Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by Shellbackx3
- Sail Date: May 2017
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
Booking: We had a misunderstanding about ship board credits. I thought we were to received a $200 shipboard credit, but that did not happen. I had originally looked at fares on Cunard's website, but then booked directly with Cunard by phone. I think that I saw the credit on the website and assumed it would also apply to a booking by phone. The misunderstanding was probably my mistake, but, if you book with Cunard, be sure and clarify whether you are entitled to any shipboard credits.
Embarkation: Embarkation was substantially delayed as a result of a U. S. Coast Guard inspection, or so Cunard said. Given that the QM2 had not been in the U. S. for some time, we have to wonder why Cunard was surprised that there was a thorough inspection which took longer than usual. More importantly, the substantial delay kept many elderly and some disabled people STANDING in lines, some of whom had been there for hours as we were told. We know that may of those asked for chairs or other places to sit, but were told that none were available, although we later saw hundreds of unused chairs in an adjacent area. This problem could have created some serious medical issues. Given that cruise lines must be aware of the potential for embarkation delay, it is difficult to understand why Cunard was not prepared to take care of its elderly and disabled guests affected by the embarkation delay. I suspect Cunard's attorneys and risk avoidance folks would be very interested in this issue. However, once boarding was authorized, embarkation went smoothly and quickly.
Dancing and Entertainment: Ballroom dancing is the reason we booked the QM2, and we were not disappointed. The dance floor was smooth, and the music by the Queen's Room Band and the DJ was perfect dance music. We danced every night until we could dance no more. The daily dance lessons were great as the instructors helped beginning dancers and those who needed more technique than basic instruction. We enjoyed visiting with the dance hosts, and they were happy to help us with some of the steps. Those guys didn't miss a dance, ensuring that single ladies had the chance to dance as much as they wanted. The dance hosts seemed to love to dance and were there only to be sure as many guests as possible danced as much as they wanted.
The only minor complaint is that the dance floor was very crowded on the three formal nights, and Cunard could help remedy that by expanding the size of the dance floor. The Queen's Room is so large that it could afford to lose a couple of tables. However, the dance floor was far less crowded when the music was by the DJ, and we certainly had all the time to dance that we could possibly have wanted.
We enjoyed the Romanov lectures which were very well done by a speaker who challenged us as well as providing very interesting information. The one show we saw (too busy dancing to see the shows) was excellent.
If you do not dance, and most passengers don't, you will not be bored as there are activities for everyone.
Dining: Service in the Britannia Dining Room was superb. While it would be difficult to say that the food itself was gourmet, it was good. We thought the food in the King's Court Buffet was good for a buffet, but limited much more so than with most cruise ships' buffets. While we never waited for a table in the King's Court or waited in a line, it often seemed crowded, Unfortunately, many of the tables in the King's Court do not provide an outside view.
Attacks of the Ice Cream Machine: After dancing on the first night, we went for ice cream in the King's Court. My wife pulled down the lever on the machine and received a shot of chocolate ice cream all over her dress. Several staff members can running over, not to help her get the ice cream off her dress, but to get get it off the deck. It was not until I complained to a manager that she got some help. No one offered to have her dress cleaned. The next night, in a not so bright move, I got ice cream out of the same machine and was also rewarded with ice cream all over my tux coat and pants. A manager provided some napkins to help me get the ice cream off my tux, and took my room number with a promise that the ship would have my tux cleaned. I did have a call from someone later that night, advising me to leave the tux on the bed in the morning, and the steward would get it to the laundry, but the steward did not get the word, and the tux was still on the bed when we arrived back at the room. And, the story does not end here. We ran into some friends the next day after lunch, and the lady had chocolate ice cream all over her shirt. Same ice cream machine. So, if you cruise on the QM2 and want chocolate ice cream, do not stand in front of the ice cream machine!
Room: We were in 11064 for which we paid a bit more as we wanted an open balcony. I spent some time on the balcony, but my wife did not. If we book Cunard again, I think we will get an enclosed balcony for less money. The room was small as are most cruise ship cabins. However, we have generally been Holland America customers before, and the rooms on HAL ships are considerably larger, particularly the bathrooms. The bed was comfortable, and everything in the room worked. The room steward was great, ensuring that the room was clean and made up each day.
Service: Regret having to be a bit critical here. Compared to the "customer is always right" attitude on HAL ships, that was not always the situation on QM2. Some staff seemed to resent being asked questions (my wife loves to ask questions). It does not seem to me to be out of line to ask for clarification, but that seemed to bother some staff personnel, even to the point of rudeness a couple of times. We heard the same from other passengers on board. Service with a smile (remember, the customer is always right) is an area in which Cunard could focus some attention. This was not a result of language barriers as the non English speaking staff members were uniformly courteous, but rather it was English speaking staff.
Other Activities: We enjoyed sitting and reading in the Commodore Lounge which has a wonderful forward view. We also enjoyed walking the promenade deck most mornings. We made a number of new friends on the crossing, and it was always fun to sit and visit. For anyone not a ballroom dancer, there is so much to do on this ship that you will not be bored.
Time Factors: Keep in mind while booking, that you lose five hours going east and gain five hours going west, because of time changes. So, going west, you get ten more hours on the ship than going east. The ship is large, and it takes a while to get from one end of the ship to the other, and since one elevator bank was removed during the last overhaul, it often takes a bit longer to get places on the ship than other cruise ships.
Stability: My wife has sea sickness issues, and we were concerned about that, but the QM2 is amazingly stable. While the Captain was not reporting high sea states, i was in the Navy long enough to know that the seas were high enough to make most ships roll substantially. The QM2 only moved slightly with very gentle rolls. Perfect for sleeping!
Laundry: Forget using the personal laundry. Two few for 2500 guests.
Internet: As good as possible given that you are on a moving ship. However, it is slow and expensive. We found that both with an Iphone and a Kindle that logging out was for some reason difficult, and we went through a lot of minutes.
Disembarkation: While it did not happen at the time stated, it was well organized and went smoothly once it began.
Summary: Wonderful crossing! We hope to do it again soon, although we may try one of the two smaller Cunard ships, and we will almost certainly travel westbound.
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