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Sail Date: February 2004
Queen Mary 2, February 11 - March 6 2004 By CruiserDan Preface I knew that this was going to be a cruise to remember, therefore I took copious notes in my daily journal. The ship was advertised to be the most luxurious oceanliner in ... Read More
Queen Mary 2, February 11 - March 6 2004 By CruiserDan Preface I knew that this was going to be a cruise to remember, therefore I took copious notes in my daily journal. The ship was advertised to be the most luxurious oceanliner in the world, with white glove service and attention to every detail. I typically travel the luxury lines of Seabourn, Radisson, and Crystal, so my expectations were heightened. Embarkation My flight arrived at 12 noon, and although my cruise ticket indicated that I was to board no earlier than 3:00 PM, I got in line with several hundred passengers. Soon after, a Cunard representative announced that Queens Grill, Princess Grill passengers, and those paying with American Express Platinum card could skip the long line, and embark immediately. Having done the latter, I was whisked to the front area, checked in, and embarked the ship. This was very smooth for me, but I did hear a few people grumbling as to how long it took them to get on the ship. I expected to be greeted by a staff member, who like other lines, would take my hand luggage, and introduce me to my stateroom. This was not the case. I was told which floor to go to, and I was to find my stateroom on my own. I was a bit surprised, as this, being my 36th cruise in 9 years, was a first. The Stateroom I booked a category B1, outside stateroom with a balcony. The cabin was a bit crowded, with little storage space. It was very plain, and although it had a refrigerator, there wasn't anything in it. The wood tones were actually plastic, and the carpet was already showing signs of wear. Email was available on your television at a cost of $1.50 per incoming and outgoing emails. The cabin had a balcony that was basically a picture window with the glass removed. It was actually a hole in the hull. This made the cabin strangely dark and gloomy. If laying on the lounge out on the balcony, there was no water view. I was a bit disappointed in this arrangement. Had I known this fact in July of 2002 when I booked the cruise, I would have chosen another balcony category. The balcony staterooms on the higher levels offered clear glass balconies with beautiful views. The only category one should be aware of is B3. These balconies are fully obstructed by the lifeboats. The Stewardess I heard from the majority of the passengers that their stewards or stewardesses were very good. Unfortunately mine was not. On 3 occasions, she did not make up the stateroom (the card was out every time), and had to be reminded daily that I was out of things. We were not provided a pool towel until the 3rd day. There were plenty of excuses. When my stateroom was ignored the day of the second leg of the trip, I was told that she was busy making up the staterooms for the new passengers. I could understand that, but I was also a paying passenger who happened to elect to do 2 segments. She told me that she used to work for Silversea Cruises, to my amazement. She was not up to standard. This was just my experience, and not the experience of others. The Ship Obviously this ship is quite a sight to behold. She has lovely lines and a prominent bow. The designers achieved a look of a traditional oceanliner with the size of a mega cruise ship. The interior space was a bit disappointing, and so much of the ship's accessories were plastic. The public rooms were generous yet lacked the traditional elegance of yesterday. It was a bit difficult to find certain rooms such as the Queens Room and G32 nightclub, without much practice. 3 times around deck is over a mile, which illustrates just how big this ship is. Although she can accommodate 2600 passengers, I was able to make friends easily and was able to find them on deck or the many public areas. The only areas that were not accessible to everyone were the Queens Grill lounge and dining room, the Princess Grill dining room and the Queens Grill sundeck. The ship being so huge, it was agreed by all the staff that 1800 crew was needed to run this ship. The ship has a capacity for only 1300 staff, so service across the board was extremely slow, spotty and disappointing. Much of the crew had never been on board a ship before. The Bars and Lounges I personally preferred the Commodore Club for pre-dinner cocktails and post dinner brandies, and the G32 nightclub for late night dancing. G32 was well attended, but the DJ was limited to what songs he could play. Many requests were not on his corporate "play list". Policies like this are ridiculous. This is supposed to be an adult nightclub with adult music. There were other bars and lounges such as Winter Garden, Golden Lion Pub, Sir Samuel's Wine bar, the outdoor Regatta Bar and the Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar. Each offered its own feel or personality. There was one similarity though. The liquor pour was slight across the board. Although drinks were on the expensive side, from $4.50 to over $6.00 a pour, one could never say they were heavy handed or a drink was ever on the house. I experienced an incident where management threatened a group of bartenders in one of the lounges if they strayed from Cunard's drink policies. The ship claimed to have the most extensive wine cellar at sea, yet they were out of several selections throughout the voyage. The Culinary Experience The Kings Court for breakfast and lunch were at the very best, mediocre. The food was cold a lot of the time, the juices were thick and there was no skim milk to be found. Never staff members to carry a tray, only to quickly take your plate if you look the other way. Very crowded at times, and nicknamed by many, "the trough". For dinner, the Kings Court is transformed to 4 alternative restaurants. The Chefs Galley offers a type of interactive cooking demonstration. You watch the chef prepare your meal, as he explains his techniques. Wine is included, and there is a charge of $30 per person. The Carvery offers a selection of heavier meats and fare. La Piazza is the Italian restaurant, and offers pastas, red sauces and the like. The Lotus is the Asian restaurant. Though the first mentioned restaurants were average to good, the Lotus was the worst alternative restaurant experience I have ever had on a cruise ship. The nice table promised by the maitre 'd faced a blank wall, the unusual "condiments" on the table were never explained. No bar service, and the wait between courses was agonizing. After the 4th course (of 12) and 1-½ hours later, we left. The service was non-existent and the only way I can describe the food was that it looked and tasted like a $5.99 all you can eat Chinese lunch buffet. Todd English was the stand-alone alternative restaurant. It is open for lunch and dinner, and reservations are required. The ambience didn't strike me as elegant, and much of the wait staff was inexperienced. I