Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by Seasalter
- Sail Date: April 2017
- Destination: Around the World
- Cabin Type: Balcony, sheltered
He looked puzzled at my question, initially, so I explained that a seaman would always do this (or even wrap a bit of electrical tape around it) to stop the rope fraying.
He then said it wasn't important.
'Good seamanship isn't important?' I asked, incredulously.
Then he told me that the lashings had been done by a member of the Security Team and not the deck crew to which I replied that even if that was true(it wasn't as I'd watched the work being done) why had no-one inspected the work in the ten days it had been flapping away on the Promenade Deck.
A rhetorical question because, by this time, I was aware that no-one ever checked anything that the deck crew did onboard the Queen Mary 2.
After 44 years at sea, the last 24 in command, I wondered how I'd react to being a passenger on someone else's ship and, although I didn't go out of my way to see things that could be improved, it was difficult not to notice safety breaches, slack behaviour etc. etc.
As I'm quite used to the defences put up by a poor crew I made a note and photographed as much of this as possible with a view to discussing it with a senior member of staff but, as a lot of other people have already mentioned, you rarely get the opportunity to talk to a member of the nautical team (deck or engineering).
(This ran to five pages by the time I left the ship in Southampton.)
So I sent it all off to Cunard after we returned home because, make no mistake, this is a wonderful ship and it broke my heart to see the unprofessional way it is being run.
Mostly we enjoyed ourselves (Singapore back to Europe is an old run of mine)but there were a number of areas where improvement would be easy to effect and stop an awful lot of the recurring complaints from these pages.
I received a reply, timed at 16:38 on the Friday afternoon before a Bank Holiday weekend, which appeared not to be a reply to my letter but someone else's. Typical really of Cunard, poorly trained and motivated staff trusted to reply to complaints but not that bothered.
Banging off a reply, as the weekend was coming up, and she wanted to clear her desk.
I said we joined in Singapore and the IT system had crashed meaning we stood for 45 minutes before we actually got to the check in desks. Cunard's reply apologised for my poor experience joining in Cape Town! It continued in that vein, answering complaints I hadn't made, and then expressing the hope I'd book with Cunard again.
So I replied, to this, pointing out that she hadn't actually answered any of my concerns but someone else's. My reply copied in the Vice President but, of course, no subsequent response has been received. Because they have replied and won't revisit my letter, presumably?
I'll also point out to everyone who fills in the FIFO questionnaire, on their return, that if you put in a three star review, or above, there will be no response. The only ones that get an answer are the one and two star reviews, even if there is valuable constructive criticism in the others. I suppose the thinking is that if you rate your cruise as 'good' or above it's not necessary to look at what you've said.
Modern management is all about 'continuous improvement' though and there are a lot of useful points that Cunard don't bother to look at ... why not?
Another rhetorical question ... I know the answer, as do a lot of the readers.
They're Cunard and there are no problems on their ships.
But there are:
My main concern is the safety culture on the QM2. These cruise ships/liners must be able to be evacuated in 30 minutes but the marine crew (from what I saw) are unprofessional, unmotivated and unsupervised. I documented numerous instances that reflected this but received no acknowledgement so, presumably, Cunard think it's safe for their crew not to wear a safety harness when working aloft, safe for a crew member to clean his scraper by holding it to the turning head of a disc grinder whilst passengers walk past, safe not to clean public areas thoroughly when the ship is in the grip of norovirus etc. etc.
And if this is what I saw in the public areas what on earth is going on in the areas outside public scrutiny? Is that why it took so long for them to get on top of the norovirus?
What about fire safety?
I watched crew members leave gates unsecured so what are they doing in their own accommodation and work areas? It is a lot easier to tie back a fire door than to continually open and close it as you walk to and fro. Everything I saw, with regard to the marine crew, would suggest to me that this is the sort of thing they'd get up to if they weren't supervised.
And they're not supervised.
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The blue cushions are washed three days before you leave the ship (we discovered) so, if the thought of someone else's feet having been placed on them for three days offends you, get the covers washed again once you settle in.
Remember that the cabin steward has to comply with rest hour legislation so his day's work is quite regimented. We didn't have a problem but some people, who liked a lie in, did complain that their cabins weren't cleaned straight after they had finally surfaced.
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