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Sail Date: August 2004
Our first impression of the Queen Mary 2 was breathtaking, as our taxi dropped off us on the West Side of Manhattan. The Queen Mary 2 appeared boxy in pictures, but she is truly inspiring. The check-in was smooth. After suffering hours of ... Read More
Our first impression of the Queen Mary 2 was breathtaking, as our taxi dropped off us on the West Side of Manhattan. The Queen Mary 2 appeared boxy in pictures, but she is truly inspiring. The check-in was smooth. After suffering hours of lines and delays to board the Disney Magic, we were onboard the Queen Mary 2 in less than half an hour after arriving at the curb. Contrary to other boats, we were not escorted to our cabins. This was not a problem, since we cruised many times and we knew our way around. However, it set the tone for the crossing. We found the staff to be courteous and helpful, without being intrusive or overbearing. In contrast to our other cruising experiences, there was no barrage of photographers or waiters selling drinks. There was very little merchandising. We found the service to be understated, creating an aura of class. The staterooms were small, but very clean and well appointed. Fortunately, we did not spend much time in our room. Our two children (age 4 and 8) wanted to be in the pools or at the nursery. The Queen Mary 2 has six pools, each with a pair of hot tubs. The result is that there are plenty of deck chairs and sun beds to go around. Much to our surprise, we found that the ship catered to children. In fact, the Queen Mary 2 was more kid friendly than all of the other ships we sailed that were purposely designed for children. All children have full access to all of the pools and hot tubs—regardless of age. The nursery on the Queen Mary 2 was large and well-staffed, with a phalanx of British nannies, and the dining rooms had a wide array of menu items that were kid-friendly. There was also a host of parties to attend, such as the Masquerade Ball and the Ascot Ball, which fascinated the children. Perhaps that is why there were so many children onboard. The food onboard Queen Mary 2 was good. There was a great English Pub, which had better fare than the most London establishments. The buffets were common to those on other cruise ships, and the food in the main dining room was competent. However, food was not our primary objective. We were looking to share with our children a modern experience of crossing the Atlantic. Fortunately, the Queen Mary 2 answered our needs. That is why we already booked our next crossing for 2005. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2004
Our trip was the RT NY/NY, up past Newport, RI, to sydney, NS, Quebec, Halifax, Bar Harbor, and back again. The embarkation process was relatively smooth, onboard accommodations upper mid-range in quality. Positives: food, food and more ... Read More
Our trip was the RT NY/NY, up past Newport, RI, to sydney, NS, Quebec, Halifax, Bar Harbor, and back again. The embarkation process was relatively smooth, onboard accommodations upper mid-range in quality. Positives: food, food and more food, excellently prepared, beautifully presented. Waiter service in the main dining room, Britannia, was painfully slow, especially at breakfast time (40 minutes between turn in or older and delivery), but OK at other times. Obviously a British ship, they act as though they have never heard of iced tea. Requires a lengthy process to get it, and forget about refills. The Lido (Kings Court) buffets were excellent, abundant, easy. Negatives: the evening entertainment was designed, apparently, for 20-30 year olds, while 90% of the passengers were well past 65. Extremely loud band, rock and roll stuff. The dancers were excellent, the comedian mediocre, the guitar player very good. The MC, who is the Cruise Director, was peppy and entertaining, but seemed to take delight in picking out some unfortunate older person on the front row to embarrass. Both he and the comedian seemed to enjoy penis jokes. Does this tell us something? Why is this fun? The onboard photographer is EVERYWHERE, and the pictures are unusually expensive to buy--$27.95 for one "collage" picture, very gussied up for a QM2 quality event. Biggest area of incompetence--requiring incredibly long lines for the Captain's Reception (2600 passengers on one night? Couldn't the captain at least appear on TWO nights to cut the crowd?) And the so called emigration check on the night we sailed back into US territory, when again, all 2600 passengers stood in a single file line that stretched the length of the ship and back. Many stood in line for more than an hour and a half. With nine months of sailing behind, can't they come up with a better process? Finally, calling this tour "the Splendours of the Fall" cruise was misleading. The people in Quebec and other ports laughed at this title because the "fall splendours" don't begin for another couple of weeks after our tour ended. I think we saw one tree in the public park in Quebec that was JUST beginning to turn. The "splendour" was in the ship and the experience of Quebec itself. Again, wonderful food, comfortable accommodations. They even provided on the third and fourth day a hurricane like storm at sea, said to be the worst seas the QM2 has experienced, up to 70 MPH winds on deck, and the ship sailed so smoothly one would never have known of the storm without looking out. I would go again, but would pack more PATIENCE to use in the poorly planned line-standing. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
My husband and I have been on many cruises and booked this one a year ago after hearing all of the hype about the Queen Mary 2. We were going to be celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary and wanted to do something special. Originally we ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many cruises and booked this one a year ago after hearing all of the hype about the Queen Mary 2. We were going to be celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary and wanted to do something special. Originally we were thinking of going to Europe and taking a Mediterranean cruise, but we decided this would be a great opportunity. We were so excited about this trip and believed it would be the ultimate cruise experience. We expected impeccable service and the best of everything. We were sadly disappointed because this ship did not offer anything more than the other ships we have been on. In fact, we seemed to have gotten a lot less for a whole lot more money. The room service menu is very limited. If you choose not to eat in the dining room, you are only left with the Kings Court on Deck 7 which is a glorified employee's cafeteria. I didn't pay all of that money to walk around carrying a tray. This area is turned into four specialty restaurants by night, with the buffet areas used for salads and appetizers. The food in the dining room was okay - again nothing out of the ordinary. I didn't like anything on the menu the first two nights and finally had to ask if I could get a steak instead. The waiter had to call over the assistant manager in order to get approval. The staff all seemed not to be very organized. We finally had lobster after almost nine days at sea! There was one band on board for the entire 10 days. It almost became comical because they were in the disco, in the Queen's Room, in the indoor pool area for the sailing party - they must have been exhausted! The production shows were good, but other than that there was not much to do. There were many lecturers on board, but who wants to hear about preventing heart attacks while on vacation. Poolside was very boring and dull. Mostly all of the other passengers that I spoke to felt the same way. I expressed some of these impressions to the Maitre'D during a conversation at dinner one night. He told me that I was not on a cruise ship but a "luxury liner" that was built to do transatlantic voyages not cruises to the Caribbean. Well, then why was this particular cruise marketed as such? Or the next two cruises? He then insulted me further by saying that Cunard had to lower the dress code to only 3 formal nights, 4 informal nights, and 3 casual nights for these cruises. I didn't like the division of the classes. If you pay for a suite, you are entitled to the Princess or Queen's Grill restaurants. I only had an eleventh floor balcony - I guess that is considered steerage. The cruise director Brian was good, and we enjoyed visiting the islands. The ship cannot go into port, so you have to use tenders which can be rocky and take time. I would not recommend this ship. We could have taken two cruises with what it cost for this one. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
This was our seventh cruise with our two kids, two on QE2 transatlantic, two on Disney, one on Holland America to Alaska and one on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas. Overall, an OK cruise but it did not meet our expectations, ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise with our two kids, two on QE2 transatlantic, two on Disney, one on Holland America to Alaska and one on Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas. Overall, an OK cruise but it did not meet our expectations, based on the amount of hype and publicity. People came away expecting to be wowed and I don't think most people were happy, unless you paid a small fortune to be in the Grill class. Good things: the planetarium, meeting passengers from other cruise ships in ports that wanted to be on the QM 2, interesting 12-course tasting menu in Lotus (Kings Court), crab cake in Todd English restaurant. Negative and need improvement: 1. Food was never the culinary experience we were hoping for. When you offer chili bean tacos for dinner (our dining companion got her two tacos with lettuce and bean chili, a la Taco Bell), we knew that the week was not going to be full of culinary experiences. There was plenty of food like steaks, roast beef, basic fish like turbot and sole etc. but nothing exceptional that was supposed to wow us. We really look forward to the gala midnight buffet but there was none - so we could not see what the kitchen staff was capable of. Only a basic spaghetti, burgers, hot dogs and cookies from 11 p.m. onwards. Not even nice cakes, tortes or pies as I look forward to a dessert before bed. $30 cover charge for Todd English is way too high. 2. Rooms - Ok but nothing exceptional. They need to add a set of curtains to allow a change area. With four people in the cabin, we had to change in the bathrooms which are small enough already. 3. Entertainment - You can't just cater to the over 60's with Big Band, Judy Garland, Chattanooga Choo Choo-type of songs. The Broadway style shows could have been better and catered to those of us in our 30's and 40's although Rock at the Opera was pretty good. G32 was pretty good but overall, the entertainment is focused on the much older crowd. 4. Kids program - Only 40 kids on board and no unique programs. Very nice of the staff to close at midnight - thanks. The kids got no souvenirs from the Kid's Club - something to remember the QM 2 like a T-shirt, CD holders, backpack, etc., like you get on other cruise ships and these would not have broken the bank. Small-cost stuff that would go a long way to advertising the ship. 5. Photos - all photos are $27.50 and I thought too pricey. Even the boarding photo that were actually 5X7, but with a border to make them 8X10 and were all the same price. 6. Architecture and flow - they need to relook how the King's Court traffic flows and how you access the Queens Room and G32. Very untidy. Overall, an OK cruise but the Cunard and QE2 standard was never met. I would say they never met the Disney or Holland America standard for an overall cruise experience - and yes, we could have gone on two premium cruises for the price. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
After reading reviews, I was very concerned that our honeymoon cruise was going to be a disappointment. However, after we received an upgrade to a junior suite and Princess Grill accommodations we were quite relieved. Many thanks to our ... Read More
After reading reviews, I was very concerned that our honeymoon cruise was going to be a disappointment. However, after we received an upgrade to a junior suite and Princess Grill accommodations we were quite relieved. Many thanks to our travel agent. As it turned out, we did not know how much a difference the upgrade was going to make. The junior suite was very nice and well maintained. Room service was prompt and the food was freshly prepared. The Princess Grill service was exceptional. There was an excellent variety of meal choices. The preparation and presentation was done very well. Special requests were always taken care of. We looked forward to every meal. The staff was great. We were also fortunate to be seated with a lovely couple that was celebrating their twentieth anniversary. While being tendered ashore and in elevators we heard from those dissatisfied with the Britannia and Kings Court food service. More so with the service than the food. There was one area open from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and a few other offerings, but it was essentially the same thing every night. It was adequate for a late night snack, but not quite what people were expecting from a cruise line of this caliber. The island excursions varied. Some did not live up to their description. Being such a huge ship, we had to tender at 4 out of the 5 ports. Luckily, those with shore excursion received priority when going ashore. We heard some dissatisfaction from others regarding excursions and did find out that refunds or partial refunds were given. The entertainment was very good, there was always something to go to. There were movies, planetarium shows, lectures, comedians, bands, dance performances, a casino, art auctions, and a lot more. If you couldn't find something to do, you weren't looking hard enough. We especially enjoyed The Verano String Quartet and Dan Bennett the juggler. You can't get more diverse than that. The interactive TV was good, but the TV program selection was limited. There was daily information on the TV from the cruise director and helpful shopping and island information from Jamie. The daily report from the captain was only played in the hallways and not in the staterooms. It was annoying having to go to the door to hear these announcements. Due to the amount of walking done while on the ship and during the excursions, we never had to use the exercise facilities. We did walk through it and it had a nice selection of equipment. I know there are things I'm leaving out, but these were some of the areas that I thought people would like to hear about. Overall, I would highly recommend a cruise on the QM2 if you're in a junior suite or above. We had our honeymoon expectations exceeded and look forward to some day returning to the QM2 to celebrate future anniversaries. Thanks to all. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
This was my very first cruise and my first time in the Caribbean so I did not know what to expect but the folks at the travel agency said we were sailing with the best and I have to agree with them. There were three of us, my wife and my ... Read More
This was my very first cruise and my first time in the Caribbean so I did not know what to expect but the folks at the travel agency said we were sailing with the best and I have to agree with them. There were three of us, my wife and my mother-in-law (both have sailed before on the France and the Liberte and several Carnival cruises) and myself. We all thought QM2 was big, beautiful, fast and comfortable. We all had a great time and can't wait to sail on QM2 again (we just booked our second cruise on QM2 for the September 2005 cruise to New England/Canada). Part of the package we got from the travel agency was round trip bus transportation from Union Station in Washington, DC, to the pier in NYC. The bus trip was quick and comfortable. The sight of QM2 when we got close to the waterfront was awe inspiring. She is one seriously big hunk of beautiful ship. We got our bags off the bus and our tour guide got us into the building to begin checking in. The lines were huge; it seemed all 2600 plus passengers on this cruise showed up right then. I was wondering what I'd gotten myself into when all I could see was a mass of people as far as I could see. The lines moved at a decent pace but there has to be a better way to do this, and you need to demand from NY that they place some benches along the way so the older passengers can sit down because we saw and heard many complaining about not being able to take any more standing. Once we cleared the security checkpoint, there were more lines to actually check in with Cunard. The staff did their best herding us cats through the lines and the actual check in at the desk went very, very smoothly. We were checked in; photos shot and ship IDs in our hands in less than 10 minutes. It was getting to this point that was the most painful. It took more than an hour from entry to boarding but it seemed a lot longer than that. We boarded QM2 and the staff got us pointed in the right direction to our cabin. We had a B5 cabin with balcony. The room was clean, bright and comfortable. We were on the right side of the ship and pretty far aft. QM2 looked big on the outside but once we got inside, those hallways looked like they went on forever. We dropped our hand luggage and went to find some food. It took a little time to get ourselves oriented but if you use the small pocket maps of the ship and pay attention to where you are, you can find your way. In addition, my wife is visually impaired and we would tell her where we were and she is a wiz to get you to places, just stay away from her cane. We never got lost when we were with her. She says it was very handicapped friendly (more on this later). We were supposed to depart NYC at 5:30 p.m. but we didn't actually leave the pier until after 8:00 p.m. The crew discovered during the previous cruise they were running short on fresh water so the Captain decided to spend more time at the dock to top up the fresh water tanks. The public rooms were beautiful and we especially liked the Chart Room (great jazz music), the Commodore Club (a real hidden jewel), the Golden Lion Pub (excellent beers) and the Britannia Dining Room. The Queens room is spacious with a large dance floor. The G-32 disco has two levels and we always enjoyed our time there. The library on deck eight is expansive with an incredible selection of reading materials in several languages and the view is beautiful. The book shop next door has an excellent selection of items. The artwork located throughout the ship is interesting and beautiful. Our table in Britannia was in a separate room toward the rear of the main dining room with eight tables. We loved it, it was quiet and cozy. We chose the early seating, 6:00 p.m., and dinner was the only meal we had in the main dining room, we usually skipped lunch or ate elsewhere. We never had a bad meal in Britannia. My wife and I are vegetarians and they not only had a separate vegetarian menu but they always had veggie items (Gazpacho soup, Portobello mushrooms stuffed with risotto, roasted pepper soup, vol au