did, however, recognize a wine steward from the Royal Viking Line, and was happy to see him. The food was very good, but a bit on the rich side. I understand that after my cruise, Todd English will command a surcharge of $20 per person for lunch and $30 per person for dinner. This is a shame, as its one of the only "escapes" from the poor food and service in the Britannia Restaurant. I witnessed a fiasco at Todd English during disembarkation / embarkation day on the second leg of my voyage. Because so many staying on board wanted a reservation at Todd English, many crowded the restaurant 2 hours before reservations were to be made. Because of the sheer size of the crowd, a passenger suggested that everyone write their name and stateroom number on a list of paper until the maitre 'd arrived. It actually was a very good idea, until someone lost page 1 with 20 names on it! The "honor system" did not prevail, and tempers rose. I was able to make my reservation, but soon after a punch was thrown, security called, and Todd English was closed due to a "technical difficulty". All this over trying to make a dinner reservation. This incident was very sad. They opened for business the next day with little fanfare. The Britannia Restaurant is the 2-seating restaurant where the majority of the passengers dine. The majority of the food is bland and unappetizing, although some items such as the lamb and rolls were tasty. Because the room is so understaffed, the wait throughout dinner can be irritating. Often the food is cold, because the kitchen is so far away. Without a lot more wait staff, this restaurant will never be right. Also missing was the on site flambEs, special orders, and baked Alaska. The room itself is very grand, but the food and service do not do it justice. There was an incident where a waiter knocked one of the maitre 'd's over the head with a peppermill, after being berated in front of several passengers. I assume he was asked to disembark at the next port! Princess Grill and Queens Grill are the 2 restaurants for the upper class stateroom passengers. I dined in Queens Grill several times, invited by friends, and enjoyed first class food and service. The ambiance was charming and relaxed, and the food selection grand. The only difference between the Princess Grill menu and the Queens Grill menu is that the Queens Grill menu has an additional "ala carte" section. During the day, the Boardwalk Cafe opens at deck 12. It is open air, and because it is on an empty deck, you have the feel of eating in a parking lot. The fare is hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken. Overcooked, stale buns, and bad taste. This is a "must avoid". Overall, QM2 MUST get their act together in the food and service categories, or I believe she will not survive. She most certainly did not live up to her advertisements and promises in this category. The Canyon Ranch Spa and Gymnasium This was a pet peeve of mine. I regularly use the gym, and found out that the way Canyon Ranch designed this area, you either had to sign up for a spa service, or pay $19 a day to use the locker room to shower and change. This was ridiculous. So many of us had to drag our sweaty bodies along public areas, to our staterooms, only to take a shower and change. I'm assuming that Canyon Ranch planned to charge for use of the gym across the board, therefore stowing the changing areas deep in the spa area. The gym itself is equipped with all the latest machines and free-weights. The only minor complaint in the gym was that the music videos on the small TV's in front of the machines were so outdated. I did not book any of the over-priced spa services. Finally I always say that if you make new friends on board a ship, you are definitely going to have a good cruise. If you meet new friends and can enjoy a first class experience on board, you are going to have a great cruise. This cruise was a good cruise. The marketing team for the QM2 should receive a medal for their efforts. The hype and expectations were high, and Cunard fell flat on its face. For the fares charged, one should have received 5 star service, great food, and lovely accommodations. This did not happen. I personally would never sail QM2 again, and would think twice about Cunard line in the future. Had I known its shortcomings, (especially the lack of crew, and the impossible task of finding births for more), I would have cancelled this cruise in a heart beat. I'm sure others had a good time, and were awe struck by the ship itself. The awe of being on her, in my opinion, goes away in a day or so. CruiserDan Read Less
Sail Date: March 2004
It truly is an imposing ship with some of the finest decor I have ever seen on a cruise ship. The size of the QM2 almost staggers the imagination. The first surprise was a disappointment when we entered our accommodations "Premium ... Read More
It truly is an imposing ship with some of the finest decor I have ever seen on a cruise ship. The size of the QM2 almost staggers the imagination. The first surprise was a disappointment when we entered our accommodations "Premium Balcony." The descriptions and photo in your "Welcome The Queen" brochure clearly showed a balcony that could be viewed from a chair. Unfortunately we only were able to use it when we sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale and when we returned. The entombed feeling of being in a cocoon or metal confinement was just too unbearable. I waited a few days before I approached the purser's desk to register my concerns and was told that the printer had made an error and it had been too late to make changes in the brochure, as it had already been sent out. It was suggested that I speak with the cruise sales office. I waited another day before approaching the sales office. I asked Ann (dark-haired woman) if I might see the original brochure describing the cabins. Her concern was that she only had one; I assured her by telling her that I only wanted to see it. I said that I was only verifying what I had seen from the beginning and my dissatisfaction with the accommodations when Betty, the other sales person who was not invited, jumped into the conversation without being asked. She should have remained with the client she had at her desk. I was told that the ship was built that way because it sails transatlantic which can experience very rough weather. I found that I had not been the only passenger who had been to their office with the same complaint . I could tell by their frustration and Ann's response of "YOU GOT WHAT YOU PAID FOR." However, I did not get what I had paid for. It was definitely misrepresented in the brochure. The service in the Britannia dining room is sorely in need of beefing up. It was the general topic of conversation by so many friends who were with me on the cruise, and also with others whom I had met on the ship. I would not have believed that the waiters of French descent would harbor ill feelings toward Americans, but that seemed to be the case, I felt, at two of our tables--one at main seating and one at the late seating. On the evening we set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, at 