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Cunard Line: Queen Mary 2

  • Cunard Line
  • Cunard Line
  • Cunard Line

Queen Mary 2 Cruise Review

Insider Take

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Small ships; budget cruising; pool-side games; lots of singles partying late into the night.

Public Rooms

The full wrap around promenade deck is deck seven. Decks two and three are the heart of the ship, where one moves from one public room to the next, including the Royal Court Theatre, Illuminations (Planetarium), Britannia Restaurant and the Queens Room.

In the tradition of the older Cunard liners, the Queens Room is the largest dedicated ballroom on any passenger ship, and also features the largest dance floor afloat. There is ballroom dancing at night to the ship's orchestra, and during the day it hosts horse racing and afternoon teas.

G32, the ship's two-level disco, is secreted away behind the Queens Room which you must actually cross to enter. Despite or because of its odd location, it gets packed almost every night.

For regular bars there are the Golden Lion Pub, Sir Samuel's Wine Bar and the Chart Room. The best place to enjoy the horizon (and/or sunset) is in the Commodore Club on Deck 8, which offers also piano entertainment during the evening. For something different, Queen Mary 2 features the first-ever Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar at sea. It serves seven different Veuve Clicquot Champagne labels, with prices from $7 per glass.

Alcohol indulgence aside; Illuminations is the only planetarium at sea, and it is used for lectures, movies and of course planetarium films. Or there is the huge, well-stocked library with a nearby book and souvenir shop for all things maritime.

For those of us with a personal connection to ships and the sea, there is a viewing gallery for the bridge open between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to only eight people at a time. You can wander up there and watch the officers on deck in action. Or go to Deck 2, forward, where there are windows just above water level, and watch the bulbous bow cut through brine.

The wraparound promenade on the QM2 is the longest at sea, one-third of a mile. Wooden deck chairs line the rails. There are five pools, one for kids and one under a Magradome.


Food and the serving thereof have both improved almost beyond recognition since Queen Mary 2 entered service. In the lovely Britannia (minimum category) Restaurant, servers deliver consistently delicious Continental cuisine. Make a reservation the moment you board for celebrity chef Todd English's wonderful restaurant; his Mediterranean-style menu features such delights as lobster and baby corn soup and duck breasts in ginger sauce.

Those paying higher fares dine at a single seating in the intimate Queen's Grill and Princess Grill, where caviar, jumbo shrimp and smoked salmon are yours for the asking, as they're not in Britannia.

The King's Court Lido buffet area with separate food stations, will appeal to British tastes as well as American, but not both at the same time, unless you like beans and black pudding for breakfast.

Lotus features an excellent Asian sampler menu; The Carvery has prime rib, chicken and fish; and La Trattoria offers an Italian menu with a self-service antipasto course from the buffet. The Golden Lion Pub will do you some fish and chips, bangers and mash, or steak and mushroom pie. The Boardwalk Cafe on Deck 12 serves a grill menu. After a demonstration at the Chef's Galley ($35 per person) the 26 onlookers get to eat what they've just watched being prepared.


With its lighted dome arcing over a nearly three-deck-high space, the Britannia Restaurant feels like the dining room of a grand hotel. A huge vertical tapestry depicting a giant liner against the New York skyline is the richly colorful centerpiece. The dining room has two seatings for 1,350 each, at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and is rather more elegant than the single-sitting Caronia or two-sitting Mauretania on the Queen Elizabeth 2.

Passengers in the higher category cabins and suites have access to the 180-seat Princess Grill and 206-seat Queen's Grill, two identical single-level rooms aft on Deck 7 somehow lacking the distinctiveness of the Queen's, Princess and Britannia Grills on the QE2. The big name restaurant, Todd English, levies a charge of $20 for lunch and $30 for dinner.

For informal dining, the multi-sectioned King's Court offers several serving stations, with minimal queuing, for breakfast and lunch. The four different dining areas all have linen tablecloths and waiter service, with the same menus throughout the voyage. The many bay window tables facing the side promenades provide the best seating and are well out of the main traffic flow.

