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532 Cunard Cruise Reviews

I wish we had been told this was a "Stars at Sea, David Garrett" cruise when we booked it. David Garrett is a German violinist who plays Metallica and ACDC to the violin (plus some other stuff). He has a small bunch of German ... Read More
I wish we had been told this was a "Stars at Sea, David Garrett" cruise when we booked it. David Garrett is a German violinist who plays Metallica and ACDC to the violin (plus some other stuff). He has a small bunch of German fans who are crazy about him. The problem was I was expecting the usual Queen Mary 2 shows to be performed and had no idea that that wouldn't be happening. Instead, David Garrett performs 3 concerts and you get tickets to just one of those concerts, so basically on the 5 night cruise there's only one evening of entertainment. The David Garrett concert begins at 10pm and has a 30 minute interval. The concert finishes at 00:30am. There are four entrances to the theatre and no organisation. So when one section is full they don't tell people which section still has seats (remember this is a ticketed event). The German people will happily take 3 seats for 2 people because that's how they are and there's no one overseeing this. The food was also adjusted for the Germans on-board. It was ok, but not as good as other cruises I've been on. On the first night I ordered sirloin steak because I didn't like any of the choices and it was just ok. Comparing the steak between my last Celebrity cruise with the Queen Mary and it's disappointing that Cunard doesn't match up. Having said all that, it was my first time on the Queen Mary 2. I loved that the ship didn't feel crowded. I loved deck 7 for walking around the ship. I enjoyed the company we had in the restaurant in the evening. If I was travelling to New York and there was a good deal going, I would happily book to go on the Queen Mary again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship was beautiful, very sturdy and we'll maintained. The staff in general were excellent, the service good, but the food was a real let down. It was either bland or too salty and overcooked. The Britannia restaurant was poor so ... Read More
The ship was beautiful, very sturdy and we'll maintained. The staff in general were excellent, the service good, but the food was a real let down. It was either bland or too salty and overcooked. The Britannia restaurant was poor so was the buffet on the Lido deck. So disappointing. Of the three cruise lines I have travelled on this was the poorest. My accessible cabin was wonderful, everything I asked for was there. The three companions I was with were happy with the service and the cruise generally. I I did not book any excursions as I travelled with a mobility scooter. The first shuttle bus was acceptable and helpful but at Lanzarote my companions and I boarded the bus and were dumped at the end of the new port. (Why go to a place closed on Sunday?) There were no shops or cafes available, and we were told we had to walk 20 minutes into town to see if anything was open. Alternatively we could risk taking a 20 minute taxi to the other side of the island to a possibly open market. As we did not know if we could get back we just got back on the bus and stayed on the ship. Overall very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Chose this cruise as we love all the dancing aboard Cunard lines. This was our second, the first being 17 days on Queen Elizabeth. Had not been to the Canary Islands so it was a good fit. We had an ocean view as compared to a balcony ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we love all the dancing aboard Cunard lines. This was our second, the first being 17 days on Queen Elizabeth. Had not been to the Canary Islands so it was a good fit. We had an ocean view as compared to a balcony last time and all was well. Room steward was great as always and room was clean and comfortable. Could not see the difference in cost being worth it on this 12 day trip. I think the main dining was OK but not great. Service was good but a little unorganized compared to last time. Never asked for second slice of bread and hardly filled an empty water glass. My wife is gluten intolerant and they prepare everything on the menu for her which other lines only have restricted menus. Did miss the shrimp cocktails as they were not ever there and the lobster tail was breaded? Only attended a few shows as most were with the ships compliment and not acts brought on. The few acts were good but I would rate as below average as a whole concidering they used their own talent most nights, Ballroom dancing was good but I would have enjoyed more than one afternoon tea dance.. Upstairs club was great as was the party band(very varied in their different types of music) Also had a 60's review band that played in auditorium and in the Queens ballroom the last night. Ports were interesting and all were walk off into the local city. We did not do any excurions as the ports offered nothing we hadnot already done. We just enjoyed walking around and sampling the local areas, and were usually back on board by 1-2pm. Overall an enjoyable trip though I prefered Queen Elizabeth Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
This was our 34th cruise and several of them have been crossings on the Queen Mary 2. We chose this crossing to get us to Europe for an extended stay. There were no surprises, pleasant or otherwise. Overall we were pleased. Some ... Read More
This was our 34th cruise and several of them have been crossings on the Queen Mary 2. We chose this crossing to get us to Europe for an extended stay. There were no surprises, pleasant or otherwise. Overall we were pleased. Some positives: Embarkation was smooth and efficient. Maybe Cunard has solved some of the problems that used to plague Brooklyn departures. The ship is in excellent condition and we were thrilled to return to our favorite public rooms, the Chart Room and the Commodore Club. Our Princess Grill stateroom was comfortable and well-designed. We received excellent help from the Concierge on a number of issues. Overall very good service. We continue to be underwhelmed by the food choices and quality on Cunard. It's just the same old quite old fashioned cruise ship cuisine, blah and not very interesting. English and French stye, few true ethnic choices. The exceptions were the alternative dining at night in Kings' Chaos where the menu was adventurous and quality very good. Note that this was a very formal experience with 3 formal nights out of 7, and with the expectation that men would wear jackets on the other evenings. The QM2 crossing is not for those who pack only casual clothes. We have another QM2 crossing scheduled for 2020, and hopefully there will be others. It's a great way to get across the Atlantic without jet lag. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
An enjoyable cruise in Princess Grill for the following reasons; Lovely Princess Grill cabin mid ship with fantastic views, spaciousness and extras such as tea, coffee maker, good sized bathrooms with amenities and handy to all areas. ... Read More
An enjoyable cruise in Princess Grill for the following reasons; Lovely Princess Grill cabin mid ship with fantastic views, spaciousness and extras such as tea, coffee maker, good sized bathrooms with amenities and handy to all areas. The restaurant was amazing with an excellent table, service and food to die for. The only downside was both my husband eat Kosher food, two meals came with pork in them! The waiter who knew our request, quickly took them away and apologises offered. The lounge area on deck 12 is comfortable but a little small, particularly on sea days when the weather was bad and 100 passengers were trying to get seats for approximately 50. Still, you don't seem to spend too much time there and a couple of hours was more than enough. A good tip is to go after dinner when most people head off to the show and the area is pretty much empty. Highs were drinks with the captain, the formal nights were a joy (lobster thermidor was heavenly), the shows were superb and the atmosphere onboard was spot on. A couple of niggles. The check in staff at Southampton could have been more welcoming with a smile and wishing us an enjoyable cruise, the cabin attendants would leave their trolleys stacked outside the cabins most hours and enjoyed waking guests at odd hours with their constant noise outside and for some reason we had plenty of maintenance issues - lights, balcony, carpet, air con which was a bit odd (5 visits in a 14 night cruise was a bit excessive). All in all a great relaxing cruise and have now booked another! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
There are no bells and whistles like water slides or skating rinks on the QM2. But there is ball room dancing with a live band every evening, a show every night in the large theater, a jazz trio in the bar, piano players in the lounges, ... Read More
There are no bells and whistles like water slides or skating rinks on the QM2. But there is ball room dancing with a live band every evening, a show every night in the large theater, a jazz trio in the bar, piano players in the lounges, and an oldies band in the late night club. Definitely an older crowd. But there is a full children's area and teen lounge, both well supervised. Even the only dog kennel at sea. Also the largest library at sea with a full time librarian. And a planetarium that doubles as the movie theater. Food in Britannia left much to be desired. The dining room is beautiful and service was top notch. But the up charge for specialty dining was well worth the cost. Verandah was like a top NYC steak house. We were especially impressed with the cheese trolley rolled to our table with perfectly aged selections from England, Ireland and France. The specialty dining, Bamboo and Piazza was also a big step up from the food in Britannia and the atmosphere was quiet and elegant, nothing like the Kings Court buffet even though it was next door. If you don't mind the crowds in the buffet, the selection and quality was always very good. There is also a small room next to the specialty dining called the Chefs Table with fresh pasta and pizza every evening. Good for picky eaters or anyone wanting a small meal in a much quieter atmosphere than the buffet. About half the people cruising were from England. If your idea of a good vacation is the chance to have a quiet conversation with people from other countries, a drink before or after dinner in an elegant lounge, a little dancing and maybe catching up on a good book, then I recommend the QM2. PS--Embarkation in Brooklyn meant standing in line for about an hour. But there were many staff to assist with bags, and mobility, if needed. In fact, there was always staff nearby the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Once again we had a wonderful relaxing cruise on QM2. Have been on it many times.The embarkation in New York went very Smoothly for us. (we are diamond members) there were long lines for other people to enter the ship, felt sorry for ... Read More
Once again we had a wonderful relaxing cruise on QM2. Have been on it many times.The embarkation in New York went very Smoothly for us. (we are diamond members) there were long lines for other people to enter the ship, felt sorry for them, heard many complaints.The ship is quite old, if you look for 'Luxury" it's not there , but still very nice. we were on the 12th deck with a balcony-club room. The room was very clean, bed nice and firm, the way we like it.The carpet was somewhat stained but understand they will be changing the carpets in their next refit. Our steward Wifredo could not be any nicer. Took very good care of us. Brought in a fresh robe daily for me so I could walk down a few doors to go to the pool. Being on the 12th floor is very convenient for the Pool deck. we found all the servers vey helpful and basically happy people, always smiling and willing to help. The food was very good and varied. We ate in the club dining room where your table is the same the whole cruise. You can come in any time between 6-9 in the evening . The first day we ate there I asked our waiter to bring us steamed vegetables with no salt or butter or oil in them. We had steamed broccoli, carrots and cauliflowers every day, did not have to ask for them.No set time which is wonderful. The new King's court dining area is so much better than previously.Open clean lines, food well presented. The chef looked at the presentation before every service time, very impressed with him. Many people are not aware that Chef's galley has organic veg and fruit smoothies every morning. I would have Beat and green apple and ginger drink every morning. We did not go ashore except in Quebec.Lots of walking on cobble stone streets, well worth the walk.Also had High Tea at the Chateau Frontenac , well worth the the experience.Not much in the entertainment this time. We do enjoy the lectures on board.We booked our next cruise on board a ship.they give you a good deal with very little money down and nice extras(money to spend). Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was my fourth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2, but the first during the summer season. This was not the most memorable Overall: The weather was excellent for this transatlantic crossing, very sunny and minimal ... Read More
