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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
this is the second year that I've been fortunate enough to spend the holidays on the QM2. My mother does not like to fly to get on a cruise ship so we are limited to ships that sail out of New York in the winter. Our cruise was ... Read More
this is the second year that I've been fortunate enough to spend the holidays on the QM2. My mother does not like to fly to get on a cruise ship so we are limited to ships that sail out of New York in the winter. Our cruise was relaxed and low key, plenty to do if one wishes. The entertainment was a mixed bag. I particularly enjoyed a group of soul/swing/Motown singers~the Flywrights~who were terrific~and the juggler. Beyond that the acts were just OK. The enrichment speakers were excellent, in particular, Dr. Jon Bailey, who presented four fabulous lectures analyzing Broadway musicals and Angela Schneider who spoke about different aspects of the Caribbean,including the devastating effects of the sugar trade. Having Ms. Schneider speak was important, I felt, giving travelers a more nuanced understanding of the history of the islands they'd be visiting beyond shopping and beaches. I enjoyed the food for the most part, especially considering the number of people they feed around the clock. I'm a pescetarian, and there were always plenty of options beyond meat and poultry dishes. That said I am not a picky eater and simply feel blessed when someone else is doing the cooking. The coffee leaves something to be desired. I love the Brits but they just don't know how to make good coffee. High tea in The Queens Room is a lovely indulgence. I'm already having scone withdrawal. The pools on the QM2 are a tad odd, probably because it's an ocean liner, not a cruise ship. For an older or less mobile person, they are very hard to get in and out of, having only ladders. I did indulge in a full pass to the aqua therapy center and used it to full advantage. It's not very large and it definitely needs some updating but I enjoyed the hydrotherapy pool, two saunas and steam room. We had cabins with protected balconies which I've heard some folks don't like because they "can't lie in bed and look at the ocean" pffft, get your butt up and quit complaining. Worked fine for us and our steward very promptly opened the partition so that my mother and I could go back and forth between our cabins on the balcony. The ports were great! St.Thomas which is well, St. Thomas. I don't bother, I just take a ferry over to St John for a much better USVI experience. Dominica, which I've visited before, and just love. They are stepping up their emphasis on eco-tourism and it's really a lovely island. St. Lucia was new to me and I visited the rainforest and did an aerial tram ride and a short hike. Gorgeous. Next on to Barbados which I'm lukewarm on. At the last minute I joined a snorkeling with turtles excursion which was rather lame, we did see plenty of turtles but also saw way too many people. The last port was St. Kitts which I also love, I did a great sail and snorkel excursion. Most snorkeling excursions don't allow enough time in the water for me but this one was long enough I was just starting to get cold when they blew the "come back" signal. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, plenty of porters, and as I was using a Cunard transfer to La Guardia, was off the ship very early. NO line at customs. All in all, it was delightful. I spent many hours in a chaise lounge reading and gazing at the ocean, Some folks might want more from a cruise but if relaxing is what you are after, the QM2 provides. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Just returned from the Caribbean Fiesta aboard the Queen Mary 2, a 12 night excursion from New York visiting 5 Caribbean ports. To describe this in a word, AWESOME! We first sailed QM2 in 2009 on a Transatlantic voyage, it was a wonderful ... Read More
Just returned from the Caribbean Fiesta aboard the Queen Mary 2, a 12 night excursion from New York visiting 5 Caribbean ports. To describe this in a word, AWESOME! We first sailed QM2 in 2009 on a Transatlantic voyage, it was a wonderful time and decided to try it again this Christmas. It completely exceeded our expectations. We treated ourselves to the Grill Suites this time as opposed to the BC. It is the only way to go. I'll break it down as follows: Our Suite 9042 was mid-ship. Two doors down from the Concierge Lounge. We got to know the Concierge 'Ophia' quite well during the cruise. Interestingly, we never saw our Butler the first two days of the cruise. Our steward Grace, seem to be doing all the work from delivering luggage to attending our cabin. Late in the second day, Andres rang our bell and introduced himself. He apologized saying he was ill and not able to perform his duties until now. Oddly, he seem a little terse in the beginning and began to warm up towards the end. We just assumed he was still recuperating. On the other hand Grace was very warm and friendly until the last 2 nights of the cruise where she was downright icy. This didn't hamper our experience. The Suite was spacious to say the least with a Bar and Refrigerator fully stocked, a very comfortable King-Size Bed and we couldn't quite believe it a walk-in closet. The Balcony was long, but narrow the lounges couldn't be placed side by side. The Royal Court was organized and well maintained. There were many different food offerings up there. We mainly used it for Breakfast and mid-day snacks. We choose not to go to the Dining Room for every meal. There was an abundance of Breakfast cereals, Fresh Fruits, and Hot dishes. The only caveat is trying to locate a glass of milk. Unlike other ships where they have containers of milk, Cunard only has a milk dispenser for cereal that's not available all day. We would just take an extra glass and put it in our refrigerator for later. Lunch and Snacks were available, a fine selection of meats and cheeses and a sushi station that was very appealing. The chef's galley served Burgers and Sandwiches. On a previous cruise they used to o a cooking demonstration, but it was not available on this cruise. The Queen's Grill was a culinary masterpiece. Each meal we ate there was even more perfect then the last. Our servers Clarence and Satia were attentive and professional. We saw Satia off ship in some ports and he was just as polite when in the Dining Room. He was leaving the ship when they return to Southampton to go home. Our sommelier, Nick was prepared for us every night. We gave him our food order and he produced the exact wine to complement it. As for the food, we had Prime Rib our first night out that was excellent. During the course of our 12 nights, we tried the Dover Sole, that Bobbi prepared tableside and there was not a single bone in it. We had Beef Wellington for Christmas and Chateaubriand and Lobster for New Years. The Lobster Newburg was a hit as well as the King Scallops. I could continue to rave about the menu, but you get the idea. Todd English was a bit of a disappointment, we dined there once. The service was excellent, but the food was lacking pizzazz. The Grill was better. The Entertainment was just average. We skipped many of the shows as they didn't appeal to us. The ones we did see weren't exciting. The Flyrights were about the best with their Motown style of entertainment. The show Crazy in Love was dreadful. We skipped Incanto as we saw them on another ship. The Common areas were neat and tidy, you can see some wear in the carpeting especially near the entrances and exits. We purchased a Spa Pass for the cruise duration and was well worth it. The Spa pool area was quiet, but it's also small for a ship this size. All in all this will go down as one of the best trips we've ever taken.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
What a lovely way to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve. Out first time with Cunard but definitely will not be the last. The ship is magnificent, (bit warn in places) stateroom more than adequate and we found the staff to always be ... Read More
What a lovely way to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve. Out first time with Cunard but definitely will not be the last. The ship is magnificent, (bit warn in places) stateroom more than adequate and we found the staff to always be pleasant and more than helpful. Dining room experience was up and down but fortunately we shared a table with excellent company which took away from the pain of poor service. Did not see any of the artists or night time entertainment as we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment in the Golden Lion and ballroom. Pub lunches were excellent as were the trivia quizzes. Excursions are overpriced and we did the snorkelling with the turtles in Barbados which we were very disappointed with. I may be bias having spent many years living in the U.K. But this trip is high on my list of very memorable holidays. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
If you haven't recently sailed on her PLEASE do not believe most of the negative reviews. The Queen Mary 2 is stunning and in very good shape. That's the short length review. The medium review, or summary, is that the Queen Mary ... Read More
If you haven't recently sailed on her PLEASE do not believe most of the negative reviews. The Queen Mary 2 is stunning and in very good shape. That's the short length review. The medium review, or summary, is that the Queen Mary 2 is the last true Ocean liner and it is like walking into a time machine of beauty and tradition. It may not be for younger cruisers and you won't find amusement park rides, rock climbing walls, skating rinks, or spiraling pool slides. You will find a ship that feels more like traveling in the 1920's-1940's aboard a stunning, grand, very traditional ship. The full review: I was on the 12 night Christmas cruise with my two sons, 12 and 14, traveling from New York to the Caribbean and back. It's difficult to write a review for the Queen Mary 2 because you want to give it a glowing report in all ways, but in truth, while the ship really is breathe taking, there are some issues (with the overall experience, not the ship). The Brooklyn embarkation experience has a cold, low rent feel. Don't expect the union employees that search your bags or point you to the right line to smile or show the slightest courtesy. You feel like a cow being led to slaughter. You won't find as many crabs at a crab bake. The Royal Caribbean embarkation experience, with the gigantic Allure of the Seas, is so much classier and better run. Carnival, the cruise line that controls Cunard, ought to sail on the Allure to see how to do it right. Once you arrive at the counter the Cunard staff are pleasant enough. When you enter the ship you are greeted by high level staff and directed to your cabin, I think they will walk you to your cabin if you need help, but the ship is so beautiful you are in awe. I have been on the original Queen Mary, the one that is "docked" permanently in Long Beach, and I have to say they are quire similar. There is a kind of Art Deco interior design that is sleek and colorful; think bright gold decor and lush reds and exotic wood paneling. You honestly feel as if you have entered a time machine and somehow entered this perfectly preserved vessel. As some of you may know, the Queen Mary 2 is a true ocean liner, meaning it is NOT a hotel laying on a barge, as most cruise ships of today are... THE QM2 is designed to handle all season transatlantic voyages. I spoke to a frequent passenger who, in the past, encountered enormous waves and gale force five conditions and he said you hardly noticed. It was the largest ship when built and still seems very large. It'll take you a couple days just to see most of the ship. The sailing experience is traditional too. There is daily high tea served after lunch and, again, it's from another time. Think white gloves and English tea in fine china cups, served with finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and small cakes. Even for my 12 and 14 old children, both boys, the experience was sublime. They looked forward to it each day. Dinner in the main dining room is a dressy, fanciful affair. Service is not necessarily slow, certainly not by the standards of a land based five star restaurant, but it is quite leisurely, you don't want to be in a hurry. Some may find this tiring. The dress standard, unlike the other cruise lines, is quite high. You are expected to wear a jacket and tie for all dinners served in the main dining room, and there are several upscale nights as well. Again, while it's certainly fun to put a tie on, having to do so at every single dinner might be a bit much for some. We grew tired of the stuffiness after a few days. The food: There were a few really special dinners, but honestly, it's hit and miss in the main dining room. Frankly, the chef tries way to hard with exotic, fine dining choices that would be difficult to master in