1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. British Isles & Western Europe Cruises
  4. British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Reviews

16 New York (Manhattan) to Europe - British Isles & Western Cruise Reviews

We were tired of taking planes to Europe. So we booked a passage om the QM2 to Hamburg from Brooklyn. We used Uber to get to Pier 3 in the Brooklyn Red Hook neighborhood and did our check-in to the Queen Mary 2, an ocean liner, not a ... Read More
We were tired of taking planes to Europe. So we booked a passage om the QM2 to Hamburg from Brooklyn. We used Uber to get to Pier 3 in the Brooklyn Red Hook neighborhood and did our check-in to the Queen Mary 2, an ocean liner, not a cruise ship as the crew will quickly point out. Rather than repeat all the interesting technical details about the ship, I suggest a visit to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary_2 We had a room with a full unobstructed balcony. But whenever it rained, it got wet, so we didn’t use it much. Other options were an inside room, a balcony obstructed by lifeboats, or a sheltered balcony. The latter is twice as deep as a regular balcony and does not get wet. But you have to stand up to see the ocean. This is what we would choose in the future. There are many other ways on the ship to enjoy an ocean view. There are lots of ways besides just relaxing to enjoy the ship. There were lectures on hurricanes and tornado and with a Mayo Clinic doctor, a talk on staying healthy while traveling. Each night and a show in the theater. We especially enjoyed the Barricade Boys from Le Miz and a Katie Clarke piano show. First run movies were shown, and the ships “planetarium” hosted IMAX science movies. The ship’s library was extensive, and we used the excellent health club daily as well as walking quickly around the deck in the morning – 3 times is a mile. Besides the formal dining each evening (jackets required and tuxedos and evening gowns are appropriate on the three gala nights) in the Britannia Restaurant, there was an extensive buffet for each meal in The King’s Court. Before entering eating areas, a crew member made sure you got a dose of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. On the first day, besides the evacuation drill, the captain hosted a welcome party complete with champagne. In Southampton we were told that something special would happen – the three Cunard “Queen” ships would be in port at the same time – the Queen Mary 2, the Queen Elizabeth, and the Queen Victoria. To celebrate this, the Royal Airforce Red Arrows acrobatics jet team did a spectacular show overhead. Read about them at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Arrows. Our passage cost about $3,000 for the two of us for nine nights to Hamburg. Tips would have been added to our ship’s bill, but you can ask the purser (like a hotel front desk) to delete this as we did. We chose to give tips directly to our room steward and the two waiters at our evening meal. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Wanted something upscale, elegant and fun for all ages. The QM2 did not dissapoint. I am very picky and i cannot say enoigh great things about this ship. Everything from the crew to the service to the room, the food was excellent. ... Read More
Wanted something upscale, elegant and fun for all ages. The QM2 did not dissapoint. I am very picky and i cannot say enoigh great things about this ship. Everything from the crew to the service to the room, the food was excellent. The high tea and ballroom, the bands, the shows were top knotch! Most amazing was the kids club, who knew! Lovely young ladies showing interest and kindness to each little one, a FAR cry from the RCL Harmony of the seas we were on earlier in the summer where their kids club was a joke my son hated to go to. Not here, he just loved it! And the crowd was so diverse from brittish to African and everywhere in between. The entertainment and lounges were so beuatiful and reminisent of the past, so classy. Just having a capuccino and listening to live harp, what a treat. I truly have nothing negative to say. Cunard, you have gained a new regular guest. Can wait to go again!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My wife i have had eight prior cruises, with the most recent two on Holland America. For this cruise, we wanted a trans-ocean cruise on a ship with dance floor, as we are social ballroom dancers. We also wanted a ship which looked and felt ... Read More
My wife i have had eight prior cruises, with the most recent two on Holland America. For this cruise, we wanted a trans-ocean cruise on a ship with dance floor, as we are social ballroom dancers. We also wanted a ship which looked and felt like a real ship, not a floating hotel. The May 15, 2017, eastbound crossing on the QM2 fit those requirements. Booking: We had a misunderstanding about ship board credits. I thought we were to received a $200 shipboard credit, but that did not happen. I had originally looked at fares on Cunard's website, but then booked directly with Cunard by phone. I think that I saw the credit on the website and assumed it would also apply to a booking by phone. The misunderstanding was probably my mistake, but, if you book with Cunard, be sure and clarify whether you are entitled to any shipboard credits. Embarkation: Embarkation was substantially delayed as a result of a U. S. Coast Guard inspection, or so Cunard said. Given that the QM2 had not been in the U. S. for some time, we have to wonder why Cunard was surprised that there was a thorough inspection which took longer than usual. More importantly, the substantial delay kept many elderly and some disabled people STANDING in lines, some of whom had been there for hours as we were told. We know that may of those asked for chairs or other places to sit, but were told that none were available, although we later saw hundreds of unused chairs in an adjacent area. This problem could have created some serious medical issues. Given that cruise lines must be aware of the potential for embarkation delay, it is difficult to understand why Cunard was not prepared to take care of its elderly and disabled guests affected by the embarkation delay. I suspect Cunard's attorneys and risk avoidance folks would be very interested in this issue. However, once boarding was authorized, embarkation went smoothly and quickly. Dancing and Entertainment: Ballroom dancing is the reason we booked the QM2, and we were not disappointed. The dance floor was smooth, and the music by the Queen's Room Band and the DJ was perfect dance music. We danced every night until we could dance no more. The daily dance lessons were great as the instructors helped beginning dancers and those who needed more technique than basic instruction. We enjoyed visiting with the dance hosts, and they were happy to help us with some of the steps. Those guys didn't miss a dance, ensuring that single ladies had the chance to dance as much as they wanted. The dance hosts seemed to love to dance and were there only to be sure as many guests as possible danced as much as they wanted. The only minor complaint is that the dance floor was very crowded on the three formal nights, and Cunard could help remedy that by expanding the size of the dance floor. The Queen's Room is so large that it could afford to lose a couple of tables. However, the dance floor was far less crowded when the music was by the DJ, and we certainly had all the time to dance that we could possibly have wanted. We enjoyed the Romanov lectures which were very well done by a speaker who challenged us as well as providing very interesting information. The one show we saw (too busy dancing to see the shows) was excellent. If you do not dance, and most passengers don't, you will not be bored as there are activities for everyone. Dining: Service in the Britannia Dining Room was superb. While it would be difficult to say that the food itself was gourmet, it was good. We thought the food in the King's Court Buffet was good for a buffet, but limited much more so than with most cruise ships' buffets. While we never waited for a table in the King's Court or waited in a line, it often seemed crowded, Unfortunately, many of the tables in the King's Court do not provide an outside view. Attacks of the Ice Cream Machine: After dancing on the first night, we went for ice cream in the King's Court. My wife pulled down the lever on the machine and received a shot of chocolate ice cream all over her dress. Several staff members can running over, not to help her get the ice cream off her dress, but to get get it off the deck. It was not until I complained to a manager that she got some help. No one offered to have her dress cleaned. The next night, in a not so bright move, I got ice cream out of the same machine and was also rewarded with ice cream all over my tux coat and pants. A manager provided some napkins to help me get the ice cream off my tux, and took my room number with a promise that the ship would have my tux cleaned. I did have a call from someone later that night, advising me to leave the tux on the bed in the morning, and the steward would get it to the laundry, but the steward did not get the word, and the tux was still on the bed when we arrived back at the room. And, the story does not end here. We ran into some friends the next day after lunch, and the lady had chocolate ice cream all over her shirt. Same ice cream machine. So, if you cruise on the QM2 and want chocolate ice cream, do not stand in front of the ice cream machine! Room: We were in 11064 for which we paid a bit more as we wanted an open balcony. I spent some time on the balcony, but my wife did not. If we book Cunard again, I think we will get an enclosed balcony for less money. The room was