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2,435 Cunard Cruise Reviews

We are a couple in our early fifties. The embarkation in Southampton was excellent it went so smooth no hustle & bustle we arrived at 1.30 and after check-in went straight on to the ship. Our picture was taken just before we entered; I ... Read More
We are a couple in our early fifties. The embarkation in Southampton was excellent it went so smooth no hustle & bustle we arrived at 1.30 and after check-in went straight on to the ship. Our picture was taken just before we entered; I must admit we did purchase the photograph a bit pricey $27.95 with souvenir frame $49.95. As we entered the ship, we were greeted by members of staff who directed us to our cabin. We found our cabin and it was very nice, also there was champagne with the complements of Cunard, a very nice touch we felt. Our cabin steward introduced herself and told us lunch was being served in King's Court. After lunch, we returned to our cabin and our suitcases were inside. We unpacked and then went to explore. The corridors were very wide, and everything was gleaming -- just what I expected. I felt a bit disappointed with no sail away band and streamers at the quay side -- it just gives that holiday feel. The weather was not good so a group called Illusion had to play inside and not out on deck as advertised. We were in Britannia Restaurant (Table 91) the dining room was lovely, but I would not like to sit there for 2 weeks. It was a thoroughfare for the galley with the waiters passing you all the time, I must say not the best position in the dining room. The food was of good standard, but no silver service. The waiters were excellent. I must mention the dress code on formal nights. Some guests chose to eat at King's Court, therefore they were in casual clothes. When I am in Evening Dress I do not like to see people in shorts wandering about - I think it spoils the ambience. After all, we are on a world class top liner. Maybe it's a way of the times to come. I certainly hope not. The voyage was very rough, apparently one of the worst crossings to date. The entertainment left a lot to be desired. Very disappointing. No cabaret singers or comedians. Plenty of pianists, trios and harpists, but no singers. After all, this was a holiday not a funeral! It was so sombre. If it was not for the excellent group Illusion, we would of been bored. So, come on Cunard, "Get your act together". On disembarkation day it all went as planned until we stepped aboard the coach at approx 9.45 am we were told we would not be going to the hotel until 3pm. We were previously told we would have a sightseeing tour on route. I did not expect 5 hours. When we arrived at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, there seemed a lot of confusion with where to collect room keys. We eventually got to the room. It was dark & dingy. It needed a revamp and I did not walk on the carpet in bare feet. The bathroom had mold round the bath and was rather scruffy. The rest of the hotel seemed ok. This hotel was certainly a step down from the QM2. For all the faults, it was in a great location. When we arrived at JFK airport we had to check (to our amazement) out of approx 20 couples travelling. Only several were able to sit together. Everyone else was split up. Cunard, why don't you book a block of seats in advance for Cunard customers? All in all, this was a good experience. We have been on many cruises and now are in double figures. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
We have just returned from a 6 day cruise to the Norway Fiords aboard the QM2 and found the experience to be totally outstanding. The main difference to this cruise, as to others we have been on such as the Oriana and CostaAtlantica, is ... Read More
We have just returned from a 6 day cruise to the Norway Fiords aboard the QM2 and found the experience to be totally outstanding. The main difference to this cruise, as to others we have been on such as the Oriana and CostaAtlantica, is that the QM2 is an ocean liner, with its attendant style and ethos, whereas the latter ships are purely cruise ships. We arrived at Southampton at the prescribed time and our luggage was taken from us. We went through a really efficient boarding procedure and were on board within ten minutes and to our amazement found our luggage already in our suite. We were booked in Queens Grill accommodation and went immediately for lunch, which was the first of a number of truly wonderful dining experiences. One could choose from the table d'hote or a la carte menu - the latter featuring caviar, smoked salmon, escargot, dover sole, chateaubriand etc - the former featuring an excellent choice of starters, entrees and desserts. The wine list was extensive and reasonable - at the first lunch I chose a 2003 Muscadet sur lie to accompany my smoked salmon and dover sole and this was 20 dollars for the bottle. The waiters and sommeliers were outstanding and truly professional throughout the cruise. We toured the ship and found it to be truly elegant and very roomy. Certainly the feel of the ship mis far classier than such as the Oriana and one feels that it is the modern equivalent of a time when transatlantic voyages were the way to travel. Although restaurant is assigned by the cabin one chooses one does not get any feel of a class ridden ship. All the activities are open to all and the choice is down to the individual. After saying this the range of options is quite extreme with on the one hand there being acting lessons by RADA and a full length play staged by them or a string quartet giving a concert or the restaurant sommeliers providing a wine tasting - whilst on the other there are bingo, Karaoke and darts tournaments provided in the Golden Lion pub. The latter seem more at the traditional cruise end of the market and the former at the liner end of the market but both seem to work in harmony and certainly one can easily avoid the area of the ship providing the activity you want to miss !! In all the QM2 is the best ship I have sailed on by a country mile and when one compares prices is far better value than its equivalents in P&0. For example I have travelled on a 7 day cruise on the Oriana in one of its best suites and paid considerably more than a Q5 level suite on the QM2 and the food and service do not begin to compare with the 5 star level of the Queens Grill. Thank you Cunard for a wonderful experience - you certainly provide a high quality alternative to traditional cruising on a majestic ocean liner. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
This cruise on the Queen Mary 2 is a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary later this year. We have a sailing on the new Crown Princess that was originally scheduled to celebrate this event but then this great deal on the Queen Mary ... Read More
This cruise on the Queen Mary 2 is a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary later this year. We have a sailing on the new Crown Princess that was originally scheduled to celebrate this event but then this great deal on the Queen Mary 2 came along. We'll still be on the Crown but this one looks to be a great way to celebrate what with 6 full days at sea. Plenty of time to reflect on the last quarter century together and prepare for the next. Blah Blah Blah...enough of that sappy stuff for now....facts about the hotel please! If you choose to park here it's all about convenience. We drove right up to the hotel where they took our car and will store it while we are on our cruise. That was also the last time we will have to touch out luggage. We easily arranged for it to be taken to the airline to be checked in before our flight. Once there, Cunard representatives will take it to our stateroom on the ship. If you get a chance to stay at this hotel, do so. There's another Hyatt not too far, the Hyatt Grand Cypress, and it too is a marvelous hotel...almost a city unto itself. This one has a couple of really great restaurants that are first class all the way....but not stuffy about it. We were happy that our daughters Sydney and Whitney were able to join us for dinner here at the hotel then a movie in our room. If the ship sinks we'll be even happier about that. New York in 4 hours The plan was to take the Cunard transfers from JFK airport in New York City to the ship ($80). But with our flight arriving at 10am I thought it would be a nice surprise for Lisa to go on a tour of the city first. On arrival we proceeded to baggage claim where a really nice Cunard representative promptly met us. They agreed to take our luggage to the ship when much to our surprise (ok to Lisas surprise) my native New Yorker brother Michael whisked us off for a whirlwind tour of the city. The interesting part of it was that we saw everything wed ever heard or seen about New York and really captured the flavor of the place. We drove for most of it but got dropped off to walk around Times Square which was quite a treat. But the biggest treat was a stop at celebrity chef Bobby Flays Mesa Grill. This was absolutely one of the best meals weve ever had. Check this out: They had hot croutons on the Caesar Salad. Not boxed. Not from some bag. Not old and worthless; fresh and hot. Lie to me and send me an email telling me that you get that a lot on salads at places you go to eat. Doesnt happen. The croutons were just one example of the extreme attention to detail given to everything on the menu here. If you ever get the chance to visit, do it&.and get someone who LIVES in New York to show you around. I saw a lot of open tour busses which I was told are also a great way to see the city but a personal tour, much like the personal tours I recommend on Caribbean Islands, is the way to go for sure. New York is a great, friendly city with a lot of history. A perfect place to visit prior to a sailing on the world famous Queen Mary 2 I thought. The only problem was that by the time we got to the ship Lisa was bordering on becoming a babbling idiot from sensory overload, with me not far behind. Towards the end of the tour our driver dropped my brother off at his place and proceeded to the Brooklyn Cruise Port (aka : Red Hook)&.but not without some help from calling someone who knew how to get there. Id heard that ground transportation people in New York were kinda challenged in finding the place but didnt realize how that could be until we took in the whole city in a matter of hours: The cruise port is really not that big of a deal here: There are just so many other way more legendary, noteworthy, famous and historical places that this place pales by comparison. It really is located in an odd place and getting there is kind of tricky too, especially if youre a Dominican driver who speaks very little English and reads English directional signs even less. We made it though and our very nice new New York driver friend, Jose, will be getting calls from friends we recommend him to. Very nice man. Nice enough, I guess, that he didnt have to go through any security checkpoints as wed experienced in all other ports wed sailed from, especially Florida ports. We could very well have been driving an atomic bomb on wheels and no one would have been the wiser. Pretty darn strange for a city whos name usually evokes memories of the king daddy of terrorist events. It was almost scary how little security there was. We drove right up in front of the terminal which had the same exact guys (I am just sure of it) directing traffic as they have at Disney World&right down to the reflective but tasteful outfits. I kept thinking Jose was going to tell us we were parked in Minne 88 or Pluto 34 for future reference. It was a definite Mickey Mouse operation. Now before I get to my first impression of Cunard and the Queen Mary 2 I need to back track a little bit. Before our very first cruise I thought cruising would be: · A bunch of really boring old people · A bunch of really snobby people (I would have to try hard to fit in) · The ship rocking would make me sick (in my mind I could picture myself hanging over the side of the ship barfing) · Really wonderful food prepared and lots of it · A very dressy, upscale ambiance It didnt take long to find out that most of those misconceptions were false. On Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Disney and Norwegian Cruise Lines I found people like us; somewhat normal. Even on Celebrity I found much of the same. Ok maybe there were a few snobby people on Celebrity but their attitude seemed centered around their yearning for the cruise experience of yesterday, when slot machines paid out coins, everyone was quiet during the lifeboat drill, and every single person had a story about World War 2 to share&from personal experience. Now back to present day, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and Cunards Queen Mary 2. My first impression was that Id walked into my misconception of what cruising would be prior to our very first sailing. Embarkation went smoothly. Passengers in the upper class cabins were afforded an express line as were those who were handicapped. The line was fairly long but moved quickly. Thats really saying something considering the average age of the people in line but a trio of very direct-speaking Cunard staff members kept the flow regimented and consistent. &was this because theyd learned that old people take direction really well if they are stern and official looking? Im not good at guessing exact ages but if there was anyone in the line under 70 it would have surprised me. Now dont get me wrong; I have nothing against old people. I will be one soon. I take that back, I will never be old. These groups, though, looked, acted, smelled (I think someone pooped in their pants) and for the most part, were really old. In fact, let's stop using the world old right now. Lets call them Cunardians. I was concerned that the misconceptions Id had about this cruise were actually going to come true. Put that on hold for later, dont make up your mind now, wait and give it a chance, I told myself. After about 15 minutes we had been segregated into upper and lower class lines. The upper class line was short and moved faster but there seemed to be fewer of them. I wondered if most had used a private entrance and the upper class passengers we saw were first-timers or lost. We had reached the point in the embarkation process where we would look for one of the 17 check-in counter positions to open. We would then be motioned to come over to complete the process. A nice touch here was that a Cunard shore staff member did that for us then walked us over to the open window. On part of the process that they do different here is print our boarding card with our photo on it that they take right there. Had I known this I would smiled. Instead one of the cool mementos I would take home to put in the pile with the rest of them would have a solemn mug shot on it. Of course, I didnt tell Lisa; why should SHE get a chance to look good when I was robbed of it? On from there we went to have our welcome aboard photo taken then get on the ship. We walked straight toward the photographers but for some reason the upper class passengers (lets call them the Uppers) walked through a little room. I couldnt see in and am not sure what happened in there but it didnt seem to slow them down very much. Maybe a quick massage on the run, slam down a shot of 150-year-old Scotch, or a quick battery check on the pacemaker? In any event we made it quickly to the entrance to the ship where they used hand-held bar code scanners to let us board. As we entered the ship, lined up on both sides of the hallway were white-gloved QM2 crew members. I paused by one, allowing them the time to offer to show me to my stateroom. I figured that was what they were there for. Nothing, Not that I needed help mind you but Id heard that this was what they did and at this point I was still trying to do it right fool them into believing that I was one of the gang. I paused by another then another. Still nothing If the crewmembers werent there to greet me, what WERE they there for? A show of force? Like they were saying forget any funny business on this trip folks, we are here, alert and wont allow it. Boy was I glad I didnt bring the lawn chairs. It was then that it slapped me in the face as I looked beyond the greeting posse that this is one very beautiful ship. This grand lobby area is simply stunning. Its kind of like they took the guy who designs the beautiful lobby areas for Princess and said Heres 10 million dollars, knock yourself out; make it the very nicest and make it one that will be hard to beat. This level of design would continue in hallways, public spaces, on deck, and in our cabin. Cabin 4076 an in the hull balcony cabin is well equipped and reminds me, again, of a Princess cabin. The balcony will prove to be great when we are at sea, providing some shelter from the cold, crisp ocean breeze as the ship makes its way 3723 miles to England. Unpacking was a breeze due to our Victorinox Luggage packing sleeves. Weve done packing and unpacking about ever way there is to do it but this was by far the easiest of all. In the past weve had up to 14 pieces of luggage when the whole family (4 people) have sailed. We had more stuff than wed need on an African Safari for a 7 night cruise. The Victorinox line of Swiss Army luggage is soft-sided and very well put together. The highlight, though, are the packing sleeves that we put our folded clothing into. In the past weve used huge Ziploc bags with good results. This is better. In one extra large sleeve I packed a suit, a tux, 2 pairs of pants, and 8 shirts. The whole thing took up space about the size of 4 Sunday newspapers. Youd think that packing so much into such a small space would render wrinkled clothing but it didnt. Each article of clothing came out as though it had not been packed at all. Lisa packed about twice as many clothes in two of the sleeves that fit nicely into the luggage. One of the reasons we wanted this particular brand and size is so it will fit through the x-ray scanner and can be brought on the ship by us rather than being given to a porter at the pier. This size is just right and works perfectly for that, holding as much as we might have taken using several more pieces. The hanging clothes bag we used before is gone. The HUGE steamer trunk size piece of luggage that was always over weight for the airlines is gone. Check out www.ebags.com for more information. Wed just about finished packing when we had our safety drill. Nothing spectacular about it except that it was the Captains voice guiding us through it. I am used to the Cruise Director being in charge of that and really didnt think much about it until the Captain began talking. Two things happened. First, the crowd was absolutely silent and paid total attention to the instruction. That might have been because Cunardians are just naturally more respectful of authority, take direction well and need silence to hear. But it might also be that the usually comical Cruise e Director doesnt get taken seriously whereas the Captain, especially on a voyage of this nature, does. Ok, who do you want to tell you how to survive a sinking ship? Gilligan or Captain Kirk? In any event, it was held inside and done well. Not as easy as, say, Princess, but way easier than the lines that have us stuck out on deck all antsy to get back to the fun stuff. Finally at 5:00 we set sail and were invited on deck to watch the last of land wed see for 6 days. Leaving Brooklyn, going past the Statue of Liberty, is an experience all unto itself. Wed never seen the lady before and its one of those moments that will burn itself into our memory to last forever. Some things are like that and you just know this is one of them. Lisas ancestors came into the United States this way from Finland a long time ago so it was of extra special meaning to her. Im pretty sure my ancestors snuck in on a pirate ship so not so much meaning to me but awesome anyway. We enjoyed sailaway for a while on deck with a glass of champagne ($20 -- yikes!) then returned to our cabin to get ready for our early seating (6:00) dinner in the Britannia (steerage) Dining Room. Wed not been there yet but I was prepared for long picnic tables with a serving staff made up of all the bad crew members. I imagined the crew working this room would be either new ones whod not done it before or those who had fallen from grace and were no longer allowed to serve the Uppers. What I found (you guessed it) was quite different. This was to be our first real contact with what they call White Star service. This is a good thing. This is not White Star as in Lets ram the boat into an iceberg but more like Were really good at this, relax and enjoy the show. And we did. Bring it on. Were ready. Weve been waiting for this! Delight me! Make me go OOOH and AHHH Of all the food service on board, the dining room would take a quick lead in our ranking. I just knew it. Then reality sunk in: We ARE in steerage and these ARE the reject waiters. Where to begin? Lets start with attitude. These are not happy people. Now before someone goes off on some mental tangent thinking Oh those