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17 Cunard Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

I choose a transatlantic cruise onboard the magnificent QM2 which departed New York in mid June. I was looking for a complete break after a particularly hectic period and couldn’t have imagined how thoroughly revitalising the experience ... Read More
I choose a transatlantic cruise onboard the magnificent QM2 which departed New York in mid June. I was looking for a complete break after a particularly hectic period and couldn’t have imagined how thoroughly revitalising the experience would end up being. I travelled solo and was amazed at the sheer quantity and variety of things to do - along with the choice to do as much or as little as you like. A typical day for me consisted of breakfast in bed, a walk and sometimes a long sit on the Upper deck, a light buffet lunch, one of the activities in the afternoon (often a short insight tour) or a visit to the library, a workout or pool visit and then the nightly LGBT happy hour each evening at 17:00 in the Commodore Club. I’d then have a late sitting dinner in the Britannia restaurant, where the food was good restaurant quality, on an excellent table of 8 great fellow voyagers, followed by a drink or maybe a spot of roulette in the casino - and repeat! Guests were super friendly and very sociable everywhere onboard and this was really noticeable from day 2, when people started to relax and get into the swing of the voyage. The LGBT happy hour was an absolute blast and a great way to meet like minded people - I met some fantastic people there and also stayed in touch with some of my table colleagues. Service everywhere was genuinely exceptional and the ship is meticulously run - in terms of organisation. As for the ship - she is magnificent in so many ways and I’m so grateful that Cunard had the vision to build a genuine ocean liner to replace the QE2. Gazing out into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean From the promenade decks is a humbling and wonderful way to spend some reflective tine! I left Southampton totally revitalised with some amazing memories - so much so that I’m doing another crossing, this time from Southampton to New York, just before Christmas and for less than the price of a premium economy airfare. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just ... Read More
Having last sailed the TransAtlantic crossing on the Old Girl the QE2 in 1993, our trip to Europe from NYC coincided with the QM2's early November sailing date, so we decided to take the ship instead of flying. The Old Girl was just so amazing, and she was missed. And we decided that the only way to go was the Queen's Grill, as we had done before on our last Cunard cruise in 2008 just before the Old Girl went out of service and was packed off to Dubai. It mystifies me that the QM2 was designed with the lifeboats hanging from Deck 8, just below the Queens's Grill Deck 9 suites. So all the views from the most spacious and consequently expensive cabins on the ship have partially obstructed views of the ocean below from their windows and balconies. Not so bad in the winter when the balconies are too cold to be used, but for a sailing the rest of the year, this is just nuts. Partially obstructed cabins usually go for a large discount. Apparently Cunard learned from this huge design mistake, and the later built Victoria and Elizabeth do not have this problem for the Queens Grill cabins, nor for the QG or Princess Grill Dining Room, as discussed in the next paragraph.. Furthermore, the Queens Grill Dining Room is on Deck 7. The outdoor walking track that goes all round the ship is on the perimeter of Deck 7. So all day long the Queens's Grill diners, and the Princess Grill on the other side, get the pleasure of a constant stream of walkers and runners by, looking in often on the diners, and distracting to the fine dining experience. My wife and I found this most disconcerting. Again, why did they design the ship this way? The QG food is way above average, with caviar and foie gras on request at dinner all the time, with a little notice, plus special orders, but one does get tired of the featured standards like Orange Duckling, Beef Wellington, Tenderloin steak, Broiled Lobster and Dover Sole. More variation would be good. Appetizers need more creativity. Vegan selections boring. Sandwiches at lunch few and boring. Waiting staff excellent. Lunch menu choices could use a little sprucing up. The Maitre De takes very good care of his precious guests. Nice wine offerings. Staterooms in the Queens Grill category other than the view problem are very nice. Large bathrooms, although I would have preferred a stall shower rather than this tub/shower. Better in rocky seas for safety and just leaning against the shower walls when necessary for stability . Beds very comfortable. Large walk in closets and lots of storage space. At over 500 sq ft the Queens Grill stateroom is very nice and comfortable indeed. The last of the Ocean Liners is large at over 125,000 tons and sails very steady and mostly smoothly, even in strong winds and bad seas, but when strong winds slice across the ship's path, it is going to get rough, as for any ship. So it was on one day of the seven days crossing the pond from NYC to Southampton and a night or two. I am not a great sailor, not like my wife, but most days the rolling I can take. It is the combination of the rolling and pitching in the North Atlantic that does me in. As this one bad day proved, once again. The ship is large - 2600 passengers, although today there are the many 4,000- 5,000 passenger behemoths that have destroyed European ports such as Venice and most of the Caribbean Islands. We prefer the small Seabourn size ships, of 450 passengers and took this cruise mostly out of convenience to get to Europe. Three formal nights out of seven is just excessive to our way of thinking, but most of the Brits on board loved it that way. A really big dress deal for both men and women. Not at all the casual dress style growing so fashionable on so many other smaller ships today, such as Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent. Dress standards are very important to maintain, but so many other cruise lines have dropped standards and let people take advantage these days. It has gone in the other direction. No tuxedos for me however, so it was dark suit and tie these formal nights. Other nights it was a pleasure to wear a sports coat and tie, as were all the other gentlemen for the most part in the Grill dining rooms. A handsome crowd of men and women, elegantly attired. The main Theater has very bad seating, whereby people crowd in next to each other on long couch type seats. Not too many rows of seats have a separate seat for one person. Too many bodies get crammed in this way, but not to my liking. Just when one thinks he or she is settled in, along comes another person or two and they just push their way in. Very tight, and with coughing and sneezing, not good. The other large entertainment and lecturing room Illuminations, has very nice separate seating and is much more comfortable. Lectures and performances almost non stop all day long. Most very good. Whether about the Cold War and submarines in WW2, being kept captive in Lebanon or piano performances. The only planetarium at sea has some fantastic shows. The QM performers team put on at least one extraordinary production number. Fourteen dancers and singers, with many costume changes, and a fine orchestra. We enjoyed immensely the large collection of Hollywood and Broadway passenger celebrity photos on the old QM and QE displayed in many areas throughout the ship, and many photos of the old fleet itself. It will be a while before we take another Cunard cruise, and I do not think it will be on the QM2, although we enjoyed this one very much despite its shortcomings in QM category cabin and DR placement. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We choose the QM2 because we wanted to experience a Cunard cruise as well as the QM2 itself, being such a well-known ship, with so much history and sense of luxury. That it had from the start to the last day. While not avid cruisers, we ... Read More
We choose the QM2 because we wanted to experience a Cunard cruise as well as the QM2 itself, being such a well-known ship, with so much history and sense of luxury. That it had from the start to the last day. While not avid cruisers, we would consider this ship for another adventure. We started with the option of arrival the day before staying in NYC at the Knickerbocker Hotel on Times Square, which was the perfect kick-off to this week-long trip, giving us a great spot to work from, to see a show, tour a museum, and enjoy a great meal in New York City. The Knickerbocker is well appointed, modern, and quite elegant, as well as well located at the base of Times Square, but not in the middle of all the tourists. Three of us were traveling together, and two black limos picked us up from the hotel to go to the Red Hook cruise terminal in Brooklyn. (They could have just done one, but that is OK.) While we did pay for this upgrade it was well worth it, and I encourage it. It takes the craziness out of terminal arrival, and being escorted like a VIP is very, very nice. Check in at the Red Hook Cruise Terminal went smoothly, the building was bright, clean, and fresh. Perfectly set up for a large group departure. (it appeared that the different cruise lines use this space, just change equipment for other lines. The facility was much nicer than I expected, and what we experienced out of Boston's Falcon Terminal.) One of our travelers has a disability, and while not in a wheelchair, we were offered access to the handicapped line providing extra help. Again because we had an upgrade, thanks to our travel agent, we moved quickly through and into the VIP lounge and up the elevator and onto the ship. Boarding the ship was easy, maybe it was because you boarded into their big center lobby, there were no crowds on the elevators, and we quickly found our rooms, (two rooms at opposite ends and sides of the ship.) The lack of crowds may have been because of this was a stop on an extended cruise, and the whole ship was not changing over with guests, only those getting on for this leg of the cruise. We had two similar staterooms on deck ten (we had the upgraded Princess Grill level) both were spacious clean, modern, with large bathrooms, plenty of closet space and private balconies. Baggage arrived quickly and without any hassle, while we took a quick tour of the ship before unpacking. Our travel agent had sent us some nibbles, and the captain had a bottle of champagne chilling in our room for us (I believe a part of our upgrade package.) After the Muster Drill where we found our lifeboat station and heard about how to put on the life jackets, (plus got a fun one-on-one people watching, and listening experience with some of our fellow cruisers.) Afterward, we toured the ship and found the Queen and Princess Grill restaurants, both are located at the back of the ship with a nice view. (Upgrade dining as part of a package in a tad fancier space is the Queens and Princess Grill. The Queens looked a little stuffy, making our choice of the Princess was perfect for us.) At 5 pm we stopped in at the Commadors Club at the bow of the ship, for an afternoon drink (which is also where the LGBTQ travelers meet for Happy Hour each day. Thus we made this a daily event.) Note: We had the drink package (drinks under $12 are covered in that package, we found that you had to order only one (shot) at a time if you did 2, it went over the maximum cost, and you would get charged. We took to one of the cabins for the cruise out and enjoyed glasses of the champagne and cheered our upcoming week together on the QM2. Cruise out went smoothly gliding by the Statue of Liberty and out along Long Island as sunset began to take hold. Always fun to watch for the Pilot Boat and to say goodbye to the Harbor pilot when they leave the ship, giving her back to the Captain. We took our time to head to the dining room, where we had a table for six. and got to meet the two other cruisers who would be our meal partners. While they were finishing up their meal, it gave us a chance to introduce ourselves to them, and see if indeed we would want to eat with them for every meal. While we could have chosen a private table, we always enjoy meeting new people for meals. QM2 dining options are many, from cafeteria style to private dining. We could have eaten in other spaces, one public space becomes an upscale $12 extra meal upcharge space, as we had already had the Princess Grill Dining room, we went there for, breakfast lunch and dinner. Though some mornings taking advantage of room service for breakfast. Internet service is expensive onboard any ship, and we used this time to force ourselves off our screens, and as we got further out into the water our cell phones went silent, so we just used them as cameras. While we did log on to the free wi-fi when in port, and access to our mobile carriers when we could. We put the phones and tablets into airplane mode most of the time, so as not to incur any extra unwanted charges. The first full day on the water was foggy with the quaint sound of the ship's fog horn. During that first day, one of the passengers became ill and had to be airlifted off of the ship, at which time all passengers were not allowed on the outside decks. While this took us a bit off our course, it did not delay us. Though we all thought, how sad that one would get sick and have to leave such a wonderful time aboard the QM2. And it made us think how much has the US Coast Guard with a boat, helicopter, and seaplane cost, and if insurance covers that. We took the opportunity to attend a lecture and several presentations in the QM2's onboard planetarium/auditorium. While the lecturer was not very good, the planetarium experience was enjoyable. The shows on the onboard television are limited, and not very wide-ranging in the way of news or other shows. Experience them to find out for yourself, if they fit what you want to watch. Our first port of call was St. Johns New Brunswick Canada. Cruise in was early in the morning, it was foggy so there was little to see until it burned off mid-day. We took the opportunity to get off the ship, just visiting the dockside tourist market and logging on to the free wi-fi. As we had already made up our minds that this trip was more about experiencing the QM2 and not the ports, we reboarded the ship. That afternoon we went through American customs on board the ship, as US Citizens the line was short, but as the QM2 had plenty of travelers from other countries, they had a long line. That evening we sailed away, again celebrating with glasses of champagne from the Captian on our balcony as we left port, and enjoying our delightful staterooms. Sail into Boston