8:30 p.m. a large group of us were queued up outside the doors of the Britannia dining room. The main seating was still inside and we waited until 8:45 for the doors to open and we were allowed into the dining room. Many of the passengers were elderly, and they had to stand there for 15 minutes. Then I wondered if perhaps we were mistaken and not supposed to be seated until 8:45, but I was told that the second seating was set for 8:30. On the second night, the same thing happened. We were not allowed to enter until 8:45. Incidentally, we did not finish dining until 11:00 p.m., and on the first evening we never did get our coffee, nor the truffles that others received. On four occasions during the cruise, we did not get truffles served to us, but they were served at other tables. One evening I was served Perrier in a beer glass (no water glasses at our table), and on two occasions the waiter poured water into our glasses that had Perrier in them. He apologized in a round about way by saying that he had no way of knowing what the wine steward had done, but he never did make restitution, which I felt he should have done at least on the second occasion. Two people at our table who were members of my group decided to change after the second evening to main seating because they felt that finishing at 11:00 p.m. was just too late for them. On the 2nd night Yves, our waiter, asked how we liked the ship. Before we could answer, he said, "Remember, we French only built it, we did not design it." We felt that we were certainly not provided service in the manner of a 5-star cruise line. I felt that the wait staff lacked sufficient training, as did others on the cruise because it seemed to be a general topic of discussion. Also, I felt that the wait staff needed more thorough super-vision. Others agreed with me in this regard as well. It seemed as if Yves and the assistant waiter, Richard, did not work very well together. They could not establish a rhythm or rapport, and it was evident they lacked communication. Yves had no problem with the six French ladies at the table behind us or his other table of eight French guests. The food served in the Britannia dining room was exceptionally good--probably the best that I have ever been served on a cruise ship. If the service had been equal to it, I would truly have no complaint regarding the dining room service. All the section maitre d' could say was "ya ya." None of these situations ever occurred at lunches in the Britannia (we were served by other waiters and assistant waiters). We had a chance to meet some of the most professional serving staff, especially the British, Hungarians and Asian wait staff. When I had dinner in the Carvery with our group of 12 friends, clients and associates, the food was so slow in being served to us that several of the group complained about it (it was slow), and I thought that they might just get up and leave. One evening when we went to the Royal Court Theatre, I was on the upper level, on the left side. The audio acoustics were not very good. There was no unpleasant sound when the singers were facing forward, but when they turned toward the left side where I was seated, the voice sound was a loud, high screech pitch. Later when the show had concluded, I went to talk with the sound booth man. I told him about the problem, and he said, "What did you expect?" Not that response, I can assure you. The stateroom attendant, Henrietta, was the most attentive and courteous of your entire staff. She performed her task of cleaning our room and changing our towels without fault. Whatever we needed, she provided, and smilingly at that. We rewarded her with additional gratuity because she was such a diligent worker and truly an asset to Cunard Cruise Line. My cabin mate needed medical attention because of an eye infection that occurred after a few days at sea. Dr. Carroll was excellent at his job, and his staff was very professional as well. The 4:00 p.m. tea service in the Winter Garden area on Deck 7 was a wonderful experience. That wait staff performed in an exemplary manner. The food and tea were excellent and my group commented that this was the best service that they enjoyed on the ship in 10 days. The ship seemed to pitch and roll. At one point in the middle of the night, I felt that the ship was going to tip over. I was truly frightened. It was a time of high winds and rough seas, but I have been in much worse weather on smaller ships, and I have never felt that way. It seemed to me that the ship was unstable. Others complained of that as well. Much of my time seemed to be spent observing and suggesting how to serve people in a more acceptable manner. I have many years of service experience in customer service, training and quality control with American Airlines and my own company, TRA World Group. "The customer was always right." We "stepped aside" rather than crossed in front of customers. When a customer made a reasonable request, we were trained to comply with it. That is something that some of your wait staff needs to learn (it really is just a matter of training, and then being followed up with normal supervision). I am a seasoned cruiser, with at least 70 cruises behind me, and I and my friends and associates have experience on Silver Seas, Radisson, Holland America and many of the other 5- and 6-star companies. I have never been treated with such rudeness as I have on QM2. It is the first time that I feel that I have been disloyal to my friends, clients, and associates for recommending the QM2. I know that they were not happy cruisers. My final thought is that this was the first time I paid to help train people, to be insulted, and, contrary to Ann's remark, "I did not get what I had paid for." Read Less
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Sail Date: April 2004
It was with much excitement that my husband and I booked onto the QM2 for what we hoped would be a very special 4 night cruise on what Cunard call 'the best ocean liners in the world'. QM2 was to sail from Southampton on the 16th ... Read More
