went to the bar and was told I needed to give a table number, so went back to the table and there wasn't one. We eventually got these elusive fish and chips, order taken again by someone who could not make eye contact and seemed huffed with us for being a pain, and when lunch did arrive, it was poor, fish undercooked, mushy peas - black bits and crispy, mind just as well, still struggled with buttons at the end of cruise.
There were a good number of older folk onboard and I think the pace and activities were geared towards these, we had a younger couple on our table and they were looking for things to do. We went to the pictures and saw Maleficent which was good. The cabin steward was super Romar, worked really hard, always seemed to be around if you needed him, but not in your face. The waiting staff were excellent, however the waiting staff in the Bars really let Cunard down, they seemed a bit miserable and some acted like they were doing you a favour. Would I do QM2 again, probably not, there are stacks of alternatives, we paid our gratuities almost $100 for two, $50 for three hours Internet, $126 for Bruge trip and then our drinks on top, so whilst initially cheap trip it can add up. On departure we sat in Queens Lounge awaiting our colour coded allotted departure slot, whilst waiting we were requested to stand in silence, while the Captain presented the Mayor of Southampton with sacred soil from War Cemeteries for transfer to the Imperial War Museum Garden, which we all gladly stood for, bearing in mind the age and infirmities of those on board, after ten minutes folk started looking around and I think after fifteen some sat down, communication seemed to be lacking, then we were told to make our way off the ship. It is just these little niggles that irked me, I did enjoy our short break, but for me there was very little of the star quality we had experienced on QM2 last time or on the other cruise lines, however previous cruises have always had sunshine, so perhaps that could be a factor, it may be a while before we do another cruise, especially on QM2.