Queen Mary 2 (QM2) - Canada/New England: Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by Cruise Cats

Queen Mary 2 (QM2) 4
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Queen Mary 2 (QM2) - Canada/New England

Sail Date: July 2006
Destination: Canada & New England
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
My husband and I just returned from our eighth cruise. We were on the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Independence Day sailing from July 3  8, 2006. It came and went from New York City, and included the ports of: Boston, Massachusetts (on July 4); Bar Harbor, Maine; and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

We have previously sailed on Carnival, NCL and Holland. This was our first on Cunard, and first out of New York City. We arrived two days early in New York, and spent the weekend at the Marriott Marquis near Times Square. There was quite a lot going on that weekend! We took in a few of the tourist activities and also were able to visit the site where the World Trade Center had been.

My husband was so impressed with his first cab ride in New York in a while, that we booked a car service to get us to and from the pier. There was some kind of an event going on near the Marriott Marquis the day we arrived, and the taxi driver wanted to drop us off, and our four bags, about two blocks More from the hotel. As if we wanted to fight our way through the crowds with four suitcases in tow. We insisted that the driver continue to the hotel itself. He wasnt too happy about that, but oh well. We booked a car service from the Marriott and it was $86 from the hotel to the pier and then another $86 from the pier to LaGuardia at the end of the cruise. Not a bad deal at all, considering Cunard charges more than that to ride in a bus.

I have read just about every review for the QM2 I came across. People seemed to be either thrilled or mildly disappointed with their cruise. I was trying not to expect a lot, and my husband wasnt expecting anything at all. We had a nice time aboard this ship, but not the wonderful time we have on most cruises. I dont think there is any such thing as a bad cruise, so it was still good. But I like other lines better.

Embarkation wasnt too bad. We arrived right at the time stated on our boarding pass and it took about 45 minutes. Our travel agent had pre-registered us with all our passport information and all that, so things went that much more quickly for us. The facility in Brooklyn was nicely air conditioned, and there wasnt any danger of it getting hot and miserable in there.

The ship itself is absolutely gorgeous. It is very pretty and everywhere I went I had the same thought, This is nice! From the wall panels to the artwork to the flowers to the cabins themselves, everything is very elegant and pleasing to the eye.

We had an interior cabin with two upper berths which were not used. I was a little concerned that they would be in the way, but they tuck neatly into the ceiling. Unless you knew to look for extra berths, you probably wouldnt have known they were there. The room had plenty of drawer and closet space.

We rarely saw our cabin steward, but knew he was there by the clean state of our room all the time. He introduced himself and provided my husband with an ashtray and things like that. He did a great job staying on top of things.

The sail away party from New York was fun! The NYPD had their helicopters escorting the ship a ways. They circled the ship, got fairly close and hovered, and waved to the passengers and all that. It was pretty fun and made for some great pictures. I have one shot of a NYPD helicopter hovering close to the ship with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

We had a table for two in the first seating of the Britannia Dining Room. The food was very fancy, but not necessarily all that good. We arent terribly picky eaters, but had some trouble finding even one entrEe or appetizer/salad that sounded good. Or at least didnt sound awful. Normally on a cruise I have to decide between a couple of appetizers that sound good, can figure out which salad I want, and then have to decide on an entrEe. Not here. I was lucky to find one appetizer or salad I wanted and one entrEe that would work. My husband ordered the stand by grilled chicken breast twice. Anyway, I included one nights menu below. The rest are different but still just as fancy-schmancy.


Chicken Liver Parfait, Pear Compote & Sauterne Jelly Smoked Salmon Terrine with Keta Caviar & Celery Hearts Crispy Calamari Rings on Greens, Lemon Dip Cream of Mixed Mushrooms, Parmesan Croutons Chicken Consomme with Herbed Quenelles


Oak Leaf & Boston Salad, Sherry Vinaigrette Soba Noodle Salad, Sesame Soy Dressing


Spaghetti alla Marinara with Tomato Sauce, Garlic Onions and Anchovies Pan Seared Grouper, Mango Avocado & Sweet Potatoes Roast Pork Loin, Wild Mushrooms Ragout, Truffle Mash and Morel Sauce Roasted Strip Loin, Glazed Root Vegetables & Yorkshire Pudding Vegetable & Bean Chili Taco Shells, Steamed Rice

(I had the smoked salmon appetizer followed by the spaghetti without the anchovies.)

The service was fine, although I think our assistant waiter ducked out a lot. This left the server to have to cover water, rolls, removing plates and all that. I felt kind of bad for the server. We could see where other serving teams were working together better.

