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Sail Date: March 2005
Queen Mary 2 is an absolutely remarkable ship. Whether it is a return trip or your first time aboard, this classic ocean liner continues to WOW you. There was not a moment during our magnificent trip that I didn't find myself staring ... Read More
Queen Mary 2 is an absolutely remarkable ship. Whether it is a return trip or your first time aboard, this classic ocean liner continues to WOW you. There was not a moment during our magnificent trip that I didn't find myself staring in awe at the gorgeous interiors and elegant surroundings within QM2. Each moment, each day aboard QM2 is a gift. She grows on you and hypnotizes you. One can't help but feel an enormous amount of respect for the designers and engineers that created this grand dame of the seven seas. QM2 is everything she is cracked up to be and more. Embarkation: Our check-time was 1 pm. We arrived at the New York Cruise Ship Terminal about 12:30 pm. The lack of any type of Cunard representative was the biggest drawback early on. Regardless of your boarding time passengers were herded into a large holding area upstairs. We sat there for about 20 minutes and soon after were told to line up at the security check in. Apparently, a new boarding procedure was in effect during our March 9 departure and there seemed to be a lot of confusion. However, once we lined up and made it through the security clearance area it was just a 10 minute wait to line up and receive our QM2 boarding passes. Despite the early boarding gaffs we were among the fortunate one's and were aboard ship by 1:30 pm. A computer glitch later that day delayed many other passengers from boarding as expediently as we had. Cabin We were booked in cabin 11072, port side. I was curious as to how bright the room would be due to the deck 12 overhang. The room allowed plenty of sunlight. Both my girlfriend and I found our room to be very comfortable and spacious for two. There is ample storage area. The interior cream dEcor is very soothing. The mattress and linens are very comfortable. We also enjoyed the robes and slippers finding them to be very cozy. It gets a trifle dodgy if you are exiting the bathroom while someone is looking in the closet. I had heard others complain about joggers and shuffleboard sounds spiraling down the steel framework of the ship, yet, we heard nary a sound on our 8 days at sea, save for the ocean gurgling and fizzing below. Britannia The service on QM2 has vastly improved since my trip last July. I would say it has taken a 360 degree turn for the better. Our head waiter Woody and his assistant Marvin were very friendly and polished. We never waited long for our appetizers, entrees or for our plates to be cleared. All of our meals were delicious, the soups in particular were very tasty. You must try the chilled fruit soups, they are super. Keep your eyes peeled for the English Sticky pudding, it has a caramel topping that is sublime. We received equally excellent service from the other Britannia staff during breakfast and lunch when seating is open. We were particularly fond of Roslyn who catered to our whims with great gusto and style at breakfast. Roslyn is a true Cunard pro, she has been aboard QM2 since the maiden voyage and prior to that spent three years in Caronia Class aboard QE2. The entire restaurant staff are a unified force to be reckoned with. You need only watch these hardworking waiters and waitresses scampering like white rabbits amid the culinary wonderland that is Britannia. High Tea This is a sumptuous affair and ranks among the highlights of our trip. I would recommend skipping lunch one day in order to properly prepare yourself for an enjoyable experience. As fate would have it we returned rather late from our beach excursion in St Martin, and were quite ravenous. Once again the service was perfect. Troops of white gloved waiters arrived with trays of tantalizing offerings. The delicious array of triangular sandwiches sans crusts consisted of egg, ham and cheese and a splendid salmon and cream cheese. I always like to show my support for the fine QM2 bake staff and once again there were up to the task with a delectable selection of sweets. Much has been written about the famed English scone and clotted cream, it is fact quite delicious. My only critical remark of the entire affair is the tea had not been properly steeped and the first two cups were rather weak. The entire repast is something to savor however. Sitting in the gigantic and opulent Queens Ballroom which stretches the entire width of QM2 and seeing the hilltop of a tropical island through the far window and watching a tourist pirate schooner sail by an adjacent window is the stuff that fantasy is made of. Public Rooms Each of these elaborate lounges has a distinct ambience all its own. Everything and everywhere aboard QM2 sparkles. The faux wood veneer in the elevators is so bright it appears to have a holographic effect in its shine. The detail continues in every inch of this ship from the ornate carpeting to the noble friezes that line the hallways. The Samuel Cunard Wine Bar, The Chart Room and the Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar are all accessed via deck 3. Of the three the most popular and one of our favorite is the Chart Room. This grand room with its high ceilings and art-deco design is the perfect spot for a pre or post supper cocktail. Should you decide to skip the show, you will have the entire lounge to yourself. The Chart Room is also the spot to hear some wonderful piano playing at the hands of the inimitable Barty Brown. One level down 2 deck is the home for the Golden Lion Pub. We were frequent visitors to this cozy lounge each morning at 11:30 am for pub trivia. We garnered three victories and with our winning tickets were enabled to shop for gifts at the end of the voyage. I picked up a lovely leather QM2 eyeglass holder while my girlfriend traded her tickets for a nifty QM2 key fob. At night the jazz trio at the Golden Lion really cooks. This is also the venue for an enjoyable evening of horse racing. After two races, the six horses are put up for auction and a special Owners Race is held the following evening during the Big Band Dance at the Queens Ballroom. We purchased the six horse and had good fun decorating and carting him around the ship, I felt a bit like a QM2 pledge. It was good fun, especially after our horse won the coveted Owners Race. Don't miss the Commodore Club on Deck 9 forward. In the evening this cool and sleek venue oozes sophistication with it's leather arm chairs, neon lighting and a magnificent, monolithic model of QM2 behind the bar. During our voyage this lounge was often quiet, I don't think many people ventured to this nocturnal nook, but you should. Todd English We made our reservation within the first hour we were aboard ship. While it is possible to make reservations for restaurants and excursions through the inter-active television in your cabin, I always prefer to do it in person. I reserved all of our excursions through the television and then confirmed them at the tour office on 2 deck. As is turned out the in-cabin booking system wasn't working, so always best to go in person. We chose to dine at Todd English toward the end of our voyage, to have something else to look forward to. I would highly recommend not eating lunch, high tea or a bag of chips prior to this meal. The mediterranean menu consists of some exquisite but, very filling and rich offerings. The service here was very thorough and attentive. The curious choice of rock n roll background music was promptly changed to a more appropriate jazz sampling after a fellow passenger complained. Our waitress suggested that we try two appetizers. I would suggest only one and save room for your entrEe. We both had the Lobster Chowder. At first it seemed rather innocent, a giant china tureen is served with a modicum of cooked lobster and a fraction of garnishes. A moment later our waitress appeared clutching a French Press containing the main body of this extremely flavorful soup which she then poured into our giant bowls. For our second appetizer choices I tried the pear and goat cheese salad, very tasty. My girlfriend opted for the lobster risotto which was served in an immense tray. The lobster was plump and juicy, the risotto was lovely. By the time our entrees arrived we were full. I ordered the Halibut, flaky and moist perfectly cooked but, I was barely able to make a dent in it. The fallen chocolate cake for dessert was very good. By the time we adjourned from our supper though we both could walked back to New York, I felt as if I had eaten a small anchor. Excursions I find in general excursions are really a crap shoot. The sole excursion I booked on the QE2 Christmas Cruise in 2003 was a blast, a jeep 4x4 jaunt in Barbados. I went hog wild on this trip and booked three excursions. In St. Thomas we took the Panoramic Tour. While I've been to this island many times I hadn't really seen much of it. Don't waste your time with this one. We climbed up into the twisting hills. Enjoyed some lovely views but, after the first epic view of the harbor and QM2 the rest is much the same. The tour also included the obligatory stop for a banana daiquiri at a spot called the Mountain Top. A very touristy location cluttered with two-bit t-shirts and run of the mill muck. The balance of the tour was dull. Our guide pointed out 75 mango trees and at least one scurrying iguana. St. Kitts is a beautiful island. It rained quite a bit, though the sun did peek out. We chose the Rocky Roller Drive. This tour was more enjoyable and our guide was very knowledgeable of the area. Once again we climbed into the hills this time aboard a converted British Troop Truck. There was a good deal of lurching and straining. We strolled through the rain forest, watched a band of monkeys bound into the bushes. The locals were all very friendly and waved to us as we drove by. The downside of this tour was a ridiculous stop at a miserable excuse for a plantation, it was nothing but a shabby, worn old house. There was a bar below that offered complimentary punch. I feel as if you put your faith in Cunard to deliver a solid excursion and then end up being taken for a ride with these absurd stopovers in tourist traps. The 4 hour beach excursion in St. Martin was our favorite. The best part about any excursion is the thrill of returning to QM2! Tenders If you are signed up for a morning excursion you must meet in the Royal Court Theater around 8:45 am and await for your tour to be called. If you are not signed up for a tour it's best to wait till around noon or so before descending to one deck. Afternoon tours meet at the pier. We never had to wait for a tender to arrive when we were ashore. Arriving back at the ship isn't too bad, just a matter of waiting in a short line while security scans bagged items and checks identification cards. Overall We adored this incredible ship. The cruise staff works hard to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves. I particularly liked the assistant cruise director, a very personable and friendly chap. It will be interesting to see what QM2 will look like after she goes into dry dock this November. The rumors we heard were the Champagne Bar would be history, along with the Wintergarden which will serve as extended area for the Kings Court. It would be a shame to see the Veuve Cliquot Bar go by the wayside, although, it was almost always empty. QM2 attracts a wide spectrum of passengers. One of the highlights for us was the great friendships we made aboard. From our Cruise Critic Cronies to our Pub Trivia Pals. The open seating at lunch and breakfast is conducive to meeting a wealth of fine folk. Not too mention tablemates at dinner. We often asked people how they were enjoying QM2, most said they loved the ship. Some people however continue to moan and groan. I cannot fathom how anyone would have a negative comment for this classic ocean liner. Several people quibbled over the B elevators being too small. Others still griped that ship is too large. At least one fellow complained about the engine being too loud. Out of 2600 hundred passengers you will never please everyone. I suppose for every 2600 hundred people that gawk into the Grand Canyon many people are struck by it's majesty and immensity while others find it to be nothing but a giant hole in the ground. I stood on the observation deck in St. Martin while the massive Adventure of the Seas steamed by, her decks filled with hordes of passengers getting their fill of QM2. Shortly thereafter, this quiet moment was traded for two trios of triumphant horn blasts as the ships took part in a mutual salute and their mighty horns echoed into the Caribbean night. That's magic, folks. A cruise on QM2 is a state of perpetual bliss, she is the jewel in the Cunard crown long may she sail and may we be transported along with her on purely blissful pursuits. Cruiserking Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
Queen Mary 2 is an absolutely remarkable ship. Whether it is a return trip or your first time aboard, this classic ocean liner continues to WOW you. There was not a moment during our magnificent trip that I didn't find myself staring ... Read More
Queen Mary 2 is an absolutely remarkable ship. Whether it is a return trip or your first time aboard, this classic ocean liner continues to WOW you. There was not a moment during our magnificent trip that I didn't find myself staring in awe at the gorgeous interiors and elegant surroundings within QM2. Each moment, each day aboard QM2 is a gift. She grows on you and hypnotizes you. One can't help but feel an enormous amount of respect for the designers and engineers that created this grand dame of the seven seas. QM2 is everything she is cracked up to be and more. Embarkation: Our check-time was 1 pm. We arrived at the New York Cruise Ship Terminal about 12:30 p.m. The lack of any type of Cunard representative was the biggest drawback early on. Regardless of your boarding time passengers were herded into a large holding area upstairs. We sat there for about 20 minutes and soon after were told to line up at the security check in. Apparently, a new boarding procedure was in effect during our March 9 departure and there seemed to be a lot of confusion. However, once we lined up and made it through the security clearance area it was just a 10 minute wait to line up and receive our QM2 boarding passes. Despite the early boarding gaffs we were among the fortunate one's and were aboard ship by 1:30 pm. A computer glitch later that day delayed many other passengers from boarding as expediently as we had. Cabin We were booked in cabin 11072, port side. I was curious as to how bright the room would be due to the deck 12 overhang. The room allowed plenty of sunlight. Both my girlfriend and I found our room to be very comfortable and spacious for two. There is ample storage area. The interior cream dEcor is very soothing. The mattress and linens are very comfortable. We also enjoyed the robes and slippers finding them to be very cozy. It gets a trifle dodgy if you are exiting the bathroom while someone is looking in the closet. I had heard others complain about joggers and shuffleboard sounds spiraling down the steel framework of the ship, yet, we heard nary a sound on our 8 days at sea, save for the ocean gurgling and fizzing below. Britannia The service on QM2 has vastly improved since my trip last July. I would say it has taken a 360 degree turn for the better. Our head waiter Woody and his assistant Marvin were very friendly and polished. We never waited long for our appetizers, entrees or for our plates to be cleared. All of our meals were delicious, the soups in particular were very tasty. You must try the chilled fruit soups, they are super. Keep your eyes peeled for the English Sticky pudding, it has a caramel topping that is sublime. We received equally excellent service from the other Britannia staff during breakfast and lunch when seating is open. We were particularly fond of Roslyn who catered to our whims with great gusto and style at breakfast. Roslyn is a true Cunard pro, she has been aboard QM2 since the maiden voyage and prior to that spent three years in Caronia Class aboard QE2. The entire restaurant staff are a unified force to be reckoned with. You need only watch these hardworking waiters and waitresses scampering like white rabbits amid the culinary wonderland that is Britannia. Afternoon Tea This is a sumptuous affair and ranks among the highlights of our trip. I would recommend skipping lunch one day in order to properly prepare yourself for an enjoyable experience. As fate would have it we returned rather late from our beach excursion in St Martin, and were quite ravenous. Once again the service was perfect. Troops of white gloved waiters arrived with trays of tantalizing offerings. The delicious array of triangular sandwiches sans crusts consisted of egg, ham and cheese and a splendid salmon and cream cheese. I always like to show my support for the fine QM2 bake staff and once again there were up to the task with a delectable selection of sweets. Much has been written about the famed English scone and clotted cream, it is fact quite delicious. My only critical remark of the entire affair is the tea had not been properly steeped and the first two cups were rather weak. The entire repast is something to savor however. Sitting in the gigantic and opulent Queens Ballroom which stretches the entire width of QM2 and seeing the hilltop of a tropical island through the far window and watching a tourist pirate schooner sail by an adjacent window is the stuff that fantasy is made of. Public Rooms Each of these elaborate lounges has a distinct ambience all its own. Everything and everywhere aboard QM2 sparkles. The faux wood veneer in the elevators is so bright it appears to have a holographic effect in its shine. The detail continues in every inch of this ship from the ornate carpeting to the noble friezes that line the hallways. The Samuel Cunard Wine Bar, The Chart Room and the Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar are all accessed via deck 3. Of the three the most popular and one of our favorite is the Chart Room. This grand room with its high ceilings and art-deco design is the perfect spot for a pre or post supper cocktail. Should you decide to skip the show, you will have the entire lounge to yourself. The Chart Room is also the spot to hear some wonderful piano playing at the hands of the inimitable Barty Brown. One level down 2 deck is the home for the Golden Lion Pub. We were frequent visitors to this cozy lounge each morning at 11:30 a.m. for pub trivia. We garnered three victories and with our winning tickets were enabled to shop for gifts at the end of the voyage. I picked up a lovely leather QM2 eyeglass holder while my girlfriend traded her tickets for a nifty QM2 key fob. At night the jazz trio at the Golden Lion really cooks. This is also the venue for an enjoyable evening of horse racing. After two races, the six horses are put up for auction and a special Owners Race is held the following evening during the Big Band Dance at the Queens Ballroom. We purchased the six horse and had good fun decorating and carting him around the ship, I felt a bit like a QM2 pledge. It was good fun, especially after our horse won the coveted Owners Race. Don't miss the Commodore Club on Deck 9 forward. In the evening this cool and sleek venue oozes sophistication with it's leather arm chairs, neon lighting and a magnificent, monolithic model of QM2 behind the bar. During our voyage this lounge was often quiet, I don't think many people ventured to this nocturnal nook, but you should. Todd English We made our reservation within the first hour we were aboard ship. While it is possible to make reservations for restaurants and excursions through the inter-active television in your cabin, I always prefer to do it in person. I reserved all of our excursions through the television and then confirmed them at the tour office on 2 deck. As is turned out the in-cabin booking system wasn't working, so always best to go in person. We chose to dine at Todd English toward the end of our voyage, to have something else to look forward to. I would highly recommend not eating lunch, high tea or a bag of chips prior to this meal. The Mediterranean menu consists of some exquisite but, very filling and rich offerings. The service here was very thorough and attentive. The curious choice of rock n roll background music was promptly changed to a more appropriate jazz sampling after a fellow passenger complained. Our waitress suggested that we try two appetizers. I would suggest only one and save room for your entrEe. We both had the Lobster Chowder. At first it seemed rather innocent, a giant china tureen is served with a modicum of cooked lobster and a fraction of garnishes. A moment later our waitress appeared clutching a French Press containing the main body of this extremely flavorful soup which she then poured into our giant bowls. For our second appetizer choices I tried the pear and goat cheese salad, very tasty. My girlfriend opted for the lobster risotto which was served in an immense tray. The lobster was plump and juicy, the risotto was lovely. By the time our entrees arrived we were full. I ordered the Halibut, flaky and moist perfectly cooked but, I was barely able to make a dent in it. The fallen chocolate cake for dessert was very good. By the time we adjourned from our supper though we both could walked back to New York, I felt as if I had eaten a small anchor. Excursions I find in general excursions are really a crap shoot. The sole excursion I booked on the QE2 Christmas Cruise in 2003 was a blast, a jeep 4x4 jaunt in Barbados. I went hog wild on this trip and booked three excursions. In St. Thomas we took the Panoramic Tour. While I've been to this island many times I hadn't really seen much of it. Don't waste your time with this one. We climbed up into the twisting hills. Enjoyed some lovely views but, after the first epic view of the harbor and QM2 the rest is much the same. The tour also included the obligatory stop for a banana daiquiri at a spot called the Mountain Top. A very touristy location cluttered with two-bit t-shirts and run of the mill muck. The balance of the tour was dull. Our guide pointed out 75 mango trees and at least one scurrying iguana. St. Kitts is a beautiful island. It rained quite a bit, though the sun did peek out. We chose the Rocky Roller Drive. This tour was more enjoyable and our guide was very knowledgeable of the area. Once again we climbed into the hills this time aboard a converted British Troop Truck. There was a good deal of lurching and straining. We strolled through the rain forest, watched a band of monkeys bound into the bushes. The locals were all very friendly and waved to us as we drove by. The downside of this tour was a ridiculous stop at a miserable excuse for a plantation, it was nothing but a shabby, worn old house. There was a bar below that offered complimentary punch. I feel as if you put your faith in Cunard to deliver a solid excursion and then end up being taken for a ride with these absurd stopovers in tourist traps. The 4 hour beach excursion in St. Martin was our favorite. The best part about any excursion is the thrill of returning to QM2! Tenders If you are signed up for a morning excursion you must meet in the Royal Court Theater around 8:45 am and await for your tour to be called. If you are not signed up for a tour it's best to wait till around noon or so before descending to one deck. Afternoon tours meet at the pier. We never had to wait for a tender to arrive when we were ashore. Arriving back at the ship isn't too bad, just a matter of waiting in a short line while security scans bagged items and checks identification cards. Overall We adored this incredible ship. The cruise staff works hard to ensure everyone is enjoying themselves. I particularly liked the assistant cruise director, a very personable and friendly chap. It will be interesting to see what QM2 will look like after she goes into dry dock this November. The rumors we heard were the Champagne Bar would be history, along with the Wintergarden which will serve as extended area for the Kings Court. It would be a shame to see the Veuve Cliquot Bar go by the wayside, although, it was almost always empty. QM2 attracts a wide spectrum of passengers. One of the highlights for us was the great friendships we made aboard. From our Cruise Critic Cronies to our Pub Trivia Pals. The open seating at lunch and breakfast is conducive to meeting a wealth of fine folk. Not too mention tablemates at dinner. We often asked people how they were enjoying QM2, most said they loved the ship. Some people however continue to moan and groan. I cannot fathom how anyone would have a negative comment for this classic ocean liner. Several people quibbled over the B elevators being too small. Others still griped that ship is too large. At least one fellow complained about the engine being too loud. Out of 2600 hundred passengers you will never please everyone. I suppose for every 2600 hundred people that gawk into the Grand Canyon many people are struck by it's majesty and immensity while others find it to be nothing but a giant hole in the ground. I stood on the observation deck in St. Martin while the massive Adventure of the Seas steamed by, her decks filled with hordes of passengers getting their fill of QM2. Shortly thereafter, this quiet moment was traded for two trios of triumphant horn blasts as the ships took part in a mutual salute and their mighty horns echoed into the Caribbean night. That's magic, folks. A cruise on QM2 is a state of perpetual bliss, she is the jewel in the Cunard crown long may she sail and may we be transported along with her on purely blissful pursuits. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2005