poor souls, working months at a time at sea, blah blah blah. Forget it. They signed up for this and are supposed to be nice. Thats it, end of discussion. At first I tried to convince myself once again that it was because this was the first night of the cruise and that they were just getting in the swing of it all. I have tended to lie to myself a lot like that in the past. As I age it becomes more and more obvious that Im not going to be able to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. Once a sow, always a sow. The inherent fault with that thinking is that WE are the new ones in this situation; THEY have been doing this every single day for years. I knew we were in big trouble when the Maitre D stopped by to advise us how important it is for us to tell them when something is not right. On the world famous Cunard Queen Mary 2 featuring White Star service? Could this actually happen? Does it happen so much that they have to give us this warning? I know from a previous career in the restaurant business that often when there is a problem that people wont say anything, theyll just not come back or go back to their cabins to write a scathing review of their experience to post on an Internet web site. The dont come back option is not so good considering that the closest alternatives are still 2000 miles away. Regardless, we enjoyed our tablemates and just looked past the fact that: · We had asked for a table for two and got one for six and NO they could not move us. This turned out to be for the best. Again; wonderful tablemates. · The service was just ok · The food was just ok · Getting another piece of yesterdays bread was a chore · The timing was awful · Service was rushed &or would that be Bums Rushed? If I was to give points for service, food quality, ambiance and overall dining experience the score would be Bobby Flays Mesa Grill 4, Cunard 1 The point scored by Cunard is in the decoration of the Britannia Dining Room. Its very pretty and functional too. Not too crowded and very few bad tables. I am pretty sure the Uppers do not know how nice our dining room is. I infiltrated the Uppers Grille area late at night to see for myself what all the hub bub was about. Sure they had a full orchestra playing for them as opposed to a string trio for us as we entered the dining room then they ran off. But otherwise it looked like any other dining room. Pretty and functional. See thats the thing; this ship is gorgeous. Cunard has done a marvelous job of creating a vehicle that could elicit a magnificent, truly once-in-a-lifetime cruising experience. But once again, its the crew that makes the difference. When we think back to the highlights of our cruise history, crewmembers are big factor. All that said and out of the way, there are some great things going on here. I had a nice chat with the Captain who is a very nice man. He is genuinely concerned with our safety and that we have a pleasant experience while aboard his ship. It was then that it dawned on me that this really IS a completely different experience than, say, a sailing in the Caribbean. Besides the obvious that there are no ports of call, there are a number of other topics well discuss in the coming days unique to this voyage. I think it must have taken the first three days to realize that comparing this cruise to any others weve experienced was a mistake. A transatlantic voyage is just that; a voyage. Not a sailing. Not a cruise. A voyage. Six days at sea is not at all like the days at sea thrown in here and there on a traditional cruise. On a cruise, a large part of the experience is focused outside the ship. On port days there are activities to do off the ship which you come back to at night as your home away from home. On this voyage the ship is transportation from New York to England to be sure but much more than that. Inside the ship are thousands of people any which one would not survive long in the icy ocean water. When asked the question What do you do onboard? of any other ship the answer is easy. Most ships have so much to do that even if we tried, they could not all be done. This ship too has a number of activities and features but the Queen Mary 2 has one thing that no other ship weve been on has. Time On this ship there is time to get to know new friends. Time to read like youve never read before. Time to do nothing like youve never done before. In the process it is quite possible to take account of your life in an in-depth, honest manner like youve never done before&and may very well never do again. On this ship, at your disposal, are all the tools needed to have a magnificently renewing life experience. Its not the food, the service, your cabin or how fast the laundry is returned that matters. The tools provided, time and people, make or break this experience. Cunardians are a well-traveled bunch. I dont mean theyve sailed a lot, although many have. Theyve traveled the sea of life and have an abundant amount of knowledge to share. If only we listen. I love to cruise and have never had a bad cruise. There have also been little things that went wrong on every one of them. The trick has always been to not let those little things bother me. If you read these things I write very much you know that I am not a moaner. There ARE moaners on any cruise. These people complain about the smallest things just for the sake of complaining. I think they enjoy it. Ive said in other writings that If I am going to take the time, money, and effort to go on a cruise I want it to be the very best it can be. This one is no exception. Each cruise and each cruise line is different, though, so to compare one to another is often difficult if not impossible. Still, there are common elements of the cruise experience that are universal among lines and ships. Some of them include: · Embarkation- the exact procedure varies little from line to line- to begin the cruise we have to get on the ship · Cabins- décor and amenities may vary slightly but often if plopped into a cabin blindfolded it would be difficult to know which line you are on · Buffets- Again, little differences between lines dont add up to a big advantage for one over another · Bar Service- expect there to be an over-priced drink special of the day on anything that floats · A Pursers Desk- like the front desk in a hotel, this serves the same purpose. · Similar management structure- The Hotel Manager, Food and Beverage Manager, etc are all present on each cruise. Some are more visible than others. · The Captain- Theyve all got one and Ive never met one I didnt like nor who wasnt anything less than a perfect gentleman. · The Crew- They always appear to be a hard working bunch, some more and some less obviously trying hard to make a good cruise experience for us. · Disembarkation- we have to get off the ship at some point. This used to be an area of great differences between lines, not so much anymore. On the other hand, there are areas in which the different cruise lines vary greatly. Some of them are: · Childrens programs- ask any parent of a kid between 2 and 12 who have sailed multiple lines; theyll have a favorite. For a long time, Carnival ruled this area, now the others seem to be catching up. In fact, many would put Royal Caribbeans Adventure Ocean solidly in the lead. · Finally, there is dining- not the buffets, but the dining room. Princess has Anytime Dining, a program that has allowed for those who would like either Traditional or an alternative program allowing them to eat when and with whoever they want. Kinda. They have some work to matching their dining experience to what their guests want. On high occasion, the Traditional Dining choice fills up first, leaving others who wanted it on a waiting list. A better word for the waiting list might be the Disappointed List and, to me, thats an awful way to start out a cruise experience. Norwegian Cruise Line has Freestyle dining which truly does allow all guests to eat when and where they want to. In almost all cases, special requests or substitutions on the menu, when possible, are allowed. Most lines go out of their way to please the guests. Carnival and the others, including Cunard all seem to be about the same, offering the traditional dining experience. Some are better at it than others. They all have their good and bad days, much like a land-based restaurant. Consistency would seem to be a big factor to consider when, appropriately, using dining as a determining factor on which to choose. While I know really well that dining, much like entertainment, is very subject to each persons preferences, there are some that produce a very consistent product and some that dont. Cunard, on this sailing, has not. That has been surprising to me. Very surprising. In preparation for this, as with any cruise, I did my homework. I read all the brochures, scoured the Internet information sources, and sought out the opinions of others. The last thing that I expected was mediocre service and anything less than spectacular food presentations. I think it is universally true that the real service begins when there is a problem. The true test of any service organization is how they respond to a concern by one of their customers. As noted, they all have good and bad days. The great operators have fewer bad days and more good days. The Super-great ones have very few of either and produce a consistent, high-quality product (whatever that many be) on a day-to-day basis. They know exactly who they are, what they want to do and do it every single day. In all fairness, then, Ill be speaking to the Hotel Manager and Food and Beverage manager today to relate some issues I have with my cruise experience. So many people dont say anything, dont give them a chance to make it right, and just dont come back. Have I had a lousy cruise? No, theres still no such thing as a bad cruise in my book. Is my cruise experience less than my expectations? Absolutely. Theyve without a doubt dropped the ball several times. I encourage everyone to complain when there is a problem but be fair about it. Write down on paper what you want to complain about. Often it doesnt seem like such a big deal when you see it in writing. In my case, on this cruise, The Dining Room: · Slow, poorly timed service- Not all guests at the same table served at the same time- awkward. · No substitutions or special requests- Id expect this at a fast-food joint but not on a full-service top of the line cruise ship. The Cabin Steward · Nothing specific, just not as good as others on other lines- Ok, see? That one doesnt have much substance when put down on paper. Ill let that one go. Ok lets talk about the good stuff · I talked to the Food and Beverage Manager about some concerns I had about service in the dining room. That was all it took and everything was perfect. · We received a nice card from the Captain and Cruise Director congratulating us on our anniversary · Our waiter presented us with a folder containing all the menus from the entire cruise · Illuminations- the planetarium is really cool. There is a series of three shows; dont miss a one of them · The QM2 club sandwich is the star of the room service menu and should be considered a signature item · The casino is not too big but very giving · Theres a walking tour of the ship that is very educational and fun · The Cunard beach towels are to die for, buy some. · Skip buying logo wear the first night, it all goes on sale later in the week · Room service is really prompt. I think they make the stuff in the next cabin over from ours · The library is an attraction thats not to be missed. Cruise lines throw around that best one at sea phrase a lot. This one leaves all the others put together distant losers. · The QM2 offers a selection of daily newspapers, printed on the ship, and delivered to your cabin if youve really got to have one. I think it kind of defeats the purpose of being surrounded by nothing but ocean for 6 days&but thats just me · Fast, readily available elevators. Hardly ever a wait. · The Canyon Ranch beauty product samples are wonderful, leave your shampoo and conditioner at home Some tips · Dont be fooled, every night is formal night. Their idea of informal: suit and tie. Other lines idea of informal: Country Club Casual. My idea of informal: Jeans and a t-shirt. · Ladies: bring a formal gown for each night, youll be sorry if you dont. · Eastbound we set our clocks back an hour each night. No tips here just beware: that can sneak up on you. · Computer users; buy a package. .50 per minute adds up fast. Laptop users: dont, the ships computer terminals are plentiful and way faster than their wireless connection. · Relax and enjoy the ride; thats what its all about · Cell phone users: forget it, this ship is not equipped with a tricky and costly cell phone tower. Its a good thing. · Bring warm clothing! If you have any hope of going on deck youll need it&at least on a May sailing. I dont know if it warms up at sea in July but it sure felt like winter to me on this one. Surely a transatlantic voyage is not for everybody. I didnt think it was for me for a while but dont get me wrong; this has been a wonderful experience. Yes, there were a few rough spots along the way but I can safely say that Id surely do this again. Id have serious reservations about bringing kids along, although we did see some on this sailing. The whole nature of this says mature adult¬ old but mature. As I mentioned earlier, take the time to get to know other people. From the people you ride in the elevator with to your tablemates, everyone has a story and most of them are interesting. We chose to do disembarkation with Cunard transfers to our hotel in London at Victoria Station. When planning, this sounded like a great option as our hotel, the Victoria Thistle, was located right in Victoria Station. Victoria Station is located right on the route of a sightseeing tour we wanted to take so that was good too. The only problem was that the Cunard transfers were to Victoria BUS station, not Victoria TRAIN station, two separate facilities a couple blocks apart. No big deal for those who know their way around. Real big deal for first-time visitors scared by current warnings about wallet/purse snatchers on the streets of London and old legends like Jack the Ripper stuck in there too. An hour or so after the BUS dropped us off in the BUS station we finally made it to our hotel which was quite nice&.in an old London/England kind of way. Before I go too far I need to relate my enduring impression of England and London: GOD BLESS AMERICA, MY HOME SWEET HOME I thought the notion of an English Breakfast complete with Fried Tomatoes and right-out-of-the-can Baked Beans was odd on the ship, but here it was on every street corner and on every menu as quite the deal. I wondered if the same dude who started the whole Emperors New Clothes thing started this too. To be fair, one day is surely not a good trial of anyplace, especially a foreign country that uses different money, sayings, has a different government, etc. That said; GOD BLESS AMERICA, MY HOME SWEET HOME Our flight on Aer Lingus took us from London to Dublin first then on to New York. I thought it was funny that they sold everything from soft drinks to perfume on board the plane. Nothing was free. They must not have had any canned baked beans because those probably would have been free. Still Aer Lingus was quite another experience to add to our list. Those people talked funny too but Ireland/Irish/Shamrocks etc I knew about so I let it slide. Still I thought; GOD BLESS AMERICA, MY HOME SWEET HOME Finally when we got back to Orlando very late it was good to be home. This was a wonderful trip, one we will never forget and never want to do again&..sorta. Id do it again but would do WAY more research on England, getting there and getting back. I guess Id become so accustomed to booking flawless travel plans for frequently visited Caribbean destinations that I just didnt think twice about some other place across a really big ocean. Still, it was fun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
Just twelve months prior to joining the QM2 was my wife's big birthday (60 actually...hope she does,not read this!). At her birthday dinner I presented her with a card which I had previously created on my computer with the immortal ... Read More
Just twelve months prior to joining the QM2 was my wife's big birthday (60 actually...hope she does,not read this!). At her birthday dinner I presented her with a card which I had previously created on my computer with the immortal line....The Commodore of the Queen Mary 2 requests you to join his ship for an Eastbound crossing from New York to Southampton on the 9 June 2006...the usual Cunard logos and a picture of the ship had been placed...her mouth dropped and just could not believe this was going to happen for her...well for us actually! We flew to New York and stayed at The Warwick Hotel, an older style hotel with lots of history and just enough luxury! It rained for three days!! The fourth day dawned in brilliant sunshine and we packed and awaited our limousine. We were originally going to grab a yellow cab but had been warned off this as most of the drivers do not know how to get to or even where The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal is! (be warned). Anyway is it not worthy of such a fine vessel to arrive yourself in some style? A thirty minute drive later and we saw her huge size standing against the Brooklyn skyline. Our car pulled in and immediately a helpful baggage porter insisted on taking all our bags..."don't you worry ma'am..these will be in your cabin soonest" We were from them on in Cunard hands as they directed us, guided us, took our photographs (for the 'on board cashless' pay cards (remember to smile next time!)) - then to be photographed for the pics standing in front of the formal 'Queen Mary 2' lifebelt. OK so everyone does it, but hell for once why not enjoy the event - this may have been our first time so why not have some mementos! Then onwards and upwards at every corner a red suited 1950 (or would it be 1930's) dressed bell hop welcoming us aboard. By now my wife was in a wonderland of service, smiles and excitement. The final turn to be greeted with...'Welcome on board', a line up of smartly dressed stewards and stewardess smiling as we entered the grand lobby of the ship. We were directed to our suite on deck 10, first to the lift where a crew member pressed the right button and then as we got out another crew member directed us to where the suite was. Mentioned by previous writers complaints of not being personally taken to their accommodation - hey - there were 2,600 passengers boarding - an impossible task to personally take everyone, and hardly one to complain about! The P1 Junior Suite was beautiful, large, light coloured woods, big sliding patio style windows leading onto your personal veranda with its two laid out stylish loungers, and as we gazed across from the ship we were greeted by a close and direct view of the statue of Liberty - just magical! A bottle of Champagne was chilling in its ice bucket, the two glassed standing to attention awaiting our attention and a bowl of large fine strawberries to go with the champagne. The Suite was superbly designed with a sensible sized walk in wardrobe, not overly large but not cramped, a bathroom with bath and overbath shower, more built in wardrobes, bookshelves, Television and a large long settee...just perfect! It was time to check out our restaurant for the voyage, our accommodation level bade that we eat in The Princess Grill on deck seven. We made our way there and the maitre de' guided us to our table...bad news! It was set alongside the servery, noisy and cramped. We asked to be moved and was shown immediately to another table, much better and private too. We had a wonderful lunch and in the days to come were treated to many superb delights of cuisine, and if they had not got it, they arranged for you to have it at the next meal. Typically I missed out on the lobster one evening, as I desired the steak. Not a problem a simple request to our waiter and the next evening dinner time there was my lobster - oh' what joy to have such service. Our first meal came to an end and the maitre d' slipped a Cunard card onto the table inviting us "for the next meal to try another table". He felt that we would enjoy it even more than the one he had just moved to! This is service of the finest kind, and through out the next week we saw many incidences of such service being offered to our fellow passengers. Through out the coming days we muched around the ship, we walked and we walked, we enjoyed the fabulous works of art on every stairwell, we stood with open mouths at the grandeur of the Britannia restaurant, we thrilled at the fabulous theatre and the professionalism of the shows. Everyday there were new happening's to do, so much to do you sadly have to miss out as time does not allow you to take it all in. As we wondered the ship we had to ask "where were the 2,600 passengers"? we rarely saw more than twenty at any one time except of course in the theatre, etc. A particularly important part of the crossing (never ever call it a cruise...our Captain informed us!) were the formal dress evenings. The Captain's cocktail party (formal dress of black and/or white please) and the Ascot evening. What a wonderful opportunity to just dress to your best and just enjoy the ambience. In fact apart from the first and last evening most people dressed formally - thankfully that there still reigns some principles in life and not a pair of jeans to be seen! To close, and ok this was our first such cruise...whoops...crossing! Some who have already done a myriad such events may well get boarded by my ramblings, but for us newbies, we have told it as we enjoyed it. The Queen Mary 2 is of the finest design, she feels rugged and strong, obviously her design being for crossing the Atlantic (once known as Cunard's Pond), and yes they have retained the feeling of yesteryear mixed with the modern day image we would have expected. We left the ship not dissimilar to the way we had joined her some six days previous, in a haze of wonderment. She is a fine fine vessel, her crew at all levels we found to be superbly helpful, wanting to give service and wanting to ensure you were enjoying your time with them. The food was superb, the wines sensibly priced. Could we be picky about anything, of course...but...why spoil an event of a lifetime in looking for petty problems...after all we only found one (which was soon resolved in the whole weeks crossing. Our friends ask us..."well what was it like"...we do not wish to go into a diatribe except just to say..."just save up and do it just once in your life" - it's a great experience! Thank you Cunard...we shall, one day, when we have saved up...be back. It was 110% all the way. Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