for the Fourth of July, was at 5:30 am. Getting up to watch as we came in enjoying the islands and the boats as we passed by was enjoyable. (Also cell service returned, so I could get off some social media posts.) Last summer we had sailed out of Boston's Falcon Port, it is dark, dingy and warehouse-like, not as well appointed as the Red Hook facility. Taking a Lyft to meet friends for lunch when we returned to the ship to spend the afternoon at the Canyon Ranch Spa for pedicures and manicures (easy to get an appointment on port days.) To celebrate the 4th of July we spent time in both cabins, as we were on opposite sides of the ship, both of them got the benefit of different views of local community fireworks. While not the big Boston Harbor display, you got to see fireworks lighting up the horizon all around the ship. The ship set sail in the very early morning hours of July 5th, spending the day at sea. Which meant the shops and casino on board were open. Cunard offered a 15% discount for shopping that day, and we took advantage of that in the bookstore (which is not in the shopping area, but beside the large library.) And of course picked up a few items in the shops, making use of our shipboard credits. Note: as a Carnival shareholder of at least 100 shares you get additional shipboard credits, depending on the length of your cruise. Make sure you submit a clear statement showing your holdings (I made sure information of any other holdings, balances were not visible before sending,) at least a ten-day prior to boarding the ship. That night we put out our bags for collection and delivery back to us at the port the next morning upon arrival in NYC. Keeping a small bag with necessary items and clothes to wear with us in the cabin, that we would then carry with us in the morning. Sail into NYC was early on Friday morning we were awoken by the lights of the Verazono Narrows Bridge. Quite a sight! Again seeing Lady Liberty and the skyscrapers of Manhattan is a wonderful way to start any day. Arrival on the last day of the cruise meant breakfast and room service was discouraged, so having a few things to nibble on, and coffee to make in the room was something we should have thought of. The cabin steward did not refresh our coffee for the arrival morning, so while the trip was quite wonderful, those last few hours on the ship, felt as if they were rushing you off, which in essence they are. Again disembarking from the ship was somewhat civilized, though with large amounts of travelers leaving the ship about the same time, means crowds. Getting into the terminal was fine, and finding our luggage (which was not with others from our deck) took some time. Walking out to catch car service (we did not have a limo this time) was somewhat involved, but not terrible. We took a lyft to NY's Penn Station and returned home on Amtrak. Tips: Use an experienced Travel Agent who has a relationship and an understanding of the cruise industry to get your best perks and deals. If traveling on any one of Carnival's many brands of ships, have 100 shares of stock for extra onboard credits. If you want to experience the ship, do so when you are in port and everyone is off on excursions. Take the opportunity to upgrade, it is well worth the cost. Be it a day before arrival, car service to and from the ship (This is a BIG YES) or for a better cabin and meal experience. It is more expensive, but the benefits are worth it in the long run. Meet new people, while you will probably never see, or speak to them again, it is always interesting to talk to different people and understand where they come from. And YES sometimes you have to zip your lip if they do not have similar beliefs that you do. You can always smile and move on, or ask to be seated at a different table. Or talk about them as a part of your adventure. Bring a small foldable carry-on bag in your luggage for that last day, when you have to put all of your luggage out, This way you will have what you need with you, and you can always repack it once off the ship, or more likely just use the space to carry the things you purchased. Have Fun, we are only in this life once. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
As a solo traveler this holiday was amazing. Embarkation in Southampton extremely well organised. Cabin 5006 lovely, food good sometimes outstanding.Top tips. Talk to strangers, there are some amazing people onboard. FOD, LGBT+ group at ... Read More
As a solo traveler this holiday was amazing. Embarkation in Southampton extremely well organised. Cabin 5006 lovely, food good sometimes outstanding.Top tips. Talk to strangers, there are some amazing people onboard. FOD, LGBT+ group at 5pm each evening was great. Spa pass brilliant. Flowers in my room, bottle of gin and some of my own wine made all the difference in my cabin. Also fresh coffee, melon and yoghurt with honey in my room at 7am. The passenger choir was great. Like any holiday it is going to be what you make it, if you sit in your room and sulk you will have an horrible time. Drinks very pricy and wifi, best lived without (kind of the point when two days from land.) Some of the entertainment was not quite my thing and I did not use the gym. Deiembarkation was slow, but so what. Overall an amazing holiday and busy saving up for my next trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
For 799 USD on a balcony incl. 850 USD OBC you better go than staying home. Embarkation was "disappointing" since the weather was foggy and rainy. So not a real welcome feeling with a great farewell out of New York like we had ... Read More
For 799 USD on a balcony incl. 850 USD OBC you better go than staying home. Embarkation was "disappointing" since the weather was foggy and rainy. So not a real welcome feeling with a great farewell out of New York like we had in November 2014. Crew was fantastic - was mostly like reunion-party. Was NY Times Readers voyage incl. many lectures from NY Times. Wanted to join many but at first day many items canceled from my personal agenda and from second day never had a look again to daytime activities. Production shows were great. Violin-artist plus Diva of the Seas with Whitney Houston song fantastic. Only Opera Boys were a little weak compared to the level of the other shows. Food unchanged. But The Verandah. Too overpriced and too upscale compared to Todd English before. So only had one time but three times on last voyage. Alternative dining (Coriander and Smokehouse night) was nice. But the last Coriander food experience on QUEEN VICTORIA recently was better. Service experience as good as before. New King's Court with long ways to beverages. Best was fresh squeezed juices for breakfast. Cabin was fine. Nice balls and parties. Internet services better since it is no more MTN but Telenor. Better quality if it runs. But if it did not run it was terrible. Only regular debarkation deck by deck was too old-style. But friends with purser's office was helpful to get me off the ship at my time of convenience. Something they could do much better by asking the guests when they want to leave the ship. VERY NICE for Gays. Last transatlantic we were only 2 FODs. This time around 40. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Amazing QM2 history! We had a queens grille suite and was quite impressed by the space and service the butler was a quick call away . The restaurant was amazing for the queens grille we could pretty much order anything we wanted as long ... Read More
Amazing QM2 history! We had a queens grille suite and was quite impressed by the space and service the butler was a quick call away . The restaurant was amazing for the queens grille we could pretty much order anything we wanted as long as we gave them notice at lunch! Had caviar and vodka Queen Mary style!! The FOD get togethers were fun and there was a nightclub behind the ballroom floor! The ports were all amazing and even if the queen mary excursions were full if you get off at the ports they have excursions you can buy there which are usually cheaper! We got on board at Quebec city a little later in the evening so it was a bit of a ghost town but the security guard called someone from the boat to get us on board. He thought we were crew since we were younger! LOL ! There are a lot of older people on the ship but everyone had an interesting life story! We wore tuxes for the formal nights and that was fun but wouldn't want to do that every night! The QM2 had bits of history everywhere and you had a new area to explore on the ship alomst everyday. Overall an amazing cruise on an amazing ship! Canada was beautiful in the fall! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
As always I read these wonderful reviews on here so I feel I need to send you my feedback about my QM2 transatlantic last week. Well, I had a brilliant time and loved every minute of it. Ship is in very good shape indeed. Personally ... Read More
As always I read these wonderful reviews on here so I feel I need to send you my feedback about my QM2 transatlantic last week. Well, I had a brilliant time and loved every minute of it. Ship is in very good shape indeed. Personally I really liked the new carpets etc compared to the old ones. I felt the ship has started to develop a personality by itself compared to 8 years ago. I had a single balcony cabin (double single occupancy) with obstructed view. It was really obstructed, however I loved the space and the daylight compared to an inside cabin . A balcony is not really necessary on a TA but nice to have. Jerel was an excellent cabin steward, the cabin was spotless. I felt really at home there to relax or nap certain hours of the day. Fellow passengers were really nice and I enjoyed their company. i had a great table for dinner with really nice table mates who made me feel good. I made an effort to share tables for breakfast and lunch in the Britannia and it was always to pleasure to do so. QM2 on TA does attract a different clientele than a regular cruise ship and I heard some very interesting stories from a lot of different people. The LGBT cocktail hour in the Commodore Lounge was always very well attended and I went there every day. Considering my last Cunard voyage ws 8 years ago and having read a lot of “standards are dropping” articles for me it really hasn’t. Service and food were very good and on the same level as before. Couldn’t really find a weak spot, mind you I wasn’t looking for it either. Cabin service excellent, room service every day spot on time and dining room service very well organised. Embarkation in Southampton went really smooth. I arrived by 1130AM and was given a check in number A1 just after the Grills and Priority people. and was on board in a breeze by 1210. Cabin steward allowed me to store my bags in my room and lunch was ready. I normally never do buffets however Kings Court improved dramatically compared to before. The Carinthia Lounge is a big success even though I already saw some wear and tear on the hot seats next to the windows. Library assistants were very helpful. I loved going there every day. The weather was good, a little chilly and a little bumpy on the second and third day. (I had hoped for more stormy weather) I noticed again how incredible seaworthy QM2 is as at times you hardly noticed any movement as all. One thing which was vey badly organised was disembarkation in Brooklyn. I think this was not Cunard’s fault as it seems only half of the required immigration officers showed up. I booked a transfer to Penn Station and left the ship an hour late. In the terminal you had to collect your bags and queue up in a long line with these bags for another hour. All very inefficient and terminal staff didn’t seem to have an proper overview either. Once cleared it was a little hard to find the proper coach. I ended up with other people at the wrong one and a woman (fellow passenger) started loading our bags. Probably to help, however it was the wrong coach and it took a lot of effect to retrieve them again. Next time I would definitely take early self disembarkation as I even saw Grills guest lining up with their bags for a long time. I still find it very unfortunate QM2 doesn’t dock at Manhattan anymore which is so much easier. However I understand the logic behind the decision to move to Red Hook Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We are celebrating 25 years together this year & decided on an extra special holiday. After 6 nights in New York we returned to the UK in style. We booked 3 of the nights in New York with Cunard, which I have reviewed elsewhere ... Read More
We are celebrating 25 years together this year & decided on an extra special holiday. After 6 nights in New York we returned to the UK in style. We booked 3 of the nights in New York with Cunard, which I have reviewed elsewhere (DoubleTree Hilton on Lexington Ave) and given a very good review for. Cunard arranged the transfer from the hotel to the Docks. Unfortunately this was not so good. There were 2 staff that attended the hotel in the days before the transfer who gave conflicting information about how the 3 coaches were going to be organised. This lead the a crowded reception area with a very long wait by most of the passengers from that hotel. One of the staff quite rightly told us that the 3 coaches had set times and which coach we would be assigned to. The other male staff wrongly told us all to be in reception an hour before the first coach was due and he would just pile everyone on the coach until it was full & then send them off. This was incorrect. If we had all turned up at the times that the first member of staff had told us, then most people wouldn't have left there rooms until later, reception wouldn't have been so crowded and less people would have been annoyed at their long wait (we were on 12:30 coach that didn't get there until 13:15. We were waiting from 11:00). Once on the coach, everything went more smoothly. The transfer from coach to dock to ship went without any issues. The ship has had a major refit recently and it shows. The whole ship is beautifully decorated. The ship is also enormous so, it takes some walking from one end to the other. All of the public areas are very well decorated. The room was amazing. It was everything we hoped for and more. It was beautifully decorated, with plenty of storage/wardrobe space and perfectly designed to maximise comfort. The cabin had an outside balcony that had a couple of seats and a small table to put drinks on. Our cabin steward Annalise was excellent and she would get us anything we asked for. She never appeared to be annoyed at us, despite the fact that several times she came to do the room, we were sat on the balcony and she said she would come back later, when we were out. Despite us being in our room until late morning, she managed to keep the room immaculate. My only criticism is that our cabin was near the front of the ship & the Brittania Restaurant was at the back, so we got a LOT of exercise before & after meals. The ship is really big. Dining, the food aboard the ship is amazing. The Starters, main courses and salads are cooked fresh and to a very high standard. Some of the deserts & cakes were either frozen & defrosted or not to as high a standard as the rest of the food. Certainly, the Afternoon Tea had frozen & defrosted scones. Maybe the pastry chef was having a bad week? That said, I cannot criticise any of the food that I had aboard the ship. We were assigned a table for all of our evening meals in the Brittania Restaurant. There were 2 sittings and we chose the later one. Our waiters Ramil, Kenneth and Luka were excellent. Their timing was perfect and Ramil in particular had an uncanny ability to know exactly how much black pepper to put on, which was particularly handy for me, as when I am talking I forget to pay attention. Although many people ate their breakfast & lunch in the Kings Court buffet style dining area, we found it almost impossible to find an empty table there. Not sure if it was because the design of the Kings Court was not designed with enough tables, or the particular group of passengers we were on with ate in there in unexpected numbers. Because of this we ended up having all our meals in the Brittania, which worked out for the better anyway by preventing too much snacking or adding an extra scoop. We did have a few issues with our wine waiter, and consequently purchased less wine than we otherwise might have done. The prices of drinks are also quite high, at our local restaurant we pay £18 for a particular bottle of wine, on board ship, the same bottle was $75 more than 3 times the price. Entertainment. All the time we on board there were things to do, all day long. Most of the activities we did, took an amount of time, we then had 30-45 minutes before the next activity, so we didn't have to rush from one thing to another, yet we never had a point where we were bored waiting for the next thing to start. The evening shows were amazing. 