This was booked via a travel agent who advertised nationally in the UK. This was to be a surprise for my wife to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary which we had delayed because of our eldest daughter's wedding back in 2002. I ... Read More
This was booked via a travel agent who advertised nationally in the UK. This was to be a surprise for my wife to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary which we had delayed because of our eldest daughter's wedding back in 2002. I presented it to her last Christmas 2004. I had opted for the Cunard package which gave us club class seating on BA. This is always appreciated when flying together as we sit looking at each other which makes conversation much more enjoyable. Another sweetener was our travel agent also bundled in a night at the 5* Essex House to which I added on two extra nights. Transfers to the passenger port were not included but its less than 45 minutes and $12 by cab from South Central Park even with the Sunday traffic. So no big deal. The embarkation process was excellent, our check in time was 2pm to which we stuck to. We dropped our bags (5) and arranged for a porter to collect them. He must have been miffed, as he gave back the $1 my wife offered and failed to label the bag we obtained in Macy's which he promised to do. In our defence we only had a single dollar or a twenty and it does say tipping is optional. We did get the bag back later that evening after speaking to the pursers office. We had our photos taken, passports checked and 'sail and sign' ID cards issued in less than 10 minutes. Our first impressions of the ship were great. We had never sailed, cruised or crossed on a ship before and our expectations were exceeded. We sat in our cabin drinking out half bottle of sparkling wine. We the ventured out on deck for the departure and Champagne reception $10 a glass but they do serve Veuve Clicquot with a huge strawberry. The sights leaving NYC from the passenger port were fabulous, NY skyline, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and all set against a lovely sunset. We love the food and preferred to eat in the Britannia rather than the King's Court. I just can't understand why people pay all this money only to eat in a shopping mall type of food court. The only reason I can see is if you forgot (or didn't want) to pack any formal evening wear. To us the evening dining experience is about dressing up feeling a little bit special. Eat in Todd English one night which is a must do. Great food. We also liked taking afternoon tea in the Queen Room. I must say the food standards are very high, except for a previously noted comment on the breakfast fruit juices (especially the orange and cranberry). To serve food at this high standard and to serve overly watered down excuses for fruit juice is appalling and we said so. The planetarium, RADA sample Shakespeare scenes, the Oxford University lectures we both thoroughly enjoyed. We only managed to catch one of the evening shows which was a shame as the one we saw was good (comedy magician) if a little short 45 minutes. We had two days of fog which didn't spoil anything for us as we occupied ourselves with the daily activities. There was a slight drama as a passenger had to be medivac'd to hospital. As no helicopter could fly we had to divert some 300 miles to St Johns, Newfoundland, where he and his wife transferred via coast guard boat. We like the Chart Room which used quite a bit and only discovered the Commodore club later in the week. Had a few raspberry Martini's there which if featured as DOD (drink of the day) cost only $4.25. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2005
I just went on my first cruise ever -- on the QM2 -- and it was perfect. We originally booked a B3 room 6161 at an excellent rate, but asked about upgrades when we got onboard. The Purser's office told us they would let us know if ... Read More
I just went on my first cruise ever -- on the QM2 -- and it was perfect. We originally booked a B3 room 6161 at an excellent rate, but asked about upgrades when we got onboard. The Purser's office told us they would let us know if something was available, and the next morning called us to say we could have a Jr. Suite upgrade (room only) for $1,000. , or we could upgrade completely with both a Jr. Suite and the Princess Grill for $1,500. for two people. We chose to upgrade our room only because we had already had dinner and breakfast in the Britannia Room and had loved it AND our table-mates. The Jr. Suites have a bathtub and a walk-in closet, and a bowl of fresh fruit that's replenished daily. Even though it was an April Cruise with high wind the first couple of day, the seas were relatively calm and we barely felt the ship rocking. I had a few spa services in the Canyon Ranch Spa, saw some shows in the Royal Court theater and attended on show in Illuminations -- the planetarium. We had tea in the Queen's Room; attended RADA acting lessons; took two-mile walks on deck 7 (3 times around = 1.1 miles) and used the gym on windy days. And while we brought our own laptop, we found it easier to use one of the many computers in Connections to check and send our email (which can also be done on the interactive tv in your cabin). I've never been on any other ship -- so I don't know how our cruise stacks up against others -- but like I said in my first sentence -- it was perfect. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2005
Overview -- My husband and I had wanted to travel on the QM2 since it launched, however the initial prices had been a little off-putting, and we had decided to wait. In addition, we had been a little apprehensive about spending so much ... Read More
Overview -- My husband and I had wanted to travel on the QM2 since it launched, however the initial prices had been a little off-putting, and we had decided to wait. In addition, we had been a little apprehensive about spending so much money after reading the inconsistent reviews posted here. With the significant price reductions Cunard was offering this spring, we finally decided it was worth it just for the experience: be it good or bad. We happily report we have nothing but praise for this wonderful experience. Embarkation -- Although Cunard assigns you an embarkation time on your documents that they assure you is "strictly enforced", no one ever looked at this or even asked. We arrived at the NYC Cruise ship terminal at 1200 and embarkation was already underway. Our luggage was collected at the curb by a friendly steward who gave us directions to the check-in area. People were seated in a large open area in the order they arrived. We sat for about 20 minutes and then were led to the actual check-in desks. The check-in staff couldn't have been nicer. Picture ID ship cards were made and we were told all the cabins were ready. On the way to the ship they had set up a table where you could make your alternative dining reservations. I thought this was a nice touch to keep you from tearing around the ship in the first hour trying to find restaurants and make reservations. We made reservations for Todd English, the Chefs Galley, and Lotus. We then made our way onto the ship where there were crew members waiting to escort those who needed assistance. We opted to guide ourselves and found our way with no problem. We were in our cabin by 1250. Cabin -- Our cabin was on deck 4, a category B4 "in hull" balcony cabin. The cabin layout was typical of ships of this price and age. The design was functional and well thought out, giving the illusion of roominess. The dEcor was clean and classic with more "relaxing" art then we have experienced on some cruise lines that tend to more "modern" interior decoration. The cabin was exceptionally quiet, and though we had neighbors on either side, we never heard a peep. The balcony was exactly as one would expect, a metal "box" set into the hull. As others have noted, the solid railing wall makes it impossible to see anything when seated in the cabin or even in the chairs on the balcony, however we did not find this to be an issue. Once at sea on the North Atlantic, we appreciated the sheltered nature of the balcony, since the design blocked 90% of the wind. In truth, we didn't use the balcony much on the transatlantic crossing: it was foggy many days with limited visibility and chilly every day. With little to see and frigid weather, an ocean view cabin would likely have been equally enjoyable. The cabin stewardess was efficient, unobtrusive and diligent. The room was always spotless and smelled "fresh". We are non-smokers and sensitive to any hint of stale smoke so this was especially welcome. In fact, nowhere in the ship did you smell even the faintest hint of the "mustiness" that seems endemic on oceangoing vessels. Dining -- Our seating assignment for dinner (Britannia Restaurant) was waiting for us in our cabin on arrival, including a map showing us where our table was located. Again, this saved a trip to the restaurant to consult the table map. In addition, there was much less of the incessant milling, so common the first night when everyone is trying to get directions to their table. We had a table for 8 at late seating instead of our requested table for 2 at early seating, but we had delightful tablemates and thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience. The food and the service were both very good. Despite Cunard's reputation, we found the service less formal than on Celebrity, but it was friendly and attentive in its own style. Again, while the food was very good, it was not up to the level we have experienced on Celebrity. We ate one night at the Todd English Restaurant. I will say in advance, it was a fairly rough sea night so I did not experience it under the best of circumstances. The staff went out of their way to make the experience wonderful. The food was delicious, very rich, and artfully presented. It was not however, as noteworthy as we had expected. Again, because of the seas, diners were exiting at a fairly regular pace, but the staff remained upbeat and tried to assist however they could. While it was a good experience and we were both glad we went, with the $30 pp cover charge, we would not go again should we sail on the QM2 in the future. On another night, we ate in the Chefs Galley. This is a demonstration kitchen where 30 guests can watch the Chef prepare each course as he narrates the process. The $30 cover charge includes champagne with the appetizers as well as unlimited wine specifically chosen to match each course. The extremely attentive waiters never let a glass drop below half full, so if one was not careful it would be all to easy to be inebriated by the time the entree was served. The food was delicious and the wines outstanding. It is truly an evenings entertainment, so plan for a full three hours for the experience. We had a wonderful time and it was one of the highlights of our trip. The Kings Court Buffet was fine. It was as good as any buffet we have had on any cruise ship which is to say it was still a buffet. We actually enjoyed the fact that it was broken up into smaller areas since you did not get the feeling you were one of hundreds of "cattle" milling about. We did not experience any of the crowding other passengers have noted, but the ship was also only 80% full so this may have enhanced our experience. We had tea in the Queens Room most days and this is an experience not to be missed. Amazingly attentive white-gloved waiters serve tea while a string quartet plays. Sweet cakes and sandwiches are served, as well as the most heavenly scones I have ever experienced. While some people "dressed" for tea, most came in their casual clothes and were equally welcomed. Again, this was another highlight of our cruise. Even my husband had to admit he enjoyed it despite initially going only to humor his wife. The ship also has an English style pub, the Golden Lion. This was my husband's favorite "hangout" and we had lunch there most days. As well as having Guinness on tap, they serve pub lunch there every day at no charge. The fish and chips, Bangers and mash, and Ploughman's lunch were all equally delicious. The place was rarely crowded. There was a pianist there most days playing during lunch. He was very good, but did not play a repertoire one would associate with a pub (Judy Garland and Diana Ross?) Ship -- The ship, like our cabin was spotless. Someone was always cleaning or polishing wherever you went. There is so much art and history on board that you can simply wander and look for hours on end. The ship is very stable. I am a fair weather sailor and even on the roughest day (25' seas), I was still OK. By North Atlantic standards I am told we had an easy crossing. Walking on the promenade deck on the north Atlantic is not for wimps. When you add the outside wind, to the 27 knots the ships was doing, account for the spray coming over the side, and then add in an outside temperature of about 50 degrees F, it makes for a blustery walk. The knowledgeable actually brought light parkas. At the minimum you need a coat, sweater/sweatshirt and head covering. While we took some walks, it was a bit too bracing for me. That being said, a large number of very elderly passengers were out there everyday strolling the decks in all weather with canes in hand. Better stock than me I guess. For such a large ship, the designers did a very nice job of breaking the public spaces up into more intimate areas. Spaces ranged from about a dozen seats in the cigar bar, to a couple hundred in the Winter Garden. Even within each space, tables were arranged in such as way as to give privacy as opposed to expansive hordes of people. Waiters remembered your name after the first meeting and were attentive and professional. There was the typical assortment of "lounge" acts in the evening: all very good. There was dancing in the Queens Room before dinner and after every night. We preferred the before dinner event as the after dinner set tended to be more formal with the Cruise Director acting as MC and intimidatingly good dancers covering the floor. The Queens Room itself is huge and beautiful, riving many land based ballrooms for decor and size. Unlike many ships, smoking is not confined to one "side" of the ship, therefore many times it was impossible to escape the smoke. Given the large percentage of Europeans, smoke was fairly omnipresent in the public rooms. There was a wonderful observation area directly behind the bridge where you could go and watch the crew without interfering with their work. It was fun to be able to see how few people it actually takes to "drive" the ship. Entertainment -- We are not much into the entertainment on ships, so we had limited experience with the shows. The one we went to was very professional. The other diners at our table went every night and raved about the quality. The Planetarium was a very good experience with entertaining if lightweight 25 minute shows several times a day. The daily activities were fairly typical of other cruises we have been on, with the exception of the Oxford lecturers. These Dons gave several talks daily that were geared to more erudite topics and were very well received. We attended one that was quite good, but the topics presented this trip simply did not appeal to us (Shakespeare, Child Psychology, Modern Art). Since they differ each cruise, I would suspect it might be very different next time. We did not use the gym but toured thru it and found it small relative to the ship, but well supplied. It never seemed to be even half full. I used numerous spa services at the Canyon Ranch Spa. Though the prices are typical of cruise line treatments, the quality of the experience was much better than I have previously experienced. In addition, they never tried to sell me anything at the end of the treatment, a practice that makes me crazy with the Steiner run spas. Fellow Passengers -- The passengers were as one would expect for a transatlantic crossing during the school year: predominantly retired persons, with probably less than 20% under age 50. There were few families and we only counted three children on the entire ship. There were also a large number of Gay men who were somewhat younger than the typical passengers. There was about a 50/50 split of Americans and Europeans. In general people dressed up a little more than other cruises we have been on. Though there were few jeans or t-shirts, those that did chose to wear them did not seem out of place. Dress code was however strictly enforced in the restaurants so there was none of the football jersey/ cutoff short wearing at dinner. Gratuities -- Tips are ostensibly added onto your bill each day and onto your bar tab for drinks. However the staff made a point of telling us that all of these tips were pooled and that the only way to tip individual staff was in cash given to them personally. There was still a clear expectation that some cash would be given to your waiters and cabin attendants on the last night. While this was all done politely, with little pressure, I would still rather tip in person than have it added onto the daily bill which I find very impersonal. Disembarkation -- An immigration officer actually sailed with the ship, so instead of clearing immigration in Southampton on arrival, it was done at a leisurely pace during the course of the trip. This was a great timesavings, as once in Southampton, one had simply to pick up ones luggage and find your transportation. This was the also first cruise line we had ever been on that allowed you to keep your luggage the last night instead of leaving it in the hall. Passengers opting for this “self-service” option simply carried their own bags off the ship. They were also allowed one of the very first departure times, being allowed off the ship anytime after 0730. This was a great option for the physically fit in a hurry. Disembarkation went as smoothly as Embarkation. We left our cabin at 0730, had breakfast and were off the ship and underway by 0845. We had purchased a bus transfer into London were dropped off at Victoria Station in about 90 minutes. Altogether it was a wonderful experience. We have nothing but praise for the ship and her crew and would definitely sail again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2005
Review of Transatlantic Voyage aboard RMS Queen Mary 2 May 2005 My wife and I have previously cruised with HAL (Maasdam,Veendam & Prinsendam,) Celebrity (Mercury), Radisson Seven Seas (Seven Seas Voyager) and Cunard (QE2). In May ... Read More
Review of Transatlantic Voyage aboard RMS Queen Mary 2 May 2005 My wife and I have previously cruised with HAL (Maasdam,Veendam & Prinsendam,) Celebrity (Mercury), Radisson Seven Seas (Seven Seas Voyager) and Cunard (QE2). In May 2004, following a trip to America, we decided to take the easy way home aboard the QM2. Embarkation. We drove from Washington DC to New York as Amtrak refused to accept our large case. Luckily we had been warned about their policy and upon checking in Washington, they refused the case but gave us a full refund. Hertz to the rescue! It took about 4 hours to drive to New York and stress levels were high by the time we reached the pier. The pier was dirty and unwelcoming and the atmosphere, as at most embarkations was one of disorganisation. There were a large number of badly dressed Cunard personnel directing operations and we were processed fairly quickly by the dour check in staff. We had upgraded our booking and Cunard had not issued tickets for the new cabin so there was confusion, albeit quickly resolved. It took about 20 minutes from arrival at the pier until embarkation. The Cabin. We were aboard by about 1.30pm and the smiling faces at the gangway were the first we had seen since we arrived at the pier (or in indeed New York). No assistance was offered in carrying hand luggage and no one showed us to our cabin, we were merely waved towards a lift. This was not a favourable first impression of the pier or the ship and we felt that the crew had to work hard in the first couple of days to overcome this. Our cabin, a P grade mini suite was located midships on the starboard side of deck 10 and was beautiful, square in shape and decorated in soothing tones of pale green and cream with blonde wood fittings and a pale beige carpet. The sitting area was furnished with a large settee, an armchair and an oval table. Along the inward wall were shelves, mirrored to reflect the sea outside, the interactive television, storage and bookshelves. The very comfortable queen sized bed had bedside tables with drawers. The entire seaward wall of the cabin was glazed, with a door to the generous balcony, which was furnished with 2 comfortable wooden padded steamer chairs and a table. The balcony was also glazed. Adjoining the door on the inboard side of the room was a run of three hanging wardrobes, a dresser and a walk in closet. The bathroom was more pedestrian with a ¾ tub, with a good shower attachment, a washbasin and WC. The shower attachment was hanging loose but was quickly repaired upon request. (It should have been checked prior to embarkation!) Towels and robes were plentiful and were replaced frequently. We judged the cabin very comfortable and particularly liked the glazing which contributed to the feeling of light and space. If one had a criticism, it is that the bathroom was not up to the standard of the rest of the cabin. The Ship. Queen Mary 2 is huge but absorbs her passengers very well. The decor is for the most part tasteful and in some cases surprisingly restrained. There is an eclectic mix of interior design ranging from Art Deco to plain funky. There are some startling colours and some very restrained and restful areas. Above all, there is a feeling of space. We understood that there were about 2200 passengers aboard on our trip and one never felt crowded. . Because of the chilly weather, although mostly calm and sunny, it was too cold to spend to much time on deck, other than walking off the effects of the excellent cuisine, 3 complete circuits of the promenade deck equated to a mile. On 2 afternoons we snoozed on our balcony shrouded in thoughtfully provided woollen steamer rugs. . The sun deck boasted a magradome topped swimming pool and Lido area but this became very crowded and there was rarely space available to relax. There were 2 further outside pools and hot tubs but these were very little used. Cunard run excellent entertainment programmes and we particularly liked the RADA workshops and performances. I attended 2 excellent lectures in the Oxford lecture series. The usual range of quizzes, wine tastings etc were available but somehow we never seemed to have time! There was a wide range of public rooms including a superb 2 deck Royal Court Theatre. A secondary single deck theatre called Illuminations offered planetarium type shows and this doubled for more intimate studio type productions as well as lectures. Canyon Ranch managed a luxurious spa and a comprehensive range of treatments were offered at normal spa prices. One of the features of the spa was a beautiful hydrotherapy pool with steam rooms and saunas etc adjoining. Access to this was by day pass or was complimentary if one had booked a treatment. There was an excellent and well-stocked library and Internet centre as well as a wide variety of bars. We noticed a Golden Lion pub although we never frequented it. Off the main lobby was a champagne bar but generally this appeared to be under used. Afternoon tea was served in the most impressive Queens Room which doubled as a show lounge and ballroom. On two evenings formal balls were held here, a Black and White ball and an Ascot Ball. It was a pity that the pre voyage information did not mention these, as passengers could have packed appropriate costumes which would have contributed to the atmosphere of the evening. A range of shops catered for most needs but seemed to be very expensive. The Food. Aboard QM2 the choice of cabin dictates in which restaurant one will eat.. We chose a P grade cabin because we had heard that the Princess Grill on the QM2 was outstanding. We were not disappointed in any way. The grill, which is situated on the port side of the vessel aft, was beautifully appointed and decorated in muted shades of cream and beige with subdued lamp lighting. The highest quality linen and flatware were used. After a slight hiatus (Cunard Southampton had failed to transmit our request for a table for 2) we obtained a beautiful table for 2 by a window. The service was simply outstanding. Although we are fans of Radisson Seven Seas which offers a choice of three or four different restaurants, there is a great deal to be said for having the same table and waiting team for every meal. After the first evening, our duo, Vito and Reena established our preferences and after that, nothing was too much trouble. The quality of the food and service was first class. In the main, the food was European with Asian influences. There was always a spa option available. Although ostensibly a table d'hote menu (a la carte is only offered in the Queens Grill) there was always the option of ordering off menu if one wished. Flambee cuisine was much in evidence and the desserts in particular were excellent. Breakfast was offered in the Princess Grill up to 9.30 am but we usually breakfasted in the cabin. This was a disappointing element of the trip. Delivered on a tray with no attempt to set up the table, the food was usually hot but I felt that there should have been some attempt to present it in a more professional and appropriate manner. The Kings Court offered a normal ships buffet at lunchtime and smaller specialty restaurants in the evening. This restaurant appeared to be somewhat disjointed in its layout, being broken down into small areas but with no sense of cohesion. We ate lunch and dinner in the Princess Grill so did not use this eatery. On one evening we dined in the much-vaunted Todd English extra tariff restaurant. We were disappointed - we thought the food and service levels in the Princess Grill considerably better. The Entertainment. My wife was a professional Theatre director and we are usually critical of shipboard entertainment. However the QM2 is in a class of its own. The size of the ship means that there is a higher entertainment budget. What a difference it makes to have a show backed by live music and not the ubiquitous clic track. The Royal Court Orchestra are excellent. 2 major production shows were staged during the crossing and we found the dancing and singing both professional and entertaining. All the very best technology available today is incorporated into the theatre and the director made full use of it. On two other evenings a funny British comic entertained - we are not sure that his humour was completely understood by the US contingent in the audience. On a another night a mediocre female singer was featured. We attended the second of the nightly shows and they were well supported and well received. As previously stated, there was a wealth of entertainment and activities provided all over the ship during the day and evening throughout the voyage. Disembarkation. We breakfasted at 8am in the Grill and were ashore and in a taxi by 9.15 with no hassles. Our luggage was waiting and there were plenty of porters and taxis. Gratuities were added to one's shipboard account although we gave an additional tip our excellent dining room team. Considering the number of passengers aboard the ship, the disembarkation process was smooth and painless. Conclusion. Avid fans of 'sea days', we found the voyage restful and relaxing. The wide variety of activities available would suit all tastes. However, QM2 is a 2 class ship. The differentiation is not called 'first' and 'tourist' any more, but Grill & Britannia. There is virtually no discrimination on space available for passengers apart from the Queens grill bar which was only available to Grill passengers. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience in Grill class. The dining experience was equal to, if not better than, the Seven Seas Voyager aboard which we cruised last year. However, if Cunard is trying to court the top end customer, details such as the welcome aboard and cabin service will have to be substantially improved.. The majority of passengers are American and the organisation of the ship is geared to their preferences. Although it did not bother us, those expecting a recreation of the 'Britishness' of the old Queens will be disappointed. However, for us, Queen Mary 2 herself was the star of the show, classy, surprisingly understated and entertaining - she represents a wonderful way to cross the Atlantic. We can't wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