small as are most cruise ship cabins. However, we have generally been Holland America customers before, and the rooms on HAL ships are considerably larger, particularly the bathrooms. The bed was comfortable, and everything in the room worked. The room steward was great, ensuring that the room was clean and made up each day. Service: Regret having to be a bit critical here. Compared to the "customer is always right" attitude on HAL ships, that was not always the situation on QM2. Some staff seemed to resent being asked questions (my wife loves to ask questions). It does not seem to me to be out of line to ask for clarification, but that seemed to bother some staff personnel, even to the point of rudeness a couple of times. We heard the same from other passengers on board. Service with a smile (remember, the customer is always right) is an area in which Cunard could focus some attention. This was not a result of language barriers as the non English speaking staff members were uniformly courteous, but rather it was English speaking staff. Other Activities: We enjoyed sitting and reading in the Commodore Lounge which has a wonderful forward view. We also enjoyed walking the promenade deck most mornings. We made a number of new friends on the crossing, and it was always fun to sit and visit. For anyone not a ballroom dancer, there is so much to do on this ship that you will not be bored. Time Factors: Keep in mind while booking, that you lose five hours going east and gain five hours going west, because of time changes. So, going west, you get ten more hours on the ship than going east. The ship is large, and it takes a while to get from one end of the ship to the other, and since one elevator bank was removed during the last overhaul, it often takes a bit longer to get places on the ship than other cruise ships. Stability: My wife has sea sickness issues, and we were concerned about that, but the QM2 is amazingly stable. While the Captain was not reporting high sea states, i was in the Navy long enough to know that the seas were high enough to make most ships roll substantially. The QM2 only moved slightly with very gentle rolls. Perfect for sleeping! Laundry: Forget using the personal laundry. Two few for 2500 guests. Internet: As good as possible given that you are on a moving ship. However, it is slow and expensive. We found that both with an Iphone and a Kindle that logging out was for some reason difficult, and we went through a lot of minutes. Disembarkation: While it did not happen at the time stated, it was well organized and went smoothly once it began. Summary: Wonderful crossing! We hope to do it again soon, although we may try one of the two smaller Cunard ships, and we will almost certainly travel westbound. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
On past trips as a QM2 solo traveler I stayed in a sheltered balcony cabin but decided to give the new KC solo traveler cabins a try. When I boarded the ship in NYC it was not necessary to take a busy lift to get to my cabin as the ... Read More
On past trips as a QM2 solo traveler I stayed in a sheltered balcony cabin but decided to give the new KC solo traveler cabins a try. When I boarded the ship in NYC it was not necessary to take a busy lift to get to my cabin as the entrance to the KC cabins are quite near the enterance to the ship. Since the cabins were created from scratch during the recent QM2 remastering everything is truly new including the bathroom fixtures. The two large circular windows, aka Portholes, are massive and create an atmosphere of being part of the ocean around you. The room location is near mostly everything and since it's location is off the beaten track it's quite and private. Everyone else must love these rooms too as they are almost always booked, but if you can get one grab it. I am posting some pictures of the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Home again. Ahhhhhh. Last May, we did a westbound crossing on the QM2, our third voyage and second crossing aboard her. It was so perfect for us that we decided to do it again this year, except as a round trip. (spoiler – We rebooked ... Read More
Home again. Ahhhhhh. Last May, we did a westbound crossing on the QM2, our third voyage and second crossing aboard her. It was so perfect for us that we decided to do it again this year, except as a round trip. (spoiler – We rebooked aboard to do it yet again next year). A week or so after last year’s crossing, she went in for her “remastering.” I was eager to see the results. This review is mostly about the changes seen than an overview of the ship. That said, let me restate the truism that a crossing on the QM2 is a voyage like no other. The relentless movement across the North Atlantic with the daily rhythm of six sea days on the only ship purpose-built for the voyage, is truly special. About the remastering. The most notable change is seen on Deck 7 – and a welcome change it is! The confusing, disjointed King’s Court buffet is now less-confusing and not-quite-as-disjointed. Unfortunately, most of the layout issues are the result of structural and technical limitations imposed by the ship’s design. Not perfect – but much improved. Likewise, the ship’s old “Rainforest Café” the Winter Garden. That bizarre, unused space was nicely transformed into the Carinthia Lounge. A comforting room of beige and taupe club chairs which entices passengers with string quartets and light snacks (although seldom at the same time). The glass elevator from the Grand Lobby to the buffet was removed to simplify the layout, which was a worthy sacrifice IMHO. Immediately after the refit, the ship’s bell was also removed from the Grand Lobby and the 8 Bells Ceremony was discontinued. I’m glad to report that the bell and ceremony are back. As we did last year, we booked a forward “sheltered balcony” cabin on Deck 5. This location is quiet and stable being relatively close to the waterline, close to the B and A stairways with passenger cabins above and below. Although the balconies are cut into the hull, they provide fresh air and are more than sufficient for a North Atlantic crossing. The new HD LCD screen on the wall was nice and the new wall treatments were more successful than the finger-hurting drawer pulls and handles. And enough with the pillows! Our little love seat was usually covered with the assortment of throw pillows and shams in our snug cabin. Still a very nice cabin with good storage. The food. Still good. Being a midwestern boomer, I grew up with “good country club food” as my expectations for a nice meal. I prefer simple items, well prepared, but coming from San Francisco, if you promise something special or trendy, be prepared to deliver (looking at you, Celebrity). Cunard hits the sweet spot of well-sourced offerings prepared to high standards. We received excellent service at our requested table for two and dinner was always a pleasure. Less impressive was our experience at The Veranda. The promised seven course dinner was really a bacon-sized strip of flatbread, an amuse bouche, two starters, a main, a gucky palate cleanser/pre-dessert, and a dessert. Service was sub-par (during the particularly long wait for our main course, both the waiter and the maître d’ stopped by the table to apologize – apparently, they were unexpectedly busy that night. In the same small-sized room, which also had a couple of unoccupied tables). We weren’t in the slightest bit tempted to repeat the experience for the $50 pp surcharge. The pub lunches at the Golden Lion Pub continue to be a fave. When I can force myself to order something other than the excellent fish and chips, I enjoy their cottage pie and chicken tikka-masala. My husband found the ploughman’s lunch interesting but unlikely to repeat (not necessarily a fan of the potted meat) but also enjoys the Cumberland sausage. As a gay couple, the well-attended Friends of Dorothy get-togethers in the Commodore Club each evening at 5 PM were always a highlight. (Almost always 20-30 guys from everywhere) Unfortunately, in the evening the Commodore Club as no longer the place to be. The music was more appropriate for a St. Petersburg recital than a jazzy nightclub. Unlike our previous voyages, the bar had 1-2 people sitting and there were many unoccupied chair groupings. The onboard lecturers were mostly excellent, especially George McGhee, who spoke on Hollywood’s greats on the eastbound and Dr. Dan Wilkins, a NASA fellow, explained black holes going west. Varied and fascinating. What is also notable is that Illuminations is not only the only planetarium at sea, but is also an excellent lecture hall and movie theater – which is separate from the main showroom. Another highlight of our crossings were the RADA contributions. We also had opportunity to take the “Behind the Scenes” tour of the ship ($120). Last year, I arrived to the line at the Tour Office a half hour early and was far back on the waiting list. This year, I arrived 90 min early at 7:30 for the #2 position. (8:00 is probably a good time). Really interesting and well worth it. One of the highlights was the opportunity to chat with the ship’s master, Captain Christopher Wells, who was charming and who delivered the first amusing speech at the World Club Reception which is normally a snoozefest. We also had the occasion to use the ship’s delightful seamstress and a member of the medical staff. No details on either encounter, but in both occasions, the service was warm, professional and beyond expectations. Throughout our voyage, all members of the crew and staff were genuinely warm and helpful. Bartenders and waiters remembered our preferences and addressed us by name. Yes. As soon as we stepped aboard, we were home. There’s no place like home. And, on the final afternoon, I ducked down to the cruise office to see Yoyo and book another round trip crossing for fall, 2018. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this QM2 cruise because we had never done a crossing and the seven day length seemed a good way to try it. We were in the middle group, Princess Class, anbd dined eveninns in the Princess Grill. For breakfst adn lunch we chose ... Read More