3 of the nights there were 4 singers and a group of dancers in the Royal Court Theatre. They were excellent, in fact one of the singers, Mandy, sang "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" which was the best version I have heard since Dusty Springfield sang it. The Royal Court Theatre also featured the incredibly talented singing voice of Jordan Bennett and the very funny John Joseph. The G52 bar at the front of the ship had a disco going quite late into the night, which featured a band most nights. During the day there all sorts of activities to meet most sedate tastes, although there is also a gym aboard and a couple of swimming pools. We did make use of the on deck Jacuzzi on one of the foggy days and managed to sunburnt at that time. One activity that I would have liked to have done which I didn't was use the Planetarium. To go to the Planetarium you needed to get tickets. for 2 days we went to the ticket desk, waited in a massive queue only to be told the tickets had run out. On the 3rd day we went extra early, waited for over 30 minutes (15 of those minutes after the 9am opening of the ticket office) and no one turned up. We went to the pursers desk to ask if there was anyone going to open the ticket desk, the purser rang up and said there will be someone there. when we got back, we had to go the back of the queue again and didn't get tickets again. We didn't try to go to the Planetarium after that. The only port that we stopped at was Halifax in Nova Scotia. Prior to visiting it, we have never considered Canada as a holiday destination. Now that we have been to Halifax, we would consider going back and exploring more of Canada. Halifax is a very nice place with a Beautiful Public Gardens. The experience as a whole was fantastic and I am very glad we chose to go on that cruise. My main criticisms are minor (couldn't get a ticket to the Planetarium, not enough tables in the Kings Court Dining Room and the Wine prices were astronomically high, as was the additional 15% surcharge on everything) and I would still recommend the experience to others. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We were on the post-remastering cruise for the QM2, boarding in Hamburg immediately after the dry dock. We love the QM2 and love the experience of transatlantic crossings. This was our 20th cruise and our 6th time on Cunard. ... Read More
We were on the post-remastering cruise for the QM2, boarding in Hamburg immediately after the dry dock. We love the QM2 and love the experience of transatlantic crossings. This was our 20th cruise and our 6th time on Cunard. Re-Mastered Ocean Liner: The re-mastering was largely a success. The cabins have a more modern and subdued color scheme. New carpets throughout the ship, most with classy designs. The old problem of spongy holes in the carpets seems to have been fixed. The new furniture and design in the Carpathia Lounge and Kings Court are all beautiful and inviting. We did not like the changes in the atrium lobby so much as it now looks like a tired hotel lobby from the 70s. Food: We were in Princess Grill for the first time and enjoyed the food very much. It was old-fashioned cruise line cuisine done very well. We had lunch and dinner one time each in the new Verandah restaurant, enjoyed both meals, and recommend the experience for a little splurge. Verandah's cuisine is quite modern and inventive, much like fine dining in a major world city. But while the King's Court design had been re-mastered, the food had not been and was pretty much the same as before and as in the buffet on all Cunard ships. In fact I think Cunard has standardized it across the line. Kings Court food was so mediocre that we tried it only once and never went back. Service: Adequate. All bar and drinks staff did a great job. Abelardo, the sommelier in Princess Grill was outstanding. Unfortunately we had the worst cabin steward of all of our cruise experiences. Day after day, things would be not quite right and communications were poor. Service in Princess Grill (other than Abelardo) was just OK, not close to a luxury level. Note that the pillow menu is no longer available in Princess Grill cabins, even though Cunard's PR info claims that it is a benefit at the Princess level. And note that it is no longer possible to order off-menu in Princess Grill. Queens Grill yes, but not possible in Princess. Entertainment: Loved, loved, loved the jazz performances in the Chart Room, our favorite room on board. Enjoyed the guest performances by the Overtones and the Beatles tribute band. But the big shows ("Rhythm of the Night") were the same-old same-old fare on all cruise ships, not our cup of tea, and we did not stay. Internet: Extremely slow, much slower than other cruise lines. We roamed the ship trying to find a WIFI hot spot that was truly "hot." The best we found was only mediocre, and it was impossible to deal with files that were at all large. The service was completely turned off at midnight on the last night, so those of us with remaining minutes lost them, and I was unable to conduct vital business to make arrangements for our arrival in New York. Customers were pissed off. Embarkation in Hamburg: Again I reiterate that we love the QM2, love crossings, and we have booked another. But I feel obligated to warn people about the terrible job Cunard does at embarkations. We had a substantial delay in Hamburg, and since we have also experiences big delays in New York, Los Angeles, and Cape Town (the worst, 3 hours!), it now feels like a clean sweep. Once again, systems were not ready, hundreds of people arrived with no place to sit, no refreshments, no organization. The lines were huge and chaotic and Cunard sent only one staff person out to manage the hundreds of passengers. No announcements, no explanations of what was wrong. We have never ever experienced anything like this on the other 7 or 8 lines we have cruised and where you pretty much step out of your taxi and walk on board the ship. This chaos and delay seems to be a trademark of the Cunard experience. Staying on Board in Southampton: As we were in transit and the weather in Southampton was grey and rainy (big surprise!), we decided to stay on board. The process was a total disaster and breakdown. First we received no written information on what we should do, apparently an oversight of our cabin steward or housekeeping. The concierge assured us that all we needed to do was get our passports stamped by UK immigration officials on board and recommended that we wait until most passengers had disembarked. So at 10:30 we went to the immigration guy who stamped our passports. Then a second immigration official insisted that we exit the ship and pushed us toward the Cunard staff who were scanning key cards for those leaving. The second official told us that we could immediately re-board. Over our protests, we followed along like good soldiers and were forced to make a complete exit down to the Southampton dock where Cunard was throwing a champagne party for travel agents to promote the re-mastered ship. We went completely through the layers of security to re-board the ship, only to be confronted again by the same immigration official who told us that we could not re-board. I reminded her that she had told us 15 minutes earlier that we could re-board, but she seemed to have amnesia. The Cunard staff did not know what to do, and it was chaotic as there were now several disabled passengers who wanted to stay on board, but who were being forced to exit. Cunard staff did manage to herd us into a holding pen in champagne lounge (alas, no bubbly available, not even any water), and our unhappy group were told that Cunard had no idea how long we would be jailed there. A number of us made a very vocal protest, and eventually Cunard staff went around the lounge and wrote down our names and cabin numbers, and once that was complete, allowed us to re-enter the rest of the ship. So while embarkation and the Southampton debacle were unacceptable, we will be returning to Cunard and the QM2, mostly because we love the ship. We wish that we could love certain parts of the experience. Cunard seems to devote resources to marketing and PR (champagne parties for travel agents, glossy brochures full of handsome models), but often has only mediocre follow through with its actual delivery. But in spite of this, we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We paid a huge sum for 18 nights in top Queens Grill class. I found very little in return from Cunard/Carnival. We were not shown to our cabin (we did not know this ship). Except for breakfast the food did not reflect the flowery ... Read More
We paid a huge sum for 18 nights in top Queens Grill class. I found very little in return from Cunard/Carnival. We were not shown to our cabin (we did not know this ship). Except for breakfast the food did not reflect the flowery language of the menu. Food quality was not what I expected.Room service food poor.After we moved tables we were very happy with our waiters and we were also lucky with our cabin stewards. As on many ships staff are from some 60 countries so English language skills are variable. Our QG cabin deck 9 was large enough yet looked ordinary. Our wash basin was cracked and the shower was over the short bath.The double bed was made by pushing two singles together leaving a mattress gap in the middle.TV was very limited with no extra functionality. Balcony cabin doors were hinged not sliding so the slamming noise was frequent. Pools were ordinary. Entertainment cheap mostly, often one man performers. Ships Officers kept a low profile keeping hidden. The June 2016 major refit is vital. We paid a massive ticket price, daily service charge, and 15% drinks service charge on top. Value for money is missing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Warning is will be quite long as I will have lots of time to kill – I will write day by day as we travel! To give the correct context we are men in our late 40's, from the UK and have cruised many times (about 40 I would guess). ... Read More
Warning is will be quite long as I will have lots of time to kill – I will write day by day as we travel! To give the correct context we are men in our late 40's, from the UK and have cruised many times (about 40 I would guess). We mainly sail with Celebrity, occasionally with P&O and also Cunard. We do every category from suites to insides depending on itinerary, occasion etc. With Cunard we have done 6 cruises, 1 Queens Grill, 3 Princess Grill and 2 Britannia so are Gold members of the Cunard World Club. This particular holiday we booked relatively last minute and the time just happened to match when we could both get time off from work and the deal was too good to miss. We booked a guarantee inside as a Cunard Saver fare. The booking was made in June for a Transatlantic (New York to Southampton) sailing 14th July. The flights were included (Birmingham UK to Newark) with United. We varied the flight to arrive in New York on Saturday 11th to spend 4 days there prior to embarking QM2. The fare we secured was £700pp and we made our own hotel arrangements for the 3 nights. We picked the Renaissance on Times Square. About 7 days prior to departure our stateroom was allocated. We had been upgraded from the inside to a larger outside (4010). This is a great stateroom for a transatlantic as the space used for balconies on nearby cabins is incorporated into the room itself giving a large seating area with sofa and chairs. There is an inside corridor below it near Illuminations and so there is no noise. So that was hurdle one over - a good stateroom. Not sure how they decide on upgrades - we have not sailed with Cunard for some years but as mentioned are Gold members and have one future cruise booked later this year on Queen Elizabeth - then it's a full fare Princess Grill as it is a special cruise with some close friends (their first cruise). I'm not a great flyer so checked out the upgrade fare from economy to United Business First - this was £4,000 pp so was a no go. However on tracking the seat plan on United website Business First was only half full. At check in I cheekily asked if there were any cheap upgrades into Business First - the check in assistant laughed saying we don’t do cheap upgrades but said she would check. The reply was OMG I've never seen any at this price before £380pp. We jumped at it given in essence this only was the cost of the tax. We had a fantastic experience with United. We were in seats 1A & 1B. We received lounge access, priority security and priority boarding. Great start to our holiday. Even bumped into my cousin at Birmingham airport who was off to a Med Cruise. We got to the gate only to be checked by the lady who did the upgrade - she was still so tickled for us. Boarded the plane. It's quite funny when you board and are turning left to the front. The usual meet and greet on-board are on autopilot sending you down to economy - and that's how they started with us. We were dressed for holidays. However they then spotted the seat numbers etc and switched into a very different mode. All of a sudden the Cabin Manager appeared to show us to our seats, offered to carry bags etc. So we arrived at our seats. Jo was the stewardess looking after the section. Immediately offered us Champagne. She and her colleague Sally were fantastic for the next 8 hours. We were given menus, instruction on how the beds operated etc. Following take off a full drinks service, quality wines, Champagne etc was offered. Proper glasses and endless amounts. 