vent stuffed with mushrooms, are some of the delicious items we tried) on the regular daily menu. Our waiters were outstanding, they kept our drinks filled, fresh bread replenished, and the table clean. The hot dishes were served hot and the cold dishes were served cold. The food was great; the service was attentive and quick. Our wine steward was excellent. He suggested an excellent wine my wife loved and to make sure we could remember the name, after the bottle was empty, he glued the label to a card for us to take home. We had breakfast in our room. Room service was always delivered our breakfast at the time we requested and the food, cereals, Danish, juices, hot tea and the kitchen even had soy milk for me, was just fine. The King's Court food court is an interesting concept but it needs more refinement. The food was good and plentiful but the layout needs work. People would line up at the different cooking stations but the line would block the entry/exit doors used by the staff which caused bottlenecks. The tables did not get bused as quickly as they should have. Once you got your food, finding a table could be a challenge but if you walked around some you could find an open table. The fruit juices, especially the cranberry juice was so weak it literally was like drinking reddish water with very little to no taste. The self serving stations could also be a challenge. I'm six feet tall and have a good reach but even I had a hard time reaching the food at these stations. The afternoon tea in the Queen's room was very nice. The sandwiches were fresh and the desserts were very tasty. The serving staff kept your tea cup full and made sure you did not go hungry. It is a beautiful, spacious room with super views. We did not try out Todd English this trip. The food we had on board was very good, well prepared and served with pride. If you went hungry on QM2, it was your fault. The two days at sea was just perfect and we where moving at least 28 knots on our way to St. Maarten. It was really impressive to see more than 150,000 tons of ship moving through the sea at those speeds. QM2 is really designed as an ocean liner first with cruise ship amenities. We checked out the ship and enjoyed the various activities. We were never bored, if you were, that was your fault. The cabin TV system was easy to use and there were any number of things that could be accessed through it. CNN International, the various ship-board lectures and ocean liner histories were always available. I booked our submarine tour through the TV and it worked fine. The music selections available through the system were extensive and I never ran out of music choices. As for other TV shows available, I didn't really care...I came on this cruise to explore the ship and the Caribbean, not to watch TV. The shops onboard covered the spectrum from basic necessities to jewelry, Hermes scarves, basic watches to watches costing more than $18,000. There were extensive port lectures with recommended shopping venues conducted almost daily. The staff was the best. They went out of their way to help us out, making suggestions on the different tours and shows and in general to make us feel welcome. The biggest embarrassment of the cruise was during the 50 percent off sale toward the end of the cruise on T-shirts and Polo shirts. It was the passengers not the staff who were at fault. These are people in their 50s and 60s who were actually fighting over the shirts, would not listen to the staff, cussed at the staff, actually stole shirts right off the tables and were generally an obnoxious bunch of jerks during this sale. Afterward, the three of us apologized to the shop staff for what they went through. I've never felt as embarrassed as a passenger in my life. The weather for the first four stops was overcast and rainy but we still had a lot of fun. We don't let weather get in the way of a good time. We were in Fort-de-France, Martinique, shopping at a local French supermarket and the skies opened up on us. We got soaked on our walk back to the dock and looked like drowned rats but we had our goodies. The tenders were another great adventure. Since QM2 is so big the only port where we could dock was in Barbados. We never had to wait very long for any tender ride, no more than 10 to 15 minutes. They sure could rock and roll so we considered this another thrill ride provided for free by Mother Nature to be enjoyed. Only off St. Lucia were there any real problems with the tenders because the weather was so bad they could only launch four of the usual eight tenders but the crew did a great job. The evening shows were very good and the cast worked hard to please the audience. The Royal Court Theater is beautiful but the design could be better. There are a number of seats that have obstructed or completely blocked views so you need to get there early to get a good seat. Illuminations, the planetarium, is well designed with excellent sight lines. The planetarium shows were always interesting but a little short. They also showed movies there in the evening and during the day it was used for different lectures. This is not a criticism but this excellent facility did not seem to be used very much, at least not on this cruise. We did not try out the Canyon Ranch Spa or the gym this trip but we did plenty of walking exploring the ship. If the Canyon Ranch Spa on board QM2 is the same as the spa at the Venetian in Las Vegas, it's got to be good. The Winter Garden is a beautiful space but once again it did not seem to be used very often. There was a daily art auction and it looked fairly crowded but I don't know how well they did. Aside from the auction, I don't recall any other events going on in there. We hit some rough seas when we were heading back to New York and quite a few passengers were getting sick and items on display in the shops were getting tossed on the floor. Even as big as QM2 is, there was quite a bit of up and down pitching and rolling side to side. We were fine; it was like surfing 150,000 tons of surf board. For those of you who do get seasick, it's a good idea to take your Dramamine or what ever you use. One sad thing is that since QM2 is a European ship, smoking is allowed. The smoke smell is beginning to permeate the furniture, rugs, drapes and the rooms. The casino is really bad. We loved the pub but after 30 minutes or so, the smoke was too much and we had to leave. Overall, it was a great cruise and we will be sailing on QM2 again. My mother-in-law thought the ship was too big but my wife and I think QM2 is just right. This cruise was completely sold out and even with more than 2,600 passengers, we never felt crowded. Information for the disabled: I am visually impaired and will share with you the things that I found to be helpful to me. 1. The elevators have Braille on all the deck buttons and the elevators also talk and tell you what deck you are on. It was very easy for me to find my way around the ship. 2. The stairwells and the different decks are marked in Braille. Also, the numbers on the cabin doors are raised assisting you to know where you were on the left or right side of the ship. 3. A lot of the artwork on board can be touched and you can experience it through your fingers and hands. That was wonderful. The hallways were like art galleries to explore. 4. The staff is always prepared to help and point you in the right direction if you do get lost, just ask. 5. For the evacuation drill a staff member will walk you through and count the doors and decks, etc., with you leading to your life boat station. 6. The library has books on tape and I think they also had a few books in Braille. 7. The tender crews were extra careful with me getting on and off the tenders, letting me know where the step was, how much the tender was moving up or down, side to side, and holding on to me whether it was rough water or calm. 8. All you need to do is advise the staff and let them know what your disability is and tell them how much help you need and they will comply. I happen to be quite independent and try to do everything myself or my husband helps me. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
CAUTION ... VERY LONG!!! Let me start by giving you some background on myself. I am male, 47 and I have taken nineteen voyages ranging from transatlantic crossings as a child to small yachts, medium ships, and Mega-ships. From ... Read More
CAUTION ... VERY LONG!!! Let me start by giving you some background on myself. I am male, 47 and I have taken nineteen voyages ranging from transatlantic crossings as a child to small yachts, medium ships, and Mega-ships. From "economy" lines to very expensive lines ... and NEVER have I been disappointed in my cruise .... UNTIL NOW! I have always felt that you get what you pay for .... so if you are in an inside cabin @ $299 per week, you probably do not have too much to complain about ... but The Queen Mary 2? The "Grandest Liner" of all time? My expectations were high ... as I have dreamed of sailing on "The Most Famous Ocean Liners." I was completely let down ... Embarkation: If the Cruise Line makes a big deal about NOT coming to the port before your allotted time ... then why, oh why, don't they stand by that policy?? Everyone came at once and was allowed to board together. Why isn't there somewhere for the early arrivers to wait while those who actually paid attention to our assigned times were allowed to board? The lines were excruciatingly long, two hours to get on the ship... don't forget this is an OLD crowd; this was cruel and inhuman treatment for them. We had called ahead for a wheelchair but when we arrived we were told that the party requesting it didn't seem to need one (I suppose that her MS is not sufficiently severe to be noticeable yet!!! Even after we informed the staff of this fact!) No escort to your room either ... just directions to your bank of elevators. Cabin: SMALL! Very little closet space and the "bathroom" should really be referred to as a very small powder room with a spigot stuck in the corner to rinse off with. This was by far the smallest bathroom I have ever had. Once the third bed was out you could no longer use the desk, open the refrigerator, or gain access to the balcony ... come on, this is The Queen Mary 2! Oh yes, and my end tables had water marks from the previous occupants ... not cleaned properly; which by the way, our room was rarely "cleaned" ... only "tidied-up". We never were provided with ice (in the miniscule ice bucket). Closets were not sufficient for two, let alone a third that this cabin allegedly carries. The area outside the bath is so small that you cannot exit the bathroom if your ship-mate is using the closet. The deck needs either to be larger or have smaller chairs, as the loungers were wedged in and could only be moved if you literally tilted them up in the air to rearrange them (I'd love to see an 80 year old do that!). Ship Layout: So bad it would be comical but for the fact that this is an expensive joke. The cabin halls were so tight that once the stewards started their cleaning (with vacs and carts) only one passenger at a time could pass (I actually took pictures to document this). So much for those with walkers or a wheelchair ... and this is The Queen Mary 2? There are numerous recreation areas (cigar lounge, library, hair salon, Todd English restaurant) on passenger decks. WHY? They are all far from the typical travel route of the ship ... this is a ship that is 1100 feet long ... so do not hope to make it from Todd English to the Cigar Lounge without traipsing over 3 football fields (in length) to get there! The phrase "you can't get there from here" MUST have been coined on this ship, as the designers seemed to go out of their way to make getting around tedious at best. The "largest running track at sea" MIGHT be useful but for the deck chairs being put out by 6:00 a.m.! Might be a better idea to put them out a bit later (say 8:00 a.m.) and the running track just might be usable. Pity those in the two-story apartments ... their decks are not at all private, and, in fact, overlook not only an adult pool and bar but also the KIDS pool! This, on The Queen Mary 2!!!! The Grandest Ocean Liner in the World!? ... and what ship designer places lifeboats IN FRONT OF Balcony Cabins??? Totally absurd. Restaurant: Lower level ... not bad, but the upper level where I was felt claustrophobic ... if you are taller than 5 FT. 7 in. (me) you will feel that your head scrapes the ceiling. We did have an interesting view though ... the escalator leading downstairs to the kitchen ... complete with GLARING florescent lights. The first night I ordered FOUR wines before I hit upon one that was actually on the voyage ... this is from the supplied wine list mind you. Notwithstanding my directions, we never, never were given our wine before our meal was half through ... not once. This is The Queen Mary 2? Our busboy never said "excuse me?" ... only HUH? Why did I assume that the staff would be highly trained? Several staff members actually complained to me about the staff and the lack of training ... one going so far as to reveal that rather than making an attempt to make every request a chance to provide the guest a "magical moment" they were actually instructed to try NO first!!! Are you kidding me??? We missed dinner one night and we were told to "go back to your room to eat" .... HELLO .... service?? Food was very good and plentiful, properly prepared and served. Alternative Dining: A FOOD COURT??? like in a MALL??? This is The Queen Mary 2!!! Say it ain't so!!!!! Common Rooms: DO NOT be fooled by the website, brochures, etc. as this ship uses WIDE angle lenses for photos and "Starbucks" terminology (you know, where "grand" really means "small") as in the "Grand Lobby." No feeling of ever having "arrived" at your destination ... the rooms all seem to be such an afterthought. The real emphasis was on the common halls ... large for no other reason than to shepherd you off at the end of the cruise ... like so many cattle to slaughter. Kids Program: Not too good, but I honestly would not have expected much (due to the average age on the ship) EXCEPT for the bragging by the company about their specially trained "nannies" ... other than the always pleasant Josalyn (who my 7 year old son, Gregory, fell in love with) the activity for the day seemed to center around the video game machines. Nickel-and-Diming: In the Gym you are charged for headphones if you want to use the video screen attached to your running machine! Cheap, cheap, cheap. History: The history of the Cunard Line is omnipotent. Hundreds, yes hundreds of pictures, stories, and references to the Cunard Liners of old. There is so much about yesterday that there is no apparent need to try to make TODAY meaningful. Cunard needs to stop using its past as a crutch and pay more attention to the here and now. Danger!: The hallways are FILLED with voids in the floors caused by improper concrete-type underlayment. Many of us twisted our ankles in the 1/8 to 1/4 inch voids. It was so bad that they crew was pulling up carpet and trying to fix the problem (be especially careful outside of Cabin #8097)!! Was the ship beautiful? Yes. But "beauty" without "brains" can only take you so far. All in all I will never sail on the QM2 again ... it's just not worth the cost .... take TWO cruises on another line instead!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
QM2 NY Caribbean Cruise, 11/26/04-12/06/04 Embarkation - always annoying. NY's port is just awful. We had to drop off our luggage at one pier, walk out to another pier to obtain a number. Then we were instructed to walk down the ... Read More
QM2 NY Caribbean Cruise, 11/26/04-12/06/04 Embarkation - always annoying. NY's port is just awful. We had to drop off our luggage at one pier, walk out to another pier to obtain a number. Then we were instructed to walk down the hall to a holding area where our number would be called. After only 5 minutes, we were told to walk all the way back to the original pier where we sat in a security line before checking in. Fortunately, we ignored the 1:30 check-in time and arrived very early at 11:30. Security opened up at 12:15 and we were on the ship by about 12:40. First impressions of the ship - it is really very big and at times hard to figure out how to get around even with the maps. DEcor is very nice - not over-extravagant and not cheap. Public areas on the ship: Britannia Dining Room - beautiful room, cozy but not crowded. Food was consistently good to very good. Kings Court - haphazard confusion; such a big ship but bottlenecking occurs here way too often. Queens Room - another beautiful room; very nostalgic of the big band era. Pub - great food, open space. Casino - seemed very small; only a few people create bottlenecks; lost my $$. Pools/Decks - spacious; never seemed crowded. Commodore Club - wonderful lounge, excellent waiters. A truly hidden secret. Winter Garden - rarely used room. I honestly never saw it being used. G32 - great layout for a disco; music was too '70s. DJ Ed admitted that he's required to stick to the oldies since the crowd tends to be older. Things to do: Spa - the best I've experienced at sea. Canyon Ranch is 1000% better than Steiner found on other ships. The first time I ever regretted booking only 50 minutes for a massage. Activities - not many going on. The ship tends to be more low-keyed. Shows - unfortunately, the entertainment was sub-par except for the Opera tribute. The tribute to Judy Garland seemed like something Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel would have put on. I heard many people complain about many of the shows. Shore excursions - basic excursions offered and fairly well organized. You can book on the TV, but some excursions forced you to run down to the tour office to book them for no apparent reason. Four of the five islands required tendering which makes those early morning excursions even earlier. Planetarium - good shows but they didn't seem as exciting as the planetarium shows I saw when I was a kid. Maybe I've grown up too much! They were more like IMAX shows. Though in both shows I attended, there were several people asleep snoring. Todd English - the food was wonderful and well presented but the service was spotty. At times the waiters and maitre 'd would check on things every minute, but when we had a problem with the tuna being overcooked, they disappeared. Plus we waited forever for coffee - came about 10 minutes after the dessert was served. Television - the worst at sea. Only a few channels which tended to repeat the same shows or movies throughout the entire 10 days. Trust me, the Thanksgiving episode of Friends gets pretty boring after the 5th day. Disembarkation - annoying again. We had to be out of the cabin by 8:30 and were to wait in the Queens Room until 10:45. No breakfast after 8:30, so the wait was unbearable. Fortunately, at about 10:15, they announced (in person) that our deck could leave before the other two decks ahead of us. Didn't make sense, but we were glad to leave after waiting 90 minutes. Overall: The ship is beautiful, well kept and very stable on the ocean. The large size makes it difficult to find your way around - I can't tell you how many times we had to cut through the dining room when it was closed because we went the wrong way. But there was little need for the gym because of all the walking. Cabins were standard for modern ships. The Commodore Club was a great retreat and the spa was wonderful. The service all over the ship was very good; not extraordinary but very good. Spotty service in Todd English. Activities during the day tend to be on the light side. Some may find it boring. My biggest gripe is the tendering. The ship doesn't fit in many ports. Only one port (Barbados) could take us. It's really a pain to have to wait for tenders all the time and in Martinique our tender had to sit in the water 30 minutes more because there was a backup at the pier. Overall, the 10 day trip was a very good one. We enjoyed ourselves but were never really wowed. Having been on Celebrity twice before, we feel that the QM2 falls slightly short on service and food but was still quite good. I would travel on QM2 again, but Celebrity would be my first pick and it's a better value. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