I am very impressed with the transatlantic experience. Once we boarded, we have six days to relax and enjoy all the things there were to do on board. The ship is beautiful and quite huge and by the end of the voyage I felt like we had not ... Read More
I am very impressed with the transatlantic experience. Once we boarded, we have six days to relax and enjoy all the things there were to do on board. The ship is beautiful and quite huge and by the end of the voyage I felt like we had not fully experienced many parts of her. Although breakfast service was a bit spotty sometimes, lunch and dinner in the Britannia restaurant were very good - both the service and the food were great. This large dining room is impressive and screams "flagship." My favorite part of the whole sailing was walking the boat deck (Deck 7) and looking out at the endless Atlantic horizon, and taking in the fresh air. I think I must have walked at least 30 miles on that deck during the trip! We had an outside stateroom (with a porthole) for the four of us. For a ship, the cabin was a pretty good sized and two adults and two children were able to get by fairly easy in it. The third and fourth bed dropped down from the ceilings and our children said they were very comfortable. Our bed was extremely comfortable. The only thing I would complain about is that the ship had mindless music playing in all of the public rooms at all times of the day - even early in the morning (7:00 a.m. in the Commodore Club just as an example) so that you could never get total peace and quiet in many of the lounges. Why must that be? There was also music blaring out of speakers next to the jacuzzi when I was walking the decks at 7 a.m. one morning. ??? It is as if some marketing study found that people like to listen to music in public, and now they have it playing everywhere all the time? Aside from the music thing and a couple of spotty breakfasts service-wise, the voyage was very enjoyable. Cunard was very attentive to passengers, the food was great, and the ship is truly impressive. I would recommend a transatlantic crossing to anyone. There is something to be said for not having to stop at one port after, and instead to be able to sit back and watch the ocean go by for a week. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2005
Review: Queen Mary 2 Independence Weekend Sampler Cruise (July 2-5, 2005) Previous Cruises: Carnival Victory - Canada Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean Members in our Party - 7 My wife and me (late 40s), two sons (12 and 17), my ... Read More
Review: Queen Mary 2 Independence Weekend Sampler Cruise (July 2-5, 2005) Previous Cruises: Carnival Victory - Canada Voyager of the Seas - Western Caribbean Members in our Party - 7 My wife and me (late 40s), two sons (12 and 17), my two sisters (early 60s) and a family friend (51) Embarkation: A We used a car service to travel from Jersey City to the pier. They arrived early and we arrived at the pier in about 30 minutes at 10:45 a.m. Cunard's documents told us that no one would be boarded until 1:30 but you never believe your documents. We dropped off our luggage and went up to the waiting room in Customs Hall where chairs were set up. Your waiting area was based on the dining room you chose. At 12:30 they started the embarkation process. Less than a half hour later we were on board. As you entered the ship the Atrium was all decorated with flags and bunting for the Fourth and a line up of crew in tuxes and white gloves welcomed you aboard along with a harpist playing in the background. Cabins: A We had two outside cabins towards the front of deck 6. Very roomy with lots of storage space. Met Deirdre, our stewardess (her term), and asked her to put our beds together for us, which she did while we were at lunch. The Cunard policy is not to put the beds together if you have people in the pullmans above, but they will do so upon request. The concern is that the kids will fall out on top of you, but I'd rather have them fall on me and a mattress than on the hard floor hitting their heads on the end tables. The configuration on Carnival makes more sense. They have a sofa that turns into a single with the pullman above that. Cunard also has a tasteful vinyl mat that they put on the bed for you to place your luggage and nice throw pillows and shams. The beds were the most comfortable I've had at sea as were the pillows, and the featherbed comforter was terrific. Robes were provided for everyone. There are no animal folded towels on the QM2. The bathroom is adequate with the largest shower I've seen in an outside view stateroom. All the necessary soaps, shampoos, etc were provided. Pool towels were in the vanity. The safe was operated by combination or using a credit card's magnetic strip. When you enter your cabin the TV is already on and tuned to the video showing you how to use your life vest. The TV has limited channels but includes CNN and ESPN. Each morning, the cruise director hosted a show "Good Morning QM2" with the lead dancer serving as weather girl. The TVs also have a wireless keyboard for e-mail. Cost is $1.50 per message sent or received. Muster drill: A The muster drill on the QM2 is done in various rooms throughout the ship. Ours was in the gym. Food: B- Service: C The food in the dining room was very good, but the selection was limited. They try to be too fancy with sauces, etc. Carnival is superior and Royal Caribbean's is also better. One lobster tail had to be returned because it was rubbery and tasted bad. The prime rib and garlic shrimp were both excellent. The lemonade, iced tea and juices allowed us to get by without buying soda. Service in the dining room was sporadic and somewhat disorganized and slow. The layout is tight. Because of the fireworks in New York Harbor, the last night was open seating. We went at the usual time (early seating 5:45) and got seated right away. Those who came later had extremely long waits to get a table. The variety in the King's Court is good, but the food is nothing special (although the fresh fruit selection was wonderful) Again Carnival was much better while Royal Caribbean's Windjammer was the worst of the three. The King's Court has 4 sections; the Carvery, the Lotus, La Piazza and the Chef's Galley. The Carvery and Chef's Galley were the better choices. There were a great variety of desserts as well as soft ice cream dispensers. Breakfast in the dining room was painfully slow. Better to use the King's Court. My wife said that the Cream of Wheat was the best she's had. Cereal selections are limited with no pre sweetened for the kids. We did not try Todd English so I cannot comment on it. Entertainment: D The stage shows were amateurish, too slow and too long. On the first night "Apassionata " was a history of dance ending with swing. The second night "Rock @ the Opera" mixed opera with modern rock. We chose not to attend. The last show was "Zing Went the Strings" a tribute to Judy Garland. It started with a video that was not visible because of stage props. We left when the Judy Garland wannabe started dancing to the music of Austin Powers. The theater was only half full at the start of the show and many left during the show. Movies were shown each night in Illuminations (the planetarium) We went one evening to watch "National Treasure" which we had not seen before. The movie was good, but my surround sound at home offers better sound. The planetarium show is worth attending if just for the novelty of it all. You must get tickets ahead of time for the half hour show which is interesting if you can stay awake listening to the monotone narrator. Kid's Program: B My 12 year old went one morning and enjoyed basketball, air hockey and X-box. The schedule seemed full with a number of options. The staff is small and you must choose morning or afternoon sessions ahead of time. Kids can attend more than one session per day only if room permits -- and on our cruise it did. As for my 17 year old, there were activities but none that interested him. There were only 65 teens on board. Instead he joined pickup basketball on the sports deck. Sports deck: C There was a small basketball court and paddle tennis court that had limited hours. The ping pong tables and paddles were in bad shape. Shuffle board was near impossible as the pucks refused to slide on the wood decks. You will have some success if you turn them upside down. Pools: A The pools were really nice. The Promenade pool on deck 12 had a roof for cool evenings. On deck 8 on the back of the ship was the Terrace pool And on deck 13 towards the front of the ship was a splash pool. Also in the back of the ship there was a family pool and a sprinkler areas for the kids. Unfortunately that pool had to be close on our last day when someone got sick and lost their lunch. A mandatory emptying, cleaning and 24 hour closure meant families then had to use the other pools. Itinerary: A As we left New York Harbor, the cruise director, Brian Pierce, pointed out the sights A fire boat led us out of the harbor with water spraying. This was a 3 day trip with fireworks scheduled for New York harbor. We got a bonus because Newport Rhode Island scheduled their fireworks for July 3rd. The captain decided that would be a good show so on Sunday night we anchored just off the fireworks sight in the harbor with the rear of the ship facing the fireworks. They were so close you felt as if you could reach out and touch them. It was a cool night so stewards came out and distributed blankets and towels to keep people warm. a nice touch. Patriotic music blared over the sound system adding to the festive evening. On Monday night we anchored just north of Staten Island for the Macy's New York fireworks extravaganza. Desserts and drinks were brought out along with a contemporary band for a party atmosphere. Blankets were again provided. Because of our distance, the fireworks were visible but seemed small. We were so glad that we had the show in Newport the night before. After the fireworks show we again left New York Harbor and went out to sea before returning to port on Tuesday morning. Misc.: B The ship itself and its size are incredible. You can't see the end of the hallway of the floor you are on. Because capacity is about 2,600 people the ship never seems crowded and at times feels downright empty. For comparison, the Voyager of the Seas which is only slightly smaller carries 3,800 people at full capacity) There is one staff member for every two passengers. Most of the staff are British and all are very friendly and helpful. Stewards remove towels from deck chairs that do not seem to be in use. The QM2 is the only ship with a permanent exhibit. "Maritime Quest" is basically a history of Cunard. It is fascinating and well worth it if you have the time to explore the various items. A guide is on the back of the fold out map you find in your cabin. The QM2 is also a quiet ship: no announcements except for the captain's update each noon. Yes there are are auctions, bingo, etc, but you need to read your Daily Programme to know what is going on. Shops are limited and expensive. We've always purchased a Christmas ornament of each ship we've been on but the QM2 did not have them. My son suggested buying 2 QM2 magnets which we can put together and then use a string to make our own ornament: a great idea if you check the polarity of the magnets to make sure they will go together. Pictures were the most expensive I've ever seen. Prints of your various activities and poses were available at $27.50 each! Another item i've always bought on cruses is a photo album with the ship's logo for 4X6 prints. usually these cost about $10 On the QM2 the only way to get such an album was to buy 15 professional images and the album for $49.49.95. you could not buy the album separately. On the second day of the cruise they sold 250 T-shirts made specifically for this weekend. The mob and lines for these limited edition shirts was worse than Macy's bargain tables at Christmas. The ship itself is incredible. The Promenade deck has wooden chairs with comfortable cushions and is wide enough for jogging and walking. Three times around equals 1.1 miles. Toward the front of Promenade there is an elevator that goes up the outside of the ship to an observation deck. Breathtaking views can be had from both. The ship's library is extensive and the gym is well equipped. The spa offers an all day pass for $29. There is a book store, an internet center called Connexions, a casino, several laundries and a number of lounges with a good variety of musical choices. . On Deck two there are game tables lining the side of the ship near windows with games such as Scrabble, Checkers, Chutes and Ladders and more. Disembarkation: A As with most cruise lines you get colored tags. The difference on the QM2 is that you also get the schedule for the colors so you know when your color will be called. We chose self disembarkation because our car service was scheduled to pick us up prior to our color being called. This also allowed us to keep our luggage and not have it collected the night before docking. The ship docked at 6:30 a.m. with disembarking scheduled to start at 8. we had a leisurely breakfast and walked on deck one last time. Self disembarking began at 7:30 with colors for tags starting at 8. There was no immigration processing because we had no ports of call on this trip. We left the ship shortly after 8. Once the car service van cleared security we were on our way home and arrived there before 9:30. Overall: B I took this short cruise because I wanted to be able to say i sailed on the QM2. I wanted to see the difference between an ocean liner and a cruise ship, and there were some differences. I've always been fascinated by the old liners and was delighted to have the chance to try the modern Queen. The weekend cruise was about what my budget could handle. This weekend schedule also worked as well for my sisters who hadn't cruised in 20 years. The last time they cruised they had tiny cabins with bunk beds and sections of the ship that they could not access. They had been on the Bremen, The France The Raffaello and the SS United States. I think they were amazed at how ships have changed. A cruise is what you make of it. People can always find things to complain about. For me though, I feel blessed to be able to take a cruise and will always enjoy what is offered. And I fully enjoyed my weekend. Just wish it was longer. The QM2 is indeed a tremendous ship and I am glad I sailed on her, but unless I am doing a transatlantic voyage, i will probably not sail on her again. There are better cruise offerings out there at better prices. Next month it is back to the Voyager of the Seas for a family cruise to Bermuda (with a balcony room and a promenade view room.. i can't wait. As you can probably tell, I am addicted. For pictures from this cruise go to http://homepage.mac.com/pekrause/PhotoAlbum16.html Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2005
So much has already been written about Queen Mary 2 so here are just a few personal reflections and pertinent observations on the westbound Transatlantic Crossing of 8 September 2005. Embarkation was so effortless that it felt as if ... Read More
So much has already been written about Queen Mary 2 so here are just a few personal reflections and pertinent observations on the westbound Transatlantic Crossing of 8 September 2005. Embarkation was so effortless that it felt as if there was no one else sailing. Arriving at the QEII terminal around 12.40pm we were checked in immediately, onboard by 1.00pm and in receipt of luggage and unpacked by 1.30pm. We were offered but declined the offer of an escort to our staterooms. Sailaway was a jolly affair and on a warm late summer evening had more Caribbean flavours than Transatlantic. Yes the live group played YMCA and a string of modern songs, but strangely they didnt seem out of place in this party atmosphere, that is unless you prefer to stand to attention and listen to museum pieces used to send off the Titanic. Much champagne was drunk and everyone on the packed aft decks seemed to be having a good time. The ship was immaculate, maybe the carpet didnt have that unused spring of the maiden voyage but everywhere sparkled. Much has been written on the interiors but for me on second sight they are tasteful, timeless and on the grand scale, as I imagine a transatlantic liner should be. Our seasoned travelling companions on seeing them for the first time were blown away. The only downside was the lingering smell of stale cigarette smoke in some bars  when will cruise lines realise that allowing smokers to use the full length of the serving bar is akin to making the whole bar smoking? (Perhaps when they fall in line with US and many European governments ongoing plans to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces  Id give it 10 years maximum!) Dining in the Britannia was so much improved on our first time. We ate at second sitting on a table for four (table 95) on the lower level at the foot of port side of the staircase. Location was perfect, food ranged from good to excellent and the service by Stephen and Michelle was amongst the best we have ever received onboard a ship. A good selection of wines was available at prices comparable to other cruise lines. Dress code was almost entirely observed - the only exception being an Italian family who not only dressed down for dinner but arrived late at 9.00 - 9.15pm every night. A complaint to an assistant maitre d managed to raise a shrug of the shoulders and an assurance that the story that they did not have suitable clothes had been checked out  presumably by the QM2 clothes police? I didnt believe him. Lunch was taken every day in the Kings Court which, apart from a few rude fellow passengers and an odd luke warm hamburger, was still an enjoyable experience. Except for the odd 5 minute rushes there were few lines and plenty of tables to sit at unless you absolutely must have one of the bay windows! We found that the large seating area between La Piazza and Carvery serveries always had space. I think this is an attractive casual dining facility and with new signage is very easy to use  I really cant understand why anyone would dislike it unless they are extremely impatient, or perhaps lunchtimes are more laid back affairs during Crossings? The choice and quality of food here was still extremely good in spite of the fact that they never had shepherds pie once this trip! Staterooms were adjacent outside C2s, aft on Deck 5. They were both wheelchair accessible so the bedroom space was less than Id hoped having previously seen other cavernous C2s. This was compensated by the vast bathroom with walk in shower, but no tub. The beds and bedding are still probably the best on the high seas, space was more than ample and the huge window (it can hardly be called a porthole) gave us more than enough view of the grey Atlantic every day. Both cabins were in pristine condition and were kept so by the very attentive Raul who was always on hand for even the smallest request. We had seen and enjoyed both production shows before (Appassionata and Rock @ The Opera), but somehow they were performed with even more style and enthusiasm than the more nervous maiden voyage renditions. Juggler Edge and solo violinist Claire Grogan were not our cup of tea, but the show given by Maurice Clark, an excellent vocalist, was very enjoyable. The demand for Planetarium shows was as strong as ever, with tickets for the early afternoon shows running out well in advance (you can pick up tickets for each of the daily shows from the desk in ConneXions on the day). We didnt come across any broken seats in visits to three shows, but Cunard really should introduce some new shows before too long. Carly Simon was returning to the US following her recording on the previous eastbound crossing and gave an interview with Cruise Director Brian Price  not being huge fans, we decided to give that a miss. Not much has been written about the Black and White or The Ascot Balls. Let me just say that there was something of a party spirit on this crossing and both balls were very well attended with dress codes largely adhered to. There was standing room only in the Queens Room on both nights but the Ascot Ball, with its hat parade and champagne fountain, had a party atmosphere akin to New Years Eve the like of which I had never seen onboard a ship for many years. As I expected, G32 came into its own later in the evening of a crossing  it had been dead on most nights of the maiden voyage. Brian Price was a bearable cruise director and was obviously of the old school with previous experience on Cunard. His disembarkation talk joked about being easier to go down one box and give full marks for everything, but at no stage did he ask outright for such. He did suggest that passengers not mark a whole department down for one less than perfect experience but rather use the comments box to highlight the problem and mark that department based on the remaining experience  which I thought was a fair comment to make. Queen Mary 2 made the crossing itself seem effortless. Commodore Warwick was in command and not a Princess Captain to be seen anywhere in fact, to my surprise we sailed under the blue ensign!!!. in spite of Force 7 storms on days 1 and 3 (we were told we were sailing in between two hurricanes  and they could be clearly see on the bridge radar), she maintained a steady 24 to 25 knots throughout the voyage. The windows along the forward section of Decks 2 or 3 were still the best vantage points to get the thrill of the ship slicing through those rough seas. Some of the outside top decks were closed during the bad weather, but Deck 7 promenade proved to be a haven for an outside stroll in all types of weather. The weather on Day 5 in fact turned out to be more Caribbean than Atlantic and we sun worshippers got 6 or 7 hours of uninterrupted sunbathing. The kennels were in use but I was amazed to see how small and cramped they were! There appeared to be about 6 or 7 cages but arranged in 3 levels one above the other  my late red setter Oscar would not have been amused to travel this way! One section of the deck was gated off when the two pouches onboard had their free time, but given the size of the ship I think it is a small and mean facility. There were approximately 2,300 pax onboard and 2,200 pax booked on the following eastbound crossing. This 84 to 88% of capacity, plus the summer crossings being mostly full, must be good news for those who wish to see the QM2 transatlantic service survive and flourish. These figures also represent a 20  30% increase on QE2s maximum transatlantic capacity, so who can say that the demand is not there? The Commodore commented that the 2006 round South America to Hawaii and back season now has only limited availability  he also mentioned it would be his first time around the Horn and joked that it was a long way to take the wife home for the day! Our last day came and went far too quickly but there was one more highlight to look forward to. Unfortunately no one told us that it would be pitch black when we sailed into New York!!! It was interesting to see the Narrows bridge, Statue of Liberty and Manhattan lit up  but its not like seeing it in daylight! We docked at Pier 90 and quite frankly I dont know how anyone can argue about the ship moving to Red Hook when the facilities in Manhattan are so dilapidated  that neighbourhood of Manhattan isnt exactly Park Avenue either. Temporary or permanent, a move was surely inevitable given the state of these facilities? This is a superb service on a superb ship. A truly Grand Transatlantic Crossing and quite frankly, the only way to cross. It may have been our first Queen Mary 2 crossing but I have a feeling it wont be the last. Read Less