This was my fourth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2, but the first during the summer season. This was not the most memorable Overall: The weather was excellent for this transatlantic crossing, very sunny and minimal sea state. The ship was rather quiet during this crossing, during the day and during the evenings. The day time program wasn't particularly exciting or eventful and the passengers didn't seem to want to stay up too late in the evenings, even during formal nights. By midnight, the ship was very quiet and the bars even started to close. This was not a "party" sail like my usual pre-Christmas crossing. Cruise critic organized an informal meet and greet on the second day of the voyage. It was well attended and it let me meet the people in the forums. I enjoy transatlantic crossings a lot and despite some negative comments here, it is almost certain that there will be a fifth transatlantic crossing on board Queen Mary 2 in my future. Ship: The Queen Mary 2 is a special ship and I've always enjoyed her design and layout. While there are some quirks and oddities about her design (i.e. Decks 2/3 between A and B stairwells and getting the Queen's Room and G32), she is beautiful ship in the art deco style. One never feels crowded on board the ship. The Carinthia Lounge remains the area to avoid on the ship (it has a very retirement home feeling). The ship is showing some wear and age, but overall maintenance is still very good. Cabin: I had an obstructed view cabin, but it was a good cabin, possibly the best obstructed view cabin because it was behind a small boat rather than a full sized lifeboat. Dining: Britannia Restaurant. The food in the Britannia Restaurant for this crossing was average, not as great as it had been in the past. It was still very good but didn't feel as special as previous crossings. Presentation remains excellent, but the menu wasn't that exciting. The desserts were also rather plain this crossing. King's Court. Always busy, especially at lunch. Finding a table next to a window is nearly impossible and the food is average, but consistent. Golden Lion Pub. The pub lunch is always a good choice when the menu at the Britannia restaurant doesn't appeal to me. It serves traditional pub classic dishes such as fish and chips, or chicken tikka masala. Room Service. It was decent. I usually get room service breakfast. The food/coffee/tea is never piping hot, but that's expected given that its being delivered and the galley is rather far away. Entertainment: Evening shows: Cunard has never been known for their evening entertainment, so I wasn't expecting anything spectacular. The singing and dancing of the Royal Court Theatre Singers and Dancers was what I expected. Though other passenger's descriptions were harsher ("a high school production"). Lecturers: The selection of lecturers for this crossing was not the greatest. None of the lecturers really interested me and the comments from the other passengers were mostly negative as well. Planetarium: It's always nice to be able to attend the planetarium shows, but the show is always the same "stars above the north Atlantic." Service: The bartending staff remains excellent, my favourite bartender was on board and I have sailed with her for all of my voyages. My steward wasn't the greatest this year, but was still decent. The sommelier assigned to our table wasn't very good, rather than recommending me wines, he would just give me to the wine list and have me select the wine. I noticed there were a lot of trainees on board, so service was a bit slow. Shopping: Souvenirs remain a weakness of Cunard. The souvenirs are either overpriced and tacky or just overpriced. It would be nice if Cunard could get some decent and reasonably priced souvenirs. Their selection has improved over the years, but still has a lot of room for improvement. Embarkation: Very smooth this year, no queues, the fastest embarkation in Southampton I've ever had. But I found out that this was the case because there were a lot of people already on board who did not embark in Southampton. Disembarkation: Disembarking in Brooklyn is always frustrating. There was about an hour's delay from when I was scheduled to disembark to when I actually got off the ship. Then the queues to get through US Customs was a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Cunard boasts that the RMS Queen Mary 2 is the only true ‘ocean liner’ afloat in the world today, though I have not yet discovered why it is said to be different from, for example, the Queen Victoria or the Queen Elizabeth, the other ... Read More
Cunard boasts that the RMS Queen Mary 2 is the only true ‘ocean liner’ afloat in the world today, though I have not yet discovered why it is said to be different from, for example, the Queen Victoria or the Queen Elizabeth, the other two Cunard ships currently in service. (A fourth ‘Queen’ is due to be launched in a couple of years’ time). The Queen Mary 2 (QM2) is the largest of the three at present in service with a length of 1132 feet, a crew of 1292 and capable of carrying almost 2700 passengers. It is the flagship of the Cunard fleet and one of only two RMSs (Royal Mail Ships) in the world. Being that size, the corridors are very long and it is extremely easy to get ‘lost’, though there are nearly always helpful crew members on hand to guide passengers who feel disoriented. Everything about this ship is on a grand scale and very spacious. It has a charming, ‘old world’ style to it which distinguishes it from most cruise ships. It is elegant, rather than flashy, and the majority of its passengers tend to be that little bit older, though there are exceptions. In our view, the directional signage around the ship could be improved and we feel that, whilst it is intentionally fairly discreet, it should be re-evaluated to help ‘lost and confused’ passengers. For example, because the Britannia Restaurant is designed to be split level and straddles two decks, it is not possible to walk all the way through to the theatres without first going up in a lift (elevator), walking along a couple of decks higher and then descending again in another lift. This took us (and many others) quite a while to fathom out! We had decided to celebrate our 45th wedding Anniversary in August, 2019, by trying a Cunard ship for the first time. (We had been on numerous cruises in the past with different cruise lines, mostly in the northern hemisphere, but never before with Cunard). Our two-way transatlantic crossings saw us travelling from Southampton to New York and back, with just a day in the ‘Big Apple’. We just love ship life and found it quite relaxing knowing that we hadn’t any shore excursions to think about, except for in New York itself, of course. It was our intention to spend a relaxing two weeks at sea. We knew from past experience that there would be plenty on board to keep us occupied and stop our becoming bored, but we would also have plenty of opportunities to simply take it easy. The extensive library on board the QM2 is excellent and the Planetarium feature is also well worth a visit. We were checked in very efficiently at Southampton. Based on our past experience of being required to wait, on occasions for a couple of hours, in a lounge on board, we enquired if our stateroom was ready for us. We were told that it was, but that there had been a leakage of water so there might be a large fan in the room. That seemed OK to us and we proceeded on board and up in the lift (elevator) to our deck 10. Arriving at our stateroom (10097), we noticed a hive of activity in the vicinity and were quickly advised that our room had been flooded so that we could not enter. In fact, the furniture (including the bed) had been removed and the room was being re-carpeted! We couldn’t even leave our carry-on bags in the room. (We particularly did NOT wish to have a Butler and this affected our choice of stateroom). We were able to enter our stateroom after about 90 minutes and it looked just perfect. No-one would have been aware of the earlier problems, except for an unpleasant smell from the drains under the bathroom which persisted throughout both legs of our voyage. We drew this to the attention of our Cabin Steward, Dave, and were visited soon after by Emerson, our Deck Housekeeper. He acknowledged the problem and offered us a change of stateroom to another farther down the same corridor but we declined politely as we had, by then, unpacked all of our clothes and couldn’t face the disruption that would have been involved in a move. He offered us a concession which we accepted with gratitude and handled the situation extremely well. Dave had left a bowl of fruit in our stateroom which was replenished daily, as was the refreshments tray. Complimentary still and sparkling water was also provided each day. We had hoped for a walk-in shower so were disappointed to see a shower over the bath which my partially disabled wife found particularly difficult to use. (She is not in a wheelchair). We had all of the usual facilities in our room. The bed was very comfortable, as were the pillows, and we slept well every night using the simple temperature controls. There was plenty of drawer space and more than enough hangers to meet our needs. We had an in-room safe too. There were fresh fluffy towels, warm bathrobes, a coffee making machine, plus tea and coffee making facilities. It was great to be able to relax on our balcony (with 2 chairs and a table) on sea days. Our ‘smart’ TV was very good and, in addition to BBC World News, BBC HD, SKY News, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, a Cunard lectures channel, and a Cinema Channel, we (sorry, I) was delighted to be able to watch ‘live’ soccer matches from the English Premier League! The Master in command for these two ‘voyages’ (NOT cruises!) was Captain Aseem A Hashmi. What an excellent communicator he is and so personable too. He inspired confidence and proved to be a most entertaining speaker. He was regularly seen around the ship speaking to passengers and answering their questions with the utmost patience and a friendly smile. He was always approachable and a great example to other crew members. We dined in the Princess Grill on table 18, a table for 6, where Carmelia, Vincent, Jayson and Sommelier, Christian, looked after us well. Generally speaking, the food was good, but we all thought it lacked that extra something we had been led to expect from Cunard. I can give three specific examples to illustrate why we were a bit disappointed. First, one of us ordered the Lobster Bisque one evening and it was nothing like any bisque I had ever seen or tasted – more like a consommé! Second, one my wife ordered a cheese soufflé one night but the texture and taste were all very substandard. Third, my wife and I ordered (a day in advance) the duck a l’orange to share one evening. It looked great when it was cooked and served expertly at the table, but was dry and chewy – not at all enjoyable, I’m afraid! (Overall, we all agreed that the Celebrity ships’ Aqua Class food was better, which we found surprising!) Our best meal by far was one night in the Verandah Restaurant, for which there is an additional charge of $40 per person. That was truly excellent with great service! As my wife has a partial disability, we decided to opt for the in-room breakfast because it was easier for her. The efficiency of this food service could not be faulted but, whilst realising that there are logistical problems in offering such a service on board such a large ship, we have to say that the food was only ever lukewarm. We used the efficient on-board laundry service and the self-service laundrette – a most useful facility for 7+ days at sea! The Canyon Ranch Spa Club is extremely expensive and exploits its captive clientele. Moreover, we all felt it is an absolutely appalling disgrace in this day and age for Cunard (and they are not alone) not only to charge for the use of the Wi-Fi facility, which is both slow and variable in quality of signal anyway, but to apply exorbitant charges – 30 minutes for just $15; 120 minutes for $45; and 480 minutes for $135 – when most public spaces in the 21st century, including public transport, provide the facility free! This is tantamount to taking unfair advantage of Cunard guests for what is, in any event, an unreliable service! The entertainment shows