It was with much excitement that my husband and I booked onto the QM2 for what we hoped would be a very special 4 night cruise on what Cunard call 'the best ocean liners in the world'. QM2 was to sail from Southampton on the 16th April 2004 and then on to make two maiden calls to Geurnsey and Cherbourg. It was to be our fourth cruise, the first being on Brilliance of the Seas in August 2002, Adonia in August 2003 and again on Brilliance in November 2003. We had been most impressed with all our cruising experiences, in particular, Brilliance of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) We left our home in Lancashire on 11th April to travel to Southampton for our pre-cruise hotel organised independently by ourselves. QM2 was due to dock into Southampton at 6.00 a.m. on the 12th. We awoke relatively early and were informed by the local news on our hotel room TV that QM2 was in fact to dock some 5 hours late due to a technical difficulty. Whilst this was obviously disappointing, it gave us the unusual opportunity to see QM2 arrive into Southampton in daylight at 11.00 a.m. video camera in toe, we waited for the first glimpse of QM2 which was the top of her red funnel over the top of the port buildings in the distance and watched her gracefully, quietly and slowly take up her position at the QE2 terminal. The time on our tickets showed embarkation to be 3.30 p.m. We had received no notification from Cunard (despite Cunard apparently being aware of this delay from the Friday before and in receipt of our mobile numbers) therefore, we attended at the terminal in accordance with the information given on our tickets. It took a significant amount of time to drive to the dock as the dock area was completely gridlocked with traffic. When we arrived at the terminal and parked our car our luggage was taken and we were asked to board a coach which would take us back through the terminal to the De Vere Hotel for refreshments. Whilst discussing what we should do we were informed by a fellow guest that if we chose to go to the local hotel then it would take at least an hour to get there and there was nowhere to sit. Therefore, we chose not to take up this offer and instead went into the terminal to wait for Cunard to open the doors. At 4.00 p.m. passengers on the previous voyage were still disembarking and the scene was one of absolute chaos. At 4.55 p.m. Cunard opened the doors and we were one of the first to be checked in. The signs to the ship were pointing in the wrong direction and the escalator to the waiting hall wasn't working. However, we were not too concerned, only eager to see what awaited us. After a very short wait of only one or two minutes in the waiting hall we were told we could embark. We dashed to form a queue and were then told that actually, they weren't quite ready. Another 5 or 10 minutes later we were finally told we could embark. We walked straight into the Grand Lobby and were faced with a line of staff who greeted us by saying "welcome aboard". No-one offered to show us to our cabin and no-one offered to help carry some of our hand luggage. We were just pointed in the right direction which we felt was very lacking in comparison with our other cruises. Anyway, not to be perturbed we eagerly made our way to our cabin. We had been upgraded from an inside to an outside with a porthole and the cabin had been adapted to be wheelchair friendly, therefore, it was huge. We were extremely pleased with our cabin which was furnished to a delightful standard and was spotless. There was also a complimentary half bottle of champagne which I understand is provided on all cruises. We left packing until later and explored the ship. If I had been a first time cruiser I am sure I would have been absolutely elated with her beauty however overall I felt the rooms were too similar and lacked atmosphere and character. There is very little wood, the wall panels are high gloss laminate and the huge murals which line the walls to the Britannia, whilst are designed to look like bronze appear to be made from plastic. I understand that wood has not been used to comply to fire regulations however Brilliance was only launched in 2002 and is full of beautiful wood panels and flooring. Our first meal on board was taken in the Britannia restaurant. We were on late sitting however by the time the safety drill had been done, it was 9.20 p.m. before we were able to sit down. Quite simply, the service was appalling. The waitress had to ask my husband to help her support the overloaded drinks tray as she was going to drop it and beer was 'served' in the can unpoured and even unopened. My glass had a 'tide mark' and the food served was cold. We felt it may be unreasonable to complain on the first night and hoped our dining experiences would improve. They did not. Each night our food was served luke warm and each night the food served was sent back to the kitchen. The water glasses were always kept full and generally the wine waiter was excellent however on one occasion, when the wine was brought by the Maitre'd it took two attempts for us to receive our correct order. These are only a small selection of instances, there were many more. On the third night we advised the Senior Maitre'd that for our last night we were to dine elsewhere as we were so disappointed. The Maitre'd promised he would ensure if we did chose to dine in the Britannia on the last night that everything would be perfect. He also offered us a free bottle of wine. We felt we ought to give Cunard an extra chance to deliver and took him up on his offer. The last night arrived and we went to sit at our table. There were no serviettes and no glasses. Starters were just about hot, mains were cold and the turkey served was processed. It tasted disgusting. We asked the Senior Maitre'd whether he was aware that the turkey was processed and he said he was, this was due to the chef running out of the carvery turkey. He said himself that it was unacceptable and embarrassing for him to serve food of this quality. There was no way I could eat the processed turkey as it tasted of chemicals and as there was nothing else I liked on the menu I was offered chicken. When this arrived it was a plain chicken fillet with boiled potatoes, broccoli and carrot. Not exactly imaginative however I considered myself lucky as it was steaming hot. I tried room service once for breakfast which was good however one item was missing. The self service Kings Court was used only once, again for breakfast and we found only a limited choice of food available compared with Royal Caribbean Windjammer. The Todd English Restaurant was excellent and was on a par with the alternative dining found on Royal Caribbean such as Chops Grill or Porto Fino. The shows were some of the best we have seen and Jennie Bond who was on board gave a lecture about her life as a Royal Correspondent and her contribution to 'I'm a Celebrity' which was extremely interesting. In my opinion, Geurnsey made no effort to welcome us (only had a tent selling special souvenirs) but we were tendered. We were much further out than when we have been to Guernsey before however the arrangements for the tenders seemed to be well organised. Arrival at Cherbourg was something else. The welcome Cherborg gave QM2 was amazing. As we sailed towards the docks at 6.00 a.m., the Navy and other little boats came to greet us spraying water. Several thousands of people lined the docks cheering and clapping and a band played. We disembarked and the tourist board had arranged for horse drawn carriages and antique cars or a shuttle bus to take us the short distance to the town. Many of the shops had posters of the ship welcoming its maiden call. Cherbourg had gone to so much effort and my husband and I will never forget it. The night time (11pm) send off was similar however more people lined the docks, someone said there were around 10,000 people holding torches. It was fantastic. As a 'gesture of goodwill' Cunard have offered to contribute 25% of the price paid for this trip against a future trip with Cunard to compensate for the late arrival of the ship in Southampton. They also provided us with a