We chose this QM2 cruise because we had never done a crossing and the seven day length seemed a good way to try it. We were in the middle group, Princess Class, anbd dined eveninns in the Princess Grill. For breakfst adn lunch we chose the Kings Buffet (the larage cafeteria that served the whole ship). The voyage included three formal nights, and in the Queens Griolle most men wore dinner jackets (although dark business suits were acceptable). Women ranged from smart pants oufits to gowns. Three series of lectures covered serious topics and were of good quality. If you missed alecture it ran for the next day on closed circuit tv. Each day there were two or three films running on the closed circuti tv, and a film library at the desk that was available if requested. Dining in the Queens Grille was very good with a British accent (many of the dishes were mildly spiced, but all were very nicely presented). An experience i would happily repeat. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have crossed the Atlantic dozens of times but always at 39,000 feet, so we decided it was time we tried a more relaxed means of travel and make a transatlantic crossing by ship, hence the title of this review. Embarkation We flew ... Read More
We have crossed the Atlantic dozens of times but always at 39,000 feet, so we decided it was time we tried a more relaxed means of travel and make a transatlantic crossing by ship, hence the title of this review. Embarkation We flew to La Guardia airport on Sunday May 10th and were met by Cunard staff who guided us to the shuttle bus that would take us to the QM-2. After 3 circuits of La Guardia airport admiring the current demolition, the driver finally took us to the quay where we had our first view of our ship. We embarked after a great deal of confusion because there didn’t seem to be any Cunard staff at the drop-off area to guide embarking passengers from their vehicles to the embarkation desks, and our bus driver gave us no information at all! At one point we noticed people who intended to embark joining the line-up of disembarking passengers who were queuing to hire taxis to take them into New York! Suggestion: Cunard needs to place easily identifiable staff on that drop-off area to explain how the baggage handlers deal with passengers’ luggage and to guide embarking passengers in the right direction. Other reviewers have commented on some chaotic scenes during embarkation at other ports, and we find it difficult to understand why Cunard allows this to happen. After all, this year they are commemorating 175 years of passenger service! If we were scoring the trip, we’d have to deduct points for the embarkation process, because our experience created a poor first impression. The situation improved inside the check-in building, but the building itself is very uninspiring, being large, empty and gloomy – not at all a fitting venue from which to embark on a transatlantic voyage. At times we felt we were in a disused furniture warehouse, but fortunately after only 30 minutes we were allowed to board the QM-2 and then things improved dramatically. We sail frequently and we have to say that in our opinion other lines make a much better job of embarking passengers (see our reviews of trips with Celebrity Cruises). After we boarded, crew members guided us through the Grand Lobby to the elevators that took us to deck 10 and we found our cabin easily. As a testimony to the efficiency of baggage handling, one of our pieces of luggage arrived at the cabin shortly after we did! Very good Cunard – but we think you need to polish up the process that deals with embarking passengers! All passengers and crew attended a compulsory SOLAS drill at 16:30. This was a proper drill, and we say this because it was not a trip to the ship’s theatre to watch a video of what to do in case of an emergency, but required you to take your lifejacket to your muster station and get instructions on how to proceed from there. Celebrity prefers to use the video-in-the-theatre approach, and we do not think this can be as effective as conducting a proper drill. Full marks to Cunard for conducting this important drill properly! Life Onboard The QM-2 is a very large ship, and while there are plenty of signs to help you navigate your way around, these use small letters that are not easy to read, especially if you need spectacles for reading (as most of the passengers do). Suggestion: you have 7 days to complete the crossing, take a day to explore each of the main staircases (A, B, C, and D) to help you get orientated. Some of the decks are reserved for Grills passengers, and this tends to add to the confusion, because you very often find that you can’t get to where you want to be from where you already are. There are also half-level decks to accommodate the theatre and Planetarium. Paying attention to the stairway and deck locations of each room in your daily program should help you find them more easily. Many people got lost looking for the entrance to the Planetarium . Should you feel the need to get some fresh Atlantic air, deck 7 allows you almost complete access to walk around the entire ship. There are plenty of comfortable Titanic style deckchairs here, and plenty of loungers on other decks, but owing to the weather, most of these went unused during the crossing. The public rooms are beautiful, especially the Queen's Room. There are huge decorative metallic plaques in hallways and many areas display posters about the history of ocean liners and trans-Atlantic crossings – something to learn around every corner. Public washrooms are not easy to find, often being hidden very discretely in out-of-the-way places around corners, in cul-de-sacs, and at the end of short corridors, and there seems to be little if any logic to their locations. In some locations the Ladies and Gents are side-by-side, in others the Ladies might be located on one side of the ship, while the Gents is on the other! If we had received a dollar from everyone who asked us to give them directions to the washrooms we’d soon have saved enough for another trip! For some reason, toilet blockages seemed to be a common occurrence, and it was not unusual to find Out-of-Order notices on the doors of several washrooms simultaneously! We did not notice any bad odours on deck 10, but we detected some on a few of the lower decks. We individually enjoyed such activities as the trivia games, line dancing sessions, lectures and the relaxing Pavillion pool. Of course, simply sitting and watching as the ocean slips by can be relaxing in itself, and there are plenty of places to settle quietly and meditate, or enjoy a book. Tables are set-up for board games and puzzles on deck 2. The ship has Wi-Fi connections, but you need to visit the Cunard Connexions room on deck 2 (near the Planetarium) to get your account properly set up. Reception seemed to be reasonably good throughout the ship. Food Food was generally excellent and we have no complaints about the menus choices, quality or service. Meals in the Britannia dining room were delicious and well presented. Our table crew Lino, Melier and Dejian did an excellent job of table service. King’s Court food is good, but as other reviewers have mentioned, the layout of this buffet is not conducive to easy navigation nor fast throughput – in our opinion cruise ships make a better job of buffets. Tip: you need very long arms to reach the food in the rear set of trays on the heated tables, because the sneeze guards protrude so far out over the food itself. Even with long arms you are forced to adopt a rather undignified crouch in order to reach the rear trays successfully. We enjoyed some excellent treats on special days: one day featured expert patisserie using choux pastry, another day the special theme was chocolate. Sushi was similarly good. Entertainment Song and dance shows were well presented, but they are a bit deja-vu – other ships offer Cirque du Soleil type shows, and acts such as hypnotists, ventriloquists, and magicians. A comedian presented a good show and a flautist was very capable. Specialist lectures were very good and the planetarium was excellent. Tip: you need to get your tickets very early for the planetarium shows, because they are very popular! We didn’t use the casino nor the spa, and spent only a minimum amount of time in the shops, so we can’t really comment on these. There is a well-stocked library on deck 12 with a good view over the bow. Captain Wells’ midday Broadcasts-from-the-Bridge were very lively and informative, and delivered with typically droll British humour. If we have any criticisms we would have to say we wished he would talk for longer, or perhaps present one or two lectures on maritime topics in the theatre! Channel 40 on the television shows a view over the bow from a camera near the bridge, and channel 43 shows more information about the ship’s position, speed, weather, etc. Disembarkation Better than boarding! Cunard uses colour-coded tags (for example, red) that you affix to your luggage before you place it outside your cabin door on the last evening. Members of the crew collect your bags and take them ashore for you to collect in a large warehouse. You can easily locate your bags underneath the appropriate sign in the warehouse (for example, if Cunard issued you with red tags, you’ll find your bags under the RED sign). Very efficient. However, connections from Southampton to Central London or to one of the airports require long hours travelling by coach. This is not a criticism of Cunard, but it was a tedious and uncomfortable way to end what had been a very enjoyable transatlantic voyage. The coaches do not have washrooms, so take advantage of the rest stop. Even on a Sunday the Victoria bus station in central London was so crowded that we had to circle the area three times before a space opened up for the bus to get access so we could get off. After enduring this you need to have 30p (50 cents) change ready to be allowed access to the bus station washrooms! Not a good experience. Would we do it again? As seasoned sea-travellers we appreciated the luxury and stability of the QM-2. On our third day at sea the North Atlantic showed its more typical nature: thick fog, grey skies and grey seas with 5 metre swells (16 feet) running. With only 2 of her 4 stabilizers deployed, the QM-2 sailed majestically through the rough seas, and we felt little if any motion at all. Like her predecessors, she was designed for the North Atlantic, and her pedigree shows. Would we do it again? Definitely, but maybe east to west next time, or perhaps a different itinerary altogether. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We felt compelled to write a review after reading review after review of complaints!! Really folks! It's appears to this reader that many reviewers attitudes need to be checked at the door! First, how in the world can so many ... Read More