At night the King's Court is divided into four dining sections that require reservations. The Carvery caters to carnivores; Lotus offers an Asian sampler menu; La Piazza's is, as you've probably divined, Italian; the 26-seat demonstration kitchen Chef's Galley charges $35 a head. The Golden Lion Pub is popular with British passengers for its pub grub, while the Boardwalk Cafe serves grills, salads and light desserts to those who want to remain out on deck. Featuring spicy lobster wonton, crab cakes, duck spring roll, stir-fried king prawn and chicken with Singapore noodles, the Lotus menu is of particular note.


Exemplary staff in all classes of service, especially at Canyon Ranch spa. Bar service, though, can be slow at peak pre-dinner hours.


Gratuities are automatically charged to your shipboard account for dining room waiter, cabin steward and other personnel. The per person (including children) per day rates are $13 for QE2 and QM2 accommodation with Grill dining; $11 for QE2 and QM2 accommodation with Restaurant dining. Visit the front desk to adjust the amount.

For bar and salon services, a 15% gratuity is automatically added to your bill. Other gratuities are at the passenger's discretion.

Gratuities of $11 per day for the Britannia Restaurant and $13 per day in the Queen's and Princess Grills are automatically added to shipboard accounts for both dining and cabin staff. Passengers may add or reduce the amounts as they choose.


There are two premium "classes" of suites onboard with private dining rooms and deck areas. The top tier is the "Queen's Grill Suite" of people who dine in the Queen's Grill. The second class is the Princess Grill, where denizens dine in the adjacent Princess Grill.

The Queen's Grill suites include the largest staterooms on the ship - while the Princes Grill suites are all about the same size and an upgrade to the average stateroom, but not exactly like suites.

Of the 1,310 cabins, 78 percent have ocean views and 94 percent of these balconies. The smallest (categories C1-C4 and D1-D5) are uniformly 194 sq. ft., with light wood-grain paneling and furnishings, adequate storage space, a small sitting area with pop-up table, a chair and a vanity cum desk. Bathrooms have a shower, good counter and limited shelf space. QM2 Interactive Television allows you to order room service, review your on-board account, and order pay-per-view movies; very handy indeed!

The standard outside cabin is considerably larger than the indoor portion of the cabins, with balconies enclosed in the hull. Above the lifeboats, the balcony cabins (B1-B7, 248 sq. ft.) are more typical, with Plexiglas instead of steel on the outer side, and larger interior sitting areas. Cabin sizes then increase to junior suites (P1-P2, 381 sq. ft.) with the largest (Q1-Q6, 506 to 2, 249 sq.ft.) including aft-facing duplexes. Those on Deck 8 have access to a concierge lounge.

A dozen cabins look out onto the atrium. All suites and junior suites feature Frette linens, flat screen TVs with Xbox game systems, personalized stationery, pre-dinner canapes, concierge service, and a bottle of champagne on embarkation.

Fellow Passengers

Cruise and ocean liner history buffs, lots of Brits, people who love days at sea.


The only true modern Ocean Liner, can cross New York to Southampton, in six days. She cross half the year, then sails around the world.

Best For People Who Want

An ocean-liner experience with all the amenities and style of a modern cruise ship; an elegant; a wide range of dining options; the biggest and best spa afloat.

Onboard Experience

Intended to attract a clientele looking for grandeur without pomposity, The QM2 is a worthy successor to the ancient (in cruise line years) 34-year-old QE2. Like that grand old gal, she offers both Atlantic crossings and cruise service, but on a scale heretofore unimagined, and with all the bells and whistles passengers expect on a brand-new ship

Though French-built and American-owned, QM2 retains some of the feel of past Cunard vessels with its British officers and atmosphere. In other ways, though, this is more a Princess ship than a Cunard. (please read the Cunard Line overview for the historical relationship between Cunard, Princess and the parent company Carnival Corp.). Witness that most of the senior officers trained with P&O (Princess' former owner) or served on Princess ships, and that signature Princess touches as the champagne waterfall have been imported.

On Atlantic crossings, passengers are more likely to dress up and take part in the grand ocean liner experience. The two-side promenade decks, with the lifeboats stored above, offer the longest double row of wooden steamer chairs on the high seas, a delightful setting for reading or dozing in warm weather. On cruises with many ports, the ship's many layers may go unappreciated, and such formal events as ballroom dancing and afternoon tea may be under attended. Longer cruises, such as those to and from South America, are likely to resemble Atlantic crossings.

Bear this in mind about Queen Mary 2's transatlantic sailings: the lack of ports (and the consequent more relaxed approached to dining) means that the restaurants tend to fill quickly. So don't dawdle getting down to dinner.

