This was our second crossing on QM2, having sailed two years ago Westbound in December. The Atlantic in December *is* the destination for us as much as the QM2 herself, and neither disappointed.
Perhaps because this was my second trip on QM2, I found the ship even more beautiful than I remembered. I noticed more of the details and the design and was constantly amazed and enchanted. So many beautiful "liner-y" public spaces to spend time in, it was a pleasure just moving through the ship. We spent a great deal of time in the Commodore Club for cocktails before and after dinner, and the Chart Room - my personal favorite. And of course the gallery on 3L was especially captivating on the days when we had "lumpy seas" as Captain Wells called them.
The service from the Queens Grill through to all the public rooms was very warm and attentive, especially Rakesh who looked after us so good naturedly in the Commodore Club, making us always feel very welcomed. Osman and team in the Queens Grill ran a very tight ship as well, with near flawless service. There were a couple of gala nights were we arrived at the peak time and things were a bit backed up, but the room itself, and the floor show of all the table side preparations kept us more than entertain. We never went to any of the shows, as for us, dinner was the evening's show.
I did attend the three lectures by Maureen Ryan the former Cunard social hostess who chronicled her career from the 1950s to the early 2000s and she was excellent. Likewise the jazz combo in the Chart Room each night was wonderful and the perfect accompaniment to the reasonably sized post-dinner martini and the dark Atlantic waters rushing by.
The only negatives to the otherwise completely outstanding QM2 crossing were around the food:
The menus and food execution were not really up to scratch. We were in QG and found the food only about 4 out of five. The service (thank you Osman and team!) and setting was fantastic, but the variety of the menus and sometimes the execution was not up to par. This was especially true at breakfast, where not only was the menu very very pedestrian, but where they also struggled to poach eggs properly.
The menus were very tame, not even up to par with what I would call today's wonderful "modern British" fare. The food is more than adequate, but I guess especially in QG I would be looking for bit more flare and sophistication. Osman was very aggressive at offering us off menu items, which we took advantage of. Most were good to very good, but overall I would not sail on QM2 for the food. I had to keep reminding myself that I was on "Queen Mary 2" and not "Normandie 2" and that put things in proper perspective.
The new menu in the Verandah does not do justice the beauty and sophistication of that space. It's a gorgeous room, swanky and sophisticated, so it seemed a but incongruous to be eating steakhouse fare.
The wine list by contrast was wonderful, and well stocked with a great range of old-world wines at reasonable process.
Still, we've been back for almost 3 weeks now, and I have already had half a dozen dreams about the ship. I am plotting our return at the first opportunity. I am a foodie normally, so despite the "meh" rating of the food, it speaks volumes that I cannot wait to be back aboard. It was absolutely brilliant, and how enormously lucky I felt to have experienced it.
Cabin 9011 was very comfortable, and spacious, well appointed and with large and sectioned off dressing and closet area, especially useful when the two occupants are on slightly different sleeping schedules. I am an early riser and usually head to breakfast each morning, so it was nice to be able to pull the curtain, dress and head out without disturbing my spouse.
View out over the lifeboats. Handy to the Commodore Club and the forward scenic elevators. There was no noticeable additional movement to the cabin due to its forward location from the pitching/rolling of the ship in moderate seas.
There were a couple of dings on the furniture and the black granite mantel in the entrance way was starting to come off the wall, but other than that the cabin was in great shape.