We felt compelled to write a review after reading review after review of complaints!! Really folks! It's appears to this reader that many reviewers attitudes need to be checked at the door! First, how in the world can so many people remember everything they ate? Did they have a recorder at each meal and do they work for competing cruise lines???? Marina is an awesome vessel with awesome staff and crew!!!! The food is delicious! If one finds a complaint with a dish, simply ask for something different or a replacement. Wait staff will gladly accommodate ! If this is not handled,simply ask for Maître D! We were at a table where after eating three fourths of a steak, the guest said that it was cold!!!! We told the wait staff and they replaced it in a timely manner.... Room service is outstanding! Always yummy and on time breakfast ! Brendan and Ann always going above and beyond!!!! Room Stewards always kept room spotless and supplied twice a day!!!! Always kept us informed and never,never rushed us!!! Officers approachable ! Concierge's Jeff and Javier always accommodating BUT you have to ask if you have a need. Do not assume they know your needs!!! Special shout out to Emma and Lisa Excursions are very expensive if purchased from ship!!! Aside from the expense, the procedure for joining excursion is horrible !!! It's like a cattle call and then stampede to get to bus!!!! Alaska on Regatta was different and wonderful for each excursion! That being said, DESTINATION SERVICES ON THIS CRUISE WAS THE BEST WE HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED! We did ports on our own, many times using free shuttles! DESTINATION SERVICES STAFF WERE ALWAYS THERE TO HELP OUR EXPERIENCE ! And the disembarkation directed by this department was the smoothest LOUISA OF DESTINATION SERVICE IS ONE OF THE MOST SINCERE AND HELPFUL STAFF MEMBERS AND ALWAYS WITH A SMILE We were able to connect to the internet and never kicked off. In Dublin , due to port authority we could not connect, but there was lots of free wifi in Dublin. Ship internet is expensive and not lighting quick but not as slow as all the complaints!!! Entertainers were really trying to please the audience ! We realize it's not Broadway and many could complain about that!!! The orchestra , band and string quartets outstanding ! Guest lecturers great, especially Dr Rodger Cartwright engaging and informative! Cruise Director Julie James outstanding. Church services were held every Sunday! The staff and crew on this cruise was A+. Always polite ,many calling us by name at every turn! We felt community and family!!!! Hats off to you Hilde Crankshaw, Oceania Cruise Representative for helping us with all the particulars of this trip! You are always there for us! Bravo. Bravo. Bravo Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
From the moment we embarked in Brooklyn, this trip on the Queen Mary 2 was everything we hoped and imagined it would be. The ship is beautiful inside and out, and very well-maintained. We had gotten upgraded to a sheltered balcony cabin ... Read More
From the moment we embarked in Brooklyn, this trip on the Queen Mary 2 was everything we hoped and imagined it would be. The ship is beautiful inside and out, and very well-maintained. We had gotten upgraded to a sheltered balcony cabin from an ocean view on the same deck (5, forward), and were extremely pleased with the size, layout, cleanliness and ambiance of our cabin. We had a great cabin steward, and also a great waiter and assistant waiter in Britannia. Our assigned table mates for dinner were very congenial, which I think helps a lot. We liked the food a good deal, and with the exception of a few pasta dishes my husband had, we thought everything was well-prepared, given the volume of people that were being served. We chose to eat in the Britannia for almost all breakfasts and lunches as well, as we really liked the atmosphere and enjoy6ed having the opportunity to met a great variety of people. We did not pay to eat in any of the other available venues, and we only had a few breakfasts and lunches in the King's Court buffet, which was OK but we preferred the atmosphere of the main dining room. We enjoyed the evening entertainment put on by the ship's company, and especially the two shows out on by RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts): Canterbury Tales and an abbreviated, but excellent, production of "The Merchant of Venice." We also were very impressed by a young Russian classical pianist, who gave several concerts; my husband was so impressed he bought one of her CDs. There was a lot of other good music around the ship as well, with musicians of various types performing in one or another of the public areas, lounges, or bars at almost any hour in the evening. We had a very relaxing trip, and did not actually end up doing or trying as much as we thought we would we would. We loved walking around the promenade deck, sitting in deck chairs, and just finding quiet nooks to read. Loved the library! I did read the book club book and participated in the book club discussion, which was excellent. One thing we found to be underwhelming was the planetarium, which is basically just a dome with films projected; the effects are interesting, but the particular film we saw wasn't very interesting or edifying, and not even all that great visually. Embarkation and disembarkation went extremely smoothly. I think we were in our cabin within a half hour of arrival at the pier in Brooklyn. Our luggage arrived fairly promptly at our cabin, though not all the pieces arrived together. We opted for early self-disembarkation, as we had a train to catch, and that went very well too. If we have any complaint it's with the White Star luggage service. We were sending the bag with our formal clothing back to the U.S. as we were going to be continuing our travels. I was told both on the phone and by the on-board representative who processed our paperwork that there was a desk at Southampton where we would drop off our bag. I was concerned about weight as we wanted to make sure to keep the bag at the lowest weight class, 1-39 lbs for cost purposes. We had weighed the bag on board with a portable scale, but I wanted to make sure the "official" weight was still under 39 lbs. At the Southampton terminal, we exited into a huge room where bags were being offloaded, and down at the end of it, hardly noticeable, was a bin with a small sign indicating that was where to deposit the bags to be shipped (DHL is the company Cunard is using there). There was no desk, no attendant, no scale, and no security. We were very leery, but had no choice but to leave the bag, which we'd already paid for shipping, and it did indeed arrive in the US safe and sound. My husband had been wanting to go on a transatlantic crossing on a Cunard "Queen" for years, and this trip not only fulfilled that dream--It's hooked us on the Queen Mary 2 and the transatlantic crossing experience. We're already planning when to go again! There's so much we didn't do that we have to go again: try out the poool(s) and hot tubs, the gym, dance lessons, lectures, trivia in the pub (which seemed to be hugely popular). I won't say the trip has made us newbies into cruisers, in general, as we still prefer to explore places at greater leisure than one can when cruising and visiting ports for just a day. But we'd definitely go on the Queen Mary 2 again, and maybe try out the other Cunard Queens as well. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Nothing to fault! So much choice of dining, where to go and what to do on the ship, so much choice of activity and entertainment; you could dress up or just swan around elegant casual; so many people were so friendly that anyone could ... Read More