And at least the first couple of nights allow time for getting lost; as the longest, widest and tallest passenger ship ever built, QM2 can be fairly tricky to navigate. Keep in mind that there are four different main staircases, marked A - D, and rejoice in the fact that, as a convenience, the ship's daily program specifies the deck number and stairway for each place of event or public room.


First of all, it need to be mentioned that when she was introduced as recently as 2004 she was the biggest cruise ship in the world, a title she held for quite awhile. However, she carries 1/3 fewer passengers than most ships her size. So, this is obviously reflected in the decor.

What one expects in a modern ocean liner, worthy to carry the mantle of the Cunard name, is grandeur, and how better to accomplish that than with size, and even more so, proportion. The rooms are bigger and grander on QM2, with ceilings that 1/2 again as tall as the normal deck. The public rooms are grand, but not meant to filled to corner with people. They give the impression of space and openness.

For the actual decor, QM2 favors a modernized version of Art Deco. Handsome bas relief sculpture lines the main public room corridors; paintings, many with ocean liner themes, line the foyers and staircases. Cunard history panels, using photos, drawings and text, grace the passages.


In conjunction with Oxford University, QM2 offers seminars on history, politics, fashion and various creative arts. The nighttime theatrical entertainment is provided in the 1,105-seat Royal Court Theater by a unique Cunard program featuring the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, whose players work on an original production bound for the West End or Broadway during the cruise, and show another production at night. During the day, they interact with passengers and give lessons and talks on the dramatic arts. The theater also shows cabaret and other types of entertainment. The Theatre Illuminations, is a planetarium three hours every day, and also serves as a movie theater and lecture hall.


Canyon Ranch operates the largest spa at sea, 20,000 square feet on two levels, with a staff of 50. Facilities include a Center, Aqua Therapy and a Beauty and Skin Care Center. Services include a long list of massages, exercise for weight loss, back care, educational workshops, thermal therapies, scrubs, cocoon, and beauty services. There are a gym, weight room, juice bar, Thalassotherapy pool, whirlpool, Finnish sauna, herbal sauna, and steam room. Appointments are taken; charges include gratuities. The therapists don't try to talk you into buying expensive body care products after your treatment, and you're not required to fill out some bogus questionnaire about your health beforehand.

Children's Facilities

There are kid's programs - but chances are you will find very few children on these sailings.


During a six-night Atlantic crossing or a week's cruise, two formal nights will be the norm, and most men, especially on a crossing, will wear tuxedos rather than dark suits; other nights designated either informal (jacket for men) or casual; casual is always appropriate during the day.

Ship Overview

Queen Mary 2 is one of the few ocean liners remaining in any cruise line's fleet, and her season of transatlantic crossings routinely sells out months in advance. During the season, she even has operational kennels that are similarly full of canine passengers traveling to Europe. The ship is big and feels big, with plenty of tradition as well as a few high-tech elements like a planetarium. After the transatlantic season, Queen Mary 2 sails primarily Baltic and Norwegian coast itineraries.

With the clever use of design elements, Queen Mary 2, one of the largest passenger liners ever built, bears a striking external resemblance to Cunard’s former flagship, the smaller, older Queen Elizabeth 2, which was retired from service in 2008. The world's grandest and most expensive liner is a transitional ship, incorporating classic ocean-liner features—sweeping staircases, soaring public rooms, a 360-degree promenade deck, and a grand ballroom—all comfortably within a hull that also includes a trendy Canyon Ranch Spa and a full-scale planetarium.

Interior spaces blend the traditional style of early-20th-century liners with all the conveniences 21st-century passengers expect. Public rooms are mainly located on two decks low in the ship—remember, this is a liner designed for North Atlantic crossings. The grand lobby is palatial, and the wide passageways lead to a variety of lounges, shops, a casino, show room, and planetarium. The Queen's Room is especially regal.

One of the world's most distinguished names in ocean travel since 1840, the Cunard Line has a long history of deluxe transatlantic crossings and worldwide cruising. The line's ships are legendary for their comfortable accommodations, excellent cuisine, and personal service. After a series of owners tried with little success to revive the company's flagging passenger shipping business, Carnival Corporation offered an infusion of ready cash and the know-how to turn the line around in 1998. Exciting new ships have followed.

