1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Transatlantic Cruises
  4. Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

323 Transatlantic Luxury Cruise Reviews

This was my 10th cruise and my first on a Cunard ship. I've always held Cunard - with its British roots and regal history - in great esteem. Often when I look so forward to something and build it up in my head, I am bound to be ... Read More
This was my 10th cruise and my first on a Cunard ship. I've always held Cunard - with its British roots and regal history - in great esteem. Often when I look so forward to something and build it up in my head, I am bound to be disappointed. Not so in the case of Cunard and Queen Elizabeth. What I received was a well-polished cruise product on a beautiful, grand ship drenched in Anglo-rific maritime history. This is not a cruise for the ultra-active and uber-hip that so many other cruise lines seem to be going after. This is a cruise for those who appreciate an old-world, quiet, reserved, relaxed experience that celebrates history, the majesty of the North Atlantic and being at sea for 8 days straight in often stormy seas. The ship itself is beautiful and under-statedly elegant. Lots of exotic woods, creamy beiges, rich blues and warm leathers seems to be the general décor theme. Public rooms were stately and always very polished. My balcony stateroom (#8113) was not the largest I've enjoyed in recent years, but it was very clean, well-designed and had enough storage space for a week's cruise. The bed and bed linens were by far the best I have ever enjoyed on any cruise ship and in most hotels. At 48 my fellow passengers were a good 20-30 years older than me on average. For me, this only made the cruise more enjoyable. It's the first cruise I've been on where everyone easily had interesting and long conversations with complete strangers. I would say 65% were Brits, 15% American, 10% German and 10% from everywhere else. People adhered to the fairly formal dress codes - again adding to the experience for me. There were three formal nights - black tie for the gents - and five informal nights - jackets for gents, but ties optional. And people really did adhere to these codes. I never saw anyone in the dining rooms (or any of the public rooms) after 6pm in jeans or even khakis. Impressive and fun. The entertainment was good when it wasn't trying to be what other cruise lines offer. There was a harpist, and a violin quartet, and a concert pianist, and an opera signer. They were all wonderful and added to the special, old-world atmosphere of the ship. My favorite entertainer was the jazz pianist in the Commodore Club. His name is Graham Wellard and he has recently released an album. Both as a piano player and vocalist he perfectly captured the mood of the space and the passengers. Not as impressive was the ships group of singers and dancers. However, they were a new cast, and due to stormy seas we only got to see one show. But the one show we saw was - awful. Perhaps Cunard really needs to consider whether or not this type of show is really necessary on their ships. I don't think it is. The food was plentiful and terrific in every venue. I ate dinner every night with terrific tablemates in the Britannia Grill. I had no complaints. Our waiter and assistant waiter worked extremely hard and did a wonderful job, The Lido Buffet had a good selection of treats 24/7 and I never had a hard time finding a table. Room service was always on time - even early on several occasions - and the food was fine, although the room service coffee could use some real improvement. Staff throughout the ship were professional, efficient and charming without being fake or solicitous. However, some of the staff were beginning to show symptoms of disinterest as a result of compulsory tipping I expect. The best staff were found in the Commodore Club. They always demonstrated that perfect balance of chumminess with professionalism, so many others in our world are unable to master. Although the ship arrived late into Southampton and therefore embarked and left late, Cunard managed the chaos quite well and offered each passenger a $50 credit for any troubles. We also sailed through very rough seas most of the trip, and although the Captain tried to make up the time, was unable to get us into NY on time. I appreciated his regular updates and commitment to caution. My best experience on this cruise was the opportunity for a Behind The Scenes Tour. If you have the opportunity pay the $120 and do it. It's a three hour tour that includes several meetings with department heads. You go from the engineering control room up to the Bridge and everywhere in between. You learn so much about the ship and I found it all very fascinating. Well worth $120. Most of all I am writing this review because I don't want this type of cruising to disappear from the face of the earth. It is such a special experience, and I know there will continue to be a lucrative audience for it if Cunard and Carnival will continue to commit themselves wholeheartedly to it. Well done Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We first did a QM2 transatlantic in the summer of '12, and having found a tempting rate decided to see what might be different about a winter crossing. On the whole, we found the Queen much the same as it was two years ago, improved ... Read More
We first did a QM2 transatlantic in the summer of '12, and having found a tempting rate decided to see what might be different about a winter crossing. On the whole, we found the Queen much the same as it was two years ago, improved in fact in some areas, and on the whole a very, very satisfactory way to spend a week's relaxing holiday. We traveled Britannia Club and can recommend it wholeheartedly. The difference in fare is, to my mind, more than justified by the significantly enhanced dining experience and the few other little perks that make the trip more fun. We sat this time in the separate rear dining room and found it an incredibly relaxing and serene place to eat our three meals daily (so pleasant, in fact, that we didn't try any venue, despite fond memories of the pub lunch in the Golden Lion). Our servers were very good, with special praise due to the assistant waiter (bravo Freddie!) who magically anticipated every need. On the whole, the QM2's food seemed rather better than it was two years ago, with especially delicious vegetables, salads, and marvelous fish. We eat less red meat, but nonetheless greatly enjoyed the rack of lamb, venison, and prime rib. Desserts, to our taste, were sometimes less successful, but in Britannia Club one can have a flambé dessert made tableside nightly, so that was our go-to choice. The added Club a la carte dinner menu is a nice option, with excellent choices such as sole and a prawn salad that gave us more to choose from when the usual menu didn't tempt (surprisingly rarely, although we usually make dinner a four- or five-course meal and so had more choosing to do). The food was consistently piping hot - something that we heard from fellow travellers in both the main Britannia restaurant and (more surprisingly) the Princess Grill was not always the case in their experience. We chose exactly the same cabin as we'd traveled in previously and found it in ship-shape condition - we love Cunard's mattresses and despite some occasional pitching (well, it was December in the North Atlantic, after all), slept beautifully. The bathrooms are, as others have noted, small, and we might have minded that more if we didn't rely so much on the spa, where we spent some or most of most days and frequently used its excellent showers instead of the smaller cabin one. Cabin service was unobtrusive but excellent. We're fairly self-contained travelers and so can comment less on the entertainment - the one or two things we went to were fine, although it seems the relationship with RADA has ended, as there was no drama troupe on board. Music everywhere was lovely - we do enjoy the range, from a string quartet to a jazz combo, and the wide range of timings and location of the live entertainment. As noted, we found the December crossing moderately rougher than the June one, but nothing the QM2 couldn't handle with ease - I was actually hoping for some wilder seas, just to see what it was like. Next time! I had feared that the proximity to Christmas might mean more children, but there were very few and all well-behaved that we saw. In general, the crowd did seem significantly older than on our last trip - in our early fifties, we definitely felt among the younger set. Even so, the nightclub was lively until well after midnight most nights, although most other venues emptied earlier. I'm an early riser who enjoys morning walks, so not a problem for us. We're a same-sex couple and found no issues at all in regard to that; in fact, there was a sizable gay tour group aboard and very lively gatherings at cocktail time in the Commodore Club. On the practical side, embarkation in Southampton went far more smoothly than it had in '12 - we arrived at 12:30 and were on board within an hour, with very little waiting in queues. Our departure was delayed by about eight hours for technical reasons, but the only effect on the passengers was that the casino remained closed the first evening. Disembarkation in New York was delayed by U.S. customs (seemed to be an understaffing problem), and for those in any hurry to get off, self-disembarkation was definitely the way to go. BC was scheduled to get off at 9:30, but we waited until 10:30 and only just caught a noon train (Once off, departure was fast and smooth - it was probably wise to hold passengers on board rather than crowding the rather chaotic departure facilities). So for not that much more than the price of the airfare, we got a lovely week on the high seas, on a ship of great beauty and very good service. If we can once again make schedules and fares align, we'll look forward to a third crossing on the last true liner. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I sailed on the QM2 in December for the mid-month crossing from Southampton to NY. This was cruise #43 for me; most of my cruises have been on Celebrity and Royal, and this was my 8th trip on Cunard, and the 4th time on the QM2. I’ve ... Read More
I sailed on the QM2 in December for the mid-month crossing from Southampton to NY. This was cruise #43 for me; most of my cruises have been on Celebrity and Royal, and this was my 8th trip on Cunard, and the 4th time on the QM2. I’ve had mixed feelings in the past about the food and service, but the trip was well-priced at a good time of year, and was with a group I knew and would be comfortable with, so I took the plunge. I’m very glad I did. OVERALL IMPRESSIONS I was amazed at how well-maintained the ship is. Nearly everything looks new or freshly refurbished. Literally - the only peeling paint I saw was on one of the deck chairs on my balcony. There are a few places where you still smell cigarette smoke, but overall the ship seems fresh, clean and extremely well-kept. Service was great, and the MDR food was among the best ever. I’m ready to go again. EMBARKATION in SOUTHAMPTON My documents said to arrive at noon. We arrived about 12:30 pm. There was no separate line for the higher loyalty tiers or suites visible. All guests were given a numbered tag and called in turn. We waited 90 minutes to be checked in. That was ridiculous. STATEROOM Well-maintained and comfortable. Great toiletries. The most comfortable bed on any ship I’ve been on,and it was truly a king-size bed. The bed is high enough to store most cases underneath, and if they don’t fit, your cabin attendant can store them for you elsewhere. That’s something not offered on most ships. Great shower with handheld. ROOM SERVICE I only ordered breakfast in the room, and that didn’t go as smoothly. Having selected a time, I was surprised to find it arrive 20 minutes early. When I asked why, the answer was “The kitchen is busy this morning.” They don’t call in advance, so you don’t know they’re coming. This seemed a bit less than “sophisticated” service. INTERNET So slow in the cabin as to be useless, but perfectly speedy in the Connexions lounge. BRITANNIA RESTAURANT Lunches were pre-plated so changes to preparation and sides were declined. Lunches weren’t terrific - good but not great. Dinners were terrific. Every meal was excellent, and the surf and turf on gala night included the best lobster I’ve ever had. Fantastic. There aren’t enough wine stewards to meet the demand. Cunard would have made a lot more money that week if the wine steward had been more available. TODD ENGLISH We had two meals there, both excellent. If you go just once, you can’t go wrong with the Garlic Shrimp, Love Letters, Filet and the Molten Chocolate Cake. That was my first night’s meal, and to my taste, it’s the best items they do. BEVERAGES Drinks in the Commodore lounge were terrific. Well-made, interesting cocktails, with a broad range of brands. Well-priced, too, if you used to big-city drink prices. Typical manhattan variation was under $11 including tip. However, Cunard doesn’t know what “nominal” means. For example, a $100 charge for a wine tasting is not “nominal.” CASINO The only way to get a payout is to post the winnings to your room card and present that. No option for an anonymous paper slip or coins. The casino was never busy, and a couple times there was no cashier on duty (“back in 15!”) I wasn’t interested in being tracked, and it was more trouble than it was worth. THE LECTURES These vary by cruise, but were all quite interesting. Professional, polished speakers on good topiics. THE SHOWS The real downfall. Awful. Pathetic. Apassionate is billed as their “Signature Production Show.” The singers and dancers were talented, but they weren’t given much to work with. Nothings but a disconnected set of songs with dances. Nice costumes, but nothing special. Most off-putting - at least 1/3 of the seats are on the SIDE of the stage, but 100% of the action was designed to be viewed head-on. Shame on the choreographers. Again, overall, a fantastic ship and service. I’ll be back.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My wife and I had an amazing crossing of the Atlantic sea on QM2 from Southampton (Dec 15) to NYC (Dec 22). Onboard, everything was exceptional: The crew, the service, the cuisine, the fabulous dining rooms, the Commodore club, the ... Read More