Nothing to fault! So much choice of dining, where to go and what to do on the ship, so much choice of activity and entertainment; you could dress up or just swan around elegant casual; so many people were so friendly that anyone could find like-people to socialise with - depending on one's choice of activity. But the most praiseworthy part was the attitude of the staff, crew and ship's company without exception; with the selection and recruitment process of Cunard comes a training and expectation that this is a first class vessel and the guests must be treated all the same with the highest of standards. The staff were all so pleasant and helpful that everything was a joy and everyone was happy. Alcohol and spirits were to pay for. Apart from that there was a 24 hour buffet with a vast selection of soft drinks and hot drinks. Room service of a small menu and tea and coffee was also available 24 hours at no extra charge. We ate the most delicious, well-over-6 oz. sirloin steak with salad brought to our cabin and burgers were also available in room service and accompaniments, juices, teac and coffee. We also ordered breakfast in bed on a couple of mornings and it was a full hotel breakfast brought in by a uniformed silver service waiter - it was all so 'proper'. The formal dining rooms were superb and nothing short of 5 star service and choice of menu with silver service - which was worth dressing up for and playing the game. On formal nights there was an expectation that after 6pm everyone would dress smartly but there were no rules laid down and other passengers, not wanting to 'dress for dinner' could dine in the buffet for evening meals - there was no pressure to 'conform'; but a lot of people do dress and immerse themselves in the luxury, the performance, the balls or shows provided and round of evening entertainment laid on. The lady Captain, Inger Klein Olsen radiated warmth, professionalism, integrity, highest standards of safety and care and respect for every member if her ship's company equally and this was infectious all over the ship! she was the personification of the Cunard ethos and nothing fell short of those standards. Plus we had magnificent weather on the whole crossing, apart from one day when the seas were not too bad, just a rolling swell, but nothing that caused us not to be able to walk around freely or to be ill. Our balcony cabin was so smart and just perfect to be able to open the door and smell the breezes or bask in the sunshine - only we had not anticipated such good weather on the crossing and should have requested a Starboard Home cabin instead of the Port Side we were given which was not on the sunny side, until sunset! The embarkation and disembarkation was so thoroughly explained that it went like clockwork and the entire cruise and protocol was stres-free. Nothing could have been improved on. It was all perfect. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
From the moment we embarked in record time-15 minutes, we were welcomed, made to feel comfortable and began to relax in the majestic surroundings of QM2. The food was incredibly good, Todd English restaurant could not do enough to make our ... Read More
From the moment we embarked in record time-15 minutes, we were welcomed, made to feel comfortable and began to relax in the majestic surroundings of QM2. The food was incredibly good, Todd English restaurant could not do enough to make our anniversary dinner special and delicious. Our stateroom was immaculately pristine complete with champagne and spirits, ice and mix. The service in the Queens Grill would be hard to beat in the finest establishments, simply put - we felt very spoiled! To top things off, we had been upgraded from Princess Grill, which in previous trips we have found to be outstanding! What a fine start. We attended all of the lectures on Shakespeare by Emma Smith (very good!) and all of those by John Maxtone-Smith on cruise ships (excellent) but were disappointed with Dr. Ruth, so left early. There was so much to do, even Julliard Jazz musicians were superb, pianists were great and the dancing/galas wonderful. One could not manage all the activities available - choices had to be made. Captain Paul Wright was a most friendly guy and Cunard will miss him as he retires after this trip. Oh, almost forgot, did the personal trainer thing each day and it was very good at Canyon spa. Tip: buy a 3 day spa pass and use the thallasotherapy pool and sauna/steam room, a good bargain! The TA crossing was mostly quiet seas running although we did have 24' waves one day, but the motion was minimal on QM2, nobody missed dining,nor walking nor jogging. We left home a day early as is our pattern to join the cruise and stayed in a hotel of our choosing, allowing for morning shopping in NY. We were first off the ship (0715) in Southampton to limo it to catch an early flight to Ireland (expensive limo but got us to Ireland in time for Guinness!). Put a QM2 TA on your list, we will do it again and enjoy it ever so much, simply a great experience! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our second Silversea cruise - the first was on the Silver Spirit in November, 2010. Having been on several Regent cruises, we felt it was time try another luxury line. We were impressed with the service on the Spirit but did not ... Read More
This was our second Silversea cruise - the first was on the Silver Spirit in November, 2010. Having been on several Regent cruises, we felt it was time try another luxury line. We were impressed with the service on the Spirit but did not really care for the ship. The Whisper was recommended by friends, so we booked it. Flights from Vancouver to New York were difficult at best. Silversea worked with us to get the best flights possible. We flew from Vancouver to Los Angeles and then directly to New York (sounds difficult, but this was the best routing we could find) Embarkation Embarkation was a bit hectic and chaotic. One reason for this was the Queen Mary boarding next to us. It was amazing that only one Silversea passenger had their luggage sail on the wrong ship. It was difficult to figure out where passengers should go who were on Silversea vs. passengers for the QM. It was eventually sorted out and we were on the Whisper. Once on the ship, everything went smoothly. The Ship Wow is the word that comes to mind. This is a beautiful ship down to the smallest detail. The size could not be more perfect. There were approximate 280 passengers which seemed to be the ideal number. The Bar was filled to capacity in the evening and we wondered where they would have fit another 100 or so passengers. But, I am getting ahead of myself. The temperature of the ship was quite warm. With temperatures cool to cold outside, we dressed with long sleeves and often felt too warm. The air conditioners in the suites work well so we were able to sleep in cool comfort. Speaking of beds, they are amazing with one side of the mattress being softer than the other. The Suite We booked a Silver Suite (#727). With the exception of two special occasions when we stayed in Regent Master Suites, this was the most comfortable suite we have had. Even though one had to walk through the closet to get into the bathroom from the bedroom, the layout worked well for us. There was a lot of storage space, a desk with two drawers (unlike the Spirit with no drawers), a make-up area with a drawer (again, no drawer on the Spirit) and good lighting (also unlike the Spirit). The Silver Suites, Master Suite and Medallion Suites are under the pool deck. Had the weather been better, there would have been a lot of activity going on that could have been heard in these suites (scraping of chairs, etc.) We were under the area where the pool bar is set up and did hear noise around 6:00 a.m. on the few days the pool bar was open. It did not bother us, but, one should be aware of this in advance. La Terrazza The service in this dining venue is amazing. Although buffet style for breakfast and lunch, many items are prepared fresh (eggs, waffles, pasta, etc.) The servers are happy to assist you at all times. We had no difficulty getting coffee refills in the morning or wine refills at lunch. Must note that I agree with some posters who do not feel the coffee on Silversea is much above coffee shop level. The choices at breakfast were pretty typical. Offering proper English bacon was a definite plus. Although I am not a breakfast person, there was always something I could select. The first day I went to La Terrazza at lunch looking for sushi. The sushi on the Spirit was excellent. On the Whisper, however, it was mediocre at best. The difference is probably due to the fact that there is a Japanese dining venue on the Spirit. This enables them to put out fresh, well-prepared sushi items (rather than rolls with a carrot piece stuck in the middle). Food is subjective.. . . . we found breakfast and lunch in La Terrazza good to very good. Dinner in La Terrazza is a treat. We tried the Italian dishes as well as the catch of the day. I understand that the food provider for this venue will be changing. Hoping it will be as satisfying as it is now. The tables were set up nicely with plenty of room between tables (unlike the Spirit where you can barely any room). Le Champagne and Hot Rocks Hot Rocks was closed most of the time due to the weather. We ate in Hot Rocks on the Spirit and found the food good, but the whole set-up quite gimmicky. It's nice to try once. We made reservations at Le Champagne and cancelled (did the same thing on the Spirit). While we pretty much wanted to dine there, the offerings were just not to our taste. We also find that when on board credits are given (as they will be next year), Le Champagne is packed. On our cruise, the maximum number of tables we saw filled was two. In my opinion, this would feel like dining in an empty restaurant. The Restaurant We had breakfast there 2 or 3 times. It was very good with extremely large portions (a little too large). The Restaurant opened for lunch at 12:30 p.m. This was a bit late for us so we did not try it. When we first entered The Restaurant for dinner, we noticed how beautiful it was (again, unlike the Spirit that reminds me of a Las Vegas coffee shop). The food and service in The Restaurant was excellent. The everyday menu choices are also a step above what we have seen on Regent. I am not sure why filet