in the main Theatre were very good and, as a former competition dancer, I must say how very impressed I was with the dance troupe and the 4 main singers. There were several good guest speakers on board too, including a Canadian astronaut and a costume designer, who were most interesting. We also had the pleasure of watching the English National Ballet workshops and performances. Even though we are not ballet fans, we enjoyed them very much. We were not impressed by the Entertainments Director, Paul O’Loughlin, who seemed to imagine he was a ‘star’ in his own right! Our ‘special places for a coffee or an alcoholic drink were the Chart Room and the Commodore Club. We also greatly enjoyed the Carinthia Lounge at lunchtime for a delicious light snack and a drink. We found that the Golden Lion Pub was also very comfortable, but it can be difficult at certain times to find a table as its popularity, especially with British travellers, means it can be pretty busy. All of these venues had ‘live’ entertainment from time to time, usually in 45 minute slots. We didn’t really use the Queens Lounge (?) except for the Captains Cocktail party but it is a beautiful, large venue. All drinks on board carry an automatic 15% service charge. Before we had set off from home to catch the Queen Mary 2, we had been advised that a film crew would be on board on the return voyage back to Southampton. We were even given the opportunity of applying to be ‘extras’. The advance warning advised that there might be a few restricted areas when filming was taking place but gave an assurance that any disruption would be kept to a minimum so as not to spoil our enjoyment of the voyage. Well, we were never inconvenienced and only saw the filming a couple of times. At no stage was there a problem on such a large ship, and we were pleasantly surprised to see such ‘A listers’ as Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen and Gemma Chan (and others) at work. (We understand the film is to be released in 2020). In summary, the Queen Mary 2 copes well with everything the North Atlantic can throw at it so it was a smooth sail in both directions, in spite of 14 feet waves at one point. We did enjoy our first Cunard voyage, but not quite as much as we had expected. We might sail Cunard again in the future, but it probably would not be our first choice unless the itinerary particularly appealed to us. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Second time on QM2 & first since a supposed re-furbishment. As always Cunard smugly bang on about their heritage with artefacts & pictures everywhere yet overall the Cunard experience whilst generally very good it's not ... Read More
Second time on QM2 & first since a supposed re-furbishment. As always Cunard smugly bang on about their heritage with artefacts & pictures everywhere yet overall the Cunard experience whilst generally very good it's not 'that' special. Cabin immaculate except that the wooden ornamental balcony railing had come adrift from its metal frame. As to be expected public areas including lounge & bar areas immaculate & rather grand - with one exception ( see later ). Britannia dining room staff utterly charming & food was fine but evening meals taken to the accompaniment of frequent screeching of babies or hyper-active infants not Cunard's fault of course, but why take babies on a cruise it's not a floating creche? The self-service café or Kings Court or whatever still has all the ambience of a 1960's Wimpy bar with many seats in a sort of corridor or in bay windows that have some sort of blue tint on them - weird. The Kings Grille always empty & on the sole occasion I ventured there to get a cheese burger it was tasteless (the burger that is). McDonalds could teach Cunard a thing or two. Food from the café was never ever hot enough, so much so I played safe & stuck to cold meats etc. Given that class division is so obvious on the ship I doubt whether those in Princess or Queens Grille class would ever risk soiling their Gucci loafers in such a place. A certain aspect of the posh Commodore/commode Club was a disgrace. In several places the wood edging to the window apertures had split, come adrift & hanging loose. The inside of the toilet door adjacent to the library was covered in rust. It seems the QM2 is long overdue for it's next mild re-furb. Theatre entertainment was obviously on a low budget e.g. a shrieking girl singer & a so so conjuror/comedian - all a bit village hall I fear. BUT...a guitar concert was a joy as was a talk in the picture gallery. Good selection of day time activities too. Places visited were second time around so need to be ripped-off by over-priced excursions. Took lots of my own photographs including a photograph of a photograph taken with the captain - $35 for one print ! - no way Cunard. However enough good points to be looking forward to next booked Cunard cruise but NOT on QM2. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Would we go again on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth ? Absolutely. This was a late July east-bound transatlantic cruise with stops in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, Dublin and finally Southampton. We were generally blessed ... Read More
Would we go again on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth ? Absolutely. This was a late July east-bound transatlantic cruise with stops in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Iceland, Scotland, Dublin and finally Southampton. We were generally blessed with fine weather and calm seas; there was some movement on the north Atlantic but not enough to bother most people. Try to get your stateroom as close to the middle of the ship and as low as possible; it will minimize the rock-and-roll if there is any. Embarkation from Manhattan Terminal was perfect. From street to stateroom in 30 minutes. The ship is very elegant as others have said. it is sparkling in its art-deco appearance and it is very well-maintained, inside and out. Painting and maintenance are ongoing when we were at port. It is the very model of an elegant luxury cruise ship. We had 4 formal nights on the 15 day cruise; men in dark suits or tuxedos; women in gowns or smart cocktail dresses. Casual during the day but formal at night; it was not mandatory but for those not dressed up they had special dining locations those evenings. After the 3rd night I could get into my tux in 10 minutes, much faster than the first night. It was a chore the first night but it was special to dress up on this elegant ship. It takes a day or two to discover all the places on the ship and I'm sure I missed some. There are many public spaces where you can relax and read; many bars and cafes throughout the ship. Overall you get both a big but also intimate feeling on this ship. The library was very impressive; two stories with dark wood furnishings. My wife and I reserved the Queen's Grill Suite (Q4) Room 7088. On the QE there are 3 passenger classes: Britannia, Princess Grill and Queen's Grill. If it were a plane, Britannia would be economy, PG would be business and QG would be first-class. There is also Britannia Club which is a step above Britannia. The PG and QG restaurants are two, separate but similar restaurants on Deck 11 with similar menus and service. It is hard to tell the difference. They share a common lounge between the restaurants for PG and QG passengers. Apart from that, the rest of the ship is available to everyone. The PG and QG meals are served in their respective restaurants, including afternoon tea. For Britannia class, there is a large impressive restaurant in the aft of the ship; afternoon tea is served in the Queen's Room which is also the dance floor. The staterooms are of course larger for the QG than for the PG than for Britannia. Overall I think the QG is not that much different than PG. Service and attentiveness was very good. The big difference for the Grills is that you can have dinner anytime after 6 pm. For Britannia there is an early and late seating. We found the flexibility of the QG/PG to be very convenient. There are a mix of 2-tables, 4-tables, and 8-table sizes. My wife and I enjoyed our dinner mates very much at the 8-table size and we became friends. Food was very good but not great. The Verandah ($39 supplement) had much better steaks than at the QG; our dinnermates and we decided to go down there one night just to get something different and we all agreed that V was much better. Of course not everyone wants to pay a supplement for dinner when they have already paid for the cruise which could explain why the Verandah was not very busy. But it was worth it for the food. Age group was mainly in the 65+ crowd although there were some people in their 30s and 40s with children (ages 6-10) but this younger group was less than 10% of the passengers. Most were from UK, US, Australia, New Zealand. With QG there is refreshed wine and liquors in your stateroom each night, as well as refilled min-fridge at no charge. An Illy coffeemaker with refreshed tea, creamer, and coffee is provided. As well as evening canapes. This is in QG. Certainly nice touches but I think you could scrape by on PG or Britannia depending on what you are looking for. Activities on the ship were fine with lectures and high production value shows every night at 8:30 and 10:30 each night. Lectures on Broadway, Weather Prediction, Space Exploration, the upcoming ports were very good. The port excursions were generally well-organized and interesting. They are not inexpensive! And you may be able to find better value with some planning. But be sure to return to the ship on time! There are a few washing machines and dryers on each deck but not anywhere enough, so there was jockeying and some harsh words in the competition for them. Better to do your own delicates and send out the rest to the ship laundry which has a charge. I agree with others about the atrocious internet. Slow to connect, slow to use, and slow to disconnect. At $45 for 2 hours, Cunard probably makes as much on the internet as the cruise! You can't just shut off the computer because your account is still open until you sign off which was so slow I didn't know if I signed of at all. I had to call the purser every time to make sure they signed me off. Fortunately the long-suffering IT guy gave me back 45 minutes which was spent trying to get on and off the service. Befoe leaving home,sign on with your local wireless provider to use the port-days with discounted International Roaming. It is much faster and less expensive. Disembarkation was also perfect.Remember to leave some day clothes out before you go to sleep on the last night. Your luggage will be off the ship overnight so make sure you have something to wear on the last morning! We had a great time and we would do it again although we might try PG or Britannia Club for comparable value since 90% of the rest of the ship and activities are open to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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
Was on the Iceland Canada crossing. Very smooth but there lacked things to do for anyone under 50. Also had a worrying fire on board one evening over the tannoy telling us it had broken out in the incinerator room. Could smell smoke. ... Read More
Was on the Iceland Canada crossing. Very smooth but there lacked things to do for anyone under 50. Also had a worrying fire on board one evening over the tannoy telling us it had broken out in the incinerator room. Could smell smoke. Also had a person helicopter lifted off. All quite eventful! Boat was clean and tidy and staff very nice plus the food was great. The buffet was very good especially the sushi etc. Did get a bit of a dodgy stomach from the mussels which upset my stomach for 24 hours but it soon passed. The entertainment in the theatre was very poor however. Some of the acts were dreadful including the resident singers. A very good guest French pianist though. Overall worth the money but be prepared to occupy yourself as there is very little to do on those long sea days if you don't do ballroom dancing or enjoy bingo etc ! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We live in Vancouver and one night after too much wine drinking the Cunard Ad for Queen Elizabeth is coming to Vancouver showed up on my Ipad. I remember checking the itinerary and was amazed that when it left Vancouver we could sail all ... Read More