5 course meal was next - I opted for Sushi, Salad, Spiced King Prawns, Cheese Board (with Port) and Ice Cream Sundae. Oops nearly forgot the coffee and Baileys to follow. Then it was time form on demand films (I watched Kingsmen) followed by a snooze. There was also wifi available which kept Karl occupied for most of the flight. Final meal service was cookies (actually made by Sally on-board) with great tasting warm baguettes. Landed ahead of schedule, disembarked, got cases quickly (priority tag) and went through immigration with no queue. Never experienced that in the USA before. The challenge was to then get to Times Square. We opted for the airport bus at $18pp. Great value, no queue and first stop was Times Sq. Over the next few days we did some great things. I won’t detail too much otherwise we will never get to QM2. In essence we relaxed and did a few special things as we have been to NYC several times before. We did the helicopter flight over NYC fantastic! Spent an evening with our good friends James and Jose. Celebrated our anniversary at Delmonicos on Beaver Street - their signature steaks and service are to die for. Fine dining and a place not to miss. All too quickly it was time to check out from the Renaissance. I've posted a review on Trip Advisor is anyone wants detail - in essence fab location, good rooms but service had deteriorated significantly. Day 1 Now to get to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Pier 12. Jumped in a yellow car. Taxi driver had to research location on his map (note not SatNav). Fare was c $40 and he had difficulty locating the Pier but we made it. We arrived at about 12:30. Our tickets suggested 15:15 arrival but we had no problems or challenge arriving earlier. There were no queues at security or check in and we were on board about 15 mins later. As we boarded we had pictures taken with the Bell Boys dressed in red (well the rather older ships photographers) - far better than the usual awful photo backdrops used by Celebrity. Headed to cabin (we were offered to be shown there but declined). Arrived at cabin but neither key worked. Maria our stewardess spotted us and came to say hello and let us in – she knew our names – now that was good. Cabin was larger than we expected - loads of space. The sparkling wine was on ice. That's gone into the fridge for another time. We grabbed the daily programme that confirmed a sail time of 20:15. Unusual but we then read on. QM2 was to sail up the Hudson to Battery Park and World Trade Centre to give a sound and light show to the crowds ashore. We found the dinner reservation card - late sitting Britannia deck 3. That would not work for us with the above special events. We left the cabin to explore. We had been QM2 back in 2007 so quickly got our bearings again. Headed to the spa as we like to use the facilities each day. The pass for the crossing was $135pp - not cheap but facilities are good and it is a pleasant way to pass a few hours after the gym. We then headed to Kings Court to grab some lunch. I had forgotten how spoilt we have been on Celebrity. Their buffet is far far superior in terms of space, choice and quality. The Cunard version served its purpose and Karl enjoyed a glass of rose. Note to self the default is a large glass of wine 250ml so ask for small. Back to cabin. Cases had arrived and so unpacked. Noticed bath robes were missing and sent 4 shirts to laundry. Lifeboat drill next at 17:15. Very uneventful. Cunard still ask you to take life jackets there and put them on. Celebrity no longer do. At the end of the drill decided to head to the Commodore Club for a quick cocktail and then onto the spa. It was bliss as only about 5 people in. Most facilities were working correctly apart from some of the buttons on the showers. There seems to be a general problem across cruise ships in keeping spas operating as they were designed. Mentioned this to reception on the way out but don't expect it will get fixed. Loads of towels, robes, slippers etc. Changing rooms really well maintained attendant friendly. Given the strange times of events tonight we ate in Kings Court rather than Britannia. That way we could see the sail away, light show etc. Food was really poor - steak was tough and choice limited. The best bit of the meal was mashed potato - loved that!!! As we started to sail we headed to deck 12 and grabbed seats at the Regatta pool bar. It was getting dusk and the buildings of downtown Manhattan were starting to look fab with their lights. We sailed about 2 miles up the Hudson and stopped at Battery Park. The idea of the light show was good. I am guessing it was to help mark the 175th rather than becoming the norm. You had to look down the side of the ship to see it - we managed to grab a vantage point in little area behind the golf net - crew recommendation. The show was nice not stunning. Would have been better with lasers. Think it would have looked fab from the shore. Had a few drinks on deck and headed to bed. The robes had been delivered to the cabin, laundry taken and chocs left. Slept well - comfy bed. Day 2 We had ordered coffee, tea and orange juice for 8am. Arrived hot and on time. Nice china and served in pots etc. On P&O these days you get a sachet. Karl is happy as there is Assam tea on-board unlike Celebrity. We decide to eat in Britannia for breakfast given we have decided that Kings Court does not work for us. Asked for a table for 2 which was not a problem. We were seated upstairs. Friendly waiters and head waiter. Great breakfast menu albeit service was a little slow. However it's a transatlantic and we are in no rush. Back to cabin and put Karl's shoes out for cleaning. Not sure if the service is offered time will tell. Went for a wander and ended up for coffee in Sir Samuels. It’s about $3 for a small Americano. Nice atmosphere - mildly embarrassed by two English ladies who could not get their head round the fact that the soda package price is for the cruise not per day. They demanded to see a manager I left to go to a lecture so did not hear the outcome. I went to Illuminations to hear the lecture on Broadway Shows by Steve Rivellino. Really enjoyed it. Clocks went forward by an hour at midday. Not feeling hungry so headed back to the cabin. Shoes had been returned cleaned and polished and I settled back to watch Les Miserables on the TV (flat screen as last time we were in they were CRT). For those interested the cabin toiletries are Penhaligon's Quercus (who by the way are holders of Royal Warrant holders from the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince of Wales). On arrival there were 2 soaps, conditioner, shower gel, shampoo and moisturiser. The shower in the bathroom has a curtain - not the proper shower cubical with sliding door that Celebrity now provides. No tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin but room service is quick and there is no charge. Afternoon tea is now beckoning - so it's off to the Queens Room. So it's full marks for afternoon tea. Great service and atmosphere. Tea was frequent and hot, sandwiches tasty, cakes yummy and top notch scones. I had forgotten how grand the Queens Room is. We were joined by a Scottish couple whose flight had been delayed by 5 hours so they missed out on their planned shopping on embarkation day. After tea it was time to hit the gym. Lots of equipment but no longer state of the art. Plentiful towels and not too busy. After a decent workout it was into the spa. It was busier today but still relaxing. Steam room, saunas, pool etc all working correctly but you guessed it the showers were not. Quick change and it was time for dinner. We were allocated table 246 - Britannia deck 3. It turned out to be a table for 6 with 2 ladies (mother and daughter) already there. After usual introductions we had an enjoyable meal. The company was excellant and service was good. Our table companions (I have yet to learn their names) had not eaten there last night either. It was the first formal night so I was expecting a special menu. No - it was a standard one with Chicken, Plaice and Lamb Shank. Food was ok but not special. Started with Chicken soup and skipped desert. Requested Stilton Cheese to end and decaf coffee. The Stilton request caused a few issues but arrived and waiter said he would make a special request for future nights. After dinner it was a quick blow around the deck - damp and misty but refreshing. Then a stop at the Pursers Office. Since boarding there had been a strange smell in the cabin which was not going. It was a cross between a hospital smell and diesel. So dropped by to report it. Then it was off to the Royal Court Theatre to see Gary Lovinne. He was a fantastic violinist. I'm amazed he started his show on time as he was behind me in the queue at the Pursers Desk - his cabin key not working. After his show time for bed. Day 3 Today we are in Halifax Nova Scotia. Usual morning drinks order arrived at 8am and we headed to Britannia for breakfast. Service was far quicker today and I enjoyed my fresh fruit salad and eggs Benedict - a plus point on P&O as they only have it once a week. We then headed ashore, warm sunny day. There is a boardwalk and to head into town it’s a gentle flat 15 minute walk. The terminal tourist info people were very helpful as we were looking for a gent’s clothes shop. Found it easily, bought trousers and headed to the Citadel. Very pretty and there was a group of Scouts exploring clearly enjoying their adventure. We strolled back to the boardwalk area and found a great little bar serving craft beers, food and good wine. So with our drinks and food we passed a couple of hours and chatted to two Canadian guys. Headed back to QM2. No queues to get back on-board. Back in the cabin the phone rang. It was housekeeping to see if our TV was now working. Strange as we had not reported a TV only a smell. Oh yes he said there is no smell. I had to disagree and he said he would send someone. A few minutes later the Deck Housekeep arrived. He said he could not smell anything. Before he left there was another knock at the door and a lady arrived. She was Head of Housekeeping. Straight away she turned her nose up and agreed something was not right. She was not sure what but offers as a start to have the carpet shampooed during dinner. For the record the only places we can find the smell on-board is in the corridor on deck 4 leading from stairway B to stairway A on the even number side. After that excitement time for the spa. Before heading up two invites arrived to The Cunard World Reception on Sunday evening. Interesting that as yet no invite to a Captains' Welcome Aboard Reception that most lines host on the first formal night. Perhaps this has been one of the cuts in recent times? The spa was nice and relaxing. Made use of the relaxation lounge to watch the sail away from Halifax and to write some of this review. For some reason no cold drinks (orange and cranberry juice usually there) in the spa today - merely tea. Not busy at all and for most of the time I had the lounge to myself. Back to the cabin and then down to dinner after a pre-dinner drink in the Commodore Club. Nice touch in there with canapés being served which went down nicely with my G&T - and some enjoyable conversation with a German lady whose grasp of English was far bet than mine of German. Dinner was an improvement on the previous night. Beef and partridge featured and I supplemented the usual salad with an additional soup. My dinner ended up as a lovely mushroom tart, a broccoli and Stilton soup, beef (medium), lime tart and a plate of Stilton. Clearly the waiter realised it would become a regular order. After dinner it was a trip to the Royal Court for Viva Italia. Not really my style of show but it was bright, vibrant and had some good singing. Bed beckoned and carpets had been shampooed, as a result less smell. Day 4 As you have guessed a sea day - next stop Southampton. Had a lie in today with drinks being delivered at 8:30. 4010 is toward the very front of the ship and we have felt virtually no movement just some very gentle rocking. The smell is returning in the cabin but not as bad as on first 2 days. Spotted in the daily programme that tonight was the Britannia Captains Reception in the Queen's Room. No formal invitation to the cabin but at least we spotted the advert! Headed up to Kings Court for breakfast. Good selection and very busy. It's far better to get up that extra 30 mins earlier and head to the restaurant. Time then for a walk around the ship. Headed to deck 8 aft for some fresh air. It was warm and sunny and not too busy. Also looked at the Todd English menu - Karl and I are still trying to decide whether to book or not. Karl grabbed a table on deck to spend time on his laptop. We get the Cunard World free internet package (120 mins each) and the speed is good compared to some ships we have sailed on. It's time for me to head to the theatre to listen to former BBC Political Editor Robin Oakley. Theatre is packed unlike the previous 2 nights (we do the 10:30pm shows) and Robin is great. Today's topic was "Politicians and Drink". Cunard certainly do the guest lecturers better than other cruise lines. However as it stands today I would say Celebrity offers better food. We grabbed a quick lunch in the Britannia. A nice light spiced shrimp salad and Karl had the more substantial BLT, fries and salad. Clocks had gone forward an hour at midday so it was then a quick sprint to Illuminations for the planetarium show. Really good and more realistic than most 3D cinema films. But why oh why when it says on tickets that there will be no admission after a time that guests are still let in. One elderly gentleman clearly had no self-awareness that he was in front of the screen (larger than life shadow etc) for 5 minutes before he finally settled. Afternoon was spent relaxing in cabin, time in the spa (really busy today but gets quieter at around 5pm) and a decent workout in the gym. A quick change into black tie then off to the reception. We entered via the art gallery to avoid the large queue to meet the Captain. Amusing notice saying that Officers would not be shaking hands for health reasons. Amazing how at nearly 90 HM The Queen manages it and often without gloves but Cunard Officers can't. The Queens Room is a fab location