mignon is offered daily on the Whisper but not on the Spirit - an interesting difference. We enjoyed every meal we had in The Restaurant. The Wine This will be a short section. While wine is a matter of personal preference, we did not care for 90% of what was served. The Lounges In general, we find the bars on Silversea to have strange hours. The hours varied depending upon whether it was a port or sea day. One could never be certain when or if a lounge was going to be open. It would make more sense if one bar were open from 11 a.m. to midnight (and not the pool bar). The Observation Lounge is lovely - however, we never seemed to make it up there for a drink. We stopped by once to get a view and that was all. Despite the fact that The Bar has smoking in one section that wafts over to the non-smoking side, we enjoyed having a pre-dinner cocktail there each night. This is where the lovely Nikki serves. She has an amazing knack of remembering everyone's name and preferences and is a delightful person. Preparation of drinks in The Bar was a bit inconsistent. The non-smoking side of The Bar was packed around 7:00 p.m. each night. There was room on the smoking side, but few people wanted to sit there. As mentioned earlier, it is hard to imagine another 100 passengers on the ship. When the Panorama Lounge bar was open we enjoyed it very much. Oliver, the bartender, made every visit a fun experience. He got to know us fairly quickly and when I would order a drink, he would recommend something else (that was always made to perfection). After a few days I knew that I would never receive what I ordered and we were fine with that. When he bartended in The Bar, we requested that Oliver make our drinks. On Board Activities Food and wine was spotlighted on this cruise. The food demonstrations (paired with wine) and the wine tastings (paired with food) were excellent. Chef David did an excellent job. The guest chef was also very good. We enjoyed every event they put on. Daily Trivia was well done and well attended. Our team came out #1 overall. It was nice to enjoy a competitive game without becoming too serious. It was handled in a professional but lighthearted manner. Although not Bingo players, we had some time before Trivia and tried out a few games. Quite enjoyable once you get enough cards to keep your mind occupied. Smoking (not long:-) The smoking policy on the ship is confusing. A notice was put out in the Chronicle that seemed to indicate that there is no smoking in suites, balconies or lounges. This comment is not for or against smoking. It would be nice to have clarity. Ports and Excursions The port stops in Canada were interesting, if a bit low key. We took private tours in Halifax and Sydney and found the cost to be less than if had booked ships tours. I have to give an Silversea A+ for the way Waterford, Ireland was handled. We were docked in Cobh (near Cork), Ireland. The Captain came on the loudspeaker around 5:00 p.m. and announced that there was a high probability that we would not be able to tender in Waterford (our next stop). So, a decision was made to stay in Cobh and arrange bus transportation the next day to Waterford. Within minutes of the announcement, the tickets were printed up and available (no charge). Other buses would arrive in the morning to pick up passengers who had booked ship excursions in Waterford. The ride into Waterford took 1 ½ hours. The scenery and commentary by the driver was marvelous (better than many excursions we had been on). We had approximately 3 ½ to 4 hours to walk around Waterford. Some passengers went to the new Waterford factory, while many shopped and had lunch. We had lunch in a wonderful Irish pub - Guinness, Irish sausages, potato's. . . . I get me hungry to think about it. Debarkation The day before we reached the end of the cruise, we were in Fowey, England. We went through Passport Control for England in the theater. Everything was handled quickly and efficiently This made debarkation in Southampton swift and very easy. We were off of the ship by 8:30 a.m. and being transported to Heathrow shortly thereafter. In Conclusion The Officers and Crew of the Silver Whisper were excellent. The communication, particularly in Ireland when changes in scheduling were made, was better than we have seen on any cruise ship. We would not hesitate to recommend this ship to my frirends. Now, if only there was an itinerary that we were interested in for next year! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We had quite a few worries before we arrived on board. I have to say that none of them were borne out. We enjoyed the trip immensely.We were a party of four: two elderly parents with two thirty-something offspring. Would there be enough ... Read More
We had quite a few worries before we arrived on board. I have to say that none of them were borne out. We enjoyed the trip immensely.We were a party of four: two elderly parents with two thirty-something offspring. Would there be enough to keep everyone interested? We took plenty of reading just in case. Very little reading was done; the on-board activities were many and varied. There was a show in the Royal Court Theatre every night - twice, actually: one for each dinner Sitting - and the standard of entertainment was high indeed. The Royal Cunard Singers, a close harmony group, were as good as you would find anywhere. We were really impressed. The dancers, too were excellent. Other acts, whilst making rather less of an impact on us, were also of high standard. The theatre itself is surprisingly large with none of the usual obstructions (pillars etc) we have seen on other vessels. Were it not for the gentle swaying of the ship you could imagine yourself in a medium-sized venue ashore. The ceiling is high and there are upstairs and downstairs seats.The ballroom is advertised as the largest afloat and I am prepared to believe it. Once again no compromise seems to have been made just because it is on a ship. It is a full-sized affair that would not disgrace your local venue. Here, in addition to the obvious balls, dancing lessons were given and the daily afternoon tea sessions took place: tea, sandwiches, and cakes served at table in typically English fashion. The third major venue is called "Illuminations." This is the world's only sea-going planetarium which doubles as a perfectly adequate cinema and theatre. Here it was we enjoyed "The King's Speech" - there was a different film every night: all up-to-date. Although there were some technical problems that delayed the planetarium presentations, we were astonished by "Cosmic Collisions" and "Search for Life" as we reclined on the special seating in almost total darkness. German guests had their own presentations. In was here, too, that the Cunard Insights lectures took place: talks on a variety of topics by expert speakers including astronomer Mark Butterworth and journalist Jerry Eskenazi.Especially enjoyable was the programme of events provided by the group from RADA. In addition to conducting an excellent series of workshops on storytelling, the group presented performances of "Canterbury Tales" and "Much Ado About Nothing" in the theatres, and read bedtime stories and ghost stories at other venues, as well as "Jazz Poetry" and "Passion and Piano" which we were not able to see: there was simply too much to do. Thus we did not use the pub, the casino, the Winter Gardens or the Chart Room, and spent only a little while in the Library. The youngsters spent quite a lot of time in the fitness room, and seemed pretty content with arrangements there.There was one major disruption to the programme of events on 29th April when the Royal Wedding was shown on TV in cabins and on the big screen in the Illuminations cinema. Many other events were poorly attended that day, which is not surprising. Most of the ladies loved it, and Cunard rose to the occasion with a special afternoon tea, dinner menu, souvenir menus, complimentary wedding cake for all guests, and special souvenir items on sale in the Mayfair shops. Dinner that night was Formal - an exception to the normal pattern. There are normally two formal nights when dinner suits are pretty well mandatory. On our trip, of course, there were three. It all adds to the overall atmosphere and fun. A few people let the side down by not adhering to dress codes, but then...We all love dining out and enjoy good food. The Britannia Restaurant did not disappoint. Far from it. The fare was consistently as good as our favourite restaurants at home. Furthermore, our special needs did not cause any problems. One of our party is vegetarian, and was able to select from an extensive vegetarian alternative menu daily - or select from the regular one. I am diet-controlled diabetic, and once more there was no problem. I did not need the special diabetic menu: the regular one had sufficient choice of suitable items.We were impressed by the overall standards of cleanliness, not only in the staterooms, but throughout the ship. We managed to get a glimpse into the kitchens. Absolutely shiny and spotless!A few grumbles: Internet access is expensive. So is the Hair Salon ($200+ for partial highlights: $120 quoted, but then a surprise $80+ for shampoo and blow-dry, as if there is any choice about this.) $11 per person per day is added automatically to your cabin account. No real problem there, the service was excellent and well worth it: I'd just prefer it included in the ticket price. But then another 15% gratuity is added to the price of drinks and some other services, and there is room on the payment slip to add yet an extra tip! A tip + a tip + a tip?A few tips:We discovered that getting a cab from Manhattan to Brooklyn can be a real problem around 3pm: the time that the taxi drivers change shifts. (We made our own arrangements in Manhattan.)There was no problem arranging for our cabin cards to open both cabins and getting different cards allocated to different credit cards.Laundry is not a problem. There are several self-service laundries with dryers and ironing facilities, and they are free to use but not available 24/7.You can get tea, coffee, snacks, etc in the King's Court just about anytime, and full meals most of the time - all free.Disabled access throughout the vessel is first-class. Lifts are provided wherever needed.Room service is free.We were glad we chose the early (6pm) sitting for dinner. Otherwise it's late nights if you want to include the shows.The clocks go forward one hour per day on the Eastbound crossing.There are phones located all around the ship and you can use these to ring you cabin. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was the first of two crossings as we came back a few weeks later - in the same cabin- therefore this review covers both trips. The embarkation was excellent - the accommodation pleasant and spacious,the cabin steward most attentive ... Read More