a small seat fine dining restaurant, but to serve, what, 1000 people per meal, well, you just can't do it. It's basically mass, banquet food when you are serving about a 1000 at a time and you can't give the individual attention to each food item when you are cranking them out like a factory. Many on the ship agreed with me and felt you were lucky to get 6 nights of quality food on a 12 night voyage. It was never really bad, just average at times. The service is good enough, but you know that the staff is shoved into little rooms in the bowel of the ship and work every day for low wages and long hours -- you see it in their behavior and on their faces. The Buffet: There is a horrible layout. Much of the time you aren't aware of what is there. It's sort of laid out in a bizarre zig zag of separate rooms, you leave one buffet area and enter another, as if exiting the restaurant, to reach other areas. The service is quite amazing. Unlike the Golden Corral buffet experience you get on other lines, Cunard has staff whisking away the plates and dishes. It's almost as if you are in a normal, upscale restaurant, not a buffet. No IKEA like self clearing here. The Buffet Food: Again, and it's really surprising how different each day is, it's hit and miss. When it's a hit IT IS AMAZING. I have never had such quality buffet food on a cruise line. Filet Mignon, six inch grilled ship, grilled lobster, etc. are available on certain nights. Other nights you wonder what in the heck they are serving. It's bloody awful, and I'm not English. I love Thai food and they have this horrendous thai green curry that looks like it had already been digested. Other choices are just very average, again, more Golden Corral than fine dining. Again, to compare it with another line, on Royal's Allure the buffet was fresh, hip, unique, quality -- all the time. On the QM2 you have a small dinner buffet section "served" by disinterested staff -- except for those amazing exceptions. The breakfast buffet is better than average in all ways. Special Find: I wish I had known about this. It fills up very fast. Each night the ship has a "special dining room" area set up in the buffet -- separate from the main buffet. One night it's Asian, another it's Indian, another it's American bistro. They put down table clothes and candles although you can't disguise that it's in the buffet dining area. The service is excellent, better than in the main dining room, the food IS THE BEST I had on the ship, and the surcharge is minimal, perhaps $10 per person. Todd English: My, this guy likes himself. Watch his video. It's a nice room with good service. There is a fairly large surcharge if I remember. I think we spent over $100 for three. The food isn't nearly as good as he'd like you to believe and most on the ship that tried it agreed. However, there aren't the 20 restaurants aboard as on more contemporary cruise ships, just this, the buffet, and the main dining room and you'll probably want to try it. The food is good, to be fair, but it isn't any sort of five star experience. I think it all comes from the same kitchen that makes the 1000 meals at once dinner. My older son doesn't agree with me and thought it was great. Passengers: I read somewhere that the average age is over 70. One would like to think that a Christmas cruise would lower this age somewhat -- and it does -- but not by much. It's sort of like being at a retirement home. I don't mind it so much, screaming teenagers and drunk seventeen year olds that other lines have aren't my cup of tea and the older gentleman and ladies on this ship are calming. However, I'm not sure this is the best choice if you are under 40, probably not if you're under 50, and frankly, might seem a bit dull for those under 60. However, whenever we made an effort to talk to others they were very engaging and interesting and happy to talk with someone new. There were a lot of English on this ship, even though it was a cruise that left from the US, and it was fun to have people who weren't from the states. Entertainment: Frankly, there were times when it seemed that they didn't even bother to try. No other ship near this size is devoid of all entertainment such as this one. Again, with the Allure, there is a broadway quality show, amazing Cirque du Soleil performers, and on and on. On this ship you have bingo, a movie, or ball room dancing. Which is probably just what one had in 1940. Sure, there are excellent musicians aboard, very talented, but if you are not into music from the 1930's-1940's, or so it seemed, you don't have a lot of choice. Ball room music and big band. Most of the acts brought aboard were low rent. The movies were near first run and very good. There is a planetarium that has short, 20 minute films about the universe. They aren't bad, but seem a trifle dated. It's unique, but not breathtaking. The room: We had a deluxe balcony room. The room has a luxe feel and seemed classier than on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. We had three in a room. There is room for two and let's leave it at that. I would say even roomy for two, but three's a crowd. I've never been on any ship that was ever different. The room service food was certainly a step above what I've had on any other ship, just don't order the thai curry. Just don't. Trust me, it's even worse than the buffet version. Staff: Honestly, despite that white glove marketing, you can tell it's run by Carnival. Not a horrible thing, I've sailed on Carnival and they're fine, but you don't have the same caliber of service you find on Celebrity. Also, this was for us an expensive ship, it's not as if the prices are low and so you expect more and don't always get it. So, don't expect more and you'll be fine. Plenty of forced smiles and how are you's and so on. I can't think of a particularly bad or dismissive staff experience, except perhaps in the library, which has very dated books, despite it's large size there isn't much you'll want to read unless you are into serialized novels or bibliography like books on Plato, and all of the staff seemed like jerks who had zero interest in the passengers. That is rare though. The ports: On this 12 night trip you only stop at about four stops and all in a row. The small caribbean islands are poor and similar. St. Lucia? St. Kitts? Barbados? Couldn't tell you which were which -- somewhat repetitive. Still, it's fun to hop off and soak in the sun and culture. Seven nights at sea is a lot -- I'm surprised they didn't add another island. SPA: Frankly, I didn't think the massages are of the same quality as on other lines, and they are very pricey. However, you get access to an interior area that has amazing features -- pools, numerous saunas, whirl pools, etc. It's really, really nice. WARNING: As usual on cruise lines, you'll spend a fortune on internet and phone provider charges. Despite our having purchased expensive international add ons and data with AT&T, and buying the internet time on the ship, we had a $1500 cell phone bill and $600 cruise ship charge. If you have kids, tell them it's a computer free trip and lock them away (their equipment, not the kids). As you can imagine, the net service on the ship is grossly overpriced, erratic and extraordinarily slow. This is probably not a problem for the over 70 year olds, but honestly, we live in a mobile society and cruise ships won't have anyone under 30 on them if they can't get the data/net issues worked out. Overall: 12 nights on a ship might seem like a lot, but it went very fast. Despite all I've said about the lack of things to do, it's really more a lack of splashy entertainment and activities you'll find on contemporary cruise ships, you'll find ways to make time disappear. We played monopoly, chess, walked the beautiful teak deck that surrounds the exterior, read books, went to bingo, deck quots and shuffle board, swimming, exercising, and just relaxing on a lounger watching the waves and the sun. We were rarely bored. I chose this cruise because I am a fan of ocean liners and I wanted to experience the QM2. It really is a wonderful ship. Whether it's the right cruise for you depends on whether or not you are a foodie (there are probably better choices) and whether you will feel comfortable with an older crowd. I am very happy I chose Cunard and QM2 -- it's an experience that may not exist some day. Would I do the Christmas cruise again? No, been there, done that -- however, I would consider a different, shorter cruise in the future, just to experience this grand vessel again.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
We have just returned from the Caribbean Christmas and New Year’s cruise and can only say we were very disappointed. This had been out tenth cruise with Cunard on all of their three ships and can honestly say their standards have not ... Read More
We have just returned from the Caribbean Christmas and New Year’s cruise and can only say we were very disappointed. This had been out tenth cruise with Cunard on all of their three ships and can honestly say their standards have not only slipped, but slid quite away. The daily activities was virtually none existent, take the bridge classes, Spa Ranch, pub quiz, bingo and minority group meetings from the daily program and there was very little left. The guest speakers were a welcome break from the monotony, although not all were to my interest the auditorium was packed out on each of their presentations. The evening shows were second rate although the Cunard Dancers were very professional only let down by the Cunard Singers whose singing was amateur to say the least. The two comedians, one of home who is a house hold name in the UK had material not changed since the 70s and the other’s humour or lack of it was to take the mick from different nationalities. However, on the East Bound Atlantic crossing back to Southampton the Fly Rights were brilliant, we had to wait 3 weeks for some decent entertainment, which was this. One afternoon and one afternoon only the entertainment staff along with the production staff acted out a Murder Mystery Suspense Thriller to music where the audience participated. Very slap stick but the audience loved it. The food in the Britannia Restaurant was adequate and served cold on more than a few occasions although this was rectified each time we complained. The food in the Kings Court Buffet was acceptable and a good variety in choice. I’m afraid Cunard has had its day, surviving on its history and White Star Service which is a shade of grey now. Most people we talked to were very disappointed and talked of other Cruise Lines they had been with being far better. Cunard, your Platinum and Diamond members are not going to live forever and you need interest the future generations or sail with empty ships.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
Our small family scheduled this trip almost a year out, never having been on Cunard before. We then travelled on Cunard in September 2013, however it was too late to cancel this cruise and get our money back. There was a long traffic line ... Read More
Our small family scheduled this trip almost a year out, never having been on Cunard before. We then travelled on Cunard in September 2013, however it was too late to cancel this cruise and get our money back. There was a long traffic line getting into the embarkation area in Brooklyn. When we did enter the terminal, a blond middle aged woman directed us into a line. We waited patiently while she started yet another line which moved much more quickly. Finally, after standing in a hot terminal for over an hour in our winter clothes, I spoke with a supervisor named Fran who explained that the monitors in our area were not working properly. Um, perhaps take charge and redirect the line. Unfortunately, this indifferent service was indicative of the entire 12 day cruise. When we ate in the Britannia DIning room, main seating, table 100, for the first two nights we had an extra chair at our table. No one appeared to eat there and it impeded conversation with our table mates. Twice I asked to see the maitre'd about having it removed. This is true: I was told he was too busy! I then went to the Purser's office (Cunard guest relations) and put it in written request to see him about the chair. Also true: I NEVER RECEIVED A RESPONSE. Toward the end of our cruise the maitre'd appeared at our table to ask how things were. He did not mention my previous request. I asked about more of a selection with regard to vegetables and said that our vegetables had not come that evening. He seemed put out to have someone actually request something from him. Our vegetables came with our coffee. Three people were served and the waiter left. We had to call him back to serve the remaining people who wanted vegetables. The wait for a sommelier was long. Service was lackluster. She seemed over worked. The staterooms were ok. Our steward left a room service tray outside on the balcony overnight. Seemed a bit lackluster again. I had to ask for more soap and a clean robe. The saving grace was/were our dining companions who were lovely. On December 27 2013 the trivia person/entertainment staff gave a wrong answer. We looked it up in our Almanac and spoke to him about it. He was kind but did not seem to want to know additional information about his professional area. The ship held various celebrations for the Christmas holiday. All were well done, especially the Christmas caroling. We took one excursion which was the Nevis sail away. The day was lovely. I spoke with the crew and mentioned that they could chafe the music played to be more in tune with the composition of their guests (puns intended). The crew was great. We ate in the Golden Lion at lunchtime on New Year's Day. The staff was so 'off' that day. We had to ask for service (my husband went up to the bar to ask for a waiter or waitress to come over) and then still waited. I saw an older couple voice their frustration to the staff. Although it made me uncomfortable, I had to agree with them. The service that particular day was appalling. Cunard should be ashamed. We were staying on the ship until Southampton but changing rooms. I checked on this periodically, being anxious about Cunard's lack of professionalism. I was told twice that housekeeping would move everything for us except what was in the safe. I was also told the new room keys would be delivered the night before. The morning of the change of course no new room keys were delivered. I called the Purser and was told to come down and get them. I asked for them to be delivered, as promised. I was told that they were too busy but would deliver them when they could. After 2 hours I went down to the Purser myself to get the keys. There I was advised to pack up everything in the room except what was on hangers in the closet. What a rush to pack! The review will continue as we change to Queen's Grill for the crossing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