for the event and most passengers complied with the dress code. This has been similar most nights - usually let down by early sitting guests changing into casual after dinner and grabbing the late show. There were copious amounts of fizz, wine and spirits for the full 45 mins and an entertaining speech from the Captain. This beats P&O hands down as at their reception, despite having a formal printed invitation, it is virtually impossible to get a drink, let alone fizz. Dinner was also great rather than ok. We both went for Steak Rossini whilst our companions tackled the rack of lamb. Very tasty and good sized portions. The starters for me were Cheddar Cheese Soup and Thai Fish Cakes. Desert was Grand Mariner Soufflé followed by a cheese plate (containing Stilton). The show tonight was Hilary O'Neil a comedian / singer from the UK and she was good. After a quick glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc ($8.75) it was time to retire. Day 5 Failed to make breakfast today. Far too comfortable in bed to make the effort so it was the usual drinks in the cabin and a Danish pastry. I had spotted two interesting talks to attend. At 10am it was the second on Broadway Shows and at 11am one on the threat of Jihad attacks given by a U.S. General Jack Keane Both were well worth attending. Also stopped by Todd English and booked dinner for the final evening on-board. Spotted good offer on Bombay Gin, 2 litres for $35 - too good to bypass. Karl spent the morning in the spa so we regrouped at the cabin to head for lunch. This was in Britannia. Apart from the evening dinner we tend to go for a table for 2 and this has not yet proved a problem. Today's lunch menu was nice and I opted for the Curried Turkey Soup (healthy option) and we both had the Portobello Ravioli which tuned out to be tortellini, but still tasty. In the afternoon I headed to a very quiet gym to burn a few calories followed by a trip to the spa. The show tonight was pre-dinner which is not my favourite time. However it stared Dale Kristien who played Christine Daoe on Broadway in Phantom of the Opera and she was ace. The theatre was full. Then it was pre-dinner cocktails in the Commodore Lounge where we were joined by our table companions. Very nice cold and warm canapés tonight, good conversation and well-made cocktails. We then headed down to dinner. We had not finished the previous nights wine and that was duly waiting on the table. Menu was ok but not stunning - I ended up with a roulade, chilled Pina Colada soup, sea bass, strawberry ice cream and Stilton cheese. Karl ventured for his favourite of lamb and was disappointed - basically too tough. However seems that it was just bad luck as others on the table found it to be good. I am still thinking Celebrity food is better as they have an a la carte each night which has some of my favourites on - escargot, lobster bisque, French onion soup etc. Cunard is similar standard to P&O albeit tableware and restaurant is superior (more spacious). During dinner we were joined by a 3rd couple to take our table to 6. They had asked to be moved from the mid-tier due to excessive vibration which started to be a talking point but for them became annoying by the 3rd night. It was their first crossing and cruise. Looking down on the table we could see the cutlery shaking at times but no more than you would experience in Oriana's aft restaurant. After dinner we headed to deck 12 for some fresh air and then down to the Commodore Club for a final drink. Karl had a cappuccino (good that coffee is offered) and I a G&T. Unfortunately it was busy in there so we ended up sitting near Churchill’s meaning a strong smell of cigar smoke and a continually banging door as the waiters went in and out. Not the end of the world but meant that if that was the option in future we would head to another bar. I would hate to have an adjoining Queens Grill suite - or indeed one above or below Churchill’s. The bed called. Day 6 Started very predictably with tray service in the cabin. However today we added a cooked breakfast. Fruit platter and yoghurt was good (yoghurt was Little Town Dairy). My favourite option of smoked salmon and scrambled egg was not on the pre-printed card so I wrote it on last night - and bingo it arrived as requested. A lazy morning in the cabin (smell not fully gone but guess I am now immune to it). Eventually ventured out to do the immigration check. Passport had to be presented to UK immigration officers at the Deck 3 Britannia entrance. Long line that moved quickly so done in 15 mins. I'm guessing that the only reason it is needed is that most guests are not doing a round trip and so had not embarked in Southampton. If that's not the case then it really is inexplicable - apart from an immigration officer getting a nice trip. At noon after the 8 bells we headed aft deck 8 to the Terrace Bar. It is pleasantly warm and not too busy. So far the crossing has had little movement. The Terrance Bar has an extensive stock inc coffee as it is the bar that services Todd English. As a result it's is open whatever the weather until at least 10pm. Very friendly staff here - they do have the time to chat as not too busy. Whilst I remember the has been much talk on Cruise Critic as to the state of repair of QM2. All I say is get real folks. Yes there are some places where the carpet is a little worn but this is the minority. There are a few scratches on furniture. Yes it’s the flagship of the fleet but she is not a new ship. I am sure many will regale their fondness of QE2 or Canberra - I would have described the former as in disrepair but many loved her. However I do believe there is a safety issue on QM2 with the areas of corridors that have "sunk". I am guessing these are cable areas or similar where the cover has sunk. I did see someone trip and there does seem to be quite a few of them around. The film today is Kingsman Secret Service. Great film that I saw at home in the UK, and on the flight out. I'm tempted to see it again but that depends on times and if the weather changes! Tonight is the Cunard World Club reception so more to fit in today and hopefully a nice menu later for dinner? As usual it was gym then spa time. Both were really busy but still able to enjoy the facilities. It always makes me chuckle when non gym goers on a ship have clearly bought new gear to use on-board that makes an appearance once in the cruise (usually towards the end) beautifully washed and pressed - only to return in virtually the same state. Today there was a husband and wife in identical outfits and matching this scenario. I sent a relaxing hour dozing in the spa lounge watching the world go by. A great place to watch the people navigating deck 7 - some in a more energetic way than others. A huge variety of outfits passed by and I noticed that most people headed from the aft to forward as a direction of travel. Slight issue in the cabin tonight - no not the smell - that's seems to be there far less often but tonight it was a foam back was coming up in the shower tray and bathroom drain. A call to the stewardess saw her bring copious towels to clear up and a promise of getting it fixed during dinner. From her reaction we guessed it was not an unusual problem. 7:45pm saw the Cunard World Club Reception. The Queens Room was full as one event covered both dinner sittings. It was busier than the Captains Welcome Reception. Figures for guests were about 200 each for diamond and platinum and 500 gold members. The most travelled guest was an Essex girl with 1,700 ish days at sea. Whilst nice to have locality recognised Celebrity beats Cunard hands down. We are Elite Plus with Celebrity and receive things like a nightly 2 hour cocktail reception, free laundry, dry cleaning etc, free spa pass, vip breakfast location to name a few. The Captain announced the dry dock planned for May 2016 and confirmed the addition of single cabins in part of the casino, extra Britannia Club cabins and an extension to the kennels (together with the addition of a lamppost and fire hydrant for the K9 guests). We chatted to a lovely couple from Australia during the reception and headed into dinner at about 8:45pm. Dinner was good. I had beef as a main course. The evening show was Joe West. He was really good combining vocals, tap and a variety of instruments. So I headed to be very contented especially as there was no sight of any foam in the cabin. Disembarkation instructions have been delivered. Our independent traveller time was 10:15am for deck 4 - Aqua labels for the cases. Day 7 Woke up and we headed to Britannia restaurant for breakfast. Very relaxed and we had a table for 2 on deck 3 level. Only 4 couples up there and the same number of staff so excellent service. Following breakfast there were several activities I wanted to attend. First was a talk from Robin Oakley on the USA / UK special relationship - seems more important to the UK than the USA. It was then back to Britannia for lunch. Again we were seated in the same section as for breakfast. I had a very nice smoked salmon linguini washed down with a welcome glass of New Zealand SB. As clocks had been advanced an hour at noon we rushed lunch a little as we had 2pm tickets for the planetarium show. That was great and no slow late running guests disturbing today's showing. After that it was a dash to the Royal Court Theatre to see RADA present Pride and Prejudice. What I saw was good but I have to admit the seats at the back were comfortable and allowed me to nod off!!! Having woken up I thought it would be good to do a workout to get the energy levels back up so I headed to the gym and spa. Today it was much quieter probably because there was so much going on around the ship. We met our table companions in the Commodore Club for cocktails - I can highly recommend the rhubarb mule at $9.75. Drinks were served with hot and cold canapés so that's an improvement over both Celebrity and P&O. Celebrity only serve at the Elite members nightly cocktail party. Also nice to see live music in each bar each night. Dinner was the best menu of the crossing as you would expect on the last formal night. We arrived at dinner with the table set for 4 so we assumed the 2 added companions had gone back to their vibrating table. Wrong assumption as they arrived shortly after us match to the embarrassment of the waiters. However all was quickly rectified. Turns out they had also moved cabins because of the vibration but we're still enjoying the crossing as they were impressed with the way Cunard handled their problems. As for food there were great choices for me so I opted for snails, beef consommé, duck and baked Alaska followed by Stilton. Forgot to add that the waiters also brought me lobster tail as I was struggling to choose a main course!! Other main was venison which Karl opted for and was also great. My favourite wine from the wine list tonight was crisp and cold Cloudy Bay. So full marks for tonight's meal which was accompanied by the string quartet and the usual parade of the Chefs. The show tonight after dinner was Apassionata. A high energy dance compilation from around the world. Very enjoyable with a variety of costumes. The start time was 10:45pm so later than usual to allow for the longer dinner. After a G&T with the show it was back to the cabin via the chart room - a Baileys was very welcome and the bar not too busy so a nice relaxed atmosphere. Day 8 Awoke for our last full day of the crossing. Had lots of intentions to see the final set of lectures but decided slumbering in the cabin after the usual team and coffee was the thing to do. Karl headed to the spa and we arranged to meet for lunch as we skipped breakfast. Once I eventually surfaced (and I've slept better on this holiday than all others in recent years) I headed for Sir Samuels for coffee. It's one of the bars we have used the most as service is prompt and not too busy - many seem not to recognise that wine etc can be ordered not just coffee. Also a good Wi-Fi signal. The package we receive from Cunard as Gold members has lasted me well allowing me to keep on top of email and also browse the internet. Connection has been largely reliable – unlike heading south down the coast of Portugal. Lunch in Britannia was ok. We had the wrong main courses delivered but quickly rectified. I had the ravioli which today was actually ravioli. Chilled cucumber soup to start and a nice glass of wine. On the way back to the cabin we stopped off at the deck 3 market stalls (selling tat) to pick up the Bombay Sapphire we had ordered. 2 litres for $35 was a bargain and it was boxed up and packed in air pocket wrap to prevent breakage. Time to pack. Not the thing I enjoy the most but a necessary evil. That done headed to the spa and gym to work off the lunch. However diverted on the way as Karl called to let me know the dogs were being exercised so I popped up to have a quick look. Very cute sight. There were about 6 on the kennel deck area and a couple of owners - but they will have just under a year to wait to use the lamppost!! It's another hot day so lots of people taking advantage of the open decks and also lots of painting being carried out. Tonight we are eating in Todd English (so a new experience) but it's deck 7 forward for now as I work off lunch. Not surprisingly the gym and spa were empty so a good workout followed by a very relaxing spa. It was back to the cabin to change for the Todd English experience. We headed to deck 8 aft for a pre-dinner drink. It was very calm and surprisingly warm and also empty. Some great photo opportunities. However noted never book a rear duplex. Everyone can see into the suite when the lights are on and no privacy on the balcony. I would do a smaller Q7 to Q4 anytime and far cheaper. I am surprised that the open deck tables outside Todd English are for smokers. I would have them for Todd English guests for pre-dinner drinks and after dinner coffee. Anyway we entered TE and atmosphere was great. Elegant but not stuffy but not as elegant as say Ocean Liners on Celebrity Constellation. However menu was great as was service. The cover charge worked out at about $33 pp which was cheaper than we expected. Wine was extra - same list as in MDR. I went for garlic prawns, lobster chowder and rack of lamb. Desert options were not to my taste and there was no cheese option. So I asked if some cheese was possible and the positive response was I will pop up to the Grills to get some for you. It was huge. So overall a thumbs up for TE albeit they did start to set up the Private Departure Lounge as we were having coffee. A circuit of deck 7 and a lift to deck 9 took us to a final drink in the Commodore Club before retiring and the last case going out. Alarm call booked for 6:45am - can't believe they stop serving breakfast at 8:00am - earliest I have ever experienced. Let’s see what the quality is like - it's usually awful irrespective of cruise line, save and except our Queens and Princess Grill trips. Day 9 Well the alarm went off and the seaboard account arrived. Not too bad given the two spa packages and 8 nights of good wine and cocktails. The bing bong announcements started at 6:30 just to make sure people were getting up - so glad in one way we were not doing a back to back. Packed final bits of luggage and headed for breakfast. Service was ok. It was a slimmed down menu and certainly beat my usual porridge at home. There was a worrying announcement that disembarkation had been delayed so am guessing a broken air bridge. I'm correct. We headed back to cabin to collect a couple of bags prior to the 8:30 kick out time. Already the cabin had been rearranged, beds made etc. We headed to deck 8 aft to spend a final hour on the loungers (fawn padded rather than the original green monogrammed but still comfy and an improved on the P&O nylon ones). Headed to the Queens Room for about 10am to finally get off with no real queue 15 mins late at 10:30. Baggage was easily located at we were the last deck to leave. We had hired a car from Enterprise Car Hire to get us home given we left from Birmingham airport 12 days ago. They were waiting and provided a very efficient service. Arrived home at about 3pm. Overall I would summarise QM2 as a 5* ship with 3*+ food. The first 2 evenings really let her down. Service around the ship was 4* as was entertainment (due to lectures not the production shows). However so much of this is a matter of personal taste. Of the cruise lines we travel with we would have to (as of today) rank them as follows:- • Celebrity in a suite • Cunard Grills (Princess every time rather than Queens) • Celebrity (non suite) • Cunard (non Grills - as I've never done Britannia Club) • P&O all classes - unless you get a real bargain fare I told you it would be long but it was a transatlantic crossing so lots of free time. Very relaxing and I would repeat. Let’s see how Grills stacks up in November. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We first did a QM2 transatlantic in the summer of '12, and having found a tempting rate decided to see what might be different about a winter crossing. On the whole, we found the Queen much the same as it was two years ago, improved ... Read More