Delightful daily events include afternoon tea and the maritime tradition of sounding the ship's bell at noon. The line offers North Atlantic crossings and seasonal shorter cruises, including Northern European and Mediterranean itineraries.

What You Should Know


  • Proper afternoon tea suggests that Britannia still rules the waves
  • The Queen's Room is a true ballroom, where you can waltz the night away
  • Todd English restaurant is named for the celebrity chef who designed the menu


  • There’s no illusion that booking an inside cabin results in the same level of pampering received by occupants of top suites
  • There is no Lido area buffet
  • It’s very easy to get lost
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 1,253
  • Entered Service 2004
  • Gross Tons 151,400
  • Length 1,132 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,310
  • Passenger Capacity 2,620 (3,090 max)
  • Width 135 feet
  • New

Aug 19, 2015


I was very disappointed at the level of service, amenities, food, cabin, shops, and pools on this ship. I was expecting more based on rave reviews from my cruising friend, who loved the ship and was on her 5th cruise. Even she said she was disappointed with this one. It was absolutely the worse communication I ever experienced on a cruise from booking to disembarkation. For shore excursions we were forced to literally walk around the ship in circles

for a ridiculously long time and distance, Imthink just to waste time because they were always running behind schedule. Most cruise lines have someone at every turn making sure you do not wander off course, but there was none of that and when we met at our location for a shore excursion there was not one crew member there to assure people they were in the correct place. This continued throughout the cruise and when you did ask a staff member a question they either did not know the answer, or often they sent you to the wrong end of the ship where you had another crew member tell you to go back to the other end. Shameful and not good for people with limited mobility. The food was not very good. There were plenty of good sounding choices, but the seasoning was bland, portions were very small, and many people from our table went away hungry. I must say our wait staff was excellent, skilled, and adept at service. I have nothing but praise for the three that served us nighty and the Wine Steward was also excellent. Two nights in a row I had the same 2-3 oz portion of fish that was billed as different on the menu. It was the same fish, just sauced differently and named differently. Maybe if I stretched it there were 6 bites. Many of the appetizers were also more like an amuse-bouche. I do not require huge servings, but I thin it is normal to expect at least 4 oz of the protein portion. In addition, the room service menu was very sparse and the food at the buffet was similarly bland. Frozen deep fried fast food potato wedges billed as hash browns. I expected better. The best breakfasts by far were the ones we had in the restaurant, but that was partly due again to the excellent service instead of the food quality. Not what we expected. We requested a veranda balcony and specified no in-hull balcony, but guess what we got? In-hull balcony. They should be ashamed to call this a balcony at all and charge the same price for a little metal box you can barely see out of and certainly cannot enjoy any sun from. We were assured by the cruise line we were not getting this kind of falsely advertised and not told until 2 days before the cruise otherwise. By then my friend had already flown half way across the country for this cruise, or we may have backed out entirely. I consider this a classic bait and switch and never had that happen to me with other lines I have cruised. Cunard has also cut corners by not giving you a proper set of linens. No top sheet. One well stuffed duvet cover so you could not peel back any layers and just sleep,with a sheet over you like I normally do in hot weather. We also had a very noisy refrigerator that had a fan or motor running constantly. Like other things we got conflicting answers from different crew members. We were told they were all like that and it's just the way they were. Our table mates assured us theirs was not keeping them awake at night so we asked our steward about it and after 2 sleepless nights, we suddenly had a different refrigerator. There were only 2 outlets on the desk/dressing table and with the little square cel phone plugs only one could be used at a time because they were too close together. No outlets in the bathroom, and no exhaust fan in the bathroom. The room was not luxury class in my opinion. We did not enjoy the musical performers, finding them to be very off-key, but others stated that they did like them. People also liked the comedian, but we were stuck with the later dinner even though we requested the early seating, so the evening performances we were not able to enjoy. Efforts to change our dinner seating time were met with a cold hard no, not possible. We would have liked to try the planetarium, but were never able to obtain tickets even getting in the line early in the morning before breakfast. There must be a better way than the constant herd mentality they seem to enjoy on this line. I found the pools to be extremely small for a big ship, so do not expect to swim laps. The hot tubs at one pool were closed without explanation twice and again, an absence of staff in this area as well. The locker room or dressing room was atrocious. Two curtained stalls with handicapped accessibility,Mobutu no private dressing area immediately outside and only shower gel and lotion available. No shampoo and conditioner like other lines provide and nobody staffing it inside to be certain it is clean and secure. All our excursions started late and took such a long time getting off the ship that we were tired when we started and parts had to be rushed or skipped because the timing was off. I would not recommend the hop on hop off trolley we took in Boston because the trolley is not air conditioned and the hard wooden bench seats were killing my back. I would have preferred a bus or private taxi. There was insufficient time to really see all the attractions at the stops and traffic jams made it a very long trip back to the ship. I suggest picking one or two sights in this town to do them well. Avoid the street fair in Little Italy at all costs. You cannot get into the restaurants because of the crowds, and public restrooms seemed impossible to find. There was plenty of food and drink on the streets if you enjoy that. Go to The Old North Church if you want to see that and get out quickly. Aside from one day at sea, we had good sailing weather and saw whales and a great many Dolphins. I was very disappointed at the lack of communication on board the ship, including the confusion they created by changing the day of one of the two formal nights. This was published in the daily bulletin, but many were consulting a cruise itinerary with a conflicting date. I never heard a formal announcement about the change. Are 2 formal nights on a short cruise really necessary? We found some of the staff in the shops to be very rude. I normally spend a lot in the ships stores, but did not find the merchandise choices all that exciting and when I get a clerk who talks down to me or speaks you rudely with an air of snottiness,mother. I would just as soon not spend my money there. I also never experienced that on another line and I'm sure my friend and I did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment. We went shopping in a good mood and came back feeling insulted. All in all, this cruise was a disappointment I will not be willing to repeat. Oh, and Cunard did not send me a satisfaction survey.