We traveled to New York a day early and stayed at the Beekman Towers Hotel, at 1st and 50th Street by the UN. This was a great place to take a few hours and visit some of the better known spots in New York. We originally made ... Read More
We traveled to New York a day early and stayed at the Beekman Towers Hotel, at 1st and 50th Street by the UN. This was a great place to take a few hours and visit some of the better known spots in New York. We originally made reservations through a car service (Carmel Car Service) that ended up being almost an hour late to pick us up at the airport even though our flight arrived on time and we called the car service within 20 minutes of arrival. The next morning we attempted to call them for three hours (during their listed open hours) before they finally returned our call. The Concierge at Beekman Towers arranged a new car service for us, making all the arrangements for our pick up at the hotel, pick up at the cruise terminal and return to the hotel and then to the airport the next day. They did a fantastic job. Boarding the Queen Mary 2 was pretty effortless. Yes, there were lines but they moved quickly and everyone involved seemed to know what they were doing and did it efficiently. We were directed to our cabin where champagne was on ice from Cunard and a bottle of wine from our travel agent. The cabin was a lot smaller than we expected since Cundard lists its cabin sizes including the deck in the square footage. We also didn't expect a "hull balcony" but our only specification had been "balcony". Every single day sea day (6 each to and from South Hampton) on the Queen Mary 2 was full of activity. From Oxford lectures (many were quite interesting and packed to standing room), to the planetarium and digital camera classes. We were simply never bored. The ship is gorgeous, the public spaces are very large and nicely decorated and maintained. I was surprised that other than one small "drug type store", all the shops on the ship were very high end and really not something we would purchase from. We dined in the Britannia Dining Room (late seating) and found our table mates, location of the table and food all to be excellent. Each morning I ordered breakfast to our room and it was always timely and exactly what I ordered (even though I ordered other than from the menu items listed). We often used room service for Espresso and cheese in the early evening and also found them very reliable. Our cabin stewardess was "okay". Our cabin was more or less cleaned every day. She simply was not top notch. When we asked specifics of her, it was done but with a look that told us we were too much trouble for her. We really were not very demanding! However, the wait staff, bar staff and all other staff about the ship were extremely courteous and many had some really great personalities. Marcia from the photography shop took a special shine to us and always greeted us with a smile and helped over and over with our questions about our new camera. Drinks were the best price we've experienced on a ship. The prices were about what one would expect in a restaurant. Prices for internet minutes were also the best we've ever seen (in fact half what the ships we've been on previously charged.) That said, we were not pleased to find out that the ship charged 3% for cash even in the casino. This is something that should be clearly made known so that people can carry cash. Entertainment was in our opinion, the typical cruise fare. We are pretty tough on entertainment since we've cruised quiet a bit and have seen just about everything. Shore excursions were pretty expensive and ranged from really good: Walking tour of Rome Coliseum and Parthenon. We were issued little radios where we could always hear the tour guide who was well informed. Really bad: Nice, Eze and Monaco walking tour - way too long, way too crowded and way too many pushy people to Sheer dangerous: Bike tour of Barcelona - 40 people with 3 guides who might know Barcelona really well but had not inkling of bike safety and didn't even try to keep track of all 40 people. This could have been a very nice tour will 15 or less people to 3 guides. We loved this trip and if we ever have the money again, we will go again. It's incredible to see many of the places on the European part of the tour, but simply not enough time to explore and really get a "flavor" of the larger places like Barcelona, Rome and Nice. I would recommend the Queen Mary 2 to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2006
WHY I BOOKED THIS CRUISE? As I had a voucher from my previous QM2 cruise I wanted to use it up and a longer cruise would be too expensive for a single person. I booked this cruise through an English agency who are very good. TRAVEL ... Read More
WHY I BOOKED THIS CRUISE? As I had a voucher from my previous QM2 cruise I wanted to use it up and a longer cruise would be too expensive for a single person. I booked this cruise through an English agency who are very good. TRAVEL TO THE PORT. I got the train from my local station which the ticket office is not normally open, it was this time but had no time. So when I arrived at Richmond I had to buy a ticket. It took ages fot him to work out my fare and I missed 2 trains! When I got to Waterloo my train was already pulling out, so I got something to drink and got the next one. These new trains are ok but there is nowhere to put your luggage. So I had to leave it by the door. When I arrived at Southampton Central there was no shuttle bus to be seen so I got a taxi to the dock. On my way I saw a shuttle bus in the city. On arrival at the dock my case was taken away and put straight on the ship. Then I found the queue virtually nonexistent except for a very few people. Every time I come there I usually have to wait a couple of hours and the computers always seem to go down. after x ray, My picture was taken and I handed my cruise card to put into their machine. No one to show me to my cabin! I found my way to deck 6. Found 6170. ACCOMMODATION. I found a lovely large room with a shower and sink, a mini bar with only soft drinks. A safe that was locked from the previous guest. I told the steward but by evening the safe still could not be used. So I called reception once again and it was opened. A 2 seat sofa with wooden arm rests, a small table. 2 wardrobes. a large tv, and an enclosed balcony with 2 sun loungers, a small table and an open hole. LIFEBOAT DRILL. This was very quick in the King's Court buffet, sitting down which was nice. No name checking off and as soon as we put the belts on we could go. SAILAWAY. It was supposed to be 1800hrs, but it was later than this so I missed this as my dinner was 1800hrs. FOOD. Dinner was in the Britannia restaurant, the food was good. Breakfast I had in my cabin which was good enough, I treated myself to the TODD ENGLISH on the last night and it was well worth the extra $30. I had clam chowder, octopus and squid, swordfish steak and creme brulee. A great feast. ENTERTAINMENT. This was very good, singers and dancers were this best. The singer was not up to much as most left at this time. I missed the last night with the singers and dances as it was packed. SHORE EXCURSIONS. I planned to book the Berlin trip at $284 for 13 hours but they were cancelled as no one was interested. A few other trips to Hamburg and surrounding places were available. There was a shuttle bus into town which was run free as it was quite a way into town. But the 1st was full so I walked in the harbour area which was 15mins walk. You could get a train from here 10mins into town. It was very busy today as well as being QM2 DAY everybody was coming there to see the ship and there was a motorcycle rally. I booked a harbour cruise on the "MISSISSIPPI QUEEN" around the dock area and passing the QM2 this took 75mins. It cost 20 euros. SHOPS. A few good shops on the ship, Mayfair shops and Harrod's as well as jewelry shops. A good selection of things here, I bit less than last time as I got badges, cufflinks, tie pins before none of these were on sale. ACTIVITIES. Bingo, dance classes, line dancing, bridge playing. Apart from these not a lot else. NEGATIVE POINTS. Apart from the safe that was locked, my cabin was not made up very quickly after 11am mostly. Had to put make up room sometimes. then the day I was out put the do not disturb sign up and when I got back at 6pm the room still was not done. Shore excursion cancelled, no comment form until I asked for one and then it was in French! The interactive tv was great, you can read and send email, my friend said it was free to receive but it's $1.50 to send or receive. You can get restaurant menus when it's working, as it only worked on the 1st day. Read your bill as it goes along, tipping is added to the bill at $11.00 per person per day. The captain's cocktail party was a waste of time. Had to queue up for a photo of the captain who was not even there. Then it was in the Queen's room where there was not enough seating. Then when the staff captain spoke it was just to tell us the captain was busy up on the bridge and couldn't come. Then that was it!!! There was no extra cocktail party for the World Club members which seems strange. DISEMBARKATION. I woke at 5am to see us arrive in Southampton, 7am paid my bill then breakfast. Cabins had to be vacated at 0830hrs. then we were told to meet at different places. But mine was in the Royal Court Theatre on deck 2. When I got there they said this was for tours and I needed to go to deck 3, so up I went. Most of the people were leaving here as there were no audible accouchements heard in here. So most waited up on deck. My departure was shown at 0945 but in fact it was 0845 which was quite good. Straight off the ship pick up luggage and off into a taxi and a train home. OVERALL IMPRESSION. The ship is lovely even without the minor problems, the highlight was all the people to meet us and see us off. but as its so expensive for single people I won't be going on Cunard again!! P.S. Forgot about the minor hiccup. There was soot coming from somewhere and announcements were made by the captain and no alarm but it was soon sorted out. I could smell smoke though. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
My husband and I just returned from our eighth cruise. We were on the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Independence Day sailing from July 3  8, 2006. It came and went from New York City, and included the ports of: Boston, Massachusetts (on July 4); Bar ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our eighth cruise. We were on the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Independence Day sailing from July 3  8, 2006. It came and went from New York City, and included the ports of: Boston, Massachusetts (on July 4); Bar Harbor, Maine; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. We have previously sailed on Carnival, NCL and Holland. This was our first on Cunard, and first out of New York City. We arrived two days early in New York, and spent the weekend at the Marriott Marquis near Times Square. There was quite a lot going on that weekend! We took in a few of the tourist activities and also were able to visit the site where the World Trade Center had been. My husband was so impressed with his first cab ride in New York in a while, that we booked a car service to get us to and from the pier. There was some kind of an event going on near the Marriott Marquis the day we arrived, and the taxi driver wanted to drop us off, and our four bags, about two blocks from the hotel. As if we wanted to fight our way through the crowds with four suitcases in tow. We insisted that the driver continue to the hotel itself. He wasnt too happy about that, but oh well. We booked a car service from the Marriott and it was $86 from the hotel to the pier and then another $86 from the pier to LaGuardia at the end of the cruise. Not a bad deal at all, considering Cunard charges more than that to ride in a bus. I have read just about every review for the QM2 I came across. People seemed to be either thrilled or mildly disappointed with their cruise. I was trying not to expect a lot, and my husband wasnt expecting anything at all. We had a nice time aboard this ship, but not the wonderful time we have on most cruises. I dont think there is any such thing as a bad cruise, so it was still good. But I like other lines better. Embarkation wasnt too bad. We arrived right at the time stated on our boarding pass and it took about 45 minutes. Our travel agent had pre-registered us with all our passport information and all that, so things went that much more quickly for us. The facility in Brooklyn was nicely air conditioned, and there wasnt any danger of it getting hot and miserable in there. The ship itself is absolutely gorgeous. It is very pretty and everywhere I went I had the same thought, This is nice! From the wall panels to the artwork to the flowers to the cabins themselves, everything is very elegant and pleasing to the eye. We had an interior cabin with two upper berths which were not used. I was a little concerned that they would be in the way, but they tuck neatly into the ceiling. Unless you knew to look for extra berths, you probably wouldnt have known they were there. The room had plenty of drawer and closet space. We rarely saw our cabin steward, but knew he was there by the clean state of our room all the time. He introduced himself and provided my husband with an ashtray and things like that. He did a great job staying on top of things. The sail away party from New York was fun! The NYPD had their helicopters escorting the ship a ways. They circled the ship, got fairly close and hovered, and waved to the passengers and all that. It was pretty fun and made for some great pictures. I have one shot of a NYPD helicopter hovering close to the ship with the Manhattan skyline in the background. We had a table for two in the first seating of the Britannia Dining Room. The food was very fancy, but not necessarily all that good. We arent terribly picky eaters, but had some trouble finding even one entrEe or appetizer/salad that sounded good. Or at least didnt sound awful. Normally on a cruise I have to decide between a couple of appetizers that sound good, can figure out which salad I want, and then have to decide on an entrEe. Not here. I was lucky to find one appetizer or salad I wanted and one entrEe that would work. My husband ordered the stand by grilled chicken breast twice. Anyway, I included one nights menu below. The rest are different but still just as fancy-schmancy. APPETIZERS AND SOUPS Chicken Liver Parfait, Pear Compote & Sauterne Jelly Smoked Salmon Terrine with Keta Caviar & Celery Hearts Crispy Calamari Rings on Greens, Lemon Dip Cream of Mixed Mushrooms, Parmesan Croutons Chicken Consomme with Herbed Quenelles SALADS Oak Leaf & Boston Salad, Sherry Vinaigrette Soba Noodle Salad, Sesame Soy Dressing ENTREES Spaghetti alla Marinara with Tomato Sauce, Garlic Onions and Anchovies Pan Seared Grouper, Mango Avocado & Sweet Potatoes Roast Pork Loin, Wild Mushrooms Ragout, Truffle Mash and Morel Sauce Roasted Strip Loin, Glazed Root Vegetables & Yorkshire Pudding Vegetable & Bean Chili Taco Shells, Steamed Rice (I had the smoked salmon appetizer followed by the spaghetti without the anchovies.) The service was fine, although I think our assistant waiter ducked out a lot. This left the server to have to cover water, rolls, removing plates and all that. I felt kind of bad for the server. We could see where other serving teams were working together better. There was one thing about dinners that annoyed me. When we received our cruise documents, they mentioned two formal nights, one informal night, and two casual nights. The two formal nights were to be a red, white and blue ball and a black and white ball. So I brought clothes as appropriate. When we got on board, this had been changed to one formal night (black and white ball), one informal night (with red, white and blue ball to follow) and three casual nights. I wound up wearing a formal on informal night and something semi-formal on a casual night. Not a huge deal, but why send cruise documents mentioning two formal nights and then modify it to one after we cant change what weve packed? But it wasnt a huge deal. And I saw a lot of other ladies in red or blue formal wear that night as well. I guess they had the same information I did. We did the buffet for breakfast each day. It offered plenty of hot selections, bread/pastry selections and fruit. We ate at the Golden Lion for lunch each day, as my husband loves Shepherds Pie, known as Cottage Pie there. I had Fish and Chips a couple of times. It was delicious and the fish was very mild. We ordered room service two or three times. It is a very limited menu, but does include a Club Sandwich, which worked for us. Room service was pretty quick, too. The drinks on the QM2 didnt seem to be much more expensive than on any other line. One of the bartenders in the Golden Lion introduced me to a Southern Peach which has become my new favorite. The casino had all the standard games and didnt seem to be too crowded. Most tables were a $5 minimum, which is manageable. We dropped some money there, but gambling is entertainment for us, so we absorb some losses in the interest of keeping entertained. It was nice to be able to sit at a table or choose a slot machine whenever we wanted. We went to one show, some kind of international dances through out the decades. I thought it was good, but my husband was kind of bored with it. It was just an hour long so he was able to live with it. We also attended a planetarium show, which was interesting. The ports we visited had a lot to do with us selecting this cruise. We (I) had been wanting to sail on the Queen Mary since she was built, and this week worked out well with both of our vacation schedules and included ports we wanted to visit. Boston, Massachusetts was the place to be on Independence Day! We stayed aboard the ship until after noon. That day the USS Constitution sailed into the harbor on her turnaround cruise. At exactly noon her cannon was fired while underway. That was a treat! We had to be back on board before the fireworks started in Boston. We didnt have a full view, as there were tall buildings between there and the ship. We also werent able to hear the music that was synchronized with the fireworks, as we were too far away. But the ship had its own sail away party and it was fun being top side for that. The next day was Bar Harbor, Maine. It was foggy most of the day, and we werent able to see the cliffs we had heard so much about. There are about three streets of tourist shops in Bar Harbor and some beautiful scenery. We are quite relieved that we did not waste an entire weeks vacation visiting Bar Harbor. I did have lobster lunch, which was delicious. Day four was Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It was pretty and had nice scenery and all that as well. You could see where tides went in and out, how the water would be deep at times, and then nothing but sand and rock would be left. That was interesting. The last day was a day at sea. It was relaxing and nice and all that. We are used to being able to spend some time in the sun on a cruise ship. But it didnt happen in that latitude. Most of the time, it was cool and windy outside. We didnt even stay out long in our clothes, let alone bathing suits. People did lie in lounge chairs, but most were fully clothed with towels and/or blankets wrapped around them. One brave man did lie out in his bathing suit. It didnt look like he was getting much of a tan. We are glad we learned how cold it can be on a cruise that far north, even in July. We were thinking about doing a Scandinavian Cruise, but are seriously reconsidering. We also now know that if we do a crossing of the Atlantic, it will be from Portugal to Fort Lauderdale or something like that, and not from London to New York. The other passengers were mostly from the United States, as is predictable on cruises that both embark and disembark from New York City. I found the other passengers to be friendly and well mannered enough. There were some snobbish people, but every cruise seems to have at least a few of those. Overall, I am glad we went on this cruise. We are now able to say weve been on the Queen Mary, and we went to some ports we wanted to visit. But it was missing some of the things we really enjoy about cruising, such as lying by the pool listening to Jimmy Buffett music and downing frozen drinks. It was more like sitting around a very swanky hotel as opposed to being at a resort. Its very pretty and nice to see, but not enough action for us. This cruise reminded me of my first trip to Europe. Many years ago, I saved, planned, and really anticipated my first trip to Europe and all the great things I was going to see and do the whole time, like the brochures said. Then I got there and it was okay, and there were things that I liked and all that. But I really didnt have the great time I thought I was going to have. When I got home, I wasnt about to admit to myself or anyone else that I didnt have a great time on that vacation. So I went on pretending that I had an absolutely amazing time. And I did have some good memories and did do some interesting things. It just wasnt what it was hyped to be in the brochures. Anyway, I see I have gone on for four pages about a five day cruise. Overall, it was okay, and Im glad we went. We now know what the Queen Mary 2 and Cunard are all about. And we dont have to do another one, our curiosity has been satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
