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For our 40th anniversary, my wife and I decided to do something special, take a 7-day cruise on the Queen Mary II from Southampton, England to New York, May 11-17. I am writing to let you know why we will never do that again. On the plus side, the room was very nice. Our steward was superb. The art gallery was excellent, and the entertainment was the best we have enjoyed on any of the multiple cruises we have taken previously on other cruise lines. We flew from Orlando, Florida to Paris and took a Viking river cruise. We then intended to fly to Heathrow and take the cruise home. Our problems with Cunard started on the last day of the river cruise. That night, we were informed that our flight from Paris to London had been cancelled due to a strike. Working with our travel agent, we were able to book an alternative flight. Cunard was informed of the change that evening and confirmed that we would be met at the airport to transfer to Southampton. Unfortunately, the next day, no Cunard representative was there when we left the baggage area. After waiting a while, my wife tried to call Cunard, but her cellphone stopped functioning. So, I left her with the bags to use a pay phone located at the end of the terminal. After going through your length tape messages, I finally reached some and explained the situation. The young woman pleasantly explained that Cunard was then talking with wife. Pleased, I asked for a direct phone number so I could avoid the lengthy process to reach an employee. She complied. I returned to my wife only to find she was not talking to anyone since her cellphone was still not working. We think Cunard was talking with our travel agent, who could not communicate with us because of the cellphone problem. I returned to the payphone. I dialed the number given me by the Cunard representative. I still had to listen to tapes, but when I reached the appropriate office, the line went dead. That happened three straight times. The phone then stopped taking my credit card. I returned to my wife. We had been there close to three hours by then with no apparent change. Reluctantly, I went back to the phone and used the old number. Naturally, I was put on hold because operators were “assisting other customers.” After about 10 minutes, I finally reached a woman who identified herself as Stacy. She listened to my concerns and then said she would put me on hold while she checked things out. I was put on hold. Within 30 seconds, I was disconnected again. At that point, I gave up. When I returned to the luggage, my wife told me a Cunard representative had just arrived. He was very nice and told us he had just been called, hours after we arrived at the airport. It was now almost mid-afternoon. The driver realized we had not eaten anything since arriving at Heathrow because I was at the payphone and my wife had to stay with the luggage. So, he stopped at grocery store so we could buy food for dinner. When my wife called Cunard later about the long delay at Heathrow, she was stunned to be told it was our fault and that a driver had been contacted as “as soon as” Cunard learned we were stranded. That’s simply not true. Cunard had been informed the night before, and the driver confirmed he had not been contacted until three hours after we arrived in the terminal. The delay at the airport alone should have warned us of the troubled waters ahead, but we continued anyway. We probably should have flown home. The hotel was nice, and in the morning, as promised, a taxi came to take us to the boat. When we arrived, luggage was handled efficiently. When we entered the terminal, an official directed us to sit and not go upstairs because crowding on the upper floor. We joined many others on chairs scattered about on the first floor. The official then began chatting with a colleague. Meanwhile, many people arriving after us went up the escalator. I finally interrupted the officials’ conversation and asked if we could go upstairs. The official who had stopped us before shrugged and said, “Why not?” Somewhat nonplussed by the behavior, we went to the second floor, got green passes and found seats. When our number was called, we were efficiently directed to the next available clerk and allowed to proceed. After passing through security, everything stopped. There was no announcement, but, upon asking a security woman, we were informed that, anytime a large boat went by, the dock disengaged. We were stunned that such a problem still existed given Cunard’s longevity. On the positive side, there were seats where we were located. Others were not so fortunate. I have a bad back and cannot stand for very long, so the available seats were greatly appreciated. In addition, we waited so long that our luggage arrived in the room before we did. Because of dietary restrictions, we decided to skip the dining room and go the buffet. We were disappointed in the design of the buffet area, which guaranteed everyone ran into each other and that one person could accidently block an entire area. The food, which was average at best, consistently ran out. Waiters occasionally bussed tables and often had to be asked to assistance. That disinterested approach to service was consistent. By and large, most of the employees ignored the guests and seemed unhappy. We have no idea why, but, perhaps, they heard the same grumbles we did. The staff member manning the tour desk next the pursers was actually sullen and rude. We simply asked for an emergency number should buses not be available in New York to take us to La Guardia. My wife declined to talk to him after that. In contrast, the staff at the pursers’ desk were uniformly nice and helpful. Breakfast and lunch were logistical nightmares. We began timing meals to try to avoid as much of a crush as possible. Conversations with other guests confirmed that they, too, were enduring the same difficulties. My wife and I have been on at least 15 previous cruises on various lines. This was the most-chaotic situation we have encountered. Activities during the day were very limited. The library was excellent, and I spent the mornings there. In the afternoon, I played social bridge. That was obviously an afterthought. On two occasions, the door to the bridge room was not open or marked. The first time, the woman apparently responsible for setting out the cards couldn’t find the room. We together discovered the door was closed. Eventually, no staff member showed up, so I daily distributed the cards and scoresheets. I also cleaned up. Such confusion was normal. The guide giving a large group of us a tour of the ship had no microphone. She finally gave up and called her boss to take half of the group. The glass, outside elevator was located behind a closed door with no sign to indicate its presence. I have no idea how my wife found it. We both got lost trying to find Connections and couldn’t locate the art gallery without assistance. We often passed people repeatedly as they, too, tried to get their bearings. Even staff members were little help. One just shrugged and told us that “everyone gets lost.” We talked to people who had been on the ship for more than 130 days as part of the around-the-world cruise, and they still didn’t understand the layout. We wanted to see the planetarium show and went down earlier each day to get tickets. We never did receive any because, as others noted, people who had previously been on the ship knew to arrive as much as 45 minutes early and went to repeat performances. Cunard staff made no effort to ensure that newly arrived guests had even one chance. After being repeatedly told that the individuals presenting talks were unfirmly boring and, in one case, indecipherable, we skipped that option. Since I have taught Elder Hostel classes on various topics for more than 20 years, I carefully avoid disinterested and disengaged speakers anyway. The weather precluded walking outside for all but the hardiest, but the pool was too cold for swimming. Normally, at home, my wife and I swim daily. As a result, we contented ourselves by walking up and down the stairs. We went early to the theater, assuming a crowd, but seats were never a problem except for the pillars seemingly placed throughout the room for the sole purpose to block views. Multiple seats were simply unusable. Nevertheless, the opera singer, comedian and Cunard singers really stood out for their performances. So was the harpist. Upon disembarkation, we gathered as requested on time in the theater. Nothing happened for close to 30 minutes after the planned departure time. Then the young woman who led our initial tour of the ship came in and shouted something. Inexplicably, she still hadn’t been given a microphone nor, apparently, did she have access to the sound equipment in the facility. A young man who entered a few minutes later did arrive properly equipped. We were so happy to be able to leave and remain saddened that Cunard, which was so noted for courtesy and service, should have declined to such a level.

