First, this review is my personal opinion. This is my first time on the QM2 and second cruise ever. My first cruise ever was an inside cabin on the Crown Princess cruise in the Caribbean. For background while I enjoy cruising I would ... Read More
First, this review is my personal opinion. This is my first time on the QM2 and second cruise ever. My first cruise ever was an inside cabin on the Crown Princess cruise in the Caribbean. For background while I enjoy cruising I would not consider myself a diehard cruiser. Also, if something is really subpar I will say so. I do not think the QM2 is subpar in any way for a mass market cruise ship.
A Note on the Weather: We encountered fog on the way up and back. You might want to check to see if this is normal this time of year for this itinerary and decide for yourself if this would affect your enjoyment. The seas were generally calm.
A bit of excitement: On the way north a passenger got sick and a US coast guard helicopter landed on the top deck to pick them up. I didn’t think there was room up there for a helicopter but apparently there was.
Bottom line: We liked the cruise and would consider the QM2 for another cruise however my biggest problem was the price. I thought the $300 per person per night for a Britannia class obstructed view balcony cabin was not justified by the value received. I don’t feel cheated, just that it was a little overpriced. I would probably consider the QM2 for a transatlantic return to the US or possibly some other itinerary.
More extensive review:
This is a mass market cruise ship and so I review it as such.
After 2 cruises I have learned that on cruises the attitude and how other passengers act very significantly affects your enjoyment of the cruise. If the other passengers are loud, obnoxious, rude and do not dress appropriately they can ruin your cruise. On the other hand if the other passengers behave appropriately for the cruise then you can have a better time.
On this specific cruise I think the majority of passengers dressed and behaved appropriately, even the children. In my opinion, based on this cruise, the QM2 is appropriate for passengers wanting the following type of cruise:
• a nice calm relaxing vacation, e.g., to destress, read a book from their extensive shipboard library
• low key
• dressing for dinner
• ballroom dancing
• afternoon tea
• trivia contests
• sipping a cocktail or glass of wine in one of the many bars or by one of the pools
• enjoying a lecture on weather or whatever else is being discussed or maybe taking a class on fencing (personally I would have liked to try the fencing but never quite made it to the class)
While most of the passengers were older there were younger passengers and some children a few of which dressed for dinner. I thought I saw a five year old in either a dark suit or tuxedo on formal night.
If you enjoy the following I suggest you find a different ship or you will be wasting your money, will not be happy, and annoy other passengers:
• drink a lot and get drunk
• be loud and party (this is not a party ship, even on the Crown Princess cruise which skewed older there were more 20 and 30 year olds who discoed and drank more and were loud)
• want to wear casual clothes at dinner
• want water slides, rock climbing walls, etc.
The food: On the whole I thought the food was fine. We ate most dinners in the main dining room (MDR). This is not a five star or Michelin rated restaurant in a large city. However, overall the service was excellent and I though the meals we had were Ok to very good considering the number of meals they serve. We had a 2 person table at the early seating which we requested when we booked the cruise. There is a dress code at dinner. I saw the crew turn one person away who was not properly dressed although I did see someone who was not properly dressed sneak in. As I stated before, if you do not want to dress for dinner (men wear jacket without tie on informal nights) you should probably pick a different cruise, you will be wasting your money on this ship.
We also ate breakfast twice in the main dining room, once in our room, and once at the buffet. The breakfast in our room was very enjoyable, came on time and hot, same with the MDR. We didn’t particularly care for the buffet, the food was not necessarily bad. It is just that it gets crowded, can be hard to find a seat and generally reminds me of the buffets they have in US casinos in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. The one nice thing is it is open early if you need to get to an excursion and we found our way there at 1 AM one time and they still had a small selection of food available (some hot).
For lunch I didn’t think the menus in the MDR were up to par, we never tried it. We did have lunch in the Golden Lion Pub on embarkation day (really glad we chose to go there instead of the buffet) and one other day. It can get crowded in the pub for lunch when it first opens so get there early or wait for a seat. It is a limited menu however, we very much enjoyed it and the atmosphere. They actually had some beers that had to be hand pumped out of the barrel. They let me sample a beer or two before I purchased, very civilized. They had 2 dart boards in the back and they play trivia here.