We have just returned from a Transatlantic crossing on QM2 and had a wonderful time. I would like to advise any woman thinking about this trip, that clothes for during the day can be as casual as you wish - i worried for weeks prior to ... Read More
We have just returned from a Transatlantic crossing on QM2 and had a wonderful time. I would like to advise any woman thinking about this trip, that clothes for during the day can be as casual as you wish - i worried for weeks prior to leaving about what to take and took far too many 'dressy' outfits for day time - i was very comfortable in casual linen trousers and nice tops. My Formal outfits fitted the bill perfectly! Only small and i mean very small complaint is the Embarkation and Disembarkation - altho this was 1st time ship had been berthed at Bayonne, so everyone had to allow for teething problems and Cunard got it so right by having wonderful 'treats' delivered to our Hotel in New York, with no contact from ourselves. We were celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary and had Champagne, Flowers, Cards etc delivered to room from Cunard - lovely touch! We would definitely recommend this trip to anyone considering it - we were Cruise Virgins, but already i am looking for my next one! Thanks Cunard for making it all so very special and a wonderful thank you also, to the Mandarin Oriental in New York, at end of trip - fabulous place. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
Queen Mary 2 Review Western Mediterranean September 2006 Southampton, Vigo, Barcelona, Cannes, Rome, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Southampton We booked the QM2 for the first time this year. Embarkation: We booked a limo to Southampton from ... Read More
Queen Mary 2 Review Western Mediterranean September 2006 Southampton, Vigo, Barcelona, Cannes, Rome, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Southampton We booked the QM2 for the first time this year. Embarkation: We booked a limo to Southampton from London and we arrived at about 12:30. There was a queue but it went fast. We were issued a cruise card with our picture on it and went straight to the ship. We stepped into the Grand Lobby and were amazed, it is so beautiful, one of the stewards asked us if we know where to go, we said yes, so she said welcome back! That was nice especially it was our first time on the QM2. Our cabin was in one of the best locations between the two sets of 6 elevators number 5133. The Cabin: Our cabin was a B2 (Premium Balcony). It was very similar to our cabin on board the Constellation. Both QM2 and Connie were built at by Chantiers de L'atlantique, so we felt immediately at home. The bed was comfortable, it had some cushions, the bedspread was very nice, there was a desk with refrigerator, some drawers, hair dryer, and interactive TV, sofa bed which was good, wardrobe with a safe, 3 very nice wall pictures. The shower was big and comfortable and under the sink was a cupboard with some storage space. The toiletries were from Canyon Ranch. The air-condition system was very good. The balcony was in hull and very private, its door was a regular one and not a sliding door. The interactive TV was the best we've seen, it had a selection of music, we could send and receive emails - there was a keyboard on top of the TV, and a selection of pay movies, also there was information about the ship and the evening menu, which was great. The Ship: The ship is the most beautiful ship we've seen. The Grand Lobby is magnificent with wonderful chandeliers. The halls that ran from one end to the other on deck 3 and 2 where very wide with beautifully decorated walls. Decks 2 and 3 are the main public area decks with the Queen's Room, the Britannia Restaurant, the Royal Court Theatre, the Chart Room, Golden Lion Pub, Champagne bar and Illuminations. All are lovely and very beautiful. Illuminations is also a planetarium which is a novelty. Our favorite lounge was Commodore Club on deck 9. The Winter Garden is also lovely. The library is the largest we saw on a ship and has a very good bookstore. The casino is large but full of smoke. Throughout the ship there are beautiful pictures of Queen Mary 2, Queen Mary, QE2, QE and all the other ships. This is the most beautiful ship in the world. The Food: The Britannia is very large and beautiful. Our waiters were Lisandro and Lara. They were great. The food was wonderful. The desserts were fantastic. The Peach FlambE and the After Eight were the best. Dinner was an occasion to look forward to. For lunch and breakfast is was open seating and there was a choice between the Britannia and the Kings Court. The Kings Court was OK but we mostly ate at the Britannia. Entertainment and Activities: The Royal Court theatre is very beautiful. The Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers were very good, they did several shows, the singers Emma Sinclair, and Paul Emmanuel, John Martin a comedian and a pianist, flautist and violinist and a juggler. All in all the entertainment was very good. There were movies daily in Illuminations. Illuminations is wonderful with great sightlines, we saw there also a very interesting planetarium movie. There was also music at the lounges and bars. There were many things to do, especially in sea days, quizzes, lectures, chef demonstrations, art auctions and more. There are several swimming pools and the spa therapy pool, which cost extra, Connextions internet cafe, there are two game rooms with tables set up with board games which were very nice. The Itinerary: Since we've already done the Western Mediterranean we didn't go down in every port. The first one for us was Barcelona. Barcelona: We booked a limo to the Arts Decorative museum and afterwards to the CosmoCaixa science museum, both are very interesting. Rome: We booked a limo to Rome, had a nice breakfast at the Cavalieri Hilton. We went to see Villa Gulia, afterwards we went to see the new Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition in Piazza del Popolo which was very interesting, they built models from Da Vinci's plans and it was amazing. Finally we paid a visit to Galleria Doria Pamphilj. Then we had lunch at Cavalieri Hilton before returning to the ship. A fantastic day. Gibraltar: We booked Gibraltar with elegant tea. After the tender experience, we had a guided coach tour in Gibraltar, and afterwards we went to one of the local hotels for tea and some cakes. It was very nice. Then we took the bus back to the port. Lisbon: We booked a shore excursion, which included the Maritime Museum. This is a fantastic museum with a lot of ship models, marine instruments and wall pictures, from the earliest vessels to the modern ones. It is the most comprehensive marine museum we ever visited. Afterwards we visited the monastery and then back to the ship. Lisbon is a beautiful city and we really want to return some day. We had a wonderful cruise, the weather was perfect (about 22-25 C) in all the ports we visited, everything was perfect. We really love QM2, it was very hard to leave her in Southampton. See you next time QM2. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
We are a couple 39 years and 43 yrs, we travelled with children 14 yrs, 8 yrs and 6 yrs. We actually sailed ex Southampton to New York on the 11th August and back again on the 6th September. All aspects of both journeys were fabulous. ... Read More
We are a couple 39 years and 43 yrs, we travelled with children 14 yrs, 8 yrs and 6 yrs. We actually sailed ex Southampton to New York on the 11th August and back again on the 6th September. All aspects of both journeys were fabulous. Going out our embarkation time was 1500 hours, we arrived early and were on the ship for 1300 hours. Everyone was very polite, (but not in your face polite). Our children all attended the Kids Zone, although not every day, but the facilities they had for the children and staff were very good. Our daughter, 14 years, met an abundance of teenagers, that basically 'hung around together ' for the week, so we basically did not see her. The restaurants including the Kings Court were all superb. We dined in the Brittania table 218 every night and requested the same table for coming home, which they sorted out for us, which I thought was very nice. You can do as little or as much as you want on the QM2. On the way over I attended 3 very good lectures by the author PD James and my husband attended quite a few by Oxford Lecturers on Space, etc. However, on the way back we didn't attend any lectures, only because we were very tired and obviously lost that hour every night. We were however, on the first connoisseurs Cruise coming home, which we found absolutely fascinating. We went to 3 Art Auctions, we didn't buy anything, not for lack of interest - more lack of no money left after 5 weeks travelling. However, we did learn a great deal about the art industry, and met with artists, Alexander Nichita, John Kelly and Aldo Alonso, also Behrens, the famous American artist. We found the shows very interesting and well put together - even the children sat through them and enjoyed them, which says quite a lot for my brood. If I have to criticize any of the facilities - which I'm loathe to I would say that there probably is not a lot for children - although the indoor pool is a saving grace. But, if you want plenty of children facilities, you could always look at another line. In between our two cruises, we also sailed on Freedom of the Seas which is definitely children oriented, but sadly, lacked the culture, ambience and English of the QM2. It's interesting to find that all our children preferred QM2 to Freedom, even with less facilities for them. So that should tell you something in itself. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
This was my sixth cruise on Cunard. I have been cruising Cunard since 1981. This was by far the most disappointing experience with the cruise line. I can not recommend this ship to anyone but for the disabled. The facilities for disabled ... Read More
This was my sixth cruise on Cunard. I have been cruising Cunard since 1981. This was by far the most disappointing experience with the cruise line. I can not recommend this ship to anyone but for the disabled. The facilities for disabled were fine, but 90% of the able bodied passengers were treated like steerage. Firstly, the ship is on a class system, and 90% of the passengers are treated like cattle. The first class passengers, who are the grill passengers, have separate eating facilities, separate floors for cabins, first dibs on tickets to public events, and are treated very well indeed. We were on a "balcony cabin floor" which was not a balcony at all. It had an outside room with a hole for a window, and we were unable to see the sea unless standing. The deck chairs were cheapest resin plastic. The floor was cement. The room inside was dingy and dirty-feeling. The throw pillows smelled. The bathroom was especially bad, without adequate light or plugs. There were two American plugs in the entire cabin, and only one could be used at a time. The cabins were very uncomfortable and poorly conceived. THE CREW: Nobody could answer questions or give directions, we saw our steward twice in four days, we were treated as if we were on a third-class train in a third-world country. The attitude of the staff was lacking in interest in the passengers. They made it clear that they were not properly trained in service, but for whatever little job they were paid to perform. We never saw an officer or the captain, and the PA system could have had voice recordings as far as we knew. In the main dining room, the waiters threw the food at us so they could close up for the night. The Maitre 'd made no effort to seat us with peers. We were two women in our late 50s, and we were seated with Chinese in their 70s, and when we changed our table we were seated with a deaf German man in his 80s who could barely speak English. The FOOD and SERVICE: Like everything else, we had to find the best by accident. Nobody told us that the King's Court cafeteria turned into restaurants in the evening. We found out by accident on the last night of the cruise. The food was okay in the main dining room for dinner, but great in the Lotus which is a cafeteria for lunch but a waiter-restaurant in the evening. Like everything else on this ship, it is kept a secret from passengers until one happens to find it. In the "buffets" (read: cafeteria) the breakfast was miserable, powdered scrambled eggs, old rubbery bacon, pastries from powdered mixes, you get the drift. The coffee was so weak that we wondered if the same grinds were put through water twice. HIGH TEA: What a travesty. There weren't enough seats for the cattle passengers, nobody to find you a seat, which made certain passengers have the attitude of "every man for himself." We were almost accosted for taking a table that was "saved." Altogether the most disappointing food experience I've ever had on a cruise. No elegance, no interest in passengers, nobody asking whether you want anything. Just plentiful second-tier food -- although I must admit they made a good chop one evening. ENTERTAINMENT: Who goes to a show BEFORE dinner? If you don't want to eat at 6 pm, expect to see the show before dinner -- if you can find a seat. We saw one show. It was cute. On previous Cunard cruises, we saw first-rate entertainment. Like everything else on the ship, costs were cut to the bare bone. THE PLANETARIUM: We couldn't get tickets. They were gone by 9:00 am every morning. THE "CAPTAIN'S BALL": It might have been nice, but there were not enough seats for us to see it. INTERNET: My friend brought her computer, expecting to get her ordinary email address in the room, as advertised. After a two-day run-around, she gave up, and used the ship's computers for $0.50 a minute. CASINO -- Big and gorgeous, if you like to gamble -- but inadequate ventilation for all the smokers that congregate there. PORT: We were on a Labor Day round trip from NY to Halifax, NS. A pleasant journey, we thought, to a pleasant port where I personally have lived. One problem: All Services on shore and shopping were CLOSED in celebration of Labor Day. Why pick a destination on a day when the PORT WAS CLOSED? Check the ports carefully before you take any journey with this ship. EMBARKATION, DISEMBARKATION: We waited over an hour to get on the ship. We were told to leave the ship one hour early (we had to wait an hour outside for our ride to pick us up.) Altogether unacceptable. CONCLUSION: If you you like to cruise for gambling and lots of second-class food, take the Queen Mary 2. If you like to have good service, take another ship -- a smaller ship. It is not possible to have a good time or good service with 2,500 passengers and a crew that can't answer questions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
My husband and I were on the same New York to Halifax trip that L P Baron took. We were cruise "virgins" and had a truly wonderful experience and would recommend it to anyone. Boarding was efficient and pleasant. Our charter bus ... Read More
My husband and I were on the same New York to Halifax trip that L P Baron took. We were cruise "virgins" and had a truly wonderful experience and would recommend it to anyone. Boarding was efficient and pleasant. Our charter bus arrived before noon and we were aboard by about 12:30. A small bottle of champagne was a pleasant touch. Our luggage did take until after 5:00 to arrive at our cabin(we did see it sitting by the elevators hours before but an officer insisted that we allow the steward to deliver it). At one point another couple arrived at our cabin door under the impression that it was theirs. Since we had been upgraded from a deck 4 D7 cabin to a deck 12 D12 cabin , we could only assume that they were destined for some very nice upgrade as well - they just had to find out what it was. we were assured by a nearby officer that all was in order and we were where we belonged. He even knew our names. We also met our room steward early-on and he made sure that we were well supplied with ice for my Pepsi-One. We had an inside cabin #12013 and I was a bit concerned that it would be dreary and smoky smelling. ( We are both non-smokers) Happily I was wrong on both accounts. The layout of the cabin was efficient and felt remarkably spacious for it's actual footage. We could hear no noises from any side and the climate control was effective and easily adjusted to our liking. However, if you tend to feel the effects of rough weather it helps to get out of the cabin so that you can focus on things that are more distant. The weather for our four night "sampler" voyage was somewhat less than optimum. Departure from Red Hook, Brooklyn was on a dreary, misty, foggy afternoon the remnants of a hurricane. The Statue of Liberty was soon lost in the mist and we encountered a Force 10 gale while passing under/through the Verrazano. My husband ventured up to the forward observation area and was impressed by the strength of the winds. The sail-away party in the deck 12 enclose pool, area was fun and a pleasant start. Once we were out of the protected waters of the harbor we were subjected to rather rough conditions with winds and rain causing deck access to be restricted. Them first night was a bit exciting with rough seas (10 - 15' swells) making dancing in the ballroom an adventure. We found the daily newsletters to be the key to planning your day. We were never disappointed. The seminar about Sinatra was professional and informative. We heard good reviews about the Elvis seminar too, although we didn't have time to catch that one. We attended the dance lessons both line and ballroom both sea-days. The ballroom teachers were excellent,patient and incredibly graceful. The assistant cruise director who had previously been a dancer taught the line dancing and made it a lot of fun. The tea dance and afternoon teas were relaxing and pleasant. The key is ... get there early. We were never made to feel like "cattle" Our room steward was efficient and very accessible. Our choice of first dinner seating was the right decision. It gave us more time for the evening's first dance session in the ballroom. The cuisine in Britannia was excellent, well prepared and presented faultlessly. Our waiter "Gin" was a first-rate professional, pleasant, sweet and took the time to answer my rather nosy questions on his history with the ship and his observations on the differences between Queens Grill service and our Brittania service.(Brittania was a step-up for him in a number of ways) Gin was truly a treasure. The food in Britannia was first class. The Grills seemed to offer more selections but the quality was equal. And, we don't know how the service could be any better. Every item was properly prepared, served hot, and personal requests exactly taken into account. We also ate lunch and breakfast in Britannia and were not disappointed. King's Court made for very nice breakfast and lunch stops with wonderful variety. We also visited there late several nights after the evening's dancing was over. It was just what we needed for a late-night nosh. Our first full sea day was marked by improving weather and gradually calming seas. The second night was marked by The Black and White Ball. We all dressed for dinner, dancing and the show and were treated to the nearly full moon lighting our wake during a late night stroll on deck, how romantic. Our day in Halifax was interesting. The weather was dreary-- breezy with mist and on & off light rain. We opted to not take any of the organized tours. We struck out on the harbor side boardwalk which runs from the cruise terminal to the casino and passes by many shops and eateries. The Maritime Museum was bright and airy. It contained a collection of articles from the Titanic. I watched a short movie about the horrible explosion that leveled most of the seaport during World War One, so I even learned some history. Everywhere we wanted to visit was open. We didn't realize that Labor Day (do they spell it "Labour"?) was a holiday in Canada. I had some yummy ice cream and we explored many shops. The casino in Halifax was comparable to some in Atlantic City. Seemed fairly loose. We did well. The casino on the ship, while small, was also loose (at least for us). We came out a little ahead there too. I think the key is to do your homework. READ the newsletters, so you know what to expect. We were not veteran cruisers, but we learned quickly and everyone on the ship was polite and professional. I was impressed when a server at the buffet showed a passenger how to use the hand sanitizer before grabbing a plate. With all the nationalities present, it was helpful. There were signs behind the stations reminding workers to wash their hands. Obviously the Captain is not a "people person". We, in our section of the Britannia, never actually saw the man even though our table was next to what we understand is the "Captains" table. I mentioned this one day to a lunch companion who was a very experienced cruiser and she explained that most Captains attain their position by technical excellence rather than through social skills. Now they have well trained crews to handle the technicalities and more time for socializing. Some enjoy and are good at socializing and some are not. Oh well, can't have everything. We see that he is moving to Queen Victoria so he must be doing many things right. Our second sea day was the return trip and it was simply beautiful. This is what it is all about! Disembarkation was easy and painless as long as you get up on time and mark your bags well. Parting was such sweet sorrow. But, we hope to visit our queen again someday. A & B Sheneman Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
