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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We took a cruise from Singapore to Dubai, on part of the QM2 around the world trip. The cabin with sheltered balcony was great and we had an ice bucket with champagne waiting for us when we embarked. The ship is beautiful and the staff ... Read More
We took a cruise from Singapore to Dubai, on part of the QM2 around the world trip. The cabin with sheltered balcony was great and we had an ice bucket with champagne waiting for us when we embarked. The ship is beautiful and the staff were helpful and efficient. The negatives for me were firstly the standard of food in the Britannia Restaurant which we were assigned to. The food was generally not prepared in a manner fitting the ship or the price of the cruise, meat and fish were dry and needed sauces, the vegetables were often hard - beyond al dente and almost uncooked, and the desserts were tasteless and unimaginative. The chefs seemed to focus more on presentation than the taste and texture of the food. We went to the buffet on deck 7 quite often which had a bigger variety of better prepared food and enjoyed it more than the restaurant. The other negative is the fact that there are two very small pools for a large number of people, the limit in each pool is 14 (I think) and there was hardly any room to move around if there was half that number in the water. As the temperatures were around 30 degrees and more, a lot of people were in and out of the pool especially on sea days. I preferred my previous cruises on smaller ships that had better food and bigger pools. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We joined QM2 at Singapore on a section of her world voyage. Embarkcation was reasonable enough and were soon at the Kings Court for a light lunch. Our cabin was an obstructed balcony on deck 7 - a spacious cabin well turned out ... Read More
We joined QM2 at Singapore on a section of her world voyage. Embarkcation was reasonable enough and were soon at the Kings Court for a light lunch. Our cabin was an obstructed balcony on deck 7 - a spacious cabin well turned out although we did have a problem with a leaking toilet for 2 days at the start of the cruise. Our cabin stewardess from South Africa was excellent - nothing was too much trouble. Food in the Britannia Restaurant was very good ( much better than our Celebrity Cruise last year ) the waiters were attentive and catered for our likes. However, the price of drinks/wine on board was eyewateringly expensive so only glasses of wine were sometimes consumed at dinner. The food at the Kings Court self-service restaurant was very good but finding a table was like being in a motorway service café! The entertainment onboard was mixed but special mention of a guest speaker - Malcolm Nelson, a retired Senior Customs Officers at London Heathrow Airport. His seven talks were unmissable and this was evident by the number of people attending in the Royal Court Theatre. We booked five Cunard excursions pre cruise - generally good but some days tiring! Dress code was mostly adhered to but come on Cunard - surely a jacket every evening for dinner is a little outdated! compared to P & O, Princess & Celebrity. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Although very experienced travellers (88 and 80) we had never done a cruise so decided on a 10 day one on the QM2 from Shanghai to Hong Kong via Japan and South Korea. Embarkation was efficient and we were on board early enough to have ... Read More
Although very experienced travellers (88 and 80) we had never done a cruise so decided on a 10 day one on the QM2 from Shanghai to Hong Kong via Japan and South Korea. Embarkation was efficient and we were on board early enough to have a snack and a coffee in the impressive Carinthia Lounge before returning to our cabin (Cunard prefer to call it a stateroom but that I think is pretentious). Our three suitcases had been delivered and we spent the afternoon unpacking and stowing. The king size bed (an excellent sleeper with fine Egyptian cotton sheets) took up most of the available room bur we were impressed with the amount of hanging and drawer space. Empty cases under the bed. A two seater divan, small desk and a large wall mounted TV (Sky News UK, BBC World, ABC Australia included) completed the living area. Small attached bathroom with tight but very good shower). Balcony which got little use because of the winter temperatures. Eating of course was one of the priorities and we had requested a table for 6 and the second sitting starting at 8.30 pm in the main Britannia restaurant which was later than we would have liked but preferable to the early 6 pm one. We were fortunate in having at our table two couples travelling together from the UK who made us very welcome. Entertaining company. Overall we found the food in the Britannia of a high standard, not gourmet but very acceptable. Plenty of choice and although some servings were small a request for a repeat or something additional was always quickly met agreeably. As good as we expected and we're experienced foodies. Although I knew from my research wine prices were high this didn't stop us having our usual two glasses of red with dinner plus for me, as a treat, a brandy or a port to finish. It has to be said however that Cunard give the impression of gouging in the way they price their wines. They are outrageous. A x5 mark up on retail prices seems to be the base line. A huge wine list, one of the most comprehensive I've seen, 98% priced beyond what I was prepared to pay. Very good table service from waiters who stayed with us and got to know our likes and dislikes. Most days we had breakfast in the Britannia and liked the way the maitre d would ask each morning 'alone or interesting people?'. Provided we weren't near the closing time we opted for the interesting people and on virtually all occasions joined people, mainly from the UK, which resulted in good lively conversation. We ate lightly for lunch and on two occasions for dinner, in the Kings Court buffet which we found of a very high standard. Plenty of choice but more informal, less comfortable seating. The entertainment in the Royal Court Theatre varied from outstanding (most nights) to so-so on a couple of occasions. Quality beyond expectations. The lectures too were first class especially one by the designer of the ship itself (brilliant). Gym, library, Golden Lion pub (excellent cod and chips for lunch), Commodore Club, the Chart Room, The Carinthia Lounge (excellent sherries. and Spanish wines by the glass in the evening for a pr-dinner drink), all good. The one disappointment was the white glove Afternoon Tea service in the Queens Room, a poor presentation. We joined the QM2 to spend on our time on her so we stayed on board at the three ports of call. The weather was poor and we preferred the comforts of a relatively empty ship. Tipping: we paid the US$11.50 per day as recommended plus small cash amounts to our dinner waiters, wine waiter and cabin attendant. Despite giving high marks for our ten day experience the cruise ended on a bad note with both my wife and I coming. down with a dose of the Cunard cough which developed into serious chest infections. Not Cunard's fault but not surprising considering the number of passengers who were coughing and sneezing. Just the luck of the draw. At least the steps to prevent the spread of nanovirus worked with no outbreaks recorded. Would we do it again? No. We had a great time but we didn't catch the cruise bug. Very glad we did it and highly recommend the QM2 experience. But please do your homework first and don't have unrealistic expectations. Oh and don't hesitate to take a couple of bottles of your favourite wine aboard to have in the cabin or at the table (US$ 20 per bottle corkage, a big saving). There was no check on embarkation. Good travelling with good luck. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We started as a cruise of a lifetime and ended as a demotivated disaster. This once great international liner is now a British floating holiday park, There is a ghost like senior management team only ever to be seen fraternising ... Read More
We started as a cruise of a lifetime and ended as a demotivated disaster. This once great international liner is now a British floating holiday park, There is a ghost like senior management team only ever to be seen fraternising with Grills guests and drinking wine. With the distinct exception of Captain Wells who seems now to do the job of Cruise Director and Hotel Manager as well as his own. In 34 Nights I only saw 4 Shows and 2 bumpers involving the singers and dancers. The rest of the evenings were guest entertainers of which only 3 were of a standard expected of QM2 ,the rest were not even suitable for my local village hall. I suppose not surprising as the whole feel of the entertainment was that of a holiday park. Who is booking this holiday park drivvle. No entertainment outside the sailaway party was more of a wake than a party with the so called band finishing their set before the ship had gone anywhere. The cruise staff who were not even upto holiday park standard spent most of their time chatting to each other and photographers rather than guests.Once again no senior management to be seen ALL SAID THIS IS THE WORST CRUISE I HAVE EVER BEEN ON. This once great elegant liner is now Haven holidays at sea. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Here is our review of the recent 14 day Hong Kong to Hong Kong segment of the QM2 World Voyage from 19 February to 5th March 2019, plus pre and post cruise information. As background we are in our 50s and 60s, my husband has been ... Read More