My wife and I had an amazing crossing of the Atlantic sea on QM2 from Southampton (Dec 15) to NYC (Dec 22). Onboard, everything was exceptional: The crew, the service, the cuisine, the fabulous dining rooms, the Commodore club, the lectures onboard, the very elegant evenings, the library with its 10,000 books, the high tea, etc. (only to mention a few) Every morning, I could not wait getting up for a run on deck 7 while admiring the sea around us We also enjoyed real friendship with fellow Cunarders that we met onboard. As a lover of the golden era liners (Mauretania, Queen Mary, etc.), QM2 itself was the destination and I was not disappointed.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our seventh time on QM2 and the first six were in Queens Grill but this time we had spent a month in the US on a tour and had been booked in Britannia. We were actually offered an upgrade on embarkation but refused it, as we ... Read More
This was our seventh time on QM2 and the first six were in Queens Grill but this time we had spent a month in the US on a tour and had been booked in Britannia. We were actually offered an upgrade on embarkation but refused it, as we wanted to check out Britannia and were not to be disappointed. We had booked a balcony stateroom at the aft of deck 11 (11126) which was not as spacious as Grill level but just fine and had the advantage for those with arthritic knees of just having a shower, rather than a shower over a bath. We ventured for our first meal in Britannia and had requested a table for two and were lucky enough to be allocated 316 which was superb being on the balcony but completely discrete from other tables. Our waiting team were wonderful being the Section Head Waiter, Elvis and the table Head Waiter Eric, both from the Phillipines and both were truly professional and very interactive. Equally our sommelier Berandette was also excellent, as was the quality and choice of the food. There genuinely was not a huge wrench from being in Grill and we felt very much at home and well looked after. The cruise itself was sublime and such a marked contrast to going out on Quantum of the Seas. From the moment we embarked on QM2 (and yes it took all of five minutes) it was like being in an oasis of relaxation and of quality. There were also wonderful things to occupy oneself.....like five guest lecturers, like RADA lessons and performances and like the wonderful wine tastings expertly choreographed by Head Sommelier Domino de la Four ....another true professional. We also had the pleasure of a galley tour, conduced by the friendly and ultra talented Head Chef, Nicholas and of attending his chef's galley meal, where we also had the pleasure of eating with a group of twelve....all of whom proved excellent company. We never tried the buffet, as the quality of the food and the service in the main restaurant was too good to compromise. One final point the Cunard singers and dancers were total quality and the epitme of energy, verve and good entertainment So next time we go on QM2....as I fervently hope, we will.....we now have a genuine decision to Grill or to Britannia......at this stage I have no idea of our decision..... but I do know that Cunard and in particular QM2 are of the highest quality, provided you know how to appreciate the better things in life. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Overall this was a most enjoyable cruise. Our(my wife and I) criteria for judging the cruise:- Embarcation. In this case it was a bit disjointed. So far our trips with other lines meant the suitcases were taken from the bus/coach and the ... Read More
Overall this was a most enjoyable cruise. Our(my wife and I) criteria for judging the cruise:- Embarcation. In this case it was a bit disjointed. So far our trips with other lines meant the suitcases were taken from the bus/coach and the next we saw of them was in the cabin. This time we had to collect the cases and take them to the shed which proved a little difficult because of the surface of the pavement. The registration was a bit chaotic, principally due to the Ebola scare in effect, and not very smooth. Disembarcation was very well handled, although the port in Rio was a disaster zone because of road works. Itinerary. We are more interested in sailing than visiting cruise ports, thus chose the transatlantic trip. However I was also looking forward to visiting Brazil. As it turned out Cadiz was the most interesting stop, and I saw nothing in the three Brazilian ports( Recife, Salvador, Rio) that would cause me to go back. Accommodations. First class. We had a Concierge class stateroom, and wanted for nothing. The Cabin Steward was Kosta. He was excellent. We did get flooded out and had to move. This was due to a burst toilet pipe. In general there were several problems with the toilet flushing mechanism, and many times the plumbers were on the decks dealing with this. Dining. It can only be described as the acme of culinary delights. We had many meals in the GDR with no fault in the quality, apart from one instance when one of our group ordered the shrimp risotto with squid ink. It came with three tiny shrimp and should never have left the kitchen.The fresh fruit at breakfast was frequently hard ( contrasting with the fruit in the hotel we stayed in post cruise which was heaven on earth). We had a really substandard burger in the Waves restaurant and never went back there. We had bookings in all Specialty restaurants. The outstanding favourite of our group of six people was Polo, followed by Red Ginger, then Jacques and Toscana a distant last. There was a bizarre occurence while in Salvador.During the evening meal a large group of people ( we were subsequently told they were local travel agents) were led in and occupied the centre of the Dining Room. Virtually all service stopped for about 45 minutes and our main course took about one hour to arrive. Service. Overall very good. We had a couple of spotty experiences in the GDR but put it down to staff just arrived on board. The wine waiters were almost without exception superb, especially Andrii. We did have an unfortunate episode where a wine waiter argued with one of our group that the coloured liquer he delivered was Cointreau. The Maitre d' came over to apologise. The drinks servers were excellent and hard working in particular Rosslyn. Beverages. An eclectic drinks and wine menu. We could not believe the range of spirits. I felt almost any of the wines by the glass choices were excellent-- apart from the La Terre choice. A nice touch was to give you the shaker, with remaining liquid, in the Martini's bar, but only in the Martini's bar. Entertainment. We do not go on sea voyages and expect high class acts, and therefore were not disappointed. This was our first Oceania cruise and the pricing was most favourable. As usual the whole was marred by the flight arrangements and I wouldn't go through that again Summary. I would wholeheartedly endorse Oceania if this cruise is typical Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was our first experience of Cunard and were well aware that there is a subtle difference between a Liner and. Cruise ship. We certainly felt the differences and overall were quite pleased. The embarkation in NY was a shambles . Not ... Read More
This was our first experience of Cunard and were well aware that there is a subtle difference between a Liner and. Cruise ship. We certainly felt the differences and overall were quite pleased. The embarkation in NY was a shambles . Not down to Cunard but due to the US Customs services doing a serious inspection etc. when we eventually got onboard there wasn't a welcome drink available. Simply a me me,her of staff giving directions. We had to wait a further hour before we were allowed access to our cabins at around 2.00. We managed to squeeze in a visit to the buffet for a snack before going to the cabin. One in the cabin there was no luggage there even though we had arrived a the dock at 10.15 in the morning . We did several visit to the elevator areas to see if the luggage had come but to no avail. We were astonished just how the crew handled the bas. They simply pulled out the easiest one and let all the others fall off the cage. No wonder bags get damaged. We were not very impressed with this attitude at all. With the muster due at 4.30 and the early dinner due at 6.00 we were getting a little concerned. Still nothing so we attended muster. After returning to the cabin we found our bags waiting for us. We frantically unpacked some of the bags in order get the necessary cloths to dress for dinner. Wife was not happy at all. We found the food and service in the Britannia First sitting ding room very good . The choice of menus was satisfactory for us and the waiters always willing to help or get something different if they could. This carried on through out the voyage ( not cruise apparently) and we were very very satisfied with everything. Indeed we were very happy with everything with the QM2 and what was happening onboard. Entertainment and lectures were of good standard. Especially those from Jane Corbin who held us spellbound with her talks. We probably got more out of the voyage because we recognised that there is a difference between a Liner and a cruise ship. It did seem that many passengers were expecting a more cruise type ship and were consequently disappointed.Probably one of the best things that we had to lose and hour almost everyday because of the time differences. This occurred at noon rather than at night, meaning that you lost an hour in the day and not an hour of sleep during the night. Although we enjoyed the ship we would not necessarily go on her for a normal type cruise . Being on the early dinner sitting meant that you had to start getting ready for Dinner around 4.30' especially on formal nights. This may well take a chunk out of your day if you were cruising in the Med for instance. If available we always try to get anytime or freedom dining arrangements, but this option isn't available on the QM2. We are not buffet enthusiasts for Dinner. In our opinion she is the ideal as a means for transatlantic travel without the hassle of flying. Our only gripe is that despite the formation we had Cunard do not STRICKLY adhere to dress standards. We were told on the daily news sheet the dress standards expected on the day. At all times gentlemen were expected to wear a jacket after 6.00 pm in any of the public areas. This certainly did not happen and torn jeans and tees were often seen in the bars etc. and many chose not to wear a jacket though-out the ship. Most people did dress for dinner and dress for formal nights there were always exceptions and we found this quite disappointing as we thought that this was part of the ethos of the ship, and one on which made it special. Sadly the Staff and Crew members failed to enforce this and it rather took the edge of the reputation of Cunard. This of course is expected on certain cruise ships where shorts and tees are the norm. Not being snobbish at all but this is the Queen Mary 2 and she is supposed to be the creme de la creme of Ships. Disembarkation went fairly well with the usual lengthy wait for those given a late time. It was quite comfortable wear we waited in the Queens room , although it did get busy. Disembarkation is always the same . For us you get on as a passenger and get of as cargo. Nothing is different here. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
There are those who say Oceania food is not what it once was including one review of this particular cruise. I must vehemently disagree. My wife and I both food the food to be outstanding in every venue. The only food criticisms we had was ... Read More
There are those who say Oceania food is not what it once was including one review of this particular cruise. I must vehemently disagree. My wife and I both food the food to be outstanding in every venue. The only food criticisms we had was that we did not find the Thanksgiving night dinner to be to our taste or what we would have expected. Others thought it was fine. Every other meal we had was excellent in every regard save for one side dish that was not hot enough on one night, a minor issue. One could easily travel on Oceania just for the food experience. We enjoyed a wonderful meal in La Reserve on the second night of the cruise. If someone told me in advance that I would fully enjoy a three plus hour meal, I would have thought him crazy. But I enjoyed it immensely. The commentary about the food and accompanying wines was interesting and spot on. Watching the pastry chef construct the delicious dessert was fascinating. And we made great friends at our table (there are three tables of eight in La Reserve) who became our best cruise buddies on this trip. The four specialty restaurants were grand! If we were forced to pick a favorite, I guess we would choose Red Ginger just for the uniqueness of the menu choices. The duck was perfect. In Jacques I ordered a veal chop with trepidation because I am usually disappointed in veal chops. No worries as it was possibly the perfect veal chop. In the Polo Grill I had a rib eye that any luxury steak restaurant would proudly serve. We had solo tables in all the specialty restaurants. The Grand Dining Room was totally enjoyable. We were always seated promptly whether were sharing, dining alone, or arriving with a group of six to eat together. Service was excellent, both from waiters and wine stewards. And the food was of consistently high quality every night save for that one side dish that was not hot enough. The Terrace Cafe or Waves Cafe were our go to spots for breakfast and lunch every day. The breakfast and lunch specials at Waves were very enjoyable - order at the counter and have the food delivered to your table picked in advance. The pizza in the Terrace was good and I often had it for lunch along with a salad. I must also say that the Terrace Cafe is a great spot for dinner when it is set with white tablecloths. It's nice to be able to wander and pick your various courses without ordering from a menu. The sushi and sashimi were mainstays for appetizers as the quality and taste was excellent day after day. The variety of choices in the Terrace is almost unending, and we enjoyed everything we tried. I must add a few side notes: 1) The bread and the pastries throughout the ship were wonderful. We spent five days in France prior to boarding and I thought I would miss the French bread, but I did not. It was like still being in France. 