We live in Vancouver and one night after too much wine drinking the Cunard Ad for Queen Elizabeth is coming to Vancouver showed up on my Ipad. I remember checking the itinerary and was amazed that when it left Vancouver we could sail all the way to NYC. This seemed like a very rare opportunity to come to New York the old fashioned way aboard a Cunard Liner and sail around the North American continent while doing so. I originally booked an ocean view in Britannia but the next morning when I realized what I had done I was a bit shocked at how much I had bit off. I also read some reviews and had some misgivings that I had booked us on an Old Geezer cruise. My wife and I talked it over and she said it doesnt matter what's going on onboard as we always do our own thing and we will have a great time no matter what. After a couple months went by I realized 24 days is a substantial cruise and with a Panama Canal transit I should have got a balcony. I phoned Cunard and the lady informed me that there was only one balcony cabin left so I grabbed it. It was right at the front with the full metal enclosure below the railing which worked out great as it had a steel reinforcing girt halfway down giving us an extra shelf for our feet and drinks when enjoying the view. Embarkation day came and I drove our luggage to Canada Place early in the am, this went very smoothly as they were surprisingly well organized and I would recommend this for Vancouver locals. We took the bus and Skytrain in the afternoon with just our hand luggage no problem. I followed the 3:00 pm schedule and was a bit dissapointed at how much running around and up and down between US customs and boarding lounge was involved, that could give some frailer passengers a good workout. We checked into our room and the luggage was there, all looked good except the old couch, I've seen better on our sidewalks on large item pickup day. No problem the drawers under the bed held extra Royal Blue throws which dressed that thing up quite nicely. The rest of the room was fine with us and our 2 large KLIM bags fit under the bed no problem, plenty of storage in the closets and drawers. There was a card from our room Steward Mike, we got to know him quite well over the weeks to come and he was awesome, always had a greeting and a smile on his face couldnt do enough for us 5 Stars for him! Time to explore the ship and with blue skys and sunshine it doesnt get any better for a Vancouver departure than than this. I wasnt expecting an awesome Rock Band but they had one playing on the rear pool deck, they also played in the Yacht club, I could tell we were in for a great cruise. This ship is beautiful and it had a very relaxing ambiance throughout, its not a floating amusement park. We had many meals in the Lido and contrary to other reviews found the tables got cleaned off promptly and some sections there do have at table coffee service. You have to pay attention to the meal times which are posted as different areas come available at different times of the day which can lead to a bit of confusion. We had a lot of fun in the Brittania dining room, Oscar and Neil were our waiters and the place would not have been the same without Paco the wine Sommelier, he got a lot of laughs from many tables. I actually got used to dressing up collecting ties and shirts along the way during shore excursions, the Maitre'd lent me one and tied it for me the first time. We got to try some exotic dishes like pigeon, pheasant, wild boar etc all perfectly done, it helped the waistline by eating many meals in here. The food in the Lido was great Frank the French Chef was in charge and he was a lot of fun especially in the Chef's competitions in the Queens room. We liked the variety and the specialty nights, Indian, Asian, German after the Costa Rica stop awesome Pineapple and fresh fruits came aboard. No complaints about the food at all it was excellent at all times! I really thought we would spend more time in the Golden Lion Pub, we mostly enjoyed lunches and beers but found ourselves too busy with other activities. We had a good time at the jewelry auction, its a great way to get all the free champagne you can drink and my wife came away with a lovely modestly priced ring she really loves. There is actually plenty of free liquor to be had if you go to the tastings and special events available, we downed some expensive brands without spending a nickel, check the daily itinerary. We found the drinks onboard to be reasonably priced not more than at a descent hotel and they serve chips and nuts at no charge along with them and the ambiance of the Commodore Club is fabulous. The High tea is quite an event at 3:30 daily, never expected to enjoy it as much as we did and we took part often, it was wonderful! The walk around deck is also very cool we did 5 rounds a day of speed walking which kept us in shape for the shore excurions. This deck also has the old fashioned wooden padded lounge chairs, great for relaxing on with a drink and a book. We got to know some of the onboard entertainment staff as they also helped out with the Tenders and Port excursions. The shows were great and very well done, different entertainers got on and off at different ports and they got a lot of standing ovations they were that good! The laundry was a bonus all free including detergent, I even learned how to iron my fancy shirts from the Australians, that was a hangout for them. I tried to book the shore excursions privately but found the Prices through Cunard were much better especially in Sanfransico, Cabo, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama and the Everglades. The highlight was the July 4th fireworks where we were back to back with Cunards old Lead Ship the Queen Mary in Long beach. Our room key gave us free passage and tours of this old ship, the Cunard exhibit onboard the Queen Mary is not to be missed. We enjoyed all of our shore excursions especially the Pamana Jungle river canoe trip to the Embera Indian village, it was awesome! The Panama Canal transit is quite spectacular, the ship is a Panamax size hull which fills the entire lock and we had access to all the foredecks etc. great experience! All the ports were great but you have to watch your boarding time, it was surprisingly difficult to find a Taxi in Ft. Lauderdale to take us back to the ship, get that Uber App! There is nothing like sailing under the Varrazano Bridge and by the Statue of Liberty at the crack of dawn and up the Hudson to dock at ancient pier 90 in Manhattan, it was a spectaular Cunard experience and they have been doing this for over 100 years. We thoroughly enjoyed this voyage, it was not a Geezer Cruise even though there were plenty of them aboard, everyone seemed to be having a great time. There are always a few grumps on a ship like this but that is on them. The staff were most kind and helpful, they seemed funloving and enjoyed the activities as much as we did. The only negative we found was some passengers had a cough or a cold and were coughing into their hands instead of their elbows or holding a napkin to cough into. I expected more from mature adults and even spoke to a lady who just seemed to be coughing into her hands and touching everything like she was deliberately spreading it around, she told me to leave her alone and go away. We were sick for a few days because of people like her, dont buy the meds at the ships store they are expensive. Go down to the medical clinic and ask for some cold meds, they cost us 68 cents per box best deal on the ship! Read Less
Sail Date June 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
The schedule and scenery was amazing - but our experience of the ship was not good. This was only the third time that Cunard had ventured into these waters. We were interested to go with Cunard as we feel we are culturally more aligned ... Read More
The schedule and scenery was amazing - but our experience of the ship was not good. This was only the third time that Cunard had ventured into these waters. We were interested to go with Cunard as we feel we are culturally more aligned with Britain than the US (being from Australia) and there were some great things such as the high tea at 3 pm on the ship. However, we had some major issues with this ship and some of the staff. Very different to other cruise experiences. Embarkation was dreadful - we had to wait until 3 pm to enter after arriving at 7 am on a 15 hour international flight...had to line up for 1.5 hours to get through US customs....then there was no welcome or help when we eventually boarded - I had to beg a staff person to direct us to our room. We entered the room and it was filthy - had not been cleaned from the previous trip and had medical debris around the room - blood soaked tissues, tablets etc....this was the beginning of our distrust of the ship....although the housekeeper was very remorseful and apologetic which was helpful. After paying substantial more money to enjoy a deck and fresh air....we got a metal balustrading on the deck which meant you could not see out - had to lean on the balustrading and could not look out from the lounges or inside on the bed. The deck was located above the crew smoking area so if we went out on the deck - or opened our door to get fresh air into the room, we were flooded with cigarette smoke and later on ,a strong paint smell.....very upsetting .....however the meals were generally ok and the service in the restaurant was lovely. the best thing was the naturalist , Rachel Cartwright, who narrated a lot of the cruise, provided lectures and provided information to guests if required. Staff were generally unhappy and this was unsettling as a guest - there was no sense of joy and excitement from them....no welcome when you returned to the ship after an excursion. Shore excursions were abysmal - we booked three but cancelled the third one due to disappointment with the first two - booked two external excursions which were amazing due to the local tour operators....Cunard used university students from the southern states who had no connection to the area and were annoyingly facile in their approach. Entertainment was geared to the over 80's and on-board activities were sparse, involved extra cost and were not interesting - also for the over 80's - they sure needed more breadth of genre of music The gym was pretty good thankfully....if you liked ballroom dancing, there was opportunity to dance every night....so loved the visit to the area and the sense of being in such an amazing wilderness area - but we will be avoiding Cunard in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I have been on 10+ cruises but this was my first Cunard experience. Embarkation went smoothly in Vancouver, not the fastest but not the worst either. Our room was large (accessibility means lots of space) with a large balcony. ... Read More
I have been on 10+ cruises but this was my first Cunard experience. Embarkation went smoothly in Vancouver, not the fastest but not the worst either. Our room was large (accessibility means lots of space) with a large balcony. Enough storage space for all our clothes. The food in the Main dining room was good, a good variety of appetizers and mains and always yummy desserts. The downfall of the main dining room, in my opinion is the stringent dress code. Men are required to wear a sports jacket most nights which may or may not included a tie. If you walk in the dining room sans a tie,, the maitre de will hand you one before you can enter. I know people will say you should have know that ahead of time and yes we did but didnt think theyd be so strict. Therefore we ate in the Lido which had a more relaxed attire. Over all, as most cruises I have been on, the staff go out of their way to make you happy. An example of going above and beyond was our room steward, Alfredo. As a power wheelchair user, I need to charge my chair every couple of days. At the end of one day, I plugged the charger into my chair and nada. I first thought it was a charger issue but it turns out there wasnt enough juice coming thru the rooms electricity.. Alfredo go in contact with guys in the electric depot, who came and got my chair in the evening, charged it fully and brought it back in the am. I cannot emphasis enough how much this saved me. I was on a 10 day cruise and on day 2 my battery was dead. We were wondering what were our options, it was highly doubtful we would find a new one in Alaska. My eternal debt is to Alfredo! So if you are a power chair user, this is your heads up. My only real peeve is, ok I have 2 Firstly, their excursion personnel via email or in person has 0 knowledge of what an accessible excursion is. I explained I need a lift to get on any transportation and they had no clue where to get access info. I would have thought with the average age of their guests which was 65+, theyd have a clue. I gave up on them and booked my excursions straight from the company. My last peeve was disembarkation. They advise if you want to self disembark, we live in Vancouver, go to the Queens lounge by 7:20am with you luggage. We did as such and we waiting for over an hour with no staff around to organize the situation and alot of pissed off passenger. Eventually we gave up waiting, headed to the elevators with a huge crowd following us, to fight for an elevator with the other wrinklys. Good fun. A good trip but Cunard wont see us again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Having read some of the reviews of Queen Elizabeth cruises I was having some concerns about this Alaska cruise. Different people have different experiences, even on the same voyage, and I was pleased we enjoyed our June 10-day cruise very ... Read More