I flew from Washington,DC. to London with Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and stayed at the Crown Plaza St.James over the weekend prior to sailing. We (my darling Aunt and I)have made our own arrangements for this.On Monday the 30th of October ... Read More
I flew from Washington,DC. to London with Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and stayed at the Crown Plaza St.James over the weekend prior to sailing. We (my darling Aunt and I)have made our own arrangements for this.On Monday the 30th of October we set off from London Waterloo on Southwest Trains at 10.39am enroute to Southampton where we arrived at 12.15pm. From Southampton central station we took a taxi to the Mayflower terminal (this was a short notice change from Cunard)where we checked in after an approximate 30 minute wait in line.We were greeted by the staff on deck three and escorted to our stateroom 5230, to our super surprise this was an outside cabin with balcony (we actually had booked a inside). Our Cabin Steward Eric was already waiting for us, as was our luggage and several bottles of Champagne,Sparkling Wine and Wine. After getting over the excitement of the cabin, we wanted to first check our restaurant seating and went straight to the Britannia Dining Room.We had requested a table for 2 for the early seating at 6pm, however I noticed that we were to sit on a table for 8. After speaking to the Maitre D' this was quickly changed and we were assigned table 52 on deck 2. Now it was time to book a table for Todd English as everyone had advised me to do as early as possible, so we opted to dine there on the "informal" night on Thursday. I also booked Spa treatments for my Aunt and myself for the following days. After all the arranging it was time for some refreshments and as our charming and very efficient cabin steward Eric had told us we went to deck 7,the Kings Court for some light refreshments. After unpacking and changing it was time at 5pm for the emergency drill and after this we set sail promptly at 6pm. We did not attend the cocktail party on deck 12 but opted to enjoy a few glasses of champagne before taking our seats for dinner. To not stretch this review to long I will now give an overview of our experiences: Britannia Dining Room Table 52: Our Waiter Nened, Junior Waiter Jason and Sommelier Pol were at all times extremely courteous,accommodating and helpful.We dined at the Britannia every evening with the exception of Thursday when we dined at Todd English. The food for Dinner in general and I say this from a hoteliers background was,just as I expected it, standard banquet food but nothing special and on several occasions it lacked taste,finesse and the portions (especially the main course) should be smaller. Also one normally one would not hurry 3 or 4 courses in 45 minutes.As I said before I did NOT expect any superlative dishes, however more consistency and flavor would help. Breakfast and Lunch in the Britannia is a different experience as one has not the usual table. Staff seem totally de-motivated, coffee tastes awful, and again on several occasions tasteless food and extremely slow service. Todd English: As I mentioned earlier,I had made bookings immediately as I was advised that it would be booked quickly.We arrived at 6.30pm and were greeted by the Maitre D', the restaurant was at this time only used by two other couples and it did not fill to more then 8 tables throughout the evening. Our waitress Anneke was delightful and very knowledgeable about the menu. I can highly recommend the Potatoe Love Letters (if you love truffles), this dish actually gave me goose bumps because of it's delightful taste!For desert the Fallen Chocolate Cake was Divine! Again even here all dishes are supersized and I think less is more. Overall it was a wonderful experience and the $30.00 surcharge is rectified. Kings Court Lunch: This area leaves a lot to be desired, but not the food but the organization (if you don't like to wait in line I advise to go at 11am or later after 2pm). The Carvery offers delicious meats, Lotus tasty stir fry's and La Piazza Italian dishes and deserts.Chefs Galley does delectable sandwiches and fresh burgers.I very much enjoyed taking Breakfast there as one has a choice and doesn't need to take full sizes of everything, although on several occasions the "regular" coffee machines did not work. If you are looking for a midnight snack,BAD LUCK unless you count Hot Dogs,Burgers and Frozen Pizza as your staple foods!This needs strong improvement! Afternoon Tea: The Queens Room is rather a let down, first of all it is a hurried affair( and this is the opposite of what afternoon tea is supposed to be->relaxing)there are no individual pot's of tea (just 1 kind from tea bags)waiters just race around and give you whatever they have on their trays.The better option I found is having tea on deck 7 in the Lotus section. Yes, it is self service, however the selection is nicer, you can sit by a window and really relax! Golden Lion Pub: Probably the best fish and chips & minted peas I have ever had (and I had many of those).Really very delicious "Pub Dishes" again GO EARLY, before the "Trivia" or entertainment starts. CANYON RANCH SPA: A must for everyone seeking relaxation and needing a little TLC, the Canyon Ranch Massage with Joseph is fantastic and the best in the world (go for 80minutes not 50 as this will not be enough to relax) and the Ayuverda Treatment is also very good. The Spa facilities are immaculate and good value for money, also try to avoid the first two days as there will be guided tours and show rounds for all the other passengers.I still give this a 5* as it is a great place to really unwind. The Library & Bookshop: I have visited the library frequently and there are free copies of the London Times,Frankfurter Allgemeine and the Wall Street Journal available (to read there) as well as a selection of up to date magazines and probably the best selection of books anywhere at sea! The Commodore Club:I visited several times, mainly to joins the "Friends of Dorothy" meetings, however this seemed a rather excluding group so I enjoyed my afternoon tiple by myself and again the staff especially John the Steward were superb. Entertainment: This is where I rank the QM2 superior to anything else, as nothing is a must but everything they offer is of superior quality and worth ones time. Oxford Lectures are a wonderful way to spend time learning or refreshing ones memory. Especially the lectures by Sir John Johnson and Dr. Angus Hawkins as well as Dr.Lucy Worsley. RADA: A team of superb and charming young RADA graduates who gave refreshing performances of Shakespeare,Oscar Wilde and a Poetry reading. Pianist Adam Johnson: I attended 2 wonderful concerts by this young pianist and the audience and myself were delighted. Royal Court Theatre: We saw the Rock at the Opera and Appasionata Shows, which were produced to the highest standards and I actually enjoyed them (although I tend to go only for more serious classical music). Casino: Supernice and helpful staff and it was fun loosing a few $$$ at the Roulette table and I have no regrets! Illuminations:We went to see several Planetarium presentations for which I advise you to get tickets EARLY (9am)as they go fast! The Cruise Director Allistair Greener is very charming and himself quite an entertainer. Religious: There is a daily Catholic Mass held in Illuminations and on Saturdays one for Sunday obligation, there is also a Sabbath Service on Friday afternoon. I found this very nice, but was wondering why there is no C of E Vicar, as the majority of passengers is British. To wrap up I would like to say that for me this trip was thoroughly enjoyable and it was everything I expected. I will do it again as soon as possible (time allowing)and can highly recommend it to everyone. One personal note I would like to make is that I wished all passengers should be more geared towards the "dress code", I did see an awful lot of Bathrobes (even Pajamas) in the Kings Court and people in track suits or just jeans in the evening. Now I do not want sound pompous of like stiff upper lip, but I actually planned my wardrobe 6 month ahead and gentleman,one does only need one Dinner Suit and 4 Shirts and a Club Jacket for all other occasions. I hope you all enjoyed this!Feedback & Questions are welcome! 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Sail Date October 2006
The Queen Mary II is a magnificent ocean liner. Her crew takes great pride in maintaining and caring for her. Her beauty and opulence brings you back in time and allows you to imagine what is was like to sail on the great oceanliners of so ... Read More
The Queen Mary II is a magnificent ocean liner. Her crew takes great pride in maintaining and caring for her. Her beauty and opulence brings you back in time and allows you to imagine what is was like to sail on the great oceanliners of so long ago. Her displays of paintings and posters of the great oceanliners of decades ago truly was delightful to see. The wall of celebrity photos, located near the Planetarium, enjoying great moments on the original Queen Mary, really captured the attention of the guests and reminded us all how lucky we were to be a part of a transatlantic crossing. In addition, the inlays of mosaic tiles displayed near the buffet areas added a lovely touch. I was travelling with two other people. Our suite was large and had a walk-in closet with lots of closet and storage space throughout. We had a sitting area, a lighted china cabinet well stocked with water, wine, and champagne glasses. Our balcony was also large with two full-sized wooden lounge chairs and a snack table. The bathroom had a tub and shower and again with lots of storage space. In addition, toiletries from the Canyon Range Spa and heavier terry robes were provided. The weather was really great for a transatlantic crossing. We had some clouds and sun, moderate temperatures, no rain, but we did have two days of fog. It seemed we enjoyed walking the decks through the fog and hearing the subtle sound of the ship's fog horns. No seasick pills needed -- the ocean was quite calm. The negatives. The on-board shops were not well stocked. Some of the crew members advised me that the crossings which commence in Southampton offer better stock on those voyages. If you are a smoker, bring your own cigarettes. Cunard does not have a good selection of American cigarettes. Cartons purchased on board are delivered at the end of the voyage and you if want cigarettes you must purchase them at the bar. Of note: Bar service adds on a gratuity to cigarette purchases. Our stateroom category included dining at the Princess Grill Restaurant. The darkness of the Princess Grill and lack of atmosphere including music almost made you feel like you were dining in a funeral home. The menu lacked variety and the waiters had no personality. Additionally, the quality and taste of the food ranged from awful to excellent so there was a lot of inconsistency. Unlike Celebrity cruises which I feel has the best quality of food, Cunard does not make their own butters, jams, or ice creams. In fact, the store brand ice cream at your local supermarket was better than what was offered on Cunard. The selection of chilled fruit soups was just that lacking and what was offered was awful. In fact, I was actually beginning to feel depressed eating in the Princess Grill and opted to dine a few nights in the Britannia Restaurant which offered better food, service with a smile, and a string quartet playing all the classic tunes. The waiters do not offer to carry trays to the tables for passengers at the buffets. Indeed, this really needs to be changed because I noticed many elderly passengers struggling with their trays. Cunard is so particular about their guests abiding to their upscale dress code that I was surprised to see people attending the proper English teas so shabbily dressed????? In addition, on casual nights, Cunard needs to actually relax their dress code from "Elegant Casual" to "nice casual" a bit and get more with the times. The entertainment offered was good to excellent. The Planetarium was superb, the narration was excellent, and the technology was state of the art. During our debarkation, a fellow passenger who was travelling alone, at the age of 91, discovered she left her hearing aides in her stateroom. When she picked up a housephone and requested that her hearing aides be brought to her, she was told, "go back to your stateroom and collect them yourself." After my travel companions went to this woman's stateroom to try and locate her hearing aides, they were not there and they were given misinformation as to the whereabouts of the hearing aides. After several phone calls by myself and other passengers, the situation was resolved. This caused an elderly passenger undue stress in addition to the fact that she had to make an airline connection. The above scenario depicts much needed improvement in Cunard's attention to detail. I loved the decor of the ship and enjoyed being a part of a transatlantic crossing. However, Cunard needs a lot of improvement in the quality, selection, and taste of the food served. Celebrity and the Vision class ships of Royal Caribbean far exceed Cunard in service and in the culinary arts. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
I recently returned from my first cruise--a Transatlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2. It was a fantastic experience that I recommend for anyone. Background: I traveled solo; I am a 52 year-old man. FELLOW PASSENGERS: The majority were ... Read More
I recently returned from my first cruise--a Transatlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2. It was a fantastic experience that I recommend for anyone. Background: I traveled solo; I am a 52 year-old man. FELLOW PASSENGERS: The majority were 50s (late 40s), with about 10% 20s and 30s and another 10% 70s and 80s; very few children. About 40% each American (and Canadian) and British, with a sizeable contingent of Germans; some Asian, Russian, Scandinavian, etc. Very mixed group. ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES: A lot to do; during the day: planetarium shows, Oxford lectures, dance and cooking demonstrations, dancing and acting and bridge lessons, and other things (bingo, a book club meeting); at night: show presentations (music and dance), movies (also during the day), music in many of the lounges; plays by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) during the day too). Also fitness and nutrition lectures conducted by spa personnel; exercise classes, massages, sports activities. My favorite healthy activity--early morning walks around the promenade deck. The great library on board did not get as much use as I had planned; I barely made a dent in the book I took out (or those I brought with me). Too much to do! The production shows--plays and musicals were all great; I particularly recommend Apassionata (fantastic) and Rock at the Opera. They were not quite Broadway/West End quality, but definitely up to Off-Broadway and maybe Las Vegas standards. They were usually the perfect length--one-hour; leaving plenty of time for other activities. A great singer (Paul Emmanuel) and piano player, whose shows I missed; I heard them in the farewell show and wish I had gone to there shows. RADA's one-hour "The Importance of Being Ernest" was another high point. The Oxford Discovery Lectures were one of the things I was looking forward too most; they were very interesting. I understand Cunard will be expanding the program to other ships and cruises other than Transatlantics for 2007. The planetarium (exclusive to QM2) was another selling point for me. The "Cosmic Collisions" show was particularly good; but there were 3 different shows, showing at different times. Movies were about a year old, but some were good ones (some not)--Good Night and Good Luck, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Derailed, RV. I did not see any. TV had a lot of entertaining shows, particularly the morning interview show hosted by the cruise director. It was very entertaining as well as informative; he and his co-host not only talked about the days activities, but brought on guest entertainers, staff, and even passengers as guests. Surprisingly good. There is a channel dedicated to tv comedies (Friends, I Dream of Jeannie, 8 Simple Rules, 3 and a Half Men, for example), another channel for tv dramas (West Wing, etc.), one for dramatic movies, one for comedy movies, news, and a couple for foreign language films and shows (French and Spanish I think); also one that showed the weather and position of the ship. I didn't watch much tv, but it was nice to have as an option. I highly recommend a massage in the Canyon Ranch Spa. Great way to relax and pamper yourself. (I had my first massage ever on this trip; can't wait for an excuse to treat myself to another one.) FOOD: The food in the Britannia Restaurant (for both dinner and lunch) was great. Excellent variety and great quality. The service was better than in almost any land-based restaurant I've been in. Todd English was even better! I only had lunch there--twice; and the menu was the same both times; I recommend eating there at least once. La Piazza--the night-time Kings Court Italian restaurant was also excellent; I did not get a chance to try the other night-time restaurants. Room service was quick and I recommend the QM2 Club. Great variety and good quality of food in Kings Court for lunch as well. CABIN: I had a deck 11 balcony room. It was great; plenty of room and very nice decor. Showers were big enough for me (and I am a big person) and the bed was comfortable. Service by my steward was great; I never saw him, but everything was made up every morning and a chocolate (great taste) was waiting for me every night. Large suitcases easily fit under the beds (there is more room than at home because no box spring). There was very little motion, even on the 11th deck, but noticeable vibration throughout the ship, which either ended or I got used to by the second day. My concern about seasickness proved unwarranted (even though I get carsick). DRESS CODE: For formal nights most men wore tuxedos, but suits were not uncommon. Jeans were rare but some people wore them during the day (particularly younger passengers). There did not seem to be too much concern about what people were wearing or comments among the people I talked to. The dress code did not seem to be very strict or of much concern, but I think most people would be more comfortable dressing up at night (at least for formal nights--3 on my trip); during the day, Dockers and a clean shirt (including a t-shirt) would be fine (I did not see anyone wearing shorts, but it was the North Atlantic during October; the weather was the primary factor, I suspect). OVERALL IMPRESSION: Great, great, great experience. I recommend it to anyone, including those worried about whether there will be enough to do on a Transatlantic. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
