This cruise was a substitute for the Black Sea and Turkish Splendors which, due to Mr Putin, hardly touched the Black Sea! As we had stops at Warnemunde [Germany] and Kristiansand [Norway] on a previous cruise to St Petersburg the decision was made to head for Norway via Hamburg. Good choice.
Embarkation at Southampton..........I must mention this, was the slickest ever! Practically straight onto the ship with no queue; I could hardly believe it!
The stateroom was an upgrade issued about a week prior to the cruise. This glass-fronted balcony was the same as on QE and QV previously and is a better option to the enclosed balcony on decks 4 to 6 on QM2. There is often debate about this. To my mind the sheltered balcony would probably be better on a Trans-Atlantic trip. We will find out! Booked next July.
Two stops at Hamburg were good with weather fine on first visit so we took to walking around the city rather than the open-top Red Bus or an organized excursion. Took the Cunard Shuttle bus to the Town Hall and and found our own way back; easy and not very far. Hamburg is a surprise with more canals than Venice, or so we were told!
I won't go through all the Norway destinations as they were equally good. We did the Red Bus in Bergen and then walked the town in the afternoon after lunch. Our only organized excursion was at Andalsnes and the Rauma Railway. This is a 'must do', although greatly added-to by our guide back down the mountain in the coach. Weather was hot here, with some teenagers jumping into the fjord from the wooden jetty.
Back to QM2. Cabin Service was, as on all our previous Cunard cruises, excellent. "Thank You" Larry. Also faultless were our two Britannia Restaurant waiters and all the Restaurant dining experience was [nearly!] 'spot-on'. I wish that I could get Consommé soup like this back in the UK.
Of the Guest Speakers, Midge Ure [Band Aid] was really good. Of the entertainers, the flautist and pianist Metier Ensemble were terrific. One slight comment would probably be the result of a majority of the ship's guests being German. It seemed that much of the entertainment was skewed to the majority audience. A good instance of this was soprano Penny Mathisen's performance. Part of the routine was in German, to the point of performing a well known Italian song in German. Even the majority would probably have wondered what was going on! To me it just spoiled the show.
Overall this was a pretty good cruise and would we do it again? Probably yes, but a month earlier if possible. A major plus was that we got away from the high pollen count in the UK.
The stateroom was an upgrade issued about a week prior to the cruise. This glass-fronted balcony was the same as on QE and QV previously, and is a better option than the enclosed balcony on decks 4 to 6 on QM2. There is often debate about this. To my mind the sheltered balcony would probably be better on a Trans-Atlantic trip. We will find out! Booked next July.