We first did a QM2 transatlantic in the summer of '12, and having found a tempting rate decided to see what might be different about a winter crossing. On the whole, we found the Queen much the same as it was two years ago, improved in fact in some areas, and on the whole a very, very satisfactory way to spend a week's relaxing holiday. We traveled Britannia Club and can recommend it wholeheartedly. The difference in fare is, to my mind, more than justified by the significantly enhanced dining experience and the few other little perks that make the trip more fun. We sat this time in the separate rear dining room and found it an incredibly relaxing and serene place to eat our three meals daily (so pleasant, in fact, that we didn't try any venue, despite fond memories of the pub lunch in the Golden Lion). Our servers were very good, with special praise due to the assistant waiter (bravo Freddie!) who magically anticipated every need. On the whole, the QM2's food seemed rather better than it was two years ago, with especially delicious vegetables, salads, and marvelous fish. We eat less red meat, but nonetheless greatly enjoyed the rack of lamb, venison, and prime rib. Desserts, to our taste, were sometimes less successful, but in Britannia Club one can have a flambé dessert made tableside nightly, so that was our go-to choice. The added Club a la carte dinner menu is a nice option, with excellent choices such as sole and a prawn salad that gave us more to choose from when the usual menu didn't tempt (surprisingly rarely, although we usually make dinner a four- or five-course meal and so had more choosing to do). The food was consistently piping hot - something that we heard from fellow travellers in both the main Britannia restaurant and (more surprisingly) the Princess Grill was not always the case in their experience. We chose exactly the same cabin as we'd traveled in previously and found it in ship-shape condition - we love Cunard's mattresses and despite some occasional pitching (well, it was December in the North Atlantic, after all), slept beautifully. The bathrooms are, as others have noted, small, and we might have minded that more if we didn't rely so much on the spa, where we spent some or most of most days and frequently used its excellent showers instead of the smaller cabin one. Cabin service was unobtrusive but excellent. We're fairly self-contained travelers and so can comment less on the entertainment - the one or two things we went to were fine, although it seems the relationship with RADA has ended, as there was no drama troupe on board. Music everywhere was lovely - we do enjoy the range, from a string quartet to a jazz combo, and the wide range of timings and location of the live entertainment. As noted, we found the December crossing moderately rougher than the June one, but nothing the QM2 couldn't handle with ease - I was actually hoping for some wilder seas, just to see what it was like. Next time! I had feared that the proximity to Christmas might mean more children, but there were very few and all well-behaved that we saw. In general, the crowd did seem significantly older than on our last trip - in our early fifties, we definitely felt among the younger set. Even so, the nightclub was lively until well after midnight most nights, although most other venues emptied earlier. I'm an early riser who enjoys morning walks, so not a problem for us. We're a same-sex couple and found no issues at all in regard to that; in fact, there was a sizable gay tour group aboard and very lively gatherings at cocktail time in the Commodore Club. On the practical side, embarkation in Southampton went far more smoothly than it had in '12 - we arrived at 12:30 and were on board within an hour, with very little waiting in queues. Our departure was delayed by about eight hours for technical reasons, but the only effect on the passengers was that the casino remained closed the first evening. Disembarkation in New York was delayed by U.S. customs (seemed to be an understaffing problem), and for those in any hurry to get off, self-disembarkation was definitely the way to go. BC was scheduled to get off at 9:30, but we waited until 10:30 and only just caught a noon train (Once off, departure was fast and smooth - it was probably wise to hold passengers on board rather than crowding the rather chaotic departure facilities). So for not that much more than the price of the airfare, we got a lovely week on the high seas, on a ship of great beauty and very good service. If we can once again make schedules and fares align, we'll look forward to a third crossing on the last true liner. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our first sailing on Cunard, and hopefully won’t be our last. We quickly got used to the Cunard “ocean liner” experience, as compared to the experiences we’ve had on 20 or so past “cruise ships”. The following is ... Read More
This was our first sailing on Cunard, and hopefully won’t be our last. We quickly got used to the Cunard “ocean liner” experience, as compared to the experiences we’ve had on 20 or so past “cruise ships”. The following is pretty detailed; however, I appreciate the detailed reviews I’ve read here, so I trust this one will help others. Our crossing was Westbound: Southampton to Brooklyn. Embarkation: Very short waits at the port. Our luggage arrived within an hour. Cabin: We had an inside, which was fine, since there’s not much to see at sea! The bed was comfortable and the cabin had plenty of storage. The bathroom tiles were a bit dated, but the amenities were very nice. Lots of storage areas in the cabin. I wasn’t impressed with the cabin steward; she was reactive, rather than being proactive. Dining: The Britannia (MDR) is quite stunning. Cunard’s food was good, but not anything better than Princess. Getting free cappuccino/espresso, etc. after dinner was a nice touch. Drink prices were average for a cruise ship and the bars had a good selection of British beers on draught. Cocktails seemed to be on the skimpy-liquor side. The buffet setup is a bit odd, with the King’s Court spread out over a large area. While it was never crowded, unless you had a table by a window (they jutted out over the Promenade) you were stuck in an interior area, which, frankly looked dumpy. Afternoon tea, either served in the Queen’s Room, with white-gloved service, or via buffet in the King’s Court, was a nice touch with many selections of tea as well as finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. We did the upcharge Indian dinner (Coriander) available the last 2 nights of the cruise. There was plenty of good (not great) Indian food in the King’s Court buffet area, which was converted to a sit-down restaurant. Public Rooms: This is where the QM2 shines. Corridors are broad, the public rooms very large. The Queen’s Room is the largest ballroom afloat. It was wonderful seeing people ballroom dancing. We attended 3 cocktail parties there. G32, the disco, seemed dark and is hard to find. Illuminations (the planetarium cum lecture hall) is beautifully decorated in Art Deco style. The Golden Lion Pub was very comfortable with pub lunch food daily and the Chart Room bar very spacious. The gym had a good amount of weight training equipment and free weights, along with cardio equipment. Unlike most other ships, however, the cardio equipment didn’t face broad windows. I didn’t use it, but took a peek at the Gold Canyon Spa….looked elegant. There were also additional nooks for card playing, and quiet times. There’s a large selection of gift shops, though many were geared toward jewelry and high-end items. One highlight of the ship is the amazing library with stacks categorized by topic and the full-time librarian. In addition, there’s even a bookstore! Entertainment—I was worried about not enough to do, since this was my first crossing, but was NEVER bored. Cunard had 5 lecturers on board, from the former director of the Bank of England to a speaker on musical theatre. Most were attended well. In addition, there were the popular planetarium shows. I even found a quiet place forward on the ship with dim lighting for real stargazing. At least 4 trivia contests are offered daily, though the prizes are only given at the end of the cruise and are skimpy at that. There was a nice (and usually empty) casino, with amazingly low table stakes ($3 in the afternoon, $1 one day). One nice touch is that there are no announcements made during the day, save for the Captain’s midday communication. One thing that set Cunard apart was the quality of the live music. At the Queen’s Room, you might find a 20 piece dance band. At other venues a string quartet or harpist. We even had piano recitals in Illuminations during the afternoon. If that wasn’t enough, I attended a 1-hour version of Hamlet acted by students of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. A downside were the evening production shows. The costumes were beautiful, but they lacked a theme, decent music, and dancers who can also sing. A full wrap-around Promenade deck was always full of people walking or jogging (1.3 miles for 3 laps). The deck chairs were padded with pillows. One downside is that Cunard hasn’t banned smoking yet. The aft area was always had a few smokers. The Commodore Club has large windows forward on the ship and was always a popular place for reading during the day, listening to live piano music, or cocktails in the evening. The ship provided an area there for an LGBT cocktail hour. Unfortunately, Churchill’s cigar lounge is next to the Commodore and when the door opens, the smell often ruined the ambiance of the Commodore Club. A worse scenario occurs on the 2nd floor of G32, where it was just uncomfortable unless you were a smoker. One remarkable story: On the penultimate day, we had an almost-emergency on the ship. At about 5:30 all of the staff were called to their muster stations. Cabin stewards put on their life jackets and all waiters left their 1st seating dining passengers to get to their assigned places. Apparently, there was a chemical spill in the engine room. Captain Wells made numerous announcements keeping all passengers informed. While we never had to get our life jackets, it was memorable. Several crew members told me it was the only time in 8 years this had ever happened. Kudos to the staff and crew for being ready! Disembarkation: Very smooth getting off the ship. US Immigrations, however, was very slow, with only 5 people on duty. Finally, the Cunard experience isn’t for everyone. Like most others on the ship, we brought our formal clothes, and in keeping with ship policy remained dressed at the shows, ballrooms, and disco. It made for a classy cruise….or should I say “crossing”!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was cruise #2 on the QM2. We are two gay men in our late 50's and wanted to do one more short cruise to make certain we could handle a much longer cruise. We loved the QM2 ship last year and it did not disappoint us this year. We ... Read More