Embarkation at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal was quick and efficient.We were in out cabin, along with our luggage within 45 minutes of arrival at the terminal. We were dining in the Brittannia dining room for lunch and dinner and at the ... Read More
Embarkation at the Brooklyn Cruise terminal was quick and efficient.We were in out cabin, along with our luggage within 45 minutes of arrival at the terminal. We were dining in the Brittannia dining room for lunch and dinner and at the Kings Court for breakfast. Yes the Kings court does get a little crowded, but we were always able to find a seat, the food was good and the staff helpful. We were on a table for 8 at dinner. There were three other interesting and engaging couples at the table which always helps to make the dining experience more pleasurable. The menu was extensive and the food excellent. We, or the other couples at the table, had any complaints about quality,quantity or presentation of the food throughout the cruise. The service and attention to detail by the wait staff at our table was truly excellent. Lunch was an opportunity to meet other people as there is no fixed seating. Again a full and varied menu and good food. The entertainment in the Royal Court Theater was very good with two extremely talented musicians. A violinist and a Flautist, both wonderful acts. The "headline" entertainers were West End/Broadway (Chicago/Les Miserables)singer Ruthie Henshaw who gave two outstandanding performances (although she did seem to talk about herself a lot between songs)and a British comedian/TV celebrity Roy Walker. Although his act was essentially British Humor, he was very funny. The Cunard singers and Dancers gave some very accomplished shows. We normally arrange our own excursions but this year we used the ship provided excursions (yes they tend to be expensive)and we we not dissappointed. Especially memorable was the scenic railway ride in St Kitts. On the return to New York and in view of some serious inclement weather forecasts, the Captain decided to speed up to arive in New York before the storms arrival.We arrived a 11 pm with the intention of starting disembarkation at around 8 am. That night the storm droppes some 10 inches of snow on New York with the subsequent disruption to transport links it caused. Disembarkation started at 9am and went relatively smoothly considering that not all the terminal staff, including immigration personnel had been able to make it into work that morning. by the time we were on the road all the major road links into Manhattan were relativley clear so we we alble to get home without much hassle. For us this was an excellent cruise, good food, good company and a relaxed "refined" ship. No "in your face" selling, NO excessive PA announcements and an attentive and polite crew from the catain down to the deck staff. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2011
My wife and I embarked at Southampton for a 29 night Christmas and New Year cruise on board Queen Mary 2 . aptly entitled by Cunard as a 'Grand Caribbean Celebration'. As it turned out we were amongst the seven hundred or so ... Read More
My wife and I embarked at Southampton for a 29 night Christmas and New Year cruise on board Queen Mary 2 . aptly entitled by Cunard as a 'Grand Caribbean Celebration'. As it turned out we were amongst the seven hundred or so passengers who were doing the full 29 nights, the balance of the 2,500 passengers on this, the first of three legs, opting just for the single west bound Atlantic crossing. Check-in was relatively swift and easy and, as with all Cunard embarkations, staterooms were immediately available. From arrival at the Ocean Terminal to actual embarkation was under 30 minutes. Though we did have priority boarding, it was interesting to note the numbers of passengers without such an advantage arriving early, and being issued check-in allocation tickets. Our accommodation was a Queens Grill Stateroom on Deck 9 which was very central and ideally close to the Grills Concierge Lounge. Luggage arrival was relatively slow compared with previous Cunard sailings though this was only a minor irritant and soon forgotten after an excellent lunch in the Queens Grill. The ship had already been decorated for Christmas in a tasteful manner with understated elegance. Nothing was overdone and an unusual centre piece graced the Grand lobby: a collage of the main animals from 'Toad of Toad Hall. As on all Cunard voyages there were outstanding displays of fresh flowers throughout the ship. All staterooms and many public areas had recently undergone major refurbishment only weeks before this voyage. As it was only eight weeks since our previous voyage we were keen to see the differences. Our Q5 suite was most impressive with curtains, carpets, bed covers and some furniture having all been replaced. For us the best of the public room enhancements were in The Golden Lion pub and The Commodore Club. Carpets throughout the ship were generally much improved and offered a nice 'spring in the step' feeling. We encountered a patch of rough weather on the initial trans Atlantic crossing. While there was some ship movement QM2 took the whole crossing in her stride while offering a degree of excitement to those who chose to watch her 'ride the seas' from those large windows on Decks 2 and 3. If my memory serves me correctly one production show was postponed to the following evening due to the weather. Not at all bad for a winter crossing. We found both the daily and evening entertainment programmes well up to the usual Cunard standard. and the Insights lecture programmes were always well attended. Highlight for us on this crossing were intelligence analyst Glenmore Trenear-Harvey and Dr Alan Hamilton who gave a fascinating series of talks entitled 'confessions of a brain surgeon'. Our evenings were mainly spent enjoying the dining experience, dancing in both the Queens Room and G32 Night Club or watching the occasional theatre show. Oh, and the odd cocktail party. There was always plenty to do and the various musical entertainers in the major bars and lounges were always well supported. We arrived in New York's Brooklyn Cruise Terminal early morning and after a very early breakfast immediately headed off to Manhattan via the New York Subway. A description of our day in New York can be found at... http://www.cruises.co.uk/451-new_york/25550-one_way_do_new_york_christmas_edition.html That evening, having turned around some 1,800 passengers, we headed south to the Caribbean. Our first stop on a slightly re-scheduled itinerary was St Thomas followed by Curacao and then a day at sea for Christmas day. We then visited Grenada on Boxing Day followed by Barbados, St Lucia, St Maarten and Tortola before heading back northwards for New York and eventually home to Southampton. The ships entertainment programme again provided something for almost everyone and the festive party atmosphere seemed to go on endlessly. There were three particularly outstanding entertainment artists on this second leg. The ever popular Roger McGuinn, co-founder and lead singer/guitarist with the legendary Byrds, a Jersey Boys tribute group called 'The Unexpected Boys' and for us, an unusual but most entertaining slapstick classical string quartet by the name of 'Graffiti Classics'. Great entertainment. Christmas Day was, as usual for cruise ships, spent at sea. For the more traditional minded there was plenty on offer, a Christmas celebration Parade, church services, two Grand Lobby Christmas Carol events complete with snow and of course, the Queen's Speech broadcast throughout the ship. For the remainder of us sun worshippers there were the acres of deck space for which the QM2 is renowned. Two of the above mentioned islands were tender ports.: St Lucia and Tortola. Tender routines were prompt and efficient. QM2 operates her tenders from two separate boarding positions. After a relatively short initial period tender ticket allocation was dispensed with and free access given. Having visited St Lucia so many times we opted to spend that day on board otherwise all other island visits lived up to expectations. We did one ships excursion at St Thomas which was fun and good value for money. This particular leg of the cruise had a good international mix of passengers. Britain just about dominated at 1080 closely followed by Americans at 891, 212 Canadians and 123 Germans and 38 other nationalities. One Cunard service that certainly delighted the British passengers was the full coverage given to Premiership football over the holiday period. Our second stop at New York also saw a major passenger changeover. We again spent the day in Manhattan, indulging in a bit of US style January retail therapy. Getting off the ship and through US Immigration was not a problem, very slick if you are in transit. The final leg of our Christmas voyage, between New York and Southampton was vintage Cunard and QM2. Even before we slipped away from the Brooklyn Terminal the bars and lounges were in full swing, you just knew that these passengers were going to enjoy themselves and money wasn't a problem. Indeed, despite its recent increase in seating, the Golden Lion was standing room only by 4.00pm, and that was before boat drill. The whole entertainment programme took on a new lease of life. Guest speakers included General Lord Richard Dannatt and an outstanding Arabist speaker, Eamonn Gearon. For these two speakers there were full houses on each occasion. One 'Headline' artist on this leg stood out for the whole voyage. Dale Kristien is well known for her record breaking four-and-a-half years (1,700 performances) in the role of Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera. Ms Kristien first played Christine opposite the original phantom, Michael Crawford, on Broadway and they both premiered the show in Los Angeles One of the benefits of multiple passenger changeovers is the opportunity to meet such a variety of table mates. Our chosen table for six in the Queens Grill proved more than interesting and we thoroughly enjoyed meeting an amazing variety of guests on each changeover. These ranged from a retired Brooklyn Commissioner who was in office at the time of 9/11, a retired US Navy Captain who had served on an exchange visit at the air station where my wife and I met and were married, and one of the guest speakers, General The Lord Richard Dannatt. On two occasions we dined in the Britannia Restaurant. Once as a guest of the Captain and once to join friends whom we had met on this cruise. On both occasions we found the food, service and ambiance in the Britannia Restaurant to be superb. The home crossing was smooth and the daily atmosphere on board was vintage QM2 for quality, variety and social activity. A thoroughly enjoyable 29 days. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
I have recently returned from a weekend trip on the QM2 to Cherbourg in France. I am a seasoned cruiser have done over 20 cruises with both P&O and Royal Carribean (many times) and NCL (twice) so I feel I have a lot to compare it ... Read More