Having read some of the reviews of Queen Elizabeth cruises I was having some concerns about this Alaska cruise. Different people have different experiences, even on the same voyage, and I was pleased we enjoyed our June 10-day cruise very much. We had been on this ship only once before and that was in Princess Grill. This time we were in a Britannia balcony stateroom. Embarkation in Vancouver can be chaotic, but some improvements in the procedure have been made since our last cruise from that port four years ago. Although we are now top-tier members of Cunard’s loyalty programme and entitled to preferred check-in we were given a time of 3:00 p.m. Our travel agent phoned Cunard and was told that we need pay no attention to that and can expect to board at 12:15. I have made comments in the appropriate Cruise Critic forum about the Vancouver embarkation so will not elaborate, other than to say there is still a lot of walking to do and going up to the convention level then back down again, but we did not have to stand for any length of time. We did arrange for a wheelchair for me wife who can’t walk long distances or stand for a long time. Cunard permitted early boarding (about 11:00) with the understanding that staterooms would be available between 12:00 and 12:30. We had arrived at the baggage drop-off area to receive the wheelchair assistance at 10:45 and were sipping tea in the ship’s Lido at 11:15. I am not going to complain about the weather, but anyone unfamiliar with a cruise to Alaska is advised to be prepared for anything, except maybe a summer snow-storm. On our previous Alaska cruise four years ago there was not a drop of rain. This time we had plenty and it was quite cold on deck, but comfortably cool in the ports. I brought a light toque, scarf and gloves for my walks on deck. The décor of the ship appeals to me very much. Some, but not all, of the interior public rooms are, to me, superior to the equivalent on the Queen Mary 2. The Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Court Theatre, the grand lobby and the library are more pleasing to my taste. If a ship could combine the best of the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth it would be a perfect ship. We had been given a slight upgrade to a rather odd-shaped stateroom. One wall was longer than the other, so the balcony door and window were on a sharp angle. This provided a two-sided balcony that was about double the usual size. It was noticeably bigger than the Princess Grill balconies, which are actually quite small. Being on Deck 4, the forward view was mostly blocked by a life-boat, but as we had not paid the higher rate for this accommodation I couldn’t complain. The food and service in the Britannia restaurant was very good indeed. The timings of the two dinner sittings had been changed for these Alaska voyages, with the first being at 5:30 and the second at 7:45. I expect that many on the first sitting would find the earlier time to be inconvenient, but we had chosen the second sitting and the time was perfect. When we travel in the Grills we usually go to dinner at 7:45, so this was convenient for us. Cunard continues to excel at afternoon tea in the Queen’s Room. On all but one day - when there was an orchestra and two singers with loud and rather unpleasant voices - the string orchestra or harpist or pianist provided suitable music to enhance the enjoyment of the tea experience. The tea itself was sometimes a bit weak. We saw one gentleman bring his own loose tea and strainer and made his own brew. I won’t comment on the ports as much has been written about them in other reviews. The entertainment on board, as usual with Cunard, provides for all tastes. There are many interesting talks. I despise the “big shows” in the theatre. To assure myself nothing has changed I poked my head in a few times for 30 seconds. There was an acrobatic duo one night which my wife and I enjoyed. Fortunately there was always something soothing after dinner: the stings, harpist or pianist in the Grand Lobby or the Commodore Club. In respect to those who live close to the ship’s docks, Cunard (and I suppose other cruise lines) do not broadcast any outdoor messages on the tannoy nor do they have the usual loud sail-away music on departure. I appreciated this as I did not have to avoid the rear open decks in order to protect my eardrums. Some people complain about the dress code. I will complain, but for reasons not often seen in a review. Since the retirement of the QE2 in 2008, Cunard has been dumbing down the dress standards. The number of formal nights (now called gala) was a paltry two on this 10-night cruise. I have not seen a ratio like this before on Cunard. The last time we were on this ship was a seven-night cruise to Norway on which there were three formal nights. I have never gone to dinner on a Cunard ship without a jacket and tie and have no intention to start doing so. By no means was I the only one. There were many men who dressed traditionally. On “smart attire” nights, except for the first night, the description was “jacket – tie optional”. I must say the two gala nights were glamorous affairs and I heard no grumbling about this. I suppose those who dislike this tradition ate in the cafeteria. The “senior officers party” for those at the top two levels of the Cunard World Club was held at 11:00 a.m. The dress code was “smart attire – jacket optional.” I was pleasantly surprised that most people dressed well. A few men even wore tuxedos and some women wore evening dress, including one elegant lady in a white ball gown with a fur wrap. Perhaps this was a little over the top at 11:00 a.m. There were no other ships in Vancouver on our day of arrival. Due to our Diamond level status we were called ashore at 8:20, just five minutes after the Grills passengers. Getting a taxi was easy. This voyage deserved four and a half stars, but as that option isn’t available I gave four stars. Five stars may imply perfection. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We took a family party of 8, ages 5-73 on this to experience Alaska for the first time. We had 3 balcony cabins near the bow on level 5. The ship, was outstanding, elegant, and British-traditional in an updated version. I would recommend ... Read More
We took a family party of 8, ages 5-73 on this to experience Alaska for the first time. We had 3 balcony cabins near the bow on level 5. The ship, was outstanding, elegant, and British-traditional in an updated version. I would recommend this cruise and ship to anyone wanting to see Alaska. I feel it necessary to contradict some of the negative reviews about the crew made by others. Our cabins were excellent, the stewards were friendly and attentive, responding to our requests, and dining was varied enough to suit the tastes of our 3 generation party. Britannia was excellent, food, service and setting. Not a single time did we feel the staff was inattentive or anything less that friendly and professional. Lido was excellent for buffet breakfast and lunch. Never overcrowded, clean, beautiful views, good food, good variety. Port selection was good, and excursions were generally worthwhile. If you are booking these, I caution you that there will be much less time at the sites you visit, and in Port, than you would think, based on the overall port time and the advertised length of the excursion. Once you deduct the boarding and travel time from the advertised length of the excursion, and build in the desired margin to reboard the ship timely, you generally will feel very rushed, and will find shore time in Port rushed or non-existent. Cunard should provide a realistic estimate of the ACTUAL time you will be at the excursion site for trip planning. Another note: I am no techno-wizard, but the technology of the Voyage Personaliser is pathetic, outmoded and in need of a complete overhaul. The site did not save your login info, or auto fill the necessary basic info, so every time you want to do a search, make a change, anything, it’s necessary to repeat all that key boarding. Since **we were booking excursions for travelers in 3 cabins, who were often NOT taking the same excursions, it was incredible that we could not book individuals in separate cabins on an excursion with a single booking, but had to make 3 separate reservations. We thought we were just too dumb to figure a work around, but several in out group tried, and we contacted Cunard by phone and were told it could not be done! Another suggestion, is that Cunard should make available for purchase a Nautical Chart covering the length of the itinerary. I am a small sail and powerboat enthusiast with over 50 years experience and naturally wanted to plot our course and study the channels and tributaries along the way. I learned ahead of time that there might be nothing on ship to purchase, and was stunned, so I went online and found a poor substitute. When I boarded I asked around and no one I spoke to had any idea what I was talking about. Only after we had gotten over half way along the trip did we see Charts for the area on sale in a small store, but by then it was too late. Back to our party. The Kids Zone was a terrific hit with the younger ones and their parents, the fitness area was well done, entertainment and activities were varied and enjoyable and there was much more to do that we had time for, so there was no issue with boredom on days at sea.. Finally, embarkation in Vancouver was crowded, hot and chaotic. We arrived slightly earlier, as instructed by phone ahead of time, than our assigned time and it took about 2 hours. Whether that is an acceptable time frame I will leave to travelers more experienced that I. In the final analysis we would highly recommend this ship and voyage to anyone wanting to see Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I made a crossing from New York to Southampton on the QM2 in late May. The weather cooperated pretty well except for the first day that was very windy with high seas. The paper bags were out for those who needed them. I did ... Read More
My wife and I made a crossing from New York to Southampton on the QM2 in late May. The weather cooperated pretty well except for the first day that was very windy with high seas. The paper bags were out for those who needed them. I did take a Bonine tab myself and felt fine for the rest of the day. The service on the ship was great and the list of lecturers and performers was also first rate. The food fell back into the "almost as good as" category as it was very British, as to say drab. Even the steak at the Veranda was a notch below what I would expect from a steakhouse in a major city. But the sad part of the ship experience was the lack of technology. The WiFi was definitely in the last century as far as performance and the lack of any apps to keep track of the events onboard or to communicate with others in your party was amazing to me after recent cruises on Princess and Disney. I know this is not a cruise ship but that is no excuse for falling so far behind the curve in this area. Also, the ship design itself was a series of ups and downs to get anywhere. If you wanted to get to the ballroom in front on level 3 you had to go down to level 2. All around the ship there were small lifts for people in wheelchairs because of the poor layout. It may be too late to fix the layout problems without a major overhaul but the technology items need to be looked at now. Why do I still give it a Very Good rating? Because, though it is on the edge of being only good it was certainly not an average voyage. The room, entertainment and education features were excellent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise as it visited Visby, Klaipeda and Oslo, which we had not been to before, plus some old favourites like Skagen, Copenhagen and Kristiansand. A 16 night cruise with 5 formal nights and plenty of sea days. (To be honest we ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it visited Visby, Klaipeda and Oslo, which we had not been to before, plus some old favourites like Skagen, Copenhagen and Kristiansand. A 16 night cruise with 5 formal nights and plenty of sea days. (To be honest we would have happily missed St Petersburg as every Baltic cruise goes there and there is a limit to what you can do) We've travelled on the QV several times before, always choosing a restricted view outside cabin as it gives you a light cabin without the cost of a balcony, and the view is perfectly adequate unless you plan to spend a lot of time in the cabin. As usual the cabin was kept immaculately clean by our steward. The QV is like a comfortable slipper...everything just seems right. Plenty of quiet spaces, a lovely library, good shows in the evening and attentive staff. We also had the bonus of Captain Andrew Hall, who was friendly and approachable, although his weather forecasts always seemed wrong. Plenty of choice food wise, morning, noon and night. We tended to eat in the restaurant most nights apart from a few port days when our early sitting didn't fit in with our return to the ship. Rest assured that the food in the Lido was excellent in the evening and in some cases, surpassed that in the main restaurant. Our only disappointment was we felt the quality of meet had declined from previous voyages. Highlight of the trip for us was Oslo, even though it rained most of the day. The city has some lovely buildings, open spaces and public art. We ended up walking about 14 miles around the city. Klaipeda in Lithuania also surpassed expectations....a lovely old centre, best explored on foot following a guided tour supplied by the local Tourist Board. It pointed out old buildings and some lovely art that we might have missed had we stuck to the centre. Our only disappointments were that a) a few guests choose to ignore the formal evening dress code and were allowed into the restaurant wearing polo shirts with no jacket, when everybody else were in their finest tuxedos and b) the QV was virtually full of Brits this time. On previous voyages we have found a more varied international makeup which we think adds to the trip. Its always lovely to talk to someone from another country to get a different perspective of things. Overall - would always recommend the Baltic for first time cruisers and the QV for anyone who likes to dress up a little and recreate a bit of glamour. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise as the "cruise to get to the cruise" - as we sailed on another line on May 15. The fare was not too bad when you calculate in the savings from the 1st class airfare. We were in the Queens Grill - a must. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the "cruise to get to the cruise" - as we sailed on another line on May 15. The fare was not too bad when you calculate in the savings from the 1st class airfare. We were in the Queens Grill - a must. This was the largest ship that my wife and I had ever been on with over 2500 people. It was great to have a large room to escape to as well as your own bar. Service was excellent (mostly) in the Queens restaurant and bar. The Queens lounge had a bartender that must have been an institution as everyone loved him. I would guess that the matriDee (I can't spell that) must have made a fortune in tips, but he did an excellent job. The butler was all but worthless compared to butlers from other cruise lines. He did very little and was hardly ever seen. My wife said he brought not much to the party. Personally, I enjoyed the larger ship as there was lots to explore. My wife didn't care for it. Bottom line - we are luxury cruise fans. This was a good way to get to England without an overnight flight. It was transportation, not a cruise to us. Good value, not great and we may do it again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We took a repositioning transatlantic cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton on Celebrity’s Silhouette, then took Cunard’s QM II back to the States. Taking longer trips is one of the perks of being retired! Retired or not ... Read More
We took a repositioning transatlantic cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Southampton on Celebrity’s Silhouette, then took Cunard’s QM II back to the States. Taking longer trips is one of the perks of being retired! Retired or not though, I don’t appreciate Cunard’s ineptitude at getting passengers on and off the ship; a basic and routine task. As Platinum members we had a special line for embarkation. We waited until noon to get on, but I could hear the same announcements that I’ve heard on each of the 6 times I’ve been on Cunard about how something "unexpectedly" went wrong which was causing the long delay. I had boarded, had lunch, came off again, walked to the Southampton shopping mall, came back at 4 pm for a 4:30 all aboard, and the area was still jam packed with passengers waiting to board. Cunard really needs to stop making excuses and get this simple job done right, every time. Of the 43 cruises we’ve been on with various cruise lines, I’ve never been on a cruise that I didn’t absolutely love. This cruise was no exception. We had a great time. My taste is contemporary, so QM2’s old ship décor charm was somewhat lost on me. We were in a “sheltered balcony cabin” # 5023. Sheltered means the outside of balcony wall is not glass, but metal (although oddly, I couldn’t get a magnet to stick to it). Often we take the extra savings provided with an inside cabin since we really only sleep and shower in the cabin. However, we “splurged” this time since I do like the ceiling-to-floor, wall-to-wall daylight. The cabin was inconveniently away at the front and normally we pick a more strategically located cabin when we pick inside. Turned out we spent more time in the cabin than planned as the ship was very cold and we often dashed back to the cabin where we had the heat cranked up. On Celebrity Silhouette the towels were old and thin, so we felt like royalty with Cunard’s plush soft thick towels. The food was good, but not as good as Celebrity’s. For instance, my husband is a meat-and-potato guy so he’s so easy to please. At lunch first day he looked for his usual ham and cheese sandwich only to be told it was way at the other end of the cafeteria. When he got there they directed him back to where he’d started. Now, uncharacteristically frustrated, he went back and demanded his simple request. They told him he couldn’t get it today, but each day he could order one for the following day! On ANY of the 43 cruises we’ve been on, there’s a deli-like sandwich bar where you can have any sandwich of your choice for lunch. From there, as far as food was concerned, it was just all downhill for him. As for me, I missed my daily salad for lunch. Sure, there were salad offerings, but just not as many items to include in it as I’m used to (never grape tomatoes) and certainly there were never fresh berries of any kind, at any time. I’m a chocaholic and on one formal night, the cafeteria had 1” chocolate Cunard-logo logs with flavors inside to die for. I’d go on the cruise again and again just for those little chocolates! Cruising transatlantic is different from Caribbean cruises in that Cunard emphasizes dressing up. On the 7-day Atlantic crossing there are three formal nights, but actually every night is pretty much a formal affair (although the food doesn’t always reflect it). There are more guest lectures and I enjoyed the short plays as slightly different entertainment. There are more guest “competitions” (golf, hoops etc.) than other ships; Zumba is free and there’s a variety of ballroom dance classes as well as line dancing. Cunard ships have a large ballroom which is unique, and even more unique is that it is actually used at night for ballroom dancing, complete with a half-dozen men who are paid to ask single women to dance. The ballroom of course has many other uses during in day time. Celebrity arrived in Southampton one day, and the next day we sailed back to the States. We've been to London several times and we'd both spent our first 20 years in Scotland so we weren't interested in visiting there. Celebrity arrived at 5:30 am and we took the 8 am ferry to the Isle of Wight where we visited Osborne House (Queen Victoria's vacation home and where she eventually died) and Carisbrooke Castle where Charles the first was imprisoned before being beheaded. Pretty island and worth the trip. Fish and chips on the ferry on the return journey just hit the spot. We spent the night at the Holiday Inn on Herbert walker Ave (highly recommend it) which is just outside the gate of the port where we docked so we walked straight there and next morning we walked to the nearby Titanic sites and around the Walls of old Southampton. We still had time to shop at the shopping mall right down town and Cunard's ship was also within walking distance. So we had two days and one night before sailing home. A trip I would have like to have taken would be to Highclere (Downtown Abbey) but they have limited opening days. With the ship arriving at 5:30 am you could take a train to London and enjoy the day there, but of course you would want to spend the night somewhere. With our Celebrity ship we could have taken a back-to-back to Norway (kicked myself when I realized this too late) and since Cunard's QM2 leaves Southampton (alternatively New York) every 2 weeks, we could have taken a later cruise back to the States. Oh well, maybe another time. Yes, I’d say when I take another transatlantic cruise from (or back to the States) in Europe I’d travel to Southampton to take this ship back to the States rather than fly. The 2 week cruise on Celebrity was great, changing the clock only every other day. On Cunard it was almost every day (shorter cruise) but far better than changing the clock 5 hours in one shot when flying. Flying is tough enough. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I recently sailed on Queen Mary 2 for a round-trip transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York and return. This was my first experience of Cunard, having previously sailed once with Celebrity but mostly with Disney Cruise Line ... Read More
I recently sailed on Queen Mary 2 for a round-trip transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York and return. This was my first experience of Cunard, having previously sailed once with Celebrity but mostly with Disney Cruise Line (with my late DH, as a couple who don’t particularly like children but enjoy the high Disney service standards whether on land or at sea). EMBARKATION I arrived at Ocean Terminal around 1215 and was in my cabin within the hour, which was a pleasant surprise. However, I believe some fellow passengers were not so fortunate due to computer issues later on, which resulted in our departure from Southampton being delayed. As I was on early sitting for dinner, I missed the departure from Southampton which was disappointing. I did think of skipping dinner but decided that would be rude to the wait staff and my tablemates, none of whom I had yet met. THE SHIP From everything I’d read (including the Haynes manual!) and watched, I expected to love this ship, and I wasn’t disappointed. She certainly has her quirks but they are all part of her charm and appeal. She pays homage to the original Queen Mary (which I’ve stayed on a few times in Long Beach) but has a character all her own. I enjoyed exploring the ship and simply being on board as she did what she does best, sail the Atlantic, most especially during the bad weather we encountered in both directions including a Force 10 storm. We had 2 helicopter medevacs within the first 18 hours. In the early hours of the first morning we diverted towards Falmouth for one, then later that morning we turned back towards the Isles of Scilly for the second. Obviously I didn’t see anything of the nighttime medevac but it was interesting to watch (from an inside public area) the multiple approaches of the HM Coastguard helicopter before eventually the winchman was deployed. CABIN I had a sheltered balcony cabin, far aft, Deck 4, which I chose in order to experience this almost unique accommodation. (Two of the Disney ships have ‘Navigator’s Verandah’ cabins which are very similar but the balconies are not as deep as on QM2.) The location had advantages and disadvantages. I liked being low down, close to the water, but occasionally did get engine noise/vibration, especially when the ship was sailing at higher speeds. Fairly regularly there was also noise which I believe was music from the Queen’s Room, but it didn’t translate as music, just a loud, thumping reverberation. It was a long way from anywhere but that provided good exercise. The cabin was comfortable and I did not find it dark, as I have read in some reviews. However, I did miss being able to see the sea whilst sitting down, whether inside the cabin or out on the balcony. It was handy during the storms though, being able to get outside onto the balcony when all other deck areas were closed off. I like the décor of the cabin, neutrals with blue and gold accents. The wardrobe storage is good except for the shortage of hangers. The double wardrobe had a few hangers but not enough, even though I was travelling alone – I asked for more and was given a few wire hangers. The single wardrobe had no hangers at all, and even if I had brought my own I don’t think they would have fit into the rail fixture. Fortunately I didn’t need to use it, but why provide a wardrobe and no hangers? The middle section of the wardrobe provides handy