This was cruise #2 on the QM2. We are two gay men in our late 50's and wanted to do one more short cruise to make certain we could handle a much longer cruise. We loved the QM2 ship last year and it did not disappoint us this year. We booked a BC Balcony on deck 11 forward part of the ship. Last year we were Britannia Club in the middle on deck 12. We did not notice a substantial difference. For the money, the location on ship wasn't that noticeable. In some ways, we liked being forward in the ship more. We were closer to elevators. Although we had set times for dining, we actually liked the large restaurant better than the small Britannia Club. The service was better, the Maitre 'd friendlier and got us a better table. The ambience of being in the larger room was grande...the views nicer. It is something to consider if you are thinking about paying more for the Club rooms. Save your money. I really can't understand some of the poor reviews about the food. We ate in the dining room for each lunch and dinner. Choices were great, timing was perfect, and the food really good. Perhaps it wasn't like a $200 meal, but it was elegantly presented, creative, and interesting flavors...and nice diverse choices. You would have to be either picky or a snob to not find plenty to eat from the Britannia menu. The Britannia state rooms are compact, but there is plenty of storage, closet space, drawers and nightside table storage. For the price, you really can't beat this level of room. We like the balconies because it does extend the room and we spent time on the balcony. If you haven't sailed on the QM2 it is a grand ocean liner. It is wonderful to hear string quartets playing in the restaurant, bars. Great piano music. For the most part people dress and it is just a lovely, upscale traveling experience. The Kings Court is not horrible as some depict it. It is very busy, but food is great and you can get a nice breakfast, lunch, or dinner there if you are on the run and don't want to spend a lot of time at a meal. We loved walking the decks...all of them. The top of the ship is fun and lots of walking or promenade space there, too. The entertainment was good. Good song and dance numbers and a very talented former Olympic gymnist. On this particular cruise there were 75 or so GLBT travelers. We met couples in the Commodore Bar. It really became like a gay bar from 5:00 to 7:00 during cocktail hours and after dinner. Everyone is friendly and just a terrific atmosphere. We made friends that we are still corresponding with. One bad thing I will mention. We had problems with our toilet flushing on days 2, 3, and 4. It was frustrating. Reported it each day. It wasn't like it didn't work the entire time, it was just intermittant with the suction system. But it was annoying. Finally, I had to go down to the Pursers desk and demand to speak to a supervisor. That was difficult. They do not want to come out. But, I did and it was odd. They are extremely beaurocratic and focus more on filling out the paperwork for the problem than appeasing disgruntled passengers. It was annoying that they didn't see this as a big issue to have sewage standing in your toilet in your stateroom. It was finally completely repaired on day 4. If you are reading this and considering a cruise, don't freak out. There are 1200+ cabins on the ship and we just were unlucky. Even having this problem, we are looking at the 16 day Panama Canal cruise because we like the ship so much. We will just go down the purser's office sooner next time. All in all...it is a great ship and I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Our crossing on the Queen Mary 2 proved to be one of the loveliest travel experiences my partner and I have had - and we travel a lot, to destinations both traditional and off the beaten path. Critics (and Cunard seems to attract a very ... Read More
Our crossing on the Queen Mary 2 proved to be one of the loveliest travel experiences my partner and I have had - and we travel a lot, to destinations both traditional and off the beaten path. Critics (and Cunard seems to attract a very steady stream of customers who are both repeat visitors and fiercely critical!) may carp, but in our seven days, we had consistently good to excellent service, food that regularly met or exceeded our high expectations, and activities that were on the whole highly enjoyable. We traveled Britannia Club and will plan to do so again. The dining plan is the main attraction - open seating at the same table for all three meals, additional a la carte choices on the menu, and the same servers throughout. We lucked into a very congenial table for eight, and we really enjoyed the cosier atmosphere and more personal service in BC (we ate a couple of meals in the main Britannia room as well - fine, but not as polished). The additional menu choices (especially the excellent scallops) were much appreciated, as were the dramatic tableside dessert flambes. Highlights of the food included first-rate fish and seafood, and very good and unusual starters (in portions small enough one needn't feel guilty about have two - or more!). Soups were a disappointment, generally, and only once was there something we had to send back (tough, dry calve's liver). We also really enjoyed our AA cabin up on Deck Twelve - we were directly adjacent to the Pavilion Pool and loved being able to slip out for a late-night swim (and, to allay a fear I'd had based on the deck plan - there was no additional noise that we noticed for being so close the pool). Cabin service was flawless - we made good use of the excellent quality (and not wildly expensive by hotel standards) laundry, dry cleaning, and pressing services, facilitated by our cheerful steward, and we were amused by our daily towel animals. Heck, we even enjoyed our embarkation bottle of the much-maligned Pol Acker bubbly. Our crossing was smooth but foggy and so not all that conducive to deck time - still, it was wonderful to take a long daily constitutional on the Promenade Deck. Indoors, we found the Canyon Ranch spa both a haven and, with daily passes for the duration of the trip, rather a bargain. Only a morning or two were crowded, and we loved the thalassotherapy pool and the beautiful and supremely comfortable relaxation lounge. We each had an excellent massage from a first-rate therapist. Given shoreside Canyon Ranch prices, this feature on QM2 is an amazing value. We took advantage of only a few organized activities, but greatly enjoyed the wine tasting (excellent choices, and very interesting to hear from the sommeliers), trivia quizzes in the Golden Lion, and watching the dancing nightly (and some afternoons - tea dances were enormous fun) in the Queens Room. Since I don't want to give the impression that I'm without a single criticism, I will say that one of the two productions shows, "Hit Me with a Hot Note," was tired and seemed out of place (loud, paceless, and generally pointless). The other, "Apassionata," was better, but neither were as good as the welcome and farewell shows. The former, especially, which featured the best dancing and costumes we saw, set our expectations rather too high. Specialty entertainers were variable - soprano Annette Wardell rather too pleased with herself (and iffy on her high notes), all-around entertainer David Copperfield (NOT the magician!) actually great, if highly cheesy, fun, and a good piano/cello duo ruined, for me, by poor miking. I'll close with a couple of thoughts for first-time crossers, based on things that enlivened our trip: - Embark early. We got to S'ton at 11:00 and were on board by just past noon, embarking just after the Grills passengers. Getting there before the crowds was a great choice, although the staff otside the terminal were surprisingly unaware of even the basics of the procedures involved (especially in dropping luggage to be x-rayed). The stateroom was ready, and we dropped our things and immediately started exploring. We avoided the Kings Court and had a very good lunch in the Golden Lion - quiet, cosy, and a nice start to the week. - As noted, if it's to your taste, take full advantage of the spa. - Some features, such as the Commodore Club with its excellent cocktails and peerless views, are notably quieter at the start of the trip, before they're "discovered". Make yourself a regular early on for best service! - If you want to avoid crowds (which personally we rarely found an issue), take advantage of popular features at off hours. We had the Pavilion Pool to ourselves late at night, and even the Kings Court can be a serene place to enjoy a pre-breakfast coffee at 6:30 a.m. The Winter Garden is often a pleasant getaway, and the Chart Room - packed pre-dinner - is a great spot for a mid-afternoon cocktail. - If you're disembarking in New York, don't worry about transport - we grabbed a cab immediately on exit and paid far less than for a car service to our midtown hotel. Also, if lines at immigration seem long, grab a porter - they were taking their passengers to an expedited line that moved quickly and efficiently. Worth it for the tip! Most of all - make the trip your own. Ignore the moaners and occasional bores (especially of the "well, it's not the QE2/last year the lobster tails were bigger/my steward doesn't scrub the bathroom on his knees" sort!). Explore the ship, meet some of your fellow travelers, and, above all, enjoy the too-rare opportunity to have seven days of time entirely at your own disposal. 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Sail Date June 2012
A ride on the QM2 cannot be compared with a 'normal' cruise ship, since its is built to cross the atlantic. We were (mostly) very pleased with the set-up. Cabin 11072 on the 11th floor was very comfortable (bigger than a ... Read More
A ride on the QM2 cannot be compared with a 'normal' cruise ship, since its is built to cross the atlantic. We were (mostly) very pleased with the set-up. Cabin 11072 on the 11th floor was very comfortable (bigger than a comparable cabin on the Crystal Symphony) and it had every one needs for 11 days (enough space in the bathroom (shower only) and in the closets for cloth. The Maid service was ok but not more. She did the minimum she had to do but nothing more (the windows and the balcony floor were very dirty during the entire 11 day cruise). The dining room (Britannia Restaurant) is huge, but we had for 4 days a table for two and for 7 day a nice table for 4 next to the window. The food was good however the service lacked standards of other cruise lines. The sommelier was always late with hour wine (after having had the appetizer). We ate once at Todd English (extra charge of US$ 30.- per person). Here the food was excellent and the portions were huge!! The self service Restaurant Kings court is the worst we have seen on any cruise ship. It is divided into 4 Restaurants in the evening and thus for breakfast and lunch the layout is very confusing. For BFST no fresh eggs are prepared and the buffets are small and crowded. We preferred to eat BFST at the Britannia Restaurant which offered a nice BFST Menu and good and mostly fast service. QM2 also features a large selection of Bars. We loved to have a drink at the Commodore Lounge (below the bridge), the Chart room (good music) or the Champagne Bar. For the best coffee on the ship and a light lunch we often went to Samuel's. We made 2 excursions which were organised by Cunard (in Olden and Flam). As on all Cruise ships the excursion are totally overpriced but at least well organised. We visited Hamburg, Oslo and Stavanger on or own since we knew these cities from earlier visits. The overpricing is also valid for the photo service ($25 for a single photo is robbery). Check-in and check-out were well organised and quite fast (we sneaked out earlier than mentioned on the check-out sheet we had received since we had organised our own transport to/from London Heathrow to/from Southampton with Smith for Airport/SfA(which we can definitely recommend to everybody). SfA is much cheaper than the limousine service offered by Cunard (UK£ 72.- compared to US$ 299.- !!!)and we had two excellent drivers with clean cars. Overall we were satisfied with the ship, the cabin, the Bars and Restaurants but the personal service did definitely not reach the standards of Crystal, Celebrity or RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Background Information My partner and I have been on 4 cruises before, all of them RSVP charters: a Caribbean cruise on the Caribbean Princess, an Alaskan cruise on Holland America's Amsterdam and two Caribbean cruises on ... Read More
Background Information My partner and I have been on 4 cruises before, all of them RSVP charters: a Caribbean cruise on the Caribbean Princess, an Alaskan cruise on Holland America's Amsterdam and two Caribbean cruises on Holland America's Zuiderdam and Eurodam. For this cruise we booked as part of a Pied Piper group of about 50 gay men (no women in the group this time). Pied Piper had two hosts on board to coordinate our group and take care of any issues or arrangements. There was a Pied Piper welcome cocktail party at G32 before dinner the first night and we all had dinner together. This was our first cruise from our homeport of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Travel To Port of Embarkation We live in Brooklyn and drove the three miles to the Red Hook cruise terminal with our friends Max and Bob from Pennsylvania who stayed with us the night before. We left Prospect Heights at 11:25 am and were at the terminal entrance by 11:49 - traffic on Atlantic Avenue was hectic so I took back roads since I am familiar with the area (we shop at Fairways nearby for food!) Embarkation There was a long, slow moving line of vehicles at the cruise terminal waiting to unload passengers. It seemed that a long section of sidewalk area was needlessly unused for this purpose. After handing our luggage over to the stevedores we arrived inside the terminal where a line of people were checking in. Check in was much slower than on Holland America who seems to have gotten it right. After getting our pictures taken and receiving our key cards we had a quick stop to have our boarding pictures taken. The Grills passengers had a nice background for their pictures while ours was taken with a bare wall with some kind of sign behind us. A small detail that could easily have been fixed. We were in our cabin by 12:45 pm and were surprised with a nice gift of wine from a friend of ours on his own cruise in Europe. Our luggage arrived with in 30 minutes, the fastest I have seen luggage delivered. We unpacked and met up with Max and Bob to start exploring the ship. We were surprised that it was quite difficult to find a place to get a drink as most of the bars were closed. We had our first drink at the Golden Lion pub followed by a snack in the Kings Court around 3:00 pm. It was busy there but not chaotic at all. For the Emergency Drill we had to gather in the Winter Garden. It's amazing how many people disregarded instructions to not put on their life jackets until told to do so. Departure After the drill we headed back to our cabin to drop off our life jackets, grab our champagne and glasses and were off to the elevated section on Deck 13 to experience sailing under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. We were scheduled to depart at 5:00 pm but were delayed for late arrivals. At 5:20 pm the ship's whistle almost blasted us off our platform as the ship started moving away from the pier. NYPD helicopters buzzed by and we sailed along the Staten Island ferry for a while. I have watched a couple of ships depart from that ferry so it was nice to be on the other side of it for a change. When we sailed under the bridge at 6:05 pm gasps and cheers were heard. What an amazing experience! Stateroom Our cabin was a Premium Balcony Stateroom with an obstructed view. Cabin 8091 had a view of the stern of a lifeboat with a gap between it and the next lifeboat so one could see a piece of the horizon. The balcony is 6 feet by 9 feet with two chairs and a small table. It was great to have as much light as regular balconies and could go outside at Noon and hear the ships whistle (if we could not get to Deck 13 in time). We did not spend much time on the balcony since it was a short cruise and we had a lot to explore and do. The cabin seemed similar in size to the balcony cabins we have had on the Zuiderdam and Eurodam but the bathroom was much smaller. Most Holland America bathrooms have a bathtub/shower while the QM2's only had a shower. The shower was bigger than the one we had on the Caribbean Princess. The