I have recently returned from a weekend trip on the QM2 to Cherbourg in France. I am a seasoned cruiser have done over 20 cruises with both P&O and Royal Carribean (many times) and NCL (twice) so I feel I have a lot to compare it with. How disappointed I am with so many aspects of the trip. I imagined Cunard to be "the creme de la creme of cruising" service, food, entertainment and the ship itself but this was not really the case in most parts: 1. The service in the restaurant at dinner was appalling - we were sat with empty plates on our table for over 20 minutes before our next course came, the water was never topped up, no service with a smile and most things too much trouble. All in all the food was rubbish, lukewarm and very poor quality and the service was really slow. We were told they were short staffed so assumed this was because it was a weekender and therefore had allowed staff days off but this should not be the case just because its a short trip. 2. The layout of the ship is absolutely unbelievable. There is no open pool in the middle of the sun deck like on most ships, to get to the queens room you have to cut through one of the restaurants or go a deck higher/lower than the queens room and go up/down - this was awful especially at mealtimes when you felt you were disrupting the diners. The buffet style restaurant was even worse, set out very oddly with little bits of islands here and there but nothing with any substance so you felt you had to walk around it all in case you missed anything - it just wasn't in one large area like most ships I have been on. 3. The choice of food was very poor - I am a vegetarian so it was even harder for me but even the meat eaters in our party struggled and was disappointed. The only thing I can say that was a good experience was the afternoon tea, our cabin steward did a really good job and the bands were great. If it was my very first cruising experience I would not have been impressed and certainly would not have the cruising bug. One of our party was a first-timer and she certainly wasn't impressed and just thought it was ok! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
Pre-cruise....we booked 2 staterooms in June; one for wife and I; one for mother-in-law (at double occupancy rate!). Unfortunately mother-in-law had to have unplanned cardiac surgery in early September and it became apparent that she could ... Read More
Pre-cruise....we booked 2 staterooms in June; one for wife and I; one for mother-in-law (at double occupancy rate!). Unfortunately mother-in-law had to have unplanned cardiac surgery in early September and it became apparent that she could no longer travel. We asked our travel agent if we could substitute our son and daughter-in-law in the other stateroom. They said no problem, but Cunard refused point blank and also did not refund any of the £1800 we paid for that room.....yet they re-sold it to someone else!! This made us particularly annoyed and far from impressed with Cunard, with whom we've had positive experiences in the past and we are Gold World Club Members. So much for their White Star Service and one of its facets,'.....we never say no, we offer alternatives.....' Embarkation....smooth organisation in the Terminal, yet we were left to our own devices as we boarded the ship. Found our way to stateroom and bumped into our steward Joseph in the corridor, who was most welcoming and then helpful bringing our luggage to the room promptly. Stateroom....spacious, clean and well-maintained. Not unduly noisy, but some extraneous noise from nearby lifts (constant 'ping' as lifts arrived at deck level!)throughout the night. Dining....originally booked first dinner sitting (to suit elderly mother-in-law), but managed to change to our preference of later sitting with assistance from a helpful assistant maitre d'. Most meals taken in Britannia Restaurant; good selection of quality food always; service also very good. Kings Court buffet was visited occasionally, but that area was severely curtailed for several days mid-cruise, due to an outbreak of Norovirus. Afternoon Tea was an elegant treasure in the Queens Room. Room Service was prompt, efficient and free! Destinations / Excursions....ship berthed alongside at each port, so no tendering thankfully, as this can be tedious on QM2 with its large number of passengers. Free courtesy buses provided in all ports where they were needed. Excursions were plentiful, but quite expensive. We 'did our own thing' at all ports as we'd been to all of them previously. Prices....drinks somewhat pricey; $30 for a bottle of 'house' wine, plus their obligatory 15% service charge that is '....added for your convenience....'; more likely for their benefit! Norovirus....we were surprised that there was no sanitisation regime as we boarded in Southampton. There was the usual declaration to sign that you'd not been unwell etc in the preceding few days. I've always viewed these as useless as who is going to say 'yes'? Anyway, a few days into the cruise as we board at one of the ports, the Captain makes a PA announcement before we sail that a significant number of people were reporting to the sick-bay with GI symptoms. An advisory note it then delivered to staterooms later that evening from Cunard's medical adviser detailing the problem and what their intended course of action was. We had to endure about 4 days of intense disinfection of public areas and also lock-down of the buffet counters etc resulting in long queues as waiters had to serve food and drinks individually. The main restaurant tables lost their flowers, cruets and table numbers from then until the end of the cruise too. Can't help wondering if an early personal sanitisation regime might have prevented the outbreak in the first place. A couple of general minor irritations that are disappointing....1-SMOKING - it is a shame that Cunard have not adopted UK legislation on no smoking in closed-in areas. A particular example of this is the G32 Club on Deck 3L which smells throughout like a dirty ashtray whatever time you go in there. 2 -INTERNET - 4 years ago when we were on this ship they had a brilliant system of email and interactive services etc available in each stateroom. Where has it all gone?? Seems that a wifi network is now available in places, but I found signal strengths sporadic; speed poor and cost almost prohibitive! Overall....an enjoyable cruise. One of the great features of the QM2 that never fails to impress is the lack of awareness of sail-away or berthing movement. Many ships we've travelled on vibrate excessively during such manoeuvres, mainly due to the cavalier use of bow thrusters and their old design. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
I say constructive criticism as that is the way I wish people to take it. It is not a moan or whinge as I have heard so many do so in the past - it would appear that some just like to moan for the sake of it and expect everything for ... Read More
I say constructive criticism as that is the way I wish people to take it. It is not a moan or whinge as I have heard so many do so in the past - it would appear that some just like to moan for the sake of it and expect everything for nothing. Yes, I think the QM2 is well in need for her forth coming refit but that did not stop me having a wonderful cruise aboard her earlier this month. Least of all she needs to have that unsightly dent in her rear sponson knocked out. But I have been reliably informed that every square inch of her carpeting is to be ripped up and replaced. This is after extensive repairs have been carried out on the decking. I did notice her decks beneath the carpet were extremely pot holed where the leveling compounds had collapsed and I did note this was probably a health and safety issue. The external decking also is to have a face lift whereby all the sealant between deck-boards will be gouged out and resealed correctly and not left proud of the decking. The 'Lion Pub' is also in for a major re-design, apparently going for the more traditional pub setting of more intimate cubicle/cubbyhole layout. Unfortunately, I didn't hear of any extensive changes to the 'G32' nightclub, which I feel would be advantageous. It just does not have that nightclub atmosphere I have seen on other ships.The cruise itself was lovely, the food was excellent, although I did hear some having a moan. The staff were as cheerful, helpful and as professional as I would expect and have no complaints there. I feel Cunard could go a lot further with the entertainment on board and I found this also the case on the QV last year. I feel as well as the nightclub which is not everyone's cup of tea, they could nominate one of her bars on a daily basis being a late bar. The evening shows should be extended to take into account the second restaurant sitting. And the acts both in the theatre and bars could be a little more varied. Certainly in the theatre we don't all wish to watch singers and dancers. Maybe they could introduce the odd juggling or acrobat show. Solo guitarists also wouldn't go amiss - it seems to be all piano/harpist/string quartet. I also felt the band was not varied enough, mainly Caribbean music which is ok if you are cruising there. And my big disappointment was in the 'G32' the band played too much there and didn't have a regular DJ who who could 'feel' the night revellers and have a repertoire with them. All this said, whilst I found the QV had the edge over QM2 because I feel she is more intimate and elegant. it would not prevent me going on another cruise aboard her. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
If you are expecting poor service , bland food , a party atmosphere , "push those drinks" , neon light Vegas decor and terrible entertainment then you are going to be greatly disappointed if you sail on the magnificent Queen ... Read More
If you are expecting poor service , bland food , a party atmosphere , "push those drinks" , neon light Vegas decor and terrible entertainment then you are going to be greatly disappointed if you sail on the magnificent Queen Mary 2. First of all you should be aware that this is not a cruise .. this is an experience . We were fortunate to enjoy this during our 7 day Eastward and return 7 day Westward return voyage between NYC and Southampton . Embarkation in NYC was a breeze .By far the easiest one we have experienced during our many other sailings . Southampton took a little longer and was more involved but was on a par with others we have had . Disembarking at both ports was efficient , quick and well organized . In NYC we used the Cunard Bus facilities to get to JFK Airport. This was cost effective, comfortable and hassle-free. * A hint - we brought a large bottle of rum and ample mix with us on our carry on and there was no problem even with it in plain sight . The ship was wonderful . Service - All staff would greet you as you met. The waiters , cabin stewarts were friendly , efficient and professional in every way . In all our dealings with shop keepers, purser office , internet office , pool attendents etc. we were treated extremely well . Food - Unlike some other ships , the Queen Mary 2 food can be best described as Fine Dining .Quantities are small , quality is excellent ... just like dining at a five star restaurant . If you want more quantity just do like we did once and awhile - order 2 delicious appetizers . The food in the Kings Court (Lido Deck ) is typical buffet style fare. We usually ate breakfast there so we could get an early start to the day We also went to the Specialty Restaurants - Todd English , Lotus / Chef's Gallery(where you watch the chef prepare your meal )and the specialty Italian restaurant . Todd English was nice but the Lotus and the Italian Restaurants were wonderful - well worth the extra $10 per person ( We went 4 times ) Entertainment - Excellent . The singers/ dancers were extremely good . The costumes were some of the best we have seen and the energy night after night was exhausting to watch . Oh to be that young again ! There were live plays , broadway shows , big band nights , comics, and many outstanding lectures by knowledgeable speakers . Our days were filled with dance lessons, high tea , movies( even in 3D) , spectacular documentaries in the Planetarium , Trivia contests and restful days by the roof covered hot tub and pool . Our nights were filled with fine dining , and dancing the hours away to the sounds of a full piece orchestra on the largest ocean going dance floor. There theme nights that included a salute to Glenn Miller , The Dorsey's , Black and White Ball , Masquerade Ball, Ascot Ball that added to the fun . Stateroom - Our agent advised us that because the ship is fast the balconies can be windy , and there is nothing but water to see for days anyway , so the best selection is an obstructed view balcony . What an excellent choice . They were right . We were able to have ample light and fresh air in our stateroom , sit out on the balcony in comfort and the price vs a standard balcony was less. The stateroom was the largest we have had and beautifully decorated . The large fridge was appreciated. The bathroom was more than adequate and there was lots of storage space . * A hint - bring some extra hangers for all the extra evening wear . Dress Code -During our 14 days at sea we had 10 formal nights . Now to some that may seem too many but too most others - what a pleasure to be elegant and classy . We particularly liked the directive that was enforced by Cunard .. if you did not meet the nightly dress code , you were not allowed in the dining room and were advised to dine at the Kings Court or other dining locations. No hassles as every knew this . Unlike other ships we have been on ... there were no passengers that chose to defy this known fact and showed up in jeans and a tea shirt for dinner --- and were allowed in . We were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and my wife's birthday and Cunard added to the events with 4 cakes / free champagne and waiters entertaining us in song .We were even allowed to bring our complimentary bottle of Champagne to the dining room to help celebrate the occasion- no corking fee. We could go on and on about OUR opinion of QM2 and all .But you MUST experience her yourself . In conclusion , prior to any holiday , we use many sources to select Cruises , hotels etc. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, there are always those that are never satisfied and will find fault with everything . We see the reviews of THOSE people about the QM2 and we pity them on going thru life this way . Nothing is ever perfect and seasoned travellers know this . However , the experience on the magnificent Queen Mary 2 is as close as you will find to being just so. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