They also serve a small selection of hot snacks and deserts in the Carinthia Lounge for breakfast and lunch. Given its proximity to the buffet at breakfast or lunch you can grab something in the buffet and from the Carinthia Lounge to round out your meal.
The QM2 also has a proper afternoon tea in the Queens Room. We tried it once and it was very nice. Actually they do a very nice afternoon tea on the Crown Princess (my wife thought they were equivalent to the QM2) however it is much more crowded on the QM2 compared to the Crown Princess so they line up early on the QM2. On the QM2 they had a selection of teas (you can purchase champagne by the glass), finger sandwiches, scones with what they called clotted cream (I am not really sure it was true clotted cream although it tasted fine), and other nice deserts. They had chamber music during the tea. They also have scones etc. in the buffet which you can grab and enjoy out on the promenade if the weather is nice (the buffet and the promenade are both deck 7).
Bars and night clubs. There are several bars on the QM2. Most of the bars have some form of live music or entertainment at various times of the day and evening (e.g., piano player, harpist, jazz band, rock group). For some reason they close the shades in the Commodore Club at sunset, wish they didn't. I thought the live music was on par with the Crown Princess. I think the Carinthia Lounge is the place to go if you want to try ports. I did a port flight there. In general I thought the cocktails in the bars were properly made and reasonably priced by US large city standards. Way better than the cocktails on the Crown Princess, maybe because they do not do drink packages on the QM2 for Britannia class. I tried a couple of mixed non-alcoholic beverages (smoothies, mock tails) that I thought were quite good. They have wine by the glass which we tried, it was OK. It is probably less expensive to buy wine by the bottle which they will supposedly hold for you until it is finished, another passenger told us that this is what they do. You can also bring your own wine onboard and consume it in your room for free which we did (supposedly you can pay a corkage fee and have it in one of the public venues, we didn’t try this). We also brought our own bottled water and soda on board, it was not inconvenient for us to do this.
There is one location on the ship that I would consider a night club, it is G32. We looked in but did not stay, they had live music at night. Seemed nice and there were people there.
The big thing about the QM2 is that they have a real ballroom for dancing (fox trot, waltz, tango, etc.), the Queens Room (proper dress required). The dance floor is relatively large. They have live music from a good band at certain times of the evening. Even if you don’t dance it is worth going there to watch other people dance. Personally, even if you are younger I would suggest trying to learn a little ballroom dancing, you might hate it however you might also like it. Personally, while some may consider it heresy, I would suggest to Cunard that they add some line dancing in the ballroom for the younger crowd, you DO NOT have to nor should you reduce/eliminate the dress code for this.
The ship as a whole. I thought the ship as a whole was nice. I thought the ship itself was on par with the Crown Princess however, my wife really liked the QM2 better. A lot of time on the Crown Princess they are trying to sell you stuff.
The pools were nice and one of the pools (Pavilion Pool) they will close the glass cover when the weather is inclement so it can still be enjoyed. I think they have live music by the pools at certain times however we didn’t see it.
Other things we did on the ship. Saw a planetarium show, it was nice (you need to get tickets in advance). Saw a 3d movie in Illuminations. Played trivia in the pub one evening. Saw the show in the theater first night out, it was fine, not spectacular. Watched a lecture on the weather which I enjoyed. Listened to a ghost story in Carinthia Lounge, it was OK but should have been done later at night when it was dark.
Took a book out of the really big library, for a ship. Walked the promenade a few times and sat out on deck a few times. Really liked the promenade. Tried shuffle board. One thing I did miss that they have on the Crown Princess is outdoor movies however I assume that they don't have this because it is more appropriate to the Caribbean as opposed to the itinerary that the QM2 usually has.
Service overall was very nice everywhere.
Shore excursions. As a whole we really didn't care for Saint John (not that much to do) however I did enjoy the Fundy Coastal Photography tour.
I like and always have liked Boston, we are about a five hour drive from Boston.. Didn't do any of the ship sponsored tours, didn't need to. I did like that Cunard provided a free shuttle to and from a center of Boston. We could see some fireworks from the upper deck and other passengers chose to watch the fireworks there however you are pretty far away and do not have the same experience as if you are up close.
We live near Brooklyn so we just drove there and left the car until we returned. If you have never been to New York before and your cruise either starts or ends here I strongly recommend allowing at least 2 to 3 full days to explore he city either before or after your cruise. Disembarkation was fine however embarkation could have been organized better. Read Less