complimentary sailaway champagne party from Guernsey. All in all we were extremely disappointed with our QM2 experience mainly due to the apparent lack of organisation generally and awful service in the Britannnia Restaurant (especially with Cunard promoting their "White Star Service"). We also felt that the waiting staff seemed fed up and unhappy which is no surprise if their guests had as many complaints as what we had. Finally, on the morning of disembarkation, our steward walked 'mistakenly' into our cabin whilst we were still in bed at 7.15 a.m. and our friends told us they had their steward knocking on their door at 6.00 a.m. to say 'good morning'. With our hand luggage packed, we took the lift to disembark. A youngish male entered the lift with us with a suitcase and two boxes. One box had a picture of a toaster on it and the other box a kettle. I coyly said to him "the food wasn't that bad was it?" He replied no ma'am. My husband advised me once the male had left the lift that he was the cruise director who had completed his 4 month contract. I hope it gives him and his peers food for thought. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
My husband and I have been on many cruises and booked this one a year ago after hearing all of the hype about the Queen Mary 2. We were going to be celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary and wanted to do something special. Originally we ... Read More
My husband and I have been on many cruises and booked this one a year ago after hearing all of the hype about the Queen Mary 2. We were going to be celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary and wanted to do something special. Originally we were thinking of going to Europe and taking a Mediterranean cruise, but we decided this would be a great opportunity. We were so excited about this trip and believed it would be the ultimate cruise experience. We expected impeccable service and the best of everything. We were sadly disappointed because this ship did not offer anything more than the other ships we have been on. In fact, we seemed to have gotten a lot less for a whole lot more money. The room service menu is very limited. If you choose not to eat in the dining room, you are only left with the Kings Court on Deck 7 which is a glorified employee's cafeteria. I didn't pay all of that money to walk around carrying a tray. This area is turned into four specialty restaurants by night, with the buffet areas used for salads and appetizers. The food in the dining room was okay - again nothing out of the ordinary. I didn't like anything on the menu the first two nights and finally had to ask if I could get a steak instead. The waiter had to call over the assistant manager in order to get approval. The staff all seemed not to be very organized. We finally had lobster after almost nine days at sea! There was one band on board for the entire 10 days. It almost became comical because they were in the disco, in the Queen's Room, in the indoor pool area for the sailing party - they must have been exhausted! The production shows were good, but other than that there was not much to do. There were many lecturers on board, but who wants to hear about preventing heart attacks while on vacation. Poolside was very boring and dull. Mostly all of the other passengers that I spoke to felt the same way. I expressed some of these impressions to the Maitre'D during a conversation at dinner one night. He told me that I was not on a cruise ship but a "luxury liner" that was built to do transatlantic voyages not cruises to the Caribbean. Well, then why was this particular cruise marketed as such? Or the next two cruises? He then insulted me further by saying that Cunard had to lower the dress code to only 3 formal nights, 4 informal nights, and 3 casual nights for these cruises. I didn't like the division of the classes. If you pay for a suite, you are entitled to the Princess or Queen's Grill restaurants. I only had an eleventh floor balcony - I guess that is considered steerage. The cruise director Brian was good, and we enjoyed visiting the islands. The ship cannot go into port, so you have to use tenders which can be rocky and take time. I would not recommend this ship. We could have taken two cruises with what it cost for this one. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2004
CAUTION ... VERY LONG!!! Let me start by giving you some background on myself. I am male, 47 and I have taken nineteen voyages ranging from transatlantic crossings as a child to small yachts, medium ships, and Mega-ships. From ... Read More
CAUTION ... VERY LONG!!! Let me start by giving you some background on myself. I am male, 47 and I have taken nineteen voyages ranging from transatlantic crossings as a child to small yachts, medium ships, and Mega-ships. From "economy" lines to very expensive lines ... and NEVER have I been disappointed in my cruise .... UNTIL NOW! I have always felt that you get what you pay for .... so if you are in an inside cabin @ $299 per week, you probably do not have too much to complain about ... but The Queen Mary 2? The "Grandest Liner" of all time? My expectations were high ... as I have dreamed of sailing on "The Most Famous Ocean Liners." I was completely let down ... Embarkation: If the Cruise Line makes a big deal about NOT coming to the port before your allotted time ... then why, oh why, don't they stand by that policy?? Everyone came at once and was allowed to board together. Why isn't there somewhere for the early arrivers to wait while those who actually paid attention to our assigned times were allowed to board? The lines were excruciatingly long, two hours to get on the ship... don't forget this is an OLD crowd; this was cruel and inhuman treatment for them. We had called ahead for a wheelchair but when we arrived we were told that the party requesting it didn't seem to need one (I suppose that her MS is not sufficiently severe to be noticeable yet!!! Even after we informed the staff of this fact!) No escort to your room either ... just directions to your bank of elevators. Cabin: SMALL! Very little closet space and the "bathroom" should really be referred to as a very small powder room with a spigot stuck in the corner to rinse off with. This was by far the smallest bathroom I have ever had. Once the third bed was out you could no longer use the desk, open the refrigerator, or gain access to the balcony ... come on, this is The Queen Mary 2! Oh yes, and my end tables had water marks from the previous occupants ... not cleaned properly; which by the way, our room was rarely "cleaned" ... only "tidied-up". We never were provided with ice (in the miniscule ice bucket). Closets were not sufficient for two, let alone a third that this cabin allegedly carries. The area outside the bath is so small that you cannot exit the bathroom if your ship-mate is using the closet. The deck needs either to be larger or have smaller chairs, as the loungers were wedged in and could only be moved if you literally tilted them up in the air to rearrange them (I'd love to see an 80 year old do that!). Ship Layout: So bad it