QUEEN MARY 2 Having been on Queen Mary 2 for a somewhat disappointing Caribbean cruise in March 2004, we decided some nine months later to "try" the ship again to see if the problems encountered in March had been resolved and ... Read More
QUEEN MARY 2 Having been on Queen Mary 2 for a somewhat disappointing Caribbean cruise in March 2004, we decided some nine months later to "try" the ship again to see if the problems encountered in March had been resolved and if the level of service and food had improved - we were not disappointed. For this cruise, we chose the New Yorker's Caribbean cruise, departing from New York on 16 November 2004. We booked Cunard's fly/cruise programme from the United Kingdom. Pre-cruise documentation and information were issued on time; all was correct, relevant and informative. At London Heathrow airport, we had an early check-in for our 8.20 a.m. departure to New York. At check-in a uniformed Cunard Representative was available to ensure that procedures progressed smoothly. The flight departed and arrived on schedule and on arrival in New York, after having passed through Immigration and Customs; we were greeted by a Cunard member of staff who directed us to our waiting coach for the transfer to the pier. After a short drive to the pier in Manhattan, luggage was quickly taken from the coach to the ship. The ship looked stunning and the first view of it had many of the passengers in the coach gasp with awe. The flight and transfer procedures were excellent, though I do wish that Cunard would re-introduce the included pre-cruise one night stay option at point of departure of the ship. As they now use same day connections to the ship from the UK, passengers travelling from UK Regional airports have to overnight at a London Heathrow hotel, as regional UK flights are not available to connect with the early morning departure to New York. It makes it a very long day, with the early start and 5 hour time difference. At the pier we had to queue for almost two hours to board the vessel. Whilst this was frustrating, the need for the security for guests, crew and the ship is perfectly understandable, and procedures within the terminal building were in place to have passengers screened just as quickly as possible. When one actually arrived at the check-in desk, check-in was swift and efficient. On boarding Queen Mary 2, guests are directed, rather than escorted to their staterooms, though members of staff are available on each floor level to further assist guests to reach their cabins. For this cruise, we chose a C1 grade outside cabin. This was situated immediately below the promenade deck which is also used as the jogging deck, unfortunately some guests on board did not adhere to the time schedules for using the deck for jogging and some noise from guests could be heard the cabins below though this was not excessive. The cabin was extremely spacious, decorated in light colours was warm, inviting and extremely comfortable. The cabin was airy and had excellent lighting. Drawer space and closet space is limited but adequate for a ten-day cruise. Beds are large, comfortable and furnished with crisp white sheets and light but effective duvets. The cabin was equipped with a compact en-suite shower room, a hairdryer, fridge. The television system on this ship is amazing and it actually is of benefit to spend a short time exploring the television in the stateroom, from here you can order room service, see your bill, find out what's on, see who is who and so much more. The en-suite bathroom was adequate, there was always piping hot water and good pressure from the shower. Complimentary Canon Ranch toiletries were available. Cabins were thoroughly serviced twice a day with great attention to detail - fresh flowers were watered regularly and other little "personal touches" were noticeable. Fluffy white towels were changed as necessary. In relation to cabins, it is interesting to note that in the 2005 brochure, balcony cabins on decks 4, 5 and 6 (grades B3, B4, B5 and B7), which I call "hole in the wall cabins" are now described as "sheltered balcony cabins," and that obstructed view balcony cabins have been re-classified as B6 grades. Notification of our dining allocation was contained in the copious amount of literature available and this was as per our request at the time of reservation. All the information awaiting us in the stateroom was relevant, factual and useful. There is a reasonable room service menu available 24 hours a day as well as a full breakfast service between 7.00 a.m. and 10.00 a.m. Food ordered was promptly delivered, well presented and of good quality. A word of warning - The light on the stateroom telephone indicating that there is a message waiting is so dim that it is hard to see, even in the dark - so messages can be easily missed. The cost of telephoning from the cabins and also the use of e-mail facilities on board are not cheap. The ship itself is spectacular both in dEcor and appointment. Though plastic ashtrays in the Winter Garden do look out of place. The ship is maintained in an absolutely spotless condition throughout. Life on board is more casual than on other Cunard ships. I think that the expression sophisticated without being snooty describes it perfectly. At this stage we decided it was time to eat so we proceeded to the Kings Court for some food. Regretfully, whilst the food on display at all the stations looked appetising, was well displayed, and tasted good - this food service court is somewhat confusing as one has to visit and queue at many dispensaries to obtain their requirements. This area could have been designed better to be more user friendly but in saying that the food served in this area throughout the cruise was in general very good. The lack of staff available to assist guests who have difficulty in carrying trays was noticeable, as was the time taken to clear and refresh vacated tables. The customary Muster Drill was scheduled for 5.00 p,m. In March I made comment that the notices on display on the back of cabin doors indicating the whereabouts of the Muster station should actually name the room where one should muster rather than show a marked deck plan. This would be very useful, as many guests had difficulty in finding their actual Muster Station, as was the case in March. Unfortunately this has not been acted on. On completion of the Muster Drill, the Captain announced that our departure from New York was delayed to 8.00 p.m. due to operational reasons. This would not however delay our scheduled arrival time at our first port of call - St. Maarten. On returning to our stateroom, our luggage was already in our cabin - not bad when one saw the huge amounts of luggage coming on board. We were scheduled for first seating dinner at 6.00 p.m., we chose this rather than the later option of 8.30 p.m. in The Britannia Restaurant, as the earlier time best suited our needs. Our first meal in the Britannia Restaurant was excellent - there was a wide choice on the menu, served by most energetic and efficient waiters. The food was hot and well presented. Service was slick but not intrusive, quick but not rushed, a theme, which continued throughout the cruise at dinner. Our section waiter at the beginning of each meal carefully explained the contents of each dish to us. It was obvious that during the past number of months, Cunard has spent a great deal of time improving the operation and service in the Britannia and certainly it has now reached if not exceeded the Cunard standards that we know and expect at dinner at any rate. We were fortunate in this regard but we did hear from others who were very disappointed at the standard of service, so whilst we were very satisfied some stations in the Britannia have still to get there. After dinner it was time to explore Queen Mary 2 and watch our departure from the port of New York which was spectacular - there is something beautiful about leaving this port in the evening with the lights of the buildings twinkling in the background. The welcome aboard show was varied, though typical of most welcome aboard shows on cruise ships, however in the Royal Court Theatre there are a number of seats which have obstructed views of the stage, so be aware of this, additionally, it tends to get very hot in the upper level. The theatre is very busy most evenings. My advice is to go early and get a good seat. On this first day, the thing that was most noticeable was that the crew seemed to me more relaxed and happy, they smiled and acknowledged guests in corridors and other public areas, with the simple greeting of good afternoon or good evening - this continued throughout the cruise - such a change from March when they seemed to be so tense, sullen and disinterested. Two days at sea followed. It is pleasing that Cunard has the policy of not making unnecessary announcements over the ships loudspeaker system. Each day had a full programme of events catering for all tastes. From enrichment lectures, to quizzes, from Bingo to Art Auctions, (which in my opinion have now outlived their usefulness on all cruise ships), from Dance Instruction classes to deck tournaments - there is something for everyone - the full details are published the evening before and delivered to each cabin in the Daily Programme. Unfortunately the Port and shopping lectures dealt more with shopping than providing information on the actual ports. A good way of exploring the ship is to join one of the many ship familiarisation tours. There are shops on board to tempt you with their wares, one of the best libraries afloat, an excellent gymnasium, a beautiful spa and lots more to occupy the day. A visit to the Canon Ranch Spaclub is a must for those who wish to be pampered - there are wide ranges of excellent treatments available and not unrealistic prices. A number of swimming pools and lots of decks space to catch the rays during the day are available - the list of events is endless. Food, food glorious food, is available almost 24 hours a day in the Kings Court -the buffet style system in operation on deck 7, whilst in my opinion it is not really user-friendly as previously mentioned, offers a wide choice of fresh, and attractively displayed food, catering for all tastes. The wide breakfast menu is excellent both in the buffet and in the Britannia Restaurant - however it was noticeable that Fruit Juices available were very weak, as if they had been watered down to such an extent that it was difficult to actually taste the flavour - On occasions in the Britannia Restaurant at breakfast, service was unacceptably slow - a wait of 45 minutes from ordering until the fruit juice arrived. - When the main course arrived some further 15 minutes later, it was more often than not what we had indeed ordered - on most occasions the breakfast hot food was only just lukewarm. I brought this to the attention of the assistant maitre-de in-charge of the section at the time and also to the attention of the Pursers Office - but many others guests experienced the same thing. This matter needs Urgent attention. The Britannia Restaurant operates as open seating for both breakfast and lunch. For a typical English style pub lunch - the Golden Lion pub is outstanding, especially the fish, chips and mushy peas. Formal afternoon teas on all Cunard ships are served in the finest British tradition - from freshly cut sandwiches, to scones with fresh cream to calorie-controlled (if only) cakes in the elegant Queens Room - a far superior location than the Winter Garden which was previously used or informally in the Lotus eatery. In the evening, the ship takes on a completely different character and transformation, especially in the Kings Court dining area. Numerous specialty restaurants are available for that perfect evening meal - note that some of these restaurants require advance reservation and some have an additional but not expensive service charge. In relation to alternative restaurants, The Todd English restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner but reservations are a must - whilst I did not experience this particular restaurant, reports from other guests were good - members of my group remarked that it had exceeded their expectations an ideal place for a meal to celebrate a special occasion. The evening entertainment programme was varied, professional and indeed entertaining. The young and enthusiastic Royal Cunard singers and dancers gave it their all - the three major shows performed were outstanding. Guest entertainers on others evenings did exactly what they were engaged to do - entertain - Cunard have now got it right in respect of variety, excellence in respect of the individual artistes and scheduling of evening entertainment events. Bars took on a different ambiance with different styles and types of music filtering from each - again something for everyone. Drinks were attractively presented, full of content and reasonably priced. In saying this a 15% automatic gratuity is added to all drinks on board. However on the receipt document they have a section for guests to include a tip if required - this is already included and in my opinion is "naughty." The layout of the receipt is presented in such a way to confuse passengers - Cunard - don't be greedy. A gratuity and a tip are the same thing. Thankfully in these times of cutbacks, one of the oldest traditions of cruising is still maintained by Cunard - the Captains Welcome Onboard Cocktail party - albeit of a shorter duration - as a frequent cruiser, I still enjoy these most formal of formal events. True you have to queue to meet the Captain, but in the end its worth it - unfortunately many cruise companies have wiped this great social event onboard from their schedules - please Cunard or should I say to the President of the Carnival Corporation - keep this event ongoing, especially on the ships of the Cunard and P&O fleet. There also seems to be also a vast reduction in the number of Officer Hosted tables at dinner. Photographers as on all cruise ships were all around the vessel to catch those special moments on camera. Portraits while of good quality were expensive. The Photoshop offered a wide range of facilities, including developing services, cameras and accessories for sale and simply offering advice. Well stocked and well laid out shops on board offered a wide range of good quality merchandise and fairly reasonable prices - the staff were friendly, and anxious to satisfy the customers needs rather than just make a sale. However the setting up of tables for "sales" in the passageway on deck two, turned the area into what looked like a public market - this should be discouraged by the ship's on-board management. The shore excursion office offers interesting and a variety of tours of differing durations in each of the ports of call. These can be booked via your stateroom interactive television, by completing a booking forms and dropping it off in a box at the office or by personally visiting the office. Staff on duty were most knowledgeable and gave frank and honest opinions as to tours best suited to guests requirements. Do book early as some of the most popular tours do get booked out quickly. There were mixed reports as to the quality and content of the tours offered. Numerous passengers complained of the poor quality of tours especially in St. Thomas, together with the aggressive attitude of some drivers demanding "tips" and making guests "feel uncomfortable" if they didn't subscribe to the "suggested amount." The Pursers Office is open 24 hours a day and staff on duty were totally professional in their approach, taking time to listen to exactly what the passenger inquiry or complaint was and dealing with the inquiry or problem in a sympathetic, yet decisive manner resulting in most cases to satisfactory resolution. The Future Cruise Sales Office - office? -It is more like a cupboard tucked away under the stairs from the main thoroughfare on Deck 3, has an excellent and knowledgeable staff but who must be frustrated to have to work in such cramped conditions. There is very little in the way of privacy for guests wishing to discuss their future cruise requirements. This is a popular and no doubt very profitable office for the company - yet there are no seats or indeed a place to even to wait other than in the corridor if both the consultants are busy. This office needs to be relocated to gain maximum benefit and increase its potential. During the next five days the ship visited the delightful and so different islands in the Caribbean of St. Maarten, Martinique, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Thomas. Regretfully the weather was not kind on our visit to the islands, incessant rain most days until we reached our last port of call, St. Thomas, when the sun shone all day. Queen Mary 2, being so large has to anchor at many ports of call. On this cruise, Barbados was the only port where the ship could dock. At all the other ports, she commanded her position at her anchorage point as the true "Queen of the Seas." There was no mistake the Queen Mary 2 was in town. The organisation and tendering ashore procedures were excellent. When one considers that some 2600 people may want to go ashore at an anchor port, in addition to the crew members who have time off, we never had to wait longer than 10 minutes to catch a tender from the ship to the shore. A slight delay did occur in St. Lucia due to the fact that the weather was so bad and only half of the number of tenders could be used, but again the waiting time was minimal. SUMMARY. I had many reservations about coming back on Queen Mary 2 after such a disastrous cruise in March, but credit where credit is due - this time I certainly was not disappointed - many of the problems experienced by passengers in the "early" days have been resolved and in time with a few minor adjustments things will be as near perfect as possible. I recognised many staff on board who had sailed with me on previous Princess cruises, as well as from other Cunard ships - this is good in some ways, but needs sensitivity. Cunard has a tradition all of its own, as does Princess and indeed as does P&O Cruises and for that matter Carnival Cruises - each must remain different - each must be identifiable to their own specific individuality, to their own particular line or brand product - which over the years has proved so popular with their band of loyal followers -minor interaction in the interests of efficiency and cost effectiveness are possible, but to try to blend and mix the products together would in my opinion spell disaster. A further point for the Carnival Corporation to note is that since the beginning of the great Cunard line, single passengers have always been staunch supporters of the company and the same applies today. Whilst on Queen Elizabeth 2 and on the former Caronia there were many single cabins for solo guests - this is not the case on Queen Mary 2 or as I understand on the new Queen Victoria - please don't ignore or neglect these passengers - many more solos are taking holidays and research shows that this trend will continue and in fact grow. Solos do not mind paying a supplement for the sole occupancy of a double cabin, but in the lower grades to charge a supplement of 200% for sole occupancy is outrageous. When one considers that solos only pay one Port Tax charge, only occupy one seat on an aircraft and only pay one airport tax and security charge, on fly/cruises, only occupy one seat on transfer coaches, have only luggage for one to be transferred and in most cases only eat an amount of food for one, but can 200% be justifiable? I know the arguments of the cruise companies - selling a double cabin for sole use means lost revenue. Is it really? If single supplements were more realistic - say 50% - this is guaranteed income - more often than not what happens is that companies find that they have a number of empty cabins when doing their analysis a few weeks before sailing, and what do they do - they discount - which causes annoyance to those passengers who have booked and paid for their cruise many months in advance as recommended by cruise companies - but herein lies another story. All that I ask is please do not take advantage of the single traveller and do let them continue to travel with Cunard at realistic supplements. In all a very good cruise, despite poor weather and I look forward to further voyages or cruises on Queen Mary 2. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