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Jan 22, 2014

New York Carribean Southampton

Our arrival at the Port in New York was absolute chaos. No-one to tell us where to go or to help with luggage. Not being one of the '1st' class passengers we were herded into a large hall and queued for the next hour. When we eventually boarded the ship we were greeted and directed to our cabin. The standard of Cabins we thought was excellent as was the service we received from our cabin steward. The same high standard was maintained in

the restaurant by the waiters. The food was very good but would not class as excellent, except for the steaks which were superb. Our main concern was that of the Spa prices, shop, and drinks prices which were more than double anything you pay on for example Fred Olsen. The Spa charging at least treble normal 'at home' prices. I bought a Gucci watch from the very helpful shop, on the understanding that if the same watch was found cheaper in port they would refund the difference. We did find the same ashore in St Marten, we took all the details back to the ship but they refused to refund the 150# difference. However they did give us a full refund as we returned the watch not being prepared to accept this huge differential. Be warned!! We found the lecturers of a very high standard and extremely interesting. The shows in the evening were very good except the singers, they left a lot to be desired and this was the general opinion not just ours. The specialist acts were excellent. Afternoon tea in the Queens is a special occasion and not to be missed. We found the general standard very acceptable and thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the galley. However if a dish says 'seared' then you expect it to be so, not overcooked. After 3 attempts at getting it right we gave up. Nothing was too much trouble for the waiters and if you did not like the dish you had chosen they even got you an alternative. The Canyon Ranch choice we found a brilliant idea and enjoyed the lunch most days. We avoided Kings Court buffet as the ambiance and style was not really in keeping with the standard of the ship. The cabin we had was a basic balcony cabin, but in fact there was nothing basic about it. An extremely comfortable bed with great soft pillows. My only criticism was the standard of the Shower Gel and Shampoo supplied. However we did manage to purchase Shampoo from the on board shop at double normal shop prices! I did not think a lot of the organized deck activities the couple arranging these games were more interested in themselves when they did turn up. Quizzes were very popular and well supported and well run. Bingo was another very expensive pass time! The Casino obviously made a lot of money from it!! The shore excursions were again double what you would pay for the same on other ships. Take a local taxi with a couple of friends, go where you want to, when you want to. You are automatically charged a daily rate for 'Service' charges. This you can have stopped by contacting the Pursers office when you go on board. By doing this you can then choose who you want to give to and how much. By talking to our cabin steward at the end of the trip we discovered he only received 2% of the amount you pay. This I think most unfair. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the holiday...Yes we would use Cunard again but we would also choose Fred Olsen as better value for money, choice of food and daily activities. Cunard are obviously superior ships.