would be comical but for the fact that this is an expensive joke. The cabin halls were so tight that once the stewards started their cleaning (with vacs and carts) only one passenger at a time could pass (I actually took pictures to document this). So much for those with walkers or a wheelchair ... and this is The Queen Mary 2? There are numerous recreation areas (cigar lounge, library, hair salon, Todd English restaurant) on passenger decks. WHY? They are all far from the typical travel route of the ship ... this is a ship that is 1100 feet long ... so do not hope to make it from Todd English to the Cigar Lounge without traipsing over 3 football fields (in length) to get there! The phrase "you can't get there from here" MUST have been coined on this ship, as the designers seemed to go out of their way to make getting around tedious at best. The "largest running track at sea" MIGHT be useful but for the deck chairs being put out by 6:00 a.m.! Might be a better idea to put them out a bit later (say 8:00 a.m.) and the running track just might be usable. Pity those in the two-story apartments ... their decks are not at all private, and, in fact, overlook not only an adult pool and bar but also the KIDS pool! This, on The Queen Mary 2!!!! The Grandest Ocean Liner in the World!? ... and what ship designer places lifeboats IN FRONT OF Balcony Cabins??? Totally absurd. Restaurant: Lower level ... not bad, but the upper level where I was felt claustrophobic ... if you are taller than 5 FT. 7 in. (me) you will feel that your head scrapes the ceiling. We did have an interesting view though ... the escalator leading downstairs to the kitchen ... complete with GLARING florescent lights. The first night I ordered FOUR wines before I hit upon one that was actually on the voyage ... this is from the supplied wine list mind you. Notwithstanding my directions, we never, never were given our wine before our meal was half through ... not once. This is The Queen Mary 2? Our busboy never said "excuse me?" ... only HUH? Why did I assume that the staff would be highly trained? Several staff members actually complained to me about the staff and the lack of training ... one going so far as to reveal that rather than making an attempt to make every request a chance to provide the guest a "magical moment" they were actually instructed to try NO first!!! Are you kidding me??? We missed dinner one night and we were told to "go back to your room to eat" .... HELLO .... service?? Food was very good and plentiful, properly prepared and served. Alternative Dining: A FOOD COURT??? like in a MALL??? This is The Queen Mary 2!!! Say it ain't so!!!!! Common Rooms: DO NOT be fooled by the website, brochures, etc. as this ship uses WIDE angle lenses for photos and "Starbucks" terminology (you know, where "grand" really means "small") as in the "Grand Lobby." No feeling of ever having "arrived" at your destination ... the rooms all seem to be such an afterthought. The real emphasis was on the common halls ... large for no other reason than to shepherd you off at the end of the cruise ... like so many cattle to slaughter. Kids Program: Not too good, but I honestly would not have expected much (due to the average age on the ship) EXCEPT for the bragging by the company about their specially trained "nannies" ... other than the always pleasant Josalyn (who my 7 year old son, Gregory, fell in love with) the activity for the day seemed to center around the video game machines. Nickel-and-Diming: In the Gym you are charged for headphones if you want to use the video screen attached to your running machine! Cheap, cheap, cheap. History: The history of the Cunard Line is omnipotent. Hundreds, yes hundreds of pictures, stories, and references to the Cunard Liners of old. There is so much about yesterday that there is no apparent need to try to make TODAY meaningful. Cunard needs to stop using its past as a crutch and pay more attention to the here and now. Danger!: The hallways are FILLED with voids in the floors caused by improper concrete-type underlayment. Many of us twisted our ankles in the 1/8 to 1/4 inch voids. It was so bad that they crew was pulling up carpet and trying to fix the problem (be especially careful outside of Cabin #8097)!! Was the ship beautiful? Yes. But "beauty" without "brains" can only take you so far. All in all I will never sail on the QM2 again ... it's just not worth the cost .... take TWO cruises on another line instead!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
I have been on 10 cruises in the past 2 years and a lot were a lot cheaper then this one on what is supposed to be the best ship. Well, I DO NOT think it was the best ship. In fact it was the worst ship I have ever been on. The crew ... Read More
I have been on 10 cruises in the past 2 years and a lot were a lot cheaper then this one on what is supposed to be the best ship. Well, I DO NOT think it was the best ship. In fact it was the worst ship I have ever been on. The crew made it seem it was a problem to do anything for you. I saw old people(with walking sticks) trying to get a table after they stood in long lines trying to get some food, and none of the staff even offered to help If you got lucky enough to get a table then you had to look all over to get a drink (NO THE STAFF DID NOT GET IT FOR YOU - THEY TOLD YOU WHERE TO GET IT). You would go to one drink station and maybe find a glass and have to go looking for something to put in it. And if you were too long you would get back to your table to find your food had been cleared away and the buffet would be closed so you did not get any food. If you were getting food and it was time for the buffet to close and you were in the middle the food was taken away from under your nose and you were told "WE ARE CLOSED." Yes, they had a staff shortage, but the cruise we were on I heard about 150 staff just walked off the ship. I DON'T KNOW HOW TRUE THAT WAS, but I was on the island and coming back a lot of staff were shouting and getting off the ship with suitcases. As for disembarkation, I saw a 91 year old woman pushing her own wheelchair off, and another really old couple trying to get off. I helped them. The man had Parkinsons and the woman had 2 walking sticks and she said to me she could not walk anymore because she was in so much pain and had tears in her eyes. I took them aside and when I got off the ship I found a man with a wheelchair and told him about them. I just hope he went to help them. Also, do not expect to find your bags when you get off the ship. What a mess. At this point you wish you had stayed home for sure. Then we had a transfer to the airport and the buses didn't come so they said to all in the lines that if you want to get taxis go ahead (but everyone had already paid for the transfer). A lot of people did get taxis but our flight was not for another 3 hours so it was wait there or wait in the airport, so we waited. During the cruise a lot of people who were on the ship, including myself, asked if we could get off the ship and fly home. The shows on the ship are bad and there is not much to do except to play in the