I have been on 10 cruises in the past 2 years and a lot were a lot cheaper then this one on what is supposed to be the best ship. Well, I DO NOT think it was the best ship. In fact it was the worst ship I have ever been on. The crew ... Read More
I have been on 10 cruises in the past 2 years and a lot were a lot cheaper then this one on what is supposed to be the best ship. Well, I DO NOT think it was the best ship. In fact it was the worst ship I have ever been on. The crew made it seem it was a problem to do anything for you. I saw old people(with walking sticks) trying to get a table after they stood in long lines trying to get some food, and none of the staff even offered to help If you got lucky enough to get a table then you had to look all over to get a drink (NO THE STAFF DID NOT GET IT FOR YOU - THEY TOLD YOU WHERE TO GET IT). You would go to one drink station and maybe find a glass and have to go looking for something to put in it. And if you were too long you would get back to your table to find your food had been cleared away and the buffet would be closed so you did not get any food. If you were getting food and it was time for the buffet to close and you were in the middle the food was taken away from under your nose and you were told "WE ARE CLOSED." Yes, they had a staff shortage, but the cruise we were on I heard about 150 staff just walked off the ship. I DON'T KNOW HOW TRUE THAT WAS, but I was on the island and coming back a lot of staff were shouting and getting off the ship with suitcases. As for disembarkation, I saw a 91 year old woman pushing her own wheelchair off, and another really old couple trying to get off. I helped them. The man had Parkinsons and the woman had 2 walking sticks and she said to me she could not walk anymore because she was in so much pain and had tears in her eyes. I took them aside and when I got off the ship I found a man with a wheelchair and told him about them. I just hope he went to help them. Also, do not expect to find your bags when you get off the ship. What a mess. At this point you wish you had stayed home for sure. Then we had a transfer to the airport and the buses didn't come so they said to all in the lines that if you want to get taxis go ahead (but everyone had already paid for the transfer). A lot of people did get taxis but our flight was not for another 3 hours so it was wait there or wait in the airport, so we waited. During the cruise a lot of people who were on the ship, including myself, asked if we could get off the ship and fly home. The shows on the ship are bad and there is not much to do except to play in the casino and that was always full. The only place you could get food and drink in peace was the Golden Lion Pub. If it was not for that I would have lost weight on the ship. At least the beds were very comfortable, but believe it or not there was no phone by the bed!!! The menus in the main dinning room were names you could not understand and the night they served lobster they did not serve melted butter with it. Can you believe that!! This is how the ship is run. Only one sugar free dessert and you had to ask for it!!! No powdered milk available for your coffee. I asked for an omelette with onions and I was told they did not do onions!!! Save your money and take a real cruise -- Royal Caribbean or Celebrity or just about any other line... The ship is new but not all that beautiful. The inside and outside pools leave a lot to be desired. Old fashioned step ladders to get in and out of the pools. Not convenient like the ones on Princess or almost any other line. Bottom line. Don't waste your money. For a lot less you can get a lot more. On a scale of 1 - 10 my husband and I (and probably everyone else the we talked to on the ship) would rate the Queen Mary 2 no more than a 3 star and that, believe me, is stretching it to the max. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
We had booked a Premium balcony room on Deck 12 but were completely surprised when we were upgraded to a Q5, Queens Grill Stateroom. The stateroom, though not really a suite, was magnificent. The only item lacking was a floor length ... Read More
We had booked a Premium balcony room on Deck 12 but were completely surprised when we were upgraded to a Q5, Queens Grill Stateroom. The stateroom, though not really a suite, was magnificent. The only item lacking was a floor length mirror. I checked a premium balcony stateroom, and aside from the smaller size, had the same furniture and bedding as ours. We would have been completely happy in any of the outside rooms! Boarding was quick and hassle free for us, however, the folks with staterooms other than Q or P had a line. We have had that with most cruise lines unless we come exceptionally early or late to board. The public areas of the ship are wonderful and the outside deck space including the full promenade really added to our quality of sea life. The food was almost 100% great, much better than on other ships and the QE2. We thoroughly enjoyed the Library (largest at sea and even had audio books), the planetarium, the lecturers and the computer classes. The children's area in the aft of Deck 6 was wonderful. I heard more than a few cries when parents tried to take their children out of the area or off the ship. They wanted to stay with the nannies! The entertainment was not to our liking and it was difficult to escape from the Royal Court Theatre. This is not a ship for people who must be entertained! It is not at all like Carnival or NCL or RCI. No hairy chest contests, ice sculpting, towel animals, etc. Events are scheduled throughout the day, but other than the prerequisite auctions, they usually require some thinking. Prices for drinks, happily, are reasonable and the wine list is super. The staff and deck officers are friendly and ready to share "sea stories" and they speak English! We will definitely repeat a cruise on this magnificent ship, maybe one day we will have experienced all she had to offer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
We embarked in New York City on 12/6/04. We spent the night before at the Embassy Suites at the World Trade Center in a room facing the Hudson River. There is nothing that can be said of the site of this ship sailing past you on the river, ... Read More
We embarked in New York City on 12/6/04. We spent the night before at the Embassy Suites at the World Trade Center in a room facing the Hudson River. There is nothing that can be said of the site of this ship sailing past you on the river, she looked like a city! We had originally booked a B1 cabin and were astounded to be upgraded to a Q5 so we did not eat in the Britannia. The Grill was decorated in a conventional manner, not as opulent as the Britannia. The menu is the same but there is an additional menu of selections for dinner but you must order them at lunch. Embarkation went well and was a separate line. We came earlier than was shown in our boarding info but we were processed and boarded even at an earlier time. The line for the other passengers was long but was moving along and most of the people were meeting new friends on the line. Our cabin was wonderful! The service excellent and the balcony was much appreciated. As for comments about not hearing announcements in the cabin, most passengers prefer that. If you read the literature in your cabin, you will find there is a TV Channel that also has the announcements so you don't need to stand in the hall! We docked at three ports but much preferred taking the tenders. The beautiful view of the QM2 (sit topside in the tender) and the ports gave us the best pictures ever. The benefit of landing in the middle of town was fantastic - no taxis, no shuttles! However, anyone with a mobility problem requiring a motorized scooter will not get ashore when the ship does not dock. You can get onboard the tender (there is an elevator) and you can take a wheelchair that will collapse. As long as you can get on the tender, you will be okay. In all other ways the ship was very friendly to the disabled. The offerings of the ship itself are superb. However, if you really want a floating Disneyland, this isn't the ship for you. There are no rock climbing walls, skating rinks, shopping centers, skateboard areas and dreadfully, no towel animals on your bed at night. I have taken 43 cruises and had never heard of them but I guess they please the children. If you love the sea and passenger ships, this ship is a floating history lesson from all aspects. The lecturers were superb, the planetarium excellent, and the spa wonderful. The drinks were much less expensive than on other ships. You can even purchase the one or two week sticker for your card offering unlimited soft drinks. I believe it was $70 for two weeks. Our good friend, met through the yahoo group, had a "in hull" balcony cabin. The cabin was furnished with the exact furniture we had in the Q5 except for one desk and the bar. We found it very acceptable. We ate lunch with him in the Britannia and were very pleased and loved the opulent feel. This ship is almost perfect (they are missing a real Aerobic room). We did hear passengers complain that the ship was too big?! The Caribbean Islands were not much to talk about (this hasn't changed in 30 years). There wasn't much on the television. Entertainment was just "okay" and they definitely did not like the Shakespeare Play and best of all, who needed the large library! I never went to the buffet. With the number of people who don't wash their hands after using the washrooms on ships, I have never wanted to take a chance on catching that stomach problem or a cold/flu. Doctors have told me the casino chips are the most disease harboring items on the ships so be careful! I heard no reports of illness on this cruise but why take a chance of ruining your vacation. We didn't take children but did tour the children's area and it was delightful! We did this after some children were crying on the tenders, asking their parents why they had to get off the ship, they wanted to go back to the nannies! I now understand why. My husband even liked the water guns available in their own private pool area. Why can't we grown ups have them? They would definitely put out some of the cigars! If you have taken cruises and don't like the nonsense of the stupid games (hairy chest and legs) and want a more refined experience, this is your ship. Children are well taken care of, adults are given many opportunities for entertainment either for learning or just being amused and although she is large, there are many areas where you can sit alone, read or just think while watching the sea. There are even religious services including one on Sunday given by the master of the ship. This is not to be missed and his officers provide a wonderful choir. Enjoy this ship, and treat the staff like people. A thank you and a kind question about their families is very much appreciated. They work so hard for us at small salaries and send most of it to their families. We saw the tears in their eyes when they spoke of spending Christmas away from their homes but they were grateful to have a job. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
The QM2 is quite a beautiful ship but that is where the good stuff ends. We waited 3 hours to board her, it was total confusion. Locals told us this has been like this from the beginning. I learned the average age of our cruise was 66, no ... Read More
The QM2 is quite a beautiful ship but that is where the good stuff ends. We waited 3 hours to board her, it was total confusion. Locals told us this has been like this from the beginning. I learned the average age of our cruise was 66, no wonder the ship was so quiet all day. If Cunard is going into the Caribbean market I feel it will have to liven up a bit. Also, the pools were very small, no fun and games pool side either. There are no changing tables anywhere & if you are disabled it is hard to locate a handicap toilet, they are not in the bathrooms. We didn't find the staff very friendly either. We had room service for breakfast each morning & not once was the order 100% correct. In the Britannia dining room the food was excellent, but again, if you varied from the menu as written it got messed up. The Kings Court buffet area was not set up very well, each station was a bit different & therefore you had crowds milling around & again long lines. Our daughter was thrilled with their kid's program. She has a 14 month old but of course there were only 24 kids on the ship so it was sort of one on one. Some areas of the ship were hard to find, like the disco. Sometimes on the elevators you had to go up or down a level to get around the dining room so you could get to your destination. We had fun because 10 of us went but if we (hubby & I) were alone we would have been bored to death. We went on the Caribbean Princess in June & had a blast. I suppose this Grand Dame of the seas was built for the rich & elderly, not families looking to have a fun time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2005
My husband & I were so excited about cruising on the QM2 but shortly after our arrival at Port Everglades that excitement disappeared because we had to wait online for 2 hours to board her. There is no excuse for this. Luckily the ... Read More
My husband & I were so excited about cruising on the QM2 but shortly after our arrival at Port Everglades that excitement disappeared because we had to wait online for 2 hours to board her. There is no excuse for this. Luckily the weather was lovely but imagine standing in the South Florida heat for that long. People would be dropping left & right. As we boarded we were shocked that all this young man did was point us to an elevator. No one escorted us to our cabin. One thing we did notice was that the Grand Lobby was not all that large. Our cabin was nothing special. Sure it was clean & the decor was pleasing but that was about it. The bathroom was exceptionally small. Since we were on Deck 4 our balcony was a cut out of the hull. Why bother! Not much of a view! The layout was a bit odd, I thought. There was a lot of "can't get there from here" areas. We snuck thru the Britannia restaurant quite a bit. We'd just wave our hands & say "Sorry, we're lost." lol. The food was OK, again nothing special or outstanding, sad to say. Our server was not all that friendly. Also, on several nights meals were mixed up. Room Service also never got it right. I ordered skimmed milk every morning & never got it. The Kings Court had a poor layout & after spending all that money you end up standing on long lines carrying a tray. Pitiful! Although the daily schedule looked like there was a lot to do, most was pretty boring stuff. Like knitting, napkin folding or scarf folding (bring your own scarf). The pools were pretty small compared to other cruise lines I have been on. The Spa was a good experience. I got a facial & the girl never once tried to sell me anything. Something that really irks me on other liners. I didn't feel that the staff went over & above at any point. Some were downright rude. My other gripe is the lack of handicap restrooms. In the States all restrooms have at least one handicap stall but on the QM2 they are in another area, makes no sense. My daughter pointed out that there are also no changing tables anywhere. She had to change her baby on the floor. Maybe they don't like babies on the ship. The ship did rock & roll quite a bit despite having 2 stabilizers. I personally never got sick but my hubby wore a patch. We had a much better time on the Caribbean Princess in July. Don't get me wrong we did have fun but it was because we had family & friends with us. I was very disappointed in the QM2, she just didn't live up to all the hype. Sort of like a beautiful woman who is brainless, the looks only go so far, lol. The disembarkation was painless, thank goodness. :-) I wouldn't recommend the QM2 to anyone, sorry. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
Nice trip. The food was great and the ship was great. After reading other reviews we were surprised to find that getting on and off the ship was a fast process. We did hear others complain -- this was the most common complaint. The ship ... Read More
Nice trip. The food was great and the ship was great. After reading other reviews we were surprised to find that getting on and off the ship was a fast process. We did hear others complain -- this was the most common complaint. The ship has a huge reputation and people had huge expectations, so people complained about dumb stuff (like not getting horseradish with a steak -- ask for it, like at a high end steak house on land). I do think the embarkation complaints were legitimate, but not with us. The room was great, lots of space and great service. People complaining about having a hard time getting around the ship, I do not agree. It is a large vessel but manageable. The highs -- staff, the ship, the people -- not all old (I am 37 and met many my age), the food (except the food court -- I do not do buffets), the spa we used 5 times -- great, Todd English was the best (I had two meals) and service most of the time. No problems with reservation at the spa or Todd English, but do them early. The lows -- port of call visits too short, tendering was an adventure for my wife, not for me. Poolside band was not out long enough and drinks were hard to get while in the whirlpool (tough life). Also, they seemed to nickel and dime for soft drinks. I would use the QM2 again. We had rain and a cold/kind of rough first night/day and it was still worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