Cunard Cruise Line This was our second Cunard Cruise, our first with this line in 13 years, we have done 18 cruise with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL and 12 cruises with Celebrity. We booked a B5 balcony on a promotion for less than $1500 ... Read More
Cunard Cruise Line This was our second Cunard Cruise, our first with this line in 13 years, we have done 18 cruise with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL and 12 cruises with Celebrity. We booked a B5 balcony on a promotion for less than $1500 each. I booked my own air with a direct flight with Continental Airlines. Picked up bags at Laguardia got my bags and was in a cab on the way to the terminal within 20 minutes. Took 30 minutes in a $34 cab ride to terminal due to construction, accident and heavy NY traffic. Gave porter bag at pier. Embarkation: Waited in line for an hour before they started taking people. Ship had off loaded in NJ prior to coming to Red Hook. We were on the ship with in 20 minutes after the line started to move. Cabins: The cabin 8102 (cat. B5) was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony was nice with two plastic lounge chairs and a table. The shower is similar to what we get on Celebrity with a hose and wand arrangement. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. My wife enjoyed the bath robes. The bed was comfortable and my wife liked the room. Public Areas: The public areas are nice, but the ship is confusing. Finding the Queens room and ConneXions involved going down a stair and a long hall. The ship is large and feels that way. Enjoyed the Golden Lion Pub, they have pub lunch daily and music and dancing at night. Met many passenger that I had talked with previously on the internet in a meeting on the second day in the Commodore Club. They had good shows on board and we enjoyed the entertainment. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy all day including lectures and classes of all kinds. They had Planetarium shows in ConneXions and you had to pick up the free tickets early or you were out of luck, don't miss these. They had a fine library and I read a couple books on sea day. Shops were pricey. Dining: I requested 2nd seating traditional dining when I booked and I got nice table for two in Britannia with a good waiter too. We ate all our meals here except when we had early tours. We went to open seating for breakfast and lunch in the Britannia Dining room every day when not on tour. The main dining rooms was not full due to number eating in King Court. We had pizza, cookies and burgers several times for a snack. The Britannia restaurant was nicely decorated and the food varied from excellent to good, but not up to Celebrity standards. The food in the King Court was also good. Tours: We did tours in all the ports but Sydney as we had been there before. In Corner Brook we did the Captain Cook's Trail tour and they stopped at a nice church for home made snacks and homemade gifts you could buy at the end of the trail. We had a nice time with some nice people. In Quebec we did the all day tour with lunch, went to Montgomery falls, had a good lunch at Augerge Baker Restaurant, visited St Ann's church, and we did a city walking tour on the way back. In Halifax we did the coastal drive to embarkation: Peggy's Cove. In St. John's we did the Highlights tour and saw the reversing river. High seas forced us to not go to Bar Harbor, a tender port, but we went straight to Boston instead and docked there over night. I had been to Bar Harbor before. In Boston we did the Harbor Cruise and in Newport we did the Grand Mansions tour. Tours were all fine and the wife came home with some nice memories and goodies. Disembarkation: This was slow to start, but we were off a 9:30 AM. Customs had a long line and when we got to the Taxis there were 20 in line and 2 taxis. Rather than wait an hour, I took a limo right a way and it cost me $64 to Laguardia and we were there by 11 AM. Got plane at 4 and was home by 6 PM. Overall, I was satisfied. I put a $600 per person deposit down on a future cruise to be designated later. This locks me in to discount and nice on board credit. Most of the problems centered around confusing layout of the ship. My wife has been wearing her QM2 tee shirt which is a sign that she enjoyed the trip. I recommend the ship, and hope to see some of you on her in the future. Next years cruise is 2 days shorter and skips 3 ports which is a shame because we enjoyed Corner Brook and St. Johns. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
i sailed on the 12 night splendors of the fall cruise on QM2 oct.12 thru 24th.embarkation as usual was a confusing mess but once on the vessel-it was wonderful.we parked at the brooklyn terminal lot,very convenient but is $18.00 per ... Read More
i sailed on the 12 night splendors of the fall cruise on QM2 oct.12 thru 24th.embarkation as usual was a confusing mess but once on the vessel-it was wonderful.we parked at the brooklyn terminal lot,very convenient but is $18.00 per day.they have carts to use for your luggage when leaving the ship also.relatively easy in and out.food was above average,entertainment-average.the ship is the most spacious i have ever sailed on.very quiet and relaxing,minimal pa announcements.food available 6 AM TILL 4 AM buffet style and 24 room service is available but limited menu and no dinner menu via room service as some ships are now doing.we liked the kings court as we found the brittania restaurant slow and noisy but the food everywhere is great.food is very fresh and all the dining areas are immaculate.staff/crew very friendly.specially liked the full deck promenade for walking that some ships do not have and enjoyed the enclosed pool ares for bad weather days.would recommend the QM2 and will most likely sail on her again.public rooms are beautiful especially the queens room.the main show room-royal court theatre has some poor seating areas-corners and behind poles and is not the best designed theatre out there.the library is great.internet access is slow and is about $24.00 per hour.the royal court orchestra is great,best i have heard on the seas.other entertainment average.sail on the QM2 YOU WILL ENJOY IT. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
The Voyage A few months ago, an email came to my in-box advertising a few Caribbean cruises on the QM2. Recognizing that this was an opportunity we couldn't refuse, we acted immediately and called our Travel Agent who got us a ... Read More
The Voyage A few months ago, an email came to my in-box advertising a few Caribbean cruises on the QM2. Recognizing that this was an opportunity we couldn't refuse, we acted immediately and called our Travel Agent who got us a Princess Grill guarantee for a very good price. Knowing that this trip would ruin us for other cruises, Cunard got us forever. We sailed on November 25, 2006 and returned December 2. Pre-Cruise We planned our own pre-cruise stay in Fort Lauderdale. Normally I would not discuss the pre-cruise arrangements, but the hotel was so wonderful, I have to mention it. We stayed at the Ft. Lauderdale Doubletree at the Galleria. This was based on a recommendation from a Cruise Critic contributor. We were thrilled with the accommodations and would definitely stay there again. Saturday morning, we were taken to the pier by a car service which was arranged by the hotel. It was the same price as a taxi, but much nicer arriving at the Queen Mary in a Lincoln Town Car than some yellow taxi!! Security and Check-In The check-in was abysmal at best. There was already a large line formed outside the security area. We waited out there for at least an hour. At one point, someone decided to change the entry door and the person who had been at the front of the original line was now at the end of the new line. It was pandemonium. When we were finally allowed inside, they had ropes set up so we could wind our way through a maze before we could go through the security screening. This took another half hour. When we were finally allowed to enter the building to check in to the ship, we were herded into another set of roped off areas (grill and non grill were pointed to opposite ends of the building) At some point, a Cunard representative decided one of the lines was for people in wheelchairs actually asked the men who were at the head of that line to get out of line to allow the wheelchairs priority. Recognizing the stupidity of this plan, those in front, simply held their ground and continued with their check-in. There was no sign for wheelchairs, only the whim of the Cunard dock person. The actually check-in was okay. We were on the ship within mere hours of our arrival to the pier!! On the ship, at last! After a long walk uphill to the ship (and the obligatory photos) we made dinner reservations at Todd English. Upon actually boarding the ship, we were greeted by white-gloved personnel, taken to the elevator where another white-gloved person pushed the button for us. There were still people who didn't get it that they were being assisted and felt like they had to push the elevator buttons or one would not arrive. In fact, they were using a set of elevators for luggage and this is why the woman was there to offer assistance. Okay. We are on the ship. We are in our Princess Grill suite and we are happy. There is a bottle of champagne chilling on the coffee table with a bowl of strawberries. There is fresh fruit on the counter along with another two bottles of champagne. The room was spotless and the closets were beyond adequate. We actually had hangers to spare. The walk-in closet had in it shelves and a dresser of drawers. Also, two robes, an umbrella, some slippers and a clothes brush. The bathroom had Canyon Ranch toiletries, which were replenished every time the stewardess made up the room. The towels were full-size bath sheets. Absolute heaven for me, since this is what I use at home. I am very happy at this point and have all but forgotten the fiasco that was check-in. We were pleased to learn that lunch was being served in the Princess Grill. Can't remember what I ate, but it was good and the service was very good. The second afternoon, we went to lunch in the grill. There was nothing on the menu that looked appealing to me. I was almost reduced to tears, because I couldn't just get a plain burger. (They would fix ANYTHING, but it would take an additional 20 minutes and I was getting upset.) I am pre-diabetic, so my blood sugars sometimes have an evil influence over my personality. I was probably getting a little testy. Someone must have run out to the buffet and grabbed me a burger. I could only eat a bit of it. It really wasn't very good. The headwaiter offered to send menus to our cabin nightly so I could look over the choices and then ask for whatever I wanted to be prepared in whatever way was suitable for my dietary needs. Perfect solution. It was a great idea and it made me very happy. I was able to order my foods cooked without any sauces, butter, cream, cheese or flour. I like my vegetables steamed, not sautEed or sauced. I know it doesn't sound too appetizing, but it makes me happy to be able to eat to my specific needs. We were off to a positive start food-wise! The Cabin A little smaller (aren't they always) than we expected. The walk-in closet could have been a tad smaller and the living area could have been larger. There was very little space between the bed and the desk chair. Also, the coffee table was a little too large for the space. Otherwise, the cabin was clean, very elegant and comfortable. The bed, pillows and linens were the best we have ever experienced on any ship. The refrigerator was actually a useful size and the temperature was cold enough to keep things chilled. Canyon Ranch Spa I made use of the salon and spa. I never took advantage of the facilities, including the therapy pool, saunas and reflexology bath. I felt a little intimidated when I was there alone. I had my hair styled at the salon. I had a facial and an eye treatment. Unfortunately, my face broke out from the facial. They tried to give me some products to help with the breakout, but nothing worked and I'm still looking like an aged teenager. I had a massage, also. Nothing much to say about that, except it was a port day and I stayed on the ship to take advantage of the spa specials that day. A positive note on Spa personnel. They do not push or even attempt to sell products after the treatment. I found this remarkably refreshing. The Buffet  We tried a few times to get coffee or little snacks in the buffet (there are four, but I don't remember which) There was a interesting little pink square of something edible. It was really intriguing, so I took it. It was marshmallow flavored with whatever pink flavoring is  bubble gummy or fruity. I couldn't eat it. But, the buffet had lovely cookies and cakes around tea time. There was a time that I wanted a cup of coffee and the machine was empty. That upset me a bit. Also, there was no Splenda (sucralose artificial sweetener) available (at least not visible) in the buffet. I know they had it on board, because it was readily available in the Princess Grill. The Grill  Lovely, gorgeous, great food, wonderful personnel, from the Maitre d to the Junior Waiter. I couldn't have asked for any better treatment and I certainly didn't expect the level of personal service we were given. I have dietary restrictions and they worked with me for every menu so I could have food I would enjoy. Everything was cooked to perfection and I adored it. The Library Possibly the best room on the ship. I loved being in there. I could always go in there with my Zune and read some trashy gossip magazine! I loved it. Great for people-watching. They had a few computers for internet use. I found the hot spot in the library not always reliable. I enjoyed the bookstore adjacent to the library. Disembarkation The least bad disembarkation we have ever experienced. That doesn't make a lot of sense, I guess, but getting off the ship shouldnt be a negative experience. You should get off as happy as you were getting on. It was a relaxing time in a pleasant waiting area. I looked forward to our next cruise while we disembarked this ship. The luggage was easy to find; porters were accessible. Customs was a breeze and we were in a cab within minutes. The Itinerary Typical Western Caribbean Itinerary: Montego Bay, Jamaica We went on Cunard-sponsored tour to Rose Hall Mansion. It was actually an interesting excursion. Part of the tour description was a shopping opportunity which we believed to be the little gift shop at the mansion, but it turned out to be a 30-minute stop at a tourist mall full of jewelry, coffee and trinkets. I thought the passengers on the bus would start a revolution, because everybody just wanted back on the ship. It was hot and no body appreciated the Shopping Opportunity. Interesting observation  the Shopping Specialist just so happened to be in one of the shops we wandered into. She couldn't believe the loose discounting policy on watches in that particular store. More about shopping later. Grand Cayman We've been here many times. I enjoy shopping on this island. There were seven or eight other ships in port. It was very crowded. We found great bargains at Kirk Freeport Clearance Store and their perfume store. We got back to the ship in time for lunch! Costa Maya Steve went off on an eight hour excursion to two Maya archaeological sites. It was a little anti-climatic after visiting Chichen Itza in the past. They spent most of the time traveling on a bus. Lunch was included, but nobody wanted to eat the cheese sandwich that was provided. Actual ruin-time was one hour at each site. The four buses that took the excursion came back very late after dark. I spent the day on the ship. I had a facial in the morning and had a lovely lunch in the Princess Grill. A ship was trying to dock at our pier. It was an interesting feat. I spent an hour watching the Fantasy back in to her berth. I spent time in the library. Went back to the spa for my massage. Cozumel We were able to dock downtown in Cozumel. In the past, we have docked further out and had to take taxis downtown. This was a very convenient location. We shopped and then went back to the ship for lunch. The Ship I didn't see it all. It is enormous and took me a few days to learn how to find my way around. Everything is beautiful and non-glitzy! I felt very special on this ship. There are some interesting architectural (?) aspects to the QM2. Some of the halls are actually on an incline. I understand this is because some of the rooms on the ship have very high ceilings. There was a little game area where they had set up puzzles, Scrabble, Boggle, Chess, Checkers and other board games. It was a nice touch. We visited several of the bar areas! Again, my favorite spot was the library. I never made use of the pools. I am a little sun-o-phobic, so I don't spend a lot of time outdoors. On some ships, you have to go outside through the pool deck to get to other places on the ship. Not on this ship. I loved not having to be outside if I didn't want to be. We went to one planetarium show. There were three and just not enough time! It was a wonderful experience to be in a planetarium while on a ship. I havent been to a planetarium since I was a child. We never went to see a movie in the movie theatre (Illuminations). We just didn't have enough time to see it all. Adherence to Dress Code This was very interesting. We have been on about a dozen cruises over the last 26 years. We always try to dress according to the requested dress codes. There were far more tuxedoes and dinner jackets on formal nights than not. Most gentlemen wore ties and jackets every night. We were definitely in the minority on elegant casual night when Steve wore a shirt with no tie or jacket. There were three such evenings (first, last and one other night.) Todd English Since I have such a rigid eating regimen, the head chef at Todd English was emailed by our maitre d to alert him that I would request unsauced, plainer food. I ordered the roasted chicken and it was perfect. They did leave the potato cake under the chicken which I did taste and it was really good. I did have dessert. I was pretty strict about what I was eating, but always tried something. The desserts were unbelievable in general, but in Todd English, they were exceptional. After our dessert of crème brule, Key lime pie, and assorted little bon bons and petit fours, they presented us with a gorgeous chocolate cake for our anniversary. They knew we werent going to consume it there, so it was delivered to our cabin later that evening. We gave it to our stewardess because we werent going to eat it. When selecting your table at Todd English, try to stay away from the windows. We initially were seated there. The crew was attempting to set up a buffet outside the restaurant. It was really windy that night and they had trouble setting up. We didn't like the view and thought that they should close the curtains at night. But, we asked to move as soon as we were seated and selected a table closer to the center of the restaurant. Many people were seated by the window and moved away. Same Time, Same Ship, Next Year I said a long time ago that there would never be a cruise longer than seven days for me. I get antsy and just want to be home. This trip was just different. No endless PA announcements for BINGO, for jewelry by the inch; for Tee-shirt opportunities, etc. The only time we heard from the bridge was when our departure was delayed (every port), when they had to close the pier and gangways for a docking ship; when the helicopter had to make an emergency evacuation. We decided to look into booking onboard. The benefits are great. There is a generous ship-board credit depending on the type of cabin and length of cruise; they will hold a deposit for up to four years so they don't pressure you into making a rash decision. Since Cunard will not be doing the Ft Lauderdale cruises next year, we are going to sail from New York on 10-day cruise  November 30, 2007. We booked another Princess Grill Guarantee. We can drive to New York in a couple of hours, so we won't have to worry about excess luggage or fret over the anxiety of flying.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
My wife and I have been on eight cruises, three of which have been on the Queen Mary 2. We are in our early 40's with two boys ages 9 and 3. We usually go on two cruises per year. One with the kids and one without the kids. The QM2 is ... Read More