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Mar 28, 2013


My only other cruise has been with the Sea princess around NZ in 2012. Naturally I have compared the services on the QM2 (on a voyage from Singapore to Brisbane over Feb-March 2013) with that of the Sea Princess. My critique is as follows: The good: the beautifully appointed QM2 has superior Wine list with restaurant rate pricing Coffee is good if you ask for the better option (i.e. espressos and cappuccinos although

some staff did not know the appropriate cup for an espresso) State room space Lounges and bars (esp. the Golden Lion pub) The Britannia restaurant food and service was very good Lecture programs and lecturers The Planetarium is lots of fun And cruising stability for those that need it The bad: and it's really bad: The King's Court buffet restaurant is an anachronism in layout, presentation and food. Poor design and poor food offerings. No better that a department store cafeteria from the 1970-80s era. Go and get some tips for the Sea Princess. Worse still were the buckets of dirty water and accompanying filthy mops left right beside tables and guests. Disgusting! Your shore excursion/tour people are disorganised, uncaring, unhelpful, uninformative and disingenuous. They fabricate fascinating excuses and obfuscate over problems rather than attempt to solve them. Furthermore, their hands-off attitude to people with mobility problems is breathtaking! They have seemed to have no realisation that there is a continuum of mobility issues and that there are just not 2 categories: wheelchair or no wheelchair! They have placed a pall over the whole voyage for us. Once again get lessons from the Sea Princess where a practised eye by the tour department leader/manager could quickly identity and give alternate instructions to those that may walk more slowly or could not walk any great distance. Your internet site is another anachronism! Slow, clumsy and unstable. As a person working 10-14 h a day I do not have the time or patience to spend hours on your unresponsive and poorly presented website. I attempted three times to book shore excursions online but with the system being slow and unstable I gave up. I have conversed with many others on the voyage and most people had similar issues with your site globally not just Brisbane or Australia. When I finally did get the time and the site stability to book all 16 excursions for my mother and I, the process took 45 minutes! But at least the bookings were done! Or I had thought so! When I board in Singapore however, I am curious that we received no shore excursion tickets. So I queue up with your Tour department office only to find out that the bookings did not go through!! I was quite angry. I had to rebook shipboard though your office now at shipboard prices! On receiving the tickets, 4 are missing. So queue up once more and book the missing 4 shore excursions. I enquired and followed up 10 days later about getting the shipboard price reduced to the internet price. Well the obfuscation over that was impressive. Another story! Toward the end of the voyage, I spoke to the tour department manager about the site and she admitted that in contrast, the Princess website is fantastic! As a customer, I find the Princess website is standard. This level of flexibility, responsiveness, information, stability and speed is an expectation of any on-line consumer! The co-operation/co-ordination between your services! I complained to the Pursers office over the above booking issue; the response was "Oh that's tour department's problem". On complaining to the Pursers office about the website and its issues, the staff member was surprised that there was an issue. How is that possible when so many people I spoke to from several locations and countries also had issues with the site? In discussing the website with Tour department, "Oh that's the IT department". On asking about how they might pass this feedback to the company, "they would try". It seems at that they also are victims of the system and higher management. This passing the buck attitude is not an effective business practice and does nothing for the Cunard brand. It is unfortunate that the Cunard line brands itself as giving a superior offerings but not delivering on expectations. Resting on old laurels? Speaking to other travellers on that voyage it is apparent that several competitors have as good as or very similar quality offerings. Admittedly, there are differences in coffee and wine offerings, and amenities. This beautiful ship, QM2, has been let down.

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Nov 9, 2012

transatlantic crossing

We have sailed on the Queen Mary 2 several times, and have taken transatlantic crossings on both the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2. This crossing was the westbound from Southampton the New York. Firstly, we have been relying on Amtrak to get us to New York for cruises, or to Dulles for air to Europe, with no problems arising at all. It beats flying, and luggage restrictions are more traveller friendly, especially on a Cunard sailing