We had seen round the ship in Southampton prior to her Maiden Voyage and at first thought her too large for our taste and sporting a mish-mash of decorative styles. However we took advantage of a last minute, competitively priced, seven ... Read More
We had seen round the ship in Southampton prior to her Maiden Voyage and at first thought her too large for our taste and sporting a mish-mash of decorative styles. However we took advantage of a last minute, competitively priced, seven day cruise in January and we were pleasantly surprised. The first thing to note is that it is definitely a two grade ship, as is the QE2. Your restaurant reflects the grade of cabin booked. You'll see the various cruising guides give two ratings for the ship. It depends what you want to do, if you want to save your money to spend on other things, then the lower grade cabins are excellent as they are spacious and beautifully finished, but you have to eat (two sittings) in a very large two-tier restaurant, which although an incredibly beautiful room, has too many people at one time. According to the passengers we talked to, many diners had slow service and sometimes lukewarm food. However if you like to remain in casual wear, there is a huge buffet style cafeteria for breakfast and lunch which converts to small themed eating areas in the evening. All the beautiful public rooms, entertainment areas and decks are available to you. There is an exception -- the more expensive (Grill class) cabins have an efficient, no queue check-in, superior furnishings, their own bar, sun deck and exclusive restaurant. There are two of these intimate, one-sitting rooms, which are allocated according to grade of cabin. The food and service here is outstanding, as good if not better than most high class venues on land. You can divert from the menu but the daily menu choices are so good that you are spoiled for choice. We travelled at the P2 grade and had one of the largest and most tasteful cabins that we have had during our 20 or more cruises. If your perfect holiday is to relax in beautiful surroundings, lying on your spacious private balcony with a book and glass of champagne on the table beside you; if you like dressing up and being thoroughly pampered at mealtimes; if you don't like set times to eat or see a show, then splash out and try the Grill class. Its an experience to remember. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
My husband and I sailed on the Jan 15 - 22 sailing to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. Kitts. We loved it. I have been on QE2 for a crossing in June 2003. Loved that, too. When we got the Cunard brochure in November for a 20% discount and ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Jan 15 - 22 sailing to St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. Kitts. We loved it. I have been on QE2 for a crossing in June 2003. Loved that, too. When we got the Cunard brochure in November for a 20% discount and free balcony upgrade for the price, why not go and see the ship for myself. I read all the reviews on Cruise Critic (just like I did before the QE2 trip) and they all seemed so negative, I went with a very open mind and was expecting to be disappointed. After a couple days, I commented to my husband that could these people with negative reviews have been on the same ship? Did we just happen to be on board when Cunard got everything right? I made a special effort to try to see if I could pick up any negative vibes on board from other passengers -- from what I saw, I think most people were having a good time. The wait staff was excellent -- very professional and friendly. Our room was wonderful -- I could not believe all the closet space -- the bed is so comfortable, too. Really liked the in-hull balcony. Did we find ship hard to navigate -- not really. Sure you could get turned around, but every stairwell and hallway has multiple ship directory plaques with a red dot "you are here" -- we used them a lot and had no problems. Plus, they give you a nice fold up map, which is easy to stick in a purse or pocket -- I used that for a couple days until I started using the ship signs. Public rooms -- we made a special effort to visit every area of the ship (used the fold up map as a check list) and sit and enjoy. It would be hard to pick a favorite -- they are all so different and unique -- each giving you a different mood. Food -- I found the food to be very good -- we loved the breakfast buffets in Kings Court -- such variety -- the wait staff was very helpful in this area. Yes, they could take away your items before you were done -- but my husband and I just took turns going back and solved that problem. How are the staff to know you are coming back? They are just told to keep it clean -- which they did. The layout could have been a little awkward among the 4 areas, but I have read that Cunard will improve that in dry dock November '05. But excellent variety. Britannia Restaurant -- what a lovely room -- and to be so large and feed so many, I thought it had a nice quiet intimate feel. We had a table for 6, 1st upper level near the atrium, late seating -- our head waiter was fabulous. He would bring us extra food, make jokes -- loved him. He did tell us they move their stations every cruise. I did think the food was just a little bit better in Caronia Restaurant on my QE2 crossing -- but they had excellent variety -- and a Canyon Spa healthy choice offering -- my husband mixed and matched -- if he saw something he wanted off Canyon Spa and the regular menu, they would bring him what he asked for -- no questions. Entertainment -- I thought it was very good -- the costumes for the production shows were beautiful -- good talented people. The orchestras and band were great -- all the piano players in bars, etc. were wonderful -- jazz band was good -- singers excellent. I wasn't overly impressed with the Planetarium -- only did 1 show, it was OK. Cruise Director -- very friendly -- upbeat -- kept you informed. Pool areas -- I thought the areas were nice -- loved the 3 levels on the back of the ship -- hot tubs were fabulous (sitting in the hot tub watching the sunset on sail away doesn't get much better than that) -- chairs comfy -- loved the green towels found under sink in your bathroom (liked them so much we bought 1 -- $35) -- bar handy and they came around often asking if you needed something. Soft drink sticker on your card -- took advantage of that -- we are big soft drink people. If they made a mistake and charged you, you just showed it to your waiter and they reversed the $1.50. Tenders -- worked like a charm. Shore Excursions -- we booked on board -- thought they were all good for what we got -- too bad you only had enough time in port to pick just one. Deck 7 -- promenade -- 3 laps equals a mile -- my husband and I loved doing this many times on the trip. In all honesty, I could not find anything to fault -- I could go on and on and I know this has been long -- but enjoy the ship -- she is beautiful and a wonderful ocean liner. If you are looking for relaxation and a feeling of mindless pleasure, you will enjoy. If you want a little bit more fun and excitement, perhaps you should book a "fun ship." Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
We booked our cruise on the QM2 in April and waited patiently for the next months to pass; couldn't wait. The "big day" finally arrived. Fortunately, we were in Queens Grill and were whisked through the line at 11:00 a.m. ... Read More
We booked our cruise on the QM2 in April and waited patiently for the next months to pass; couldn't wait. The "big day" finally arrived. Fortunately, we were in Queens Grill and were whisked through the line at 11:00 a.m. and were in our cabin and unpacked by 12:00 noon. I cannot begin to describe how gorgeous our penthouse was...flat screen T.V., granite top bar, gorgeous tiled bathroom with Jacuzzi tub, king-size bed with beautiful bedspread and drapes, two sliding glass doors out to a very spacious balcony. We were thrilled with the decor. Our butler "Pierre" was quietly there for us throughout. We were especially happy with the way the ship was run. The Queens Grill restaurant was quiet yet friendly. No banging dishes; no loud noises. Very relaxing & delicious food. They truly know what they are doing on this ship. Were are seasoned cruisers ... we have cruised on various ships in the past but this was the best! Although there were over 2,600 passengers we never felt crowded. I guess it's the way they "separate" the dining room depending on category. There were no "cattle calls" at dinner time. In Queens & Princess Grill you are free to enter the dining room between 7-9 p.m. This made the dining experience very leisurely. We also were happy with the Queens Grill lounge. A quiet, relaxing room for a pre-dinner cocktail. We enjoyed it so much we are booking a 12-night Hawaii cruise in February 2006. Keep up the good work...loved it...excellent!!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
The Queen is overrated. There has been so much hype that I was expecting much more. And the several days of bad weather didn't help. I was traveling with a singles group so many things were taken care of by our escort. We got to the ... Read More
The Queen is overrated. There has been so much hype that I was expecting much more. And the several days of bad weather didn't help. I was traveling with a singles group so many things were taken care of by our escort. We got to the ship early and didn't have any problem with embarkation. Disembarkation was hectic. Fortunately, we had our own bus. Although the food in the Britannia dining room was good, the service was terrible. Waiters were running around like "chickens with their heads cut off" and completely disorganized. One night they forgot to serve my salad. They didn't give me with utensils to eat my dessert another night. I asked for another roll but never got it. Another night they poured one glass of wine for me but never checked to see if I wanted more poured and I had to do it myself. Hopefully things will improve when Princess management is fully integrated with Cunard. I ate in the Italian restaurant in Kings Court one evening. The food was delicious and service excellent. Although I booked a balcony, I didn't realize it was in the hull of the ship. Thus, to look out you had to stand up. It wasn't worth the extra money. The cabin, however, was furnished nicely and comfortable and was similar to some of the newer Carnival ships. The cabin stewardess was wonderful and did everything she could to make me feel "at home". She deserved the extra tip I gave her. However, I found many of the staff to be snobbish, especially to those who did not book the Princess or Queen accommodations. The QM2 is beautiful but it is too big. You have to take different stairways/elevators to get to different areas (and frequently take the wrong one). Although there is another way to get to the disco, the easiest and direct way is to go through the Britannia restaurant and Queen's ballroom. I was disappointed that San Juan was dropped from the itinerary. St. Kitts was substituted and didn't offer much. Having been to St. Thomas and St. Maarten numerous times, I didn't take any of the shore excursions. Entertainment was fair. It certainly couldn't compare to the elaborate shows on Carnival ships. There was a lack of chairs by the pool on deck 6. I didn't use the spa facilities but did use the gym. The equipment was tops and comparable to the best gyms in New York City (where I live). On a scale of one to ten, I'd rate the Queen as seven. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
Using the Cruise Critic rating system, it's difficult to assign an exact score: high 4 or low 5. Were I teaching I'd grade our 02/05/05 QM2 cruise a B minus. Maybe it was the type of cruise: seven days from Florida, when our ... Read More
Using the Cruise Critic rating system, it's difficult to assign an exact score: high 4 or low 5. Were I teaching I'd grade our 02/05/05 QM2 cruise a B minus. Maybe it was the type of cruise: seven days from Florida, when our previous Cunard experience has been either transat or on long cruises, including legs of the QE2's annual r-t-w voyage. A week-long cruise from South Florida perforce attracts a different passenger mix. Maybe it was because we weren't in the Queen's Grill, but not that much, I thought, as apart from the opulent cabins and suites in the Grill classes, the experience seemed much the same regardless of where one slept. Maybe it's because QM2 has been so hyped that no ship could live up to the press this one got. THE EMBARKATION -- I'll start at the (awful) beginning. Boarding in Port Everglades was the worst I've ever encountered. The dreaded "computer problems" were blamed but never explained. It took about two hours in long, slow lines to get to the desk where one's documents -- all done in advance -- are processed and photo IDs issued. And we were lucky: if indeed you arrived -- as directed -- at 2:00 p.m. the wait was nearly three hours. As it was sailing was delayed by an hour or so to accommodate the backlog. A quart of vodka in the trusty rollaboard passed from shore to ship without comment. To skip ahead -- disembarkation was much better until we got outside the cruise terminal where a transportation Hell awaited us, seemingly unsupervised, with fights for taxis and no orderly system for queuing, parking, loading, etc. I presume this was not all Cunard's fault but it's an awful way to end a cruise. And $17, with tip, seemed an awful lot for a cab ride to an airport that's a five to ten minute drive away from the pier. THE ACCOMMODATIONS -- The D2 grade cabin, by contrast, was terrific. As all the inside cabins are the same, the only difference we enjoyed was our location, on deck 10, which otherwise is all Princess Grill mini-suites. The cabin itself was designed and furnished perfectly, with sufficient closet and drawer space and a small, but expertly laid out bathroom with a large shower. We never had a problem with hot water or HVAC: both were instant and ample. The decor, a light oak sort of wood-look primarily, was light and at the same time restrained and restful. THE SERVICE -- Our steward, Nelson, was invisible but in the best sense: we'd put on the door tag and the room was done. We never had any special requests; in large part because he took care of everything so well. (We're also the sort of people who clean up for the maid in hotels, so I guess that speeds the work: I wonder how they handle some of the cabins I've seen on this and other cruises when walking by an open door: they looked like a teenager's bedroom after a cyclone.) We hit it off with our table companions at once, so didn't bother moving but couldn't understand why Cunard would put World Club members (all of us) in the furthest corner of the dining next to a kitchen door. The food itself in the main -- Britannia -- restaurant was very good, considering the giant size of the dining room. Our waiter (Devender) and assistant waiter (Hakkim) were smooth and professional; their service to us was excellent. THE CRUISE -- Ours was one of a series of 7-day cruises to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands; Phillipsburg, St Maarten in the Netherlands Antilles and Basseterre, St. Kitts. We've been to all three ports more times than I can count. Except for a brief visit to all our friends on Front Street in Phillipsburg -- home of some of the best prices overall in the Caribbean -- we didn't get off the ship. San Juan, Puerto Rico was to have been the first stop but Cunard rearranged the ports, reportedly because of difficulties with the depth of water available underneath QM2 in San Juan. Dredging will be required before she can return, we were told. THE PASSENGERS -- Not, I'm guessing, the same mix of ages and nationalities you'd get on a crossing. The average age was older than we've seen in a while, perhaps as it was from Florida, perhaps as it was QM2, perhaps because it was discounted and heavily promoted. I'm guessing mid-60s and up covered most of the passengers with perhaps ten percent or a bit more less than 50 years old. Two striking blondes in their early 20s quickly gained the nicknames "Paris" and "Nicki" and not, I hasten to add, because of any similarity to Ms. Hilton's film fame; it's just that anyone that young and that blonde really stuck out from the herd. Lots and lots of Brazilians and Italians (but from Brazil?) and a first, for me, anyway; lots (fifty or more) Chinese passengers from the PRC and not from, say, California. My guess for a breakdown would be perhaps twenty percent Brits, fifteen percent other nationalities and the rest Americans and our often (until they vote) indistinguishable neighbors from the north... THE FOOD -- I say the food was very good as it always arrived cooked as ordered and even as it -- of necessity -- is plated in advance, it was hot when it was supposed to be hot and cold when it was to have been cold. I'm not crazy about the coffee, but seldom are: mine is always better at home 'cuz I can get what I want. What kept it from excellence was the absence, most of the time, of the ruffles and flourishes. Carnival ownership -- or perhaps more plebeian tastes -- have reduced the number of mains offered from seven or eight to five or six and luxury items: shrimp cocktails, caviar, escargots are seen only once if at all. Portions are small by American standards but perfectly adequate in the Continental sense of eating four of five courses. On the plus side, plates were almost always garnished in interesting ways: it always looked good. I enjoyed lunch in the Britannia most days because 1: I'm on vacation: the cafeteria is for work and 2: the items offered at lunch were often as -- or even more -- interesting than those seen at dinner. One complaint: chicken breasts are the moistened, formed kind instead of the real thing broiled. It's not an airplane: don't make it taste like it was prepared in a flight kitchen somewhere. "Tea" from three to four in the Queen's Room was pretty lame: a cup (not a pot) of tea followed by one pass or at most two by a waiter with a choice of finger sandwiches and sweets: no orchestra, nor that much or varied or interesting snacks. Room service breakfast, once, convinced us that it was worth the trek to King's Court or the main dining room for the morning meal. The room service menu itself looked pretty slim; we never ordered from it so cannot comment on the quality of their offerings. THE BOOZE -- We didn't do much exploring but the wine list is surprisingly full of good, reasonably priced wines. A particular favorite, an Argentine Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon blend called Septima was a great pairing with red meat (of which I ate enough to be drummed out of PETA for life) at $20 a bottle. Well-priced whites were abundant as well: we just didn't get to try many. Standard drinks are $5; the "Drink of the Day" was $3.75. Bar service was uniformly excellent. THE ALTERNATIVE DINING -- Todd English wasn't