QM2 Transatlantic Trip Report

Sep 20th, 2005, 05:52 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 104
QM2 Transatlantic Trip Report

We were aboard the QM2 for the Westbound Transatlantic which departed South Hampton on September 8th.

While I feel that there is really very little to add to all the information already on this board, following are some notes and thoughts. Since members of this forum were so generous with information before we left, it seems only right to share some impressions when we get back. So, hopefully not to redundant...

First, our basics: we are a gay male couple in our late 30's. We were in Queens Grill accommodation on deck nine. This crossing came at the end of a long trip, and as New Yorkers, it was our return home.

Bottom line: we had a wonderful time, and the ship, accommodation and service exceeded our expectations consistently. Now, I should point out that we had fairly modest expectations. Frankly, after all we've read and heard, we thought the crossing would be an interesting travel experience, but that the ship and service would be a mixed bag. Well, not in our experience!

Cabin: our cabin was in the very aft of the ship for passenger accommodations. Although this location had many benefits (more on that later) we did experience some rough weather, and being situated in the rear made for an awful lot of motion, which was particularly challenging in the very early morning, when the motion was to great for us to sleep well. Otherwise, the accommodation was excellent, very spacious, well laid out, and comfortable comfortable comfortable!

I don't think the adage that "you only sleep in your cabin" applies quite so much to a crossing. During the course of six days, your cabin becomes an important respite and your sole private space, so I would encourage passengers to go for the most comfortable accommodation budget allows. Having a spacious and welcoming "home" with a balcony (even in the North Atlantic!) is a very worthwhile amenity.

Cabin service: was largely excellent. Our butler had been on QE2 for 15 years and was very "Cunard" indeed. Bottom line advice here is (as in life!) if you want it, ask for it, but you generally have to ask. This applies to everything from ashtrays to better canapés, extra towels to room freshening.

Queens Grill: well, we've certainly read a lot of mixed reviews on this site and others, but we were really impressed. The a la carte menu and the option to order from it or off of it at every meal is a delightful luxury. I can think of no other hotel, restaurant or resort at which such flamboyant flexibility still exists. The level of service recalled the great French dining rooms of New York, like Le Caravel and La Cote Basque, which are no longer with us. Special orders were taken cheerfully, and in fact encouraged. The couple at the next table had a spectacular beef Wellington one evening, ordered off the menu. That's service! The quality of food ranged from very good to excellent with a couple of dinners that were extraordinary. We were seated in the extreme aft of the room, so it felt quite small and very intimate. Requests table #'s in the low twenties for this part of the room.

The Ship: is so impressive! Perhaps some of the disappointment conveyed in more critical reviews of QM2 derives from passengers wishing the whole of the ship appealed to them equally. However, it is clear that the intent of the designers and the line is quite the opposite. Given the range of cabin categories and costs, this is a ship that will always have a tremendous diversity of people on board, with differing expectations and tastes. So, that grand hallway with the plastic bas relief may look tacky to you and positively grand to someone else. The one exception here might be the Winter Garden, which is ugly.

Areas we enjoyed particularly included the lovely Chart Room, the Commodore Club, and the aft pool deck. Everybody at the Golden Lion seemed to be having a great time, but we were more comfortable upstairs somehow.

Without doubt, the most extraordinary part of the QM2 though is not the public spaces but the ship itself. So much visual stimulation, so many things that look like nothing one’s ever seen. For example, the incredibly long corridors on passenger cabin floors, the eerily silent top decks, with expansive views and the ship’s funnel and equipment looking almost surreal against a blue sky, the sense of a busy sidewalk and of vitality all around the promenade deck, and the glimpses along the sides of the ship that reveal her scale. All of these were a joy.

Entertainment/Activities: to our surprise we took little advantage of the activities on board; partly owing to the roughness of the weather a couple of days, partly out of laziness. Still, the Oxford lecturers we attend we’re wonderful, and I wish I attended more. The Planetarium show was fine, though a touch juvenile. The many bands around the ship were all good or better, and we particularly enjoyed the jazz combo in the Chart Room. And, G-32, at least on this crossing, was busy nearly every night and lots of fun! Preferred the DJ to the disconcertingly Caribbean band, however, whose islands roots came through in everything from the Rolling Stones to ABBA.

Todd English: wonderful service and delicious food, but HEAVY!! A real treat, well worth the surcharge. Suggest doing this for dinner or an informal night…and go hungry!!

A Final Thought: what made this crossing so enjoyable for us was the fact that we viewed as a means of transportation from beginning to end. While there is much discussion on this board around comments like “she’s an ocean liner, not a cruise ship,” (which she clearly is …and isn’t), the real distinction here is one of attitude. If we had viewed QM as a destination in her own right, or as a travel experience in and of herself (e.g. like a Caribbean cruise), we may well have been disappointed. However, at the end of our long trip, seen as our means of transportation home, she was, without a doubt, the only way to cross.
Mike14c is offline  
Sep 20th, 2005, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,555
Thanks for taking the time to post such an informative report. That really helps me -- as my partner and I have considered a similar trip.
Songdoc is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 829
Very intersting report, Mike! I'd been 'turned off' of the QM2 by its sheer size and passenger volume (and that food court!), and while I still doubt that it would be for us...it was good to read such an informative rundown with favorable opinions.
tuckerdc is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 06:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 104
I understand exactly what you mean, and even having been on board and enjoyed it greatly, I would still only recommend QM2 for a crossing. For a cruise, the size, the huge food court, the (I imagine) hassel of getting on and off, would be a real bummer. But for a crossing, it works amazingly well and is a pretty unqiue experience.
Mike14c is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2005, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 4
QM2 still ahead ... it will be fun.
LeoneCiao is offline  

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