2) The Caesar salad in all venues was done right and there was never a need to worry about anchovies without which it is NOT a Caesar salad. You can get as many or as few as you want. 3) The ice cream bar in the Terrace Cafe and at Waves is superlatively delicious. Often my dessert consisted of a two-scoop cone from the Waves ice cream bar. The bars were where we made the most friends of both passengers and crew. Bartenders Gregory, Daniel, Nikola, and Baptiste were a pleasure to deal with. The pina coladas (pre-lunch favorites of ours) were always smooth, creamy, and delicious with a topping of Myers dark rum. Kir Royales were expertly prepared. And they had my Grey Goose Gimlet down pat after one day. We had the unlimited beverage package and it worked out grand. There was no problem getting glasses of wine in any dining room (as bottles are not included in the package), and the choice of wines by the glass was more than adequate with five or six reds being delicious to our taste. We spent lots of time at the Waves Bar on the pool deck and at the Martini Bar before and after dinner. We also liked the Horizon Bar. The Casino Bar was too neony bright for our tastes. Getting drinks while seated on the pool deck was always easy and quick. We were in a penthouse suite, and our butler, Sonu, was a revelation. We don't ask for a lot as we prefer not to dine in cabin for any meals, and we certainly don't need the offered packing/unpacking service. Sonu was a fountain of information and was always on times with our canapes at 5:30 each day. When we were eating in specialty restaurants he was there at our cabin to escort us to the venue with my wife on his elbow, making us feel very special. Perhaps his presence announcing us to the maitre d' at the dining room helped to ensure that we got a great table (as we always did). He handled all questions and requests with aplomb, and we especially enjoyed seeing pictures of his new bride. Our cabin attendants were very friendly and very efficient and quickly learned when we would be gone so that they could make up the room morning and night. In the morning that is especially difficult as my wife and I go to the gym and eat breakfast on separate schedules. The suite itself was great - more than enough storage space for everything. The walk-in closet was big enough for both of us to be in at at the same time. I am 6'6", so the shower stall is small for me, but it was perfectly adequate, and the bathroom as a whole was plenty big enough. We spent lots of time sitting on our balcony as well. Controlling the room temperature, always a worry, was a non-issue -- we could make it as cool as warm as we liked. The gym was very well equipped and there were always machines ready for my use whenever I went in the morning. The library is well stocked and comfortable. We didn't utilize Barista's. The stores had the few items that we needed although we are not shoppers. We didn't take any culinary classes, but I think on our next cruise we will. Melanie, who ran the classes, was wonderful as we watched through the picture windows. Our friends from La Reserve took two courses, and they were allowed to invite friends to the Culinary Center after preparations were complete to taste the results. We enjoyed that both times we were invited. The music entertainment during the day and early evening in the various venues was very nice. The enrichment lectures were not particularly to our taste. We didn't attend night performances as we preferred to have discussions and drinks with new friends after dinner. Port information was more than adequate, and wherever needed, Oceania provided free shuttle buses from the dock to the center of town, a nice touch. We made frequent use the self service laundry and find it hard to understand why some people complained about the $2 charge for the washers and driers. We also used the ship laundry and dry cleaner once, and the results were as promised. The Executive Lounge was useful to take advantage of the full size computer-printers newspapers that were available each day or to review the specialty restaurant menus or to grab a quick Diet Coke. We don't do cruise line excursions on any cruise line so I have no comments on what was offered. I will say that the choices seemed to be very expensive. We also do our own air arrangements and transfers, so no comment on them either. Boarding was as easy as pie. We got on at 12:30 and our room was ready by 1:15 before we even finished our first pina coladas. Disembarking was a smooth as any process could be when over 1,000 people are getting off a ship in an hour's time. Getting a taxi to Miami Airport ($24) where we picked up a rental car took less than five minutes from when we gathered up our luggage. As a final note I will say that the whole experience on Oceania was outstanding as we have come to expect. We are already booked for Montreal to London (Southampton) in May and greatly looking forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We had opted for a pre-cruise night at the Hilton Barcelona. Our flight to Barcelona went well and we were promptly transferred to our Hotel. Although we were there in the morning, our room was ready. The room was very nice, clean and ... Read More
We had opted for a pre-cruise night at the Hilton Barcelona. Our flight to Barcelona went well and we were promptly transferred to our Hotel. Although we were there in the morning, our room was ready. The room was very nice, clean and comfortable. We had friends arriving later in the afternoon on a different flight. They also arrived on schedule. The next day we just had time to take a tour of La Sagrada Familia. We had seen this several times in the past from the outside, but this was the first time to take a tour which included the inside. We then went back to the hotel just in time for the included transfrer to the ship. Embarkation was fast and smooth. Now came the big surprise I had planned for my wife. I had upgraded my original booking to an Oceania suite. She had never caught on and when I opened the door to our suite, she thought she was in the wrong place. This suite is 1000 SF and is absolutely beautiful. This suite will spoil you beyond belief. It has a large living room quite suitable for entertaining or just relaxing. It also has a media room with a large television set. The bedroom contains a King Size bed and a large walk in closet. The bathroom is gorgeous, with large double sinks, a larger than normal shower, a whirlpool bath and a toilet and bidet. There is also a separate powder room inside the suite entry door that has a shower, sink and toilet. Everything is marble and sparkling chrome and glass. The veranda is quite large with two chairs, a lounger and also a whirlpool tub and television ! Quite an amazing suite. This was our fifth cruise on either Marina or Riviera, so we knew what to expect. Outstanding food in all restaurants and excellent entertainment each night. Nothing disappointed. We love the alternate restaurants, but there is nothing to complain about in the main dining room. The Terrace buffet and Waves grill are also excellent. My only complaint and suggestion is that on Port days they keep the buffet open a little longer since the two o'clock closing time conflicts with your activities in Port and it is difficult to get back in time for lunch, thus leaving the Waves grill as the only option. Overall, we find Oceania to have the best food at sea and have not noticed any lessening of quality since merging with NCL as other reviewers have suggested. Our Butler Madan did a good job. He was there when you wanted him but did not make a pest of himself. Also, cannot say enough about the stewards who kept our suite in perfect condition. They timed their visits perfectly so as not to bother us. Since this voyage included a lot of sea days, we only had a few ports to visit. Although I agree that Oceania's shore excursions are very costly, if you buy a package of them ahead of time you can save 25% or 40% depending on how many you select. This brings the cost within reason. We took an excursion in both Cartagena and Malaga. The one in Cartagena to the City of Elche is particularly interesting with the Palm Gardens and the overall look of the city. They should give more time in the botanical gardens as there is much to see. All the tours in the Canary Island were cancelled due to weather. A refund was automatically credited to our account. Our next stop was a two day visit to Bermuda. This time we did a glass bottom boat tour which was very interesting and entertaining. Our final stop was Nasssau, where we simply spent time walking the town and shopping. We really did this cruise for the many relaxing days at sea. Oceania does keep you busy, if you want, with interesting lecturers and other activities. Or you can just hibernate and read a book or watch a movie in your room. My wife particularly loves taking the cooking classes and on this cruise she signed up for four of them. She can't say enough good things about these classes. We have already booked another Transatlantic cruise for May, 2016 and look forward to once again sail with Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
I hate cruising! This, however, was a transatlantic crossing in a 5* floating hotel, with masses to do and wonderful people, with different stories to meet. There were no moaners, like on a cruise (cruised with Discovery, Minerva, Sea ... Read More
I hate cruising! This, however, was a transatlantic crossing in a 5* floating hotel, with masses to do and wonderful people, with different stories to meet. There were no moaners, like on a cruise (cruised with Discovery, Minerva, Sea Princess, Holland America) We booked 10 days before and got a good price for a sheltered balcony cabin, which was brilliant, even though I would have preferred an open balcony.We could not choose our dining time, but found the early sitting we were given worked well as we were exhausted after the show. The best of the entertainment was the comedian. Out of the lectures Margaret Atwood was disappointing, the jazz music lectures brilliant when they didn't clash with bridge! Food was very good and company brilliant. Access at Southampton was immediate and organized. Yes I would definitely do it again as we have time. It was one of the best holidays I have ever had. QM2 set quite a precedent for the next holiday. Just make sure you do something about getting off the ship at the port and not queue 2 hours for a taxi! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Our Transatlantic cruise on the Mariner in 2012 (Monte Carlo to Rio) was such a great experience that we chose to do it again. This time it was Lisbon to Miami. The Mariner and her staff once again more than measured up to our ... Read More
Our Transatlantic cruise on the Mariner in 2012 (Monte Carlo to Rio) was such a great experience that we chose to do it again. This time it was Lisbon to Miami. The Mariner and her staff once again more than measured up to our expectations! Our pre-cruise hotel was the Corinthia in Lisbon, a very nice hotel. The room was quite spacious and very well maintained during our three night stay. The service by staff was fine at all times. The included breakfast buffet was excellent. We would stay there again for sure if in Lisbon. Travel from the hotel to the ship was excellent once we got the bus moving. There were some issues getting the luggage from the rooms to the buses, the first bus was about 45 minutes late leaving for the ship. Quite a few of the passengers waiting for transport were more than a little upset. Perhaps all was not done in the most efficient manner but all reached the ship long before our scheduled departure. Once we arrived at the terminal, embarkation went very quickly and without any problems. After a very nice buffet lunch in La Veranda our rooms were made available at 2:30 p m. Our luggage arrived a few minutes later giving us plenty of time to get unpacked before the pre departure safety drill. The Mariner is in great shape following an extensive refurbishment in the Spring of 2014. Our suite was in very good shape and we found all the public areas to be visually much improved from our 2012 cruise. Service by staff in all different categories was at all times equal to or beyond our expectations. We have now spent a total of 48 nights on the Mariner and we have been treated exactly as one would expect when sailing with Regent. The pool bar staff is exceptional, the bartenders and staff made our afternoon happy hour gatherings memorable. The ports we visited were all very interesting. Standing out for us were Madeira, Lanzarote, Barbados, and Antigua. We were forced to miss a couple of scheduled stops--Dakar, Senegal because of the Ebola situation and Cape Verde due to a medical situation that caused us to return to the Canaries to evacuate a medical emergency. We also could not tender to Gustavia, St Barts due to rough water, a wise decision by the captain in our opinion. My wife and I think the activities provided were excellent? We both enjoyed many of the enrichment lectures, my wife found a daily Mah Jongg group on sea days, we did the sea day ballroom dancing lessons with Pascha and Ana, and really enjoyed playing Name That Tune with the resident pianist, Tim Kruse. Evening entertainment on the Mariner is outstanding!! The singers and dancers in the Broadway type shows are very talented. All four different shows they did were great, especially knowing they are performing on a moving ship. Singer- ventriloquist Mike Minor performing along with his special guests(formerly called dummies) was a very special treat. Violinist /comedian Dave Levesque was very good and also gave several interesting lectures. Disembarkation in Miami was without a hitch. We got our luggage in short order and were bused to the airport quickly and without any problems. We will definitely cruise again with Regent, which of their ships we choose will be based on ports and itinerary.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This is a beautiful ship. The public rooms and cabins are lovely. They are bigger but no better than the Holland America ship we sailed on this year. The catering isn't as good as Holland America. The buffet wasn't nearly as good ... Read More
This is a beautiful ship. The public rooms and cabins are lovely. They are bigger but no better than the Holland America ship we sailed on this year. The catering isn't as good as Holland America. The buffet wasn't nearly as good and the service and food in the main dining room on the Oosterdam was at least as good and mostly better than on the QM2. So we expected more than HAL because Cunard advertises itself as such, but while there was absolutely nothing wrong with the QM2 - it was beautiful and the food was good, cabin fine, etc etc, it was no better than HAL. I thought 8 nights was one night too many though. Sailing was smooth and weather was reasonably good for the north atlantic and we had a great time. We had booked a club balcony but changed at the last minute to a regular balcony cabin on a lower deck and we were glad we did because when we went up to deck 12 the ship was a-rockin which we never felt on deck 8. Our glass unobstructed balcony gave us a great view of the ocean.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Review of the Lisbon to Miami cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner October 13 2014 to November 3 2014. This review will cover only the time spent on board the ship and will not discuss the pre travel arrangements organized by Regent and ... Read More