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Sail Date: September 2005
Transatlantic Review - September 2005 This is a somewhat belated review of the transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York that my wife and I took for our honeymoon in September of last year. Some of the more regular visitors ... Read More
Transatlantic Review - September 2005 This is a somewhat belated review of the transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York that my wife and I took for our honeymoon in September of last year. Some of the more regular visitors to this site may recall that we were having quite a few travel problems in the run up to the trip and quite a few people on this board had offered us some help and advice. Thankfully, those problems were sorted out, without too much fuss and we got to Southampton in good time. It is difficult to know where to begin, to give people an idea about QM2, as there are so many random that things pop into your mind every time you think back. I have tried to set out the journey day by day and it would probably be an idea to open this link (http://darren-goldthorpe.fotopic.net/) in another browser window as I will be referring to it quite a lot in the review, and there are quite a few decent photos there. Once you have opened the link, click on the section marked honeymoon but dont cheat by looking at the pictures first! I suppose that things started well for this trip, seven or eight months before we even left. I had always fancied a cruise, although I think my wife would have just preferred a fortnight on a beach somewhere, I did manage to persuade her it would be a good idea. With paying for the wedding, we werent sure that we would be able to afford the cruise as well, but we stumbled upon a travel agent at a Wedding Fair who operated a Honeymoon Voucher scheme. This allowed guests to contribute towards the cost of the holiday, by purchasing gift vouchers from the travel agent. Although we had some concerns about whether people would be put out by doing this, rather than buying more traditional gifts, it turned out to be unfounded. Our guests paid over two thirds of the cost of the trip, which meant we could extend our stay in New York from three days to seven days at the end of the cruise. It got even better when we received notice from the travel agent that, completely free of charge, Cunard had upgraded us from the B6 Balcony room we had booked, to a Junior Suite, moving us into the Princess Grill, and giving us a whole lot more room. Hows that for an upgrade! Like most people that I see posts on the website from time to time, the question of the dress code was at the back of both our minds. Neither of us have any problem with putting on a suit/tuxedo or evening dress, my wife loves the tuxedos and I love the dresses! I think any photos there are for a whole other website! The main thing we were concerned about was what to actually wear through the day. We got quite a bit of advice from this board, and I simply opted for a whole new wardrobe of beige, beige and more beige. As it was, we neednt have worried, as will become clear later. We arrived in Southampton by train, at around 9.30 am, even though we werent required to board until mid day. Rather than dragging suitcases behind us through Southampton and taking in the sights and sounds of the city, we decided to simply get straight down to the Cunard terminal and just do the classic tourist thing, of staring at the ship for hours. We began to wonder if something was wrong when the taxi driver asked us if we were members of the crew, when we told him where we wanted to go. At that point, I began to think that we must have been terribly under-dressed, if he thought we were crew members. At the risk of offending those who read this website, I think the real reason became clear later. At the time we sailed, my wife and I were both 29 years of age and, as I said, I really dont want to offend anybody, but we were, certainly as far as I can see, the youngest couple on board. I dont want to give the impression that the ship was full of geriatrics, or anything like that, but we did seem to be the youngest by quite some distance as well, although it really wasnt a problem, a) to us, or b) to anybody else, for that matter. When we arrived at Southampton Docks we were greeted by the Queen Mary, towering over the Cunard building. Believe me, the building itself is no small thing, but to see the ship towering over it, like it did, was pretty impressive. The only slight problem at Southampton is that we couldnt get a view of the full ship, because the building got in the way. It took quite a walk to go from one end of the building to the other, and then to see the QM2 sticking out either end, with a bit to spare as well made us both stand there and wonder exactly how this thing stays afloat. I think for anybody boarding at New York it must be even more spectacular, as you get a fantastic view all the way down the side of the ship at New York, which really does look impressive. If you go to the photos page, the first five photos are all of the ship in dock, at both Southampton and New York. Even though we were there so early, there was still plenty of activity and a Cunard representative told us to wait in a small but comfortable lounge towards the bottom end of the building. She explained that we would be called to go through shortly. We probably waited for perhaps an hour, again, no real problem, seeing as how we were so early, before we were asked for our luggage and we watched it taken by conveyor on board. By this time it had probably reached 11.00 am to 11.30 am and people started forming a queue outside the main departure area. We joined the queue where we got talking to a couple from Pittsburgh, who had come over on a previous crossing, spent some time touring England and Scotland and were now travelling back. I couldnt help but be a little jealous at that kind of itinerary. My wife was quite fearful of motion sickness and this couple put her mind at rest, with lots of stories about their journey here and the rough seas! As we entered the departure area, we began to see the full force of our upgrade. We were invited to join another line for Grills passengers, which had virtually nobody in it, and then within five minutes we were having our picture taken for the passenger cards. We were given a boarding card and sent through to the main gate area, to sit and wait for perhaps another 15/20 minutes at most. The whole boarding procedure ran like clockwork, and before we had even set foot on the ship, we were impressed at how well organised things were. The only slight moan at this point was another Grills passenger who clearly took the view that as he had a gold boarding card, as opposed to a silver card, he really didnt have to queue up and would just walk past the queue and go straight into the boarding area. Clearly, he felt very important about himself, so nobody said anything, but it did start me wondering whether there would be an inherent on board snobbery with passengers from the Queens Grill. Again, thankfully, this was relatively an isolated incident and apologies to any Queens Grill travellers, it seems I branded you snobs unfairly. As we boarded, we entered into the grand Lobby with the customary crew line up either side. Although you may have seen pictures of the grand Lobby on numerous websites, in the brochures and, if you are anything like me, on all the books you bought before sailing, you still cant help but get a tinge of excitement as you first walk in. There will be plenty of pictures of the grand Lobby later, but if you want to cheat a little, if you look at picture 12.1.2 you will see the area that greets you as you immediately walk in. After nodding and saying hello to a few of the staff, we were then directed to the lift area where we caught the lift up to Deck 10. We were staying in room 10.008 and retrieved our cases as we got out of the stairwell. As we were probably amongst the first 20 to get on board, I dont think the poor chap at the lift had had a chance to take them outside the room yet, but that really didnt matter, as he was very friendly and pointed us in exactly the right direction. As we turned away from the stairwell and into the corridor, we were again struck by how long the ship was. On Deck 10 there is virtually nothing other than rooms and if you look at photo 31 on page 3, you will see as good a picture as I could take of the long stretching corridor. When we went into the room, we were both very impressed. We had seen enough of them in the brochures to know exactly what to expect, but everything looked clean and sparkling. Considering the housekeeping staff cant have had too much time since the last guests had left, they had done an amazing job. As we were on honeymoon, a complimentary bottle of champagne was waiting for us, although we resisted the temptation to crack it open straight away, because we both wanted to set off and explore. Photos of the room can be seen at photograph 7 and 7.1. We made a few quick phone calls whilst we were still in port, excitedly telling friends and family about our room and what we had seen so far, before setting off on our own tour of the ship. The first visit for us .. well, we are Brits, so it was the pub of course. We found the Golden Lion and were quite impressed by the size of it. We had expected it to be a little more claustrophobic, but Cunard certainly hadnt skimped on square footage, which really, we should have known before we even went in there. The Golden Lion can be seen at photos 3 and 3.1. We had a bit of wander around the ship with no real direction, simply looking at whatever was nearest to us from the map we had that we were interested in and then heading in that way. We found out early doors that although you may take plenty of wrong turns, it is never difficult to correct yourself, and there has clearly been a lot of thought gone into how passengers will navigate around the ship. We went out on to the Propeller Deck as we called it, and I am sure that those of you who have been on the ship before will know exactly what we are talking about. If you have a look at photo number 4 you will see my wife and I standing in front of one of the propeller sections. To give you some idea of exactly how big they are, take a look at photograph 4.1, which is a view of the Propeller Deck from the Observation Deck. We popped quickly into the Gym, which frankly, I certainly wasnt going to use whilst I was at sea, although my wife had some misguided notion that shed have the time to exercise whilst we were on board. Photo number 5 doesnt really do justice to the Gym which is lot more expansive than shown. I dont have a wide angle camera, and didnt want to waste too many pictures of a room that I certainly wouldnt be seeing much. From the occasions that we walked past the Gym, it certainly seemed well used, by a good few people. We walked up into the Library, which can be seen on photo 6 and were both very impressed with the finish of the room. Not just the fixtures and the fittings, but the floors and ceilings themselves, all seemed in good condition and everything seemed to fit. I ought to break off here and say that this was one of the things I have never understood when I read this site, prior to joining the ship. I had read that a lot of people complained that the carpets looked worn, I even read one rather ridiculous review when somebody complained about sea spray on their balcony! The carpets didnt look particularly worn to me, although there are, naturally, areas where the pile has been trodden down, but bearing in mind that this ship has around 2,000 passengers per journey, I am not certain that there is whole lot that can be done about that. My wife made immediate use of the library, checking out a book for the journey and we carried on with our exploration before returning to the room. We made a few more excited phone calls before sitting out on the balcony to watch all the loading going on. Photograph 8 is a shot from our balcony, looking down the ship, and photograph 8.1 is exactly the same shot albeit when we were at sea. At this point, we were met by Roy, our Cabin Steward, who I imagine had seen us return and knocked on the door to introduce himself and tell us what we needed to do if ever we needed any help from him. He seemed a pleasant enough chap, although I think we were a source of constant frustration for him, throughout the journey, for reasons I will explain later. We were both feeling a bit peckish at this point, and decided that we just wanted something simple for the time being and opted to go for the culinary delight that is burger and chips from the Chefs Galley. As there werent many people on board at this stage, we had our food on a plate within probably 2/3 minutes and whilst you are never going to write a review about the gastronomic pleasures of a hamburger and chips, we certainly had no complaints. We went back to the Golden Lion and we were offered a soft drinks package. For $30 each, it was explained that a sticker would be put on to our guest card that would enable us to have all the soft drinks we wanted at no extra cost. As a general rule, my wife and I only tend to drink alcohol in the evening, rather than through the day, so that seemed a perfectly good option to us, which we took up. My first little moan about the trip probably starts here. Having said I dont like to drink during the day, I have to confess my first order at the Golden Lion was a pint of Lager. Well, after all, I was celebrating! We had opted to pay for the prepaid tips/gratuities, and when the bill/receipt arrived for our drinks a tip had been added. We queried this and were told that tips were still added to drinks and such. At the end of the day, we are not talking a huge amount of money, but I was a little perturbed that I had already chosen to pay for tips and yet, here they were, being added again. Having said that, we soon got used to it and other than one small complaint that I will refer to later about the final account, we were pleasantly surprised with how affordable everything was on board. We spent some time reading the daily programme, and decided that we would go to the Sail Away party later that evening, after the lifeboat drill. The daily programme listed quite a few events that evening, which included a Welcome Aboard show, a string quartet in the Grand Lobby, Ballroom and Latin dancing in the Queens Room, a harpist in the Chart Room, a Pianist in the Commodore Club and Golden Lion, and various events in the G32 nightclub. We opted to simply go to the Welcome Aboard show after dinner and then have an early night. The Sail Away party was held on the Main Deck areas to the rear of the ship. Music was provided by Xtasea, the on board band, who were very good and did their best to get people going. We were given a complimentary glass of champagne and we were accosted by some chap with a video camera as we were drinking. It turns out hes a feature of most things on board. There were a few small boats and such, coming past us as we sailed out of Southampton, who cast us a wave as we set off, but it wasnt too long before Southampton was completely out of view and we were well on our way. We had dinner that evening in the Princess Grill and met our Head Waiter, John, amongst a host of others who ran the whole dining area with almost military precision. I think throughout the whole journey, we never waited more than five minutes to be served, or to have plates cleared. If we were low on water, we were topped up without really having to ask, and amongst all this they found the time to have a bit of a laugh and a joke with us also. The wine waiter, Mildrad, turned out to be a real character, having quite a few tales to share. On the first night, neither of us fancied any wine with our meal, it was probably the thought of the champagne waiting in our room that did it, and when we declined the wine, there was no pushiness or anything like that to try and get a sale. The meal was very filling and I think my wife and I probably rolled rather than walked to the theatre for the Welcome Aboard show. We got a few of the, what I would call bucket seats in the first few rows of the theatre and sat back for the show. That was the first and last time we sat in those seats, which we both found very uncomfortable. The Welcome Aboard show wasnt really that much of a show, as the majority of it was spent introducing various staff members and such. On reflection, I dont think I would bother with the Welcome Aboard show again, but after that big meal, we werent really in the mood for much other than sleeping. When we returned to our room, we found the pillow mints, eagerly left by Roy and argued over who got the mint one and who got the orange one. It was actually a nice surprise after we walked up to the room, seeing a shaft of light coming under the door and wondering who was in there, we discovered that Roy had turned on the bedside lighting, giving quite a warm and cosy atmosphere to walk back into. The daily programme for the following day was also waiting at the foot of the bed and we had a quick flick through to see if anything in particular took our fancy. Despite the fact that we had only got married 11 days earlier, my wife quite fancied the Wedding Vow renewals at Sir Samuels Wine Bar at 9.30 am, until I pointed out to her that there wasnt a prayer of either of us being awake at that time. We were quite surprised at how early everything starts going on board, as we certainly had no plans to be up and around before 10.30. We decided we would leave any decisions to the morning and left it at that. Wednesday We woke up to find a small card behind the room number plate, and were both quite excited to open and see that we had been invited to the Queens Room for cocktails at 6.45 pm for the Captains Cocktail Party. There were instructions on which entrance to use if we wanted to meet Commodore Warwick and we felt quite giddy and excited about being invited. Of course, what we didnt realise at the time was that everybody on board got one of these invitations! We couldnt face the prospect of a three course breakfast in the Princess Grill, both of us still being full from the night before, so we decided that we would have a much more informal breakfast and go for the buffet style option at the Kings Court. It was the first and only time we opted for the Kings Court for breakfast. Without wanting to sound too critical, it was like a cattle market, with the queues and there were quite a lot of people pushing past and jostling to get to food before others, and the food we did have was a little cold. I dont know if that is a regular feature of the Kings Court, but it certainly wasnt what we were expecting and it was enough to put us off that area for the rest of the trip. We decided to do the 10.30 tour of the ship and as we made our way down to the Golden Lion my wife revealed that she was starting to feel a little sick. My theory was that it was more likely to be the sausage from the Kings Court than motion sickness, as I couldnt really feel the ship moving at all, although my wife insisted it was. The tour was certainly very interesting and a good way to get acquainted with the ship. As it happens, we had seen a lot of what was on the tour the day before, when we carried out our own unofficial tour. The tour guide, a Canadian chap, whose name I cannot remember, explained quite a bit about the finer detail of the ship and one amusing thing in particular appears at photograph 12.02. There are a number of mosaics and carvings around the Grand Lobby area. It was explained that there is a colourful metallic type, one for each season, (photograph 12.1 is of course Summer) and on the wooden faced carvings there is a carving for each continent. In the North American continent we were asked to look to see if we could see anything unusual. Apparently the carving contains a true American icon, and after no one could find this hidden icon, it was pointed out that the artist had etched Homer Simpson into the base of the space shuttle. This is ringed on photo 12.2, although you will probably need to click the full view to make him out. We all thought it was a bit of wind up at first, but it is official that Homer Simpson is part of the fixtures and fittings on board the Queen Mary II! After the tour was complete I had agreed to go along to the dance lessons. I should explain at this point that two left feet really doesnt do justice to my abysmal dancing skills and the only concession my wife had managed to get out of me was that I would go and watch the lessons before deciding whether or not to take part. I was quite relieved to find that most of the people attending the dance lessons had abilities that could rival even my own, and I agreed that the following day I would take part. The lessons were run by Jacek, a dancing champion from Poland and Nicola from Liverpool. Jacek took the most control of the lessons, but both were very friendly, not to mention patient, and made the whole lesson in to a very entertaining and enjoyable spectacle, as well as something in which to participate. The waters were quite choppy by this point, and I must admit I had begun to feel a bit of a motion as the ship pitched, but nothing that I found uncomfortable. I took picture 18.1 later that day in the Golden Lion when one of the waves covered the window, and put the pub in darkness for a brief moment. We opted for a simple lunch in the Golden Lion before spending the rest of the day generally wandering around and getting a better look at parts of the ship we had so far not had the chance to see, and have a good amble round at our own pace. We returned to the room later for my wife to have a bit of a lay down, as she really wasnt feeling too good at this point, although what we found waiting for us at the room certainly perked her up a bit. Following on from the invitation wed had earlier in the day to the cocktail party, we now had an invitation waiting for us to join Commodore Warwick and his wife at their table. It was a good job that we had come back to the room, as the invitation was RSVP by 3.00 pm. We were both extremely excited at the prospect of dining at the Captains table. My wife decided to have a lie down and see if she could shake off the feeling of sickness and I immediately got to work on the email telling people back home about our first day on board. We got ready nice and early for the cocktail party in the Queens Room and opted to queue for the entrance that took us past Commodore Warwick. As we were introduced to the Commodore, we were both pleasantly surprised that he knew who we were, knew we there on honeymoon and commented that he looked forward to seeing us later that evening. As we walked off, we discussed between ourselves how he knew of us and determined that perhaps there werent actually many honeymooners on board, so it wasnt too difficult a thing. We were nonetheless impressed that someone of his position had taken the time to find out that information. The Queens Room is extremely impressive, to say the least. It is actually best appreciated when it is empty. Photos 16 through to 16.4 show the Queens Room at its best. The large dance floor, (16.4) is overlooked by two huge chandeliers, (16.3) with ample seating areas (16.1 and 16.2) running around the dance