On reaching the port in Brooklyn our bags were taken from us and arrived before us in the cabin. Embarkment was smooth and easy. Our cabin was spacious and well equipped and the sheltered balcony meant that we were able to film the gale ... Read More
On reaching the port in Brooklyn our bags were taken from us and arrived before us in the cabin. Embarkment was smooth and easy. Our cabin was spacious and well equipped and the sheltered balcony meant that we were able to film the gale force 9 storm that the ship was trying to out-run - fantastic stuff! Never felt afraid once just enjoyed the whole experience. The ship was just as described, elegant and first class. Staff were friendly, helpful and mostly cheerful (having witnessed first hand some of what they have to put up with from guests, this can be really difficult). The food in the Britannia was excellent and always served with professionalism and a smile. The buffet option however was another matter. It was confusing finding all the options available and even harder then to find a table. The afternoon teas were better than at the Ritz in London! Facilities were good and the talks by Murray Walker were great. The music and dancing in the Queens Room was excellent, but the shows were not great and I have seen better. The only real negative was the prices charged at the Canyon Reach Spa. My husband booked me a facial as a surprise and being a man didn't really check the price. The facial it's self was good but the hard selling afterwards spoilt it for me as did the price when I found out that we had been charged $389!! There were several other women who were also complaining. I also wasn't offered use of the day spa as I should have done. To sum up, the cruise was fabulous and Cunard have it pitched just right for those who want a stylish elegant cruise. Would I do it again - definately but without the facial!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
Just coming back from a "best of Britain" tour this is a review of a short 2-night cruise from Hamburg to Southampton. With little exceptions which nevertheless were noteworthy the QM2 delivered everything we expected. That its ... Read More
Just coming back from a "best of Britain" tour this is a review of a short 2-night cruise from Hamburg to Southampton. With little exceptions which nevertheless were noteworthy the QM2 delivered everything we expected. That its the most beautiful ship around is of cause something no one needs to repeat too much. Its just the truth.Before embarkation we got a note that we would be upgraded to a deck 6 balcony cabin, which came as a nice surprise. Embarkation was smooth, and while I was an hour early, and my girlfriend an hour late, everything went fast and without a problem. The stateroom was nice, well serviced, clean and sizable enough, though the enclosed balcony isn't too useful other than for the occasional 5 minutes to have a look at the sea. A free-of-charge Demi bottle of champagne was waiting. I had a late lunch in Kings court shortly after embarking. While the food was very good, the design and layout of Kings Court is clearly the worst public space on board, not much better looking than a shopping Mall´s eatery, and unfortunately the most centrally located one. Here Cunard must do something as its not at all of the standard of the otherwise grand public rooms. Leaving Hamburg was a great experience, pleasure boats following and thousands of people lining the shores as we passed the grand Elbchausee and beautiful Blankenese suburb on one side and the harbour and the Airbus factory with a number of new A380s on the other. Best was the hundred or so bedsheets being waved by guests and staff of the Jacob luxury hotel, including playing "Rule Britannia".Dinner at the stunning Britannia was a fine experience though the staff appeared a bit stressed and the glasses showed stains from the dishwasher - an absolute no go on a ship called "Queen Mary 2". Food was excellent though the wish for a Caesar salad (gosh, how exotic is that?) was turned down. Also the space near the windows on the upper level was somewhat limited, downstairs at breakfast it was better.Afterwards we went for champagne to the beautiful Commodore´s Club underneath the bridge. As the windows were sadly blinded so not to irritate the bridge we chose to sit down in the intimate boardroom next to it.One of the nicest places on board QM2 is the library and bookshop. We also enjoyed cocktails in the G32 with an excellent band playing. The tiered decks are wonderful and so much nicer than on a normal cruise block of flats. Walking on them at night with the fantastic red funnel above is quite a unique experience. The North Sea was flat as a Hyde Park and we felt no moving of the ship whatsoever during our two days aboard. The (German) lectures were nice, but to our disappointment the planetarium was closed. I found the time to chat with a former Formula 1 driver, as most of the ships company was of the friendly and entertaining side.A very nice place and something that is rare on cruise ships is the space above the bows with the spare propeller.One thing to criticize is the quality of the repainting of the ship in places. Its obviously done by people who haven't the highest standards of working ethics. Crudely over painted seals were especially seen on the enclosed walkway above the bridge, but also elsewhere in open places.We slept like babies despite slightly above expectation propulsion noise, the beds were very comfortable and we were really sad when we had to say goodbye to the Queen. If it would not have been for the US visa requirements we probably may have stayed aboard until New York and would have dropped the week of England holidays waiting for us (which turned out to be great too though).This "glorious ferry" short cruise was certainly not our last time on the QM2. We do hope that Cunard improves on the little shortfalls mentioned which do not do the QM2 right and are disturbing more than the same things would do on any ordinary ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We sailed on QM2 from New York - Caribbean Cruise 8 December. We had previously enjoyed the exact same cruise in 2008 and we were unpleasantly surprised how things have changed for the worst. The 'Carnival' accountants have ... Read More
We sailed on QM2 from New York - Caribbean Cruise 8 December. We had previously enjoyed the exact same cruise in 2008 and we were unpleasantly surprised how things have changed for the worst. The 'Carnival' accountants have obviously been hard at work and it shows. The service was inferior with many 'new' staff. We were told that most experienced staff had transferred to the new Queen Elizabeth. The price of drinks/wine was scandalous and the quality of food was below par. The Kings Court restaurant on deck 7 was abysmal and was nothing more that a cafeteria and a 'slop shop' with long lines of people everywhere. The 'al la carte' evening dining within the Kings Court' i.e Lotus, Chefs Galley etc were all block booked by people at the start of the cruise so it was impossible to dine elsewhere in the evening other than our allocated table in the Britannia restaurant. The evening entertainment was absolute rubbish with a third rate comedian and a fifth rate ventriloquist, whilst the Cunard singers/dancers were boring and repetitive. One of our supposed island 'stop offs' at Grand Turks was cancelled, which meant we had and extra day at sea. We also discovered that many American passengers, and some upgraded to 'balcony cabins', had in fact only paid $500 per person. When we got back to NYC 19 December, we found that our BA flight had been cancelled owing to the snow problem at Heathrow. BA put all the Cunard passengers up at the Marriott in Brooklyn and also paid for our lunch and dinner meals. There was no Cunard staff or management available other than some token 'meeter's and greeters' who had no idea what was going on. As we were part of a Cunard block booking we were unable to re-book our flights with BA even though all other BA independent passengers were able to get a return flight to London on the 22/23 December. We finally got home on Boxing day 26 December. Throughout the entire traumatic experience Cunard management never attending the hotel nor could we phone or speak to anyone at Cunard to re-arrange our flight. In our opinion Cunard/Carnival acted despicably, the cruise was just average, and the entertainment was rubbish. So we won't be cruising with 'Cunard' again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
My husband and I signed up for Cunard's Christmas/New Year's cruise leaving from Brooklyn, 15 days, to the Caribbean on the Queen Mary 2. It was my husband's first cruise, as I had taken one on Royal Caribbean before to the ... Read More
My husband and I signed up for Cunard's Christmas/New Year's cruise leaving from Brooklyn, 15 days, to the Caribbean on the Queen Mary 2. It was my husband's first cruise, as I had taken one on Royal Caribbean before to the Mediterranean, and loved it. We had heard that Cunard was one of the best, luxurious cruise lines around. The boarding process was definitely much more complicated than my other cruise, which I didn't understand, as we were to be in a higher category of room. The room itself was fine, once we got there. The excitement, of the cruise, however, quickly dissipated within the first few days of being on board. I don't think we met one person on this cruise, who had been on Cunard before, who didn't tell us how far downhill the line has gone in its quality of experience, food, etc. Three days after we left New York, the main doctor on board announced that the noravirus was on the ship and spreading. We, of course, had no idea what the virus was or how it was spread. People were asked to start using hand sanitizer. On my only other cruise (with a friend) staff stood at the entrance to all restaurants and made sure everyone used it from the first day. We now had 11 days left on this cruise. We soon saw that people in our short corridor had it. Staff were wearing masks to clean the rooms. Then we saw other staff wiping down elevators and hand rails. Too little, too late. On our way to Christmas dinner, we had to step over a pile of vomit on the way out of the elevator. Still over a week to go.We went to the purser's desk and asked if we could disembark. We felt trapped in our room (although they stopped vacuuming it for several days for some reason), taking as many excursions as we could. But I always dreaded having to get back on the ship. It was a horrible feeling of anxiety and isolation. The woman at the purser's desk was unbelievably rude and arrogant. She told us we could disembark (NO help from the cruise line, however), but that we would receive no type of reimbursement. We have done extensive travel, worldwide, and have never received this type of treatment. She wouldn't even answer our questions about Center of Disease Control contact. What did we learn? We will never cruise again. Seriously consider doing a cruise this long with this line. Check the CDC's web site to check sanitation ratings, although these statistics are only what the cruise ship reports to them. The report for our cruise said 8% of the passengers had it. We believe that is way too low for what we saw. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