Review of the Lisbon to Miami cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner October 13 2014 to November 3 2014. This review will cover only the time spent on board the ship and will not discuss the pre travel arrangements organized by Regent and is a separate issue. I booked this cruise early (about a year) because I wanted to be part of the Larry Cohen Bridge program which was limited to 62 passengers. I have traveled on the Mariner before so I was familiar with the Regent experience. I was booked in cabin 774 on deck 7 which is category H Deluxe Veranda suite. The Mariner is an all-suite ship and the total square footage and location on the ship are the differences that make the stateroom more expense and are in the higher categories. H is the lowest category. My location was about 5 cabins from the rear (stern) of the ship on the port side. The Mariner was refurbished in April 2014 and I found the ship very clean and shiny. I was not thrilled with all the wall art (although some of the large pieces were excellent) but that is a personal judgment (I’m not a sophisticated judge of art). I am not a Pool person or a Spa person so I can’t comment on those areas. I usually am in bed by 9:30 PM so I can’t comment on the nightly shows or night club actives but I will comment on other areas of the ship. The Suite I am 6’3” tall and appreciate room to move around when cruising. I found the cabin very comfortable and equate it in size to a Mini-Suite on the Royal Princess, except that the bathroom on the Mariner was larger. The stateroom has a large walk-in closet with a 5 draw chest, a security safe and many feet of hanging space. Between the walk-in closet and the bathroom is a lighted make-up vanity (portable seat) with mirrors for ease of use and a storage draw with hair blower for use on the ship as well as a portable magnifying mirror. A full length well lighted mirror is provided on the wall of this hallway. The sleeping area has a large bed (King or 2 twins) with built in night stands with 2 drawers each side and excellent lighting for reading in bed. The other half of the room is a living area and contains a desk (portable seat) with a large drawer and a built in dresser with 3 large drawers and a built-in mini refrigerator filled with Ice cubes, complimentary water bottles and cans of soda. The built-in unit has all the bar tools and glasses needed for preparing bar drinks. Additionally the unit has a 37” LCD TV on a swivel so it can be turned to be viewed from the bed or any other place in the room. A DVD player is also included and DVD’s can be loaned from the library. The TV has a much enhanced entertainment system that provides 150+ movies (free) as well as access to your ship board account, dining room menus daily activity announcement show (by the cruise director) and some recorded events such as on board lectures and port visits. The room is completed with a full size couch, a upholstered chair and small cocktail table. A table conversion board is provided (hidden out of way in the room) so that it can be used (by Room Service) to expand the size of the cocktail table for in room meals. This complete living area can be separated from the sleeping area by built-in drapes between the two areas so that one can nap while the other uses the living area or veranda. The living area also has access to the veranda through a sliding glass door. The veranda has 2 comfortable chairs with removable cushions and a small cocktail table. Two telephones are included as well as a digital clock with alarm. The clock is adjusted by the room steward any time there is a change in time zone when out at sea. The bathroom is about 6’ 6” in both directions with a large full size shower. The shower has both an adjustable Rain shower head and also an adjustable handheld shower head. A twist of the faucet handle switches from one shower head to the other while the other shower handle sets the temperature of the water. A vanity covers one wall from the shower to the other wall with a large single sink and two glass shelves on each side to store items. There are also three (2 shelved) storage area under the sink as well as a behind the door rubbish container and built in tissue dispenser. Opposite the sink area was the commode. All the tile looked refurbished and the bathroom was always clean and sparkling. The design of this suite was well thought out and very comfortable during our 21 day cruise. The only negative I would say is that the TV system did not have Closed Captioning. Having said that, I have found that most cruise ships do not have Closed Captioning on their entertainment system unless you have a DVD player and use a DVD that offers CC as an option. Each day at noon the Captain used the announcement system to update the passengers on the location and status of the cruise i.e. next port, weather, time change etc. The Food There are a few different venues for food service including Room Service. All dining room venues provide white table linen service. Compass Rose is the main dining restaurant where breakfast lunch and dinner are served and the daily menu changes. Reservations are not needed. I found that the food in general is excellent. The food service staff is very accommodating, the menu has a lot of variety and the kitchen is very good about preparing special request or diets. The rolls and bread are always fresh and the food presentation is excellent. The Pastry and deserts are outstanding and the presentation of the deserts is the best that I have ever seen. I ordered a Tropical Fruit Tart one night and the presentation was so good I couldn’t believe it. It was a work of art. I’m sorry I didn’t have a camera to take a picture. I found that the Filet Mignon and Prime ribs was excellent. Although baked white potatoes were always available sweet potatoes were not. La Veranda is a (white table linen) buffet style restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch daily. At dinner time this area is converted to Sette Maria a full service Italian Restaurant. No reservations are required. I never ate in Sette Maria during this cruise but their menu did look interesting. The Pool Grill serves a fitness breakfast and daily unique grilled menu at lunch time as well as typical Hamburgers, hotdog fries and ice cream desserts. No reservations are required. There are 2 Specialty Restaurants that require reservations and each passenger can schedule one reservation in each venue during their cruise, however there are times during a cruise that there are a few reservations available so if you are interested it pays to check that out. Prime 7 is an upscale Steak, Chop and Seafood restaurant that has a fixed menu. Signatures is an upscale French restaurant that has a fixed menu. The Coffee Connection is a convenient café type area with a Barista to provide specialty coffees. Breakfast items were available in the morning and other snacks during the day till 4:00 PM. After 4:00 PM you could still use a nearby machine to get some limited special coffee’s and cookies. Internet The computer room which was next to the Library was managed well and had about 16 computers available to passengers. Many passengers received free internet access as perks for the higher level members in the Captains Club. Internet access could be purchased at $160 for 200 minutes or $.99 a minute for ad hoc access. Wi-Fi was available throughout the ship and the satellite connection was typically very good. I never had to wait on line to use one of the computers and the IT manager was always helpful. One of the perks I had was one hour of free telephone calls. I used this perk a few times (from my cabin phone) but with the time difference between the ship and home it was difficult to connect up. Email worked fine. Library The Library was located next to the Computer room and the Coffee Connection café. There was comfortable seating and it was a nice quite area to relax and read the current newspapers that were available in the Café. There are about 100 (older) DVD’s available to checkout as well as a reasonable amount of hard cover books. The DVD movies available on the in cabin TV were more current. The Librarian also provided a number of board games as well as Jig Saw puzzles. Boutique The Boutique is open only on at sea days. It is limited in size so if there is something that you really need, I suggest that you purchase it as soon as possible because they have a limited amount of space to store all sizes. Like a general store they provide things that you may have forgotten to pack such as toothpaste or aspirin. There is a limited amount of name brand clothing is well as promotional (Regent, Mariner) clothing and a lot of jewelry and watches. I am a pretty good shopper but be prepared to pay about twice what you would pay at home. However if you did not pack for colder weather and the weather changed, it is a good place to buy a sweater. That is it for this review, it may be a little wordy but if I had not taken this cruise and was considering taking a similar one this is what I would want to read. Good luck cruising.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
So far, I've crossed the Atlantic three times on the Queen Mary 2; the first was the April sailing from Southampton to New York in 2012 (solo), the second, the May sailing from New York to Southampton in 2014 with my wife, and the ... Read More
So far, I've crossed the Atlantic three times on the Queen Mary 2; the first was the April sailing from Southampton to New York in 2012 (solo), the second, the May sailing from New York to Southampton in 2014 with my wife, and the third, the October sailing back to New York in 2014 (solo). I hate flying and I love the QM2, so this will remain my one and only way of crossing the Atlantic. Because I'll be doing this on a relatively regular basis, I'll probably always book an inside stateroom (cabin). It's good value and there's always the possibility of a free upgrade to an outside cabin with a balcony. In general, however, I'm not that bothered. I spend very little time in my cabin except to sleep and check my emails. Most of the time, I walk the decks, explore the ship, take loads of photographs, and enjoy the marvelous sea air. I also never eat in the restaurant but prefer the self-service instead. The food is truly excellent and I don't have to wear formal attire. I prefer jeans. As for the ship and the crossing in general, there aren't enough superlatives to describe the experience. It's simply a wonderful way to travel and switch off for 7 or 8 days. The crew are excellent; always very smart, very polite, very helpful and very professional. I do, however, have one major complaint which is more to do with the passengers than the crew: The problem in question is to do with passenger hygiene. Far too many passengers ignore the request to use tongs when picking up bread or other items of food. I've often seen people picking bread up with their hands and then putting it back if they don't like the look of it. I've politely reprimanded passengers myself about this over the years and I've also reported it to the stewards, but it keeps on happening and it's a sure-fire way of spreading germs. It's a very bad habit, and I believe that the crew should take a much firmer stance on the matter. Hygiene is of extra importance when a few thousands people have to spend several days with each other in relatively close quarters. The ship is so large that the only time you realize that there are so many people on board is during meal times, but this is when germs are passed on. Many of the passengers are elderly and often catch colds quite easily, so it's imperative that strict hygiene rules are observed. It's all a matter of education. Wealth doesn't automatically go hand-in-hand with a good upbringing and good hygiene. The ship needs to be more aware of this. All in all, though, to travel on a liner of the QM2's standard is an unforgettable experience and is certainly not out of the reach of most people's pockets. An inside cabin is excellent value and very comfortable indeed. I don't usually like confined spaces, but I'm okay with the inside cabins on the ship. Like I said, I only use it for sleeping and checking my emails, and occasionally to take a brief nap. I usually take a cabin on Deck 6 towards the stern on the other side to the children's play area, but it doesn't really matter. The ship has excellent stabilizers, so it's often not even noticeable that the ship is at sea. But to be on the safe side, the higher you go above sea level, the more you'll feel the movement of the ship. It's all a matter of personal preference. I'll be going back to Europe in May, so I'll see you on board. I'm the one who's always taking photographs. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Sunday 7th September As we live in The Midlands, we always prefer to travel to Southampton the previous day. It's too much rush and panic otherwise. Unlike our previous voyages though, this wasn't a round trip we couldn't ... Read More