My wife and I have been on eight cruises, three of which have been on the Queen Mary 2. We are in our early 40's with two boys ages 9 and 3. We usually go on two cruises per year. One with the kids and one without the kids. The QM2 is the one without the kids. We love this ship and here are some details of our most recent sailing. Embarkation - Was a complete disaster. Ft. Lauderdale is too crowded and the lines on the pier were long and the organization was awful. Our first two cruises on the QM2 were out of New York and were much better organized. Broward County Ports was in charge of the embarkation process and they totally fouled it up. When I was waiting in the line in the hot South Florida sun, the Cunard representative was yelling at the Port Security guard for sending everyone to the wrong door. So people who were in line the longest wound up at the end of the line. What a disaster!! The ship left three hours late due to the many embarkation issues. Room - We opted for an obstructed balcony (B5 category) as it was much cheaper and a little more roomy than the high priced balconies. The room is typical Cunard. Organized and neat. We received our complimentary bottle of champaign and chocolate covered strawberries from the Cunard World Club staff. The room attendant was friendly and our room was always clean. The Cunard pillow chocolates are the best I have had. Dining - We love the food on QM2. The Britannia is great and the alternative choices of Lotus (Asian Fusion), La Piazza (Italian), The Carvery (Steaks), and The Golden Lion Pub (Fish and Chips at lunch) are all great as well. Nothing like fresh fish and chips with a pint of Guinness for lunch. YUM!!! All of the venues mentioned above are at no extra charge. We ate at Todd English ($30 per person cover) the last night of the cruise. The food was very good, but very rich and very heavy. If you are eating there for dinner, starve yourself all day. I felt like a bloated whale when leaving the restaurant. Public Rooms - Are all beautifully appointed, but not opulent. Cunard tradition is a very understated decor. This is too my liking more than glitz. The Canyon Ranch Spa is where we spent alot of time and ran up a large bill. Wonderful massages and body treatments. I had three massages and my wife had two massages and a mango sugar glow wrap. She loved it. The therapy pool is great too!! We also loved the Connoisseur's Club located on deck 9 above the hair salon. It is a quiet and elegantly appointed bar. My wife and I enjoyed before dinner drinks there on three of the nights. We could talk about the day's events without having to yell at each other. We stayed away from the Casino as we do not gamble. The only real dull area on the ship is the Wintergarden. It is a very nice lounge, but rarely used for anything except the art auctions, which we avoid. We also like the availability of self laundry, which is free. Ports - Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. We had been to these ports before except for Costa Maya. We took a very long excursion to Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica. It was fun, but the ride to and from took away from the quick 90 minutes we had at the falls. We walked and shopped in Grand Cayman and in Cozumel. My wife bought a beautiful ring at Goodmark Jewelers in Cozumel. We took a highlights tour in Costa Maya, which is really underdeveloped and poor. The authentic Mexican lunch was great and the beach was great. The town of Mahahual is a dump. Entertainment - The shows were ok. The comedian was the best. I like the shows on Royal Caribbean better. The Cunard shows tend to be a little artsy fartsy for us. We avoided most shows and had fun at the planetarium, a must see, and the various lounges and at the pools. A fresh water solarium with a retractable roof!! I love that pool. The main pool is also large and alot of fun. Plenty of deck chairs. We never had a problem finding one. The wait staff on the outer desks is excellent. I never had to flag anyone down to get a drink. Service - The service is very good. Some minor glitches, but nothing worth mentioning. I think Royal does it a little better, but it is close. Disembarkation - Another total disaster. We are never going out of Fort Lauderdale again. Only three customs agents for over 1600 guests. Totally absurd!! Overall - For the third time the QM2 was great!! We had seen most of the ports before, but getting on the ship again was well worth any hassle we experienced going to and from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
NOV 18. I had planned to take the Boat Train, but this was only available to those booking from the USA. My Cousin gave me a lift to the ship and it had been our plan to take some photos of us all (she had been on the old Queen Mary). ... Read More
NOV 18. I had planned to take the Boat Train, but this was only available to those booking from the USA. My Cousin gave me a lift to the ship and it had been our plan to take some photos of us all (she had been on the old Queen Mary). The farce of embarkation prevented it, there was nowhere to park and it was a case of jumping out (in the hanger) and joining the line. I had been warned by other reviews about this, and everything they said is true. Finally I Boarded. To say the ship is big would be an understatement. I was remind of the comment made about the old Mary when some one asked "when does this place arrive in New York". The same is true of her! I had been upgraded from Deck 4 to 12 and so had to find a lift which reached that part. I have stayed in some excellent Hotels but they do not compare to the room I had. The facilities were excellent, except that you cannot use the TV to surf the Web. Boat Drill was held in the Kings Court and I was amazed to hear that in the event of abandoning ship we had to go back to the rooms and grab Life Jackets and passports - She is so big though that I could not imagine her sinking - Yes I have heard of Titanic. Meals My Stateroom was for the Britannia and I chose the 1st sitting. The food and service was first rate, the only problem was the tendency for large tables! My table had 4 of us most nights but could have seated 10. Personally I would specify a smaller table next time. With hindsight I had chosen the right sitting since by the time 2nd had finished dining and show the Queens Room was full! I had Luncheon in the Todd English for Thanks Giving and would highly recommend it, I avoided the Kings court since it reminded me of a motorway service station. Being Trans Atlantic meant that some of the outdoors facilities only opened towards the end of the voyager, but they too were good. Entertainment I have seen shows on Broadway, but they were inferior to those on the ship! the new productions they have are awesome and test both the stage and the actors. The only problems was that some of the balcony seats have a very restricted view (Design Fault). In addition to the official program they also has something called interest corners for independent groups. The formal nights were very dressy and elegant. As a single male it was noticed that although Cunard had male Hosts for the ladies they did not have Lady hosts for the Men. General comments The ship is everything the books and people say, she is a very grand 30s Hotel and I could see the Mary everywhere. The staff were first rate and very attentive. I Must admit the Commodore room facing the bow was my favorite Location - The library was too small for just sitting in. Disembarkation was simple except for the usual problems with USA Customs. Would I go again? Yes but I would book via the USA. Not only do they have a boat train option but you can use your Airmiles and travel on your favorite Airline. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
Our trip on the QM2, December 2- 9, 2006 With much anticipation we left Savannah Georgia December 1 and drove to Fort Lauderdale to stay at the Marriott Harbor Beach a great place, on the beach, rooms great. Could not wait till the ... Read More
Our trip on the QM2, December 2- 9, 2006 With much anticipation we left Savannah Georgia December 1 and drove to Fort Lauderdale to stay at the Marriott Harbor Beach a great place, on the beach, rooms great. Could not wait till the morning when we would repack our bags and head to the port. When we arrived at the port we found many ships, lots of passengers, appeared to be much confusion. We finally found our berth, the port handlers took our luggage and then we waited, we waited, we waitedseemed like for ever. Having had two heart attacks recently, standing in a line for 1 to 2 hours was not going to work for me. I finally found a bench outside and sat. No information given as to why the long line or the long wait no communication!! Finally we noticed the line had started to move and we headed to the door, with it seemed like thousands of other passengers, some quite angry and frustrated. We could not get a clear answer as to why the delay but it only took us a moment to see that none of the computers were working. One poor boat official was working on computers, no luck, would move to the other computer, again no luck. I will say he had a nice smile as he stood over the computers trying to get them to work. No one could tell us what was happening or when it would improve. Finally someone said the computers had blown in the early morning when the immigration folks told them to shut the computers down, for what reason I do not know. It appeared that with the computers blown, the replacement parts were either too few or non existent. Yes, there was someone that pushed people aside to make room for wheelchair folks, this was also a mess, maybe 3 wheelchairs at most passed through.. Passengers continued to push their way through that special line. Eventually more security personal arrived and opened additional radar spots, so that area picked up speed quickly, then they joined everyone else behind ropes, with no official communications. After two hours of standing in line and starting to feel quite ill, I had to leave the line to sit on a stool by the computers. After 2 hours+, the lines slowly started to move. Have to say, the officials and staff of the QM2 were not helpful at all. As we were leaving our sign - in area, one of the QM2 staff people called out to us that we had been up graded and gave us a card with out new room number. Feeling quite ill and had been looking forward to the room we had picked and wanted, we were told we have been upgraded to a room at the rear of the ship. Not a good way to start a trip. Originally we picked a midships room hoping for the least amount of movement as I get sea sick. The picture of us in the rear of the ship with my asking for Phenergan shots every day did not thrill me at all. We had specifically asked our trip specialist NOT to allow the ship's folks to upgrade us. As up grade is fun and unexpected ALL passengers should be asked if they wish to upgrade by the cruise line. No one asked!!! When we said no to upgrade and that we wanted our original room we were told it had already been given away. Luckily and happily it turned out to be a smooth ride, with little movement, which we were very grateful. The room was beautiful; our butler was the best-very helpful. On good weather days we ate breakfast and lunch out on our balcony. Lots of fun. Another frustration was that no one was available when we finally boarded to give us directions to our new cabin, in the middle of this huge/long hall trying to read the maps and locations to our cabin and deck. Luckily, a room steward walked by, we asked for help. She took us up to our deck and welcomed us to our cabin. Thank heavens she happened to walk by. On the positive side, we loved the ship!!! We ate our dinners in the Queen's Grill, food was outstanding, the wait staff very professional and helpful, could not have been better. The spa was a true treat, everyone there was great-treatments were a pleasure. Recommend it to everyone. Never heard one sales pitch. Sorry to say the Todd English restaurant was a disappointment. Food okay, nothing special! When you arrive for dinner you expect to have a table waiting for you, not true you are given a tour of the restaurant while others eating asking if you like this or that table. We were embarrassed. We were finally seated by the window where the cooks etc, were preparing the outside deck for an evening buffet. We loved sitting there and watching veggie artist at work. The staff in the Todd English restaurant was okay, the wine steward was quite friendly till my husband said all he wanted was a glass of wine as I can not drink and he did not want to pay for a full bottle. Her smile disappeared and was slow in getting him his glass of wine. We did not wish to eat there again on this trip. Sorry to say, while on this trip, I experienced heart issues that required a stay in the ship's Intensive Care Unit. It was hard for me to realize I was onboard a ship as the QM2 medical area is as well organized and supplied with a physician and nurses as any complete ER in the USA. All their equipment is up to US standards, the physician knew immediately what treatment I needed and I received it. Because of the excellent treatment I did not have to be air lifted off the ship and once stable I returned to my cabin and happily continued on with our trip. One recommendation the physician gave me and I will do this with every trip from now on is to bring with you on board a health history, either by letter or CD. This physician said if I had fainted or unable to communicate he would have had no idea how to treat me. He attempted to reach my home physician but was unable to get through so please everyone, diabetic, heart patient, etc. please bring your history when you travel. Even one of the health bracelets you can obtain from your pharmacy would be a great value when you travel. We did not go on any of the offered shore trips as were we happy to stay on board and so can not critique Once back in to Fort Lauderdale, getting off the ship was a piece of cake. Everything was well organized and in no time we were in our car headed to Savannah. We would recommend the QM2 to one and all, a great experience. We are now waiting for the Victoria to come on line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
CUNARD QUEEN MARY 2 Western Caribbean Dec. 9 - 16, 2006 By Mary & Vincent Finelli In 1840, the Boston Daily News printed the following: "Since the discovery of America by Columbus, nothing has occurred of so much importance to ... Read More
CUNARD QUEEN MARY 2 Western Caribbean Dec. 9 - 16, 2006 By Mary & Vincent Finelli In 1840, the Boston Daily News printed the following: "Since the discovery of America by Columbus, nothing has occurred of so much importance to the new world as navigating the Atlantic by steamers." This is one of the more memorable quotes displayed on the new Queen Mary 2 (QM2) walls. Then, again in 2004, the London Times printed the following: "She {QM2} will be heir to all that has gone before, and will carry the grace and elegance of a bygone era into the future." Cunard has made the QM2 a floating homage to the first Queen Mary which after 33 years in service is now docked in a lagoon in Long Beach, CA. She sits as a beautiful museum to the last of the "Three Funnels." This venerable ship during WWII carried over 1.6 million troops along with her companion Queen Elizabeth. The two were painted battle ship grey, dubbed the "Grey Ghosts" and eluded the enemy with their superior speed. After WWII, the Queen Mary returned to transatlantic crossings with the slogan "Getting there wasn't just half the fun -- It was the fun." On her final voyage in 1967, Queen Mary navigated Cape Horn, South America, for the first and only time, and came to her final resting place in Long Beach. The QM2 maintains the traditions of her Cunard predecessors which includes a "style" of British elegance and the same two octaves below middle "C" horn, which can be heard for 10 miles. In our quest to sail on as many of the new ships as possible, we considered the QM2 to be another great conquest. She is a floating museum to another time and era in sailing and now in cruising. Her many attributes are worthy of a long, say perhaps "Around the World" cruise, where leisurely time on board can be spent in discovering new areas to explore, or visiting her extensive library. EMBARKATION In Ft. Lauderdale embarkation is relatively hassle free. We were scheduled for check in at 1:30pm, since the QM2 operates a staggered check-in schedule by deck number. The upper decks are first and then on down the ranks -- yes, there is still class distinction on board Cunard! This system prevents congestion or overcrowded areas on the piers. But, it can also mean barely boarding in time for Boat Drill for some. We had boarded the Carnival Legend at this same Pier a month before, thus we knew the ropes -- take the elevator up, and we had wheel chair assistance from there on to our stateroom. Now began the interesting discovery of the layout of this ship. We have two names for it, labyrinth or maze -- either will do. THE SHIP Great care has been given in the design of this ship to ensure that it is the continuation of the Cunard Line tradition; some times even to the point of convoluted access to many areas. There are four main stairways paired with elevators and labeled from forward to aft: A, B, C, D. There are thirteen Decks (one of the few ships with an "unlucky" Deck 13). There are two very impressive corridors, both in size and decoration on Decks 2 & 3, leading from the Britannia Dining Room at Stairway C and going forward to Stairway B. On the walls of one, there are faux bronze bas relief of flora, fauna and landmarks of the major continents of Europe, Africa, Asia, N. America and S. America, and the other corridor depicts Aurora Australis and Aurora Borealis. These are of monumental proportions just like a homage to Earth and its inhabitants: very worthy of close examination. These were our first impression of the QM2, when we boarded at Stairway C and walked forward to the Grand Lobby and to Stairway B -- and, as the cruise went on, we still felt in awe of them, whenever we passed by. Deck 1 has the Kensington, Knightbridge, Belgravia and Chelsea Meeting Rooms and the ship's Medical Center. Deck 2 forward has Illuminations, the Planetarium/Theatre, with fantastic science and astronomy shows, lectures and movies. Access to this area is along a museum display of Cunard history and photos of distinction (i.e., launchings, famous passengers, a veritable litany of "Who's Who.") Next, is Connexions -- the on line computer area, the Royal Court Theatre and then the Video Arcade. Here, on both sides of the Theatre, there are two walkways set up with tables and chairs adjacent to windows where passengers can play many kinds of games such as the following: checkers, chess, dominoes,Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, etc., or just relax and look at the waves flowing by. Midship are the Purser and Tour offices, the Empire Casino and the Golden Lion Pub (serving lunch of Shepherd's/Cottage Pie, Fish and Chips, etc.). Aft is the Britannia Restaurant and the Picture and Art Galleries; the latter two are difficult to locate, especially using the folding Deck Plan, given to us at embarkation. Deck 3 forward are again Illuminations/Planetarium and the Royal Court Theatre, the Champagne Bar and the pricey Mayfair Shops. Toward aft is the Balcony of the Britannia Restaurant: a lovely place with simple white double columns, which give stature to the room. The back wall is a huge mural of a "Ship Celebration". Next is the Queen's Room, the largest ballroom afloat, where formal dances were held all week -- Excellent. At Captain Christopher Rynd's Cocktail party, there were royal flags hanging from the ceiling. The night of the Masquerade Ball these were changed to gold, black and red flags. Finally, hidden behind the Queen's Room, is the Disco Club G32 (Shipyard's Hull # of the QM2) where Capt. Rynd hosted the officers Cocktail Party, a very formal affair we attended. Decks 4, 5, & 6 are all staterooms, plus laundries located by B & D elevator's and the Children's Play Zone aft of 6 with the Minnows Pool. Deck 7 is all Public Areas including the outdoor Promenade with excellent chaise lounges, reminiscent of the old liners, and the following dining areas: King's Court which is divided into the Carvery (English fare), Lotus (Oriental Food), La Piazza (Italian & Mediterranean selections) and the Chef's Galley (featuring cooking demonstrations and dining by reservation). Here are located the private Queen's and Princess' Grills, reserved for guests in Suites and Junior Suites, respectively. Forward are the very pretty Winter Gardens and the Canyon River Spa Club and Gym. Deck 8 forward has the largest and most beautiful library afloat; the stacks are all made of burl wood and hold more than 8,000 volumes. Then, there is the Book Shop and the Beauty Salon. The midship is all staterooms and aft is the Todd English Supper Club ($30 per person, reservations required). Its windows overlook the Terrace Bar & Pool. Deck 9 forward has the Commodore Club with Naval memorabilia then a