There was one thing about dinners that annoyed me. When we received our cruise documents, they mentioned two formal nights, one informal night, and two casual nights. The two formal nights were to be a red, white and blue ball and a black and white ball. So I brought clothes as appropriate. When we got on board, this had been changed to one formal night (black and white ball), one informal night (with red, white and blue ball to follow) and three casual nights. I wound up wearing a formal on informal night and something semi-formal on a casual night. Not a huge deal, but why send cruise documents mentioning two formal nights and then modify it to one after we cant change what weve packed? But it wasnt a huge deal. And I saw a lot of other ladies in red or blue formal wear that night as well. I guess they had the same information I did.

We did the buffet for breakfast each day. It offered plenty of hot selections, bread/pastry selections and fruit. We ate at the Golden Lion for lunch each day, as my husband loves Shepherds Pie, known as Cottage Pie there. I had Fish and Chips a couple of times. It was delicious and the fish was very mild. We ordered room service two or three times. It is a very limited menu, but does include a Club Sandwich, which worked for us. Room service was pretty quick, too.

The drinks on the QM2 didnt seem to be much more expensive than on any other line. One of the bartenders in the Golden Lion introduced me to a Southern Peach which has become my new favorite.

The casino had all the standard games and didnt seem to be too crowded. Most tables were a $5 minimum, which is manageable. We dropped some money there, but gambling is entertainment for us, so we absorb some losses in the interest of keeping entertained. It was nice to be able to sit at a table or choose a slot machine whenever we wanted.

We went to one show, some kind of international dances through out the decades. I thought it was good, but my husband was kind of bored with it. It was just an hour long so he was able to live with it. We also attended a planetarium show, which was interesting.

The ports we visited had a lot to do with us selecting this cruise. We (I) had been wanting to sail on the Queen Mary since she was built, and this week worked out well with both of our vacation schedules and included ports we wanted to visit.

Boston, Massachusetts was the place to be on Independence Day! We stayed aboard the ship until after noon. That day the USS Constitution sailed into the harbor on her turnaround cruise. At exactly noon her cannon was fired while underway. That was a treat! We had to be back on board before the fireworks started in Boston. We didnt have a full view, as there were tall buildings between there and the ship. We also werent able to hear the music that was synchronized with the fireworks, as we were too far away. But the ship had its own sail away party and it was fun being top side for that.

The next day was Bar Harbor, Maine. It was foggy most of the day, and we werent able to see the cliffs we had heard so much about. There are about three streets of tourist shops in Bar Harbor and some beautiful scenery. We are quite relieved that we did not waste an entire weeks vacation visiting Bar Harbor. I did have lobster lunch, which was delicious.

Day four was Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It was pretty and had nice scenery and all that as well. You could see where tides went in and out, how the water would be deep at times, and then nothing but sand and rock would be left. That was interesting.

The last day was a day at sea. It was relaxing and nice and all that. We are used to being able to spend some time in the sun on a cruise ship. But it didnt happen in that latitude. Most of the time, it was cool and windy outside. We didnt even stay out long in our clothes, let alone bathing suits. People did lie in lounge chairs, but most were fully clothed with towels and/or blankets wrapped around them. One brave man did lie out in his bathing suit. It didnt look like he was getting much of a tan.

We are glad we learned how cold it can be on a cruise that far north, even in July. We were thinking about doing a Scandinavian Cruise, but are seriously reconsidering. We also now know that if we do a crossing of the Atlantic, it will be from Portugal to Fort Lauderdale or something like that, and not from London to New York.

The other passengers were mostly from the United States, as is predictable on cruises that both embark and disembark from New York City. I found the other passengers to be friendly and well mannered enough. There were some snobbish people, but every cruise seems to have at least a few of those.

Overall, I am glad we went on this cruise. We are now able to say weve been on the Queen Mary, and we went to some ports we wanted to visit. But it was missing some of the things we really enjoy about cruising, such as lying by the pool listening to Jimmy Buffett music and downing frozen drinks. It was more like sitting around a very swanky hotel as opposed to being at a resort. Its very pretty and nice to see, but not enough action for us.

This cruise reminded me of my first trip to Europe. Many years ago, I saved, planned, and really anticipated my first trip to Europe and all the great things I was going to see and do the whole time, like the brochures said. Then I got there and it was okay, and there were things that I liked and all that. But I really didnt have the great time I thought I was going to have. When I got home, I wasnt about to admit to myself or anyone else that I didnt have a great time on that vacation. So I went on pretending that I had an absolutely amazing time. And I did have some good memories and did do some interesting things. It just wasnt what it was hyped to be in the brochures.

Anyway, I see I have gone on for four pages about a five day cruise. Overall, it was okay, and Im glad we went. We now know what the Queen Mary 2 and Cunard are all about. And we dont have to do another one, our curiosity has been satisfied. Less

Published 07/22/06

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