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The QM2 is wonderful. Ship, staff, service levels, food, entertainment, everything was well thought out and we felt very well looked after even though we were not booked in the higher priced accommodations. We had two balcony cabins on deck 12 and dined in the Britannia Club dining room, which allowed us to arrive whenever we chose for meals. EMBARKATION: This was handled well, and considering Cunard had to pass 2000+ people through security, our one-hour wait was quite acceptable. Once onboard, there are plenty of folks to direct or show you to your cabin. And, for the first time in my cruising experience, my luggage was awaiting me in my room! How Cunard pulled that off is beyond me, but they did. CABIN: Our unobstructed balcony cabin was just fine for one or two folks, with plenty of storage and seating. I have to say one of the high points of the trip was our cabin steward, Rafael. I don’t know when the man slept because he seemed to be always around and available. One quick story…I somehow lost my cuff links and tuxedo shirt studs in Paris or London and discovered this the first formal day, which was day 2 of the cruise. For about $60 I could buy these in the gift shop, but Rafael somehow produced a set for me, allowing me to lose even more money in the casino. One thing to be aware of though, if you are prone to sea-sickness, there is more rocking and rolling the higher up on the ship you are and we were on the top deck. For me, it was kind of like being rocked to sleep at night, but others may not fare as well. This crossing had 3 rough days with Force 8 gale winds and rough ten to twenty foot seas, requiring the captain to close some of the outside decks for a period of time. THE CROSSING, ENTERTAINMENT: Cunard provides plenty of entertainment for the 7 days at sea. For our cruise, the highlights were the lectures during the day, and entertainment at night (8:45 & 10:45). We loved the Beatles tribute band dorkily named The Cheatles, and a guy named David Copperfield (not that David Copperfield) was absolutely hilarious. Part ventriloquist, part illusionist and completely entertaining, this guy is not to be missed. One word of caution – avoid the Internet offering. I paid almost $20.00 to receive about 8 text-only emails and the two I had queued to send never got sent. I don’t know if it is the service provider or the fact that the ship is in the mid-Atlantic, but the service is flatly unacceptable. I hope Cunard can do better somehow. DINING: Inasmuch as I travel to eat, Cunard did not disappoint. Our head waiter Jana and wine steward Vendi were on top of their game, and the maître d’ Ionel prepared a flaming something or other every night for desert. Since Cunard required me to pay a 75% single supplement, I was determined to get it back in food, and to the wait staff’s amazement, I did, by ordering multiple entrees. Didn’t faze ‘em though and there were no visible eye-rolls, they just fed me. There is the King’s Court, which is a massive buffet arrangement with everything known to man offered for 3 meals daily. We had a few meals there and I have to say while the selection is huge, the overall experience is mediocre. Cheeseburgers pre-assembled, basking under a heat lamp? On Cunard? There are a lot of alternatives here that Cunard can incorporate and hopefully with the upcoming re-fit, the QM2 will improve at this venue. We also had lunch at the Golden Lion Pub, and whilst a limited menu, it was just fine as an alternative to going to the Britannia dining room. We didn’t try the Todd English restaurant (entrees about $15-$20 extra) because frankly, the menu was not compelling. DISEMBARKATION: One of the high points of the trip for us was seeing the lights of New York after 7 days of gray. Around 1:30 in the morning, lights were visible on the horizon and around 4:00AM, the Verazano Bridge came into sight, along with the Statue of Liberty. The decks were crowded with people enjoying this part of the trip, so get your place on the port-side railing early. I recommend deck 7 instead of 13 since you are not behind Plexiglas, making photography better. However, good luck with this, since you are on a rolling ship trying to take a picture of a stationary lighted object (the Statue of Liberty). One suggestion: when the QM2 docks, she turns on her axis, bringing the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline into view on the starboard side, giving us a better photo opportunity from our balcony, on a steadier platform. Your results may vary. We opted for what is called “self-help” for getting off of the ship, and if you are able to roll all of your luggage yourself, I strongly recommend this. You don’t have to put your suitcase out in front of your door the night before and can get off of the ship any time after around 7:00AM. We went in for one last breakfast at the Britannia Club dining room around 7:15 and vacated our cabin a little after 8:00 so Rafael could get ready for the next cruisers. (Again, I don’t know when this man sleeps.) We got off of the ship in 10 minutes. Remarkable. The only comment of a negative nature to add here is beware of the taxi/limo situation. Prominently placed in the terminal were the fixed rates for cars to various points in NYC, along with the fact that major credit cards are accepted. Some non-uniformed and otherwise non-identified guy directed us to a town car, when, due to luggage and there being three of us, we really needed one of the dozen or so SUVs lined up on the other side of the street. There is no arguing with these people, so we just grinned and bore it, with our luggage on our laps. The driver claimed not to have a credit card machine nor could he break a twenty dollar bill. The NYC taxi scam is alive and well, be guided. COST VALUE, FARES, A TRAVEL PROFESSIONAL: OK, here is the debate: book early like the cruise lines want you to, or book late and save a ton of money? We paid about $2,000 each for an unobstructed view balcony cabin with dining at 6:00PM (required), but a few weeks before the cruise, Cunard offered balcony cabins for $600 each, plus junk fees. Yes, these balcony cabins had a steel railing instead of a glass one, but otherwise were the same cabins we had, maybe on a lower deck. The deal seems to be that once you have booked & paid your passage, there is no price protection, and here is where your travel professional comes in to play. When I called this to her attention, she managed to get Cunard to upgrade us to a higher deck and into the Britannia Club dining room, which is a separate room, with a slightly upgraded menu, the same wait staff and the same table, available between 6:00PM and 9:00PM, whenever we wanted to show up. We also got other on-board benefits that we would not have gotten. The moral of the story here, is find your TA, follow his or her guidance, and book passage through a travel professional. It pays off in the long run. The cruise industry has a very convoluted pricing scheme and you’ll never figure it out on your own. But here’s the issue…when do you book and pay for passage? For me, I’m going to book my next cruise about a month before sailing, unless the cruise line will guarantee to match any subsequent lower fare. We’ll see how this works out, and admittedly, one has to be flexible trying this stunt. Cunard gets a solid “A” from me and the QM2 is a great ship, about to become even nicer this coming June. I’ll be back. See you then Rafael & Jana.

