First, background info. I am an experienced cruiser, divorced lady (new grandma), age 59, and I am employed in the financial services industry. I traveled on this short cruise with an "old" college classmate from long ago. She had never before cruised. Past cruises include Princess, Radisson, now Regent, Seabourn and Carnival (long time ago).
Embarkation: We both flew in from southern cities, met at LaGuadia and traveled to the pier in a taxi. Very smooth embarkation experience; we arrived before noon.
Once on the ship, we visited our stateroom, which was ready for us as the ship had been in port with no passengers the night before. We were in a sheltered in hull balcony cabin on deck 4, also known to some as steerage. The balcony was a decent size with 2 chairs and a table. Once seated, in this balcony, you are unable to see out the opening. It was nice to have that extra space, as the cabin was very small overall, but adequate for our needs. It was decorated in a plain fashion. Our stewardess, Nancy, who was on her first contract, was quite nice. We gave her a long list of requests; top sheets needed on the beds, lots of towels and toiletries,etc, and she responded in kind. Luggage arrived quickly.
We went to the Asian themed buffet in Kings Court, which was fair.
Next, we went to the purser's office to politely request a complimentary upgrade to a nicer cabin and were rudely denied.
We then walked around and admired the beautiful Queen Mary 2. She is stunning. I sat on Deck 7 in a teak chair, read a book and looked across to Manhattan. It was a beautiful day.
At sailaway time, we purchased 2 glasses of Champagne on Deck 8 and watched the city fade away. The weather was perfect and the adventure began. We had requested late seating for dinner, but were assigned early seating, so we went to the Britannia restaurant (beautiful) and asked to be changed. Permission granted!
Throughout the ship, there are musicians providing music in different venues (bars, decks, etc.) Very nice touch.
Commodore Club is as terrific as others have described. I didn't get enough time there because the weather was too nice to be inside.
The library is beautiful. Spent no time in the casino. Bars were comfy; service adequate. Art auction pieces were ordinary.
We spent time during the days onboard relaxing in loungers on deck. Service from staff was poor. Staff members huddled around talking instead of tidying up.
Ship is immaculately clean.
Entertainment at night was great, especially Amy Abler, pianist, who performed with the QM2 orchestra.
Shopping was as on other ships, some high end, lots of touristy stuff, too.
We had one stop on this cruise at Princess Cays. Another beautiful day and we found 2 loungers and spent the day in the sun admiring the clear water and looking at the ship in the distance. The barbeque lunch provided by the crew was good. Limited shopping. Service good.
I have saved the negative comments for last. Food and service in the Brittania Restaurant and other venues was below par, to put it mildly. First 2 nights took 2 hours to be served and eat mediocre food. Service at breakfast and lunch was similar. Third night, we made a reservation at the Carvery, (couldn't get in anywhere else; waiting list at Todd English). We notified the Brittania that we would not be there. Arrived at Carvery at 7pm and were greeting rudely. We and the table of 5 beside us ordered prime rib. None of us could cut nor chew the meat.
Throughout the cruise, we met some lovely folks, most from NY and NJ. Without exception, the consensus was that the food and service was not what experienced cruisers expected from the QM2.
Night 3 after hearing from new friends, one more story of dissatisfaction, I went to the purser's desk to speak with Norman, who was very polite and accommodating. At that point, I was merely attempting to understand how on earth a ship like this could do such a lousy job at mealtime. Was it because they considered us in Brittania to be not sophisticated enough to know the difference? Did they have a brand new crew in the galley? Not enough people in the galley? Why were some of the waiters so rude? Why was the food so ordinary? Of course the staff could not explain away the problem.
We received a call from the restaurant acknowledging that the galley was slow and with apologies, requesting that we try again the final night of the cruise. We did, and the service was better and the food quality had improved to average. The wait staff had not been informed that we would not be there the night before. Certainly, this was not the service or food quality that we or our "new" friends onboard had expected of QM2. In spite of the above, we had a relaxing, nice time. However, I live in a beach town and could have spent that $1100 at home, on the beach, eating in nice restaurants and maybe asking my daughter in law to make the bed.
If I were offered a full refund from Cunard, I might try her again. Otherwise, no, I am returning to Princess.