bad BUT: our orders were delivered incorrectly, meaning two appetizers for two of our table of four; the waiter pouring the bisque into the ridiculously large soup bowls inadvertently splashed some on a tablemate's dress; the beef tenderloin arrived very very very underdone (medium means pink, not bloody red but better bloody, I suppose, than overcooked) and we were served other people's wine. Which, for $30 pp, is unexpected to say the least. This restaurant was never full. To be fair, the bread basket was good. A happy surprise, though, was La Piazza; the sit-down Italian alternative restaurant which was both superb and free. The Deck 7 Lido-like area (King's Court in QM2 parlance) is divided up at night into the aforementioned La Piazza (Northern Italian); Lotus (pan-Asian) and the Carvery (think roast beef, but also fish, chicken and pork) as well as the Chef's Kitchen ($30 pp, including wines, for a demo dinner) and a section, confusingly also referred to as La Piazza, with a 24-hr buffet. All but the Chef's Kitchen are free, but no one seemed to know that? They were never filled. If price wasn't the bar, it certainly wasn't the food: a la carte prep and delicious. THE GUILTY PLEASURES -- I never went to the spa, so don't ask: all I can tell you is that soap smells nice. Prices seemed in line with what you see on land or on other lines. Ditto the casino: I don't gamble. It's not that I object to gambling, only to the losing money part. THE ENTERTAINMENT -- The shows were, measured against past Cunard standards, poor. Measured against some other lines, very poor. The comedian, Cary Long, wasn't all that funny (don't these guys talk to each other? Every shipboard comedian does packing, eating, getting around the ship jokes. "Been there, heard that," time after time. It's just not that funny) and at one point his material veered into the homophobic with a mincing portrayal of a flight attendant "interested" in some of his passengers. I guess trashing the gay passengers with hateful, inaccurate and ultimately dangerous stereotypes is OK with Cunard. I cannot imagine a Gentile comedian (or a Jewish one, either) these days mocking the Jewish guests with Yentl accents or portraying them with unflattering stereotypes nor, say, a white comedian telling anti-black jokes in an African-American dialect. It might have worked in a different context or in a different day and age but it still would have been in poor taste if perhaps unfortunately found more acceptance -- but I can't see how: it's 2005. My objections, voiced to the Assistant Cruise Director were listened to but not, I fear, heard. Paul Emanuel, a British singer, did a creditable tribute to Nat King Cole but it was more like singing Nat's songs if not always sounding like Nat (come to think of it, who could?) The "Rock the Opera" show seemed silly: the "Tommy" from Pinball Wizard looked more like Fonzie from "Happy Days." We missed most of the Judy Garland tribute; again, if you can't BE Judy, don't try: I've seen drag queens do better. (Come to think of it, who hasn't?) There was a Scottish pianist who tried but failed to channel the spirit of Jerry Lee Lewis, and a Latin dance team who similarly tried but failed to move us with their passion. Again, not awful but nothing that rose above a level other lines have established. The classical music program (a harpist, one piano concert, a string quartet some evenings before dinner in the Grand Lobby) was OK: again, nothing awful, nothing great. Two lecturers, a retired US ambassador explaining the basis of making foreign policy (followed, during the Q&A, by a woman passenger who excoriated him for not telling everyone the "good news about Iraq" said "good news" being that somehow, somewhere, Americans are now helping Iraqi children learn how to brush their teeth AND his having omitted mention of the military help we've gotten from Poland. The continuing deaths from the conflict, both American and Iraqi, did not appear to interest her, oral hygiene -- apparently -- being of paramount concern.) He, and an author speaking on the history of the Caribbean, were pretty much it for enrichment, apart from the Canyon Ranch nutritionist ("Eat healthy." "Duh, here?") and the napkin folding and watercolor classes ("Always start by painting the sky.") for free: wine tastings were $25 or $65 depending on the quality of the wines. I'm sure there were dance lessons: we missed 'em. Likewise bridge was being played but was not -- at least from what I could see -- all that popular. First run movies were shown, pre-airplane, that is: "Sky Captain" and "Being Julia" were two films I saw on the program, if not in the theater. Dinner dancing was scheduled but not that well-attended; again, it all depends on the mix onboard. Good QM2 orchestra, though. THE PUBLIC ROOMS -- The "Illuminations" theatre was a bit of a letdown. Perhaps they have different shows on other cruises: our choice was two 20 minute films, both on the possibilities of life in outer space; one narrated by Harrison Ford. The Super Bowl was shown in the Royal Court (concert/larger) Theatre on Sunday: odd, indeed, to see it without commercials -- it was like on "Pay Per View." Never thought I'd miss 'em but I did. But New England won, so no matter. The Royal Court Theatre was technically advanced with a five-part riser, revolving stage, great sound and generally good sight lines if you aren't behind a column. But why are there columns? I've been in much larger shipboard show rooms without 'em... The Queen's Room (main ballroom)is located near the stern and accessed -- with some difficulty -- by corridors running over the first level of the Britannia restaurant. I'm not sure how I feel about it: the "band shell" arched opening for the stage is different, the decor (posters of Britain's Queens, a variety of colors that maybe work, maybe don't) felt somehow incomplete. Oddly, when it's empty it seems cavernous. Full, it felt cramped. G-32 (Meaning, "what" exactly?) is the disco, found beyond the Queen's Room. The decor is metallic, the shape rectangular, the chairs uncomfortable and the smoke thick. I kept flashing back to the scene in "Guys and Dolls" where Nathan Detroit has found a place for the oldest established permanent floating crap game: underground. The Main Lobby is the now-standard atrium at the center of the ship's traffic flow. It extends from Two Deck (Pursers office, round lobby) up to Three Deck (shops, offices) and glass elevators can carry you from there to Seven Deck where the Canyon Ranch spa, the Winter Garden, King's Court and Queen's and Princess Grills are found. All of Seven Deck is surrounded by an outdoor promenade: roughly 1.1 miles for three laps. The shops deserve mention if only for their lavishness and attendant prices: $600 for a belt from Hermes, 'frinstance. Todd English, the eponymous extra-fare dining room is, to say the least, colorfully decorated but -- like so much of the ship -- suffers for the details. The lobby is surrounded by faux-Etruscan olive oil jars in "picture frames" floating in space. The concept is Mediterranean, the antiquity is suggested by the resin "barnacles" applied to each jar. Fabric lines the walls and ceiling to evoke a harem tent, I guess, with a tufted ottoman the size of a queen size bed covered with pillows in the center of the room. But Mediterranean? Is Persia in the Med? Libya, maybe? Odd overall. Access to the stern pool, scene of Sailaway and deck parties, is logically through the TE restaurant except that, well, there's people eating there. So one must either find the nearly-hidden port side corridor or access the pool area from above or below. In addition to being hard to reach, the Eight Deck pool area faces five of the ship's most expensive -- and no doubt luxurious -- suites. Given the $2,000 or so per person, per day rates (on our cruise, the smaller ones were priced at $12K, the larger $15K, for seven days) I'd wonder if the sound of the reggae band was a bother at night. At dusk, before shutting the curtains, they look like Macy's windows: all lit up with all their luxe on display. The Winter Garden was sparsely used and not -- by a mile -- as attractive as similar rooms I've seen on other ships, among them Cunard's former CARONIA and Crystal's HARMONY. The Commodore Club, the bar we enjoyed the most, is two decks up on Nine and has lovely views forward by day but -- as light from the windows would distract the view from the bridge -- they're covered at night. It's a dark, paneled room with a magnificent model of the ship behind the bar. Two interesting nearby rooms are Churchill's to starboard, the ship's cigar lounge and to port the unused but attractive Boardroom with it's real-looking but really fake (for fire safety rules) fireplace. Below Churchill's on Deck Eight you'll find the ship's library but not before first finding the library's book and gift shop. Can you see those cards being swiped, and not to check out library books? Another spending op. The library itself is handsome with cabinets that appear to be burled walnut. Internet access is found at terminals here, as well as lower in the ship in the Cunard Connexions area on Deck Two. Access was reliable and relatively quick (faster than 56K, slower than cable or hi-speed) and priced at either fifty cents a minute or at lower per-minutes rates via package plans. Overall, the public rooms and areas are done in a wide variety of styles, colors, themes and finishes ranging from mild to wild. Decor is a personal taste: I got the feeling the designers wanted to evoke the splendor of the old Queen Mary and, for instance, attempt to do so with the long corridors midships on Decks Two and Three but (and I could be wrong) the bas-relief plaques on these walls that mean to look like bronze feel like resin. Similarly there's an abundant amount of "wood" on display everywhere and if indeed it's wood, there's a forest worth of it scattered around. Somehow, though, I'm pretty certain it's laminate. Real-looking, but not real. SEMI-FINAL THOUGHTS -- The Cunard World Club party, held on the last formal night at sea so without much competition, drew only 180 guests. Put another way, less than 10% of the passengers showed up for free drinks. Because it was a Caribbean cruise? Perhaps. Because she does what she's supposed to do -- drawing new passengers to Cunard? Perhaps. Still, I'm used to seeing a third to half of the passengers attending. With the exception of the German and French hostesses, who made it a point to introduce themselves to guests, the social staff was inexplicably distant from the passengers throughout the cruise. The social hostess, who we'd met when she worked for another line and who greeted us as we boarded, was never seen or heard from again. At the Cunard World Club party, there was no receiving line. As a result, Commodore Warwick was at times standing in the middle of the dance floor looking lonely while the cruise director spent his time chatting up his staff and officers and staff attending stood in tight little clumps and spoke only to one another. Hardly a way to interest you in coming back. FINALLY FINAL THOUGHTS -- The difference between the two Queens is not just their relative age. The QE2 carries, essentially, three classes: the Grills, Caronia, and Mauritania. There are -- for better or worse -- some real distinctions in terms of accommodation, food, service and perception. In addition, the Queen's Grill and Princess and Britannia Grill passengers comprise, if the ship is full, about 400-plus people, roughly a quarter of the average passenger total. The Mauritania passengers equal a bit more than that, perhaps -- again dependent on what sells -- comprising 30-35% of the total with Caronia passengers taking up the rest. QM2, by contrast, has the Grills and everybody else and everybody else -- even in the cheapest inside cabin -- has accommodations that rival anything at sea, category for category. If the Queen's and Princess Grills sell out, on a full ship they are much less of a factor, numbering again about 400 or so but on a ship which -- sailing at capacity -- can carry as many as three thousand passengers. So there just aren't -- in relative terms -- that many high-dollar, highly selective, well-traveled passengers on board. There may indeed be plenty of well-traveled passengers on board, many of 'em very well off and with plenty of cruise experience but they aren't there to be catered to, in the same way or in the same strength, as was the case before on QE2. And that diminution of the top end shows. QM2 is aimed a bit lower. Apart from the QG lounge, a small deck area astern on Deck 11, more caviar and -- to be sure -- much more in the way of service and amenities, there isn't the distance from an M5 inside with an upper and lower berth in less than 100 sq. ft and the duplex penthouse suites on QE2. The top end on QM2 is nicer, sure; much nicer in fact, but so is the bottom. The cheapest QM2 cabin is double the size of the cheapest QE2 cabin. And everybody but the toffs eats in two shifts, or whenever they like, and with varied dining options unavailable on QE2. Class distinctions are thus lessened on the newer ship. Most of all, though, the difference is an inevitable result of what you may -- or may not -- think of as progress. Ships costing $800 million don't get built these days unless someone in Miami thinks they can make a profit. Similarly, ships costing $800 million use up an awful lot of that money on technology. Sometimes there isn't money left over for things like real wood and real luxury and really big shrimp cocktails. Don't get me wrong -- she's a wonder of our age. And they seem to have solved most of the problems I'd read of in her first year of operation, mainly with the service onboard. The ship is spotless, the crew is happy and Commodore Warwick still captains Cunard's flagship. These are vitally important to the ultimate success of this ship. But there's still something missing, or at least there was last week on this cruise. The unalloyed glamour and swank, the special feeling of being on what was long seen to be the last great ocean liner, isn't there as it once was on QE2. To be sure, it's probably not there on the QE2 anymore, either: she's getting on. But QE2 was British to the core, (for good and, well, sometimes less than good) built and staffed and run by an organization that really did go back to the days of Samuel Cunard. QM2 has lots of posters detailing that 165 year history but is run by a company without that history. Don't take this as critical of Carnival: without them, there'd be no QM2. But don't believe it's the old Atlantic Ferry, or a reincarnation of the Queen Mary that's now in Long Beach either. It's not. Nor was it meant to be. Perhaps, in 30 years or so, if she has the luck to have the long and mostly distinguished career QE2 has enjoyed, QM2 will be even more famous than she is today. It'll be interesting to wait and see and even perhaps -- on occasion -- to revisit her and so revisit my first impressions. Many thanks for sticking around until the end. I hope reading this was as enjoyable for you as writing it was for me. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
My friend Jim and I had sailed on the January 12, 2004, maiden voyage and came away very unhappy. It seemed like everything went wrong; from service to food to entertainment and finally, debarkation. Here we are a year later and I am happy ... Read More
My friend Jim and I had sailed on the January 12, 2004, maiden voyage and came away very unhappy. It seemed like everything went wrong; from service to food to entertainment and finally, debarkation. Here we are a year later and I am happy to report that there has been much improvement. The main reason -- Princess Line has come in and shaken things up. They have brought in their management and chefs and things are now running smoothly. I suspect, the most positive change is that Peter Ratcliffe has taken over as CEO of Cunard from Pamela Conover. Her blatant refusal to accept responsibility for the initial shortfalls that the ship had was disturbing. They were by no means "maiden voyage jitters," there were major operating errors. The ship, I am glad to say, is finally coming into its own. We embarked from Ft. Lauderdale on February 5, 2005, and were kindly directed to the area where the Grille passengers were to wait. There was an initial delay as the computers weren't functioning. I would suggest that the computers be tested earlier in the day to avoid this in the future. Everything went fairly smoothly after that. The desk crew that took our info was exceptionally friendly and very helpful. We boarded the ship and entered the now familiar lobby, and I must say it felt as though we had never left. We expected to see friends that were on the last voyage to pop put from behind the corner, but it never happened. We were greeted, but not taken to our cabin, which is a courtesy on other ships. So off we went with a basic idea of where we were going. Cabin 10081 is very nice and it had a comfortable green sofa and chair, walk in closet, full tub and balcony. The bed was not at all comfortable, it was like sleeping a slap of stone. Needless to say it was a very interrupted sleep as it was very uncomfortable. The tub is long, but very narrow. I am not fat, no matter what the furniture supplier for Cunard claimed about "obese Americans," but it was very narrow for my legs and it was not enjoyable to lay back in the tub so we opted mostly for showers. Ana Lisa, our cabin attendant, was quite friendly and very efficient. She's quite good at her job. Dinner was very pleasant. We had several servers -- Aneke from South Africa, Dennis from Hungary and Pillai from India. They were true professionals and had sparkling personalities. The same goes for Nicolai, the assistant maitre d' -- he was wonderful. No reasonable request was refused. It was a pleasure to talk to them and get to know them. I can see them all rising within the company. Another surprise was Stephen, who was our server in Todd English on the maiden voyage. He now works in the Grille restaurant and he is still, "The best Irish waiter on the ship." The menu choices, for the most part, were good and the serving portions were large, a big step up from the maiden voyage where the choices were few and the portions small. I will say I was surprised that most of the same menu options were offered on Britannia Restaurant. You would think that with the extra cost of traveling Grille, that the menu would be different. I am glad to see that Cunard has gone a long way from offering ragout of beef and cabin biscuits to "3rd Class," but the main point is that people are paying extra for the cabin, not for the food. I think most people would elect to travel Britannia if they knew the food was, for the most part, the same. There is really no need for TWO Grille restaurants. Jim noted that it almost seems if Cunard is saying there is 1st Class and SUPER 1st Class. Why not knock out part of the wall and join the restaurants. I am sure it would also help with the flow of things. The restaurants, except for the color scheme, are identical. I guess the big "advantage" of traveling "Queens Grille" is that you have the painfully small private deck with hot tub. Does it really matter since people need to pass through it anyway to gain the upper deck? The entertainment was so-so. Nothing really to write home about. The island ports of St Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten were nice. The most fun we had was taking the lifeboat to and from the islands. It really is a nice joy ride, especially if you are seated on the top deck. Looking at the layout, I hope they note what is wrong on the QM2 and apply a new design to the Queen Victoria. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the placement of rooms. For example, the largest suites are at the extreme bow and the extreme stern were motion is most noticeable. Why would you want one of the suites located in stern when anyone on deck could look directly into your suite? You most always have your curtains drawn. Why is the "Queen's Lounge," which is very elegant, located in an out of the way spot -- aft of the Britannia Restaurant? The G32 'disco' is actually very tasteful, but it is buried behind the "Queen's Lounge." They are two very different rooms for two very different types of people. Why are they side by side in a far off location? The hallways themselves seem to lead nowhere. One of the 4 main staircases leads all the way down, but you cannot enter any hallways on 2 or 3 deck. (This is the stairway with green carpeting.) What is the point? Even the Lobby decks have a bizarre layout as the hallways do not flow into rooms but into other hallways. I am not sure who designed the layout, perhaps Stephen Payne -- though I am not sure, but it is not passenger friendly. I would suggest Cunard look at the layouts from other ships, past and present, and ask the designer to see what will work and what will not. It's pretty obvious it was not done with this particular ship. I am glad to hear there will be renovations to the King's Court and the Winter Garden. The Winter Garden is garish and could be pleasant if they took away some of the tacky displays, perhaps add some trellis and ivy as the Cunard ships of old used to have. The leopard spotted carpeting is also tacky as are the portraits of fruit that hang in the stairwell. I get the impression that several different people designed the interiors as it goes from sublime to subpar just from one corridor to the next. The King's Court is small and there are never enough seats. I think eliminating the specialty restaurants that they become at night might be a good idea. There is really no need for The Carvery at all. I never saw it filled to capacity and I think for what people pay to travel on the QM2, it is outrageous to ask people to pay to eat there. I can see the extra charge for Todd English, but The Carvery? All in all, we had a good time, as the ship was what it should have been on the maiden voyage and we owe a big thank you to Princess for taking charge. We would definitely sail on the QM2 again, and am hoping that when the Queen Victoria is ready, all the mistakes that the company made with the QM2 are a thing of the past. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
My husband and I (we're both in our mid-30's) just got back from our Queen Mary 2 vacation to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. We had a WONDERFUL time! We were a little bit worry before the trip because of the negative ... Read More
My husband and I (we're both in our mid-30's) just got back from our Queen Mary 2 vacation to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. We had a WONDERFUL time! We were a little bit worry before the trip because of the negative reviews on the websites. However, I think Queen Mary 2 had worked very hard to make the necessary improvements this year. Most of the complaints I read on the websites no longer exist. I would recommend this ship to my friends. This is my 9th cruise. I have been on ships of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (Caribbean and Alaska), Holland America (Europe), Disney Cruise (Caribbean), and Princess Cruise (Western Caribbean and Mediterranean). In terms of service and food quality, I think the Queen Mary 2 is the best so far. We were on the Star Princess to the Mediterranean this past summer (July 2004) and we felt that Queen Mary 2's food quality is much better than that on the Star Princess. My husband and I often go to 4- and 5-star hotels for fine-dining so when I say the food quality was good, I mean it was comparable to a nice fine-dining restaurant back home. We did paid more to go on the Queen Mary 2 than if we were to go on the Royal Caribbean or Princess, but we felt that it was worth it considering the food was good. Strengths: Good quality food, good service, the ship is beautiful, king sized bed is very comfortable with soft fluffy comforters and pillows, amazing afternoon tea, Planetarium was interesting, interesting classes and Oxford lectures, Chef's Gallery dining experience was long (3 1/2 hour) but fun (it was USD$30 per person but you get unlimited wine and champagne with your dinner), G32 is a very fun club for dancing. The passengers on the QM2 are more matured in age. Even though we are only in our 30's but we enjoyed the calmness and elegance. Weakness: Embarkation was extremely slow (took us one hour), the ship was rocky at times (even though it is such a big ship), not a smoke-free ship, internet access was expensive, photos were expensive, cannot fit into most ports so have to tender and tender rides were rocky, itinerary was limited. My mom and I got sea-sick on two of the at-sea days. We had to purchase the sea-sick pills from the Purser's Desk for a pack of 15 pills for USD$15. It was very surprising to me that the ship was so unstable for its massive size. Cabins: We were in a D3 category cabin (inside stateroom) and were happy to find out that there was no cigarette smoke smell in our cabin (since smoking is allowed in the cabins). However, the inside stateroom was still smaller compared to the inside state room we had on the Royal Caribbean cruise. I expected the cabin to be bigger because Queen Mary 2 advertised their inside cabins to be bigger than other cruise line. My parents stayed in a B4 category cabin (hull balcony cabin on Deck 5) and their room was a bit bigger than ours. They have a love seat in their cabin but our inside cabin does not have room for a love seat. We only have a chair and a mini table at the corner. Food: Britannia dining room has good dishes for dinner (lobsters, filet mignon, duck breast, rack of lamb, and a wide variety of fish). Afternoon tea (traditional tea, scones, tea sandwiches, and desserts) are available every day from 3:30-4:30 p.m.. in the Queen's Ballroom. A harpist or string quartet played music while we have the afternoon tea. It's a great experience and the scones are delicious. Kings Court's buffets have a great variety of food to choose from. The Asian section (Lotus) always has Asian-style noodles, rice, and fish for lunch. All restaurants have good salads. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
This voyage onboard the Queen Mary 2 was my second cruise. A cruise a few years ago on the Celebrity Millennium convinced us that a cruise vacation could meet, if not exceed, those on land. After a wonderful experience with Celebrity and ... Read More
This voyage onboard the Queen Mary 2 was my second cruise. A cruise a few years ago on the Celebrity Millennium convinced us that a cruise vacation could meet, if not exceed, those on land. After a wonderful experience with Celebrity and the barrage of media coverage of the QM2, we had extremely high expectations for this trip. Embarkation in New York City went very well. Cunard provides a required boarding time in your tickets. The time given for us was 3pm. We arrived shortly after noon and were on the ship by 1pm. As we entered the ship on deck three, a line of white-gloved staff welcomed us aboard and pointed out the direction to our stateroom. Upon arrival in our Britannia Class cabin we found a chilled bottle of sparkling wine compliments of Cunard (or our travel agent). Both in their size and character, the cabins on the QM2 are very similar to those on Celebrity Millennium-class ships. Enough closet and draw space for three or four was available, a cozy bathroom with shower, interactive television, and two chairs and a desk. The only complaint with the room is that the hairdryer provided is attached awkwardly inside a drawer. For our cruise, the room was very well designed. The ship itself is simply beautiful. Everywhere one turns there is a new work of art or another corner to explore. The Grand Lobby and Britannia Restaurant steal the show. These rooms are reminiscent of salons found on ocean liners of the past. In the evenings as passengers meander from salon to salon, the Queen Mary 2 truly glitters. Dinning in Britannia each evening was wonderful. Both the service and food were excellent. Entree choices ranged from Surf and Turf to many varieties of seafood (including lobster) to chicken -- each excellently prepared and expertly served. Desserts were heavenly. Comparing the QM2 again with our experience on Celebrity, the dinning in Britannia did fall a bit short: on formal nights Celebrity served sorbet between courses to cleanse the pallet -- QM2 did not, also meals were four (or five) courses but one was expected awkwardly use the same fork and knife for at least two courses such as appetizer and salad as enough silverware was not presented on the table. Overall, the dinning experience in Britannia was similar to a 4-star restaurant on land. There is no shortage of other dinning options on the QM2. Breakfast and lunch in the Kings Court buffet restaurant are very good. Kings Court is divided into four areas, each highlighting a different theme of food such as Asian, Italian, and meat and potatoes. At lunchtime the restaurant can become a bit crazy as passengers search for the buffet line of their choice. Kings Court also provides a buffet tea in the afternoons. However, for a classic British experience take tea in the Queen's Room. Wonderful tea, finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones combine with beautiful music and flawless service to produce the highlight of any afternoon. Another fun stop for a meal is the Golden Lion Pub. The fish and chips here was amazing. In the warm weather of the Caribbean, the staff also set up buffets on the pool deck during parties. Breakfast room service was also very good and arrived punctually. Entertainment on the QM2 was superb. Shows in the Royal Court Theatre ranging from Broadway-style to comedians received nightly applause. The singers and dancers performed many old favorites as well as new material. The venue the Royal Court Theatre is a beautiful room however many oddly-placed support pillars make sightliness horrible in some places. Other entertainment onboard was also top-notch. The bands in the lounges, Queen's Room Orchestra, string ensemble, harpist, and pianist were all excellent. The Black and White Ball in the Queen's Room is not to be missed; however, coming later might be a good idea so the party is in full swing which is the case for many events on the ship. The Pirate's Ball was a bit amateurish and seemed out of place on the QM2. The poolside band which also played in G32 was phenomenal and made sure everyone was having a blast! The deck parties while in the Caribbean were a load of fun and the staff even set up outdoor buffets. The planetarium shows in the Illuminations Theatre were also very good and something interesting and novel to watch on a day at sea. We did not attend any lectures but many were rebroadcast on the cabin television throughout the cruise. On the whole, there was no shortage of excellent entertainment on the Queen Mary 2. Workout and exercise facilities onboard were very good and available free of charge. No one in our party used any of the spa services, however, the spa offered a variety of services including personal trainers, massages, hair styling, etc. As a final note, and again comparing the QM2 with Celebrity, both lines offer wonderful cruising experiences that I would call very similar. Some things offered by Cunard Line on QM2 were not present on Celebrity – and vise versa. I found it odd that pool/beach towels were provided in the cabin on the QM2 while no towels were present poolside if one forgot to bring their towel along from the room. Self-service laundry facilities are available on many decks on the QM2 and are a nice addition to the ship. Our voyage on the Queen Mary 2 was wonderful and by far one of our favorite vacations. The ship is stunning and the service is excellent. While the name Queen Mary 2 suggests cruises onboard will be the last word in luxury, the QM2 should be equated with a 4-star resort – excellent, but still room for improvement. Will we cruise again on the QM2? I hope to go again as soon as possible. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
Queen Mary 2 is an absolutely remarkable ship. Whether it is a return trip or your first time aboard, this classic ocean liner continues to WOW you. There was not a moment during our magnificent trip that I didn't find myself staring ... Read More
Queen Mary 2 is an absolutely remarkable ship. Whether it is a return trip or your first time aboard, this classic ocean liner continues to WOW you. There was not a moment during our magnificent trip that I didn't find myself staring in awe at the gorgeous interiors and elegant surroundings within QM2. Each moment, each day aboard QM2 is a gift. She grows on you and hypnotizes you. One can't help but feel an enormous amount of respect for the designers and engineers that created this grand dame of the seven seas. QM2 is everything she is cracked up to be and more. Embarkation: Our check-time was 1 pm. We arrived at the New York Cruise Ship Terminal about 12:30 pm. The lack of any type of Cunard representative was the biggest drawback early on. Regardless of your boarding time passengers were herded into a large holding area upstairs. We sat there for about 20 minutes and soon after were told to line up at the security check in. Apparently, a new boarding procedure was in effect during our March 9 departure and there seemed to be a lot of confusion. However, once we lined up and made it through the security clearance area it was just a 10 minute wait to line up and receive our QM2 boarding passes. Despite the early boarding gaffs we were among the fortunate one's and were aboard ship by 1:30 pm. A computer glitch later that day delayed many other passengers from boarding as expediently as we had. Cabin We were booked in cabin 11072, port side. I was curious as to how bright the room would be due to the deck 12 overhang. The room allowed plenty of sunlight. Both my girlfriend and I found our room to be very comfortable and spacious for two. There is ample storage area. The interior cream dEcor is very soothing. The mattress and linens are very comfortable. We also enjoyed the robes and slippers finding them to be very cozy. It gets a trifle dodgy if you are exiting the bathroom while someone is looking in the closet. I had heard others complain about joggers and shuffleboard sounds spiraling down the steel framework of the ship, yet, we heard nary a sound on our 8 days at sea, save for the ocean gurgling and fizzing below. Britannia The service on QM2 has vastly improved since my trip last July. I would say it has taken a 360 degree turn for the better. Our head waiter Woody and his assistant Marvin were very friendly and polished. We never waited long for our appetizers, entrees or for our plates to be cleared. All of our meals were delicious, the soups in particular were very tasty. You must try the chilled fruit soups, they are super. Keep your eyes peeled for the English Sticky pudding, it has a caramel topping that is sublime. We received equally excellent service from the other Britannia staff during breakfast and lunch when seating is open. We were particularly fond of Roslyn who catered to our whims with great gusto and style at breakfast. Roslyn is a true Cunard pro, she has been aboard QM2 since the maiden voyage and prior to that spent three years in Caronia Class aboard QE2. The entire restaurant staff are a unified force to be reckoned with. You need only watch these hardworking waiters and waitresses scampering like white rabbits amid the culinary wonderland that is Britannia. High Tea This is a sumptuous affair and ranks among the highlights of our trip. I would recommend skipping lunch one day in order to properly prepare yourself for an enjoyable experience. As fate would have it we returned rather late from our beach excursion in St Martin, and were quite ravenous. Once again the service was perfect. Troops of white gloved waiters arrived with trays of tantalizing offerings. The delicious array of triangular sandwiches sans crusts consisted of egg, ham and cheese and a splendid salmon and cream cheese. I always like to show my support for the fine QM2 bake staff and once again there were up to the task with a delectable selection of sweets. Much has been written about the famed English scone and clotted cream, it is fact quite delicious. My only critical remark of the entire affair is the tea had not been properly steeped and the first two cups were rather weak. The entire repast is something to savor however. Sitting in the gigantic and opulent Queens Ballroom which stretches the entire width of QM2 and seeing the hilltop of a tropical island through the far window and watching a tourist pirate schooner sail by an adjacent window is the stuff that fantasy is made of. Public Rooms Each of these elaborate lounges has a distinct ambience all its own. Everything and everywhere aboard QM2 sparkles. The faux wood veneer in the elevators is so bright it appears to have a holographic effect in its shine. The detail continues in every inch of this ship from the ornate carpeting to the noble friezes that line the hallways. The Samuel Cunard Wine Bar, The Chart Room and the Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar are all accessed via deck 3. Of the three the most popular and one of our favorite is the Chart Room. This grand room with its high ceilings and art-deco design is the perfect spot for a pre or post supper cocktail. Should you decide to skip the show, you will have the entire lounge to yourself. The Chart Room is also the spot to hear some wonderful piano playing at the hands of the inimitable Barty Brown. One level down 2 deck is the home for the Golden Lion Pub. We were frequent visitors to this cozy lounge each morning at 11:30 am for pub trivia. We garnered three victories and with our winning tickets were enabled to shop for gifts at the end of the voyage. I picked up a lovely leather QM2 eyeglass holder while my girlfriend traded her tickets for a nifty QM2 key fob. At night the jazz trio at the Golden Lion really cooks. This is also the venue for an enjoyable evening of horse racing. After two races, the six horses are put up for auction and a special Owners Race is held the following evening during the Big Band Dance at the Queens Ballroom. We purchased the six horse and had good fun decorating and carting him around the ship, I felt a bit like a QM2 pledge. It was good fun, especially after our horse won the coveted Owners Race. Don't miss the Commodore Club on Deck 9 forward. In the evening this cool and sleek venue oozes sophistication with it's leather arm chairs, neon lighting and a magnificent, monolithic