floor. Photograph 16.1 is the smoking area of the Queens Room and a place with which my wife became particularly acquainted. There were quite a few drinks flowing and plenty of dancing, although my one hour spent watching others do it didnt give me anywhere near the confidence needed to get up and take part. We had a few drinks and simply relaxed and soaked up the atmosphere of the event, before we were again met by our old friend with the video camera who wanted to film us clinking our glasses together. There were quite a few people who waved him away and again there was no pushiness, when told that people did not want to be filmed, away he went on to the next couple. We were quite happy to oblige and spent maybe an hour in total in the Queens Room before deciding to freshen up prior to going to the Captains table. It was quite interesting to see the Britannia Restaurant at its busiest. We entered as the second sitting was commencing and whilst the Princess Grill is very quiet and laid back, the Britannia is a hive of activity. That isnt to suggest that it has any kind of canteen feel, or anything along those lines. Everything still looks fantastic and certainly, the dome in the Britannia Restaurant is one of the most striking features on board, in my view. Photographs 23, 23.1 and 23.2 show the Britannia from that evening, photograph 23 is the Captains table, viewed from the second floor, 23.1 the large dome, and 23.2 is our picture at the Captains table. I could probably write a whole review, purely on that night. We were extremely pleased to be invited to the Captains table, and my wife in particular almost in awe when she realised that not only were we simply sitting at his table, but she had the seat next to Kim, his wife. We didnt know what to expect, either from Commodore Warwick, or Kim, but as it happens, they were two of the most down to earth people you could ever wish to meet. I am sure that when occasion requires, they can conduct themselves in a very formal and very appropriate way, but throughout the meal they were laughing, joking and friendly, not only with us, but with the members of the crew who shared the table, and the waiters serving us. Kim in particular was an absolute delight to talk to, with so many stories. I could barely get a word in edgeways, as she and my wife set about on almost any and every topic imaginable. Before things got going in earnest, we were a little bemused by Commodore Warwick who asked if we had sorted out our travel problems. We couldnt for the life of us understand how the Commodore even knew we had travel problems, and when we asked him he simply winked and said something along the lines of: We like to do our research on board. After scratching our heads with that one, we were even more puzzled when later in the conversation the Commodore commented how nice he thought the church that we married in was. We were at the table with two other honeymoon couples and Commodore and Mrs Warwick were both quite keen to hear tales of how each of us proposed and how the weddings went, and so on. After puzzling how the Commodore would know that we had experienced travel problems and how he would have any idea about the church where we were married, the penny finally dropped & This website. A few of the people who had given us advice on this site before our wedding had asked us to put some pictures of the wedding for them to look at, so they could keep an eye out for us on board. It turns out that both Commodore and his wife are quite regular readers of this message board and we had a bit of chat about it. Commodore Warwick explained that on more than a few occasions it took all his composure to avoid replying to some of the more critical articles written. He pointed out one in particular that had a go at both his wife and himself for never being at the Captains table. He pointed out of course that the Britannia Restaurant does have two sittings and they always dine at the second sitting. It is likely that whoever made that post was probably in for the first sitting and I think I do have agree with the Commodore that to expect them to eat twice a night is probably a little unreasonable! The whole night was fantastic and a real highlight for both of us. Kim explained to us that she is originally from Hawaii, somewhere my wife visited many years ago, with some fond memories of the place. One local delicacy in particular sticks out in her mind, when she told Kim about this one, she was extremely excited, as that is apparently her mothers speciality dish. I think the two of them spent the next 20 minutes waxing lyrical about how wonderful it was, as everyone else sat and listened to these two grown women talking themselves into raptures about food. I was made to tell the story of how I proposed, twice, by Kim; once to her and then again to the whole table. Apparently Commodore Warwick met Kim some years back when she was working for an airline and their respective flights were delayed. She explained that until she had met the Commodore, she had never ever even set foot on a ship of any kind. After the conversations about Hawaii had finished, Kim indicated that next year the Queen Mary was going to Hawaii for the first time. She asked us to send her a note if we managed to book, because she was having a number of private parties on board and would invite us along. We were both absolutely gutted, as we knew we had no prospect of affording to go on board again, so soon and the honeymoon had exhausted our holiday entitlement. Still, it was nice to be asked. At the end of the evening we were both elated and shattered, my wife still wasnt feeling too great, so rather than going to see any shows or staying up late drinking, we again decided on an early night. It was probably around this time that I spent the first long period trying to figure out the television in the room. I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only could we order films and music through the television, we could also place an order for Room Service and we both decided that we would have a bit of lazy morning and just have breakfast delivered. Thursday Thursday was a bit of an unusual day, compared with the previous two. My wife had woken up feeling even worse with sea sickness than she had the night before and she reliably informed me that the ship had been pitching quite a lot during the night, which of course I had slept through completely. We had a look on the television and apparently the previous day had been seastate 8. I am not quite sure how that managed to escape me, but clearly the meal the night before had done the trick for me. The room service we had ordered for 9.00 am turned up at exactly 9.00 am. One thing that took us both by surprise was the sheer volume of what we ordered. When ordering Room Service through the television you have quite a list of a lot of different foods. I didnt fancy anything too fussy, so I had ordered toast and planned on polishing it off with some sausages, bacon and hash browns. Not the greatest of combinations, granted, but once I saw them on the menu the night before, I decided I had to sample them. I had seen on the menu that there was both English bacon and American bacon available, regular sausage and Cumberland sausage, and one or two different varieties as well. I decided that I would sample both American and English bacon and both varieties of sausage also. I thought that I would simply get one of each as opposed to the two that were detailed on the menu. In actual fact, Room Service turned up with two of everything, effectively giving me two breakfasts to get through. I am sure you will all be pleased to hear that I loosened my belt accordingly and managed to do a cracking job of finishing it off. The weather was much calmer outside than it had been for the first two days, when the wind had been really strong out at sea and going out on to the balcony for anything more than a couple of minutes at a time really wasnt possible. It is a shame, as the glass fronted, wide spaced balcony really was a great area. We talked about them and decided that we would probably be better off with one of the sheltered balconies on the lower rooms on the transatlantic crossings and having a big wide balcony like this on something like a Caribbean cruise. It was all pretty much fantasy as we knew we wouldnt be able to afford a Princess Grill room again, but nonetheless, it was nice to plan this Caribbean jaunt. We looked on the daily programme and saw that Jacek and Nicola were teaching the Tango today and decided to have a lazy day up until around mid day and then take a walk down to the Queens Room. I could tell my wife wasnt well at all when we got down to the Queens Room and she suggested that we just watch, rather than take part. After about 30 minutes of watching, she said she was going to go back to our room to have a lie down and I suggested that we just go straight to the Medical Bay and get her the injection, which she agreed to, all too readily. I certainly didnt imagine that I would spend some time commenting on the medical facilities of QM2, but the staff there were very, very friendly, despite being clearly busy. The day before, there had been an announcement over the public address system that had gone into all cabins as well as public areas. Commodore Warwick apparently had a passenger who was seriously ill, and they urgently needed B-Negative type blood. My wife and I are both blood donors, but neither of us have that group. We were told later on in the voyage however, that the blood had been located and the passenger was doing well. When we arrived the medical area, one of the nurses did seem to be getting a little irate with one of the passengers and understandably so. He was a doctor from Sweden, and from what I could see, was pretty much demanding that he toured the facilities, because he was interested in seeing what was available. The nurse was very politely pointing out to him that this is still a working hospital area, not a public part of the ship, although that seemed to fall on deaf ears. Thankfully, he did leave her alone eventually, when he saw that there were quite a few people waiting. We hadnt phoned ahead for an appointment, which we found out afterwards is the suggested way of dealing with things, but nonetheless, the staff were very helpful and inside half an hour my wife had been given the sea sickness injection. She was warned by the nursing staff that it would make her very drowsy, but considering the lack of sleep she had suffered the night before, I think this was probably welcomed by her! We went to get something else to eat, again we just didnt fancy the full lunch at the Princess Grill and decided on some simple pub grub in the Golden Lion again. After lunch, my wife was absolutely shattered and we went back to our room for her to have a lie down. I think it is safe to say that within seconds of her head hitting the pillow, she was fast on, and believe it or not, that was the last I heard from her until about 7.30 that evening. I filled in my time by writing a long email to everybody back home, recounting the story of the dinner at the Captains table, not to mention Andreas marathon sleep. The email system in the room really is very useful. We were given a small keyboard, about the size of a laptop, which can be tricky if you are a clumsy typist like me, but passengers are only charged for the cost of sending an email. It would therefore make much more sense to type an email in the cabin, email it to a web based address, and then copy and paste it to the web if anyone tries to post on this board from the ship. The internet access in the library was very good and very reliable, there werent any times when I was on board when it wasnt working, although every time I used it to check the football scores back home, I was bitterly disappointed with the result, but can hardly blame that on the QM2 and the internet service. I spent the rest of the day looking around some of the facilities on the top deck where the Boardwalk Cafe would be, according to the deck plan. It was never opened throughout the journey because of high winds, which was a real shame. However, walking round the upper decks and simply leaning on the rails and watching the ships wake disappear over the horizon was absolutely exhilarating, even if it was still a little blustery up there. Again, as I stood there looking backwards, I couldnt help but think how absolutely wonderful it would be to gaze out over a blue Caribbean sea and having the constant breeze from the ships movement to cool me down. I spent the rest of the day watching a film in Illuminations and touring the Maritime History section of the ship, something which interests me very much, but my wife has no great passion for it, so it seemed the ideal time to investigate. Illuminations, the on board planetarium, really is an impressive looking area of the ship. It was explained to us at an OxfordUniversity lecture we attended later in the voyage that the whole design feature of the Planetarium was intended to look like a 1920s film house from New York. It certainly looked very grand and the seats were extremely comfortable. I do however, have a little confession and I will apologise now to anybody who shared the Planetarium with me on the day. As you sit in the red seats, which fully recline, when the dome is brought over you, I twice fell asleep in that position as I was looking up at the stars. If anybody was snoring, I have to assume that was me, and apologise now. When I got back to the room, my wife was still fast asleep and she woke up as I took a shower to get ready for dinner. It was a formal night again, which meant the tuxedo was dusted off my wife had another chance to dress up in one of the numerous evening gowns she had persuaded me to buy before the trip. The final amusing part of the day was that when we arrived in the Princess Grill, our waiters seemed almost surprised to see us. It hadnt occurred to us, but we were already in the third day of the crossing and we had only actually eaten one meal in the Princess Grill. The staff seemed very concerned about this, and genuinely so, asking if there had been anything wrong with our meal the first day, or if we were upset with their service at all. They were quite understanding about the Captains table of course, but did seem to take a little bit of a dent to their pride when we told them we had taken breakfast in the Kings Court and lunch at the Golden Lion. We assured them that neither of us were big eaters and one large meal a day was more than enough for us. I have to say that did both feel a little guilty seeing the looks on their faces, so decided that we would choose a reasonably expensive bottle of wine that evening, much to the delight of Mildrad. We were rather late in finishing our meal, which is I suppose is one of the advantages of single seating dining as opposed to the two seating system operating in the Britannia. We had planned on watching the show in the theatre and missed the opening by about 15 or 20 minutes. We took up a large seat at the far corner, which was left pretty much unpopulated, because of the distance from the stage; it was however fantastically more comfortable than the bucket seats we had been in the first time, and we decided that for any future shows we would tolerate the distance in exchange for the bench seating and the extra leg room. Despite only being awake for the best part of 3 or 4 hours, my wife was again feeling quite drowsy. Nicola and Jacek were due to do a couple of dances themselves as a demonstration in the Queens Room, and we went along to watch. I dont know why we did, because frankly, the sight of seeing these two glide effortlessly around a dance floor, compared with my own clumpy and decidedly less coordinated movements, made me sick. It really was impressive to watch two professionals, but after that we decided that yet again we would have an early night. Unsurprisingly, my wife was again the first one to drop of to sleep. After the quality of the breakfast we had had this morning, I decided to book breakfast through the television for room service, before dropping off for the night. Friday I mentioned earlier that I thought my wife and became a constant thorn in the side for Roy, our Cabin Steward. It seemed that we made a start to our days much later than the majority of other passengers. As 10.008 is quite close to the front of the ship, we seemed to disturb the rhythm of making up the rooms for the day, and Roy often shared a joke with us as he knocked on the door and we told him we werent ready to leave just yet. On one or two occasions as we came back during the day to check out the daily programme, we arrived as he was making his changes, but assured him he was all right to get on with things and just ignore us. Room Service was fantastic again, and we decided there and then that for the rest of the crossing we were going to be lazy and have breakfast in bed every morning. The injection that my wife had had the night before had worked an absolute treat and when she had finally slept off the after effects, she was startled at the effect that it had had. She didnt feel in the slightest bit sickly and was raring and ready to go. Sadly for me, that meant attendance at the Swing Dance class with Nicola and Jacek at 12.15 that afternoon. If the day before had taught me anything that you really dont have to take part in the activities, to still fill your time on board. In the first couple of days we had tried to do as much of the daily programme as we possibly could, but I had such a good time simply wandering around the ship and looking at things I hadnt had the chance to see, that we decided that there would only be two things from the daily programme that we would actually do. The first was of course the dancing and secondly a QM2 Scavenger Hunt that was arranged for 2.00 pm that afternoon. A curious thing happened in the dance class when it appeared that I discovered I did have a right foot as well as a left one, and even if I say so myself, I didnt do too badly at all with Swing. I even found myself enjoying it and looking over at others who werent picking it up as quickly as me and feeling quite superior to them! If it is any consolation to anybody who struggled with the Swing Class, I was found woefully lacking the following day when it came to the Waltz. We had a bite to eat between the dance class and the scavenger hunt and walked up to Sir Samuels, expecting to find the scavenger hunt was in fact populated by dozens of children, however, we again found that we were the closest thing to children there! There were about 20 people or so waiting to take part, and we were divided into teams and the rules explained. I am sure you will all probably have guessed what is involved, but basically we were all given a series of clues that led to one area of the ship, where a further clue was waiting. The whole idea is that it helps you to get better acquainted with the ship and I was feeling quietly confident after my roaming the previous day that we were in with a real chance of winning. Before I say anything else about the scavenger hunt, can I just here and now that we were cheated. Whilst I dont mean this disrespectfully, we were by far and away the youngest people in the scavenger hunt and I was pretty confident that we could get around the ship better than a lot of our opponents. Sadly, I can only assume that all our opponents were QM2 veterans and must have known the place inside out, because somehow we managed to finish absolute last. There was a couple from America who finished second from last, albeit a good thirty minutes earlier than us, who also said that they had found some of the clues had been moved, or hidden further away than they ought to have been. I am not really sure if it is true or not, but I would really like to think that nobody taking part in a bit of fun like a scavenger hunt would possibly have done something like that. Although it sounds very childish, we had a brilliant laugh, particularly watching the faces of the crew members that we accosted in our vain attempt to win it all. The scavenger hunt had taken up a lot of the day, and we finished off by watching a Planetarium film before getting ready for dinner. We ate fairly late and then made our way to the Queens Room where there was due to be another dance performance with Nicola and Jacek. The weather had got a little choppier by this time and even I could feel the ship pitching, although not unpleasantly so. There were a few occasions when people walking the corridors had to reach out and steady themselves on the handrails, but nothing too bad. If I am honest, I was actually disappointed about that, as I wanted to see how the ship coped in bad weather. Because of the movement of the ship, the dance was cancelled. It was explained that neither Nicola nor Jacek wished to risk any injuries, which is of course entirely understandable. Because the night had ended a little quicker than we had expected, we decided to venture into G32 where Xtasea were playing again and just to have a look at the place. This is the one note of caution that I would give about reading reviews and actually paying any attention to them. You really should go along and do things and make your own mind up. Before we had set off on the trip I read a review on this site, which pretty much branded G32 as a complete waste of time. As a result of that, we hadnt bothered with it until circumstances dictated we might as well have a look. The atmosphere inside was very relaxed and party-like. Xtasea were playing very upbeat music but not so loud that conversation at the table was prevented, if that was what you wanted. The music varied greatly, and both my wife and I thought back to the Friday night we had in Oistions in Barbados, two years earlier. Anybody who has been will know what it is like, but the locals basically turn up with sound systems on the back of their cars and trucks and turn what is usually the market place into one big dance floor. It is an amazing atmosphere and there were quite a few people getting up in the G32 and having a good dance. One chap, and I do apologise if you are reading this, in particular caught my eye. He was a grey haired fellow, almost certainly into his seventies, dancing away with a girl who looked to be early to mid-thirties. I just assumed that they were granddaughter and grandfather until she leant over and rather enthusiastically kissed him. All I can say to that is, those people who say that money doesnt buy happiness clearly didnt see the look on this chaps face & I think it certainly does! My wife was busy singing along with some of the songs when Xtasea invited her up on the stage to sing along with them, which she politely declined. They wouldnt take no for an answer, and in the end she made a deal with them to get up and sing along the following night. I have a feeling that if she had many more of these Atlantic Breeze cocktails that she was drinking, (a mixture of vodka, cranberry and pineapple juice) then she would have been up there that night. Friday had been set as an informal night and a jacket and tie isnt particularly great dancing attire, but I made as good an effort as I could before we decided to call it a night. As I am sure you can guess, Room Service was ordered for the following morning, and for a change I think, I was asleep first. Saturday Room Service can pretty much go without comment. It was on time, the food was good. Perhaps the only interesting feature of the morning was that we awoke to the sound of the horn blowing. The ship was in quite a bit of fog and the horn sounded approximately every 10 minutes or so. It was quite surreal to look out through the balcony doors and be able to see absolutely nothing, other than fog. We couldnt even see the edge of the balcony, although this didnt last very long. Saturday was a fairly big day on the daily programme. It included the final art auction, (we hadnt been to any) the Ascot Ball in the Queens Room and the Rock at the Opera in the RoyalCourtTheatre. Every member of staff with whom we had spoken on board had recommended the Rock at the Opera show to us as being the best show of the lot, so we were determined not to let our meal take too long and to watch the show in full. We started off the day with the dance class as always before finding ourselves in two minds about the OxfordUniversity lectures that were on that day. I omitted to mention that the previous day we had attended a lecture given by Robin Neillands, about the cracking of the Enigma code. Mr Neillands was very knowledgeable and very passionate on the topic and the lecture was very interesting, although probably about 15 minutes too long. I could have wept at some of the questions asked of him, as they had been covered in his lecture only half an hour earlier, so it was quite obvious that some people really werent listening to a word he was saying. We were surprised to see that the scavenger hunt was on again, but this clashed with a lecture on the Development of New Yorks Neighbourhoods and its MotionPicturePalaces. The lecture was actually very good and over the following week in New York, we spent quite a bit of time trying to spot some of the old buildings featured in the lecture and it made quite a change to actually have a bit of knowledge on the topic! Following the lecture, we stayed in Illuminations for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts 3.30 pm production. It was the first time that we had managed to attend anything that they had done through the week and although there was nothing at all wrong with what they did, I didnt really feel that we had missed out on anything. I would have perhaps preferred to have seen a full length play, as opposed to a lot of short features, but I suppose they have time constraints to work within. The evenings entertainment was a bit of problem for us on this particular night. The Ascot Ball ran from 10.00 pm to 12.30 am and Rock at the Opera started at 8.45. If we wanted to catch both events, we were going to have to eat very early, which is exactly what we did. What we didnt realise is that one of the cast of the Rock at the Opera show had apparently taken ill and the show was cancelled. In order to put on entertainment for the final night, there was a bit of a switch around, and the Farewell Show was brought forward by a day, and Rock at the Opera put back for the final day. Luckily we found this out from the couple who sat next to us, so we stopped rushing our dinner and wandered about, thirty minutes late, to the Farewell Show, taking up our usual seat in the far corner. Everything we saw in the theatre was all very professionally done. Watching the technical side of things can be every bit as interesting as the shows themselves. The theatre has a number of motors and such which move the stage around in various ways, and the lighting really has had no expense spared upon it. Generally speaking, the entertainment on the Farewell Show wasnt too bad. Quite a lot of it was done by a vocalist by the name of Greg Bonham. A fair number of people seemed to love what he did, but, whilst I wouldnt want to insult him, he really didnt sound much better than an average club singer to my wife and I. We werent hugely impressed with the Farewell Show and left a little early to watch people arrive at the Ascot Ball. A word of warning, if you attend this event. It gets extremely busy. In some areas there was standing room only and when the preparations were being put in place for the Champagne waterfall, almost everyone was up on their feet, trying to get a good look. In the end, my wife and I decided to give the rest of the ball a miss and made our way to G32 again, which, to our surprise, was reasonably well populated. I can only assume that quite a few other people got bored with the Farewell Show on the second showing and decided to make their way over to the nightclub instead. We took a seat towards the back of the club which I can only assume was done so my wife could renege on her promise of singalong with the band. We didnt stay quite as long as the night before, but again kicked ourselves for not trying G32 earlier. The final thing that I would advise anybody to do, and it is something that we took advantage of earlier in the day, is to take part in the express checkout service. Rather than queuing up at the Pursers Office on the morning of arrival in New York, the staff suggest that you register your credit card with the Pursers Office. Once your credit card is registered, the rooms account is charged to the card automatically and there is no need for you to queue up and get a final account. The account is sent up to your room for you to double check first, although more about that later. Sunday Sunday morning was probably tinged with a bit of sadness. We were both excited to be nearing New York and at the same time, I was looking forward to phoning home, just to check up on everything, as I had opted not to use the ship to shore phone whilst I was on board because of the expense. At the same time, the harsh reality of having to pack and the fact that this was our final day on board meant for a bit of a sombre start to the day. Having said that, I am sure you will all be pleased to know that I managed to finish off the Room Service breakfast with my usual vigour although I was horrified to learn that there would be no Room Service available the following morning. Oh well, I suppose one mornings breakfast in the Princess Grill wouldnt be too much of a trauma to overcome. We also had a decision to make on the luggage, which could either be left outside the room at the end of the evening to be collected overnight and taken away, or alternatively could be taken off by the owner the following morning. Considering the lift was not particularly far from our room and that I would sooner pack everything in the suitcase rather than have another bag with me, we opted to simply take our own suitcases, which also meant we didnt need to be called by any card number and could leave the ship pretty much straight away the following morning. Also, it was a little bit of disappointment, when we learned that we would be arriving in New York at about 4.00 am. Whilst getting up early wasnt too big of a problem for us, we had both envisaged sailing up the Hudson River and waving to the crowds on Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Oh well, it wasnt to be. Even though it was the last day of the voyage, the daily planner was still packed full of activities. It seems that the final Art Auction was a bit of a red herring, from the previous day, as there was yet another final auction taking place today; this one labelled The Sequel. We chose to simply have one final dance class, which was the Rumba and other than that decided to leave our schedule free until 5.00 pm when the Guests Talent Show took place in the Queens Room. For the record, I was hopeless at the Rumba, as well. At the end of the last class, we made a point of thanking Nicola and Jacek for the fun that we had enjoyed at their lessons throughout the cruise and also we bought an instructional DVD that they were selling. I have to say though, that your average living room really doesnt compare to the grandeur of the Queens Room, no matter how hard you try. We took in a final show at Illuminations, before going back to our room for a bit more packing and venturing back to the Kings Court, or more specifically the Chefs Galley for a Hamburger and Chips. We felt it fitting to finish as we started! The Guest Talent Show was a real highlight, too. One of the things that did surprise me about the ship was how laid back a lot of the passengers were. I suppose that before we departed, we expected a ship full of well off snobs, which couldnt be further from the truth. Having said that, there were one or two of them on board, but generally speaking the vast majority of the passengers were very friendly people. My personal favourite on the Guest Talent Show was a fairly elderly woman, from Pennsylvania, who did her own stand up comedy routine. A few of her jokes were close to the bone and rather on the blue side, which was fine by me, although I do believe that one or two others complained directly to her, which left the poor lady a little upset, thinking she had offended people. I couldnt help but think at that point how welcome a feature some regular stand up comedy would be on board. I dont know if its everyones cup of tea, but personally, I would have loved to have gone to stand up comedy in the Illuminations, whilst some of the shows in the Royal Court were going on, that I wasnt all that interested in. I suppose it may not be to everybodys taste, but I would certainly like to see it at some point in the future. We had a very relaxing dinner in the Princess Grill and everybody seemed to be excited at the prospect of seeing land in a few hours time. We splashed out on a bottle of champagne and, oddly, for the first time during our journey, had the chance to have a fairly long conversation with the couple next to us. Because we tended to eat at different times we very often arrived as they were leaving and vice versa; whereas today we had started our meal at the same time. They were a fascinating couple, originally from Germany, but able to speak flawless English, probably even better than mine, with my Barnsley accent. I couldnt help but feel a tinge of envy, when they told us that this was their third month in a six month tour of the world; that they were doing to celebrate their retirement. After dinner, it was straight to the RoyalCourtTheatre for Rock at the Opera, which can only be described in the words of the daily programme, those being: spectacular. The costumes, music, lighting, choreography, everything about this particular show was absolutely fantastic. The last time we were in New York we went to watch a stage production of Chicago on Broadway and frankly, this blew it clean out of the water. It was one of those shows that as the performers moved from one routine to the next almost everybody was turning to each other and commenting upon how excellent the earlier performance had been. I could have very easily given it a standing ovation, if it hadnt been for the bottle of champagne and the three course meal I had put away earlier that night. My wife and I both agreed that this show really ought to be the finale to the cruise as to watch that on day 5 and then the Farewell Show on Day 6 would leave the Farewell Show looking even more tame than it actually was. If anyone from Cunard does regularly read this board, I sincerely hope they think long and hard about moving the shows permanently. Almost out of a sense of duty, we decided to go and have one last drink in the G32, although tonight it really did live up to the reviews I had read previously. I think almost everybody had gone for an early night, and there were probably only about 20 or so people in there. I can happily report that the old chap with the white hair was still dancing away with his considerably younger girlfriend, and still looking utterly delighted. We were told that we would arrive in New York at around 4.00 am so I set my alarm clock for 3.30 and finished off the last of the packing, just leaving the clothes in which I intended to disembark. Monday I woke up feeling as though I had never gone to sleep at all, but made my way out on to the balcony to see if there was any sign of land yet. I was met by Tim and Fiona, our neighbours for the journey, who I havent really mentioned, but who were very interesting to talk to, and it turned out have relatives who live only two miles from us. It wasnt too long before we saw the glimmers of light in the distance, and I returned to the room to drag Andrea out of bed, kicking and screaming. The ship was absolutely alive with activity, despite it still being very dark. Commodore Warwick was giving a history of New York over the tannoy as we approached and seeing the Manhattan skyline lit up as we sailed in was a spectacular sight, although the last time we were in New York, we did do a Harbour Lights cruise, so it was something we had seen previously. As enjoyable as it was, seeing it by night, I still couldnt shake the feeling that it would have been nicer to have arrived five hours later. The Observation Deck was almost impossible to get on to, and instead, people tended to move from one side of the deck to the other, lifting their cameras over the glass screens to take a few pictures. It wasnt too long before we pulled into the dock at New York and I have to say that I am not all surprised that the decision has been taken to move away from the old dock. It is not particularly a welcoming sight, looking very old and very tired, but I suppose it did make for a good contrast of the old and the new. We made our way to the Princess Grill for breakfast and were the butt of a few jokes from the waiters. I dont know if it was the shock of seeing us there for breakfast, or if they were still giddy from the tip we had given them the night before. The one breakfast I did have was very good but it convinced me that our decision to use Room Service throughout the cruise had been a good one, because I couldnt possibly have managed the dance class after polishing off one of the three course breakfasts in the Princess Grill. Although the ship had docked some time before, it was still a hive of activity with people making their way to the Pursers Office to check out, and those like us, would had opted to take our own bags, wheeling suitcases behind them. Unfortunately, my master plan to take advantage of the express checkout and avoid the queues failed dismally. Whilst we had been on board, we hadnt made many purchases, other than wine at the table and such, but we had purchased the photograph taken of us at the Captains table by the official photographer and we had also seen ourselves feature on the cruise DVD (our friend with the video camera) so decided to buy a copy of that. To my surprise, the soft drinks package that we had purchased the very first day had been charged to our account on four occasions, and we had been charged twice for the DVD and for the photograph. I had spoken with the Pursers Office the previous day, and been assured that a fresh account would be waiting under my door, but nothing had transpired. It took two further visits before this was finally sorted out, although the staff were very apologetic for the inconvenience. Before disembarking, we were left with a bit of time to wander round, taking some last minute photos. In a twist of fate, Roy proved surprisingly elusive on this final day, although we did manage to track him down and give him a tip for all of his patience over previous week. Closing the door to our room really was quite a poignant moment. We had spent the first week of our honeymoon in room 1008 and had had such a fantastic time; as we closed the door we both realised that we would both never see the ship or that room again, which did leave us feeling a little down. Dragging our suitcases behind us, we said our goodbyes to members of the crew that we recognised and had spoken to at one time or another. It would have been nice to catch up with Commodore Warwick and Kim, but they were both of course, naturally, busy. As we walked off into the terminal building in New York, we seemed to walk from serenity into chaos, but I suppose thats always the best way look at New York. Taking the chance to get a good view of the ship whilst she was still in dock, we took the pictures that I referred to earlier and debated whether or not to come back that evening to watch her sail away. We decided that we would probably only depress ourselves by doing that, so went to get on to our coach transfer. I wont say too much about New York. It is difficult not to enjoy it, but the one area that was a real let down with the holiday was the whole transfer between the ship and the hotel. We hadnt asked for, but had been given, a coach ticket, which allowed for a bus tour of New York, before arriving at the hotel. We had already done the tour before and really just wanted to get to the hotel, so had a word with the Cunard rep by the coaches, and they were quite happy for us to swap to the coach that had a direct transfer straight to the hotel as opposed to the tour and transfer. Unfortunately we got a taste of things to come, as we sat on a bus for almost two hours before we finally got away. On more than one occasion we contemplated taking our luggage off and simply getting a taxi to the hotel, but every time we asked, we were assured by the driver that we would be leaving shortly. It did get very hot and uncomfortable on the coach though, certainly a contrast to the luxury we had enjoyed all week. The only one thing I would mention about the hotel was the Cunard rep who helped when we got there. Her name was Molly and sadly, although I am sure she tried her best, she was very possibly the most inept person that I have ever encountered in my life. Despite telling her on three separate occasions that we were staying at the hotel, she continued to mix us up with those who were getting a flight immediately back to the UK. On the fourth occasion, she assured us that she had made a note of everything and if we left our cases with her, everything would be sorted out. This, after around another hour and a half in the hotel, queuing and then trying to explain things to her. One or two of the passengers were getting rather irate with her, which isnt our style, but I could well understand those who did. In the end, we decided that we had so little faith in her abilities that we unloaded our suitcases from the hotel trolley and decided to simply deal with check in ourselves. We had a word with the staff at the counter and were told we couldnt take the room until 2.30 pm, so checked our bags for storage and took a wander around New York. The hotel actually managed to give us a twin room first of all, which was interesting considering this was the second week of our honeymoon, but sorted it out without any real fuss. We had a week of amazing weather and sitting in Central Park whilst the sun is beating down, certainly made for a great experience, amongst many others. A few final points on the QM2. Firstly, the staff really are a jewel in the Queens crown. Even if they get things wrong, they do their best to put them right, and I dont think you can ask for more than that. There was one lady we got speaking with in the Queens Room who was blind and travelling alone with her guide dog. The staff made such a fuss of her and her dog, that she must have had a wonderful time and it was quite touching to see just how far they went out of their way to help them both. The ship, as you would expect, and as you can see from the pictures anyway, is utterly spectacular and for those people who write reviews pulling it apart, I really must travel on some of the ships that you people must be comparing the Queen Mary to, because they really must be something. One final comment, saved for Commodore Warwick and Kim. About the time of the propeller incident. I read a lot of angry messages on the message board, which is of course understandable. However, quite a lot of these messages were a personal attack on Commodore Warwick, accusing him of being very arrogant and of not caring. I really think that those people who write such personal attacks really ought to stop and think. Commodore Warwick was in the middle of a very stressful time and I am sure that if anybody had had the chance to speak to him as we did that night, they would see that he is anything but arrogant and that he cares deeply about what people think, more about the ship than they do about him. I know he used to read this board, and I do wonder what he must have thought, reading a lot of those personal attacks. Anyway, the point of this wasnt to have a go at people, but merely to share what was a fantastic experience, so I will say no more on that. I am sure that some of you reading this may wonder why it took me so long to put a review together if we enjoyed it so much. Well, in my defence, we did move house after we got back and I was quite happy being selfish and keeping it all to myself anyway. The real motivation for doing the review is because I did say to a few of the people on this board that I would write up a report of what I thought and if I am honest, my main reason is that we are now lucky enough to be sailing on the QM2 again. Despite thinking that our honeymoon would be our first and only time on board, we have managed to scrape enough together to afford one of the deals that Cunard are offering on the Sunshine Retreat cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, and will be back on board on 18th November this year. Unfortunately, we havent got the fantastic upgrade to the Princess Grill again, but nonetheless I am sure that wont spoil our enjoyment any. I suppose if anything, a sheltered balcony might come in handy if the weather is anything like it was last year! I am sure that as I read this back, I will think of plenty of things I forgot to mention, but I think you have probably had enough to be going along with. I really havent had the time to properly proof read it so I hope youll forgive any typing errors etc. The only advice I would give anybody travelling is, dont listen to whatever anybody else says and try everything. Stop worrying about the dress code, getting dressed up in the evenings is part of the thrill, do you really love jeans so much that you cant forget them for a few days? Probably the best piece of advice I can give you is enjoy every moment and it will give you a lifetime of memories from your time on board. Hope youve enjoyed reading the re-cap as much as I enjoyed putting it together and if youre on board on the 18th November I may see you soon! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
My wife and I have sailed on Cunard before, the QE2, as well as several other lines. The "Splendours of the Fall," cruise met our expectations. The embarkation went smoothly, as did the disembarkation when we returned to New ... Read More
My wife and I have sailed on Cunard before, the QE2, as well as several other lines. The "Splendours of the Fall," cruise met our expectations. The embarkation went smoothly, as did the disembarkation when we returned to New York. One problem during disembarkation was that passengers did not follow the rules, namely the color of their luggage tags determined the time for their disembarkation. It was the passengers themselves that caused what delays there were for others. The service from beginning to end was excellent, far better than Holland America, for example. We live in Connecticut, and have seen shows in New York frequently, and were pleased with the quality of the entertainment on the QM2. We attended the entertainment in the Royal Court Theater every night, and there were waiters throughout the auditorium for anyone who wanted a drink. The lectures were excellent, and the selections of topics were superb, typical of an English intellectual experience. We have lived in London, and visit there frequently. Our table for eight included a psychiatrist and his wife, a couple from New Mexico, and two from England. We enjoyed their company, and made friends. We were not impressed with the food in the King's Court, but it is for quick meals, not a place for elaborate dining. The Chart Room combo, the Mark Hodgson Trio, were technically skilled, and as fine a combo as you will find anywhere. They were joined by Doug Cameron, the fantastic violinist, and the place rocked. We do not buy tours, but make arrangements ourselves when we cruise. Cunard offered a variety, but St. John and Portland were all but fogged in. To everyone's surprise, due to the warm weather, few leaves were turning even in northern Canada. That didn't spoil our fun, as we experience a splendor of the fall every year here in New England. We have booked the QM2 for the cruise south to Panama January 3rd, '06. We look forward to another great time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
Introduction Having been on QM2 twice before, the main reason for taking this trip was to familiarize myself with the differences between cruising vs. crossing; of which there are many. Being a fanatic for ocean liners in general, this ... Read More