Sunday 7th September As we live in The Midlands, we always prefer to travel to Southampton the previous day. It's too much rush and panic otherwise. Unlike our previous voyages though, this wasn't a round trip we couldn't really leave the car in Southampton. So we booked a train through Cross Country Trains to take us from our local station to Birmingham New Street and then direct to Southampton. The train journeys were quite painless. Booking direct through Cross Country means no booking or credit card fees either. Both trains arrived and departed bang on time & the Station in Southampton is close to the docks. One word of warning. However, is that until September 2015 Birmingham's New Street Station is undergoing a major re-building project. At present, escalators and lifts are only available at one end of the platforms, so changing trains while having to take suitcases is quite time consuming. If you are travelling though New Street, please check their website and allow plenty of time to change trains. On arrival into Southampton, it was a quick walk across the road to our Hotel, the Ibis Budget. Brilliant value for money and very conveniently located but you do get what you pay for. The rooms are little more than posh prison cells but have a bed, TV, Aircon, Shower, sink and Toilet. And for £36 we weren't bothered! After unpacking our suits and dresses, we had a brief walk out for a bite to eat. Not fancying walking too far as it was 9PM by this point, we had a choice of McDonalds or TGI Fridays. We took the latter option & had quite a nice meal before retiring to bed. Monday 8th September I had intended to get up early and watch Queen Mary 2 arrive, but never managed to wake up until 8AM. With my wife still dozing, I decided to take a walk and saw some of the other cruise ships berthed before walking onto Town Quay to see Queen Mary 2. It really doesn't matter how many times you have see her, she really does take your breath away. Massive, Elegant, Beautiful. A Text from my Wife asking if she was here meant that I knew she was awake so a quick walk back and Breakfast in the Hotel, which was okay but for £5 each, some may consider the McDonalds around the corner better value for money. Afterwards, we had a pleasant walk around Southampton City Centre's shops before coming back to the hotel for a 12 noon checkout. Our check in time for Queen Mary 2 was 3:45, but we thought we'd chance our arm and head down to Ocean Terminal. Traffic was horrendous getting down, owing to major road works and the boat show. It took 35 minutes to get there! Check in was swift and efficient. That we weren't supposed to check in until 3:45 wasn't mentioned and we were on the Queen Mary 2 in under half an hour! We also got chatting to a Lady who turned out to be Helen Doe On to the first and only disappointment about the Ship. I remember reading or seeing a photograph here about damage to the ceiling in the Grand Lobby. Well. The lower level of the lobby was closed off by Tens-barriers and neat piles of carefully wrapped scaffolding were covering the floor. We first went to our cabin, 6099, a IB Britannia inside on Deck 6. We've never had an inside cabin before, but found it perfectly adequate for our needs. Unfortunately, our cases had not yet arrived so we went for a walk and grabbed a quick bite to eat in King's Court, and a walk around our Magnificent Liner. On returning, our cases were inside our cabin so we started to unpack - and started to drink our Pol Acker. Our steward, Roy greeted us shortly afterwards. We then headed out to the Terrace Pool. Muster drill followed at 4PM and by 4:30 we were back on the Terrace Pool with a glass of Champagne in hand, listening to Vibz and ready for the off. We stayed out on deck for a few hours and watched Southampton waft by before a quick visit to the Library to borrow some books and going back to our room to get ready. We were on the late sitting for dinner, so the first of many trips to The Commodore Club followed before making our way to Britannia for dinner. We were seated on the upper level and had a really pleasant surprise in seeing Rose (Our Wonderful Waitress on our first Voyage & who we also saw last year) While we always find the food and service in Britannia to be excellent, we weren't wowed by it as we were on previous voyages. We put this down to becoming used to it, and perhaps by being spoiled by visiting Todd English last year, rather than any sort of decline. Our two waiters and sommelier were all great and warm people and we felt well looked after. Our table mates were also lovely people which made us relax a little more as we were apprehensive about sharing with strangers. After dinner, we went to the Queens Room & G32 while our table mates went to see the film. Tuesday 9th September After a good night's sleep, I was awake before my Wife who loves her lie-ins, so I went up to the Gym and did an hour's workout. First time I've used the Gym facilities on QM2, so I was quite impressed with the variety and standard of equipment on offer. We decided on Breakfast in Britannia. One of the main differences between a Voyage such as this and the Cruise type voyages we've done before is how much busier Britannia was! We had a light breakfast and were sat on one of the larger tables with some other people, then onto the Commodore Club for a seat by a window, a cup of tea and to start reading our books. Shortly afterwards, one of the tours came through. With a number of people admiring the stunning views from the Windows. Then, I heard one of the ladies gasp and shout "Dauphin!" Immediately, as you can imagine, the whole Club was on their feet peering out of the windows and sure enough. A Pod of Dolphins were swimming alongside us and jumping out of the water. I grabbed my camera, but they never came back! At 1PM we saw "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" which was introduced by Celia Imrie herself. Afterwards, a walk through The Grand Lobby revealed that the lower level was still closed and that the scaffolding was being hoisted into place. The windows in 4 out of the 6 atrium view cabins had been removed and large scaffolding trusses were being positioned through the open windows to form a platform. Rather them than me on a moving ship which is crossing the Atlantic. However, it quickly became clear that the centre of the Lobby's lower level was going to be closed for the duration of the voyage due to this large platform being in place overhead. This was disappointing as like most people familiar with QM2 will probably agree, we feel that The Grand Lobby is the heart of the Ship. However, we weren't going to let it spoil things. Coming from an engineering background I fully accept that she is a Machine and does need constant maintenance. This evening was our first Formal Night of the Voyage, the Black & White Ball. Ready reasonably early, we had a pre dinner drink in The Chart Room and had a conversation with an American Couple and another British Couple. One of the things I like best about Cunard is that there are always interesting people to chat to! Dinner in Britannia was fine, and we shared a bottle with our Table Mates before heading into The Queen's Room for the Black & White Ball. On waiting to enter the Queen's room, we got talking to a French Couple who were lovely. By the end of the voyage we were on very good terms with them and I do hope that we will be able to stay in touch in the future. The Queen's Room, even though I personally have all the grace and elegance of a drunken elephant is always a beautiful room. And even though there is absolutely no hope of me ever being able to do it, we always enjoy watching those who can ballroom dance. It's also worth mentioning that we think Imogen does a brilliant job of running the events in this room. We stayed a while and saw Sergiy and Olga do their stuff before moving into G32 next door where I feel more at home, randomly shuffling my feet roughly in time to the music. This is a close as I get to "Dancing" One thing however, that does take a little shine off The Queens Room is that the music from G32 can sometimes drown out the Band as people go through the doors. The waiters also have to do this to fetch drinks. Maybe they could do something at the next refit? Perhaps better doors & a small bar somewhere in The Queens room itself? Wednesday 10th September Having never experienced a 25 hour day before, we think they are great. Every day should last 25 hours. Up before my Wife again, I headed up to the Gym before meeting for Breakfast. This morning, we went to Kings Court and found it much less manic than we were used to on previous voyages. A Light, and tasty breakfast followed before again heading up to The Commodore Club to read our books and see if our Dolphins had returned. Afterwards, we went and saw the film "Chef" and I was sat next to a chap I was sure that I recognised but wasn't sure. It was only after we got outside that I realised I was sat next to Roy Walker! We had deliberately decided to skip lunch in order to enjoy Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room. AKA "Death by Sandwiches" - It's always a highlight of the Voyages on QM2 for us. The evening was also a formal evening and the Captain's Cocktail Party, so an evening in the Queens Room and G32 followed again. While waiting for the Captain's Cocktail party to begin, we got chatting to Sergiy and Olga and got talking about my "Dancing" - Despite my offer of lessons, they both politely refused. Thursday 11th September As a mark of respect to those victims of September 11, 2001. The Ship's ensign was flown at half mast. Our usual routine of my going for an hour in the Gym before meeting for Breakfast in Kings Court, then a few hours in the Commodore Club with our books was becoming habit by now. For lunch, we went to The Golden Lion for Fish & Chips and a bottle of "Titianic" Beer from the White Star Brewery in Staffordshire. Again, we got chatting to a couple of guys at the bar who turned out to be a part of The National Symphony Orchestra, who were playing in The Royal Court Theatre that evening. What an Evening that was. We managed to get seats on the second row on the lower level, right in the centre. Got talking to another couple from Leicester before the show started which was utterly stunning. This first performance was "An American Evening" featuring Rhapsody in Blue and an epic Piano Solo. Liberty Bell was also played, featuring Captain Oprey playing The Liberty Bell itself. And making great play of not playing it when instructed! This evening was also our little treat to ourselves. This evening was Todd English Night. And we weren't disappointed. We both had Todd's signature Egg Plant Ravioli as Appetizers, my Wife had the Rack of Lamb and I had the Grilled Beef Tenderloin for Entree and we both had the Lava Cake to finish. Although the view wasn't as good as when we last eat in Todd English while in HjouronFjord, Norway everything else was as superb as we remembered. If you are travelling on QM2, then Todd English is a must. After Dinner and feeling very full, we saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier at Illuminations, giving the Queens Room and G32 a miss. Friday 12th September We had Spa passes for Friday, so after Breakfast in we went and spent a good afternoon here with our books. It was a little choppy and quite something watching the water slosh around the pool! A Ride on the Scenic Lifts in the Lobby showed that around half the ceiling in the Grand Lobby had been completely removed. Planetarium Film "Search for Life" in the Afternoon & Roy Walker's Stand up comedy routine in the evening on what was a lovely, quiet and relaxing day. Saturday 13th September During the day, we saw Dr. Helen Doe's lecture on Isambard Kingdom Brunel which was very interesting. Thank you Helen! Then it was Masquerade Ball night! Something my wife had been looking forward to ever since getting a Masquerade Mask from Venice as a Christmas Present. This, was one of the many highlights of the voyage for us. We started in The Commodore Club where we had drinks with our new found friends from France before making our way over to The Queen's Room together for the Ball. Imogen's genuine reaction to my wife's mask was lovely, along with the very kind comments about her dress and mask from several other guests made her feel like a Princess. If anyone is reading this who made those kind comments. Thank You. You made that a very special evening. Despite my two leaden left feet we did attempt to shuffle around the floor on the Queens Room that evening, for one dance. Feeling relieved that we hadn't tripped anyone over our caused some other disaster we again went into G32 and stayed until gone 2AM Sunday 14th September A Late start and no gym this morning. Owing to slightly fragile heads from the previous night. Breakfast in Kings Court, followed by John Maclean's very interesting lecture on Aliens & UFOs. Thank you John! The weather was warm so we headed over to the Terrace Pool to finish our books and enjoy the weather. The noon announcement indicated that arrival into New York would be earlier than we'd thought. Passing under The Narrows at 3:30AM and docking at 5! The idea of not going to bed at all briefly went through my head, but we decided instead to have our last night in the Queens Room and G32 before a relatively early night and an alarm set for 3AM We met our new friends in their Princess Grill Suite (We've got to have a go in one of those one day!) before separating for the 7PM showing of "Last Night of the Proms" with Anthony Inglis and the National Symphony Orchestra. Wow. No other words to describe it. I just hope that it wasn't the last time I get to wave a Union Flag in its current form! It was especially nice also that as we were heading towards the A Stairwell to go up to The Commodore Club that we passed the Orchestra and were able to thank them all personally. On getting into The Commodore Club, the Sunset was absolutely spectacular. Perfect end to a Perfect Voyage! Just before Dinner, we gave our Waiters, our Sommelier and our Steward a big bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk as a thank you. These people work damned hard for us and we think they deserved it! At dinner, we shared drinks with our Table Mates again, and wished each other well. Monday 15th September. 3AM! The alarm went off and a few moans and groans later, we were in Kings Court getting a coffee before going up to the viewing platform on Deck 13. By this time we could see the lights of the Verrazano Narrows along with the lights of New York and a huge column of white light which was the new World Trade Centre. We managed to video our passage under the Narrows, but not much is visible due to the light. We then swung around past the Statue of Liberty and towards Brooklyn. We took a walk around the Ship and appreciated the views of Manhattan at Dawn & took a stack load of photographs of the brilliant sunrise. Our Last QM2 Breakfast followed in Kings Court with the New York Skyline visible out of the window. Disembarkation followed and was fairly quick getting off the ship. We briefly saw Sergiy and Olga as we departed and I promised them some Dance Lessons next time I'm onboard! After security, we got onto our Cunard arranged minibus and taken to the Marriot Marquis Hotel in Times Square in order to leave our bags and arrange pickup to Newark Airport. After leaving Cunard's care it became quickly apparent how good Cunard are and others..... Aren't. Severely restricted for time due to a 19:05 flight and hoping to meet a friend, we got to reception and found nothing but utter confusion. We apparently had a liaison from the hotel but nobody could find her & none of the staff knew either. Our bags were given to some staff who loaded them onto baggage trolleys and then decided to confirm whether or not we were all going to JFK. When we said that we weren't a huff and a sigh, accompanied by the baggage trolley being unloaded again and separated into two trolleys. One for JFK, and one for Newark. Hardly rocket science? After an hour of waiting and meeting our friend in the Hotel Lobby, she eventually surfaced and told us that she'd been waiting for us by "The Other Entrance." We suggested that in future, she wait in reception at the desk with the big Cunard logo on it. We were especially amused to see our Luggage Trolley labelled "Cunyard." Oh well. Never mind. We'll just remember not to use Marriot Hotels in the future. Coffee in Time Square and a walk up to Central Park. A Ride on the Carrousel and a walk back via 5th Avenue was pretty much all we had time for. Then 4 hours of utter boredom in Newark Airport and a very bumpy flight back to Birmingham, arriving at 7AM Tuesday morning. Flying is so uncivilised. Perhaps next time, we'll do a round trip :) 9.5/10 With half a point deducted for Scaffolding in the Grand Lobby and the disorganisation at the Marriot Maquis.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our third trip on the QM2. Westbound October 2010, New England Canada last year and Eastbound September 2014. The first two trips we traveled Princess Grill and the last Queens. Because of a large number of vessels sailing out of ... Read More