This was the first of two crossings as we came back a few weeks later - in the same cabin- therefore this review covers both trips. The embarkation was excellent - the accommodation pleasant and spacious,the cabin steward most attentive and the food seemingly non -stop and very good. Getting off in Southampton was a breeze - getting off in New York was a challenge not Cunard's fault however but the US Custom's service. My frame of reference was the QE2 in the 1970's and at that time the food was atrocious and the service impeccable - you never saw a vacuum cleaner. Now the food is good and the staff hard working and at all hours and yes you do see vacuum cleaners. My only real complaint was the beverage staff - from the grumpy wine stewardess on the east bound trip, and the hard of hearing wine steward at the first table who needed three requests before an order could be placed, to the difficulty in getting a drink after dinner - when being an older woman alone was a definite defect - hence the "cloak of invisibility". I wasn't the only one who remarked on the deficiencies and language barriers were also sometimes a problem. That said on the return trip the wine steward we had - after the table was changed, most efficiently - was amazing and a delight. The putting out of tables with "stuff" for sale was a bit of a mystery - on one hand you had Hermes on the other what could only be described as a souk but people were shopping. The souvenirs could benefit from come customer research as good quality ones were a bit tricky to find - however the Harrods merchandise was a total mystery as why would one want that on this Cunard liner. The service staff were excellent and all was done quickly and with attention to customer service - as been mentioned other places the purser's office staff were somewhat more interested in each other than passengers but that hasn't changed since my time on the QE2 I would say. My biggest concern was the internet service - not particularly cheap and using Internet Explorer 5 as their search engine - the manager was in direct contrast to the pathetic time it took to get on line and was courteous and most helpful. The entertainment was varied and the speakers very interesting. After three weeks in Europe and Britain the trip westward was very relaxing and in all I have been singing the praises of this ship ever since arriving home. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
NY-Hamburg-Hamburg-NY April 29-May 21, 2010 This was our third Cunard Cruise, our first with this line in 3 years, we have done 20 cruises with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL, 14 with RCCL and 12 cruises with Celebrity. We booked a B4 ... Read More
NY-Hamburg-Hamburg-NY April 29-May 21, 2010 This was our third Cunard Cruise, our first with this line in 3 years, we have done 20 cruises with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL, 14 with RCCL and 12 cruises with Celebrity. We booked a B4 balcony guarantee and was upgraded to a B2 balcony. We drove to New Jersey on 4/28 and stayed overnight at a Best Western motel. The morning of the 29th we had breakfast at the motel and took the 1 ½ hour drive to Red Hook where we parked our car for 22 days. We left our bags with the porter prior to entering the terminal. We check in and there was no line, but we had to wait in the lounge till noon when they allowed us to board. We were on the ship with in 20 minutes after the started boarding. Cabins: The cabin 6285 (cat. B2) was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony was nice with two plastic lounge chairs and a table. The shower is similar to what we get on Celebrity with a hose and wand arrangement. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive. My wife enjoyed the bath robes. The bed was comfortable and my wife liked the room. The balcony was sheltered and not as windy as those on the upper decks. Public Areas: The public areas are nice, but the ship is confusing. Finding the Queens room and ConneXions involved going down a stair and a long hall. The ship is large and feels that way. Enjoyed the Golden Lion Pub, my wife did the morning trivia each morning and I frequented the bar. They had good shows on board and we enjoyed the entertainment. There was plenty of activities to keep you busy all day including lectures and classes of all kinds. They had Planetarium shows in ConneXions and you had to pick up the free tickets early or you were out of luck, don't miss these. They had a fine library and I read a couple books on sea day. Shops were pricey, but I got several nice things on sale. Only got a washer to due our clothes in Southampton as it was always busy. Dining: I requested 2nd seating traditional dining when I booked and I got nice table for two #115 in Britannia with a good waiter too. We ate all our evening meals here, the people around us changed 5 times during the cruise. We went to open seating for breakfast and lunch in the Britannia Dining room every day when not on tour, and always had to ask for an English menu due to the high number of Germans on board. Were seated with Germans several times and were ignored. The main dining rooms was not full due to number eating in King Court. We had snacks from the Kings Court at tea time. The Britannia restaurant was nicely decorated and the food varied from excellent to good, but not up to Celebrity standards. The food in the King Court was also good. Tours: I did the tour to Berlin and enjoyed it despite the 4 hour bus ride at each end. It was rushed. We ate at a fine German restaurant, but the bus was 45minutes late in getting us and we has an hours stop at a museum cut to 15 minutes. You need change in Euro's to use the bathrooms on the trip going and coming which they did not tell till we got on the bus. Missed the tour in Oslo as they combined the Germans and us English speakers and I asked to leave early to get to our tour due to my wife's walking problem, but was given the wrong directions by the German tour guide. Enjoyed the bus tours of Copenhagen and Hamburg, both local currency was needed to use the rest facilities. Disembarkation: My car was parked at Red Hook and we had signed up for express walk off, but the dock was damaged by the Princess ship using the dock earlier in the week and we docked in Manhattan. The provided a bus for us 20 going to Red Hook, but we did not get there till 10:30 AM and I got on the road two hours later than I expected. Overall, I was satisfied. We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on May 9th.with lunch at Todd English and dinner in the Britannia. I wrote a letter to the Captain asking for a letter on our anniversary like the Brits get in their anniversary package and I got it. That made my wife happy and we had a cake in both restaurants. The cruise stopped in both Southampton twice and Hamburg twice, Oslo and Copenhagen. On all legs of the cruise there were more Germans on board than any other nationality, except there were more Brits on the first leg. From Hamburg to Hamburg we had 2000 Germans on board and only 93 of us Americans on board. The send off we got in Hamburg was a sight to see, ships followed us down the river for two hours and the shore was lined with Germans seeing us off. They had a special lunch and tea for the Germans daily in the Winter Garden, which I enjoyed many times. They even had a German priest on board for mass from Hamburg to Hamburg. I was told for some reason the Germans love this ship, because Victoria did not get this reception when it went to Hamburg. With all the extra formal nights, 13 instead of 10, they included for the Germans my wife ran out of outfits and became tired of dressing up. They had no brochures for us Americans, but plenty for the Germans. I could not even get a quote from the future cruise consultant on several cruises I had an interested in, which is the reason I did not give them $600 for a future cruise this time. I enjoyed the cruise, but felt I was on a German ship. If I sail with Cunard again I will avoid cruises going through Hamburg. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
I now have the grand distinction of sharing something with the TV presenter Ben Fogle. Although he is no doubt the product of a privileged upbringing and has an immensely cushy job, our shared achievement is that of crossing the Atlantic ... Read More