Here is our review of the recent 14 day Hong Kong to Hong Kong segment of the QM2 World Voyage from 19 February to 5th March 2019, plus pre and post cruise information. As background we are in our 50s and 60s, my husband has been retired for a year, we are originally from the UK and have lived in Maryland USA for the past 30 years. We have predominantly cruised on Celebrity, but recently have become a bit jaded with them and have started to try out other cruise lines, including Azamara and Oceania, to see if we can find one that’s a “better fit”. So, why pick this cruise? My husband lived in Hong Kong as a child and had wanted to visit again. I wanted to cruise the QM2 for a second time. Cathay Pacific introduced a new 16 hour non-stop flight from Washington DC to Hong Kong (as opposed to 24 hours via anywhere else), and February 17th 2019 would be our 30th wedding anniversary. It seemed like the stars had aligned for us and this trip would be the perfect way to celebrate! How was that non-stop flight? We flew out of Washington Dulles to Hong Kong at 00:15am on the 15th, and I had hoped to get some sleep on board. We had booked Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy, and enjoyed the hot towel and champagne welcome and the expedited meal service, (served with real cutlery!). The premium seat had a decent recline, a large pillow and nice thick blanket, but I still only managed about an hours sleep. Ugh. I did get to read a lot and watch 3 movies though, and we did arrive about 45 minutes early which was a bonus. The plane took a route north over the USA and Canada, over the pole and down through Russia, Mongolia and China. A 15 hour non-stop flight really takes its toll though, and I was super grumpy when we arrived. How was the hotel? We had booked a harbour view room at the Royal Pacific Hotel, (part of the Sino Hotels chain) in Kowloon for 4 nights, and as our flight was due in at 5am, we reserved the room from the previous night and advised them of our very late arrival, so we could get to bed straight away. We had also asked for hypoallergenic bedding as I am allergic to feathers. Everything was prepared as requested, but grumpy me thought the room looked seedy, and after fighting and losing with the nespresso machine, tripping over the step in the bathroom and giving up on getting the shower to work, I went to bed. What a difference a few hours sleep makes! I woke up, pulled back the curtains to find an amazing view over the harbour to Hong Kong Island and The Peak, and then discovered a huge bathtub as well as a separate shower in the bathroom, and a kettle in the cupboard. Hooray! What did you get up to in Hong Kong? Saturday was sunny and warm so we had lunch at the Satay Inn in the hotel, and then walked through several shopping malls to the Star Ferry, crossed to Hong Kong, took a taxi to The Peak and walked back down to the ferry via the University where my husbands father worked as registrar in the 1960s, and Robinson Road where my husband lived in his teens. The apartment block is still there, but dwarfed by the surrounding tower blocks, and the harbour view has gone. 15,000 steps later we had a quick dinner in the hotel, had a glass of wine in bed and watched the laser light show on the harbour through the window and had an early night. Sunday 17th was our wedding anniversary, and also the Hong Kong Marathon and everywhere was crowded and chaotic and frustrating, so we celebrated with a sulk and a light lunch at the Mandarin Oriental and a relaxing Shanghainese dinner with fizz at Ye Shanghai. The weather took a turn for the worse during the afternoon and we had booked a tour to the Giant Buddha on Lantau Island on Monday. The forecast was for rain and thunderstorms, so we called and rescheduled the tour for post cruise. Monday we were lazy, bought a few supplies (wine!) for the cruise, and decided on a light dinner at the hotel bar. So far the hotel clientele had been predominantly asian, but tonight the bar was full of english people. We walked in and were met with a chorus of “I bet you are going on the QM2 tomorrow”. It seems that the Royal Pacific Hotel was one that Cunard uses for its customers on fly cruise holidays. We chatted with a few soon-to-be fellow passengers, and bizarrely never bumped into any of them again once on board! Boarding Day! How did that go? We had originally booked a guarantee BV sheltered verandah cabin with late seating, and when we got our cabin assignment about 5 week before sailing, we had been upgraded to a BU cabin, midships, deck 6, with a 2:30pm boarding time. Two weeks before the cruise we got another upgrade notice, this time to a BA cabin, Britannia Club deck 12, 1pm boarding. What a nice surprise! The morning of the cruise we checked out of the hotel and took a taxi to the Kai Tak cruise terminal. When I first flew to Hong Kong over 30 years ago, planes landed at Kai Tak airport. It was a scary place to land as final approach was a steep plunge down through the skyscrapers, and if you survived that there was always the chance of ending up in the harbour if the pilots didn’t brake fast enough! Kai Tak airport closed a few years ago and the old airport runway has been turned into a cruise terminal. We dropped our bags and entered the terminal where we were given boarding number 7. We waited and waited, well past 1pm and 2 pm. Boarding groups A, B, C, D were called, then finally they started on numbers. Eventually we got on board around 3pm. I was frazzled. I like to get on board early and get organised. We dropped our bags in the cabin and went to the buffet. There was hardly any food, and what there was looked old and dried up. Not a good start. We did muster drill, unpacked and then headed up on deck for sailaway. There was a Caribbean band playing reggae music, drones flying after us, a lovely sunset and skyscrapers slowly lighting up. Probably one of the best sailaways I’ve ever experienced! How was your Britannia Club Cabin? First of all our cabin was about as far as it could possibly be from the Britannia Club dining room, apart from the Club cabins on deck 13! We got plenty of exercise walking to and from meals! Our cabin was configured with a king size bed, and prepared with hypoallergenic bedding. The bathroom was a decent size and the water pressure in the shower was good. The toiletries were nice. We found two bottles of sparkling wine in the cabin, along with canapes which were a gift from our travel agent. Our tour tickets were waiting for us along with our dining table assignment. Our cabin steward, Chris, kept the cabin clean, changing out the towels and emptying the trash twice a day. How was the Britannia Club restaurant? We enjoyed our time in the Britannia Club restaurant, and were seated at a table for 2 in a row of 4 tables for 2, so effectively a table for 8, as there was less than a foot between each table. Our waiter explained the dinner menu with the selections that changed daily at the front and the a la carte always available items listed in the back. He explained how everything was prepared “a la minute” in Britannia Club, (I think he was fibbing about that), and that if you wanted the a la carte duck you needed to order it the day before. I like eating fish and enjoyed many of their smoked salmon appetisers, and salads. I am not sure that the main course fish dishes were prepared “a la minute”, especially if we went to dinner at 8:30, as the fish seemed dried out, as if it had been hanging around under a heat lamp, or had been grabbed from the main Britannia galley. It was also difficult to get a steak cooked medium. One thing I did notice was that after bringing a course and wielding his pepper grinder, the waiter never came to check on whether the dish was OK. On the whole the food was pretty good. I only had one dud meal, a chicken and corn consomme that was actually more like a very heavily salted thick corn chowder. I couldn’t eat more than a couple of spoonfuls of that. The waiter never enquired as to why I hadn’t eaten it, nor did he offer to bring me something different. That same night I ordered a filet mignon medium. It arrived beyond well done, and was tough and gristly. My husband ate it as he didn’t want me to complain, and I enjoyed part of his chicken tikka masala. The fact that one disappointing meal stands out, is probably a sign that overall the food was really good! Desserts weren’t outstanding, but I loved the variety and quality of the cheeses offered on the cheese trolley. Wine service in the restaurant was OK, although initially the pouring was slow. I did notice that other people tended to only have one glass of wine a night and made a bottle last 2 or 3 nights whereas we prefer to enjoy the entire bottle in one sitting. Once the sommelier realised this, he was very attentive at keeping us topped up! We particularly enjoyed the french rose that came in a shapely bottle, and a very reasonably priced Cava. So that’s dinner taken care of, how about your other meals? We had a couple of breakfasts in Britannia Club, and appreciated it being available on disembarkation morning. However the poached eggs were cold both times I ordered them, and they didn’t have chocolate croissants either time we ate there, so not a great experience. Room service was a better breakfast option, especially as they had an excellent scrambled eggs and smoked salmon which always arrived piping hot, and they had chocolate croissants :) We did enjoy lunches in Britannia Club as it was quiet and relaxing. There was a fish curry for lunch one day that was a real standout dish. After the boarding day lunch we never ventured back into the Kings Court buffet. The Corinthia lounge was a nice place for a specialty coffee and a bite to eat. Breakfast offerings were quite eclectic, ranging from fresh fruit bowls to yoghurt parfaits, from breakfast burritos to shiitake mushroom and scrambled egg croissants, and (my favourite!) quails eggs over peppers, chorizo and potatoes. They offered nice salads for lunch too. Another favourite lunch spot was The Golden Lion Pub. We had excellent fish and chips, cottage pie and bangers and mash there. Another nice coffee spot was Sir Samuels, the Godiva Chocolate cafe. Lots of lovely chocolatey treats there, that we enjoyed looking at but never were hungry enough to sample! What was the bar scene like? I am used to cruising with drinks included, but the drinks package offered by Cunard was an eye-popping $69.99 per person per day, and required both people in the cabin to have the same package, plus there was an $11 price limit on things that were included. It didn’t seem worth it so we opted for paying as we went, and probably ended up spending under $100 dollars a day, including a bottle of wine with dinner, Perrier, tea and coffee, and pre and post dinner drinks. I thought the individual drink prices were quite reasonable. We enjoyed pre and post dinner drinks in the Chart Room. They often had either a harpist, string trio or jazz combo playing there. We tried the Commodore Club one night and while we enjoyed listening to the pianist we found the venue dark and claustrophobic. The Golden Lion also had a really good guitarist in the early evening, and in the late evening he performed as part of a pop duo. I was really impressed with the quality of the live music on board the ship. How did you keep busy on sea days? We felt that Cunard excelled in the quality and variety of activities they offered during the day, compared to other cruise lines we have sailed on. Usually we find very little to interest us so bring books and puzzles to keep ourselves busy. On this cruise we were spoilt for choice for things to do. We enjoyed the talks about QE2, Titanic, The Royal Yacht Britannia, The Apollo Space Programme, The History of Japan, and the music masterclasses on Pink Floyd and Peter Green. We missed the talks on China, the QM2, the talks from the sports commentator Henry Blofeld and the masterclasses on Jimi Hendrix, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. We never got chance to go to the cooking demonstrations as we were so busy. Chinese language, calligraphy, painting and craft classes were also offered, along with dancing lessons and bridge lessons! Trivia was also a favourite activity, offered 3 or 4 times a day in varying formats and taken very seriously by some passengers. We actually won “Name That Tune 1980’s”, and the prize bottle of white wine was very drinkable! What’s the deal with the dress code? We had 4 “gala” nights (including Black and White, Night in the Orient and Madam Butterfly Balls), where the dress code was tuxedo or dark suit and tie for gentlemen and gown or cocktail dress for ladies, with the remaining evenings designated “smart attire”, jacket but no tie for gentlemen and cocktail dress or pant suit for ladies. My husband fell foul of what we jokingly called the “6pm jeans curfew” one night when he lost track of the time and tried to order a drink in the Chart Room at 6:15pm in polo shirt and chinos. The waiter, who had served us many times discretely came up and asked him if he would be “popping up to his cabin to put on his jacket on”. My husband looked confused, and the waiter added “It’s 6:15 sir, you need to be properly dressed if you are going to have a drink here”. I loved dressing up as I don’t get the chance to at home, my husband not so much, but he went along with it! Any passengers who didn’t want to dress for the evening had the option of dinner in the buffet, and then drinks and entertainment in either the Corinthia Lounge or the Golden Lion Pub, and boogieing the night away in the nightclub, G20. What about the ports? There were six port days on this cruise, with Shanghai and Beijing being the highlights. Both cities were quite a drive from where the ship docked. Usually we book private tours, but we struggled to find fellow passengers on the roll calls to share with, so we ended up with Cunard tours instead. All the visas were taken care of for us by the cruiseline. We noticed that as well as having guides, Cunard tours also have a crew member, (pianist, dance escort and bridge teacher), acting as an escort on their tours. They monitor things, make notes of any problems, and bring up the rear and double check everyone is back on the bus! How was Shanghai? In Shanghai we took one day tours. The first was Best of Shanghai, and the second Shanghai Old and New. The Chinese authorities took longer than expected to clear the ship in Shanghai so our Best of Shanghai tour started and ended late and the order of the sites had to be reorganised as the lunch was at a fixed time. We started with an hour in the Shanghai Museum, then had lunch in the function room on the top floor of the Shanghai Theatre. The Chinese meal, served family style, was really well organised and the food was fresh and tasty. In the afternoon we visited the temple of the two Jade Buddhas, the Yu Gardens and the bazaar, and ended with a stroll on the modern side of The Bund. Day 2 we were surprised to see we had the same guide as the day before! He was very concerned that we would be revisiting a couple of places from the day before, but we didn’t care. We started with a ride to the top of the Shanghai Centre, (the tallest building in China and the second tallest in the world), in the worlds fastest elevator! The view from the top was incredible! Next we walked around the french part of The Bund, had a dim sum lunch (again delicious and well organised by Cunard), visited the Yu Gardens and the bazaar again and ended with a walking tour along the old side of the Bund. Shanghai is a really vibrant city, full of energy and very forward looking. The weather both days was overcast and smoggy and over 200 on the air quality scale which was really unhealthy. What did you do in Beijing? We booked ourselves on Cunards Beijing 2 Day Discovery tour, along with 500 of our closest cruisemates! It was a very popular tour! We started with a 3 hour drive to Beijing, followed by a 20 minute ride in a trishaw. It was a cold day and whizzing round in an open vehicle was absolutely freezing. We noticed that people not on a tour had a leisurely ride wheras tour people were driven at breakneck speed. Our driver probably did the circuit in 10 minutes, jammed his brakes on and said “out!”. We had lunch at a restaurant in a jade shop near the Great Wall, and then visited the wall itself. Wow! What a fantastic sight! I got halfway up the steps, looked back and thought “OMG if I don’t turn round now I’ll never get back down”. The steps were a foot high in places and very uneven, and not for people with vertigo. My husband got all the way up onto the wall and walked past three guardhouses until he was finally able to get a photo with no one else in it! Our overnight accommodation was at the China World Shangri-La Hotel and it was awesome! So awesome in fact, that we decided to forego that evening’s Peking Duck Banquet in favour of a nap, a few drinks and a light meal in the hotel lobby, a long soak in the fabulous hotel bath and an early night! We also took an executive decision to not bother with the 5:30am buffet breakfast, and enjoyed an extra hour in bed, ate the apples we found in our room, and headed downstairs for our 7am start, raring to go! There was a fair bit of whingeing and moaning on the bus about how people only got 5 hours sleep, about how disappointing the food at the banquet was, and how exhausted they were! Glad we passed on that! Day 2 in Beijing had us at Tiananmen Square by 7:30 and The Forbidden City by 8:30. We loved the guided tour of the Forbidden City and were surprised at how big the complex was. We had an early lunch banquet and then took a 40 minute Bullet Train ride to Tianjin. It got up to 215 mph, and was really quiet and smooth. Very impressive! The ship was scheduled to depart at 5pm, but 6pm came and went and at 7 they started calling certain passenger names and asking them to see the purser. We were still in port at 8pm and the Captain announced that there were problems with the Chinese authorities and some of the special tourist visas the ship had obtained for us. By the time the issues were resolved, and a slot in the river traffic had been assigned to us, we finally left around 11pm, six hours late. Next stop Kitakyushu. Where on earth is that? It is on Japan’s Kyushu Island, and it was a maiden port for QM2. We docked in a container port, where a makeshift passenger terminal had been created out of tents for us. We arrived to an incredibly warm welcome, crowds cheering and waving, and brass bands playing. I heard there were fire boats streaming plumes of red, white and blue water as QM2 entered the port! Because of the delay leaving China, and despite making up some time, we finally arrived at 11am instead of 8am, so the tours started later and the itineraries were rearranged. We had booked Best of Kitakyushu, and our first stop was at a local hotel for lunch. We were each presented with a Bento Box with lots of tiny portions of exquisitely flavoured food. It was delicious and a nice change of pace to the Chinese banquets. 

I am not a fan of public loos, but I made an exception here and went to check out the Japanese toilets I’d heard about. These didn’t disappoint and although I did like the heated seat I wimped out of pressing any of the other buttons! Compared to Shanghai and Beijing, there wasn’t a lot to do in Kitakyushu. We visited a museum with a very good robotic dinosaur exhibit, looked at the outside of Kokura Castle, which was closed for renovations, went up the Mojiko Retro Town Observation Tower and a wander around the town.

The locals treated us to a fantastic firework display as we left port. Did you go anywhere else? Yes, our final port was Seogwipo City, on Jeju Island, South Korea. Another new country for me and another maiden port for QM2. We were the first cruise ship to dock at their brand new cruise terminal. We were greeted with music, K Pop bands, speeches and free packs of facemasks, (as in skin care!) for everyone! Todays tour was Seogwipo City Highlights, our bus had disco lights in it, and our guide introduced himself and told us not to look out of the windows. Huh? It turns out that the new cruise terminal and nearby naval base had been a bone of contention for some of the locals, and along with “Welcome QM2” banners, there were some not so welcoming ones that he hadn’t wanted us to see. We walked over the longest pedestrian bridge on Jeju Island, and did a brief walk around Saeseom Island and then over to Cheonjiyeon Falls. Our final stop was to a local food market, which I always find fascinating. How was disembarkation? It was surprisingly easy! Immigration was all done behind the scenes for us by Hong Kong officials who boarded the ship in South Korea. We picked up our passports on the last evening and our Hong Kong visas were already inside. We put our cases out late on the last night, reusing the tags we used for boarding. We had to be out of our stateroom by 8:30am, so had a quick breakfast in Britannia Club, and then headed up to the Carinthia Lounge, where we were scheduled for a 9am departure. Our number was called at 8:50am. Disembarkation was quick, we found our bags, cleared customs and waited about 10 minutes for a taxi. Couldn’t have been better. We checked into the Royal Pacific Hotel again, and after a walk around the shopping centres next door to kill time, managed to be in our room by noon. Hong Kong Part 2, how was that? The miserable weather that had followed us for most of the cruise continued in Hong Kong. It varied from fog to drizzle to torrential rain and put a bit of a downer on our post cruise plans. Our rescheduled tour to Lantau Island and the Giant Buddha took place in awful weather. We visited a beach in the rain. Had a tour of a market and a river boat ride in a thunderstorm and torrential rain. The skies briefly cleared when we visited the Buddha, and then the fog descended for the rest of the day. We visited the Po Lin Monastery for lunch and their vegetarian banquet was fantastic, probably the best “included lunch” we had on any of our tours. Sightseeing was really not possible so our Plan B inevitably was food! Highlights included Jimmy’s Kitchen for a “ Classic British Food From The 1970s” fix, the Pho Boozer for a ridiculously cheap 3 course lunch in either Indian, Malay, Thai or Vietnamese style and Bombay Dreams, with its Michelin Star winning Indian lunch buffet. Our “last hurrah” was at the Intercontinental Hotel, Kowloon, where we went for drinks in their bar overlooking Hong Kong harbour and had front row seats for the 8pm laser light show, which was spectacular. It was pouring with rain so we abandoned plans to find a restaurant for dinner and splurged on a selection of fabulous asian tapas right where we were. How was your journey home? We arranged for late checkout at 1:30pm and used the hotel limo service to the airport as we couldn’t face dragging our bags out in the rain and trying to get a taxi. It was money well spent. We weren’t expecting to find a hotel employee waiting at the curb for us when we arrived at the airport. He took care of our bags and fast tracked us to the Cathay check in desks, oversaw the check in procedure for us and directed us to immigration. He wouldn’t take a tip and said it was all part of the hotel service. What a nice surprise. All flights to the USA have extra security, and we were screened at the gate and again just before we boarded the plane. Our 16 hour flight was scheduled to leave at 5:30pm Hong Kong time and arrive in Washington DC at 8:30pm the same day. I planned to try and get a little sleep mid flight. The meal and drink service was more leisurely flying back. I had an excellent steak for dinner, 3 glasses of wine and watched a couple of movies before sleeping, amazingly, for 6 hours! They served beef sliders about 10 hours into the journey and then, bizarrely, breakfast a couple of hours before we landed in Washington in the evening. The omelet was really good. This time the flightpath skirted China, Japan and Russia, entering the USA over Washington state, then heading east, and we arrived a few minutes early into Washington Dulles. For once the Global Entry machines were empty, and they didn’t reject our passports, so we whizzed through immigration. We had a bit of a wait for our bags, and finally got a Washington Flyer taxi around 9pm and were home by 10pm. We were absolutely shattered. Is it good to be home? Yes! Absolutely! But wow, what an epic trip! I would definitely fly Cathay Pacific again, and I think we have found our new cruise home with Cunard. I can’t wait to sail on Queen Mary 2 again and look forward to trying out Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth too! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Never having done a cruise before we chose the Queen Mary because we wanted luxury. We certainly got that. We had a Princess Grill suite and loved the dining experience that we got with it. Every meal was superb and the waiting staff ... Read More
Never having done a cruise before we chose the Queen Mary because we wanted luxury. We certainly got that. We had a Princess Grill suite and loved the dining experience that we got with it. Every meal was superb and the waiting staff were so friendly and very professional. We chose to sit on a large table with six other diners and found them to be great company. Each meal was leisurely and sociable. There weren’t enough hours in the day to participate in all the activities available but we did as many as we could. We went to the evening show every night and played whist in the afternoons. Did several of the quizzes and made new friends. The week just flew by and I wished we had booked longer. Cunard arranged our transfer from and to the airport and organised a first class meal at the airport in HongKong before our departure. We only did one organised tour in Vietnam and found it a bit rushed. In Hong Kong we did our sightseeing by ourselves and took advantage of the free shuttle service laid on by Cunard. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We cruised recently on the Queen Mary 2 from Dubai to Hong Kong Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She is the largest ocean liner ever built, having served as the flagship of the Cunard Line since succeeding the Queen ... Read More
We cruised recently on the Queen Mary 2 from Dubai to Hong Kong Queen Mary 2 is a transatlantic ocean liner. She is the largest ocean liner ever built, having served as the flagship of the Cunard Line since succeeding the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2004. As of 2019, Queen Mary 2 is the only passenger ship operating as an ocean liner. A key point is that the Queen Mary as a liner travels the trans-Atlantic route for the majority of the year, Southampton to New York, but also does an annual World voyage as a cruise ship. Our cruise was part of that annual voyage from Southampton to Japan and back. The public areas are very opulent and there are many inside options for activities and eating areas. However, being a liner there are not many outside eating areas, and the poolside seating is limited and in the evening non-existent. As we travelled through tropical countries it would have been good to be able to savour the balmy evenings on sea days and after leaving port. We particularly enjoyed the Planetarium sessions and the guest lecture series. Craft sessions, Zumba, chair aerobics and line dancing were also available on the frequent sea days. We were in a cabin on deck 5 and found the décor and fittings tired; with the carpet needing a good clean and the cracked tiles in the bathroom replaced. It is obvious that the British class system is very alive and well on QM2. There were several deck areas and restaurants on the ship that were out of bounds for the majority of the passengers. Areas that didn’t seem to have much patronage despite covering significant areas of the ship. The entertainment changes frequently with speakers, comedians and other entertainers either joining or leaving the ship at many ports. The entertainment from Dubai to Singapore was excellent, but from then on it was mediocre for some reason. The size and draught of the QM2 meant that may times we couldn’t dock at the cruise ship terminal and ended up at a working port. These ports were often a distance from the nearest town. For instance Doha, we docked about a 50 minute drive from the town, similarly in Chan May which was about 45 minutes from the town. Because these were working ports, we needed to shuttle to the port gate to meet our tour, designated taxis were sometimes allowed on the port but charged to get to the gate. Several of these ports seemed to be maiden visits and much was made of the ceremonies that took place. But as a passenger, it used up valuable shore time travelling to the nearest point of interest and they were unattractive, messy places. The major disappointment with Cunard and QM2 is that they will not tender wheelchair passengers. We have tendered safely many times with other cruise lines, but with Cunard wheelchair passengers have to step over a 45cm gap unassisted to be able to tender. I observed a lift to the tender platform and there are wheelchair accessible ramps into the tender, and a space where wheelchairs could be parked. But wheelchair passengers are discriminated against and denied going ashore at tender ports. My observations were that many of the elderly walking passengers were more unsteady on their feet and more likely to fall while transferring. Whereas, a wheelchair passenger is safe in their wheelchair and can be easily wheeled onto the tender. Subsequently we will never travel with Cunard again. There were no shore excursions that could be undertaken with a wheelchair. The only offering was a vehicle at a huge cost in several of the ports where we could follow a tour and maybe gain access to the attraction. Therefore, we organised our own shore excursions but trying to get times of arrival and departure at all the ports proved to be a mission. I achieved it finally only by contacting Cunard via their Facebook page. But finding out which part of the port, which berth or gate proved impossible. Thankfully the tour guides we employed were able to use their initiative and local knowledge to find us. But in many cases they were not allowed onto the ports. So where we had organised a wheelchair accessible taxi we had to carry my husband into a taxi to get to the port gate and then lift him out of the taxi. Not a pleasant experience for everyone, in high temperatures and humidity. Finally in Singapore, one wheelchair accessible taxi was provided in the rotation to transport wheelchair passengers to the Marina district. On the way back to the ship we were thankfully provided with a wheelchair accessible bus and loaded in three wheelchairs for the trip back to the ship. In summary I think QM2 should stick to trans-Atlantic crossings and leave cruises to designated cruise ships that are designed for cruising. If you are in a wheelchair definitely don’t cruise with Cunard. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Excellent for special diets ie lactose free gluten free etc Good standard of food overall No where to eat outside. Very disappointing Kings court food area feels like motorway service station No basketball Main Sunbathing ... Read More
Excellent for special diets ie lactose free gluten free etc Good standard of food overall No where to eat outside. Very disappointing Kings court food area feels like motorway service station No basketball Main Sunbathing decks obscured by lifeboats Entertainment in the main theatre generally good Embarkation procedure in Dubai was a nightmare. Disorganised. Took 7 hours! We were given a bottle of basic red wine by way of apology but we felt complaints had fallen on deaf ears Drinks on board eye wateringly expensive but we were able to bring a bottle of gin and wine on board No proper deck to exercise/walk a circuit in the sunshine Sea day activity programme variable. Some good days some not Canyon ranch spa charging 58 dollars for a haircut or gel nails. Also 28 dollars for gel removal Excellent art lectures On board shops very expensive Ship totally unsuitable for children Planetarium is excellent and most unusual to find at sea Overall ship is quite dated. More suited to the elderly Air con is very cold outside your cabin. We needed more warm clothes in the ship especially the theatre. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This is a tricky review to write. We spent 19 days on the Queen Mary 2, and it was a lovely break. We’ve often cruised before, but this was the first with Cunard who came recommended. We booked the Queen’s Grill service – this is the ... Read More
This is a tricky review to write. We spent 19 days on the Queen Mary 2, and it was a lovely break. We’ve often cruised before, but this was the first with Cunard who came recommended. We booked the Queen’s Grill service – this is the First Class tier, and as Cunard claims the First Class level in general, I suppose this was the First Class of the First Class. So we had high expectations. The service was really good by and large, our cabin was spacious and well-appointed and the staff mostly charming, motivated and friendly. But we also had issues some of which were serious – things which Cunard really should address or assist with, and these often took the edge off the experience. Hence the title – ‘Close…but No Cigar’. In the interest of balance, I have also asked Cunard to respond at the end which is why it’s taken a few weeks to post this review. Cunard accept all the issue and are very apologetic. They have refunded some items such as the tours described below and they compensated us unasked for others (£1200.00 as a credit). But I also awaited their response to publish here – which as I say is at the end. You can judge from the response whether Cunard address the issues and actually change anything. So what did we like? Lots. We saw wonderful things and places, and had some great experiences. An example is our Butler. Friendly, helpful where he could be, in a role many will say is not clearly defined beyond stateroom cleaner and servicing. But twice he saved us specific upset. The first was the late arrival (by several hours) of one suitcase – with all Mr’s clothes in. Krishna (the Butler) went the extra mile to track it down in security and bought it to us, just as we prepared (indeed so we could dress) for dinner on the first night. On another occasion my wife lost her ‘Fitbit’ watch as we hurried late for a shore excursion. Not hugely valuable, but it was a Christmas present from our son, so sentimental. We knew it was lost between our stateroom and the theatre. Again, after we’d asked the Purser for several days if it had been handed in, we asked Krishna if he could help. He went to security, and they checked the cameras along the entire route from stateroom to theatre. They found where it was dropped, and a passenger who then picked it up was spotted. A polite call by the Butler and security to his cabin, and apologies that he’d not yet handed it in, and it was returned. This is particular is probably the best piece of Customer Service we have ever seen…well done. The food was excellent as expected, and the dining staff like all others, engaging, interested, keen to help. Both the daily menu and a la carte were simply superb and to our taste. The sommelier was knowledgeable and engaging and added to our experience. The talks on board, the Planetarium, afternoon tea, the films, the range of games, the choir we joined (after abandoning dance – see below) were again all great fun and world class. So…what went wrong? It was several things – some serious, some less so but none the less all were surprising. And (to note) I deliberately left it two weeks before writing this review (and then longer to allow Cunard to respond) to allow some perspective and objectivity – but these did really affect our experience. Our arrival The stateroom was spacious, and we went in. The very first thing I noticed was (apart from one orchid flower in a bowl of water) no flowers. There’s a shelf right by the door where they are placed in all pictures from Cunard – so the first thing you see. Small detail but we like plants and flowers around us, and we had noted their provision with pleasure from the brochure. In the end we bought flowers for the room on day two, but then three days after sailing an orchid potted plant did arrive unannounced. Just as you’ll see in all the brochure pictures. We didn’t mention it to the Butler as we found a more serious fault described below and didn’t want a general ‘moan’, but a room is either prepared or not. And had I known these were coming (and when we ordered through the Concierge I did explain why I was buying), I’d not have bought more flowers. And totally get this really is a first world problem! But also on arrival anywhere, I tend to hunt for electric sockets – charging both phones, tablets and so on, we need power, and often I find a hidden socket behind bedside lockers so we can keep these on our bedside tables. No sockets. But what I did find behind my locker was a lot of filth and dirt, what looked like a dead insect or cockroach, and other mess (as you’ll see in the pictures accompanying the review). My wife’s was worse – among the filth and piles of dust were coins and a number of the QM2’s internal newspaper. Dated August 2018 (again you can zoom into the picture). This means the last time the room was properly cleaned was more than five months before our arrival – and judging by the dust a long time before that. But demonstrably not since August 2018. This we did raise with the Butler, and it was sorted out the next morning (he did offer that night but we just wanted to get on). There were also hairgrips all over the walk-in wardrobe floor and under the dressing table – my wife picked up about 20 over the next week – presumably the vacuum cleaner rejects these. So not only had this room not been cleaned properly (for months) but also (if you’ve ever seen TV programmes) Cunard shows the highest level of pre-guest inspection, with each room being checked before being released for new guests. I sort of understand that occasionally in a difficult turnround this may be missed. But half a year – not cleaned and/or inspected? And you have to wonder what else was missed or short-cut? Sorry, that’s not good enough in any hospitality venue, let alone Queen’s Grill on QM2. In the walk-in wardrobe the bottom two of four drawers were broken (we assume someone tried to climb on them to check the shelf above). We unjammed them and they worked after a fashion. But as above, either they were inspected before we arrived and ignored, or simply not checked after previous guests. And finally a detail (see picture again) but outside on the balcony a large piece of the paintwork was peeled off and peeling. QM2 is a working ship, we get that. Conditions can be harsh. But we don’t live with broken furniture or peeling walls at home, so why should I on holiday, especially with such a large maintenance staff? The paint loss must have been noticed as the missing pieces, the size of a couple of dinner plates had been cleaned away. The Entertainment Honestly, some of the shows seemed under rehearsed and the in-house troupe didn’t match other cruise lines we’ve been on. It’s subjective, and some on the other hand we did get to see, particularly external entertainers, were excellent. But it didn’t matter – as after the first few days we really gave up on the Theatre as a regular event. The problem is that most passengers (in Britannia class) eat dinner from 1800. They finish around 2000 – and head to the Theatre where the shows begin at 2045. In Queen’s Grill though the service starts at 1830 – and you don’t finish until 2015-2030 – unless you hurry your meal or miss courses (and as I’ve said the food is excellent). But by the time you get to the Theatre, it’s basically already full. Three nights in a row (the first three nights) the only seats we could get were high up on one end of the balcony, which wraps around the stage so you’re actually just behind the action and actors. You can’t see the set, band or whatever as they’re hidden from view by the side of the stage. The acoustic high up is also pretty dreadful. The second show is 2230 ending at 2315ish – that’s too late for us, and we don’t want to hang around for two hours after dinner anyway. And we couldn’t eat after the 2045 show as these are 45 minutes long and end at 2130 plus. The Queen’s Grill restaurant take last sittings at 2130, and even if we snook I late – who wants to eat alone with the staff hanging around? On two nights the show timings were bought forward to 1900 for the first show. This worked well both times and we enjoyed the entertainment. On another night we really wanted to see the show so ate at the self-service Kings Court which was good – but not a choice for every night simply to see the entertainment. There are easy fixes – for example open the Queen’s Grill at 1800 – or move the show time to 1900 regularly (clearly it can be done). Put aside some seats for Queen’s Grill – after all we’re paying a huge premium. On Celebrity in Suite Class, the Butler saves a seat or two for First Class guests on a roped off row. Again an easy fix and something the Butler could do over and above being a stateroom cleaner. And then on Celebrity the Butler will bring you a drink – there’s no service in the balcony on Cunard. This issue I did raised with the Concierge – many people talked about the shows – but we felt we missed out. I think the final straw was a show with apparently fabulous backdrops – we weren’t even aware there was a set from where we had to sit. The Concierge said she’d talk to the different teams – and acknowledged this was a complaint she’d heard before from others. A week later she asked if the Assistant Entertainment Manager had been in touch – he/she hadn’t. They never did. We came to the conclusion that ‘I’ll talk to the Management’ was Cunard crew’s way of Kicking issues into the Long Grass – more below. Again, this was a disappointment. Dancing Mrs B and I have only tried dancing lessons once – 20 years ago. After lesson three we considered calling lawyers. But this time I thought I’d really give it a go. She loves to dance, and it must be possible to master something. And Cunard do say ‘Try/learn something new’. The easiest seemed to be Line Dancing, so we attended the first lesson. Within five minutes we were into ‘So that’s two grapevines, a slide, a chasee, then a pivot…’ which meant nothing to me. I was sunk. So afterwards I went to the two dance instructors and said ‘It’s clear everyone had experience, do you have a beginner’s class, for those who’ve not line danced before?’. The response was abrupt. No, they expect everyone to come with at least two years’ experience. So much for learning a new skill. But actually they felt it was such a good idea, such a revelation, they’d raise it with their Manager (see Kicking into the Long Grass above) and they took my Stateroom number. I didn’t hear another thing. It’s interesting to note that out of 50-60 people in the Line Dancing class, only five were men – we don’t generally do these things outside a holiday or leisure and the gender mix reflects this. So we moved onto Ballroom. Again two excellent instructors, and at the end of the first hour, I felt I’d got the real basics of waltz. Just needed developing and repeating. But next day we did Cha-Cha. OK, try to master two in quick succession from no skill at all. And day three was the Tango. Again I was lost. An hour isn’t long enough, and two or three days on each dance would really have consolidated things. Again though ‘that’s not how it’s done’, previous experience is clearly required. My Dancing Days will have to wait for another time… Trips Ashore We pre-booked some Cunard excursions – Seville, Delphi (Greece), and the Holy Land. We’re pretty young and fit, and also well-travelled. We tend to be adventurous so the first two tours we booked were described as arduous, lots of walking, uneven surfaces, hills and so on. Cunard call these ‘High Activity Level’, as explained on the booking form. Other activity levels are offered on other excursions. For Seville, the problem started before we even went on board the QM2. A key destination there is the Cathedral – the third largest in Christendom. It was central to the tour when we booked and our reason. But an email a few weeks before departure explained that because we were there on a Sunday, the Cathedral was closed to visitors. Now it was always a Sunday, so who didn’t check such a thing when creating the programme? No matter we went ahead anyway (and will return another time to see the Cathedral – it’s great from the outside!). What this indicated was a general lack of attention to detail and ownership over the excursions. In the event, we had a lovely tour of this wonderful City and a Moorish castle, and apart from missing one fellow passenger after lunch (she sat with another group, and was completely unaware when we left, the Guide saying she seemed to be struggling with it all a bit) all was fine. Then, as we walked through the old town, an elderly American lady fell on cobbles. She had clearly been getting very tired and it was a long walk (‘high activity’), and couldn’t pick her feet up. Down she went, cutting her leg, and clearly in shock. Worrying for her and us – so the Cunard Rep (one on each coach plus the guide in theory) stayed with her, and we were hurried to the end point, so the Guide could then leave us for 45 minutes, and go back and bring this lady to us. She was at a guess 80 years old, clearly exhausted, and very upset. The next stop was Greece, for Delphi. We were late driving from the ship as our Cunard Rep didn’t turn up for the coach. After 15 minutes, long after two other coaches had departed for Delphi, our local Guide gave up and said we’d go without the support. The Oracle at Delphi is up a fairly long hard hill climb on smooth stones and broken ground with large steps, in the heat. As we got off the coach it was clear the Guide was weighing the group up. Some of the less fit were already struggling – so she said that we’d go up slowly, and stop every 50 metres or so people could get their breath back. It’s about a 10 minute climb up the stone steps for people such as us, but the regular stops meant it took 40 minutes to reach the temple level. We did try going ahead – but without the guide to explain we lost all the context. Eventually reaching the temple level, we had about 10 minutes at this Wonder of the Ancient World we’ve longed to see for so long. Other groups had had half an hour plus to explore – and we missed key things, it all felt rushed, and really not what we’d expected. We’d set off late, and then had a lengthy climb. Worse was to come. On the way down a British man, tripped and fell. He’d already spent his time sitting quietly apart at the top, and I’d asked him if he was OK, and he said he was tired. In the tumble he gashed his hand badly and again was shaken up. However after a slow descent he sat outside the museum restaurant and had a drink and seemed fine. Then after the museum (I think this gentleman sat outside) we went for lunch. Again, my wife and I found ourselves helping this man clearly a bit shocked still, and his wife. So we were last in the restaurant (remember, no Cunard Rep to assist on this trip as they overslept or whatever…). He wouldn’t bandage his hand as he said he wanted it to ‘dry’, so we sat through lunch on four person table with his blood dripping onto the table cloth and forming a pool beside him. What we did discover though was that he is 88 years old. And because of this, and he now felt he shouldn’t have done the trip, he had a furious and loud row on the coach with the guide on the way back when he refused to complete a Cunard accident form. Cunard have a clear and absolute Duty of Care to their guests. So I discussed this with the Concierge (same time as I raised the Theatre timing issue above). Fine, I get it that Cunard don’t know people’s fitness levels. But they do know our ages from the start, and permitting an 88 year old onto a trip marked ‘high activity’, up a long hillside in the bright sun, on smooth irregular marble steps and stones and lose earth. That’s ridiculous. They can clearly provide a clearer description – and the fact that in Seville they didn’t even spot it was Sunday when putting the excursion together shows a lack of attention to this sort of detail when selling the trips. We hope no one ever has a much more serious injury or health event. But if they do, someone old and frail pushing the boundary too hard, blame will be shared – Cunard are not taking their responsibility for welfare if they let people who are clearly going to struggle onto these trips. It’s not good enough to say an 88 year old should have read ‘High Activity Level’ and not taken part. Two trips in a row we saw potentially serious accidents, both resulting in blood loss. And, although it’s clearly of less importance, that totally spoils the experience for the rest of us. Our Champagne Evening One of the nice things about Queen’s Grill is we get out own deck at the back of the ship. So we decided on the last Gala (dressing up) night, to invite some (10) new friends to start the evening with a Champagne reception on the back deck as the sun set over the sea. We’ve done it before on other companies – Celebrity again for example. There, one call to the Butler, and it’s sorted. However there’s a bar on the Queen’s Grill deck so I asked there for starters which seemed logical. The barman tried to help, and said he’d have to ask his Manager if there would be room for ten people (a deck some thirty metres by ten!). Then he’d need to get us to talk to the restaurant team, and the drinks team to arrange the canapes and drinks. It was all too much, and he later came and said it would be best if we talked to the Concierge. So off we went. The Concierge said of course it was possible, but she’d need to talk to our Butler. She said there was no need for me to raise it with the Butler, she’d plan it, and she clearly then discussed it with the Butler. And thus, He came to us in our room to get more detail. Yes, entirely possible, he said. The champagne (we reckoned 4-5 bottles) and canapes can be brought to the room, and I could take them onto the deck. That’s not his role. But I explained that would mean I spent the entire event shuffling back and forth, pouring drinks and serving food and so on – not what I’d planned. I asked about glasses – he said well, you have four here already in your room, so I’ll bring another six. Again to be taken to the deck and then back to the room. This wasn’t the special black tie event I’d envisaged. So I went back to the Concierge. Her first comment was ‘I told you not to speak to the Butler’. That miffed me slightly – what were we supposed to do when he came to our room to discuss it? And unless he had, how would we know the planning was going slightly off line? Frankly I felt I got a bit of a telling off which was both inappropriate and undeserved. But the outcome was that the Concierge took arrangements back in hand. This was just as well as at the last minute (after invitations had been sent out etc.) she contacted us to say we had to shift the date forward as we’d were still in the security area south of Yemen, and because of the piracy risk decks were closed at nightfall. I said this was shame as I’d done invitations – and in passing, why had the original dates for the decks to be closed, announced before we planned the event and already taken into account, been changed? No answer really came forth apart from, a little later, she showed me the sunset chart (a Word document on her computer screen) from the Bridge which showed sunset getting later by about ten minutes each day, except oddly for the original date I’d planned the event. That day alone, sunset actually jumped back half an hour. And then the next night jumped forward 40 minutes. I queried this apparent phenomenon of nature – and asked for a copy of the chart as I really didn’t understand what I had been told. She told me that sunset times were in confidence for staff only! I’m pretty certain, like our Sunday trip to Seville, someone didn’t do the sums right to begin with, so the night deck closure was extended by one day, but was covered up with my own ‘sunset chart’ in apparent justification. It was really bizarre, but I may be wrong – this may have been a new bit of physics. I then talked with the Bar manager, the Restaurant Manager (who both rang the room, and were very understanding and efficient). Went round and reissued invitations with the new date. I also rang the photographers to get someone to come and take a picture – my responsibility apparently. And after days of too’ing and fro’ing it was finally a relief having talked to (I think) seven different people, all in different departments, that it was sorted out. But a long, long way from one call to the Butler or whoever and it gets arranged. And had I known at the outset how complicated it would be, I’d have had second thoughts. So the event went ahead, an area of the deck was roped off, chairs were put off, a lovely lady served the canapés and drinks and it was excellent and enjoyed by all. BUT there was a sting in the tail. In the phone conversation with the Bar Manager he said ‘What champagne would you like’. I said the Laurent Perrier they serve on board ($75 a bottle) would be fine, but then added as a throwaway, that my wife and I do prefer Taittinger, it’s what we have on special occasions, and if there was any that would be nice. The Bar Manager said he’d not got any, but would see if the Restaurant Manager had some. On the evening, when I arrived the champagne was in buckets with nice white serviettes round the necks. I asked the lady serving whether they’d found Taittinger and she said she was pleased to say they had. Full marks! When it was poured though I could see the bottles were a different shape and not a label I recognised. Tasted wonderful though. And we drank our way through five bottles. Guests departed, and I said I’d sign the bill. I then discovered the $75 a bottle Laurent Perrier had indeed been substituted with Taittinger as asked – but Vintage Taittinger, at $225.00 a bottle. Our bill was not $375 for the hour long soiree, but $1125. I’m circumspect, we and our close friends had a truly wonderful event as the sunset over the deck, and thus I paid without quibbling. But this may have really spoilt the evening for some, and when one asks for a substitute, I think it’s reasonable to expect some equivalence on aspects including price – and if not to be contacted again to check it’s OK to triple the price and cost. But there we go…lesson learned, and I hope we’ll prevent other also doing this the hard way. And frankly, the different departments, the tiers of bureaucracy – it makes doing anything special painful. The customer certainly isn’t king! Conclusion If you think we’re high maintenance, that’s fine. I really want to stress what I said at the start that we enjoyed our time away, and most of what Cunard does is world class. We found much – food, most staff, facilities, our stateroom (once it was clean) completely engaging and worthwhile. We’re not generally moaners, so there’s nothing lengthy here about internet (its cost and awful performance), the rude on board Israeli immigration staff I reported to the Concierge, the chaos of getting passports back (kept for Israeli immigration but it was mayhem when they were returned after our trip to Delphi – one person handing out 40 passports to a queue of 100 people and a total lack of security which means we could have walked off with any number of other persons’ passports). But from time to time I have been a ‘mystery shopper’ so I do spot things which aren’t right – especially customer services – and maybe that should also be taken into account here. Just playing fair. And frankly, Cunard could do with one or two ‘Mystery Guests’ to get the sort of feedback we’ve given! These are specific and detailed points, some of which are clearly serious. For that reason, and because I’ve never written a review like this before, before publishing I have invited Cunard Customer Services. Their response follows below. But now you will also see why this is called ‘Close…but No Cigar’. Response: Cunard Customer Services say: 'Thank you for your patience in regards to my response time, I have been feeding relevant information back to both ship and shore-side departments after our initial conversation we had. In regards to a reply about action that is taking place internally to answer the issues you have brought to my attention, unfortunately this is something that cannot be disclosed, as I’m sure you can appreciate takes several departments working closely together and also a time frame that can range anywhere from a couple of weeks into a couple of months. What I am more than happy to do is outline the issues we have discussed and how they have been addressed with management teams to ensure that hopefully we can prevent these issues reoccurring. Having taken the time to read your comments, I am most sorry to learn of the issues experienced during your voyage on Queen Mary 2 and that this voyage did not live up to your expectations as a first time guest on Cunard Line. As I am sure you are aware we endeavour to ensure that our passengers are offered clean, well presented accommodation. Our standards of housekeeping and sanitary procedures are very high and we make every effort to ensure that these are met. The conditions that you describe are certainly not reflective of the conditions that we expect for our guests. I would wish to assure you that we do have a policy in place and the stateroom stewards are very well aware of the standards we expect. If they deviate from this standard, action will be taken with both onboard and shore-side management. However, as I am sure you will appreciate there are in excess of 1000 staterooms on Queen Mary 2 and it is physically impossible to check each and every one before our passengers embark on turn-around days. We therefore do have to rely on the training given to the stewards who attend to the staterooms and the realisation of the importance of adhering to the standards laid down. I am pleased that the problems were rectified at the time, but I am sorry for the unnecessary inconvenience caused. Further to this, I am sorry that your walk in wardrobe was not up to the level of standard we expect in a Queens Grill suite and I fully appreciate what an important aspect of your cruise this facility is. I have logged your comments for senior management's review and I have sent this across to the Housekeeping Management team onboard the ship. In regards to the experiences you had with the theatre and the timing of the shows conflicting with your dinner arrangements, I sincerely apologise for the inconveniences this caused you. It would be virtually impossible to provide a venue onboard that could accommodate all passengers who simultaneously wished to attend and watch a particular event. Generally speaking, however, we find that passengers differing interests results in a reasonable availability of seats in the public venues. However, I regret that this was not what you experienced on this occasion and apologise for the inconvenience and disruption caused as a consequence. I have logged your comments about your Butler reserving seats or a separate section of the theatre being reserved for Grill Guests with the Entertainment Team onboard as well as the relevant team here that deal with the acts and production. This will be looked into and seen if something can be arranged to improve the operational side of the theatre, especially with our Grill Guests. In regards to the experience you had with our dance instructors onboard, this has also been passed onto not only the Entertainment Team, but the management onboard so this can be investigated further. Dance classes should not be exclusive to people who have experience as we promote ‘trying something new’ and it is not a necessity. I apologise that you were made to feel this way. I have also fed back your comments regarding the pace at which the classes are taught. This will also be looked into, mainly by the ship based management team to see if the way these classes are taught can be amended to ensure guests get the full experience they have signed up for, as well as actually learning a few dances. I would like to assure you that guest satisfaction is extremely important to us. We are constantly reviewing the services and facilities that we offer to our customers as we endeavour to ensure that all aspects of our holidays are maintained to the same high standards. We record all guests’ comments and these are reviewed on a regular basis in an effort to locate any trends, positive or negative, arising. In this respect, your comments and observations have been most helpful and I would like to thank you for taking the time to share them with us. I am most grateful to you for detailing your experiences in relation to the shore excursion, and it is disappointing that the tour did not operate as described. Although shore excursions do not form part of a passengers’ overall contract with Cunard Line, we understand and appreciate what an important contribution tours make to cruise holidays. As such, a great deal of research is carried out before we finalise our shore excursion programme to ensure that passengers are provided with a high quality service. I have highlighted as a matter of urgency and importance the safety issues you have brought to light regarding the two excursions you experienced issues on with both the Health and Safety departments onboard and shore-side. As I am sure you can appreciate the safety of our passengers is of upmost importance to us and would be at the forefront of any decisions made, therefore this will be reviewed by the Hotel and Land department in our Head Office that organise these trips. It goes without saying that we must rely heavily on local agents who operate the tours on our behalf, and in general terms, we receive a great deal of positive feedback. Nevertheless, your comments are very much appreciated and will certainly assist us in the future. Although of little comfort or consequence to you at this stage, I have ensured that your comments are forwarded to the appropriate management for their review and consideration with future cruise itineraries. In this respect, I must thank you for taking time out to outline the issues you experienced on two of your shore excursions. I would also like to sincerely apologise for the level of service you have received trying to plan a special evening with friends. After our discussion on the phone and all the issues outlined, I completely agree with you that in fact, the events that occurred were completely unacceptable and this has been fed back accordingly. The level of service offered to you by several members of staff onboard i.e. concierge, Butler and bar manager, I can assure you is not the luxury service we set our high standards to. As explained over our telephone call, a private event should have been as simple as asking your Butler and everything else simply falling into place. I apologise that you had to constantly go back and forth between several managers to get the evening organised. What I was concerned to read as well, was the choice of champagne not being confirmed with you before your evening commenced. This has been reported back to the management team onboard to ensure correct training is carried out and this mistake does not occur in the future – as you stated, this could have easily ruined a holiday without being budgeted accordingly. Thank you for your comments and criticisms, we do appreciate all feedback and I have passed on the comments to relevant senior management here in our Head Office for review as this as stated above, was unacceptable. I understand after speaking to you over the phone, you were looking for an answer, rather than compensation, but I do strongly feel it is necessary I offered you something an apology for all the inconveniences caused to you onboard and the level of service you experienced from members of staff onboard. We do look forward to welcoming you back onboard in the near future, as we will have the opportunity to fully restore your faith in the service we know we are able to offer.' Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for three reasons: 1. it stopped at many ports/countries we had never visited, 2. we wanted to be away for much of the Canadian winter. 3. we've travelled on Cunard, QM2 in the past and enjoyed the ... Read More
We chose this cruise for three reasons: 1. it stopped at many ports/countries we had never visited, 2. we wanted to be away for much of the Canadian winter. 3. we've travelled on Cunard, QM2 in the past and enjoyed the luxury and amenities it has to offer. It's been 4 years since the shipped was refurbished, and while still beautiful, she'showing the wear & tear in some areas (carpet in the Grand Lobby Hall had pulled away and created a walking hazard, especially for guests who had mobility issues. The only port that was not satisfactory was Goa, India. It is a commercial/industrial port, not set up to receive the travelling public. The whole process for getting the VISA was troublesome, and the process to clear immigration was disgustingly long and poorly organized. You can't expect seniors to have to stand in line, some up to 2 hours, for Immigration Inspection. On-boarding 4 Officers to clear 2700 passengers was ridiculous! Suggest Cunard take this port off their itinerary, unless the India Officials are prepared to make better accommodations and arrangements. Also, the calibre of the lecturers was fantastic, especially Judith Hinchcliffe, the Forensic Odontologist. Her presentations were AMAZING. Also, Roy Hunt, who presented on the lives of legendary musicians, Berlin, Gershwins, Hammerstein & Sinatra was wonderful, taking us down memory lane Read Less
Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 3.5 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 5.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.5 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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