This was our third trip on the QM2. Westbound October 2010, New England Canada last year and Eastbound September 2014. The first two trips we traveled Princess Grill and the last Queens. Because of a large number of vessels sailing out of New York September 27, QM2 was scheduled out of the Manhattan pier. I thought it was thrilling to be one of four ships waiting their turn for the trip down the Hudson. The only negative was that traffic was a bit of a problem getting from JFK to the pier. I used the Arecibo car service, which is very reasonable and convenient. They were at the airport terminal within 5 minutes of my call. Boarding was delayed because of a late arrival of the ship that morning. There was some confusion around the terminal because a Norwegian Cruise Line ship was using the same space for security clearance. We received our boarding documents and waited an hour or so in a crowded priority lounge area that served coffee and juice, but no cups. Other than these minor inconveniences, I prefer departing from the Manhattan pier. The actual boarding of the ship was fairly quick and uneventful. Two of our bags were already in the stateroom. By the time we went to lunch the other two had arrived. We met our room steward and butler who were both very pleasant and efficient throughout the crossing. They were both willing to help with whatever issues we had. In one case an emergency tailering situation. The butler always provided us with extra canapes each night that included shrimp cocktail. The sail away down the Hudson was thrilling with the lights of the city as a backdrop. On the first couple of days the weather was very mild and we were able to utilize the veranda. It was also nice enough to spend some time on the open area on twelve. It did get a little bit rougher as the week progressed, but not unbearable. We enjoyed the evening entertainment in the theater and the lectures and astrology shows in the planetarium. Mainly, this was a trip to just rest up for a week in Paris that was to follow. We really enjoyed the Queen's Grill experience, but except for the little extra touches that the butler provided, I not sure it is all that much different from Princess Grill except for the slightly larger stateroom. I feel that I received many of the same services and extras. The staff in both dining rooms have always gone out of their way to accommodate our wishes. By the way, I have to confess that this was a guarantee upgrade. Disembarking was very quick and easy. We waited in the Queen's Grill Lounge and were called around 8am. Personally, I'm not sure that this is the most convenient location for a priority disembarking. I would think that a location closer to the exit would make more sense. Since we were taking the Eurostar to Paris, we arranged for the services of Smiths for Airports. The driver was waiting for us at the gate with a sign with our names. Very efficient.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first sailing on Cunard, and hopefully won’t be our last. We quickly got used to the Cunard “ocean liner” experience, as compared to the experiences we’ve had on 20 or so past “cruise ships”. The following is ... Read More
This was our first sailing on Cunard, and hopefully won’t be our last. We quickly got used to the Cunard “ocean liner” experience, as compared to the experiences we’ve had on 20 or so past “cruise ships”. The following is pretty detailed; however, I appreciate the detailed reviews I’ve read here, so I trust this one will help others. Our crossing was Westbound: Southampton to Brooklyn. Embarkation: Very short waits at the port. Our luggage arrived within an hour. Cabin: We had an inside, which was fine, since there’s not much to see at sea! The bed was comfortable and the cabin had plenty of storage. The bathroom tiles were a bit dated, but the amenities were very nice. Lots of storage areas in the cabin. I wasn’t impressed with the cabin steward; she was reactive, rather than being proactive. Dining: The Britannia (MDR) is quite stunning. Cunard’s food was good, but not anything better than Princess. Getting free cappuccino/espresso, etc. after dinner was a nice touch. Drink prices were average for a cruise ship and the bars had a good selection of British beers on draught. Cocktails seemed to be on the skimpy-liquor side. The buffet setup is a bit odd, with the King’s Court spread out over a large area. While it was never crowded, unless you had a table by a window (they jutted out over the Promenade) you were stuck in an interior area, which, frankly looked dumpy. Afternoon tea, either served in the Queen’s Room, with white-gloved service, or via buffet in the King’s Court, was a nice touch with many selections of tea as well as finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. We did the upcharge Indian dinner (Coriander) available the last 2 nights of the cruise. There was plenty of good (not great) Indian food in the King’s Court buffet area, which was converted to a sit-down restaurant. Public Rooms: This is where the QM2 shines. Corridors are broad, the public rooms very large. The Queen’s Room is the largest ballroom afloat. It was wonderful seeing people ballroom dancing. We attended 3 cocktail parties there. G32, the disco, seemed dark and is hard to find. Illuminations (the planetarium cum lecture hall) is beautifully decorated in Art Deco style. The Golden Lion Pub was very comfortable with pub lunch food daily and the Chart Room bar very spacious. The gym had a good amount of weight training equipment and free weights, along with cardio equipment. Unlike most other ships, however, the cardio equipment didn’t face broad windows. I didn’t use it, but took a peek at the Gold Canyon Spa….looked elegant. There were also additional nooks for card playing, and quiet times. There’s a large selection of gift shops, though many were geared toward jewelry and high-end items. One highlight of the ship is the amazing library with stacks categorized by topic and the full-time librarian. In addition, there’s even a bookstore! Entertainment—I was worried about not enough to do, since this was my first crossing, but was NEVER bored. Cunard had 5 lecturers on board, from the former director of the Bank of England to a speaker on musical theatre. Most were attended well. In addition, there were the popular planetarium shows. I even found a quiet place forward on the ship with dim lighting for real stargazing. At least 4 trivia contests are offered daily, though the prizes are only given at the end of the cruise and are skimpy at that. There was a nice (and usually empty) casino, with amazingly low table stakes ($3 in the afternoon, $1 one day). One nice touch is that there are no announcements made during the day, save for the Captain’s midday communication. One thing that set Cunard apart was the quality of the live music. At the Queen’s Room, you might find a 20 piece dance band. At other venues a string quartet or harpist. We even had piano recitals in Illuminations during the afternoon. If that wasn’t enough, I attended a 1-hour version of Hamlet acted by students of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. A downside were the evening production shows. The costumes were beautiful, but they lacked a theme, decent music, and dancers who can also sing. A full wrap-around Promenade deck was always full of people walking or jogging (1.3 miles for 3 laps). The deck chairs were padded with pillows. One downside is that Cunard hasn’t banned smoking yet. The aft area was always had a few smokers. The Commodore Club has large windows forward on the ship and was always a popular place for reading during the day, listening to live piano music, or cocktails in the evening. The ship provided an area there for an LGBT cocktail hour. Unfortunately, Churchill’s cigar lounge is next to the Commodore and when the door opens, the smell often ruined the ambiance of the Commodore Club. A worse scenario occurs on the 2nd floor of G32, where it was just uncomfortable unless you were a smoker. One remarkable story: On the penultimate day, we had an almost-emergency on the ship. At about 5:30 all of the staff were called to their muster stations. Cabin stewards put on their life jackets and all waiters left their 1st seating dining passengers to get to their assigned places. Apparently, there was a chemical spill in the engine room. Captain Wells made numerous announcements keeping all passengers informed. While we never had to get our life jackets, it was memorable. Several crew members told me it was the only time in 8 years this had ever happened. Kudos to the staff and crew for being ready! Disembarkation: Very smooth getting off the ship. US Immigrations, however, was very slow, with only 5 people on duty. Finally, the Cunard experience isn’t for everyone. Like most others on the ship, we brought our formal clothes, and in keeping with ship policy remained dressed at the shows, ballrooms, and disco. It made for a classy cruise….or should I say “crossing”!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are just back from a transatlantic cruise on the QM2 which we booked at the last minute. It was so fantastic, I cried when I got off the ship to come home! We flew to New York and had a view days there before boarding the ship. ... Read More
We are just back from a transatlantic cruise on the QM2 which we booked at the last minute. It was so fantastic, I cried when I got off the ship to come home! We flew to New York and had a view days there before boarding the ship. Definitely the best way round to do it, to get the busy part out of the way first. Such a grand, prestigious ship. How amazing to sail out of the port of New York, looking at the iconic skyline and passing the Empire State Building. Unforgettable. As we prefer to adopt more casual attire on holiday, (having to dress fairly formally for work), we opted to use the Kings Court buffet dining for all our meals. Always a wide variety of hot and cold food available. No skimming on quality just because you're not in a formal restaurant. Choice at dinner even included venison, fresh tuna steak, guinea fowl and lobster tails. Tea, coffee, juice available 24/7. Excellent staff always available to clean tables. Yes it can get busy at times and feel a bit canteen-ish, but you don't have to go there if you don't like it! Even though the ship was near capacity with passengers, nowhere seemed too busy or crammed. Plenty of quiet places to sit. Our favourites were the Winter Garden with its beautiful friezes and ceiling paintings creating a tranquil setting and the Commodore Club with is wrap around views at the front of the ship. The Royal Court Theatre was great for shows. Wide variety of musicians, actors, dancers and comedy. Illuminations Is the Planetarium/cinema/lecture theatre. Queens Room is the venue for daily white-glove service afternoon tea and ballroom dancing. We were fortunate that the weather was pretty good so we spent a lot of time the the Terrace Pool. There is an indoor Pavilion Pool too. They are very small and can be dominated by children. I have noted other comments regarding the age of fellow passengers. People who complain about that should go on holiday with a group of same age friends if that is so important to them. Definitely a younger average age than the Norwegian Fjords cruise we have done before, but age is not important to us and if anything would prefer fellow passengers to the older, than young families. Older people have such interesting life and travel experiments to share. We did however feel perhaps we were in the minority of people for whom this was their annual summer holiday and not part of some greater adventure into Europe or beyond. Also we were probably part of the unlucky few who would be going back to work the day after getting home! Probably the most enjoyable holiday I've ever had. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Transfer from La Guardia: Easy to find Cunard representative at baggage claim. Our flight was delayed departing so we were taken to a private car to take us to the ship. The driver had a foreign accent which made it difficult to understand ... Read More
Transfer from La Guardia: Easy to find Cunard representative at baggage claim. Our flight was delayed departing so we were taken to a private car to take us to the ship. The driver had a foreign accent which made it difficult to understand him at times. When we got close the ship the driver didn't know how to get into the area where the passengers boarded. As we had made this trip before I had to direct him. Embarkation: Staff very friendly. Since we were late (about 3 PM arrival at the pier) most everyone had already boarded. Once we had checked in and got our key cards we proceeded to the ship. We were familiar with the boarding process so we just walked past the obligatory photo op and passed thru ships security without any delays. There was staff available to direct people to the appropriate elevators based on their cabin location. Stateroom: We had booked an inside cabin but Cunard upgraded us to an obstructed view balcony cabin. It was nice to have the larger cabin. It did have a bit of a 'tired' feel to it. The drain in the bathroom sink was missing most of its finish and there were chips of paint missing here and there. The obstruction was a lifeboat just beyond the balcony. It wasn't a normal size lifeboat but a smaller one that looked like a six passenger jet boat. As it was smaller you could see over it and around the front and back so we still had a better view of the water than people with a standard size lifeboat beyond their balcony. Location-wise the room was right near an elevator bank but you really had to listen to hear any noise from the hall or the elevator. Staff: Stateroom attendant was very nice and always greeted us by Mr and Mrs with our last name. She kept our room well tended. The only issue I had was that one day I dropped something under the bed. When I bent down to look under the bed to see where it went I found it and also found a previous passengers tooth whitening tray. Kinda creepy. I noted this in the questionnaire provided by Cunard near the end of the cruise. Note that they also sent a survey to my email address asking some of the same questions shortly after we got home. Dining room: We didn't use the dining room as we decided to eat in the buffet area each meal. In addition we also chose not to bring our formal clothes. This turned out to be somewhat of a poor decision as there