Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by DalTexDancer
- Sail Date: July 2018
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Standard Inside
While Cunard is owned and operated under the Carnival corporate umbrella; it has several distinctions a cut above the other marques. Embarkation and disembarkation were both well-organized, efficient, and comfortable. I really like that photographers did not bottleneck the procedures. Other cruise line photographers should do the same. The fact that several free launderettes and irons are available to guests on the QM2 is a real plus.
The QM2 benefitted from a recent refreshening of carpets, drapes, and some furnishings. She is kept clean and in ship-shape both inside and out. The library has over 9,500 volumes and is as beautiful as that on luxury ships. The teakwood promenades are wide, grand, and well-maintained. I really appreciate the good signage and ship diagrams throughout the QM2. Not only are ship maps provided during embarkation but also every level has several large, readable floor plan maps with "You are here" prominently shown for reference. Elevators are fast, plentiful, and easy to operate. I recommend other Carnival owned lines should emulate Cunard's signage and elevator efficiency aboard their ships.
Most all crew were friendly and approachable. Smiles and greetings were abundant. My cabin steward introduced himself the first evening. He did a great job tending my stateroom over 14 days. I give huge credit to the very well-functioning and efficient HVAC system in my stateroom. I wanted my room kept cold and it did the job. Although the QM2 was fully booked with over 2,679 guests on this transatlantic voyage, it seldom felt crowded or plagued by long queues.
I must state that previously posted negative reviews on Cruise Critic concerning food quality were not experienced by this reviewer over the course of 14 days aboard ship. In fact, several interesting and tasty offerings at the King's Grill buffet were very good. Same applies to Britannia dinner selections with some nearing 5 star quality. The Chicken Tikka Masala lunch in the Golden Lion Pub was spot on outstanding. Wine, spirits, and beer selections are extensive in the QM2 however not all are available in every lounge, bar, and restaurant. Sommeliers are knowledgeable and helpful. Waitstaff are friendly and polite but sometimes serve at a very slow pace. Meals (B,L,D) in the Britannia took me 1 to 2 hours whether I was alone or chatting with fellow table mates. For faster meals use the King's Court buffet.
I dined at the extra-cost Verandah Restaurant 4 times. The 3 evenings during the Eastward crossing I tried various offerings in their French themed restaurant. After departing Southampton for the Westward crossing the Verandah was changed to a high-end Steakhouse. The entry price is now $39 as opposed to the previous $49. All my meals, wines, and services were excellent. I must say changing the concept and lowering the price point by $10 was a great idea since I never observed the Verandah operating with most tables seated on the Eastward journey. I really appreciate the delicious maple bread served in a huge iron skillet. The fact that waiters now show you the dinnertime steak choices in their raw state (ribeye, wagyu, filet, strip) plus offer you a choice of Sheffield blade steak knives with various handles is a real plus. I had the 8 ounce filet which was cooked exactly as I asked and delicious. Just don't be misled by adding surf to your turf dinner. Two medium sized grilled shrimp are placed atop your steak for an outrageous $10 up-charge. The new dinner menu erroneously lists these 2 medium sized shrimp as "large prawns" which is extremely misleading.
Entertainment was first class all around from the musicians, actors, singers, and dancers. Shows were great and obviously well-supported by expert sound and light staff. The cruise director was brief and to the point. The entertainment director was fun and kept guests motivated and involved with fun activities like solo travelers coffees & lunches and contests during band breaks in the Queen's room (ballroom). The movie theatre was large and never crowded. Most movies were subsequently available in my stateroom TV monitor along with several TV channels. A few channels are in French, German, and Spanish. The Planetarium was very popular and free tickets quickly disappeared after being offered at 9 am in Connextions. I found that several seats were available at showtime since "no shows" occurred frequently. So if you get there 15 minutes before showtime just queue up in the ticketless line. Excellent Planetarium shows were informative and enlightening for all ages.
During my 14 days aboard, there were a total of 6 gala or formal evenings after 6pm. I thoroughly enjoyed dressing in my dinner jacket and tuxedo. Participating in the Roaring 20's, Black & White, Big Band, and Masquerade balls were just a few of the highlights of my on board memories that will last a lifetime. Brad Reynolds sang excellent tributes to Michael Buble. Music was always spot on for the called dances. I met so many interesting and enthusiastic ballroom dancers on the QM2. Traditional British tea time was served in the Queen's room daily at 3:30 pm. Live music was often played and the most fun was when it became a "tea dance" once during each sailing direction. If you enjoy dancing, need to learn, or just brush up; plenty of group lessons are provided by the on board pros. Dance hosts are available to assist solo travelers. Be sure to bring your dance shoes or at least wear leather-soled shoes as rubber soles don't work well on the dance floor. Unwinding at the G32 Disco late evenings was also fun in retrospective as they have a great DJ (Chris) and several monitors displaying videos.
The Daily Program provided a plethora of interesting activities, lectures, and shows during the entire voyage. I had to choose carefully since some events only happened once or twice daily. Kudos to the expertly-designed and informative Daily Program. I was able to plan and do all my first choices. The rest of Carnival's ships should use the same Daily Program format and layout.
I came with high expectations and left with better than expected findings. I will definitely defer to the QM2 when planning future long-term cruises since this ocean liner sails like a dream and caters to all my whims and fancies.
250,000+ people have entered their email