Holiday Cruise R/T NYC to NYC on the Queen Mary 2. December 19, 2010 to Jan 3rd, 2011 We arrived at the pier around 12:15. Our party is 5 people: My 97-year old father-in-law in a scooter, 2 adults, and kids 6 and 8 years old. We ... Read More
Holiday Cruise R/T NYC to NYC on the Queen Mary 2. December 19, 2010 to Jan 3rd, 2011 We arrived at the pier around 12:15. Our party is 5 people: My 97-year old father-in-law in a scooter, 2 adults, and kids 6 and 8 years old. We pulled up and immediately gave the longshoreman a $35 tip. We had a ton of stuff (including the heavy scooter) to unpack and we wanted to assure that our stuff all made in onto the boat. He got us into the building and into the handicap line (where there was basically no line at all.) There are benefits to traveling with the elderly! The staff at the counter were efficient. We had pre-registered, so they really just needed to see our passports, take our photos, swipe our credit card and we were ready to go. Total time to check in, less than 10 minutes. We headed right onto the boat with no annoying waiting in a lounge to be called As we walked onto the ship there was a bit of a crowd, confused about where to go. They only had one person "directing traffic", so she was definitely overwhelmed. She told us to use another elevator down the ship, which was fine. We went right to our cabins to check them out, which was nice that the cabins were already available. We then went to the Kings Court (aka the Lido deck) for lunch. It was busy already, but we got a table for the scooter and then brought back food for all of us. If you need a walker or scooter, be sure to get a handicap-accessible cabin. We booked late on a great deal, so we couldn't get a handicap room. My father-in-law's walker JUST barely fit into the cabin door. We had to rearrange his room so that he could use the walker to move around the bed and get to the balcony and the bathroom. It worked, but it was sub-optimal. He had a handicap room on the last HAL cruise that was much easier for him to maneuver in. We parked the scooter in the "Atlantic room" (the little-used room for card games) down the hall. Others parked theirs in the elevator vestibules, as we have done in the past. The scooter was able to access just about every other location on the ship, although one pool deck is only handicap-accessible by passing through the Todd English restaurant. There were probably about 20 people on the ship with scooters. We loved being on deck 11, near the front of the ship. We had easy access to the B staircase that takes you to and from the show each night. We also were near the self-service laundry and the large Observation deck on the front of the ship as well as being directly down 1 flight from the pool on deck 12. The only downside is that we had to travel the length of the ship to get to the dining room. Beware of deck 6 on the port side. It leads to the Kid Zone and the outdoor pool. Those cabins have noisy crowds walking past their doors throughout the day. The Food: We ate most meals in the Britannia restaurant (the dining room.) My wife and I agreed that the QM2 food and service was nearly exactly on par with that we have experienced on our last three Holland America cruises. Very good quality. Very attentive service. HAL always has a few stock items that are always available (chicken, a steak etc.) While QM2 lacked that, you could order non-menu items (we had Caesar salads often) and if they COULD get what you wanted, they always would. (If you wanted something that they have at the Kings Court, they'll get it for you if you ask.) Our waiter learned that we like a basket of bread and a cheese plate every night, and it was always there waiting for us. Each menu typically included a red meat (beef or lamb usually), a seafood item (mahi-mahi was great), a veggie item, sometimes chicken, but not always and then one more (maybe pasta etc.) There is a different soup for every meal and just about all of them were excellent. As elsewhere, if you want to remove parts of a dish that you don't like, you can. You can also mix-and match items from one dish to another and french fries are always available. Desserts were just OK. The baked goods are all beautiful, but they are suited more to the European palate, I believe. A couple of soufflE desserts and creme brulee were outstanding. We found that the time it took to serve each meal on QM2 was a bit faster than on HAL. I would say that a typical dinner lasted a bit over an hour, while on HAL it would have been closer to an hour and half. The wait after you order and between courses was shorter, which I thought was great. We CERTAINLY were never rushed out, but neither did we sit wondering when the meal would end, which sometimes happens on HAL. The Ship: Public rooms were nicely decorated for the Holidays. Every restaurant and bar had it's own unique Christmas tree. And many of them were just gorgeous. Many passengers got in the spirit too, by decorating their door or "mailbox" with small wreaths or stick-on Santas or bows or stockings. One person wrapped their entire door in Christmas paper, like a giant present. It was fun to see all the original ways that people added a bit of decoration to their rooms. Most days we participated in the afternoon trivia contest in the pub. We met many very nice (and smart) folks by joining new trivia teams each day. Entertainment: The shows were similar in quality to those on HAL. I was impressed that they almost never used prerecorded vocal tracks or canned music (just one show, "Love Crazy", featured lip-synching.) The orchestra was very good. I find that all ships choose odd acts at times. We had a show starring a harp soloist and another with a violinist. Both were very talented, but how long can you sit and be entertained by a woman playing the harp? New Year's Eve featured Des O'Connor who apparently is famous in England. He was like a UK Merv Griffin (he sang a bit and told stories about his famous show-biz friends) which might have been entertaining if we knew who the heck he was. For Christmas Eve they had three sessions of group sing-along's of well known Christmas carols in the Grand Lobby. I was very moved by the emotion of singing along with hundreds of other folks who chose to come and join in the festivities. I was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, but that night turned out to be one of the highlights for me. New Years Eve featured events in several areas of the ship. A big ball in the Queens room (dancing etc), the calypso/rock band in the Grand Lobby and disco in the disco. They all had a balloon drop and complementary champagne at Midnight. A fun night. The Pools: There are basically three. One family pool (The Minnows), one 18-and-over pool and the indoor pool (with retractable roof) for adults and kids alike. As we had many days of unpredictable weather, the roof of the indoor pool was only open one or two days. We found that the pools were not well maintained; that is, they were dirty. When we got on, there were piles of some black stuff piled on each corner of the Minnow pool. I'd estimate that there was 1 to 2 cups of that black stuff in each corner, so I'm not talking about just a little speck of dirt. We called the purser at least 4 times about that, as well as telling people near the pool. Nothing was ever done. On the day we left the ship, I walked by the indoor pool before we disembarked and noted that there were piles of sand in each corner of that pool too. That said, we did use the pools just about every day and I must say that the water didn't look murky. Still, it's a weakness. The People: There were around 200 "kids" under 18 on the ship, ranging from babies to teenagers. The teens tended to move around in a pack of 10 to 20 of them, occasionally taking over one of the pools and jacuzzi. They seemed like basically good kids, although they can be a little loud when they all get together. The average age of the rest of the guests was probably in the late 60's to early 70's. While we bonded with LOTS of people on the ship and had many wonderful conversations, there was an undercurrent of rudeness and unpleasantness among plenty of the guests, particularly the older ones. We saw people being short (and downright rude) to the staff. Nothing seemed to please them and they just seemed like they had come off a crowded subway car and everyone better watch out! It was not the ship that caused these people to be in such a foul mood. It's Christmas for goodness sake. Lighten up and enjoy yourself. Our Cabin: We had an inside cabin and my father-in-law had a balcony down the hall. We were on the 11th deck, near the front, so we made a habit of taking a quick walk out onto the Observation deck (also on 11) each morning to see where we were and what the weather was like. They also have a channel on TV that shows a view of the front of the ship, but it's not the same as being outside to really see what's up. The bathroom was typical, although perhaps a tad smaller than our last couple of HAL bathrooms. Our cabin steward was efficient and helpful. He knew when we left for meals and I think only once was still cleaning the room when we came back. Special requests, like a cork screw or extra tissues were handled quickly and with a smile. The room was in very good condition. The TV's have been upgraded to flatscreens. Our rug had not been replaced, as I read that some others have been. It was OK, but ready to be changed. I suppose I'm behind the times, as people now routinely travel with their entire music collection in their shirt pocket, but I missed having music available in my cabin. They do not have CD or DVD players and there are no "music" channels on TV, aside from the Musak on the webcam channel. If I came back to the cabin by myself, it was strangely quiet. On TV they have a menu of movies that runs each day. They seem behind the times in that you cannot call up a movie "on demand". As such, we saw parts of many movies, but never saw one all the way through. I'm not going to plan my day around watching some old movie. Smoking: We were pleased that smoking is now restricted to only a few spots on the ship. The pub, which was very smoky 4 years ago, is now free of any smell. People can smoke in their cabins and so we sometimes smelled strong smoke in the halls, but that was the exception, not the rule. The only inside location that reeked of stale smoke was the disco. The Ports: St Thomas - We've been to Meghans Bay and it's really just OK. We tried Sapphire Beach this time. About the same distance from the boat 20-40 mins based on traffic. The beach was great: Very clean and beautiful. Good surf but not rough. Shared taxis from the pier were $11 per person, but since we filled the van we were charged $10 and the kids were free. On the way back, there was no discount and I paid $11 each for adults and kids. Chairs at the beach were for rent at $7 and there was a stand selling drinks and snacks. There is a bathroom and a diving rental store. No real restaurants. Less "locals" hanging around smoking than at Meghans. We're not shoppers, so while St Thomas looked to be a good place for shopping, I can't really say. US cell phones work here with no roaming fees. St Martin: Went to Dawn beach. It's closer than the famous Orient beach and much quieter. Chairs and umbrellas for rent ($15 for 2 chairs and an umbrella) and a nice (I'd even say pricey) restaurant/bar on the beach. (You can use their toilets.) This was the nicest beach on our trip until we got to Barbados. Great waves, perfect smooth sand and friendly people. Definitely worth a visit. St Lucia: You have to tender-in here. It rained terribly all day, so since we couldn't go to the beach (I had heard fantastic things about Pigeon Island) we just stayed on board. Curacao: We've vacationed here before, so we know the island quite well. It was a short visit (out at 2:00) and it was Boxing Day so many of the shops were closed. (In the end I'd say that 2/3 of the stores were open by Noon.) The shopping area is quaint and not as full of Little Switzerland-type stores as other ports. Plenty of t-shirt shops. Always worth a walk into, even if just to cross the floating bridge. If you come here, the nicest beach is Porto Marie. Barbados: We read on CC that Crane beach was great for body-surfing. Since the kids love that, we went there. We were quoted a price of $20 per person R/T, which for the 4 of us seemed steep at $80. We pleaded for a "even for the kids?" discount and agreed on $60 R/T. We arrived at the end of a street and the driver showed us how to get to the beach, by walking across concrete stepping stones that crossed an outcropping of sharp coral, down to the beach. Oh and what a beach! Incredibly soft sand, nice boogie-boarding waves and just about the most serene place you could ask for. Chairs, umbrellas and boogie-boards are available for rent. We watching daring youth jump from the cliffs into the turquoise sea and then went and jumped in