Introduction Having been on QM2 twice before, the main reason for taking this trip was to familiarize myself with the differences between cruising vs. crossing; of which there are many. Being a fanatic for ocean liners in general, this was a fantastic opportunity to experience first hand what 'crossing the pond' is all about. I must admit, I was in my element. I flew Continental from Cincinnati to Newark on 10.20, sailed from New York to Southampton (arriving on the 26th), stayed two nights in London, and then flew back to Cincinnati on the Delta non-stop from Gatwick. While in London, I stayed at the Comfort Inn Hyde Park. Embarkation Upon landing in Newark, I was met by a good friend from Lakehurst, John Geary, and, because the flight arrived at 855am, we had some time to kill before heading to the ship. We went to the South Street Seaport area, which is located near the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan. For those who have never been to the Seaport, it is a very charming area complete with museums, galleries, shops and restaurants. After having breakfast at the Seaport Cafe, we visited the Walter Lord Gallery (dedicated to the great ocean liners of the past) and then headed to the pier at about 1230pm. One of my favorite moments of any sailing is when the ship first comes into view....especially in New York. Heading north along the West Side Highway towards the mid-town piers, a hazy QM2 could be seen towering over everything in sight. At 1132ft. long, she actually juts out into the Hudson, past the end of the pier. She's only 117ft. shorter than the Empire State Building is tall and is wider than the Panama Canal. Without doubt, she's the most impressive passenger liner I've ever seen. We finally got to the pier at about 130pm (traffic was a nightmare) and were happy to see that CARNIVAL LEGEND was also in port. John decided to park on top of the pier ($22!) and he and I walked around the parking lot taking photos of both ships. I thought it was strange that they allowed him to park and walk around; especially since he wasn't sailing. I noticed that on both QM2 and CARNIVAL LEGEND, huge banners were hanging from their railings that read, "Security Warning, Keep 50 Metres Away". Also, on QM2's aft docking bridge, an armed police officer stood next to a huge, round radar detection device. The mid-town piers are in horrible shape. I've been sailing from NYC for over twenty years now and, apart from looking worse, nothing has changed. The last time they were upgraded was in the '70's. Next year, Carnival Corp. will be moving Carnival, Cunard and Princess ships to a new Brooklyn facility,...there's a bit of a scuffle over that one. I will say that the embarkation process was absolutely painless. From the time John and I entered the pier, said our goodbyes, and I boarded the ship, only about twenty minutes had passed. Cabin Upon boarding, I was asked if I needed help finding my cabin (this was a first; I guess since I was carrying all my luggage, I looked desperate)...but I declined; I knew exactly where I was going. The last two times on QM2 I stayed in an inside cabin; this time, I was given a category B3, a premium in-hull balcony stateroom. These rooms are about 263sq. ft. including the balcony, which is basically a solid steel wall with a hole cut out of it. This has it's pros and cons. First, during a crossing, if it's windy or raining, you can still go out on the balcony and be protected from the elements; not so if you are staying in one of the more expensive, glass balconies. The major downfall is when you are relaxing in the provided deck chairs, it's impossible to look out and see the ocean. Personally, I loved the in-hull balcony; I may feel different if I was cruising through the Caribbean. Right away, I noticed the heavy smell of cigarette smoke. At first, I was afraid that Amex had put me in a room with a smoker (my bunkie hadn't arrived yet), but, luckily, that wasn't the case. When my roomie finally showed up, he smelled the smoke and thought the same thing. We solved the problem by leaving the balcony door ajar all the time (hearing the sound of the ocean every night was fantastic...). There is plenty of storage space that includes two closets, five shelves and eight drawers. This includes night stands, make up table, etc. There is an in-room safe, a hair dryer, and a refrigerator stocked with soft drinks and water. There was also a small sofa bed that could accommodate two additional passengers. Among it's many features, the interactive television allows passengers to check their account, plan shore excursions (a bit tough on a transatlantic crossing!), order room service or wine, and report things like burned out bulbs, toilet or shower trouble, broken drawers, etc. It also allows you to send and receive emails using the provided wireless keyboard, located in the make up table top drawer. During the trip, I sent three emails and received one and was charged $1.50 each to my on board account. I felt this charge to be reasonable. The keyboard was a bit of a pain as it didn't pick up all the key strokes unless I was sitting directly in front of the TV. No big deal. The bathroom is pretty typical as far as most cruise ships are concerned. The size is about average and it has all the basics. There was a problem with the shower during the first two days of the trip. There was hardly any cold water.....it was like it was stuck on "lava". We reported it through the television and then, after a follow up trip to the Purser's office the next morning, it was fixed. All in all, the room was great and extremely comfortable. The quality of the mattress and linens are incredible; I hadn't slept that good since the last time I was on QM2. The Ship I'll go record here saying that I think QM2 is currently the greatest ship in the world; but she is not for everyone. You'll not find "Mr. Legs" or beer drinking contests by the pool. Folks don't file in line on the outer decks to join in on the chicken dance (thank goodness for that!). Instead, there is a sophisticated and yet unpretentious feeling on board QM2. Personally, this is the thing I like best about the ship. That's not to say that there aren't places on board for folks to let their hair down. In the evenings, The Golden Lion Pub was always hosting sing-a-longs and Karaoke; and the ship's disco, G32, stayed rockin' until the wee hours of the night. Still, there was always a sense of protocol that I felt on board QM2; an intangible that sets her apart from every other ship; except, perhaps, QE2. Much has been written and read about QM2's public rooms. I'll not go into every detail regarding color schemes, layouts etc. Instead, I'll just say the QM2's public rooms are beautifully decorated, well maintained, and almost never congested. Dining/Service Our group dined in the Britannia Restaurant located on decks two and three. This beautiful room is the perfect interpretation of what a modern day ocean liner should be like. Retro Deco in design, the room runs the width of the ship's hull and is three decks high. Although our table was located on deck two, I couldn't resist entering on deck three and gliding down the room's grand staircase. What terrific fun. Food in Britannia was very, very good; excellent to be exact. Cold dishes always arrived cold, hot dishes were always hot. Soups were outstanding as were the cuts of beef. Not being a seafood lover, I'll just say that the lobster tails received high marks from those in the group who ordered it (especially the guy who ate three of them...geez). I did have the grilled shrimp one night and it was very good. I was thrilled to see iced pats of butter instead of those dreadful foil-wrapped things (ala NCL) where the butter always ends up all over my hands. The same goes for the morning jelly,...it was served in small, individual glass jars; none of those plastic peel back things one would get at a Big Boy restaurant...or, again, on NCL. I am ashamed to say that I can't remember our waiter and his assistant's names. They were extremely pleasant and nothing was too much to ask. I will, however, never forget Simon, our head waiter. An extremely laid back almost lethargic man from South Africa, Simon went well beyond the call of duty for us...many times. Most mornings and afternoons (and, huh, at 2am), I ate in the King's Court, QM2's version of a Lido restaurant. As I mentioned, the room is extremely confusing and has, thankfully, gone through a refit. It's divided into stations that highlight several different cuisines including Asian, Italian, a carvery, and what is known as The Chef's Galley. At night, during dinner hours, the complex is transformed into alternative dining venues. Partitions are put up, table cloths are placed on the tables and table service is provided. In The Chef's Galley, reservations are required and there is a $35 per person fee; which seems a bit high until you find out that your food is made in front of you by a celebrity chef. Food in King's Court was very good. Breakfast was basically the same everyday and included the standards of eggs, bacon, etc. What was different was the addition of traditional British fare like kippers and fried tomatoes. The lunch menu changed daily...I was pleased to see several Indian dishes. The curried rice and chicken were fantastic. The only thing that fell short was the pizza, which was pretty much cardboard with sauce, a few toppings and cheese. One of my favorite places to have lunch was at the Golden Lion Pub. While they offered steak and mushroom pie, and bangers and mash, I always chose the fish and chips...excellent. The pub food is served until 2pm and the place gets packed. I learned quickly to go after the lunch hour rush; usually around 130 or so. In the afternoon, high tea was served in the Queen's Room and in King's Court. I had read that Cunard was going back to the tradition of serving tea on the promenade deck outside but, I never saw it. I always had tea in the Queen's Room. The scones, pastries, and sandwiches were excellent. I remember the last time on the ship, the scones already had the clotted cream and jam on them,....which is a big no-no. Now, they serve the scones with the cream and jam on the side; the way it should be. Throughout QM2, service was nearly flawless. The dining room staff, the wait staff in all of the lounges, gift shop personnel, the folks at the purser's desk, almost everywhere, folks were eager to help and always had a smile on their face. That is, except for the gentlemen in the ship's book shop. This man never smiled once. He had the most serious look on his face that NEVER strayed. When people would go up to pay for something, he always said the same thing, "Cabin number?"............."Thank you". He didn't even look up. For some reason, he had a chip on his shoulder.... A few words about Beth, our room attendant. First off, she did an excellent job keeping the room tidy. She also had a great personality. Whenever she would see me, she would ask how I was doing. I always said the same thing, "Dandy". After a while she started saying, "How are you.....I know, I know, dandy, right?". She actually saved me on the second day of the trip. When I first got on board in New York, I gave her all my suits, shirts, and pants to be pressed (no more ironing on cruises for me!) and I marked the form for next day service. The next day, at about 615pm, I asked Beth when my clothes would be delivered and she said, "Tomorrow". Oh no! It was formal night and I had nothing to wear. I told her that I really needed them and she ran straight away to the laundry, waited for them to press everything and, in about 45 minutes, came back with my clothes. Perfect, except they charged me an additional $26 for same day service,....that made my laundry about $78!! I went to the Purser's office and they straightened the whole thing out and took the $26 off my account. Entertainment I don't care for Las Vegas style production shows. I usually go into the showroom just to see what the girls are wearing and then leave after about five minutes. I can't really comment on if they were good or not. The Jazz trio in the Chart Room was very good and the pianist in the Commodore Club, Campbell Simpson, was absolutely amazing. I'm not big on Karaoke or sing-alongs but, folks seemed to be having a good time in the pub. We did attend a performance by members of RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. It was very funny but, not nearly as funny as the two passengers sitting in front of us in the Royal Theatre. They were, I assume, husband and wife and she proceeded to fold her husband's underwear while waiting for the show to start,....now that's entertainment! I didn't attend any of the Oxford University lectures but my roomie did and he was very impressed. I only attended one of the short films in the ship's planetarium. While it seemed very good, I'm ashamed to say that I did manage to catch about a five minute cat nap. Only 150 people can see the show at a time. All the seats in the room are gold except for the seats located under the projection dome, which are red. The best seats are of course the ones towards the middle. After dinner, most evenings, we went to the Queen's Room to hear the big band music and, on two nights, to check out the Black and White and Ascot Balls. During the B&W Ball, the room is decorated in, well, black and white. It was all very formal looking,...very sophisticated. The Ascot Ball was great. A few dozen ladies sporting their handmade hats pranced around the dance floor and folks voted for the best one by applauding. One of the ladies in our group won (she was wearing a crown that was made out of paper) and received a bottle of champagne. Once music in the Queen's Room would die down, we would head to the ship's disco, G32 (named after QM2's shipyard hull number), to listen to the band and have a few drinks. The band was very good, although they played the same thing night after night. It actually got rather old after a while. Crossing vs. Cruising Undoubtedly, this was my favorite voyage to date. I learned that, on a crossing, the days go by at a snail's pace. Because there's no stops, there's no time constraints as far as getting ashore and back on the ship again. I certainly didn't miss returning to the ship after a long, sweaty day in port only to have to rush to get ready for dinner. I didn't miss those annoying lectures about which shops in port give the best deals on t-shirts and booze. And I loved not having to deal with obnoxious cab drivers and offers to have my hair braided. There were plenty of things to do but, it wasn't like I felt like I missed something if I didn't do them. My time was pretty much my own and, aside from the 'occasional' meal, I spent the day sleeping, reading, walking, shopping, meeting people, and taking photos. I also learned that QM2's officer's use TITANIC's position as a turning point to head north towards England. We actually sailed directly over the wreck and I stepped outside and took a few photos,...don't ask why; it's not like I could see anything. I guess just knowing that we were in the spot where the ship sank gave me reason enough. I have to admit, it was a bit eerie. Disembarkation and London Three days into the crossing, passengers were requested to stop in the Britannia Dining Room, with their passports, for immigration purposes. They actually cleared everyone on board well before the end of the trip so, when we walked off the ship in Southampton, we walked right through the pier and onto the waiting buses. It was very smooth. The bus ride from Southampton to London takes about an hour and a half. Looking back, I wish I had stayed one night in Southampton and only one night in London. The motorcoach dropped us off at Victoria Station (at this point, I was with Lisa, a lady from our group who, oddly enough, was staying at the same hotel I was). We shared the cab fare to the Comfort Inn Hyde Park, which was about 15GBP. My room at the hotel was slightly bigger than the size of the single twin bed and smaller than ANY cruise ship cabin I have ever stayed in. Aside from the carpet, the room was very clean and the bed was very comfortable. At 35GBP a night, I couldn't complain. It's not a place I would take my family but, it was cheap, clean and in a great area. The next two days consisted of walking, shopping, walking, eating, and walking. We did have the good fortune to actually see the Queen pass by in her motorcade....she was in the back seat, wearing a giant hat, and giving that famous wave. A word of caution: Never use or suggest that anyone use Hotelink, a transfer company whose services can be set up at various hotels in London. I had a 1015am flight out of Gatwick, they were suppose to be at the hotel at 630am and didn't arrive until twenty past seven. And then, the driver stopped at three other hotels to pick up more passengers (all of whom were honked off because he was late). In the end, I arrived at the gate at 915am. Conclusion All in all, this was an amazing trip; a trip that everyone should experience at least once. Out of 37 cruises (make that 36 cruises and now one crossing), this was the best. Not only in terms of a fantastic ship but also because of the relaxed itinerary. There's something so sophisticated about crossing the ocean in such style....it's something that being sealed in a steal tube and shot across the sky will never match. When it's all said and done, there's times in life when making the journey is just as important as the destination itself. As far as QM2 is concerned, she's both journey and destination. In my element indeed.... Read Less
Sail Date: January 2006
Cruise to St. Thomas, Curacao & Panama - January 3-15, 2006 QM2 is truly a magnificent, elegant ship....from the moment we stepped on board it was like living a dream. A dream come true! After checking out our cabin (roomy, ... Read More
Cruise to St. Thomas, Curacao & Panama - January 3-15, 2006 QM2 is truly a magnificent, elegant ship....from the moment we stepped on board it was like living a dream. A dream come true! After checking out our cabin (roomy, comfortable, quiet) while enjoying some complementary champagne we could not wait to explore the ship. What would be the next surprise around the corner? She is huge, lots of room to roam and explore. Youre never crowded or feel rushed anywhere on the ship. Plenty to do or nothing at all-always your choice. We managed to explore every inch of the ship-what an adventure! The lounges, Todd English, Queens Ballroom, G32 Disco, Royal Court Theatre, Planetarium, and Britannia Restaurant all had a chic 1920s feel of elegance. Beautiful velvet couches, satin curtains, deco wall sconces, chandeliers, fresh gorgeous flower arrangements everywhere added to the ambiance of the ship. Dressing for formal nights was exciting! Plenty to do every day.....classes, lectures, art auctions, dance classes, spa, Tai Chi classes, trivia quizzes, exercise room, extensive library, movies, planetarium shows. At night, theatre, dance, music shows, comedy, ballroom dancing, disco dancing, Karaoke, jazz, piano solos, classical quartet, the cruise band Xtasea. It was very satisfying to do something different every night and to have so many choices. One of my favorite places was walking the length of the promenade deck (3 times around equal 1.1 mile) The sea, sky, clouds, sunsets, and several double rainbows were a glorious site to see. One of the most memorable things on board was the Maritime Quest Exhibition. This consisted of panels and graphics all over the ship that told the history of the Cunard lines, the people that worked on them, the celebrities that traveled aboard, their stories, photos, diaries, facts. The dinners in the Britannia Restaurant were delightful, exquisitely presented and delicious. We had two excellent waiters, Anthony and Romeo who helped make our dinners a special time. We really enjoying sharing dinnertime with our table mates, Karen & Peter, and Chris and Chris. We had the best time with these folks, laughing, telling stories and lingering after dinner. The shows were very entertaining, well paced and professional. The singers and dancers were fabulous and put all their energy into their roles. They were all so passionate about their craft. Costumes, music, lights and staging were all a feast for the eyes. We met interesting people from all over the world. The staff we met were the best, very hard working and eager to make our trip a happy one. Our room steward Abraham always had a kind word and a smile for us, and did a great job. The Black & White Ball, Captains Reception, Pirates Ball, and Sail Away Parties were all lots of fun! Champagne, dancing, laughter, I can really get used to this! Ports of Call..... St Thomas - Visited beautiful Magens Bay Beach, strolled the seashore........ Curacao - Gorgeous - visited Haito Caves, tour of the island - music in the square, inspiring lights and colors of this picturesque island. Panama - Magnificent - walk the rainforest, see the sloths, monkeys, flowers, visit the Panama Canal. Costa Rica - Could not dock - sea was too unstable for tenders to launch. (Maybe this port will be in our future - another time and another place.) Were dreaming of the next journey...with lots of joyous memories of this QM2 adventure. Gifts of the Journey..... The first glimpse of the QM2 from the port in NYC Twinkling lights in NYC horizon as QM2 starts on her journey Exploring the ship....whats around the next corner? Sail away party with band Xtasea Surprise double rainbow Bright turquoise Caribbean Sea Morning greeting by a giant sea turtle Cocktails on the beach at Magens Bay Getting a glimpse of the puppies on board Full moon shimmering on the waves on Friday 13th Sunsets on the back deck DJ Alex always playing our dance requests Dancing and dancing in Q32 Watching the graceful dancers in the Queens Ballroom Formal tea and treats Lights at night at Curacao Surprise of reaching the ocean on our Panama rainforest hike Quiet time in the Winter Garden by the waterfall Meticulous service and friendliness of our waiters - Anthony & Romeo Delicious dinners every night in the Britannia Restaurant Enjoying our time with our table mates - Karen & Peter and Chris & Chris Quiet time watching the waves by Canyon Ranch Fresh exotic fruit......everyday Meeting the wonderful crew members from all over the world Gorgeous fresh flowers everywhere Dreamy clouds seen from Promenade deck 7 Laughing and smiling a lot Savoring an afternoon Pina Colada Admiration for all the people who took part in planning, designing, and building the ship Always being able to find a quiet spot to relax Admiring the art work on the stairs and public rooms The sleekness and sophistication of the Commodore Club Walking and walking Deck 7 - feeling so alive Magical night at Todd English Watching the ocean dance from the many port-holes on ship The wall sconces making beautiful designs on the wall The velvet couches in the Royal Court Theatre Enjoying the jazz trio The camaraderie in the Lions Pub Enjoying the talented singers and dancers so passionate about their craft Babies Liam and Corner smiling Admiring the elegant Vogue Lady Little kids splashing in the pool Listening to all the languages spoken on board Feeling the summer sun on a January day Beauty of Tai Chi class Elegant vibe of the Chart Room Watching the beautiful dancers and colorful costumes in the Panama terminal Watching the men host dancers having a ball on the dance floor Dreamy afternoon naps Comforting sound of the waves from the balcony Enjoying the classical quartet Keeping all these fabulous memories alive Feeling so appreciative of being able to be on this journey Making plans to do this again......soon. 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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2006
After a shaky start boarding at Rio we finally boarded around 2p.m. It would have been nice to be given champagne or escorted to cabin, but i appreciate this is difficult on such a large ship. First impression was that everything seemed ... Read More
After a shaky start boarding at Rio we finally boarded around 2p.m. It would have been nice to be given champagne or escorted to cabin, but i appreciate this is difficult on such a large ship. First impression was that everything seemed very clean the staff friendly that despite the fact we had 3 sharing a cabin -- was big enough with plenty of wardrobe space. We had Britannia restaurant and had the most wonderful American couple as dinner companions. I know we were very lucky having listened to the moans of others! Our waiters Robert and Ivan couldn't do enough for us. The fist meal went down a treat. Our first day was at sea, a bit choppy now and then but o.k. We explored the ship, went to a very funny lecture by A. McCall smith (Ladies No.1 Detective Agency), enjoyed the planetarium and put in details for the trips we wanted to go on. Due to the problems QM2 had earlier in the voyage (pod being damaged) our stay at Montevideo was cut short by a day. Getting off was easy. We chose to walk around on our own, but others that went on trips said they had a good time. We actually sailed in the very early hours of the morning. We also visited Puerto Montt, Ushia and Port Arenas. We went on organised trips for the most part and they were all excellent. Going round the Horn was definitely a highlight and although it was rough, it added to the excitement. We were each given a certificate to say we had sailed the Horn. We also visited the Pio V1 glacier which was fantastic. There was a real mixture of people onboard, mostly avid cruisers, some first timers ages varied but i would say mainly 65 and over, although some like us were under 55. There were a few families with small children, but not many and I only remember seeing one teenager. Personally I thought the ship was lovely, kept in beautiful condition inside and out. There were enormous displays of fresh flowers, all the tables had fresh flowers on them. the only time it felt crowed were during disembarkation for trips and after the shows, other than that you could always find a room or space with no one else around if you wanted to. The Library was better stocked than our local library at home, so you don't need to pack books. The King's Court did get crowded and sometimes a little frustrating, but we always found a table, you just need to walk a little way. The selection and quality of food was always first class. The chef's galley at lunchtime did fresh hot dogs and burgers plus sandwiches, was never crowded so makes a good choice. The Britannia at lunchtime was also a good choice, you can chose to sit with others or on your own. Throughout the cruise the food was fantastic, i am a vegetarian and they offered me a separate menu or said I could order from the main menu minus meat. I couldn't fault the food or the service. We ordered extras -- had soup instead of dessert, etc nothing was too much trouble, and the food was always hot,  even in self-service. If i had a negative it would be that the entertainment wasn't quite up to the mark. There were only 2 production-type shows and the rest ere mainly solo artists asked to do a 45 minute slot, a flautist was on 3 nights in a row, once on her own and twice for 15 minutes as support act for others. Also some of the enrichment talks had boring and not very competent guests, others thought the same..The quizzes were also very alike, geography for 2 days and then a mixture. We asked if there were ever any music quizzes and were told these had already been done in the first part of the cruise....come on guys sort it court and have a variety....only little niggles though. Generally I would give the ship 5 stars for cleanliness, food, staff, etc. perhaps 3 stars for entertainment. The Queens room does get very crowded on ball nights, and stays that way until it closes. Before I go if you only do it once have afternoon tea...it's simply lovely and the scones are to die for!! We did appreciate the fact there were very few announcements. We spent ages choosing evening wear, but despite the info in the brochure, the men could have got away with evening or dark suit and one other change, we had most informal nights--  men had to wear collared shirt (no tie) and the ladies skirts/slacks etc. Despite the moans and groans of others... one woman at the airport told me it was the worst cruise/holiday she had ever had and one of her complaints was the sheets hadn't been changed for 3 days...well, I don't think that matters and as for people saying the quality and lack of choice for food, I would love to know where they eat all the time?! In our opinion, it was better than Celebrity for overall ship and food and a little under for entertainment. definitely better than Royal Caribbean. I guess its all down to personal choice but we would say go and enjoy! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