were many formal nights. Even the semi-formal nights requested dressier clothes than we packed. This caused us some discomfort when evening came and the people who were in formal dress walked thru the buffet areas on their way to their dining room. The daily program requested that people who didn't want to dress up remain in the buffet area or the Winter Garden area. Food: Good selection at the buffet each meal. Specialty pasta offering each night. Some sounded good so I tried them. They were. Others didn't sound appealing so I went to the buffet. The pizza wasn't that good however. Cheeseburgers at lunch time were tasty. Desserts left a bit to be desired. Soft serve vanilla and chocolate as much as you wanted was fair. At one of the drink stations we found a coffee dispenser that offered German coffee. We tried it and we liked it. Once we found that we didn't drink any of the regular coffee. Not that the regular coffee was bad it's just that we liked the German coffee better. Entertainment: Guest lectures on board were good except for one gentleman who was called Mr. Cruiseship. He was so engaging and animated during his lecture it kept me awake and interested. It helped that he was talking about a subject near and dear to our hearts - cruise ships of course. Very good speaker. The best part of the entertainment however, was that James Taylor performed. He was gracious enough to endure a 1 hour interview during which passengers who had earlier submitted questions was asked them by the cruise director while the two of them were sitting on the main theater stage. After the interview he agreed to sign autographs and pose for pictures. The line of passengers to see him was HUGE! He stayed for six hours doing this! What a great guy! Of course, I believe he got passage for himself, his family, his band members, and all his equipment for doing all of this. James performed two concerts - one for each dining seating time. When we went to the concert he played non-stop for an hour and a half. He played all the popular songs I knew and then some. Late in the concert he had his wife and one of his sons come on stage to perform as backup singers. Really good show! Disembarkation: On the last day we were told to meet in the main theater and wait for our number/color to be called. We got there and found some seats without too much difficulty since we arrived about 1/2 hour before we were supposed to be called. While we were waiting more and more people showed up. As the close by seats which were easy to get to were filled up people started standing by the entrance doors which made it difficult for other people to pass by. Some of the people decided to sit on the steps leading to some of the higher seats which made it very difficult for people to pass. There was even one guy who sat on the steps and refused to move for a while so people had to walk across the aisle where people were sitting to get around this inconsiderate person. Transfer to Heathrow: This was done by motorcoach (some would call it a bus). The driver was really nice and actually gave us a commentary and short tour of Southampton as we drove along. Once he got on the expressway there wasn't much for him to say so it was quite for the hour or two it took to get to the airport. On the ship we were requested to provide information about our return flight. We were supposedly on an American Airlines flight but it was actually operated by British Airways. We were dropped at the American counters at the airport but found we had to go to an entirely different terminal for BA. The way to get there was to take an underground train. This is mess is a whole other story though and doesn't reflect on the cruise. Summary: Nice, relaxing cruise which we took just because James Taylor was performing. All went well in the long run. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
First, I want to thank previous reviewers on the items that helped us the most: Packing - the North Atlantic is unpredictable so bring layers and "sensible" shoes. During our August crossing, we had sun, rain, fog and wind so ... Read More
First, I want to thank previous reviewers on the items that helped us the most: Packing - the North Atlantic is unpredictable so bring layers and "sensible" shoes. During our August crossing, we had sun, rain, fog and wind so shorts and sandals were fine a couple of days but we needed rain jackets and closed-toe, rubber sole shoes on others. My Steve is not "dressy" so he got by with one good black suit (with specially purchased bow-tie) for formal nights and a navy blue sports jacket for the informal nights plus 5 white long-sleeved shirts and a couple pair of nice slacks. He is "sporty" so had a good assortment of layers. I bought a couple of dresses and a small steamer especially for this trip. The steamer came in very handy and I never had to compete for an iron in the laundrette! The dress code is a little more flexible for ladies so I was able to wear cocktail dresses on both formal and informal nights. If you have luggage limitations for weight and/or space, I recommend you just go with a couple lighter, shorter evening dresses. My one "little black dress" did it's duty on three different occasions. Laundrettes - located on almost every deck with four washers and dryers (free-to-use), iron and ironing board. Soap is provided in wall container (not best so may want to bring some "pods" from home). My additional notes: Machines are full size so can hold quite a bit. These got very busy the last two days of the journey. Operating hours are limited so cabins near by are not disturbed at all hours. I believe the hours were 0700-2100 and the doors are locked during closed times. Spa passes - can be purchased in 1, 3 or 5-day packages. The pass gives you access to the thermal pools, saunas and specialty showers. I bought the 3-day pass for myself for $75 (I believe 1-day was $40 and 5-day was $90). For our crossing the 3-day pass worked out great for me but I may bump up to 5-days on our next trip. I especially enjoyed the bubbly heated pool, dry sauna and herbal sauna. My only complaints were the hot tub wasn't really hot and one of the two specialty showers was only partially working (nice tropical rain option). "Museum" ship - lots of fun, informative posterboards in stairwells and hallways. You can get a headset with audio recordings from the pursers' desk that correspond with some of the posters. I had to trade mine in after the first 24 hours because the battery died. The same thing happened after the second 24 hours so if you want to "do" the whole ship, you'll want to plan accordingly. I was able to cover all the posters in the stairwells (bonus opportunity to work off some calories!) but am looking forward to a future crossing to finish up the posters along the halls around Innovations theater. I wish they had some kind of pamplet/guide to help you (like a real museum) but as far as I know, none exist. Room Service breakfast - comes in 15-min time windows (0630-1000), drinks and food were still hot on arrival. Steve is a night owl and I'm an early bird so I would go up to the King's court to have coffee and cereal, peruse the daily "programme", get in some museum posters, and then get back to the cabin for the 0930 arrival of Steve's breakfast and a second pot of coffee for myself. The delivery attendant was different every morning and I tipped them (just $1). They were always appreciative and even surprised a couple of them but I viewed this as a special service (those trays are heavy!). Cunard Insight speaker Bill Miller is fantastic! His lectures were a wonderful foundation for the "museum" experience - they are interesting and he knows how and when to provide funny antidotes/jokes. I got to attend one of the lectures in person and saw another broadcast on the ship's channel. If he's featured on one of my future sailings, I'll make his lectures a priority to attend. There were 2 or 3 other speakers and I saw some interesting bits and pieces on the rebroadcasts. Afternoon Tea – wonderful experience! We went on our first day at sea and then two more days. We discovered all the cakes, scones and sandwiches were available at the King's Court, too, so on the days we didn't have time or just wanted one item with the tea, we went there. I wish the scones came with a “without raisen” option but I was able to pick most of them out, slather on the cream and strawberry jam and wow, yummy! To my American brethren: just give the scones and clotted cream a try, at least once. Now for the items we discovered on our own... Cabin – we were in 6082 and liked the “sheltered balcony” very much. During the rougher days, we were still able to go out and enjoy the fresh air without getting too wet. Since deck six is right below the promenade deck we did occasionally hear some foot traffic. We are not too sensitive to noise so this didn't bother us but I wouldn't opt for this deck if either of us were light sleepers! Also, our cabin was a bit forward so we swayed with the boat more than once on our way down the halls. I had brought stomach aids just in case, but the roll was gentle and neither of us needed the aids. Again, if you're sensitive to such things, you may want to go aft and lower for more stability. I did find the bed a little hard the first night so asked our steward for some extra padding (thanks to a previous reviewer for that tip!) and had no problem after that. We were located well for us – near the stairs going up to the King's Court and the spa/fitness center. Spa/fitness center – Good variety of aerobic machines and weights. Steve and I were using the treadmills one day while the ship was going through some swells – hold on tight!! Very weird experience that sent use to using stairs and promenade for our aerobic activity. Fitness bikes and stair steppers are probably the best bet while at sea... Pastry lovers rejoice because there are an abundance of glorious, delicious choices! One day they set up an entire buffet (with carved ice horse) in the middle of the King's Court. That's were I gained one of my vacation pounds, I'm sure. Bread lovers may not be so happy as I found the bread offerings to be average, at best. For me, this was a good offset for my pastry consumption, as I just turned down or passed by the bread offerings and doubled up on the pastry! Casino – Steve enjoys roulette and he especially appreciated the single “0” wheel. It's also nice that the bet minimums are just $1 on most tables and Steve said they went down to .50 some days he was there. He noted that the table personnel seemed inexperienced but the pit boss quickly corrected any errors. Next time, he wants to try more craps since that seemed to be the most fun when there were 3 or more players. They have classes some days so I may even join in next time. Transfers – We arranged these with Cunard and were pretty pleased. Our transfer in NY was the best because we came in early on our own arranged flight to JFK. We received a private luxury car to take us to the terminal! Between Southampton and Heathrow we shared an average tourist bus. This got us to the airport waaaayyy early. We found good seats in the Italian cafe so were able to make the best of it... Next time I'll look into making our own arrangements just so we can do self-disembarkation without the cattle-herding aspects of the group transport (including leaving the cabin earlier than necessary – remember Steve the late sleeper?). Wine Steward – the one sour note in my QM2 experience was the snobby wine sterward in the Brittania. Steve doesn't drink and I usually have just one glass of wine with dinner. The first evening I didn't want anything because I was already fatigued from the travel day. The second evening I decided to try the Cunard white wine from Sicily, which I liked. The next evening I thought I might try something different but the steward asked as soon as we sat down so I asked to wait until after I decided what to eat. Thirty mins later, the steward is flitting around to the other tables (with bottles) and chatting. When the waiter brought our entree, I asked HIM about getting a glass of wine and, of course, he said he'd send over the steward. It took another 10-15 mins before the steward showed up so I thought I might at least get some wine to go with the small cheese plate for dessert. I decided the same Cunard white would work fine for that, made my order and the steward rolled his eyes! On top of that, he never asked for my drink order again so I guess he showed me! (losing out on those automatic gratuities) Shrug – I commented on this in my final review but he seemed very popular with the big drinkers so I doubt that anything will change there. My strategy going forward will be to study the menus ahead of the seatings and have my selections ready when (and if) the steward deigns to offer. Planetarium – I was really looking forward to these shows but only got to see one towards the end of our trip because I didn't realize there was such limited seating. To get the tickets for the time you want, you have to get to the desk early (I encountered lines twice). They had two different shows on two days each with 3-4 different times each day. We saw “Infinity Express” and enjoyed it very much. I will make getting my tickets a priority on our next voyage so watch out for a smallish blonde woman with a determined gleam in her eyes! The Illuminations theater that houses the planetarium also hosts some of the lectures and runs good movies (we saw “Noah” and “Grand Budapest Hotel” which had just finished their initial theater runs a few months prior). If you go there for lectures or movies, you want to be careful about picking a seat in the planetarium section since some of these seem to be in a permanent recline mode. Dancing! - Classes for ballroom and line were offered almost every day in 45 minute increments. They were fun and very beneficial to us when we went to the wonderful Black and White ball and other dancing events offered throughout the voyage. Music! - Wonderful as background to tea and dinner and great on stage. We totally lucked into James Taylor and his band on our voyage. We enjoyed his music but were not huge fans like the people who bought onto the trip just for him. I must say everything I heard and saw (second performance), impressed me very much. The man greeted every person who waited to see him after his Q&A – over 4 hours worth of handshaking! He's pure awesome. In my opinion, any adult with a smidgeon of curiousity and flexibility would find a trip on the QM2 to be a fun adventure because I didn't even have time to try a pub quizz, acting classes, card games, tour of the bridge, food caving demos, art class, computer class, etc., etc... Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I am a big lover of ocean liners and get very irritated when I hear them confused with cruise ships (e.g. How was your cruise??). I went with my family (Who wasn't expecting to enjoy it). We all had a wonderful time and will ... Read More