where formal attire is mandatory, unless a fool wants to not dress properly - more on that later on. We flew British AIr to Londons Heathrow, not very exciting, a little better than US domestic airlines to England. Free wine and beer, same old blah food, better seats, a tad more knee space. Clean restrooms during the flight. We stayed this time at the Renaissance at Heathrow, just ok, clean but nothing out of the ordinary. Next time we will try the Radisson which looked quite nice.Renaissance is now part of Marriott, and a step down from most Marriott brands. We met up with our friends Steve and Julie, they live in Kent, England, we met them two years ago during a 14 day Queen Victoria cruise from LAX, and we have since cruised with them and they have visited us in Virginia, and we spent a great day with them before we took the Queen Mary 2. My partner and I have sailed in both Queens, and Princess Grill, as well as Britannia Club and Britannia Restaurant accommodations. We booked this crossing sort of last minute, and we booked Britannia. I will only direct dining venues as to those we actually dined in during this voyage. Our repeat status with Cunard is as high as it gets, Diamond Members in Cunards World Club, and with that we had a few extra perks during the cruise, such as a second bottle of French sparkling wine in cabin, wine and beer in our cabins fridge and priority boarding and guaranteed seating in the Britannia, a table for 2, and the ability to special order things as we wished. Firstly, to dispel the notion that this ship or Cunard's ships, are a "class" system is totally false. Yes, you dine in certain restaurants by the category of accommodation that you purchase. Yes, the Grills are opulent, and have lengthy menus and the like, with Britannia Balcony accommodations a little less opulent, however the main menu for all meals is the same in the four included dining venues, except for the al la carte specials, and table side preps which are not offered in the Britannia. Now, can one consider Concierge or Aqua or Spa or any other phrase on other cruise lines, and "better" in cabin amenities, a form of "class" system? Or priority boarding, or inclusions such as preferred spa appointments or excursions? Yes, they are a form of class system a "get what you pay MORE for" if you will. All food, throughout the crossing was excellent, of highest quality Well equipped, new flat screens were a plus more than anyone could possibly take in each day no excursion on a transatlantic crossing We boarded, priority boarding, for Grills and Diamonds, and were instantly greeted by white gloved personnel and were escorted to our stateroom on Deck 4. We had an in-hull balcony, which is one with steel chest high wall, not a plexiglass wall, this actually was nice for a crossing, less windy and drier. Since we boarded two hours before the rest of the passengers, we were able to have a leisurely lunch and make our spa appointments. Ships muster was held indoors, in of all places, the Grills Lounge, a private cocktail club for Grills guests. Cunard's drills are always far more extensive than other drills and this one was really thorough, and long. I went to the dining room, the Britannia, to see about our table, and was greeted by name and shown to our table, a secluded table for two on the second tier of the dining room, and welcomed back on board. In fact, the maitre, table captain and sommelier took me to the table and offered to change it if for any reason I was displeased. I was not displeased, and enjoyed every minute we spent at that table. Speaking of sommeliers, they are real, not just a wine steward that knows nothing. You see, what makes Cunard so special is that the passenger is number one, the crew and officers every effort is to please, and every passenger is welcomed back. I will spill the beans here about the repeaters on this crossing, there were over 1,900, the ship sailed with 2,532! Over the next few days we visited the 9 dogs in the kennel, which braved the cold and mists to play and greet passengers. There were also 2 cats in the kennel, which did not make a visit! The decks on most, not all, transatlantic crossings, are deserted, cold and wet, and Captain Oprey played tag with hurricane Raphael for two days. The ship sailed perfectly, even in foce 9 winds and 35 foot swells. The entertainment on the Queen Mary2 was up to Cunard's usual best. A live Caribbean band, Vibe, which has been with the Mary for nearly 10 years, delighted in the Disco, cool and hot jazz with the Cunard Jazz Trio, in the Chart Room, two full orchestras, one in the Royal Court Theater, the other in the Queens Room, the largest ball room with the largest dance floor at sea, (Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth come tied at second in these categories) plus, the National Symphony Orchestra, a special engagement for this crossing, not to forget the Cunard Singers, many of whom have also been with the ship or the two other Queens for years. Add the RADA. Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, and the entertainment is nearly endless. Two lavish evenings of entertainment were presented, Viva Italiana and Apassionatta, both of which we have seen before, and each time new songs dances and costumes have been added. Another exciting presentation was "Madam Butterfly" filmed live in 3-D and Dolby Sound, as performed by the Royal Opera Company in London, and shown in Illuminations, the only planetarium at sea. Now for the food, everyone eats, so, here goes. As I have stated, all was tops for food. There were a few standouts, highlights, really.. Lobster is still offered, as are wonderful fresh fish, cheese courses that were to die for, duckling, steaks and every sort of the freshest meats and poultry. One: Vermont turkey was on the menu, a real turkey, with white and dark meat, carved from the frame, not a hotel breast. The famed Canyon Ranch Spa, which is the Marys spa of choice, offeres real enticing spa cuisine, real food, not tofu and watercress. Ever had a spa Creme Brulet? I had several. We also ate lunch in Todd English, which is complimentary with Cunard's World Club and Diamond levels of loyalty, and it was just spectacular, and so are Todds Bloody Marys, the BEST at sea (we paid for those! and left extra for a tip). Our waiter, Gyorgi from Romania remembered us to the exact last cruise, which by the way, was on the Queen Victoria in the Baltic, and from previous cruises with the Mary. This is something sort of new, new in the fact that it is now no longer complimentary, the Kings Court at night. Port and starboard sides of the ship are transformed from buffet to gourmet, with nightly diversions that include The Carvery, a British chop house themed menu, Lotus, Asian menu, a chefs table, with on hand cooking instruction and of course the ever popular Italian. We dined in the Italian and Carvery, with the duck in the Carvery the signature dish, prepped table side. All this for $10.00 a pop. Incredible bargain. Oh, the pastas are all fresh, on ship made. In fact, nearly everything on this ship was made from scratch. Again, incredible. Now, about that dress code. The fee for the Kings Court is to deflect those that do not care to adhere to the evenings dress code. Apparently if you pay therefore, it is felt that you dress for the evening. Admission to any dining venue is prohibited if one is not dressed accordingly. Period. You have the long list of room service options. There were to be 4 formal nights, that were lessened to 3. One a regular formal night, the others the Royal Ascot Ball and the Black and White Ball. We had three special parties, one for Diamonds, one for Grills and Diamonds, and one for Grills, Diamonds and Platinum members. Open bar, order whatever drinks, hot and cold canapés, and ice thrown with shrimp cocktail. Yum! Thats about it, I think everything is covered here. I read the reviews that are out there, and I am appalled at what I read, with - I hate this - "nickel and diming" going on, as some reviews state with other cruise lines, and the cutting back. Not so with Cunard, not now, nor in the past. We have sailed Cunard since 1970, and are always welcomed back, and we in fact, can not wait to be back on a Cunarder. Years ago Cunard when they sailed many ships across the pond had a great motto "Getting there is half the fun" - true then and now, only today, there is the Queen Mary2, probably the most spectacular genuine ocean liner ever built.