casino and that was always full. The only place you could get food and drink in peace was the Golden Lion Pub. If it was not for that I would have lost weight on the ship. At least the beds were very comfortable, but believe it or not there was no phone by the bed!!! The menus in the main dinning room were names you could not understand and the night they served lobster they did not serve melted butter with it. Can you believe that!! This is how the ship is run. Only one sugar free dessert and you had to ask for it!!! No powdered milk available for your coffee. I asked for an omelette with onions and I was told they did not do onions!!! Save your money and take a real cruise -- Royal Caribbean or Celebrity or just about any other line... The ship is new but not all that beautiful. The inside and outside pools leave a lot to be desired. Old fashioned step ladders to get in and out of the pools. Not convenient like the ones on Princess or almost any other line. Bottom line. Don't waste your money. For a lot less you can get a lot more. On a scale of 1 - 10 my husband and I (and probably everyone else the we talked to on the ship) would rate the Queen Mary 2 no more than a 3 star and that, believe me, is stretching it to the max. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2005
The QM2 is quite a beautiful ship but that is where the good stuff ends. We waited 3 hours to board her, it was total confusion. Locals told us this has been like this from the beginning. I learned the average age of our cruise was 66, no ... Read More
The QM2 is quite a beautiful ship but that is where the good stuff ends. We waited 3 hours to board her, it was total confusion. Locals told us this has been like this from the beginning. I learned the average age of our cruise was 66, no wonder the ship was so quiet all day. If Cunard is going into the Caribbean market I feel it will have to liven up a bit. Also, the pools were very small, no fun and games pool side either. There are no changing tables anywhere & if you are disabled it is hard to locate a handicap toilet, they are not in the bathrooms. We didn't find the staff very friendly either. We had room service for breakfast each morning & not once was the order 100% correct. In the Britannia dining room the food was excellent, but again, if you varied from the menu as written it got messed up. The Kings Court buffet area was not set up very well, each station was a bit different & therefore you had crowds milling around & again long lines. Our daughter was thrilled with their kid's program. She has a 14 month old but of course there were only 24 kids on the ship so it was sort of one on one. Some areas of the ship were hard to find, like the disco. Sometimes on the elevators you had to go up or down a level to get around the dining room so you could get to your destination. We had fun because 10 of us went but if we (hubby & I) were alone we would have been bored to death. We went on the Caribbean Princess in June & had a blast. I suppose this Grand Dame of the seas was built for the rich & elderly, not families looking to have a fun time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2005
My husband & I were so excited about cruising on the QM2 but shortly after our arrival at Port Everglades that excitement disappeared because we had to wait online for 2 hours to board her. There is no excuse for this. Luckily the ... Read More
My husband & I were so excited about cruising on the QM2 but shortly after our arrival at Port Everglades that excitement disappeared because we had to wait online for 2 hours to board her. There is no excuse for this. Luckily the weather was lovely but imagine standing in the South Florida heat for that long. People would be dropping left & right. As we boarded we were shocked that all this young man did was point us to an elevator. No one escorted us to our cabin. One thing we did notice was that the Grand Lobby was not all that large. Our cabin was nothing special. Sure it was clean & the decor was pleasing but that was about it. The bathroom was exceptionally small. Since we were on Deck 4 our balcony was a cut out of the hull. Why bother! Not much of a view! The layout was a bit odd, I thought. There was a lot of "can't get there from here" areas. We snuck thru the Britannia restaurant quite a bit. We'd just wave our hands & say "Sorry, we're lost." lol. The food was OK, again nothing special or outstanding, sad to say. Our server was not all that friendly. Also, on several nights meals were mixed up. Room Service also never got it right. I ordered skimmed milk every morning & never got it. The Kings Court had a poor layout & after spending all that money you end up standing on long lines carrying a tray. Pitiful! Although the daily schedule looked like there was a lot to do, most was pretty boring stuff. Like knitting, napkin folding or scarf folding (bring your own scarf). The pools were pretty small compared to other cruise lines I have been on. The Spa was a good experience. I got a facial & the girl never once tried to sell me anything. Something that really irks me on other liners. I didn't feel that the staff went over & above at any point. Some were downright rude. My other gripe is the lack of handicap restrooms. In the States all restrooms have at least one handicap stall but on the QM2 they are in another area, makes no sense. My daughter pointed out that there are also no changing tables anywhere. She had to change her baby on the floor. Maybe they don't like babies on the ship. The ship did rock & roll quite a bit despite having 2 stabilizers. I personally never got sick but my hubby wore a patch. We had a much better time on the Caribbean Princess in July. Don't get me wrong we did have fun but it was because we had family & friends with us. I was very disappointed in the QM2, she just didn't live up to all the hype. Sort of like a beautiful woman who is brainless, the looks only go so far, lol. The disembarkation was painless, thank goodness. :-) I wouldn't recommend the QM2 to anyone, sorry. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2005
We had sailed on the QM2 for our second time (first time May 2004) on October 26, 2005 for a voyage from Southampton to NYC. Embarkation: Very smooth on the pier, we had taken the Orient Express option to the ship so we arrived a bit ... Read More