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by wplazarus

21 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
For our 40th anniversary, my wife and I decided to do something special, take a 7-day cruise on the Queen Mary II from Southampton, England to New York, May 11-17. I am writing to let you know why we will never do that again.

On the plus side, the room was very nice. Our steward was superb. The art gallery was excellent, and the entertainment was the best we have enjoyed on any of the multiple cruises we have taken previously on other cruise lines.

We flew from Orlando, Florida to Paris and took a Viking river cruise. We then intended to fly to Heathrow and take the cruise home. Our problems with Cunard started on the last day of the river cruise.

That night, we were informed that our flight from Paris to London had been cancelled due to a strike. Working with our travel agent, we were able to book an alternative flight. Cunard was informed of the change that evening and confirmed that we would be met at the airport to transfer to Southampton.

Unfortunately, the next day, no Cunard representative was there when we left the baggage area. After waiting a while, my wife tried to call Cunard, but her cellphone stopped functioning. So, I left her with the bags to use a pay phone located at the end of the terminal. After going through your length tape messages, I finally reached some and explained the situation. The young woman pleasantly explained that Cunard was then talking with wife. Pleased, I asked for a direct phone number so I could avoid the lengthy process to reach an employee. She complied.

I returned to my wife only to find she was not talking to anyone since her cellphone was still not working. We think Cunard was talking with our travel agent, who could not communicate with us because of the cellphone problem.

I returned to the payphone. I dialed the number given me by the Cunard representative. I still had to listen to tapes, but when I reached the appropriate office, the line went dead. That happened three straight times. The phone then stopped taking my credit card. I returned to my wife. We had been there close to three hours by then with no apparent change.

Reluctantly, I went back to the phone and used the old number. Naturally, I was put on hold because operators were “assisting other customers.” After about 10 minutes, I finally reached a woman who identified herself as Stacy. She listened to my concerns and then said she would put me on hold while she checked things out. I was put on hold. Within 30 seconds, I was disconnected again.

At that point, I gave up.

When I returned to the luggage, my wife told me a Cunard representative had just arrived. He was very nice and told us he had just been called, hours after we arrived at the airport. It was now almost mid-afternoon. The driver realized we had not eaten anything since arriving at Heathrow because I was at the payphone and my wife had to stay with the luggage. So, he stopped at grocery store so we could buy food for dinner.

