This was our fourth crossing of the North Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. As on the previous trips we opted for a obstructed view cabin on deck 8. We like the location, close to the gym, Commodore Club and buffet and outdoor promenade on deck 7. As it was a winter crossing we got some of the famous North Atlantic weather (motion of the ocean as the captain put it), two days of huge swells and waves and after that heavy wind. The ship pitched quite heavily but did not roll, it was a humbling experience to watch the sea wash by when enjoying a cocktail in one of the ships many comfortable bars.
We had breakfast in our cabin for six days out of seven. It was delivered promptly as ordered but lukewarm. Lunch in the Kings Court buffet was a positive surprice, with good selection, no queues and wonderful views from the bay windows overlooking the promenade deck. We especially liked the sushi assortment. Lunch and dinner in the graceful Britannia restaurant was ok, with some hits and some misses. Food was always delivered quickly, service was impeccable and portions of good size. Some of the fish was a bit overcooked, some dishes lacking in taste, but in general we were always well fed. This time we chose late dining at 20:30 which in our opinion is better than the early 18:00 sitting, especially if you can't decline the delicious afternoon tea at 15:30. Late night buffet in the Kings Court was a bit of a disappointment. But you will never feel hungry on the QM2.
As the outdoor promenade was closed for two days due to high winds we began our day on the treadmill in the gym. After that it was time for some tea, reading and wave watching in the Commore Club, followed by the nautical announcement at noon by the wonderfully entertaining captain Chris Wells. After lunch some more reading or attending lectures or simply having a nap before afternoon tea. Then a visit to the planetarium, some more reading perharps, enjoying the wonderful Ukrainian string trio in Carinthia Lounge with a glass of wine, before dressing for dinner. On day two everybody was invited to the Captain's Cocktail Party and on day four we attended Cunard World Club party, hosted again by the captain. After dinner it was time for the show, which we saw on four nights on this crossing. The performances consisted of some average singing and dancing, easy to watch for an hour but you weren't left hungry for more of the same. The music heard around in the ship in various locations by the harpist, pianist and the mentioned string trio was very good and fitting to the upscale surroundings. The lectures, pub trivia and planetarium shows seemed to be very popular as was ballroom dancing in the Queens Room and G32 disco for late night entertainment.
The best thing to do on the Queen Mary 2 is to enjoy the wonderful public spaces of the ship. As the ship is designed for the Atlantic crossing where there may be days on end when you can't enjoy the open decks there must be enough interior space to accomodate the whole population of the ship without feeling crowed. In this the QM2 excels and you always manage to find a nice spot for yourself. Commodore Club, Carinthia Lounge, Chart Room and the Champagne Bar are extremely comfortable and classy spots to look at the waves and people passing by with a nice drink in your hand. Luckily the drinks are of good quality and made of premium brands, as the prices are not cheap. Tea in the Commodore $4, Vesper martini $15. A bottle of perfectly drinkable white wine in the Britannia can be had for $35 which is not that bad. Service in the bars was impeccable, friendly and courteous without being intrusive.
Crossing on the QM2 is not for everyone, but if you feel even a little inspired go for it. Average age on this winter voyage was 60+, with just a handful of children and hardly any teens. It is the only ship in the world where you can relive some of the romance and thrill of the way how people travelled a hundred years ago in the first class of the grand ocean liners. It is a very well built quality ship and it's owners and officers are very proud of her. She was designed to feel classic and classy, not modern and she has aged well. With some attention to the cabins in the future she will an even more enjoyable experience. As this was our fourth crossing in five years I think it's now time for a brake but we will be back.
A great big lifeboat obstructing the view from the balcony, but this causes little problems when all you can see is wide ocean for six days. The cabin was spacious and comfortable, with plenty of storage space and no noise from the corridor or adjacent cabins. Fittings, carpet and shower are looking a bit tired now and hopefully will be attendet to in the next refit. The knobs and handles on closets and drawers are ment to look art deco but in reality you can really hurt your fingers in them. On disembarkation day I managed to have a look at the new single cabins, they look so much smarter and modern.