meeting room, "The Boardroom". Here is also Churchill's Cigar Lounge with fine cigars, lighters and liquors. Near Stairwell B is the Concierge Lounge. All the rest of this deck is staterooms, except aft is the Queen's Grill Terrace. Deck 10 is all staterooms. Deck 11 forward are the Observation Deck and the Atlantic Meeting Room. The rest is just staterooms. Deck 12 forward has staterooms; midship is the Pavilion Bar, Pool, Fairways, Shuffleboard and the Boardwalk Cafe`. Deck 13 forward has the Lookout, Sports Center, Regatta Bar, Splash Pool and the Sun Deck. This cursory review of the QM2 does not truly evoke the British ambiance, we so enjoy, that pervades this Cunard ship. All public areas are stately and prominently feature portraits of British royalty as a constant reminder of the ship's origin. There are many areas with uneven walkways and stairs which have individual elevators for the handicapped. There are sloped corridors near the Planetarium and excellent statuary near the entrance to Illuminations. It is true that there are mostly carpeted decks, which make it difficult for those with wheelchairs to navigate around the ship. Many of the other newer ships in public areas have changed to marble or tile on which wheelchairs roll much more easily. CABIN We had stateroom # 6144, Cat. B5 (269 sq. ft. including balcony) on Deck 6, since it was very difficult to book a wheelchair accessible cabin on the QM2 in this category, even when booking several months ahead. When entering on the left is a four section armoire, three for hanging clothes, and one section with shelves and personal safe, plus four drawers. Then, the to be expected seascape on the wall, a small vanity/desk with a narrow black and golden banded mirror and two wall sconces in matching black and gold. There is a TV console and a mini refrigerator. When entering, on the right is a tiny compact bathroom with a black onyx topped counter with a single sink, glass shelves and a mirror. There is a large shower stall with safety bars. Next is a queen size bed, with two night stands and the same black and gold reading lamps. The bed had an odd peaking in the middle, since there was a "bridge" joining the twin units in the center. We asked the Cabin Steward to remove it along with the weighty duvet and add a top sheet. The Caribbean is like our home in Florida, where heavy linens are not comfortable. Many of the newer ships have also gone to quilts or puffs minus a top sheet. When discussing the linens with Hotel Director David Stephenson, he said there are over 17 different ways to make a bed, just ask the steward and it will be done any way you please. The carpet is gold with maroon flecks and the drapes and bed linens beige and gold. Very nice and restful. The balcony had two recliners and a small table. However, in order to see the ocean from this "sheltered" balcony you must stand up to the rail, since the window consists of a 4x6 sq. ft. opening in the hull of the ship. The explanation for these unusual balconies is that the QM2 is an ocean liner and not a cruise ship, thus she has been built for the high seas. However, ocean view glassed balconies are Cat. B1 and B2 on Deck 8 and above; Cat. B6 also on deck 8 have balconies with partially obstructed view; Cat. B3, B4, B5 and B7, on decks 4, 5 and 6, have "sheltered" balconies. Needless to say, Vincent was disappointed in lack of ocean view from the "sheltered" balcony, but one consolation was that when we encountered rough seas, the QM2 was steady in high seas. There is one idiosyncrasy of this specific cabin which should be mentioned. There is a "cazillion" watt spot light placed just over the balcony and used to illuminate the side of the ship when the Pilot's boat arrives or departs in each port. Often this light is forgotten on and the balcony and stateroom are blindingly illuminated late into the night. Twice we called down to the purser's desk to remind them that the spot light was forgotten on well into the wee hours of the night. We always have excellent cruises, because we politely request our needs, and on this cruise Steward Greg was excellent and gracefully met all our requirements. He was both efficient and kind. FOOD AND SERVICE Cunard Line is like no other line and both food and service are typically very British. Hotel Director David Stephenson is quite secure in the Cunard Way. This line caters to a worldly group of passengers and maintains evident class distinction based on accommodations. We found the service all over the ship to be wonderful, but in the Britannia Dining Room it was excellent. We met once again Maitre D' Beniamino Acler (Italy), whom we knew from Princess Cruise Line. He is a wonderfully cordial man, whom we see as the epitome of fine Italian manners and dining service. The Restaurant Supervisor is Luigi Dolge, a very active and observant fellow. Our Waiter was Hansel and his assistant Michael. Most lines have done away with the wine steward, but Cunard maintains a Sommelier and Jaksa was quite up on wine. He enjoyed talking with Vincent about specific wines. Vincent takes his wine seriously, since he is Italian born and bred. The dining room menus were some of the most cryptic afloat, but still more than adequate. If you are a duck lover, you won't be disappointed, since it often appears on the menu. The beef was excellent; the fish was good; however, don't miss the swordfish, which was superior. Dinner in the dining room was usually very formal with so many formal evenings during the week. Alternative dining was either at the specialty restaurants or King's Court on Deck 7. King's Court is basically divided into several sections. Mandatory hand sanitizing is done. Thank goodness, especially since several ships have had Norwalk Virus outbreaks recently. The Carvery section serves typically British fare including roast beef, mushy peas, etc. There were several waiters to help with trays. La Piazza specialized in Pizza, Pasta, Lasagna and vegetables like zucchini and eggplant. The Lotus specialized in Asian cuisine, including soups and rice dishes. The best venue here is the Chef's Galley; we made reservations as soon as possible. Chef's Galley is a small studio that seats approximately 36 guests, with a showcase for the chef who prepares four courses and then after each course the "audience" is served. Chef Ion Lungu prepared each course beautifully and the waitress Karen (a polyglot from Salzburg, Austria) and her assistant Laurence served each table. First course was Tian of Smoked Duck and Cassis Foam. Second course was a Risotto al Barolo with gorgonzola, diced apple and hazelnut. The entree was roasted New Zealand Loin of Lamb with pea and butter crust. Dessert was Todd English's Chocolate Fallen Cake which remains molten chocolate in the middle (this is served with a long handled soup spoon with a huge bowl end)! Excellent Chef, service, food and show, all of which we enjoyed immensely. The Upscale Todd English Restaurant is the provenance of Todd English, owner of Oliver's of Boston, MA voted #1 restaurant in Boston and top 10 in the USA. The meal was interesting in both preparation and service. There was an array of beautifully shaped plates and unusual menu items. The Lobster and Baby Corn Chowder is first served in a huge soup plate with the dry ingredients (the lobster and vegetables) then the creamed broth (the wet ingredient) is poured on at the table from a pitcher. Very interesting! The highlight of our meal was the "Love Letters" -- delicate mascarpone cheese ravioli arranged on an oblong platter. They were excellent. Mary had grilled veal and artichokes, whilst Vincent had Lobster and Ricotta puffs -- the latter were as light as feathers. For dessert try Mr. English's famous lemon tart; it is marvelous. We also enjoyed dining in the Britannia because dinner was more evenly paced than at the other venues, where a meal was 2 to 3 hours long. Daily we went to the Golden Lion Pub, at 11:30am where there was trivia, and sometimes we stayed on for Fish & Chips or Shepherd/Cottage pies. Service was much more relaxed, and there was even live music (a jazz band and singer were tremendous). ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Ray Rouse is an old acquaintance of ours from our many cruises on Costa. He has tremendous energy and aplomb, and is savvy about music and dance from his long career in Ballroom Dance. There are the usual activities on board: Trivia, exercise, dance classes, formal dances and balls -- in one week 3 formal nights, 3 elegant casual nights and 1 informal night. If you enjoy dressing up, this is the ship for you! The shows were distinctly sharp and very British. Dancers are of the highest caliber: Petre and Roxana Samoila`, international Ballroom Dancers, are an exquisite couple who both taught and performed at the Black & White Gala and at other Balls. Ray Rouse warned us not to miss "Apassionata" with its cosmopolitan approach to music: Waltzes, Tangos (Nelson of Argentina was terrific in both dance and with Bolos). Many of the dancers were from Moscow, Russia, with deep Ballet background. The leaps and athletic aspects were breathtaking. Ray was right, and the audience agreed with a standing ovation. We felt it was the best dancing afloat. Sergei was the lightest and most spectacular dancer we've seen in person. Another show we enjoyed a lot was the performance of Petrina Johnson, a well known British singer, who not only did justice to many show tunes (including Evita) but also did some wonderful impressions of famous singers like Cher and Judy Garland. Two Thumbs up on entertainment! Illuminations had several extraordinary planetarium shows: we saw "Cosmic Collisions", "Infinity Express" and "Passport to the Universe" -- all excellent. We also saw here the great George Clooney movie "Good Night and Good Luck" and Vincent heard NASA lecturer Richard Underwood and deemed it well worth attending. The full fledged educational program is only on transatlantic crossings. PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA Sail Away 4:45pm Day 2. At Sea Day 3. Montego Bay, Jamaica Arrive 8:00am Depart 5:00pm Tendering to shore. Many passengers prefer Ochos Rios, since there is no tendering and all the best excursions are on that side of the island. Day 4. Georgetown, Grand Cayman Arrive 7:00am Depart 5:00pm Tendering to shore. Best attractions here are the Stingray City, sandbar snorkeling and the Seven Mile Beach. Day 5. Mahahual, Costa Maya, Mexico Arrive 9:00am Depart 6:00pm. Great shopping for artifacts and souvenirs near the pier. Excursion to Mayan Ruins at the site of Chacchoben (1 hr. drive). Day 6. Cozumel, Mexico Arrive 8:00am Depart 6:00pm Best port in the Western Caribbean for shopping; close to the pier is the convenient Punta Langosta Mall. Day 7. At Sea Day 8. Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA Arrive 7:00am DISEMBARKATION Again, like embarkation it was done in an orderly fashion, Deck by Deck. We had wheelchair assistance from our stateroom to the Golden Lion Pub, where we waited for our Deck 6 cream color to be called. Luggage was easily located. We were off by 9:15am. There were no problems and it was painless. SUGGESTIONS This was our first Cunard cruise, a good cruise; however, it did not meet our expectation. Let us say we had better cruises on less famous ships. This ship is a classic beauty, the service is excellent, and the food and ambiance is definitely British, but somehow we had a much higher expectation that was not met. A possible explanation for our disappointment may be that we are experienced cruisers and repeaters on the most popular cruise lines (Frequent Floaters) and we know what to expect from each line and how to get the best enjoyment on each ship, whilst we had not experienced a Cunard sailing before. We feel that every cruiser should go at least once on a Cunard ship, and then decide if that is what s/he prefers. We are sure that for some people it will be the only way to cruise, but perhaps not for others. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Embarkation at FT.Lauderdale: means long lines and long waits, it took about three hours plus to get through. Almost all of it in a line. Food average: Britannia Restaurant: So noisy at our table location all 8 of us stopped going to The ... Read More
Embarkation at FT.Lauderdale: means long lines and long waits, it took about three hours plus to get through. Almost all of it in a line. Food average: Britannia Restaurant: So noisy at our table location all 8 of us stopped going to The Britannia and instead went to the Kings Court Evening Venues. These rotating venues were better for food, atmosphere and the ability to hear your tablemates, which was impossible in the Britannia. Cabin was comfortable and at 6'6" I could actually fit in the shower! The unobstructed balcony was well worth the extra cost on such a long cruise. Having also seen the obstructed view cabins, glad we spent the money. Public rooms are spacious and quite nice. The library and the Commodore Club are both at the bow of the ship and are wonderful places to read and enjoy the ocean. The crew was great and would attend to any request with a smile! The gym was good, but needs supervision as some would hog equipment or not use the sanitary sprays supplied to wipe down the equipment. The Pub was good fun with participatory entertainment and different lunches available. The Royal Court Theater is a disaster, thank God the entertainment was so bad we quit bothering to go after awhile. Columns, handrails and partitions block many views and seats to the side are an insult. To get one of the few decent seats you need to go about one and a half hours early. Although posted signs say you cannot save seats many people do so as no ships company oversees this. Throughout the entertainment was very second rate. The ship was late arriving at almost every port which caused all the shore excursions we purchased from Cunard to be rushed with some itinerary items to be skipped. You will not feel crowded on this ship! On the other hand everything is a long walk if you are not up to it, find a smaller ship. Disembarkation in San Francisco was long and arduous, four ships were in port and after being required to vacate our cabin we had to wait in public spaces for almost four hours before getting off. I would sail on QM2 again if I got another great deal, but I would not deal with the Britannia Restaurant or the Royal Court Theater. We were fortunate to get almost a 50% discount on the published rate. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
We thought we would try the Cunard line after recent trips on the Sapphire and Diamond Princess. Although this was a section of the first World World cruise of the QM2 it probably did not live up to the hype this ship had had. It ... Read More
We thought we would try the Cunard line after recent trips on the Sapphire and Diamond Princess. Although this was a section of the first World World cruise of the QM2 it probably did not live up to the hype this ship had had. It appears that for the extra money it does not offer anything extra than its sister companies i.e. princess cruises. As they say this ship has only been built to do the Atlantic run and is not set up for cruising. Although like the QE2 it is faster and has more room than any other Ship currently sailing I don't no whether in the long term it is going to have much attraction. The build quality of this ship is not up to the standard of the last ships we went on. It is short on Bars and food areas on the decks and the retractable roof pool on deck 13 is too small.There is also not enough wind breaks on the top deck either.I don't know what they were thinking when they designed this ship. Having said all of this the food was excellent as we have found on all the cruise lines.The crew was good and helpful on most occasions. The accommodation was as good as you would expect on this ship. However, the entertainment was extremely disappointing and far from the standard expected. Despite all this we still had a great time and enjoyed the evening meal times with the dressing up. We did walk some 15ks a day around the ship to walk of the great food that we indulged in. In final we would probably not sail on the Cunard line again as there are better value for money cruise's of high standards available. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
This was our 8th cruise, four of them being with Cunard, including 3 Transatlantic although this last one was the last leg of the World Cruise and sailed from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale. We used Cruise Connect as our method of ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise, four of them being with Cunard, including 3 Transatlantic although this last one was the last leg of the World Cruise and sailed from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale. We used Cruise Connect as our method of transportation to the dock and this worked extremely well with a very punctual and courteous service. This is one of the options that Cunard provide and I would recommend it. Embarkation was speedy with no queuing and priority boarding. This compared well with our first QM2 trip transatlantic which was not Grill class and where we joined a long queue to clear procedures. Our "suite" was more than adequate for a week's voyage with plenty of storage space and a very welcome full bathroom, complete with power shower (although the power is not comparable with a domestic model). The toiletries provided were excellent and replenished, if needed, daily. The towels were of the usual ship's variety - definitely not fluffy! Bathrobes and slippers, a bowl of fruit and a welcoming bottle of sparkling wine, combined with very fine weather at Southampton made the start to the holiday extremely enjoyable. We were allocated our table in the Princess Grill but some inaccurate information from our cabin stewardess meant that we joined the crowds in the Kings Court area and the buffet queues, being informed that this was the only area open for lunch. However, this was only a slight disappointment in what later turned out to be an excellent dining experience in the Princess Grill restaurant. Having crossed the Atlantic three times, once on the QE2 and twice on the QM2 I can advise that Grill class is definitely worth the extra money and overcomes many of the difficulties of the other cabin grades (like not being guaranteed a table for 2 for breakfast and lunch and having to eat at a stipulated time for dinner. Surprisingly not everyone wants to greet the world at breakfast!). Ship's announcements were very few but interesting when they happened. One could spend days just looking at the posters around the decks describing the history of Cunard and her fleet of ships. There are also many beautiful paintings which helped us find our bearings in case we couldn't work out which direction we were going in and where the 'pointy' end was. As a couple we have an aversion to photographs but apart from the compulsory one as you board the ship (has anyone ever managed to dodge that one?) we were only "caught" twice more, both times on formal nights. We welcomed formal nights as it was easy to choose what to wear. We also avoided all the cocktail party invites - three in total. What did we do for entertainment? Well we went to four excellent lectures, two by Rita Moreno (Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress, West Side Story) and two of the five lectures given by Ian Smith,Chief Engineer on the Concorde (we were sorry that we didn't go to all five). We also went to 3 Planetarium presentations and 2 films but no shows as they didn't appeal or didn't fit easily with our preferred dinner time. In between I used the gym (which needs more supervision as on two occasions I saw reckless behavior by youngsters who shouldn't have been allowed in there), drank coffee in the Sir Samuels bar (the only place you could get decent coffee - is that because you have to pay?), read in the Commodore Lounge, had tea or sipped cocktails in the Grill Room Lounge and just generally chilled out. The weather was not good enough for us to take much advantage of our balcony and for two of the 6 days the swell made walking to the restaurant interesting and created a natural incline on the treadmill! Disembarkation in Fort Lauderdale was frustratingly slow. It was over an hour after customs had cleared the ship (not exactly speedy) before our ticket color was called and then a further hour queuing in a shed for us to clear the immigration procedures (with just five desks operating). Goodness knows what time anyone in the last batch to leave the ship got through - could still be waiting! My husband's suitcase was also damaged in the unloading but we only spotted it when it was too late to do anything about it. If you are able to carry your suitcase then opt for self-disembarkation as you can clear the ship as soon as customs have completed their work. These are minor niggles - overall our experience was excellent and one we would happily repeat. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
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