This was our 5th Cunard cruise and second on QM2.
The cruise was 3 weeks from Dubai to Southampton transiting the Suez Canal which we had never done before, this and visitng Petra was the main reason we booked with Cunard as our travel agent had a pre cruise offering of a South Africa trip 3 days 2 nights travelling on Rovos Rail from Petoria to Capetown and 2 nights in Cape Town before flying to Dubai for 2 nights so this was the main reason we booked with Cunard.
There were just over 350 passengers doing the whole world cruise and we were told that's half the number there usually is, the remaining passengers like us were doing segments.
Embarkation in Dubai was well organised and fairly quick, we were on board by 12:30pm and we made our way to the Kings Court for lunch which at that time was very busy but we did get a seat. Our cabin was available by 1pm, we got one suitcase quite quick and unpacked but the other didn't arrive until just before the boat drill however we managed to unpack in time for dinner.
We were first seating in the Brittania Restuarant at 18:00, a bit early but the later sitting was too late for us. We had asked for a table for 2 which we got however these tables are so close together they are tables for 4, our table was 350 was not in a good position in the restaurant and I wouldn't recommend it.
Food is always subjective and in my opinion the restaurant food was neither great or bad just mediocre , it was always presented well and was piping hot however not very inspiring. The waiters were always very busy but they were attentive and helpful.
The food in the Kings Court was good, plenty of selection at breakfast and lunch, we had dinner a couple of times and we were surprised at the selection and the good quality of food available in the evening, it was very popular with guests who wanted casual dining.
We had dinner in the Verandah Restaurant which was a nice change but not worth the $49 each to dine there, only 2 other tables were booked when we were in, I wonder why! There was alternative dining set in an area of the Kings Court and this had 5 different menus which changed every week there was American, Asian, Mexican, Italian and Indian, we ate there on one occasion and the food was very nice, there was an additional charge of $19.50 each for the privilege.
Alcohol and mixers/soft drinks in the bars were very expensive especially when there is an 18% service charge on top, you also have to buy water, yoj an get it by the glass from a dispenser in the Kings Court, water is complimentary on a number of cruise lines and hotels bit not on Cunard. We purchased good wine ashore to drink in the restaurant and paid the corkage fee of $20 which was more cost effective.
Service in the main was good and the majority of staff were friendly and helpful however there were some staff who were quite sullen and gave the impression that they didn't want to be there, this isn't White Star Service, in addition there was no interaction with the officers and passengers, we only saw the Captain on two occasions during the 3 weeks on board, at the welcome on board party and the loyalty club party.
There are free laundries for passengers to use on each deck, there were always queues of people trying to get a machine, there were 4 each washing machines and dryers and they were constantly busy, this is not a nice place to be as people get quite annoyed and I witnessed a few arguments e.g the same passenger using 2 washing machines a 2 driers this tends to frustrate people.
We had booked trips through Cunard to Petra, Herculaneum and Rome, although expensive they were good, well organised trips with excellent guides so felt they were good value for money.
The celebrity speakers, Antony Horovitz, Sally Gunnell, a retired customs officer and forensic scientist which unfortunately I don't remember their names were all interesting The theatre company was okay and we enjoyed most of the guest entertainment especially the Barricade Boys, Mike Doyle and Kev Orkian
Disembarking in Southampton was quick and easy.
Would we travel with Cunard again, possibly if the price was right but there are other cruise lines out there who offer a superior service and are much better value for money.
Excellent location on deck 5 stairway C there was never any issue with noise, our cabin steward Bien looked after us very well.
The bed and pillows were very comfortable and there was sufficient wardrobe/drawer space for the 3 weeks, we did need extra coat hangers though. Kettle, tea and coffee now in the cabins which is welcome.
The carpets and soft furnishings were in poor condition, stained and needed either cleaned or replaced and the bathroom was in need of a refurbishment, there was sufficient space, just, for toiletries.
The sheltered balcony was large with a small table/stool and 2 chairs.