Cruising the Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by Charlieatl

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2015
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Britannia Club Balcony
The QM2 is wonderful. Ship, staff, service levels, food, entertainment, everything was well thought out and we felt very well looked after even though we were not booked in the higher priced accommodations. We had two balcony cabins on deck 12 and dined in the Britannia Club dining room, which allowed us to arrive whenever we chose for meals.

EMBARKATION: This was handled well, and considering Cunard had to pass 2000+ people through security, our one-hour wait was quite acceptable. Once onboard, there are plenty of folks to direct or show you to your cabin. And, for the first time in my cruising experience, my luggage was awaiting me in my room! How Cunard pulled that off is beyond me, but they did.

CABIN: Our unobstructed balcony cabin was just fine for one or two folks, with plenty of storage and seating. I have to say one of the high points of the trip was our cabin steward, Rafael. I don’t know when the man slept because he seemed to be always around and available. One quick story…I somehow lost my cuff links and tuxedo shirt studs in Paris or London and discovered this the first formal day, which was day 2 of the cruise. For about $60 I could buy these in the gift shop, but Rafael somehow produced a set for me, allowing me to lose even more money in the casino. One thing to be aware of though, if you are prone to sea-sickness, there is more rocking and rolling the higher up on the ship you are and we were on the top deck. For me, it was kind of like being rocked to sleep at night, but others may not fare as well. This crossing had 3 rough days with Force 8 gale winds and rough ten to twenty foot seas, requiring the captain to close some of the outside decks for a period of time.

THE CROSSING, ENTERTAINMENT: Cunard provides plenty of entertainment for the 7 days at sea. For our cruise, the highlights were the lectures during the day, and entertainment at night (8:45 & 10:45). We loved the Beatles tribute band dorkily named The Cheatles, and a guy named David Copperfield (not that David Copperfield) was absolutely hilarious. Part ventriloquist, part illusionist and completely entertaining, this guy is not to be missed. One word of caution – avoid the Internet offering. I paid almost $20.00 to receive about 8 text-only emails and the two I had queued to send never got sent. I don’t know if it is the service provider or the fact that the ship is in the mid-Atlantic, but the service is flatly unacceptable. I hope Cunard can do better somehow.

