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In late 2018 we waited to find another amazing bargain on an off-season trip on Cunard from Barcelona to Southampton. Given the increased demand for cruises, this was not to be. The backup plan was to re-create the original idea for our honeymoon over 30 years ago, a transatlantic cruise. Prices were decent on Queen Mary 2 crossings and frequent flyer miles /points could be used for flights and a Manhattan hotel as the school holidays were mostly over. Cunard requires or at least celebrates formal attire and dressing up, so for that one needs baggage. The New York yellow cabs in the form of small Nissan vans are ideal for jumbo suitcases. The cab to the Holiday Inn Flatiron from LGA was around $50 and the same from the hotel to the ship. After reading many postings online, we jumped in the cab right after hotel check-out at 11 and arrived at the Red Hook Cruise Terminal at noon. We were aboard and unpacking our checked luggage in our stateroom by 12:45. I tracked down several senior hotel officers at the welcome reception and thanked them personally for this amazing effort. The secret on the speedy luggage delivery was later revealed by one of the waiters – a draft of crew from other departments helps to expedite the ship turnaround and bag delivery. Once aboard the Golden Lion Pub did not disappoint. I am still slowly working my way down the beer list aboard, and a Jaipur IPA was a good choice. I managed over the week to try most of the excellent lunch choices. I started trying to decide between the fish and chips and the chicken tikka but ended up on the ploughman’s platter with the duck mousse, ham, chutney and an excellent soft bun. A glance at the program for embarkation day revealed ballroom dancing with the live orchestra was at 8:30, which was also the time of our dinner seating. We are early dinner people and the reported 260 person wait list and notice in the program and signs to not try to seek early dining were not encouraging. Buffets seem unsanitary and remind me of a school cafeteria no matter how classy they are. We are not steak people either, so Veranda was out (they had a six only week trial of a steakhouse menu) but the Italian alternative option – La Piazza -up in the buffet area ($14.50 on sale) seemed fine. They set up tablecloths and the china and the buffet wait staff did a credible job of providing fine dining for us. I had a shrimp and scallops entrée that was well prepared. The way to arrange early MDR seating if it is utterly sold out is to wait a day, then ask kindly for the dining room leadership to sort out a temporary place. The no-show rate is significant for assigned dinner places. You can also start a self-important rant as one woman we know did but that seems tacky. The dancing was good. The dance floor seemed smaller (or perhaps wider and shorter) than the one on Queen Victoria or even the NCL Breakaway. We loved the orchestra (seven pieces and a skilled vocalist). Dances included foxtrot, waltz and rumba. They would mix in a jive and quickstep and play also recorded sequence dances on the band breaks. Note a metronome as in use by the band leader. We were counting noses on the dance staff and came up short. There is usually a ranked dance couple aboard along with the hosts and hostesses. There was apparently last-minute incident involving the scheduled dance couple. The lead dancers from the theater filled in – the lessons were just right. I despise in room refrigerators and the one on our deck five sheltered balcony cabin tortured me. Every 32.8 seconds it cycled, ran a bit then shut off. I called the front desk and they came out to fix it. After a new motor it now cycled every 40 seconds. Our cabin attendant, Nancy, got wind of this and agreed to have it unplugged. In the cabin you get a real teapot and plenty of outlets. The drawer pulls are pretty but useless as reported. They had a blissful limit to piped in music and announcements broadcast over the PA- even on the morning of departure. Britannia dining was hit and miss. Several of us mentioned looking at the main dining room menus and the published-online “French” one for Verandah and being baffled as to what some of it was. The idea of mixing salads and starters on the menu was unusual. One of our table mates was surprised to see the fish course was fried with chips. It got better over the week- for those wanting lobster tails at no extra charge those were served the last formal night. The service was flawless. We had a lovely discussion over breakfast on Morocco with our fellow passengers (a trip on my bucket list) which is a feature of Cunard. The morning breakfast large tables never failed to produce fascinating conversation. The lectures were interesting- I am a bit of a cruise ship/liner historian and one of the retired staff – Maureen Ryan (who is a rock star brand ambassador) - from the Queen Mary and QE2 gave a stirring several first person account of life aboard. The idea of second seating dining continued to bother me until it was pointed out that the clocks were to be set on hour later five times during the cruise at noon. So, after a while, late seating got earlier and earlier by our body clocks. And the band started at 9:45 after the first days. The only line all week was to enter the tea dance, which was well executed. We peeked in at one show – it was dancing – but a bit stylized for us. Cunard has onboard boxing rings- the guest laundries. If you chose to join the fray, don’t wander off after your washing is done as there is keen competition for washers and dryers. On the other hand, lost socks were politely placed in the basket. We had lovely mild weather all week- calm seas and Force 2-3 winds. This is apparently more common in summer – and Force 10 winds and matching storm driven waves are not unheard of in January as an example. The aft pool is a must have feature. There was still a bit of grousing about the cost of single cabins aboard- they at least have some. There were reportedly more than 300 single passengers aboard. The new spaces post drydock are attractive – I would have found a way to make the Britannia dining room and the dance floor larger, the rest of the ship layout seems sensible. There was not a trace of smoke from the modest casino or anyplace else on board, except, sensibly, the after outside teak deck, downwind. Several of the public rooms, such as the disco (G32) were quite stunning. And of course, the best feature, the wrap around promenade desk, was in constant use. The only real gap all week was the Edwardian Internet- the Connexons Internet Center was ground zero for angry guests and those filled with stress and worry about slowness, application access and the ancient logout.com feature not working. Cunard needs to a invest a little here in more satellite dishes- reliable Internet is as important to their guests as say tea or scones these days. On Saturday around 11am, it took exactly 50 minutes to download a 79.2-megabyte file. This is also a crossing not a cruise and historically, captains of industry dictated memos and managed business affairs by letter (and later telephone) all along. The days flew by. By the time we realized this it was Friday afternoon- and there was a good trade at the onboard booking office. My four novels, three movies and one (the shame of it) business book were finished. And life was good.