shelf and drawer storage, and contains the safe. The desk area is small and provides very little storage or counter space. There are 2 shallow drawers above the fridge but the larger one contains the hairdryer, which is fixed in so barely reaches the mirror and also requires the button to be kept pressed. (Another time I’ll take my own.) The fridge is a decent size but contains minibar items – I moved those around to make space for my own. The counter space above the fridge is taken up by the kettle and tea/coffee makings. As I wouldn’t be using those, I stored them in the wardrobe for the duration, freeing the space up for my own use. I had read about asking the cabin steward to remove them, and the minibar items, but couldn’t see the need to cause him any hassle when I could resolve the situation easily myself. The phone takes up a disproportionate (at least a quarter) part of the main desk area and seems unnecessarily large for the purpose, especially given the space is already small. The large TV is fixed to the wall opposite the bed. It doesn’t appear to be adjustable although I didn’t try too hard for fear of causing any damage. It would be handy if it could swivel slightly towards the sofa but I suppose there isn’t really the space to allow that between the foot of the bed and the wall. There was a reasonable selection of channels but no guide in the cabin until one appeared on day 3 and then it was as good as useless. It only covered a few of the channels available and didn’t always take into account the regular change in ship’s time. The French, German, Spanish and Japanese channels seemed to get much better movies than those in English. Mostly I listened to ‘Cunard Radio’ on the ‘Voyage Information’ channel. None of the ‘smart’ features were enabled on the TV, no ‘on demand’ anything or the ability to check your on board account. The bed was comfortable, with plenty of space underneath to stow cases, and the bedside tables provided handy extra storage. The bedside lights look good but, with the large bases being fixed right in the middle, take up most of the surface space of the bedside tables and are definitely a case of form over function. The sofa and coffee table serve their purpose, as do the chairs and table on the balcony. The bathroom was fine but the shower cubicle constantly looked grubby due to age and wear rather than a lack of cleanliness. The towels are good quality and the toiletries fine, although I only had soap, lotion, bath/shower gel and conditioner on arrival, no shampoo. I did eventually get shampoo but only after asking for it from the cabin steward. There is plenty of storage in the bathroom, on the counter top, shelves and cupboard. Both the sink and shower have mixer taps but the thermostatic controls weren’t very good and most of the time it was impossible to get cold water. Whoever chose to fit the square/rectangular knobs to all the fittings should be made to live with them permanently as they are annoyingly awkward to use. I did hear from a fellow passenger that they are in the process of being replaced so I hope the new ones are more user-friendly. The pages in the stateroom folder were scruffy, dog-eared and scribbled on in places. Some pages were duplicated, others possibly missing as ‘Cunard Radio’ regularly stated about a variety of things, “Further information can be found in your stateroom guide” but it wasn’t in mine. I’d read online that pens were no longer provided, that these had been swapped for pencils, but I didn’t even get a pencil. There were some envelopes and notepaper, although the notepaper was headed ‘2019 World Cruise’, obviously left over from earlier in the year. I think not providing anything to write with is extremely miserly of Cunard – in the scheme of things, what does it cost to provide a branded pen when buying in such quantity? Perhaps a few pence, a cost they can easily recoup from the fare, yet it gives a better impression and provides advertising when passengers use them elsewhere. It could be that there should have been a pencil in the cabin, perhaps the absence of one may have been another example of the overall lack of attention to detail. There was nothing major, only trivialities, but when added up it was noticeable and disappointing. As mentioned before, the lack of hangers, no shampoo, no pen or pencil, the initial lack of a TV guide and the scruffy stateroom folder. But also I didn’t have a ‘privacy please’ card (which I saw in the key slots of other cabins) or a laundry bag – I had the laundry order sheets but no bag, which would have made taking advantage of the laundry special (up to so many items in the bag for a set cost) somewhat difficult! The bed was made each morning and turned down each evening. Towels were sometimes tidied or replaced, sometimes not, and the bathroom was wiped down. The ice bucket was filled if I left it out, not if it was in the fridge. I don’t think the cabin was hoovered during the 2 weeks. There was only me in the cabin and I’m a tidy person so very low maintenance. The toiletries were never replenished except when I asked for shampoo because initially none had been provided. The cabin was never returned to ‘check in’ standard during the 2 weeks, not even on ‘changeover day’ in New York as I would have expected from experience on other cruise lines and in hotels. As I said before, only trivial things, but they all added up to give an overall impression of a lack of attention to detail, something which always niggles at me because it wasn’t acceptable in my working life. ENTERTAINMENT I very much liked Illuminations as a venue but not the Royal Court Theatre, where the view from many seats is blocked by pillars. I enjoyed some of the ‘Cunard Insight’ lectures, particularly those by Peter Dean, ‘the coroner’. He was a skilled speaker, both interesting and entertaining. Others, however, did make me wonder whether anyone actually ‘vets’ them before letting them loose on the paying public. I don’t want to be read to, I can read for myself. The best presentation by far was the one by Captain Hashmi, very informative and entertaining. ‘The 3 Tones’ group were very good, they deserved to be given more than only one full and one part show. I would have preferred to hear some of their more modern (70s-80s) offerings as mentioned in their write-up in the Daily Programme but appreciate they adapted their set to suit the audience demographic. Singing/dancing theatre shows aren’t a favourite of mine but I do appreciate good production values when I see them. Which I didn’t on this trip. I’ll give the orchestra the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps the acoustics in the theatre leave something to be desired. However, I felt performances by the ‘Royal Court Theatre Company’ were more akin to a high school production than the professional shows I’ve previously enjoyed on other ships. Also, although I’m sure the Entertainments Director is a perfectly pleasant young woman, she appears to lack the personality I’d expect of someone in her position. The young man who was ‘ring master’ for the evening trivia quiz in the Golden Lion was much more what I would expect, with a friendly, outgoing personality, able to talk to anyone and everyone, make them feel welcome and included, and deal with whatever situation might arise. FOOD I ate all dinners in the Britannia Restaurant main dining room, at a table for 6, early sitting. I’m far from being a foodie but I was not impressed with the food in the MDR, in 14 nights not a single dish – or even a dessert, which for me is unheard of – stands out as being memorable in a good way, although I remember a few as particularly mediocre. If it hadn’t been that I would have felt rude abandoning both my tablemates and wait staff, I would have given it up as a bad job and eaten in the buffet where the food appeared to be fresher and much tastier. The MDR waiters were professional, polite, fairly friendly and unfailingly patient with my somewhat tricky at times, elderly tablemates. However, they didn’t seem to have any knowledge of the menu other than what was printed on it. I’m used to being given details and recommendations each night, able to ask questions such as ‘is that sauce cream or wine based’ and getting an immediate, knowledgeable, answer. But any such questions this time were only answered by the waiter looking at the menu and reading out what I could read for myself. Service in the MDR was often slow, with long gaps between courses, especially between dessert and coffee. However this was obviously due to logistics rather than any fault on the part of our waiters (something my tablemates unfortunately didn’t appear to understand). From what was explained during the galley tour, I believe the orders are input into a computer system then the waiters are called forward when their orders are ready to collect. My table was on the upstairs level of the main MDR, on Deck 3. To access the galley, our waiters had to go up 2 sets of steps, to a door in the corner, then down an escalator to the galley on Deck 2. So even if the system allowed, which I don’t believe it does, it wouldn’t have been easy for them to simply ‘pop in’ to the galley to fetch something. Although out of sequence or off menu requests were never refused, they were clearly not easy to deal with and took a little time to facilitate. For breakfast I ate in the buffet except for one day when I tried the MDR thinking the waffles would be fresher but they weren’t, they were exactly the same except for breakfast taking much longer. The King’s Court buffet is huge, it has to be because it’s effectively the only option except for the MDR. There are some ‘small plate’ offerings available in the Carinthia Lounge at different times during the day but no ‘fast food’ options to cater for the masses. As far as I’m aware, the Boardwalk Café on Deck 12 didn’t open at all during the 2 weeks. King’s Court often got very busy around the food stations during core meal times but there always seemed to be plenty of seating available if you were prepared to move away from the central area. It has a somewhat strange layout but I soon got used to it and liked that I could find a quiet spot away from the food service stations, where it seemed a bit less like a works canteen. To my regret, I didn’t try dinner there but did occasionally pop in later in the evening to pick up a snack (they had an excellent cheese board) and it did seem that it was made to feel more like a restaurant for dinner, with place mats on the tables and possibly a change to the lighting. The selection of food at the buffet is very good for all meals and I found everything fresher and tastier than in the MDR. At breakfast they had English as well as American bacon, something I greatly appreciated, and they appear to cater for a wide variety of nationalities. Croissants and mini pain au chocolat are available from warming ovens, both far too delicious for my own good. Strangely, pancakes and waffles were only available in a completely separate area, near the ‘gluten free’ corner. I wasn’t impressed by them, not helped by there being no warm syrup available, the only options being either Golden Syrup or a carob/maple, both cold from the bottle. Also, if you want fresh cut fruit with your waffle or pancake, that’s only available back in the main buffet area. Lunch selections always included a roast meat and a variety of dishes again catering for different nationalities including British classics such as cottage pie and an absolutely delicious beef bourguignon (compared to the MDR version which was slices of beef with a tasteless gravy). There was always fresh seafood and sushi, cheeses and cold meats, baked potatoes and ‘fixings’ for them, and a good selection of fresh baked bread. Desserts were varied and very good, mostly cold but with one hot option each day, and far superior to the MDR. There are soft serve ice cream machines but I did miss not being able to get scooped ice cream, which I prefer. Part of the King’s Court becomes a specialty restaurant for dinner with a changing menu, variously American Steakhouse, Coriander, Aztec and Bamboo (as I recall), at an additional cost. There is another permanent speciality restaurant, The Verandah, which offers lunch and dinner, again at an extra cost. I did not try any of these specialty options. The Golden Lion ‘pub’ (lounge) offers a pub lunch each day with a limited menu of ‘pub grub’ main courses and one dessert. This is very popular and gets extremely busy. I did manage to try it one day and very much enjoyed the fish and chips. Traditional, waiter-served, afternoon tea is available each day in the Queen’s Room. I believe it is popular and gets very busy, with passengers often having to wait for a table. Not drinking tea or being bothered for the fussiness involved, I enjoyed afternoon tea in the buffet instead. All the same offerings are available to help