DINING: Inasmuch as I travel to eat, Cunard did not disappoint. Our head waiter Jana and wine steward Vendi were on top of their game, and the maître d’ Ionel prepared a flaming something or other every night for desert. Since Cunard required me to pay a 75% single supplement, I was determined to get it back in food, and to the wait staff’s amazement, I did, by ordering multiple entrees. Didn’t faze ‘em though and there were no visible eye-rolls, they just fed me. There is the King’s Court, which is a massive buffet arrangement with everything known to man offered for 3 meals daily. We had a few meals there and I have to say while the selection is huge, the overall experience is mediocre. Cheeseburgers pre-assembled, basking under a heat lamp? On Cunard? There are a lot of alternatives here that Cunard can incorporate and hopefully with the upcoming re-fit, the QM2 will improve at this venue. We also had lunch at the Golden Lion Pub, and whilst a limited menu, it was just fine as an alternative to going to the Britannia dining room. We didn’t try the Todd English restaurant (entrees about $15-$20 extra) because frankly, the menu was not compelling.

DISEMBARKATION: One of the high points of the trip for us was seeing the lights of New York after 7 days of gray. Around 1:30 in the morning, lights were visible on the horizon and around 4:00AM, the Verazano Bridge came into sight, along with the Statue of Liberty. The decks were crowded with people enjoying this part of the trip, so get your place on the port-side railing early. I recommend deck 7 instead of 13 since you are not behind Plexiglas, making photography better. However, good luck with this, since you are on a rolling ship trying to take a picture of a stationary lighted object (the Statue of Liberty). One suggestion: when the QM2 docks, she turns on her axis, bringing the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline into view on the starboard side, giving us a better photo opportunity from our balcony, on a steadier platform. Your results may vary.

We opted for what is called “self-help” for getting off of the ship, and if you are able to roll all of your luggage yourself, I strongly recommend this. You don’t have to put your suitcase out in front of your door the night before and can get off of the ship any time after around 7:00AM. We went in for one last breakfast at the Britannia Club dining room around 7:15 and vacated our cabin a little after 8:00 so Rafael could get ready for the next cruisers. (Again, I don’t know when this man sleeps.) We got off of the ship in 10 minutes. Remarkable.

The only comment of a negative nature to add here is beware of the taxi/limo situation. Prominently placed in the terminal were the fixed rates for cars to various points in NYC, along with the fact that major credit cards are accepted. Some non-uniformed and otherwise non-identified guy directed us to a town car, when, due to luggage and there being three of us, we really needed one of the dozen or so SUVs lined up on the other side of the street. There is no arguing with these people, so we just grinned and bore it, with our luggage on our laps. The driver claimed not to have a credit card machine nor could he break a twenty dollar bill. The NYC taxi scam is alive and well, be guided.

COST VALUE, FARES, A TRAVEL PROFESSIONAL: OK, here is the debate: book early like the cruise lines want you to, or book late and save a ton of money? We paid about $2,000 each for an unobstructed view balcony cabin with dining at 6:00PM (required), but a few weeks before the cruise, Cunard offered balcony cabins for $600 each, plus junk fees. Yes, these balcony cabins had a steel railing instead of a glass one, but otherwise were the same cabins we had, maybe on a lower deck. The deal seems to be that once you have booked & paid your passage, there is no price protection, and here is where your travel professional comes in to play. When I called this to her attention, she managed to get Cunard to upgrade us to a higher deck and into the Britannia Club dining room, which is a separate room, with a slightly upgraded menu, the same wait staff and the same table, available between 6:00PM and 9:00PM, whenever we wanted to show up. We also got other on-board benefits that we would not have gotten. The moral of the story here, is find your TA, follow his or her guidance, and book passage through a travel professional. It pays off in the long run. The cruise industry has a very convoluted pricing scheme and you’ll never figure it out on your own. But here’s the issue…when do you book and pay for passage? For me, I’m going to book my next cruise about a month before sailing, unless the cruise line will guarantee to match any subsequent lower fare. We’ll see how this works out, and admittedly, one has to be flexible trying this stunt.

Cunard gets a solid “A” from me and the QM2 is a great ship, about to become even nicer this coming June. I’ll be back. See you then Rafael & Jana.
Charlieatl’s Full Rating Summary
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