When my wife called Cunard later about the long delay at Heathrow, she was stunned to be told it was our fault and that a driver had been contacted as “as soon as” Cunard learned we were stranded. That’s simply not true. Cunard had been informed the night before, and the driver confirmed he had not been contacted until three hours after we arrived in the terminal.

The delay at the airport alone should have warned us of the troubled waters ahead, but we continued anyway. We probably should have flown home.

The hotel was nice, and in the morning, as promised, a taxi came to take us to the boat. When we arrived, luggage was handled efficiently. When we entered the terminal, an official directed us to sit and not go upstairs because crowding on the upper floor. We joined many others on chairs scattered about on the first floor. The official then began chatting with a colleague. Meanwhile, many people arriving after us went up the escalator. I finally interrupted the officials’ conversation and asked if we could go upstairs. The official who had stopped us before shrugged and said, “Why not?”

Somewhat nonplussed by the behavior, we went to the second floor, got green passes and found seats. When our number was called, we were efficiently directed to the next available clerk and allowed to proceed. After passing through security, everything stopped.

There was no announcement, but, upon asking a security woman, we were informed that, anytime a large boat went by, the dock disengaged. We were stunned that such a problem still existed given Cunard’s longevity. On the positive side, there were seats where we were located. Others were not so fortunate. I have a bad back and cannot stand for very long, so the available seats were greatly appreciated. In addition, we waited so long that our luggage arrived in the room before we did.

Because of dietary restrictions, we decided to skip the dining room and go the buffet. We were disappointed in the design of the buffet area, which guaranteed everyone ran into each other and that one person could accidently block an entire area. The food, which was average at best, consistently ran out. Waiters occasionally bussed tables and often had to be asked to assistance.

That disinterested approach to service was consistent. By and large, most of the employees ignored the guests and seemed unhappy. We have no idea why, but, perhaps, they heard the same grumbles we did. The staff member manning the tour desk next the pursers was actually sullen and rude. We simply asked for an emergency number should buses not be available in New York to take us to La Guardia. My wife declined to talk to him after that. In contrast, the staff at the pursers’ desk were uniformly nice and helpful.

Breakfast and lunch were logistical nightmares. We began timing meals to try to avoid as much of a crush as possible. Conversations with other guests confirmed that they, too, were enduring the same difficulties. My wife and I have been on at least 15 previous cruises on various lines. This was the most-chaotic situation we have encountered.

Activities during the day were very limited. The library was excellent, and I spent the mornings there. In the afternoon, I played social bridge. That was obviously an afterthought. On two occasions, the door to the bridge room was not open or marked. The first time, the woman apparently responsible for setting out the cards couldn’t find the room. We together discovered the door was closed. Eventually, no staff member showed up, so I daily distributed the cards and scoresheets. I also cleaned up.

Such confusion was normal. The guide giving a large group of us a tour of the ship had no microphone. She finally gave up and called her boss to take half of the group. The glass, outside elevator was located behind a closed door with no sign to indicate its presence. I have no idea how my wife found it. We both got lost trying to find Connections and couldn’t locate the art gallery without assistance. We often passed people repeatedly as they, too, tried to get their bearings. Even staff members were little help. One just shrugged and told us that “everyone gets lost.”

We talked to people who had been on the ship for more than 130 days as part of the around-the-world cruise, and they still didn’t understand the layout.

We wanted to see the planetarium show and went down earlier each day to get tickets. We never did receive any because, as others noted, people who had previously been on the ship knew to arrive as much as 45 minutes early and went to repeat performances. Cunard staff made no effort to ensure that newly arrived guests had even one chance.

After being repeatedly told that the individuals presenting talks were unfirmly boring and, in one case, indecipherable, we skipped that option. Since I have taught Elder Hostel classes on various topics for more than 20 years, I carefully avoid disinterested and disengaged speakers anyway.

The weather precluded walking outside for all but the hardiest, but the pool was too cold for swimming. Normally, at home, my wife and I swim daily. As a result, we contented ourselves by walking up and down the stairs.

We went early to the theater, assuming a crowd, but seats were never a problem except for the pillars seemingly placed throughout the room for the sole purpose to block views. Multiple seats were simply unusable. Nevertheless, the opera singer, comedian and Cunard singers really stood out for their performances. So was the harpist.

Upon disembarkation, we gathered as requested on time in the theater. Nothing happened for close to 30 minutes after the planned departure time. Then the young woman who led our initial tour of the ship came in and shouted something. Inexplicably, she still hadn’t been given a microphone nor, apparently, did she have access to the sound equipment in the facility. A young man who entered a few minutes later did arrive properly equipped.

We were so happy to be able to leave and remain saddened that Cunard, which was so noted for courtesy and service, should have declined to such a level.
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BF 11033
Roomy, pleasant. Lots of storage
Deck 12 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins