The noon report said that we had cleared the Grand Banks of Newfoundland at 8:00 AM this morning. We were skirting the Flemish Cap and were 100 miles E of the Grand Banks. It was Monday, July 9 and we were on West Greenland Summer Time.
But the night before had been like nothing I'd ever experienced in my life. I wrote in my trip journal: "The noise in this cabin is incredible. The wind is howling outside, rattling the glass, and whistling. It's enough to drive you crazy. I wasn't anticipating something like this in July at all. I thought this was the best weather of the year. If it isn't, when is?"
The whole experience of being out in the North Atlantic with fog closing in on you can't be compared to land. Neither can being thrown forward on your toes when the ship rolls. But for us it was transportation to Europe since we don't like jets. That single consideration made it well worth it, especially the Cunard shore excursion in Southampton to Stonehenge, Salisbury, and the New Forest which turned out to be the most Gothic placeon earth (the ship itself sounded a little Gothic and spooky, didn't it?)
We have just returned from the autumn getaway aboard the Queen Mary 2. What a magnificent liner she is. We loved everything about her. The food was wonderful, the service impeccable. We appreciated the smaller servings at meals which allowed us to try many dishes and still not feel stuffed. Our cabin in the Britannia Club class was very comfortable. We've had NYC hotels rooms smaller than this! People who have complaints about this liner probably shouldn't be on her. It's not for people looking for all night parties and swinging singles. It's more sedate and formal and that is part of the charm. It was the most relaxed vacation we have ever had!
The Britannia is two seatings for dinner and open-seating for lunch and breakfast. I like the late dinner seating because there is no time pressure. Tables can and do stay there conversing until after eleven. During the open-seating meals, guests are placed at a table by one of the assistant restaurant managers. I like joining one of the larger tables because you get to meet more people and the people on QM2 tend to come from such interesting backgrounds that good conversation often ensues. I was not dissatisfied with the performance of the waiters at any of the tables I was at during this voyage.
There are several alternative venues for meals. The most popular of these is the King's Court, which is the ship's self service buffet. This area is very large but not very well designed. The different stations which specialize in different cuisines are too far apart to easily take something from one area and combine it with something from another. Also, there is not enough seating despite the size of the area. Finally, the views of the sea from some of the seats are obscured by the ship'swrap-around outdoor promenade deck. This is one area of the ship that needs to be re-thought.
The second and fourth day of the cruise was sea days. As such, they were a mini-taste of what it is like on a transatlantic crossing. One of the things that Cunard excels at is in the quality of the lecturers that are presented. They are not people who simply recite a few facts about the upcoming port but rather are accomplished scholars and/or public figures who are often thought provoking. This time, Dr. Dr. Eric Roorda spoke about the economic and strategic significance of Halifax and maritime historian Ted Skull discussed the history of the Cunard Queen-class ocean liners. These lectures were in the Illuminations theater, which not only serves as the ship's planetarium but is an art deco movie palace that shows recent films on a large screen, the way movies were meant to be seen.
Halifax has a number of interesting sights and areas of scenic beauty. The old British fortress on top of the hill in the center of town has people dressed in Victorian uniforms re-enacting parade drill and firing a large cannon everyday at noon. There is also an afternoon tea in the fort. The little town of Peggy's cove looks like it was created by a set designer who wanted to show a fishing village on a rocky shore with a lighthouse. In town, there is a board walk that leads from the cruise ship terminal to the navy base on the other side of town. Amongst the places of interest along the way are the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic with exhibits about Halifax's long connection with the sea and World War II corvette HMCS Sackville. One can also take a ride on Theodore the Tugboat.
The night of the first sea day and the night after leaving Halifax were formal nights. Unlike some cruise ships, most of the passengers do don formal wear on these evenings. It is all part of the ocean liner experience.
In sum, Queen Mary 2 is a great ship and this was an enjoyable short cruise. It also gave me the opportunity to photograph more parts of the ship which allowed me to finish building my virtual tour of the ship. http://www.beyondships.com/QM2tour1.html
Anyone who does not like the QM2 has not done their homework.
First what you do not get on the QM2:
You do not have people with lots of tattoos, you do not have fat women in short shorts and halter tops, you do not have drunks singing and puking at all hours, you are not over run by kids.
What you have is a CROSSING, not a cruise. The ship is refined and beautiful, not cheap and plastic. The service is impeccable, the cabins very nice, the food very nice and refined, the drinks terrific but importantly, you are with interesting people who are not talking about the other cruise ships they have been on. You have interesting conversations, in wonderful spots.
People who whine about the QM2 should not have gone on it in the first place. There are reviews complaining about the high seas...duh...you are crossing the ocean, there are no guarantees about the weather or the seas...live with it. If you are looking for water slides and rock climbing, don't go on the QM2. If you don't want to put a coat and tie on for dinner don'tgo on the QM2. But if you do want fine dinning, if you want to be in the company of like minded people, if you want to read, and walk and explore and learn and be enthralled, take this liner on a Crossing!
I was amazed at the QM2. Cabin, entertainment and food were excellent. Also the speakers....very interesting. As a single traveller I found new friends and thoroughly enjoyed all the formal nights and getting dressed up. My inside cabin had a kingsize double bed, very spacious and private en-suite facilities. I loved ordering breakfast in my cabin at no extra cost. Staff were very good and the passengers kept informed at all times.
My husband and I cruise quite a bit since we retired, most often on Holland America. However, we wanted to sail on the Queen Mary 2 from South Hampton to New York after a trip to Europe. First of all, I do have to say that the Queen Mary 2 has very elegant dÃ©cor, although slightly shabby. The staff was very attentive and friendly and the cabins were clean and had probably the most comfortable beds and linens I have experienced on a cruise ship.
But, be prepared to bring a lot of semi and formal clothes. On other ships we have been on, we have 'dressed' for dinner but were able to change into more comfortable clothes after dinner in order when visiting bars or the clubs. Not so on the QM2...you dress appropriately for dinner and must stay that way all night. And if you are not dressed appropriately, you have special areas (i.e. buffet) to eat or in your cabin. It was fun to dress up a couple of times but I got tired of not being able to really relax in the evenings.
This past October I cruised on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 from NYC round trip to Quebec City. I have cruised about 20 times on other lines, but this was my first cruise with Cunard. I was looking forward to this cruise, especially being on such a great ship as the Queen Mary 2. As a consumer, I think it is important to provide feedback, both positive and negative, to the service provider as to the experience of any cruise. No one can view the total cruise experience from the eyes of a traveler better than the traveler himself.
In preparation for this cruise I packed one suit with dress shirt and tie for any formal night that might be in the schedule (on all of my previous experiences cruising, there were no more than 2 nights where formal attire was suggested). Once onboard, to my surprise a jacket was required for every evening meal in the main dining room. When this became known to me, I was disappointed that I could not dine in slacks and a dress shirt anywhere except the cafeteria. Further, after a couple of days on thecruise, a notice was included in the daily bulletin that a jacket was required after six in the evening for ALL (capitalized as was shown in the bulletin) facilities, and that if I was not dressed in a jacket, I should not utilize any of the facilities so as not to negatively affect the experience of other passengers.
I have included the dress code(s) below as a reference: the codes appear to assume that you will either be dressed "to the nines" after 6 pm or you will be in shorts, tank tops, and sandals. I don't dress that casually at home, so I would most certainly not dress that way in a public space. What this dress code effectively meant was that after 6 in the evening, I could only eat in the cafeteria, sit in the Winter Garden, or go to my room. Without a dress jacket, I was not welcomed in the library, the computer room, the evening's entertainment, the main lobby, bars, shops, coffee shop, or the casino. I was left with little choice as to how I might spend my evenings. (The TV reception in the room was about as bad as I have ever experienced).
Needless to say, I felt like a second-class passenger, which I guess I actually was but did not realize it until I boarded the ship. This class distinction may be exactly what Cunard strives to maintain; however, I found the entire experience degrading, such that I shall respond by using other carriers for my future cruises. I had really wanted to experience all three ships Cunard offers.
I would like to end my feedback on a positive note. Our cabin steward was excellent: efficient, friendly, and offered advice on shore excursions. She was the brightest spot in our days.
Below are direct quote from Daily Programme: "Dress requirement: Informal- Jacket required, tie optional for gentlemen, cocktail dress, stylish separates or equivalent for ladies. Please note that after 6.00 pm, shorts and blue or worn denim (for men and women); sandals and sleeveless tops (for men) are not considered appropriate within the ship. Any guests wishing to dress more casually are welcome to dine in the Kings Court buffet on deck 7 and relax in the Winter Garden, but should not use other areas within the ship, including our Alternative Dining Restaurants, out of respect for their fellow guests."
"Dress requirement: Formal- Dinner jacket, tuxedo or dark suit with tie for gentlemen. A range of gentlemen's formal wear is available to hire on board ship. Evening or cocktail dress for ladies. Please note that after 6.00 pm, shorts and blue or worn denim (for men and women); sandals and sleeveless tops (for men) are not considered appropriate within the ship. Any guests wishing to dress more casually are welcome to dine in the Kings Court buffet on deck 7 and relax in the Winter Garden, but should not use other areas within the ship, including our Alternative Dining Restaurants, out of respect for their fellow guests."
Cunard's QM2 is one of the last bastions of civilized travel. Elegant and then some. Big? You bet! The corridor on our deck 10 went on forever, a golf cart would be helpful for us seniors. Be prepared for extensive walking to enjoy all the ship has to offer.
We booked Princess Grill. The Jr. Suite was extremely comfortable and had tons of storage space, a walk-in closet and a very adequate bath -- no jacuzzi though. A convertible sofa, chair, desk and bar with a selection of glasses and refrigerator. A large balcony with two comfortable lounge chairs. The Princess Grill class allows you access to the Queens Lounge and private deck area and, of course, the Princess Grill restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We did not have to carry a tray the whole trip, again a plus for seniors.
Expedited embarkation and debarkation is also included in Princess Grill class.
Princess Grill service is superb. Ladies are escorted to their table and seated by the Maitre'd. Food for the most part is very good. A nice touch on the Princess Grill menu is an ala carte section for those who wishsomething other than what is offered on the regular menu. The beef filet was awesome! Food presentation was exceptional. The sommelier is very sharp with an extensive list of excellent wines.
The public areas and various lounges offer something for everyone and are elegantly extravagant.
We did not attend any of the shows. At our age we were content to repair to our suite after dinner and relax, but we did hear from others that the shows were quite good. The Planetarium is a must see, and also the glass elevators in the Grand Lobby.
The weather was good and at no time was there noticable ship movement even at higher speeds, and this ship can move! Tender service at the anchoring ports was efficient but the tenders are hot. Typical of Cunard ships are several decks that do not allow through traffic fore to aft without going up or down a deck. A compact deck guide is in each cabin and is a must for traversing the ship.
Dress codes dictate a jacket each evening for gentlemen, some with tie, some without, and we appreciate this requirement.
Anyone looking for an elegant way to cruise will be truly impressed and satisfied with Cunard's QM2.
This was our second sailing on the QM2 from Brooklyn. The ports of call were Halifax, Nova Scotia and Boston, USA. Boarding was quick and painless. Lunch is readily available at Kings Court, serving a variety of dishes, Asian, Italian, etc. Assorted juices and many variety of teas are available at all times. This is the place you want to go to grab a late night snack, hot offerings and pizza is also available.
Our room was on deck 11, cat. A2 (a lovely upgrade from a B5). The room appeared just a little smaller than our previous one on deck 8 (B5) but the view from up there was gorgeous. We had early dining at the Britannia room, table for 6. Must say service was better than in '07.
We had met a few folk who were in the Queens Grill and they just loved the level of service and dining options. After hearing much about the 3 different classes of service onboard, in a nut-shell, you get what you pay for. I was a little disappointed that there was no lamb served at dinner. I later found out thatall Grill class passengers were able to get lamb, cooked tableside or however they liked.
The shows were all very good. The Planetarium is excellent, a must do while onboard. The Black and White ball is most fun, though a group of experienced ballroom dancers/teachers were taking over the floor. G32 is lots of fun, even for our age group 50+, the lively band does a terrific job of getting everyone on their feet. I do still love disco and got my fill.
The staff were friendlier and more approachable this time around, but I didn't see much of the cruise director. We were privileged to have seen the Brooklyn Bridge's 125th anniversary fireworks display, we were so close, and it was spectacular. The ship didn't leave Brooklyn until 9PM, good call by the Captain. Our sailing was smooth, but for cloudy skies in Halifax, the weather was lovely. Our stop in Boston was wonderful, couldn't ask for better weather and our duck tour excursion/sights was grand.
Overall, she's an incredible vessel, and you'll never feel crowded while onboard her.
We chose a transatlantic voyage because we had heard this is a beautiful ship with great entertainment.
It is a beautiful ship and our cabin was better than average. Room steward was very good.
Although beautiful, the ship has a strange design, with venues tucked away here and there. In 6 days, we did not really get comfortable with locations. This makes it difficult to "browse" in the evenings to find just the right spot for pre and post dinner fun. The dining room was "in the way" on two decks, preventing easy promenade on the two main public floors. The promenade deck offered great space for outdoor walks or jogging.
The entertainment was good and disappointing too! The dance bands were excellent, and this is what we came for. The only problem was even with more room than any other ship, everyone else came for this too, and we had trouble finding a table and space to dance. The theater productions were okay to poor. The Rock at the Opera was just a series of song and dance routines, with no apparent connection than opera, with no energy and poor singers (particularlyone male soloist).
The bridge teacher was excellent, and the bridge games were well run and attended. Lectures offered were interesting. However, the weather prevented much use of the Planetarium.
We liked the food and had reasonable, but not outstanding service in the dining room. Room service was prompt and good, with reasonable variety.
The buffet area is set up to be specialty non-buffet restaurants for dinner, with corresponding (Italian, Asian, etc.) food at lunch. This prevents the feeling of going to a cafeteria, which you usually have on the ships, but also makes it difficult to decide what to eat and then find a place to sit together with your companion if he has wandered off in search of a different cuisine.
All in all, we would recommend this ship and cruise, but I do think all the pre-cruise hype made us expect more than was delivered. It was better than many ships we have been on, but did not knock our socks off!