My husband and I sailed on the QM2 in June of 2014 after a seven week tour of Italy. My husband no longer flies so we decided to use the QM2 as transport back to North America. Unfortunately, that decision was the biggest mistake of our trip.
We had taken another cruise ship from Miami to Europe and expected the QM2 to be far superior as we paid 3 times the price for the QM2. How wrong we were.
Transport to Southampton: We were told to meet the Cunard representative at St. Pancras station in London for our trip from London to Southampton. We were told only to look for the Cunard representative and not given a specific location to meet. After wandering around St. Pancras for about half and hour, we met another couple, also wandering around looking for the Cunard rep. A plan was formed for the wives to stay with the luggage and the husbands would attempt to find the rep. One person asked someone at an information desk if they knew where we should be, and of course they did not but they did call Cunard and got the same storey, look for the rep! The rep did finally arrive (he was late) and started to collect the passengers. He took us to another area of St. Pancras where we waited another 2 ½ hours for other passengers to arrive. It became apparent that we should buy some form of lunch at the station as we would not be arriving at the ship until well after lunch. We were finally taken to a bus, loaded our luggage and ourselves and we were off to Southampton. Not an auspicious start to our trip.
Embarcation – was relatively fast and easy. We did not appreciate being put through a very slow line to have our pictures taken before we had to pass through the security check. We were tired and had no intentions of purchasing overpriced photos of our drooping selves! After the photo shoot, we went through security where we even had to take our shoes off to get on board while managing all of our luggage.
Reception: Shades of things to come! We were herded on board and given no direction of where to go. Very poor organization. In general there was no direction for anything on board this ship.
Potholes in floor: We immediately noticed large “soft” spots in the floor. These were very dangerous for the elderly folk traveling on this cruise. We witnessed several missteps and I tripped several times due to the soft spots. I would think that Cunard would be more concerned with the liability aspect of a person falling and hurting themselves due to the condition of the floors. This ship needs some serious risk management!
Condition of stateroom: We had been upgraded to a restricted balcony room and while it was nice to see some light….. that was all we could see as the lifeboat hanging outside the balcony blocked all else. The balcony was extremely rusty and needed painting. One morning there were workers outside our balcony on a walkway and they could easily see into our room. Not a very private stateroom! The furniture in the room was to the standard of a 3rd rate hotel with chipped paint and tables not working in room. The bathroom was a nice size and we had no complaints with the water or any smell.
Stateroom staff: Our steward was hardworking and conscientious. He seemed unfriendly, but we feel that was due to his lack of English. One major problem we had, which was not his fault, was that the day before we arrived at our destination we were told to have our bags packed as we were going to take advantage of the express debarcation. The steward did not come to our room to make our bed until the afternoon as he was in a training course. We could not pack until the bed was made so this put us behind in having our luggage ready. Again very poor organization and lack of concern for the passengers!
Sound: The ship is certainly not soundproof but we did not expect the noise we experienced. We were unfortunately next door to two young men who thought it was great to come into their room late at night and slam doors and laugh loudly and this sounded like it was in our room. These young men woke us up many times during the cruise. We complained and were told basically, as the ship was full, they could do nothing about the problem.
Entertainment: The lack of interesting entertainment was a shock. We were expecting something more than reading (which was almost impossible in the library as it was very noisy) or board games (if you could get a table to play). We did go to a very good show in the Planetarium, but that was also spoiled by the fact that the seats were broken and did not recline to a comfortable position for your neck. The trip was very boring. Cunard should know that the North Atlantic is usually iffy for good weather (it rained 4 of the 8 days of the cruise) and have some interesting indoor games and learning experiences for their guests included in the price.
Dining staff good: Our waiter and wine steward in the Britannia room were very good. They remembered our names and our wine selections and gave us very good recommendations for our entrees.
Formal nights: As we had been in Italy for 7 weeks prior to our sail on the QM2, we did not bring formal attire as we were already at our maximum weight for our luggage. We assumed from what we were told by a Cunard representative on the phone prior to our trip that there would be only a few areas where “formal” dress was required. As it turned out, this was not the case. We were made to feel that if you were not formally dressed, you should stay in your stateroom. On this sailing there were an excessive 4 out of 8 nights designated “formal”. We really feel that there should be areas designated as “relaxed” attire on the formal nights. The passengers who are in formal dress should not need to pass through “relaxed” areas which would provide a better experience for both groups. Possibly one deck designated formal and one deck designated relaxed. With the current luggage weight restrictions by the air lines, we are amazed that the “formal” night designation for the entire ship is still being maintained. As the QM2 is the only regular transatlantic passenger ship that we found, it would be nice if Cunard could understand that not everyone making the crossing is there for the “QM2 experience”. There are many of us with other reasons and we would appreciate a little consideration!
We unfortunately, must agree with another reviewer and say that this was the first and definitely the last time we would ever sail on a Cunard ship. It was not worth the money.