model of QM2 behind the bar. During our voyage this lounge was often quiet, I don't think many people ventured to this nocturnal nook, but you should. Todd English We made our reservation within the first hour we were aboard ship. While it is possible to make reservations for restaurants and excursions through the inter-active television in your cabin, I always prefer to do it in person. I reserved all of our excursions through the television and then confirmed them at the tour office on 2 deck. As is turned out the in-cabin booking system wasn't working, so always best to go in person. We chose to dine at Todd English toward the end of our voyage, to have something else to look forward to. I would highly recommend not eating lunch, high tea or a bag of chips prior to this meal. The mediterranean menu consists of some exquisite but, very filling and rich offerings. The service here was very thorough and attentive. The curious choice of rock n roll background music was promptly changed to a more appropriate jazz sampling after a fellow passenger complained. Our waitress suggested that we try two appetizers. I would suggest only one and save room for your entrEe. We both had the Lobster Chowder. At first it seemed rather innocent, a giant china tureen is served with a modicum of cooked lobster and a fraction of garnishes. A moment later our waitress appeared clutching a French Press containing the main body of this extremely flavorful soup which she then poured into our giant bowls. For our second appetizer choices I tried the pear and goat cheese salad, very tasty. My girlfriend opted for the lobster risotto which was served in an immense tray. The lobster was plump and juicy, the risotto was lovely. By the time our entrees arrived we were full. I ordered the Halibut, flaky and moist perfectly cooked but, I was barely able to make a dent in it. The fallen chocolate cake for dessert was very good. By the time we adjourned from our supper though we both could walked back to New York, I felt as if I had eaten a small anchor. Excursions I find in general excursions are really a crap shoot. The sole excursion I booked on the QE2 Christmas Cruise in 2003 was a blast, a jeep 4x4 jaunt in Barbados. I went hog wild on this trip and booked three excursions. In St. Thomas we took the Panoramic Tour. While I've been to this island many times I hadn't really seen much of it. Don't waste your time with this one. We climbed up into the twisting hills. Enjoyed some lovely views but, after the first epic view of the harbor and QM2 the rest is much the same. The tour also included the obligatory stop for a banana daiquiri at a spot called the Mountain Top. A very touristy location cluttered with two-bit t-shirts and run of the mill muck. The balance of the tour was dull. Our guide pointed out 75 mango trees and at least one scurrying iguana. St. Kitts is a beautiful island. It rained quite a bit, though the sun did peek out. We chose the Rocky Roller Drive. This tour was more enjoyable and our guide was very knowledgeable of the area. Once again we climbed into the hills this time aboard a converted British Troop Truck. There was a good deal of lurching and straining. We strolled through the rain forest, watched a band of monkeys bound into the bushes. The locals were all very friendly and waved to us as we drove by. The downside of this tour was a ridiculous stop at a miserable excuse for a plantation, it was nothing but a shabby, worn old house. There was a bar below that offered complimentary punch. I feel as if you put your faith in Cunard to deliver a solid excursion and then end up being taken for a ride with these absurd stopovers in tourist traps. The 4 hour beach excursion in St. Martin was our favorite. The best part about any excursion is the thrill of returning to QM2! Tenders If you are signed up for a morning excursion you must meet in the Royal Court Theater around 8:45 am and await for your tour to be called. If you are not signed up for a tour it's best to wait till around noon or so before descending to one deck. Afternoon tours meet at the pier. We never had to wait for a tender to arrive when we were ashore. Arriving back at the ship isn't too bad, just a matter of waiting in a short line while security scans bagged items and checks identification cards. Overall We adored this incredible ship. The cruise staff works hard to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves. I particularly liked the assistant cruise director, a very personable and friendly chap. It will be interesting to see what QM2 will look like after she goes into dry dock this November. The rumors we heard were the Champagne Bar would be history, along with the Wintergarden which will serve as extended area for the Kings Court. It would be a shame to see the Veuve Cliquot Bar go by the wayside, although, it was almost always empty. QM2 attracts a wide spectrum of passengers. One of the highlights for us was the great friendships we made aboard. From our Cruise Critic Cronies to our Pub Trivia Pals. The open seating at lunch and breakfast is conducive to meeting a wealth of fine folk. Not too mention tablemates at dinner. We often asked people how they were enjoying QM2, most said they loved the ship. Some people however continue to moan and groan. I cannot fathom how anyone would have a negative comment for this classic ocean liner. Several people quibbled over the B elevators being too small. Others still griped that ship is too large. At least one fellow complained about the engine being too loud. Out of 2600 hundred passengers you will never please everyone. I suppose for every 2600 hundred people that gawk into the Grand Canyon many people are struck by it's majesty and immensity while others find it to be nothing but a giant hole in the ground. I stood on the observation deck in St. Martin while the massive Adventure of the Seas steamed by, her decks filled with hordes of passengers getting their fill of QM2. Shortly thereafter, this quiet moment was traded for two trios of triumphant horn blasts as the ships took part in a mutual salute and their mighty horns echoed into the Caribbean night. That's magic, folks. A cruise on QM2 is a state of perpetual bliss, she is the jewel in the Cunard crown long may she sail and may we be transported along with her on purely blissful pursuits. Cruiserking Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
Queen Mary 2 is an absolutely remarkable ship. Whether it is a return trip or your first time aboard, this classic ocean liner continues to WOW you. There was not a moment during our magnificent trip that I didn't find myself staring ... Read More
Queen Mary 2 is an absolutely remarkable ship. Whether it is a return trip or your first time aboard, this classic ocean liner continues to WOW you. There was not a moment during our magnificent trip that I didn't find myself staring in awe at the gorgeous interiors and elegant surroundings within QM2. Each moment, each day aboard QM2 is a gift. She grows on you and hypnotizes you. One can't help but feel an enormous amount of respect for the designers and engineers that created this grand dame of the seven seas. QM2 is everything she is cracked up to be and more. Embarkation: Our check-time was 1 pm. We arrived at the New York Cruise Ship Terminal about 12:30 p.m. The lack of any type of Cunard representative was the biggest drawback early on. Regardless of your boarding time passengers were herded into a large holding area upstairs. We sat there for about 20 minutes and soon after were told to line up at the security check in. Apparently, a new boarding procedure was in effect during our March 9 departure and there seemed to be a lot of confusion. However, once we lined up and made it through the security clearance area it was just a 10 minute wait to line up and receive our QM2 boarding passes. Despite the early boarding gaffs we were among the fortunate one's and were aboard ship by 1:30 pm. A computer glitch later that day delayed many other passengers from boarding as expediently as we had. Cabin We were booked in cabin 11072, port side. I was curious as to how bright the room would be due to the deck 12 overhang. The room allowed plenty of sunlight. Both my girlfriend and I found our room to be very comfortable and spacious for two. There is ample storage area. The interior cream dEcor is very soothing. The mattress and linens are very comfortable. We also enjoyed the robes and slippers finding them to be very cozy. It gets a trifle dodgy if you are exiting the bathroom while someone is looking in the closet. I had heard others complain about joggers and shuffleboard sounds spiraling down the steel framework of the ship, yet, we heard nary a sound on our 8 days at sea, save for the ocean gurgling and fizzing below. Britannia The service on QM2 has vastly improved since my trip last July. I would say it has taken a 360 degree turn for the better. Our head waiter Woody and his assistant Marvin were very friendly and polished. We never waited long for our appetizers, entrees or for our plates to be cleared. All of our meals were delicious, the soups in particular were very tasty. You must try the chilled fruit soups, they are super. Keep your eyes peeled for the English Sticky pudding, it has a caramel topping that is sublime. We received equally excellent service from the other Britannia staff during breakfast and lunch when seating is open. We were particularly fond of Roslyn who catered to our whims with great gusto and style at breakfast. Roslyn is a true Cunard pro, she has been aboard QM2 since the maiden voyage and prior to that spent three years in Caronia Class aboard QE2. The entire restaurant staff are a unified force to be reckoned with. You need only watch these hardworking waiters and waitresses scampering like white rabbits amid the culinary wonderland that is Britannia. Afternoon Tea This is a sumptuous affair and ranks among the highlights of our trip. I would recommend skipping lunch one day in order to properly prepare yourself for an enjoyable experience. As fate would have it we returned rather late from our beach excursion in St Martin, and were quite ravenous. Once again the service was perfect. Troops of white gloved waiters arrived with trays of tantalizing offerings. The delicious array of triangular sandwiches sans crusts consisted of egg, ham and cheese and a splendid salmon and cream cheese. I always like to show my support for the fine QM2 bake staff and once again there were up to the task with a delectable selection of sweets. Much has been written about the famed English scone and clotted cream, it is fact quite delicious. My only critical remark of the entire affair is the tea had not been properly steeped and the first two cups were rather weak. The entire repast is something to savor however. Sitting in the gigantic and opulent Queens Ballroom which stretches the entire width of QM2 and seeing the hilltop of a tropical island through the far window and watching a tourist pirate schooner sail by an adjacent window is the stuff that fantasy is made of. Public Rooms Each of these elaborate lounges has a distinct ambience all its own. Everything and everywhere aboard QM2 sparkles. The faux wood veneer in the elevators is so bright it appears to have a holographic effect in its shine. The detail continues in every inch of this ship from the ornate carpeting to the noble friezes that line the hallways. The Samuel Cunard Wine Bar, The Chart Room and the Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar are all accessed via deck 3. Of the three the most popular and one of our favorite is the Chart Room. This grand room with its high ceilings and art-deco design is the perfect spot for a pre or post supper cocktail. Should you decide to skip the show, you will have the entire lounge to yourself. The Chart Room is also the spot to hear some wonderful piano playing at the hands of the inimitable Barty Brown. One level down 2 deck is the home for the Golden Lion Pub. We were frequent visitors to this cozy lounge each morning at 11:30 a.m. for pub trivia. We garnered three victories and with our winning tickets were enabled to shop for gifts at the end of the voyage. I picked up a lovely leather QM2 eyeglass holder while my girlfriend traded her tickets for a nifty QM2 key fob. At night the jazz trio at the Golden Lion really cooks. This is also the venue for an enjoyable evening of horse racing. After two races, the six horses are put up for auction and a special Owners Race is held the following evening during the Big Band Dance at the Queens Ballroom. We purchased the six horse and had good fun decorating and carting him around the ship, I felt a bit like a QM2 pledge. It was good fun, especially after our horse won the coveted Owners Race. Don't miss the Commodore Club on Deck 9 forward. In the evening this cool and sleek venue oozes sophistication with it's leather arm chairs, neon lighting and a magnificent, monolithic model of QM2 behind the bar. During our voyage this lounge was often quiet, I don't think many people ventured to this nocturnal nook, but you should. Todd English We made our reservation within the first hour we were aboard ship. While it is possible to make reservations for restaurants and excursions through the inter-active television in your cabin, I always prefer to do it in person. I reserved all of our excursions through the television and then confirmed them at the tour office on 2 deck. As is turned out the in-cabin booking system wasn't working, so always best to go in person. We chose to dine at Todd English toward the end of our voyage, to have something else to look forward to. I would highly recommend not eating lunch, high tea or a bag of chips prior to this meal. The Mediterranean menu consists of some exquisite but, very filling and rich offerings. The service here was very thorough and attentive. The curious choice of rock n roll background music was promptly changed to a more appropriate jazz sampling after a fellow passenger complained. Our waitress suggested that we try two appetizers. I would suggest only one and save room for your entrEe. We both had the Lobster Chowder. At first it seemed rather innocent, a giant china tureen is served with a modicum of cooked lobster and a fraction of garnishes. A moment later our waitress appeared clutching a French Press containing the main body of this extremely flavorful soup which she then poured into our giant bowls. For our second appetizer choices I tried the pear and goat cheese salad, very tasty. My girlfriend opted for the lobster risotto which was served in an immense tray. The lobster was plump and juicy, the risotto was lovely. By the time our entrees arrived we were full. I ordered the Halibut, flaky and moist perfectly cooked but, I was barely able to make a dent in it. The fallen chocolate cake for dessert was very good. By the time we adjourned from our supper though we both could walked back to New York, I felt as if I had eaten a small anchor. Excursions I find in general excursions are really a crap shoot. The sole excursion I booked on the QE2 Christmas Cruise in 2003 was a blast, a jeep 4x4 jaunt in Barbados. I went hog wild on this trip and booked three excursions. In St. Thomas we took the Panoramic Tour. While I've been to this island many times I hadn't really seen much of it. Don't waste your time with this one. We climbed up into the twisting hills. Enjoyed some lovely views but, after the first epic view of the harbor and QM2 the rest is much the same. The tour also included the obligatory stop for a banana daiquiri at a spot called the Mountain Top. A very touristy location cluttered with two-bit t-shirts and run of the mill muck. The balance of the tour was dull. Our guide pointed out 75 mango trees and at least one scurrying iguana. St. Kitts is a beautiful island. It rained quite a bit, though the sun did peek out. We chose the Rocky Roller Drive. This tour was more enjoyable and our guide was very knowledgeable of the area. Once again we climbed into the hills this time aboard a converted British Troop Truck. There was a good deal of lurching and straining. We strolled through the rain forest, watched a band of monkeys bound into the bushes. The locals were all very friendly and waved to us as we drove by. The downside of this tour was a ridiculous stop at a miserable excuse for a plantation, it was nothing but a shabby, worn old house. There was a bar below that offered complimentary punch. I feel as if you put your faith in Cunard to deliver a solid excursion and then end up being taken for a ride with these absurd stopovers in tourist traps. The 4 hour beach excursion in St. Martin was our favorite. The best part about any excursion is the thrill of returning to QM2! Tenders If you are signed up for a morning excursion you must meet in the Royal Court Theater around 8:45 am and await for your tour to be called. If you are not signed up for a tour it's best to wait till around noon or so before descending to one deck. Afternoon tours meet at the pier. We never had to wait for a tender to arrive when we were ashore. Arriving back at the ship isn't too bad, just a matter of waiting in a short line while security scans bagged items and checks identification cards. Overall We adored this incredible ship. The cruise staff works hard to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves. I particularly liked the assistant cruise director, a very personable and friendly chap. It will be interesting to see what QM2 will look like after she goes into dry dock this November. The rumors we heard were the Champagne Bar would be history, along with the Wintergarden which will serve as extended area for the Kings Court. It would be a shame to see the Veuve Cliquot Bar go by the wayside, although, it was almost always empty. QM2 attracts a wide spectrum of passengers. One of the highlights for us was the great friendships we made aboard. From our Cruise Critic Cronies to our Pub Trivia Pals. The open seating at lunch and breakfast is conducive to meeting a wealth of fine folk. Not too mention tablemates at dinner. We often asked people how they were enjoying QM2, most said they loved the ship. Some people however continue to moan and groan. I cannot fathom how anyone would have a negative comment for this classic ocean liner. Several people quibbled over the B elevators being too small. Others still griped that ship is too large. At least one fellow complained about the engine being too loud. Out of 2600 hundred passengers you will never please everyone. I suppose for every 2600 hundred people that gawk into the Grand Canyon many people are struck by it's majesty and immensity while others find it to be nothing but a giant hole in the ground. I stood on the observation deck in St. Martin while the massive Adventure of the Seas steamed by, her decks filled with hordes of passengers getting their fill of QM2. Shortly thereafter, this quiet moment was traded for two trios of triumphant horn blasts as the ships took part in a mutual salute and their mighty horns echoed into the Caribbean night. That's magic, folks. A cruise on QM2 is a state of perpetual bliss, she is the jewel in the Cunard crown long may she sail and may we be transported along with her on purely blissful pursuits. Read Less
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