too! Wow, what a day! There is a shack selling drinks. At the far end of the beach is a small outside shower. You can enter the beach through The Crane Resort and they have facilities. I'm told that they charge you for entering that way and to use the facilities. We didn't, so I'm not sure about the cost. Note that even though this beach was PARADISE, there was no place to change or go to the bathroom. I'd suggest arriving in your bathing suit, as we (and many others) used the trees just off the beach as our public changing area. Dominica: Not much of a beachy island and very limited shopping. We almost went back to the ship, but were talked into a tour by one of the local vultures who will descend on you as you cross the street from the dock. They all pretty much do the same tour, which is to see the sulfur pools and Trafalger Falls. The tour was about 1.5 hours and we were charged $20 for adults and $10 for the kids (fair enough.) The driver stopped along the way to show us flora and fauna and then on to view the bubbling hot pools. (You can also pay extra to visit one of the mineral spas for a soak, but that's not our thing.) From there you go to Trafalgar Falls (admission $5 per person.) You walk about 5 minutes on an easy climb trail to an observation point where you can see the falls. Very impressive. For the more daring folks (that was me and the kids, but not my wife) you can continue down an even rougher trail that takes you to large boulders at the base of twin falls. If you climb over them (it's fairly challenging) you can "swim" in the small pools just down from the falls. Many folks came prepared for this with their swimsuits under their clothes. My son just fell in with his clothes on instead. A very cool place! After leaving the falls, the tour then visited the Botanical Gardens (the crushed school bus from a hurricane in 1979 was a highlight) and then on to a viewing spot high above the city where you can see the ship and all that surrounds it. There is an inexpensive Internet cafe/phoning place right behind the bank as you exit the pier. Greneda: Very friendly people here. I forgot to bring cash and as the tender was arriving we contemplated just staying on and heading back. My wife had $25 and we were able to plead with the taxi guy to take us to Grand Anse beach R/T for that $25. This left us with nothing to pay the $1 fee to use the bathroom, but even the folks there were very kind and let us change and use the toilet. The beach is quite close and has all the facilities. Guys selling watersports are walking around. It was a shame that we had only a short time there, as it was a very comfortable beach. We wanted to go visit the spice plantations and processing plants, but apparently those tours take a long time and you need to be off the ship pronto in order to have time to do them. We took our time and it was too late to go. Our loss I think. St Kitts: Kind of rainy, so we just walked around. Too bad as I was excited about beaches I had read about. Lots of shopping but the prices were high. T-shirts mostly $15 and up. No bargains here. Liquor prices similar to New Hampshire. Tortola: A short day in port. Very long (30-45 minute) tender ride in. There is shopping about an 8 minute walk from the pier but we went to Cane Bay beach. There were 3 ships in port and the beach was very crowded. It's about 20 minutes from the pier by taxi ($8/person each way) over treacherous hills. Quite a ride. We actually got a different taxi back (there are tons available) because the shifter handle on the first taxi was falling off and we feared for our lives. The beach is nice with many beach bars and the usual chairs for rent. Not a quiet spot, but fine for our last day on a beach for 6 months. Tortola's currency is US dollars. There is a bank near the pier that had a big line at their ATM as American's restocked their cash supply. We had just gotten a cash advance on the ship, or we would have been in line too. Summary: We did have a great time on the ship. 15 days go by very fast. We would definitely consider taking this cruise again in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2010
This was our fifth Caribbean cruise on the QM2. The level of service and quality of food has declined with each trip. THE FOOD. The ongoing decline in the quality of the food in the main dining room is enough to make a poor traveler ... Read More
This was our fifth Caribbean cruise on the QM2. The level of service and quality of food has declined with each trip. THE FOOD. The ongoing decline in the quality of the food in the main dining room is enough to make a poor traveler want to weep. The practice of accompanying entrees with frozen peas and carrots reminds me of a trip to a grandmother who can't cook. Add to this an over-reliance on whipped potatoes, and you you're apt to get meals with all with all the charm of a frozen dinner from the local grocery. I thought perhaps the food our last cruise was an aberration, but no, it's become even worse. And the little molded piles of overcooked rice... the less said, the better. On the other hand the food at the added-fee Todd English restaurant was outstanding. We went once and there were eight of us. All were in agreement that the food was first rate. SERVICE IN MAIN DINING ROOM Breakfast and lunch service were chaotic; the error rate for the two of us was an unbelievable 40 percent. The problems included items ordered that were not delivered; wrong dishes delivered, items delivered to other diners; items delivered that were not ordered, dietary restrictions that were bungled with the result that the ordering process needed to be repeated. The service for breakfast and lunch was so bad that it became a something of standing joke among the guests. Service for dinner, on the other hand, while not up to standards of old was acceptable. THE ENTERTAINMENT Some of the shows are four and five years old and if you're familiar with entertainment in larger metropolitan areas will have a "High School Musical" feel to them. The featured guests were entertaining; the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers were uneven. THE DANCING So why would I ever want to take an over-priced Cunard Cruise? One word--the dancing. The Cunard line has the the best dance floors at sea and hires wonderful orchestras/bands to provide danceable ballroom and Latin music. There were six dance hosts who knew their steps. Unfortunately, the line no longer maintains the old standards for their appearance. Gone are the days of the buttoned blazer. On three different occasions the uniform consisted of shapeless, tired-looking tropical shirts. On several occasions the social hostess and her staff were on the dance floor dancing for their own pleasure--ignoring the guests, taking up precious floor space and colliding with the ship's passengers. Very very amateurish, the term that comes to mind is "bush league." Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
The Queen Mary is divine! We are in our sixties and have been on many other cruises. This one was special. The ship is beautiful. We were advised to book a veranda cabin that has glass surround rather than the ones within the hull of the ... Read More
The Queen Mary is divine! We are in our sixties and have been on many other cruises. This one was special. The ship is beautiful. We were advised to book a veranda cabin that has glass surround rather than the ones within the hull of the ship. It was great because you can see the ocean without standing up. It was, however, much more expensive and I'm not sure we'd bother to spend the extra money again because the staterooms with verandas are all fine and all identical except for the veranda...............Because this was a holiday cruise the activities were geared to Xmas and New Years. Cunard did a fabulous job....Christmas Carols sung in the main lobby.....New Years parties all over the ship.....gorgeous decorations throughout, etc. etc....The service was fine except for the deck chairs and lack of them during days at sea. Since the Queen Mary II is not really built as a cruise ship but rather an ocean liner, they are not prepared to accomodate 2000 passengers around the swimming pools. They did run out of deck chairs on a few occasions. That being said, it was a small complaint during an otherwise wonderful trip.....FOOD!....The Britannia dining room is just fine. Lots of people find fault with little things. We did not. All the food was more than fine and so was the service. The Lido buffet is divided into sections that can be a little confusing, but so what! There was plenty to eat and plenty of choices were available. Cunard does tea in the late afternoon not to be missed. How elegant!!! ACTIVITIES....The main activity is BEING on this special ship. If you are interested in wet tee shirt contests and rock climbing this is NOT for you. If you like elegance and dressing to the nines for dinner, then you chose the right ship. People watching is half the fun. The various bars on board are each different and wonderful just to sit there...The shows are typical ship-board stuff but fun if you like that sort of thing.--------All in all, the Queen Mary II is a must experience! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
My apologies for the length of this review, but I have based many vacation selections on these postings and I would not want anyone to miss the Queen Mary 2 experience because of an unfair evaluation of this cruise. My husband and I have ... Read More
My apologies for the length of this review, but I have based many vacation selections on these postings and I would not want anyone to miss the Queen Mary 2 experience because of an unfair evaluation of this cruise. My husband and I have done ten cruises in ten years on NCL, Holland America, Regent, and Celebrity with the most recent on the Constellation's New England/Canada two-week trip in September. We always get a balcony cabin and now that we are retired are constantly on the lookout for great deals. A mailing from Cunard last May caught my attention. The Caribbean Delights 12-day cruise seemed to be a great bargain and a chance to experience the Queen Mary 2 while seeing some new ports. It was comparable to what we paid for similar accommodation on the Constellation. I don't like to fly, so leaving from NY or Bayonne is my first choice. Embarkation was fairly smooth. We drove from NJ and parked in the lot next to the dock for a total of $263 for 12 days. A car service from our home would have been about the same. We arrived in a little over an hour and after 45 minutes in line were checked in and onboard by noon. My first impression was that this is a very elegant ship. The biggest surprise was that we were allowed to go directly to our cabin on Deck 11 as soon as we boarded. No waiting in the dining room until 2:00 with all our carryon bags as on other ships. The other surprise was that our bags were promptly delivered within the hour. Our glass balcony cabin was nicely appointed and similar in size and layout to Celebrity. I had read that the hull balcony cabins can be hot in the tropics and you can only enjoy the view if you are standing up, so I am glad we opted for the glass balcony which we used almost everyday. We took a quick look around and grabbed some lunch in the "Kings Court" buffet which to the first timer is a confusing and disjointed arrangement of 4 separate food areas. It took several days to figure it all out. We unpacked and looked forward to three days at sea to relax and get to know the ship I had read and heard so much about. The sailaway was magical with the beautiful lights of Manhattan receding as we toasted our adventure with the small bottle of champagne provided in our room. We also brought two bottles in our carryon as allowed, which were enjoyed during the trip. Despite a small map in our cabin, and larger ones posted around the ship, there are many sections of the QM2 which are difficult to find, including the Queens Room and the G32 nightclub in the back of the ship because of a curious arrangement of levels on Deck 3, but that was part of the fun exploring on the first day. The other problem is the surprising amount of things to do while at sea and not enough time to do them all. Rows of tables by the windows along walkways on Deck 3 held a variety of board games and jigsaw puzzles, or offered a place to watch the ocean streaming by at close to 28 knots. A beautifully appointed library and book store in the front of the ship had comfortable chairs and couches with a view out the front of Deck 8. I envy those who had the time to enjoy it because I barely made it halfway through the first book I brought with me. We toured the Canyon Ranch Spa, but did not use the facilities. The prices were high and there is a $40 charge to use their Aqua Therapy Centre. My husband enjoyed the golf simulator with daily free competitions and prizes. He also thought the gym well-equipped. One of the big events in the Queens Room is the daily formal white-glove tea at 3:30 with fresh warm