I now have the grand distinction of sharing something with the TV presenter Ben Fogle. Although he is no doubt the product of a privileged upbringing and has an immensely cushy job, our shared achievement is that of crossing the Atlantic in a boat. However, as he strained every sinew and lost more than 10lbs in weight in his successful attempt at rowing across the pond, I on the other hand merely strained my jaw and managed to increase my weight as my journey was aboard the pure majesty that is the Queen Mary 2. Our journey began with a 7½-hour flight to Newark, followed by a troublesome journey to the Brooklyn Port of nearly four hours, including the over-zealous processing of the Homeland Security staff at the airport. Once aboard the ship we sat there watching planes take off and land at Newark, beyond the Statue of Liberty. I think I could have walked it in less than two hours.   A voyage was about to be taken, not a cruise, but a journey harking back to yester-year, and something to definitely tick off the list. Having previously experienced the QM2 on a Caribbean cruise two years ago, some things have improved, some are no different, and in some cases are now in need of urgent attention. The most noticeable improvement is in the scones. I think they are now freshly baked in-ship and are a vast improvement on those being served up previously. In addition, the Entertainments Officer is also a big improvement on his predecessor, which doesn't actually say much, as I have pets who could have improved on the former post-holder. That being said, the present incumbent is more in keeping with what one should expect. Much else remains unchanged - which isn't a complaint. High standards are generally being maintained. The food and service are first-class and the general pomp and sense of ceremony is a joy to behold. You have to take part and feel part of the whole thing. These are not trips, cruises or even holidays. They are events, and you are part of it. However there are things that now require attention. Our bedspread was suffering from numerous pulled threads as if a cat-fight had taken place on it. There was a musty smell that prevailed in many toilet facilities, including our cabin, which was most unwelcome. Even part of the dEcor was coming away next to the stage in the Queens Room, but on the whole standards were very high. More alarmingly, I made a complaint at the purser's desk after an attempted snooze one afternoon, and vented my spleen on some poor team-member. I informed her that I was unwilling to listen to any case for the defence, but would appreciate it if she conveyed my sentiments to her seniors. With no feedback by the following day, I then put this in writing and handed it in at the Purser's Office. Perhaps Cunard aren't used to dealing with complaints, and I actually wouldn't like to think that those responsible were pushed overboard. Then again my complaint might be being framed as something unique to their operation, and they genuinely have no staff equipped to deal with such concerns. As a relative pauper compared to the A-listers on the upper decks, I booked a last minute affair as I felt I had scored with an unbelievable deal. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on Deck 4, directly above the Royal Court Theatre. Perhaps issues are only dealt with from the double figure decks and not those in "steerage". You can just imagine hit-squads ironing the curtains, straightening pictures, chilling the ice, or trying to hunt down some proper clotted-cream to satisfy the demands from up on high. Anyway, my point was that like everything else on board, entertainments are surely optional. In the confines of my cabin, no one brought me room service unless I asked for it. Furthermore my lazy afternoons were not interrupted with a journey into space being beamed directly on to my cabin ceiling. If I wanted such entertainment I could have ventured up to Illuminations for the daily show, which I indeed did. However the noise from the Royal Court Theatre was transmitted directly into our cabin, and the bass section was particularly unwelcome. The pictures on the wall shook and the general intrusion of so-called entertainment could hardly be considered as optional, and hardly considered as entertaining. Appropriate acoustic screening isn't that difficult in these times. Just a thought, it might be that with the relevant EU legislation on Noise at Work, Cunard are actually in breach of such EU directives in exposing their employees to noise in excess of 80 dB(A). Watch this space... The cuisine is a delight and a true dining experience, possibly unsurpassed at sea. Even the King's Court area provides a superb range of cuisine, which is admittedly rivalled on other cruise-lines, although Cunard have refrained from utilising plastic crockery in their alternative dining venue. Long may this continue... The shopping is average and to me slightly uninteresting and definitely at the high end of retail therapy. Daily sales take place around the lobby and are seemingly just a distraction for milling guests, and some of the shops were completely devoid of any customers. It was similar in the champagne bar. These outlets are probably the preserve of seasoned Cunarders, but now that more of the masses are choosing to venture on board, they are catered for in entertainment areas, the pub, or taking part in the grand affair of afternoon tea - something not to be missed, if not for it's novelty value for having done it. Just before mid-day one of the ship's officers enters the grand lobby to ring the ship's bell eight times to signify noon. He then poses for photographs looking rather elegant and tremendously important in his full dress uniform, complete with medals. I myself didn't realise that bell-ringing was not without its perils, but obviously it is. As regards his senior colleagues, well there's not a lot to do between go and stop, so a trip to the viewing area of the bridge, although interesting, merely confirms that the whole operation could be conducted without the under-worked staff on the other side of the window. The Commodore must have the easiest job in the world. He greets the Pilot at whatever port he is in, allows them to drive until the auto-captain kicks in, or the ship is moored up. He then bids the Pilot a fond farewell, then attends to his guests and the numerous parties on board. He shakes a lot of hands, introduces his crew, poses for photos, signs various memorabilia and eats very well. Apparently his family even join him on board this unending journey to here and there, and I also presume he gets time off for holidays. I don't doubt his maritime track record or the years of study in order to get to his position of seniority, but to me he now has a rather cushy number, if not the cushiest, apart from First-Officer-Bell-Ringer perhaps. I hope he gets his share of the gratuities that Cunard so conveniently take from your on-board account. I just wish they just put the cost up and not expect me to pay extra to their staff just for providing me with service that they sell you in the brochure. Nobody exceeded their excellent service, but I paid for this level of service by booking the cruise (or voyage). It's a bit like going to a posh restaurant for a meal. You expect to pay more than for a trip to pub-lunch. You're paying more because you expect and usually get better all round. But to operate a stealth-tip operation is rather tacky and not what you would expect from the Cunard operation. Smoking areas are restricted to three tables in the Golden Lion pub, although you find that the lepers of society are quick to share ashtrays and tables and make new friends with the vulgar habit. At the other tables the disapproving healthy-options cruisers seemingly keep themselves to themselves with minimal conversation, apart from huffing at the riff-raff huddling around ashtrays. You can also smoke in the Casino, which is a fairly interesting venue, although when I was in attendance the craps table was not in use. All I had gleaned from my previous experience of this game is that the punters hoot and holler a great deal, roll the dice, then either win or lose. So I'm still really none the wiser. It is difficult not to mention our US cousins when one takes a journey across the pond. Even now in the era of equal opportunities and multi-culturalism, it appears that every country still seems to get categorised, or rather the people do: Germans have no sense of humour, Aussies lack culture, and Russians have lost the ability to queue since the advent of Glasnost. Americans on the other hand, have managed to embrace and celebrate diversity before the rest of us, and not only celebrate it, try and compete with nations who have strived long and hard to be the best or worst in the World. Most alarmingly is their apparent staunch belief that their table conversation is of interest to anyone else in a 20 metre radius. You have to forgive them though, as they are possibly a product of celebrating cultural diversity too much. So perhaps this should serve as a warning to others who are still near the beginning of this particular journey. As for the voyage - it was brilliant. We left New York and arrived at Southampton 6 days later. There was a hell of a lot of sea in between. We ploughed on relentlessly at 27 knots even through the fog, with the computers seemingly controlling everything with the help of radar and GPS, and even the fog-horn. If you can do this trip - do it. It is an excellent experience. On our previous cruise on QM2 we had concerned ourselves with the ports of call. Mega-ships such as the QM2 have difficulty pulling into many of the world's tranquil harbours, and the envisaged view of the destination is frequently a let down as the only place where such a ship can moor up is in the container port, and not the harbour wall with a delightful view of what you were actually promised in the brochures. However on a voyage you just get the ship, and that'll do quite nicely thank you very much, despite some of my barbed comments. Anyway, enjoy   Read Less
Sail Date May 2009

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click