interior of the cabin is a very light colored wood (or fake wood) and was in good condition except for a few carpet stains near the sofa. The woodwork on the balcony railing needed some maintenance. The closets had ample space. There is a safe that can be locked by entering a 4-digit code or by swiping any card with a magnetic stripe. The hangers in the closet are the annoying kind where you unhook the hangar from the bar's attachment. On the other side of the closet there was more hanging space that consisted of a rod with plastic hooks (to hook your own hangers through) with the rod running from the back of the closet to the front. It worked well for hanging shirts. There is a TV (not flat panel) with various movie and cable channels such as ESPN, Fox News, BBC (no CNN) and the usual ships' channels. Other amenities: a phone; air conditioning with thermostat control that worked well; a hair dryer in a drawer under the TV and two US and two UK electrical outlets (the US outlets are so close together that sometimes you could only plug in one chord). The refrigerator was stocked with some items but there was enough room for a few bottles of our own. When we arrived in the cabin there were no robes but they were laid out on the bed when we returned from dinner on the first night. There were chocolates every night but no towel animals (I did not expect to see such on a Cunard ship!) We never heard any noise from the cabins on either side of us or from the corridor. I would not hesitate to book this class of cabin again but may try for one of the cabins overlooking the smaller rescue crafts (in the area of 8048 and 8047). Our cabin steward Vikash kept our ice bucket filled and attended our cabin as soon as we headed out in the morning or to dinner at night. We never had any need to all him for anything. Ship Info The QM2 is a big ship! At a length of 1,132 feet, a beam of 135 feet and at 151,400 gross tonnes she is much larger that the Holland America ships we have been on. At first I was quite intimidated by its size but that soon changed to awe. I got up early on the first morning and walked the ship familiarizing myself with the layout. Two days later I was still discovering areas I had not seen before. QM2 has 1,296 cabins with 78% of it outside cabins of which only 62 are without a balcony. The ship can accommodate 2,592 passengers in lower berths with a maximum capacity of 3,056. This cruise was sold out but nothing was ever crowded. Dining Dining Room: We were assigned to table 145 on the lower level of the Britannia restaurant at the late sitting. Those in the Pied Piper group were seated together at tables and unfortunately our table was separated from the other tables by a wall. Four other gentlemen that were delightful company joined our group of four at our table. Our waiter Larry was attentive and always ready with recommendations from the menu. Food was delivered as ordered 99% of the time. Wine service in the dining room was slow; as it has been on all our other cruises. To get your wine after appetizers have been served is annoying. One is luckier when there is wine left over form the previous night in which case the bottle is waiting for you on the table and the sommelier can pour soon after you are seated. On the last night our cruise our friends Max and Bob would be celebrating their 29th anniversary and I spoke to the maitre' d about it and he said not to worry, they will take care of a little celebration. We then found out that the other four people at our table were dining in Todd English the last night so our friends inquired about moving to a table for four rather than sit on one side of a large eight top. The maitre'd found us a table on the upper level and we were happy to try out that different location in the dining room. We liked it up there. We remembered that we had wine left over from the previous night and the new sommelier was happy to retrieve it - even after I gave him the wrong table number! I also realized that the anniversary celebration was going to our old table but a quick word with the maitre' d sorted that out. The only problem was that the waiter came over and asked our friends whether they wanted the singing ("Let Me Call You Sweetheart ") and they said no. That gave away our little surprise but we enjoyed it anyway. The bottle of champagne we brought into the dining room arrived at just the right time as we requested. I realized that we did not tell our waiter at our old table that we would not be eating there that night so I went over after dinner to explain and to thank him for serving us earlier. We had breakfast in the dining room one morning so that I could have my kippers and it was a very enjoyable meal. Only later did I discover that there were kippers in the Kings Court too. Todd English: Pied Piper arranged a group lunch in Todd English on the first day at sea and it was the most disappointing aspect of our sailing. Service was exceptionally slow - our reservation was for 1:15 pm and we left somewhere around 3:30 pm! I ordered the Mediterranean Paella as main course and while the seafood was fine, the risotto it was served on was undercooked and nowhere near al dente. Another person at our table that ordered it had the same comment. At the pace we were being served we did not bother sending it back. My partner's starter was a refreshing play between sweet (watermelon) and savory (feta cheese). His pasta dish with pork sausage was a surprise but not in a good way. Although the pork was tasty, the parpadelle was overdone and the pumpkin seed pesto was bland and a bit oily. Given English's reputation as a top Mediterranean chef, it was a disappointment. Everyone around the table was pleased with their desserts. After a protracted lunch we still had to deal with many errors on the bills, which had to be redone twice. Kings Court: We ate in the Kings Court a couple of times: an afternoon snack after embarkation, breakfast and lunch as well as late night snacks. At breakfast and lunch the Kings Court was fine - we never found it as busy and chaotic as I have read on Cruise Critic. There would usually be a line for hot food depending of the time of day. We were always able to find a table at the windows. The curry dishes we had for late night/early morning snacks were really good. The overnight crew was accommodating with our requests for pizza and other comfort food after our late night crawls. The coffee in the Kings Court was the best coffee we have had on any cruise (other that the specialty coffee offerings). Other: We never ordered from room service and unfortunately did not get a chance to eat in the Golden Lion Pub - everybody we spoke to had good things to say about their meals there. Those who ate there raved about the fish and chips and Chicken Korma. We attended afternoon tea on the last sea day and after all the tables looked occupied there was still a line of people waiting to get in. Tea was served first and it took a long time to get milk for my tea which by then was getting colder. Tea sandwiches were served, followed by pasties and scones. The tasty offering offset the somewhat spotty service. Overall the food was rather disappointing and did not quite match what we have had on Holland America. HAL offered more choices at both the buffet and the main dining room. The last night's meal was the best meal we had, the steak was excellent. Activities We attended the Cruise Critic meet-and-greet in the Commodore Club at 10:30 am on the first sea day and it was fun to finally meet people in person that I have gotten to know online. It was an informal gathering that Cruiserking a.k.a. Jonathan arranged. Piped Piper arranged a galley tour for our group and while interesting it was not as good as galley tours that we had done on Princess and Holland America ships. There was no food samplings offered - and no attempts to sell cookbooks! Jonathan also arranged a Cruise Critic Cabin Crawl/Cavalcade for the last sea day and after gathering in the Commodore Club we were off to see a variety of cabins: 5086 - D5 Standard Inside 5150 - B2 Premium Balcony (Sheltered) 8035 - B5 Premium Balcony (Slightly obstructed by lifeboats) 8048 - B5 Premium Balcony (Slightly obstructed by the smaller rescue craft) 10024 - Q7 Queens Suite 12007 - A1 deluxe Balcony (Note: the B5 Premium Balcony category is being renamed A4 Deluxe Balcony) The cabin crawl ended in the Queens Suite where Richard (Mouthdoc) and Kelly hosted a very nice reception for us. There were two Friends of Dorothy gatherings in the Commodore Club (does everything happen there?!) and we attended the second one. There were a good number from the Piped Piper group in attendance and we got a chance to meet other gays and lesbians on the ship. Service Service was very good throughout the cruise. The crew was not as friendly and cheery as we have become accustomed to on Holland America but they were always polite and helpful. The only exception would be one gentleman at the purser's desk that I had to deal with when I received a letter stating that they did not have a credit card on record for my onboard expenses, even though I entered it online long before our trip. He kept telling me that what I did was online was to pay for my cruise and that I had to register a credit card for onboard expenses. From what I eventually could gather was that they were supposed to take an imprint of our credit cards upon embarkation in Brooklyn, which they never did. Other crew members surprised me by how quickly they remembered your name. I may have ordered a drink or two from Sorin in G32 but did not recall having much of a discussion with him. When I ordered a drink from him in the Commodore Club before dinner one night he responded with: "Here's your beer, Mr. xxxx". Entertainment I did not attend any of the shows, as there was just not enough time for everything. My partner caught parts of the "Viva Italia" revenue. He said the performers were energetic and performed above the pedestrian, less than memorable material. We did go to Illusions for the planetarium show 'Search for Life' and it was great despite all the snoring around us, as people were lulled into a port-lunch nap in the comfortable seats. We did go to the casino a couple of nights and I played Blackjack on two occasions with the delightful Aussie dealer Annemarie. I also played the slots but unfortunately Lady Luck was not on my side this time around. Our main entertainment was closing down the Commodore Club and G32 every night! I did not expect it to be that quiet late at night and there was not a lot of dancing going on either. I did not expect too much from a DJ called Graham Cracker; still he was very accommodating to requests. Port & Shore Excursions We had one port stop: Saint John, New Brunswick. We arrived at 4:15 am and were due to depart at 11:30 pm. It was a beautiful sunny day with a cool breeze and a temperature of around 70°F (20°C) Pied Piper had arranged a private excursion that included a guided tour of the city followed by a jet boat ride through the Reversing Falls. The city tour was very informative with lots of mention of the "loyalists" that settled in the area. We were warned to bring a towel and change of clothing, as we would be getting wet. That was an understatement; we got soaked! After 20 minutes of riding the rapids with our crazy driver Andre we were back on land where we dried off, changed clothes and were treated to lobster rolls for lunch. The jet boat excursion was a lot of fun. After we returned to the ship we headed back out to stroll around, do some shopping and had a couple of beers at O'Leary's. The local were very friendly and helpful around town. Saint John experiences on average a 28 feet (8.5 meter) difference between low and high tide. It was most noticeable while we were having dinner in the Britannia Restaurant: we started dinner at low tide and the window at our table faced the dock. As diner progressed the ship kept rising and by the end of dinner we were about two feet above the dock. Disembarkation The pilot boat arrived around 3:45 am and we were passing under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 4:57 am and docked in Red Hook some time after 6 am. Disembarkation was done by deck: 8:00 am - Deck 9 Queens Grill 8:30 am - Deck 10 Princess Grill 8:45 am - Deck 12 9:15 am - Deck 11 9:45 am - Deck 8 10:00 am - Deck 6 10:15 am - Deck 5 10:30 am - Deck 4 Passengers had to vacate their cabins by 8:30 am and were assigned various locations to wait for their colors to be called. We left our Deck 8 cabin at 8:30 am and waited in the Winter Garden for about 5 minutes when our color was called about an hour earlier than the scheduled. Disembarkation was from the Atrium on Deck 3 and there was no line at the checkout point. We found our luggage easily and had a short wait to get through immigration and customs (the same person doing both duties). We called for local car service while we were on the gangway and by the time we walked out of the terminal building our car was waiting for us. We were home by 9:15 am. Short cruises I have read about short cruises attracting a different crowd and service on Cunard's ships to be not as good as on longer voyages and that seemed to hold true but not to the point of negatively affecting our experience. Not everyone adhered to the dress codes at night but they were a small minority. Two tables next to us had most of the men without jackets on the Elegant Casual nights and in jackets without ties on the formal night. They also had a number of children at the late sitting and at times they got cranky or wanted to play their computer games with the volume turned up. At breakfast on the last morning I saw a young man walk around the Kings Court in his socks. Summary The Cunard "loyalists" may not be happy but I have to admit that I was not blown away by the QM2 as much as I expected to be. Yes, it is a beautiful ship but the service and food was just not as good and the crew not as friendly as we have experienced on Holland America ships and especially on the Eurodam. Would I sail on her again? Definitely, especially on a Trans Atlantic crossing. I would have to find a traveling companion though since my partner is not interested in doing that, but who knows, he may change his mind! Being on a regular cruise - even as part of a gay group - is very different from an all-gay charter. I would sail with Pied Piper again and I am not averse to going on a regular cruise itself, but for now we most enjoy our RSVP cruises and can't wait to get onboard the Eurodam in February 2010. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.9
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 3.5 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.4
Enrichment 5.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.2
Value For Money 3.5 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.8

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