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  • New

Mar 31, 2012

New York to London

O.K. Just o.k. The ship was gorgeous though. The spa was fabulous. I had the best pedicure that I have ever had in my life! The young south african girl made my somewhat "not so great looking" toenails look amazingly pretty. The waterfall in the pool was so refreshing. My husband and I went to the pool everyday. The cruise was seven days and had no excursions. We didn't mind that at all. The food was very bland though. It lacked

taste. Plus we had requested to sit at a table of 8 when booking the cruise instead we were placed with a table for four. Our dinner companions were two single women. I didn't enjoy that too much. My husband did though as he got a lot of attention. A little too much attention. After two days of it, I complained and requested another table. We took the two ladies with us and were placed at a table with a family of four. It was a bit better. However it just wasn't fun being with them. We all felt sort of forced together. They had been deserted by a previous couple and was feeling kind of put off. The pub was great with late night karaoke. Most of the ship was 85% british so most didn't show emotion or anything until someone sang "Sweet Caroline" and the whole pub came alive. Brits really love American songs. I, being American went all over the ship trying to make friends and most people appeared stuffy and low keyed. We didn't like the "class" thing. Where different people dined according to class and you couldn't go to certain restaurants. All in all it was a fine experience but we wouldn't do it again. Not good. Very bland. Quality wasn't great either. Who can get excited over boiled potatoes? Beautiful. But the bathroom toilet smelled. It was more like a ship's toilet the some other luxury ship's toilet. Loved the karaoke and the entertainment. The shows were excellent. Boring and not well planned tour of the galley. Didn't like the "flea market" atmosphere for buying T shirts etc on the ship, found it tacky and lacked taste. No excursions on this trip It was i.k. but wouldn't do it again.

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