yourself – finger sandwiches, cakes, cookies, and warm scones, with jam and clotted cream if you so desire. I enjoyed room service breakfast on a couple of occasions. Hot items are available but I didn’t try these, only the danish, croissants and juice. I didn’t try the daytime room service menu as it was so easy to pop up to the buffet and have more choice. Although the buffet supposedly has a 30 minute closure between meals, effectively it’s open all day from early morning to late night. The drinks machines in the buffet are available 24 hours a day. The orange juice from them was surprisingly good, better than I was expecting. There are also drinks machines on Deck 2, far forward, in the computer centre area, which is handy if you’re down that way for a talk in Illuminations (the theatre/planetarium). LOUNGES The Golden Lion is a pub-themed lounge which bears only a passing resemblance to a genuine British pub. I enjoyed attending some of the evening trivia quizzes there but mostly it was too busy and noisy for my liking. There never seemed to be a moment without a quiz or bingo or live music, which isn’t my kind of pub. The Commodore Club is well situated overlooking the front of the ship, a very pleasant place to while away some time watching the sea and enjoying a drink. The Chart Room is a large but pleasant lounge, somewhere else to watch the sea but with a view to the side and lower down than the Commodore Club. Next to the Chart Room is the champagne lounge which opens onto the Grand Lobby. Sir Samuel’s is the coffee/Godiva chocolate lounge which looks very nice but I didn’t experience it other than to buy a few chocolates to eat elsewhere. There are other bars/lounges around the ship including in the casino, by the Pavilion (undercover) pool and on the aft terrace but I didn’t visit any of these except in passing. LIBRARY/BOOK SHOP The library has an impressive selection of books and is an attractive area to spend some time in, although it can be difficult to find a seat as it is popular and seating is limited. The book shop has a good selection of books to buy, particularly those on Cunard and maritime history, along with some greetings cards, bookmarks and other such bookshop items. HYGIENE The public areas of the ship always appeared immaculately clean. However, there was very little encouragement for passengers to wash their hands or use the Purell gel before entering the MDR or buffet. The buffet is large and spread across several areas of Deck 7 with stairwells and elevators in between. There are some handwashing stations but I never saw these being used by anyone, and generally if there was a crew member present holding a bottle of Purell, they would be standing in front of the handwash station effectively blocking access to it. After the first day, the supposedly automatic Purell dispensers were usually empty or not working. Sometimes staff would be there holding bottles but not always, and they were never proactive in offering it, they stood to one side and waited to be approached. I am used to being handed an antibacterial wipe, really whether I want it or not, or being politely directed to a handwashing station, in a friendly manner but which encourages everyone to comply. The lack of this on QM2 concerned me, and made me become somewhat obsessed with thoroughly washing my hands at every available opportunity. PASSENGER DEMOGRAPHIC I have been teased by family and friends because later this year I’m going on a Saga cruise, tempted by the look of their new ship and the fact it has 100 solo cabins so I won’t be paying for my invisible companion. The teasing is due to the age restriction, with passengers having to be 50+. However, I really don’t see how Saga passengers can possibly be older and less active than the majority of those on the westbound leg of my QM2 crossing! Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect lots of families and children. But neither did I expect to feel like I was on a floating nursing home – and that is how it felt at times. I’m not ageist, mostly I’m completely useless at guessing anyone’s age between 18 and 80, but what surprised me was the sheer number of inactive, elderly people slowly shuffling around, or sitting propped up with their walkers in the Grand Lobby apparently asleep. For that first week when I walked up or down the stairs, I rarely met anyone else using them, it seemed the majority of my fellow passengers were reliant on the elevators. One day I got chatting to a lady who said she and her husband had been dismayed to see the average age and lack of mobility on board, and it had made them regret their decision to sail on QM2 (they were only doing the westbound trip). She was in her mid-70s, some 20 years older than me, and it was a relief to know I wasn’t alone in my thoughts on the passenger demographic. When I arrived at dinner on the first night and met my tablemates, I couldn’t help but wonder if whoever allocated places had misread my date of birth. All 5 of them were at the very least 30 years older than me, one was 41 years older. Fortunately they were all (bar one) pleasant company but conversation obviously had some limitations, and at times it seemed as if we came from different planets rather than different generations. Most of us shared the fact that we are widowed, we are all from the UK, all doing the round-trip, so perhaps that’s why I was considered a suitable match for the table. However, I would have preferred a better mix of people, some nearer my age, some American rather than all British, and I had thought the second week would bring new people to meet. I know that I could have asked to be moved but that seemed rude, both to my tablemates and wait staff. I decided to stick with it for a couple of nights, see how it went, but of course once I’d started to get to know these people I felt it would be even ruder to move. Similarly when I discovered that we would be the same group on the same table for the second leg, by then it really would seem discourteous to request a move. Fortunately, although the second week didn’t bring different dinner companions, the demographic across the ship as a whole changed to more as I’d expected and it no longer had the overwhelming appearance of a nursing home. I met other people using the stairs, which initially came as a bit of a surprise, and saw a much wider mix of ages and more actively mobile passengers. I did meet some interesting and pleasant people during both weeks, mostly in passing, whilst waiting for a show to start or queuing for planetarium tickets, or those who struck up a conversation with me when they saw I was sitting alone in the buffet. I enjoyed all those interactions and appreciated the many small kindnesses. DRESS CODE The majority of people did seem to adhere to the dress code each evening. I was surprised how little red I saw worn on the ‘Royal Cunard’ night but the ‘20s’ night was popular with plenty of flapper dresses and feathers in evidence. One man turned up to dinner dressed as Oliver Hardy, complete with hat and moustache, which caused some bemusement. SHOPS The shops on board don’t hold much interest for me other than the occasional bit of window shopping. Mostly high-end jewellery, watches and handbags, and I’ve no idea how the prices compare to those ashore. I was a little disappointed in the Cunard merchandise, I expected more variety. I found it amusing that the first week they announced ‘the launch of our 2019 transatlantic merchandise’ when I knew it wasn’t the first transatlantic crossing of the season. Sure enough, the following week it was ‘launched’ again. What I found strange was the juxtaposition of such high end shops having trestle tables regularly placed outside bearing supposed sale items, which were clearly not genuine sale items from those shops but bought in specially. It was like a car boot sale and seemed very downmarket. TIME CHANGES Westbound, on 5 nights, the clocks are set back an hour overnight so that on arrival in New York the ship is already on local time. Eastbound the clocks are set forward an hour at noon on 5 days, so the Captain starts his broadcast at midday but as he finishes he says it’s now however many minutes past 1300. It makes the afternoons seem very short but I understand that it’s far better for the crew this way than to lose an hour overnight. RED HOOK Having visited New York city with my husband previously, it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to explore again alone. Instead I decided to have a walk around Red Hook, the local area by the Brooklyn cruise terminal. The weather wasn’t very favourable but I still enjoyed exploring and seeing the places I’d looked at online. Google Earth street view was particularly helpful as it meant I’d ‘walked around’ there before, it wasn’t completely unfamiliar. There are a couple of waterside parks with good views across to the Statue of Liberty, interesting even on a wet and foggy day. Having a keen interest in industrial archaeology, I especially enjoyed seeing the old warehouses, both outside and in – inside one being a supermarket and another an ice cream factory, what more could you want on a wet Sunday! I even came across a small urban garden centre which had such beautiful displays they would have been justified in charging an entrance fee. I thoroughly enjoyed my time ashore and would recommend it without hesitation. DISEMBARKATION I registered for self-disembarkation and was given a card but no instructions, and only late on the last night discovered I should have been told to report to the Queen’s Room at 0645. Having trekked there with my luggage in tow, we then had to trek back through the upper level of the MDR to the gangway to disembark which didn’t seem particularly logical or user-friendly. Anyway, other than some passengers apparently not quite having understood the instruction that you must be able to handle all your own luggage unaided in order to self-disembark, it went very smoothly. The taxi queue outside the terminal was well organised, although my taxi driver was clearly unhappy that I was only doing the short journey to the railway station. But I was in the station waiting room by 0730, having escaped the potential congestion of what I believe was 14K passengers disembarking from ships in Southampton that morning. OVERALL Queen Mary 2 lived up to all my expectations as a ship like no other currently at sea. The crossing experience was excellent, with the Atlantic providing a wide mix of weather conditions from fair to stormy. Cunard’s ‘White Star Service’ I found to be mostly hype, more so than expected, and rather disappointing across the board. I plan to sail on QM2 again for the ship and the crossing, now in the knowledge that those aspects make up for the service standards not being what they could or should be. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This Cruise was chosen as our first with Cunard because we have always wanted to visit St Petersberg & other venues along the way, which did not disappoint. Our cabin was ideal being kept very clean & comfortable. Our evening ... Read More
This Cruise was chosen as our first with Cunard because we have always wanted to visit St Petersberg & other venues along the way, which did not disappoint. Our cabin was ideal being kept very clean & comfortable. Our evening dining experience in the Britannia Restaurant was exceptional with the most delicious food every day, along with exceptional service ...…. However, the breakfast service left a lot to be desired, after twice being left to ask when our breakfast was going to arrive & mistakes being made with other orders on our table, after that we ate in the Lido most mornings! Embarkation was a breeze making for a very pleasant, stress free start to our holiday. Plenty to do on board at all times. Excellent entertainment & speakers. Attention to cleanliness (offering hand sanitizers at entrance to all restaurants), health & safety was noticeably paramount. Spa experience & services offered therein were grossly overpriced. Drinks on board were vastly over-inflated, I paid 5 times what I would normally for a bottle of wine at home plus a service charge on top, which only added insult to injury! A drinks package on offer only allowed you to purchase the wine that Cunard chose! Cocktails were vastly over-inflated too.... We consider that if the drinks cost was reduced we would certainly have enjoyed more cocktails and wines across the board as would our other fellow passengers (a view not limited to ourselves but others we talked to), thereby increasing the feel good factor & increasing Cunard's revenue in a more pleasant way! Sadly, because of financial advantage taken by Cunard at every opportunity, (charging for water in room too)…. we will not be joining you again...…….. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
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