A nice relaxing escape from the world of work and endless cruise line cutbacks

Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by ew101

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Balcony, sheltered
In late 2018 we waited to find another amazing bargain on an off-season trip on Cunard from Barcelona to Southampton. Given the increased demand for cruises, this was not to be. The backup plan was to re-create the original idea for our honeymoon over 30 years ago, a transatlantic cruise. Prices were decent on Queen Mary 2 crossings and frequent flyer miles /points could be used for flights and a Manhattan hotel as the school holidays were mostly over.

Cunard requires or at least celebrates formal attire and dressing up, so for that one needs baggage. The New York yellow cabs in the form of small Nissan vans are ideal for jumbo suitcases. The cab to the Holiday Inn Flatiron from LGA was around $50 and the same from the hotel to the ship. After reading many postings online, we jumped in the cab right after hotel check-out at 11 and arrived at the Red Hook Cruise Terminal at noon. We were aboard and unpacking our checked luggage in our stateroom by 12:45. I tracked down several senior hotel officers at the welcome reception and thanked them personally for this amazing effort. The secret on the speedy luggage delivery was later revealed by one of the waiters – a draft of crew from other departments helps to expedite the ship turnaround and bag delivery.

Once aboard the Golden Lion Pub did not disappoint. I am still slowly working my way down the beer list aboard, and a Jaipur IPA was a good choice. I managed over the week to try most of the excellent lunch choices. I started trying to decide between the fish and chips and the chicken tikka but ended up on the ploughman’s platter with the duck mousse, ham, chutney and an excellent soft bun.

A glance at the program for embarkation day revealed ballroom dancing with the live orchestra was at 8:30, which was also the time of our dinner seating. We are early dinner people and the reported 260 person wait list and notice in the program and signs to not try to seek early dining were not encouraging. Buffets seem unsanitary and remind me of a school cafeteria no matter how classy they are.

We are not steak people either, so Veranda was out (they had a six only week trial of a steakhouse menu) but the Italian alternative option – La Piazza -up in the buffet area ($14.50 on sale) seemed fine. They set up tablecloths and the china and the buffet wait staff did a credible job of providing fine dining for us. I had a shrimp and scallops entrée that was well prepared. The way to arrange early MDR seating if it is utterly sold out is to wait a day, then ask kindly for the dining room leadership to sort out a temporary place. The no-show rate is significant for assigned dinner places. You can also start a self-important rant as one woman we know did but that seems tacky.

The dancing was good. The dance floor seemed smaller (or perhaps wider and shorter) than the one on Queen Victoria or even the NCL Breakaway. We loved the orchestra (seven pieces and a skilled vocalist). Dances included foxtrot, waltz and rumba. They would mix in a jive and quickstep and play also recorded sequence dances on the band breaks. Note a metronome as in use by the band leader.

We were counting noses on the dance staff and came up short. There is usually a ranked dance couple aboard along with the hosts and hostesses. There was apparently last-minute incident involving the scheduled dance couple. The lead dancers from the theater filled in – the lessons were just right.

I despise in room refrigerators and the one on our deck five sheltered balcony cabin tortured me. Every 32.8 seconds it cycled, ran a bit then shut off. I called the front desk and they came out to fix it. After a new motor it now cycled every 40 seconds. Our cabin attendant, Nancy, got wind of this and agreed to have it unplugged. In the cabin you get a real teapot and plenty of outlets. The drawer pulls are pretty but useless as reported. They had a blissful limit to piped in music and announcements broadcast over the PA- even on the morning of departure.

Britannia dining was hit and miss. Several of us mentioned looking at the main dining room menus and the published-online “French” one for Verandah and being baffled as to what some of it was. The idea of mixing salads and starters on the menu was unusual. One of our table mates was surprised to see the fish course was fried with chips. It got better over the week- for those wanting lobster tails at no extra charge those were served the last formal night. The service was flawless.

We had a lovely discussion over breakfast on Morocco with our fellow passengers (a trip on my bucket list) which is a feature of Cunard. The morning breakfast large tables never failed to produce fascinating conversation. The lectures were interesting- I am a bit of a cruise ship/liner historian and one of the retired staff – Maureen Ryan (who is a rock star brand ambassador) - from the Queen Mary and QE2 gave a stirring several first person account of life aboard.

The idea of second seating dining continued to bother me until it was pointed out that the clocks were to be set on hour later five times during the cruise at noon. So, after a while, late seating got earlier and earlier by our body clocks. And the band started at 9:45 after the first days. The only line all week was to enter the tea dance, which was well executed.

We peeked in at one show – it was dancing – but a bit stylized for us.

Cunard has onboard boxing rings- the guest laundries. If you chose to join the fray, don’t wander off after your washing is done as there is keen competition for washers and dryers. On the other hand, lost socks were politely placed in the basket.

We had lovely mild weather all week- calm seas and Force 2-3 winds. This is apparently more common in summer – and Force 10 winds and matching storm driven waves are not unheard of in January as an example. The aft pool is a must have feature. There was still a bit of grousing about the cost of single cabins aboard- they at least have some. There were reportedly more than 300 single passengers aboard.

The new spaces post drydock are attractive – I would have found a way to make the Britannia dining room and the dance floor larger, the rest of the ship layout seems sensible. There was not a trace of smoke from the modest casino or anyplace else on board, except, sensibly, the after outside teak deck, downwind. Several of the public rooms, such as the disco (G32) were quite stunning. And of course, the best feature, the wrap around promenade desk, was in constant use.

The only real gap all week was the Edwardian Internet- the Connexons Internet Center was ground zero for angry guests and those filled with stress and worry about slowness, application access and the ancient logout.com feature not working. Cunard needs to a invest a little here in more satellite dishes- reliable Internet is as important to their guests as say tea or scones these days. On Saturday around 11am, it took exactly 50 minutes to download a 79.2-megabyte file. This is also a crossing not a cruise and historically, captains of industry dictated memos and managed business affairs by letter (and later telephone) all along.

The days flew by. By the time we realized this it was Friday afternoon- and there was a good trade at the onboard booking office. My four novels, three movies and one (the shame of it) business book were finished. And life was good.
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Cabin Review

Balcony, sheltered
Cabin BY 5092
A very nice cabin and close to stairway B. The shelter is very large.
Deck 6 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins