We booked early and later asked for an upgrade as we were in a an obscured view balcony midships. My wife got nowhere with the travel agent and finally contacted Cunard direct. We eventually after much persuasion got an unobscured view balcony at the bow. This was even though they were selling and upgrading others to better cabins.
I should have known right from the beginning that this cruise was going to be different, based on the wait in the departure lounge at Southampton. We were earlier than usual - the checkin was deserted but for a few Grill room passengers. However, the seating area was jammed packed - the computers had gone down.
The decor was a bit of a let down after being on QM2 i.e. the panelling looked like wood finished formica and the paintings were all photographs or the new canvas based photos you can get on the internet.