scones, little sandwiches, and pastries to ruin your appetite for dinner. The evening brings dancing in the largest ballroom at sea. We have little experiences with formal dance, so I persuaded my husband, along with several hundred fellow passengers to attend the cha cha class given by the resident professional dancers. My visions of "Dancing With the Stars" were dashed when he dropped out after a few minutes because it was too complicated. We ended up watching on the sidelines at the formal balls held during the trip as many experienced dancers took to the floor with a live band and a singer crooning hits from the past. I particularly enjoyed watching the "male hosts" who are brought on to dance with the single women needing a partner. They got many of them up and dancing who might otherwise have been forced to just watch. We went to the G32 nightclub once, and there was a large crowd enjoying the live music, but it is one of the few places where smoking is allowed and we left after a short visit. The Planetarium had some great shows and we were sorry we only had time for two of them. Also, we were able to fit in only one lecture by Peter Quartermaine on the history of the QE2 which we found interesting. The shopping was a little too upscale for our pocketbook. Didn't see anyone buying the Hermes ties at $160 a pop, but I heard from someone that a gentlemen did buy his lady a $25,000 trinket in the jewelry shop. Enjoyed the covered pool on the first day and the two open ones once it got warm. Tough but not impossible to find a lounge chair on sea days. The casino slots were not paying and I frankly got bored after a few nights of dealing with tokens in the machines and very little reward for my effort. I have become lazy using the ticket-only slots in Atlantic City and scooping up a bucketful of quarters is a pain in the neck when you want to change machines. The final Bingo was poorly attended despite the $1900 jackpot won by a single person. We ate every meal except one at the 8:30 late seating, which we chose because we don't like to rush getting ready for dinner after spending all day in port. My disappointment at being seated at one of the last tables in the back of the second floor of the beautiful Britannia Dining Room was short lived. Our six tablemates from Great Britain and Canada (by way of Scotland) were so entertaining and such wonderful dinner companions that we hardly noticed the location after the first night, and regretted leaving them for the one night we ate at Todd English. Britannia offered a wide selection for dinner including a Canyon Ranch Spa selection with calorie and fat grams listed for the diet conscious as well as several vegetarian offerings indicated with a "V". Not every dish was to our American taste, and we learned to stay away from their attempts at Italian entrees. For the most part the beef and lamb were exceptional, while several of the fish offerings were just ok. The chicken tended to be on the dry side and required additional gravy. I particularly enjoyed their version of Thanksgiving Dinner with turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings because I did not spend all day in the kitchen preparing it. The desserts were tempting and by the end of the cruise we were having trouble buttoning our clothes. We also enjoyed breakfast in Britannia when we had more time, since port days were hectic in the Kings Court with everyone trying to get out. Todd English is the specialty restaurant and it certainly was a wonderful experience even at $30 a person. I had what I consider the best filet mignon in recent memory. Cristobal was our first stop and one of the reasons we chose this cruise. My husband's great-uncle worked as an engineer on the Panama Canal and we have some of his pictures of the early construction. As we approached the port I was amazed to see more than twenty tankers and cargo ships lined up waiting for their turn to approach the Gatun Locks. Although the QM2 is too large to transit the Canal we signed up for a ship's tour that is a partial transit by ferry boat. A bus ride of a little over an hour on their new highway brings you to the dock where you embark on a fascinating ferry ride through the Pedro Miguel Locks and the Miraflores Locks. I have read many descriptions of transit by cruise ship, but on the ferry boat you really experience the rising and lowering water levels. We were in the lane next to an enormous cargo ship that dwarfed our little boat. A new canal is being built parallel to the existing one and should be finished in two years. It will be big enough to hold ships which cannot fit in the current locks. We ended up in the Pacific Ocean with a view of Panama City in the distance. Since reading "A Path Between the Seas" I had a greater appreciation for the years of hard work (and Congressional bickering) that went into the construction of the Canal. Also, after driving through Colon on the bus I would agree that it is not a town that you want to wander through on your own. Be aware that the rainy season in Panama extends from May through November. We experienced a few downpours but when the sun came out it was hot and humid. Curacao was new to us and we chose to do the Kayak and Snorkel Tour offered by the ship as we had to be back on board by 1:00. It was very windy and we had a difficult time paddling the boat in the open water. The snorkeling was good, but not great. We had no extra time to explore the town, but we feel it was not the prettiest island of the trip. Grenada was also a new port for us. We chose the Catamaran and Snorkel trip and had a lot of fun on board the "High Time" with some good snorkeling and lots of rum punch. Several of our dinner companions enjoyed tours to the spice production areas where they purchased spices to bring home. Barbados was one of our favorite stops. We took a taxi to Payne's Bay and with our own snorkel equipment were able to swim out to the same spot where the tour boats anchored to swim with the turtles. It was a wonderful experience. The large turtles are fed by the guides and seem comfortable swimming around with dozens of people in the water. The island is clean and the people kind and helpful. St. Kitts was also a new port for us and competes with Barbados as one of our favorites. We chose the Nevis Sailaway despite its hefty price tag. We went by catamaran to the nearby island of Nevis. Great snorkeling and a barbeque on the beach were included. Unfortunately, all the palm trees on the beach had been stripped of their palms by a blight caused by trees imported for the nearby Four Seasons Hotel. It detracted from an otherwise beautiful location. Tortola is a part of the gorgeous British Virgin Islands. We had been there on a previous cruise and went to the Baths on Virgin Gorda. This time we chose to take a taxi to Brewers Bay where we spent the day relaxing on the Beach and watching the pelicans dive for lunch. The snorkeling was disappointing as the water was too cloudy to see much. The taxi driver returned for us at 3:00 as promised and we reluctantly ended our last day in the tropics. Just a short comment on the entertainment. Many of the late seating shows were at 10:30 and frankly it was tough staying awake after eating a big meal and a full day of activities. There were some hits and some misses. While I felt the big production show "Viva Italia" was awful, "Apassionata" was quite good. The individual acts were talented and tried hard to entertain a sluggish audience. Our cabin attendant did a wonderful job of looking after us. After explaining that I required a top sheet between the duvet and bottom sheet she made sure that the bed was made up that way. We usually did not have time before dinner to try the lounges, but my husband enjoyed The Golden Lion Pub because of the great beer selection. I appreciate that the drink servers do not pester you in the theater or lounges if you do not want anything from the bar. One waiter in the Queens Room put a cocktail napkin down on the table after I indicated we did not want anything, explaining that would let the other servers know we had been approached so they would not keep asking us if we needed anything. Much different than the hardsell on other ships we have been on. We experienced calm seas and were amazed as the ship cut through the water like a knife through butter, but we also heard many tales of the horrible transatlantic crossing that 400 of our fellow travelers experienced the week before. It was labeled by the Captain as the roughest the ship had ever experienced, but several brave souls remarked that it really wasn't that bad. We enjoyed Captain Nick Bates and his daily updates with a humorous quip for the day. The crowds at his book signing ("A Pinch of Salt") attest to his popularity with the regular Cunard crowd as well. My biggest complaint would have to be the 5 formal and 4 semiformal nights on a Caribbean vacation. There are alternatives for those who don't want to dress, but the majority of passengers were decked out in ballgowns, jewels, and tuxedos. It's fine for the days at sea, but really two much after a tough day at the beach. Our biggest disappointment was the disembarkation, which was not totally the fault of the Cunard staff. Our group was forced to wait almost two hours past our scheduled departure time because of "technical difficulties" and when we finally got off could not find a porter or cart to help with our five very heavy bags. By 11:30 the departing passengers were competing with the newly arrived for assistance and we ended up maneuvering the bags across the terminal and loading them into our car ourselves. Despite that unhappy ending we would definitely sail with Cunard again. We went into this trip with a sense of discovery, without some of the expectations that past passengers may have from other sailings and enjoyed our experience immensely for what it was -- a great time on a great ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2008
I will make this short but am open to further questions from anyone interested. The ship was amazing from a technical and size perspective but slightly less elaborate in decoration then some of the regular cruise ships I have been ... Read More
I will make this short but am open to further questions from anyone interested. The ship was amazing from a technical and size perspective but slightly less elaborate in decoration then some of the regular cruise ships I have been on.(not a complaint just an observation) On the whole it was a remarkable ship! The food was very good as we ate in the Britannia Room but do highly recommend the Chef's Gallery as this was stellar. Book early and often for the various nights there. Todd English was..well not so great. The food was good but the overall feel and service was not close to that of Ocean Liners on say Celebrity. My advice is book the Chef's Gallery in lieu of Todd English and as a bonus it is free. Our room was comparable to other cruise staterooms and was always very well cleaned. We had a sheltered balcony and although you could not see out when sitting, it was very roomy. I thought this a better value then decks 8 and 9 which appeared to have a very obstructed view from the lifeboats even though those were glass balcony's. The shows were mixed and I would say overall disappointing compared to other ships. Cunard needs to really improve this end. It would be my biggest complaint. They did have a few very good ones but on average....average. Staff was very friendly and accommodating and getting on and off a ship of this size was pretty coordinated and easy. The Itinerary for 15 nights was great with 9 stops starting in Ft. Lauderdale, Panama, Bonaire, Granada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts, Tortola and St. Thomas. Overall I loved being on this "Ocean Liner" and would go back tomorrow despite the shows. However we did seem to pay a fair bit less then others and it seemed to be the higher one paid the more they complained! We thought the Value was very very good based on other cruises we took. We paid less this year for 15 nights then one last year with Celebrity for 10 nights so thought it very good value. Might simply be the time and economy helping us here. The age was older and on average I would say 60's which I think was lower due to the Holiday season as we did see a fair bit of Families on board! I would also say that this is a pretty formal ship so go prepared to wear the formals or be turned away as some found out! Also we had your handful of usual rude and miserable guests on board and again for the life of me...."Why do these people insist on traveling?" I guess they just want to spread their miserable little existence around for the enjoyment of the rest of us?? So many things to mention but in ending...I would rate this a 9 out of 10 based on my experience of 8 cruises with various lines and would recommend it highly! Cheers and Happy Sailing! Read Less
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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