We had sailed on the QM2 for our second time (first time May 2004) on October 26, 2005 for a voyage from Southampton to NYC. Embarkation: Very smooth on the pier, we had taken the Orient Express option to the ship so we arrived a bit later in the day. We checked in and boarded immediately. Once onboard there were no stewards to help with our hand luggage though. We had seen a porter and asked for help to our stateroom. He just pointed towards the bow after hearing our room number and walked away, our suite was in the stern. The Room: We stayed in a the Q2 Buckingham Suite. The duplex suite was wonderful, truly the most beautiful room I have stayed in aboard ship. The suite had a wonderful entertaining space, downstairs had a wonderful living area and dining set with a 1/2 bath and kitchen area for the butler. The terrace was nice sized, although the weather kept us from using it. Upstairs there has a treadmill the bedroom with two bathrooms, one with shower and body jets, the other with a jet bath and shower head. The closet was very nice sized. The bedding however is very uncomfortable, by the end of our journey our backs were looking forward to getting off the ship. Entertainment: The onboard performances were quite bad, we tried to attend several nights and always left shortly after the start. The music in the Queen's Room seemed a bid under powered with an heir of being in an elevator. Even the DJ in G32 needs work, I understand that you cannot please everyone's tastes, however, poor quality and electrified key boards are never a good idea. Food: We were so very excited for the Queens Grill, our last trip proved the food to be wonderful. This was not to be true on this voyage. The food was terrible. Common staples such as frisee lettuce were never available, as was caviar which was highly pressed by Cunard as a standard feature in the Queens Grill. Food was oily and over slated with NO imagination. We attempted to eat in the Grill two nights both of which were terrible experiences. The first night we ordered off the menu and thought the food very salty, slopped on the plate and oil was covering the remaining open plate areas. The second night we had special ordered grilled pheasant in a white wine mushroom sauce and wild rice. When we sat to dinner we were informed the pheasant was still frozen and we would have to have it the next night. I ordered a beef filet, not edible would be an understatement. I was so hard it was not able to be cut and was so very salted I returned the item and my partner's fish was so oily he became ill. We decided to not have anything to eat that evening and left the Grill. We decided to have our special order dinner in our suite the third night and arranged everything with our butler. Our table was set the following evening and we came downstairs to dine. We found a ground sausage formation with BBQ sauce covering it and a large bone stuck in the center for decoration (not from a pheasant). The mushrooms were soggy and covered in olive oil on the side. A far, far cry from what we had ordered. For the rest of the voyage we ate in our room and dined from the hamburgers and pizza from the room service menu which surpassed the cuisine in the Queen's Grill. We ate at Todd English twice and found the food better, however, once again over salted and very oily. Staff: Everyone was very friendly. Our butler and room steward were very nice. They were however, very invasive, entering without knocking and talking for extended periods of time. This is not quite the service of the formal yet friendly staff we had always appreciated and looked forward to. The Queens Grill staff was dramatically understaffed from our past voyage. One wine steward for the entire room meant getting anything to drink was a wait to say the least. The wait staff was all very nice yet very undertrained on waiting on a formal table. Decor: The ship is a modern interpretation of a liner. Much of her is plastic and veneer, yet she looks nice. I wrote a letter to Cunard explaining that their claim of the Queen's Grill being the "premier dining experience at sea" was not evident in anyway. The response from the cruise line was that Cunard does not claim to offer a higher level of service or quality of food in the Queen's Grill category. The promise of better food quality and the renowned Cunard White Star Butler Service are what seems to justify paying the very high passage rate of the Q level cabins. I would not travel on this ship in this category again as the ship is. The line offers no explanation and negates its sales brochure's claims concerning the Q grade amenities. Silversea, RSSC, or Crystal do a far superior job at far less cost. I was astounded at the Line's lack of caring to my issues being a frequent Queens Grill passenger on their ships and have cancelled my future voyages on the QM2. I will sail on the QE2 in Oct. 2006 and see if she is suffering from the Cunard/Princess affliction. I fear this take over by mass market cruise lines is ruining a wonderful and cherished line. They do not seem to have any idea of what the Queen's Grill. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2006
White star service? On a recent round trip cruise from L.A. to Hawaii, we got to sample the latest ship from the Cunard fleet, the Queen Mary 2, billed as the biggest and fastest cruise ship on the water. The ship itself is truly ... Read More
White star service? On a recent round trip cruise from L.A. to Hawaii, we got to sample the latest ship from the Cunard fleet, the Queen Mary 2, billed as the biggest and fastest cruise ship on the water. The ship itself is truly beautiful, taking it's design cues from the original art deco era Queen Mary 1. Its size, sadly, may be it's greatest fault. We came a way feeling like cattle. The disappointments started early. We had booked a balcony cabin and specifically requested to not be given an "in Hull" room. We got one anyway. In hull refers to the balcony rooms that are below deck 7, the Promenade deck. These cabins have balconies that are fully enveloped with steel walls but have a window cut into them. They are not what most people would consider a balcony and we found the very title quite deceptive. We also requested to be part of the first seating at a table for two. We were given the late seating at a table for eight. We wondered why they even ask preferences. Any requests for changes were met with cold indifference. Can you really maintain a high quality in service, food and entertainment when you're serving 2550 people? The staff, with the exception of the pursers office, give their all and are probably the best thing about the ship. In our opinion everything else falls short. We also got to give the staff a real test when my cabin mate fell ill and had to leave the cruise mid way through. The staff in the pursers office not only lacked compassion but were down right rude. This was our third cruise and only real disappointment. Crystal and Wind Star both did a superb job. Bottom line: For what Cunard charges and delivers, you can do a lot better elsewhere. Below are some highlights and things to think about if you are considering a cruise on the Queen Mary 2 THE GOOD: Beautifully designed and maintained ship. Well appointed cabins. Top notch support staff and service. Great gym and spa. Excellent library. THE BAD: Food that never quite tastes as good as it looks. Deceptively vague advertising and brochures. Standing in endless lines at main dining rooms and some entertainment. Being charged for soda and other non-alcoholic beverages. A confusing tipping program. Weak watered down shows. THE UGLY: Rude, burned out management staff. Being treated like cattle. Being constantly bombarded with art auctions, overpriced photographic portraits and other methods of separating you from your money. Read Less
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