We joined the Eastern leg of the South American voyage on March 22, 2006 in Valparaiso. The embarkation process was very smooth, it was not very crowded and we were registered and on the bus to the ship in about 20 minutes. The Cunard desk ... Read More
We joined the Eastern leg of the South American voyage on March 22, 2006 in Valparaiso. The embarkation process was very smooth, it was not very crowded and we were registered and on the bus to the ship in about 20 minutes. The Cunard desk personnel had given us very accurate information at our hotel in Santiago about when and how to register and, due to following this information, we were delighted that this was not the horrible experience that we had read about occurring on other QM2 cruises. (However, we learned later that my credit card had not been properly registered, so all the charges for things such as shore excursions were on my roommates bill. It was not a big problem, but seemed like something that could have been corrected sooner so that we wouldnt have had to spend time at the pursers office sorting things out later.) We were pleasantly surprised to learn that we had been upgraded to an A1 stateroom upon embarkation. No idea how it happened, but the quality of the room certainly made the cruise that much more enjoyable. There really is nothing to compare to the view from your room with the transparent balcony  there were several days at sea that the sunrise and sunset were spectacular and the experience was greatly enhanced by the improved visibility. We were also lucky to have a port side stateroom, which given the direction of our cruise (eastbound) assured us the maximum ability to see shoreline and really enjoy sail away and other such events. Our table assignment in the Britannia Grill (late seating, table 71) also was very satisfactory. We had a great service team, from headwaiter to sommelier, who really catered to our every need. There were several special requests from among us at our table and these were accommodated each and every time promptly and with a smile. We were very fortunate to have wonderful tablemates. We enjoyed our dinners with them so much that, although we were lucky enough to secure reservations for dinner twice at Todd English, we cancelled the second reservation to stay in Britannia with them. The cohort on this cruise was overwhelmingly UK based. Not that this was a problem, but it meant that we spent a lot of time in the entertainment offerings worshipping at the altar of Andrew Lloyd Weber. The Brits especially are seriously bonkers about all things ALW. There were theatrical lecturers that devoted an entire 90-minute session to ALWs Bottom Drawer and each and every musical act included at least one ALW tune. It may be several weeks before we can get the music from Phantom out of our heads! The shore excursions were consistently excellent. The tour guides and the arrangements were first class. The one guide in Puerto Montt was not expert in her English, but her fractured way of speaking, combined with a winning personality, made for a very memorable and enjoyable experience anyway. The flyover to Antarctica was the highlight of the trip for us. The weather was so clear that we had perfect visibility for nearly the entire flight over the Antarctic Peninsula. The content expert (a veterinarian with 25 years experience working in research there) and the flight crew were fantastic. The pilots were actually taking pictures during the flight and told us that it was some of the best visibility they had ever had on this trip. The other excursions we took in Ushuaia and Montevideo were also of very high caliber in terms of tour guides expertise and organization. The one slight glitch that we ran into was the delay in Ushuaia due to the extremely slow tendering process that day. By the time we got on shore, we barely had enough time to reach our Wildlife Tour cruise and no time to shop or see any other sights. The quality of the Wildlife Tour cruise in the Beagle Channel was well worth it, however. We spent our time on sea days racing from lecture to lecture, using the gym, relaxing and enjoying the Canyon Ranch Spa and attending the planetarium shows. There were days that we hit the ground running at 8:00AM and, with quick breakfast and lunch, barely had time to fit in all the activities we wanted to attend most days. On nice days we walked Deck 7 instead of using the indoor gym. In addition, we used the Cunard Connextions for checking up on email and the library for research on ports of call and keeping up on the news. The cost of Internet connection is very steep and it would be nice if there were some better pricing for this service. The lecturers on our cruise, Captain Richard Hayman, Richard Cowley, and former astronaut Kathy Sullivan were incredible. They daily gave well researched and professionally prepared lectures. Each in their on way was very engaging as a speaker, but with very different presentation styles. Their sessions were very popular and we learned quickly to get there early to secure a good seat. Accurate information on Cruise Critic about the number of formal nights meant that we packed enough evening wear to be prepared for the four formal nights on our cruise. The information we had from Cunard was not nearly complete enough to give us enough to go on about what we would need, but fortunately, the detail gleaned from posts on the Cunard board on Cruise Critic meant that we were ready for the Black and White Ball, the Pirates party, the Ascot Ball, as well as the fourth formal night. It was a lot of fun, if not some small amount of hassle to have to bring such an extensive wardrobe, to see so many elegant dresses and attend the dances in the Queens room. The Cunard recommended hotels for both Santiago and Rio were very good. We especially like the Hotel San Cristobel Towers in Santiago, but the Sheraton Rio was also very nice. One problem we ran into in Rio was the confusion upon checking in due to the hotel not being ready to accommodate us so early in the day (11AM). Understandable that this was rather early for our rooms to be ready, but they hadnt planned anything for us in terms of accommodating our hand luggage, etc meanwhile we had to wait. It would have been better to arrange a way for us to check in with the bell captain, since they were responsible for receiving our other luggage, so we could have left the hotel to go on a tour while we waited. The saving grace was the fact that the Sheraton has a great beach immediately adjacent to their property and we had our bathing suits handy. Some thing we learned about maximizing our cruise  the Canyon Ranch Spa frequently has 2 for 1 or half priced services on port days. The daily program advertises these specials the night before and you need to be ready to call quickly to reserve a massage or other services to take advantage of these deals. Also, since you then end up with a late day Canyon Ranch Spa service if you are in port all day, you can ask for a pass for another day when you have more time to enjoy the benefit of the Aquatherapy area of the spa which comes with booking these services. Since this is about a $30 value, this was a great way to stretch the use of these terrific features for minimal outlay. We also found that the popular Chefs Grill omelet station was much less crowded after 9:00AM and we had better luck getting our made to order eggs later rather than earlier. We learned to order coffee, tea, etc early in our stateroom, do a little deck walking or hit the gym before eating breakfast to take advantage of this situation. Much better service and less jostling with the desperate omelet seekers who were crowding the window earlier in the morning! The tour office is usually a real mob scene and, as soon as you know what shore excursion you want, it is best to book by dropping off the order form in the box outside the office. Nothing seemed to bring out the beast in our fellow passengers more than discontent with the shore excursions - the lack of availability on the most popular tours, the cancelled excursions due to our shortened port times, the misinformation about the Antarctic flyover availability, etc. If there is one area that seemed inconsistent with the high standard of service on the rest of the ship, it would probably be the communication, or lack of communication, around the shore excursion process once youre on board. Once of the principal reasons for this is the short hours of the tour office, the lack of the online ability to book excursions, and the general broadcasting of tour availability. The tour office personnel did a good job of handling the situation given the process limitations of the situation, but it seems unnecessarily inefficient and could use some serious management reengineering to improve. In conclusion, our voyage on the QM2 was everything we hoped for and far exceeded any expectations we had for this cruise. Despite a few shortcomings, it was a memorable experience and well look forward to a future opportunity to cruise again with QM2! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
This was our first transatlantic cruise. This is one of the many "must do before I die" items on my hubby's list. We booked at a great price, which included an upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony cabin and included ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise. This is one of the many "must do before I die" items on my hubby's list. We booked at a great price, which included an upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony cabin and included airfare from London as well. We booked our cruise 5 days before sailing, so we only had a "cabin guarantee", which meant we didn't know exactly what cabin we would be in. We flew from Orlando to NY and were met by Cunard reps at the airport and transported by bus to the ship. Once we were able to determine what cabin we were assigned to (after a small bit of confusion), embarkation was quick and efficient. We booked our Anniversary dinner reservation at Todd English just as we boarded the ship. Every crew member we encountered as we boarded was extremely polite and pleasant. We found our cabin and were pleasantly surprised at the size and amenities provided. We were greeted with a chilled bottle of champagne in our cabin, and we toasted our departure from NY! Contrary to several reviews our "hull balcony" was just fine and the room was bright and spacious. Our room steward, Greg, was accommodating and efficient. He brought us a champagne bucket for the couple of bottles that we brought onboard and kept if full of ice throughout the cruise. It seems we were one of the very few passengers on our first transatlantic crossing. Every single person we met throughout the crossing were experienced cruisers and world travelers. Even though we have been on 10 previous cruises(Caribbean) we felt like "newbies". We met so many wonderful and interesting people on this cruise. Not one of them "snobby" as we had feared. The ship is absolutely gorgeous! Since we have not been on QE2, we had nothing to compare it to, but we love this ship. The ballroom is large and beautiful, the Britannia dining room lovely, the English pub fun and inviting...they even have a planetarium! We had so much fun exploring! We only went to three shows..but they were very good. We went to afternoon tea each day...veddy veddy nice! Both my hubby and I won at bingo, we had fun in the casino, and even renewed our wedding vows! We ate fish and chips and drank Guinness and played trivia and sang along to Karaoke in the pub! We had a ball! The food in the Britannia was very good...Todd English was excellent-they even gave us an anniversary cake! And the Chefs Galley was a really fun experience! The "gym" was well equipped and I did the treadmill each day...even when the ship was rolling quite a bit and I felt like I was walking up and down hills! Disembarkation took a little while, but overall was on par with other cruises we have taken. We booked transportation onboard to London, where we spent 5 days. We Pricelined a hotel and ended up staying at the Capthorn Tara. It was very nice. We met up with some of our English friends who came to London for a few days. London is VERY EXPENSIVE! We went to two shows and the cab ride was 20pounds($40) each way! Food was extremely expensive as well. Typical lunch with a "brew"- $40. Overall though, we had a wonderful time...loved the QM2! It was a trip of a lifetime, and would not hesitate to do it all over again! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
Background My high school senior project consisted of a lengthy report about the Queen Mary 2. After seeing how much work and passion went into the project, my parents decided to send me off on the Queen Mary 2 on her April 29, 2006 ... Read More
Background My high school senior project consisted of a lengthy report about the Queen Mary 2. After seeing how much work and passion went into the project, my parents decided to send me off on the Queen Mary 2 on her April 29, 2006 transatlantic voyage. It is worth noting that I was only 18 years old at the time and sailed on her alone. Booking As a side note, the booking process (which was set up by my mother) went very smoothly. My mother even said that the sales representative that helped her sounded more like a friend than a pushy sales person. She related my mother's story of sending me off by myself to her own experience if she did that with her children. Embarkation Due to the infamous stories about ship embarkation, I had in mind that the process would be long and boring. To my surprise, however, it was nothing at all. When we arrived at the newly commissioned Brooklyn Terminal, a peer gently took my luggage away. After this I proceeded with security, check-in, and photography. Then I entered a large room filled with long rows of seats. However, we completely skipped this section and immediately boarded the ship. The entire process of embarkation took no more than 10 minutes (even though I went into the check out line before I was scheduled to)! An elderly lady in front of me was greeted by name by two ship officers. They escorted our group to the elevators, where a bellhop commanded sending us off to our respective floors. When I reached Deck 4, a maid asked for my stateroom number and sent me off in the right direction. Stateroom Due to my personal preference, I wanted nothing more than an interior stateroom. Once again, infamous stories about this type of room arose. However, the room was nicer than any hotel room I have ever stayed in. While this may sound off the wall, the lighting of the room contributed to a much nicer feel. The first thing anybody said when I showed them pictures of my stateroom was how nicely appointed the lighting was above my bed. Not only did it feel cozy even without a balcony or a porthole, it was extremely comfortable. The interactive television offered numerous channels and movies, as well as an interesting bridge cam and ship info. Even though I didn't use it, the television also came with a keyboard for sending email and for using other applications. The room was also equipped with a mini fridge, a safe, and literally tons more space than any traveler could possibly need. The bathroom was nicely appointed and featured gifts from the Canyon Ranch Spa onboard, which I used during the duration of the voyage. They were quite possibly the best smelling and feeling soaps and shampoos I have ever used. There was always enough shower pressure and it never changed temperature on me. Ship Info The Queen Mary 2 was nothing less than I expected from a Cunard liner. Even I doubted the ship's ability to steer clear from looking or acting like a cruise ship. However, not once on my voyage, expect for the necessary buffet, was I reminded of a cruise ship atmosphere that I didn't want tainting a classic transatlantic voyage. Everything about the ship was beautiful, from sitting in the dock to the interiors of the gigantic hull and superstructure. Her traditional curvy hull and funnel colors made her stand out in New York harbor. Her terraced stern resembled that of her predecessors and not those ugly giants that floated nearby. She was a behemoth, so much that she would barley fit underneath the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which was quite an experience to watch. Her Britannia restaurant, which catered to the third class passengers, also benefited from that wonderful lighting and included a huge color-changing dome. Her first class dining room (which I got to see due to it being the location of my muster station) ironically couldn't compare aesthetically to that of the third class, but would most likely excel in finer dishes and service. The Commodore Club, whose sides would flare out with the shape of the bridge forecastle, made it feel as if you were gliding above the ocean when you sat in one of the chairs next to the far windows. The club was also situated high in the bridge forecastle, which made for a splendid view of overlooking the bow of the ship. The observation deck, just under the bridge, was an open breezeway that allowed for another great view like the one from the Commodore Club. With the former view and that of the endless rough Atlantic stretched out before you, it only made one wonder what it was like during the early 1900's when much smaller ships constantly crossed these paths. The atrium of the ship, also beautifully decorated with the light shown up through the glass portions of the stairs, housed many notable shops and pathways. These pathways, which have been constantly ridiculed for being made out of cheaper materials, are still splendid in depicting the continents and the seasons. Besides, maybe one should take into account the economy and constraints in shipbuilding before they go and ridicule such a trivial detail. To comment on the space of the ship is also necessary. The average ceiling height is larger than that of other ships, which was quite noticeable when walking around. The ship, which already carries fewer passengers than other ships her size, never felt crowded, and probably wouldn't have even if it was filled to capacity (2,600 passengers if full, just over 2,000 on my voyage). Service Now since I was only 18 at the time I cannot comment on the service found at the bars. However, the stateroom service was stupendous. Every time I left my stateroom, even if it was just for a little while, the maid would have everything back in ship shape order. The service in the main dining room was also top of the line. With two waiters (waitresses) per table and a sommelier, everything was always what I would expect from Cunard. One of my tablemates also had a special condition, so every night the waiter would show her the menu for the following dinner. This way her food could be specially prepared. In the Queens Room, where afternoon tea is served, are an army of refined stewards waiting to immediately serve anyone tea or treats. Dining The Britannia Restaurant, which I enjoyed for all but one of the nights, was superb. I have never been spoiled, or even seen, such high class food. My tablemates, all experienced cruisers, will assure you though that the Queen Mary 2 had some of the best food they ever tasted. The last night we ate in the alternative dining room, Todd English. There, with a wonderful view overlooking the stern, we received just as wonderful food and service as that in the Britannia Restaurant. To my surprise, they even bring up the wine that anybody hasn't finished from their Britannia dinners. I highly recommend dining in Todd English at least one night as it changes up the food assortment and atmosphere. Breakfast and lunch are also served in Britannia on a come and go basis. I only had breakfast and lunch once, but both times were just as nice as dinner. The buffet, which I ate at most when it came to breakfast and lunch, was nothing like I read in other reviews. Instead, the buffet was always filled with excellent food, and even though full, it was never crowded. Plus, I almost always managed to get a window seat. Activities & Entertainment Even though I was completely oblivious to who she was, I found enjoyment out of listening to Jane Russell, who was our celebrity for the voyage. During the day there are also an assortment of planetarium shows and lectures. The planetarium shows were quite amazing with their vivid graphics and interesting plots. The lectures, which would cover numerous topics (i.e. the sexual mind, cooking desserts found on the ship), were always a part of my daily routine. Movies were also shown nightly (i.e. Capote, Proof). After dinner the onboard dancers would perform amazing (considering that we were on a ship) shows. Disembarkation & Passport The disembarkation process was a little different than that of embarkation. This was more scheduled, and as the second to lowest cabin category, I had to wait about 4 hours before I was allowed to leave. However, on such a wonderful ship, I was glad to stay longer. For some of the time I chatted with other individuals, walked around the ship, and took photographs. When my category was called, I simply walked right off. For the passport process each passenger was scheduled a different time to meet with the officials. They were easily located in your respective dining room, and quickly got you on your way. Summary This voyage will never be forgotten and is definitely considered my favorite vacation. The people onboard the ship (who are mostly elderly) were very kind. Sometimes when I sat down at Kings Court (the buffet) a couple would start to talk to me. I was even invited to afternoon tea and kept in contact with them for the remainder of the voyage. Furthermore, the people onboard were of various backgrounds. You would constantly hear different languages and be served by people of different backgrounds. This made for quite an interesting conversation piece too. In addition to the people, the weather of the voyage should also be brought up. Now of course at no fault of Cunard's, the weather turned out to be what would be expected on the Atlantic in April. The swells, which reached about 30 feet, were handled well due to the ships bulbous bow, hull design, and stabilizers. Considering we also hit a storm, the ship didn't roll as much as I would have expected, even with the fact that the stabilizers were hardly ever used (this I don't quite understand since I would rather have vibration than rolling since stabilizers cause a major increase in vibration). Due to this weather we weren't allowed outside until the last day when the Captain steered us out of the storm. This weather, again, made for a very interesting conversation piece. Fellow passengers could bring up their experiences on the Queen Mary or Queen Elizabeth when no stabilizers had yet to be installed. The weather also made me relate back to what it must have been like on those ships. The vibration from the stabilizers and the propeller pods, which was most noticeable in my cabin since I was aft and lower down in the ship, made me more comfortable. While not everybody would agree, I thought it was nice to hear the ship creak and vibrate. The vibration, like I said, was really only noticeable one day when the stabilizers were deployed, and even then, wasn't really all that bad. When we didn't hit bad weather, the ship was completely stable. In fact, at the time of launch I was shocked to hear that we weren't at the dock anymore. One last piece about the ship machinery was that we were stuck at the dock for an extra 3 hours because the propeller pods broke. However, not once did I hear people complain, especially since we still arrived in Southampton on time and because we got to be on the ship for that extra time. Final Thought While not everybody, especially those of my age, would appreciate a transatlantic voyage, I found it a necessary thing to do before I die. I do not recommend this ship to people who want a cruise ship atmosphere, where the average age is a little younger and where night clubs thrive at night. This ship is for the more refined, who enjoy listening to others and taking apart in history. I would be glad to comment further on anything about this ship to those who email me. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2006
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: June 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: September 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
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
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