I am a big lover of ocean liners and get very irritated when I hear them confused with cruise ships (e.g. How was your cruise??). I went with my family (Who wasn't expecting to enjoy it). We all had a wonderful time and will definitely be sailing again with Cunard. We boarded the Queen Mary 2 in July for a transatlantic crossing to Britain. Embarkation went very smoothly. We just had to sit for about 10-15 minutes before we were ushered aboard. The journey was on a schedule, but not too rushed. I am aware that it slowed from six days to seven to save fuel, but it is still a crossing on a tight schedule.The ship also runs nine day crossings to and from Hamburg and eight day crossings with an extra stop in Canada. The service was amazing. I had been warned by many people in advance that the service dropped after Carnival took over the ship, but we were nonetheless impressed. I can't imagine what the service was like before Carnival took over. It must have been pure bliss. The waiters on board were very attentive and accommodating (in low-grade Britannia-Class nonetheless) and we felt like we were pampered. My parents had their own cabin and my brother and I shared an ocean-view cabin towards the bow of the ship. The only complaint I had about the cabin involved the bathroom which smelled like urine. I know our steward and the maids cleaned the toilet and I tried as well, but it seems that nobody knew where exactly the smell was coming from. It wasn't too bad, but it was irritating when even the crew wasn't able to solve it. Other than that, the cabin was incredible! I definitely recommend an ocean-view for that traditional ocean liner feel. It had a nice picture window and, being located near the bow, we were able to feel the thrusters maneuvering us out of New York harbor. The seas were calm the entire way. One couple who had traveled before said that the weather was the best they had ever seen. I was a little bit disappointed that I didn't get to see the QM2 handle a bad storm, since that is what the ship was built to do, although fog appeared on the last day. We got to meet Kim Novak, the movie star, who was doing a lecture on the ship. We got to take a photo with her and autograph. Sue Cameron, a Hollywood insider, did an interview with her. We didn't do much. We watched two movies of Novak's: Vertigo, always a masterpiece, and Bell, Book, and Candle, which I had never seen before. We sat out by the pool and at night, when most of the pools closed down, I figured out that the indoor/outdoor pool stayed open later, and would run upstairs in my bathing suit at 11:00 and have the pool to myself, floating on my back staring through the magrodome at the night sky. The library was another spot that I could enjoy with few interruptions. My family spent their time elsewhere, and the others in the library were very quiet and respectful. The view out over that long liner bow was spectacular. The only major criticism I have is that I felt a little bored on the seventh day, but the rest of the crossing was great. It felt great to lounge around and not do anything. I stayed up the last night (afraid of sleeping through disembarkation) and saw through the fog the lights of the United Kingdom on one side, and France on the other, as the ship raced through the English Channel towards Southampton. I will definitely become a repeat QM2 passenger, and am disappointed to see only 69% of people enjoyed the QM2 (as of December 12, 2015). I hope they will give the Queen another try! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was my second crossing on the Queen Mary, having previously crossed a number of years ago to Fort Lauderdale. Transfer from my hotel (the Waldorf) to the ship was perfect. I had expected long details in checking in but was soon ... Read More
This was my second crossing on the Queen Mary, having previously crossed a number of years ago to Fort Lauderdale. Transfer from my hotel (the Waldorf) to the ship was perfect. I had expected long details in checking in but was soon installed in my PG stateroom prior to going for Lunch. I had been slightly concerned that being Brooklyn I would not be able to see lady liberty, but by booking a right sided room this was not a problem. Sailaway was one massive party and fully justified the decision to go West to East. Most meals were taken in the PG and were excellent and delivered to a high standard, We also tried the Todd English with friends who were on their honey moon. The whole crossing was a pleasure from start to end. There were though some minor giggles, although the entertainment was generally good we suffered an ventriloquist, whose act was purely American and who non of us could relate to. It was also noticed that the interactive TV had been replaced by a normal version. The drinks package is weird as draught pepsi is allowed but canned is not. Also the change in dress standards was confusing as I feel it would have been better to ask men to wear a tie rather than a Jacket. The dress code also applies on the first and last night making packing interesting. Would I go again on the Queen Mary? - Yes Certainly and am now a convert to the Grill class Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My wife and I are veteran cruisers. However, we had never taken a voyage on an ocean liner until we sailed with the Queen Mary 2. To us, there is a world of difference between a cruise ship and an ocean liner such as the QM2. A major ... Read More
My wife and I are veteran cruisers. However, we had never taken a voyage on an ocean liner until we sailed with the Queen Mary 2. To us, there is a world of difference between a cruise ship and an ocean liner such as the QM2. A major difference is that although the waters may be very rough at times , passengers are not thrown about the ship. Another major difference is the level of service and the entertainment offerings. In addition to having an excellent musical director and two excellent orchestras, the QM2 had classical musicians playing throughout the ship in various venues for most of our trip. The ship also offers excellent plays by members of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Acting (RADA). We were treated to "The Merchant of Venice", "Hamlet" and "Scheherazade". The plays were condensed; however, the storylines and themes were extremely well done. The actors are very well trained and amazed us by making the stories come alive by improvising with very little, in terms of props. They are also very personable individuals. Food on the QM2 is almost always available during the day and night. It is plentiful and there seem to be dishes for a range of palate. Libations are top notch and there is something appealing to every passenger. The staff of the QM2 is of the highest caliber from my perspective and I do mean every staff member from custodians to directors and the Captain. It was our experience that the staff members were so professional and so accommodating that guests wanted to interact with them. The entire experience from July 6, 2014 through disembarkation on July 28th was an absolutely "fantastic voyage". Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our first ever cruise and we were bowled over by the QM2! The ship itself is beautifully appointed and despite the number of passengers it never felt overcrowded. We chose Britannia Club, with a cabin on deck 12 and a dedicated ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we were bowled over by the QM2! The ship itself is beautifully appointed and despite the number of passengers it never felt overcrowded. We chose Britannia Club, with a cabin on deck 12 and a dedicated area of the dining room (and most importantly, the freedom to choose a time to dine which was well worth it!). We were seated on a table of 8 and our dining companions were lovely. The food was excellent and we also dined in Todd English which was even better. Afternoon tea is also superb. We found the prices for cocktails and wine surprisingly reasonable and about comparable with a decent restaurant in the UK. Above all though, what really shone through during the whole voyage was the wonderful customer service! Every member of staff we had an interaction with was nothing less than polite, helpful and friendly! In particular, the waiters in the dining room and our cabin stewardess were wonderful. We loved the Commodore Club for our pre-dinner cocktails and we also enjoyed the dancing too - the band and singer (Michel Chartier) were superb! We thoroughly enjoyed dressing up every evening and if there's one thing I'd say to Cunard it's: please never, ever relax the formal dress code! We saw a couple of really scruffily dressed women wandering through the Commodore Club one evening and I'm sorry ladies, but if you don't want to adhere to the Cunard dress code, choose another cruise company OK?! Finally, the dawn arrival in New York was nothing less than spectacular and an amazing finale to an amazing cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
My partner and I have just returned home after a round trip on the Transatlantic on the QM2. We took in Halifax (NS) and New York before returning home to Southampton. This has been our third cruise on QM2. I have read the reviews of ... Read More
My partner and I have just returned home after a round trip on the Transatlantic on the QM2. We took in Halifax (NS) and New York before returning home to Southampton. This has been our third cruise on QM2. I have read the reviews of several people that were obviously on the same cruise as us (judging by the dates) and would like to make my comments to their reviews first. I would like to confirm first of all that no where on the ship did it smell of sewage nor did we encounter any mould. This ship is 10 years old and is continually being maintained during cruise time, you can see teams of technical crew at work when you walk around. Of course it isn't going to be presented brand spanking new, but to over exaggerate and make false statements is unfair and misleading. Secondly, I am not sure what table the reviewer that complained about the escargot's was sitting at, but we certainly didn't see plate after plate being returned. And the base was a puff pastry, not 'a bread of some sort'. If you want your complaint to have substance, get your facts straight to start with. Thirdly, to the reviewer who complained about their balcony that had a steel front with rusted pipes.....read the description of the stateroom and balcony before you book next time, that way you won't be disappointed. As for the rusted pipes........the sea air contains salt.......salt oxidises metal.....really! If a bit of rust stresses you that much, I suggest learn to chill out a bit. In all honesty though, the rust is minimal and is not unsightly......we have stayed in one of these staterooms on a previous voyage so I speak from experience. On a fourth note, the Kings Court Buffet and to the reviewer commenting on the chairs and the trays etc.......I hope you entered a constructive suggestion into the 'Suggestions Box' prior to disembarking. I am sure Cunard would be interested in how else to prevent passengers from manhandling cleaned and sterilised food areas. The chairs in the Kings Court area were adequate for their purpose. Again, perhaps the complainer should offer some suggestions of what a Buffet lounge chair should consist of! All in all, I think these reviews are unjust and unfair made by people that obviously enjoy being miserable. Our experience on this wonderful ship was nothing less than amazing. The staterooms were cleaned twice a day (well before midday I might add) and all public areas were constantly being cleaned. All crew members were extremely courteous and well mannered. The waiting staff in the dining rooms were real characters and went a long way to making the cruise a memorable one. Pool areas were always manned and assistance always being offered to those who required drinks, towels or instruction on how to use the deck facilities. Entertainment was great, although a couple of shows were repeated on the return trip (but that was okay as there was alternatives). Internet was fast and affordable. Formal nights are great.......if you don't want to wear your tux and gowns, then choose a different a ship....simple! Don't choose the QM2 and then complain about it. We are glad that Cunard uphold this dress code. It is great to be able to get dressed up for dinner without feeling over dressed. The Pursar's Office is manned by competent team members who were always able to answer our questions on pretty much all matters. The alternative dining experiences (Lotus, La Piazza, Coriander and Todd English) are all extremely good with bigger portion sizes than the main Britannia Restaurant and are exceptional quality. My only niggle was that at Lotus, La Piazza and Coriander we had to pay for water which we weren't told about (US$4.98 plus 15% service). No biggie, but it would have been nice to have been told. Todd English is a la carte prices (an average 4 course meal for 2 will set you back around US$68 plus any drinks - water is free!), the other three are a US$10pp cover charge. Casino was good fun and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Not being a gambler, all the tables were foreign to us.....the crew gave great instructions on how to play each of the games. Minimum bets are cheaper between noon and 6pm. The overall appearance and condition of the ship is in line with its age and 'star' rating (We would definitely give it 5*). The carpet in some heavy traffic areas are thinning but I am sure this will be remedied during its next refit. It is by no means unsightly though. The ships entertainment itinerary is very full and if you wanted a full on holiday, you could quite easily make it so. If anyone found the Transatlantic boring, then perhaps one should consider a stretch of water that has stop off points. We choose this voyage because we love the ship, its facilities, its safety record, the friendly crew, its sheer luxury and its seemingly never ending lovely, fresh food (food is available publicly until 2am......beyond this you can still get hot food delivered to your room - 24 hours at no charge). All in all I would recommend the QM2 to anyone (whether you have been on 30 other cruises or not). She is beautiful and the crew we met certainly seemed to love what they were doing. If you want luxury, a sense of days gone by, dressing up, dance galas, endless entertainment then I am sure you will enjoy this magnificent ship and her crew. If you like mega screen (drive in type) movie screens, water slides, pool parties, anything goes dress attire......best you choose something else. Hope this helps a little. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click