Queen Mary 2 – just love it…Back to Forum
One piece of advice I’d give FirstClass is to arrange a limo to meet you before you leave Southampton. They can arrange this on the boat for you, but you will pay a MUCH higher fare. If you don’t take a limo, you join the orderly scrum for a taxi. Due to the high number of people you can easily wait 2 hours or more.2 Oct 2014
I live quite close to Heathrow so didn’t bother with the AA arrivals lounge, check with AA. I did notice though that I got avios and tier points for the Y flight back. Very nearly enough for one free flight to FRA!!
With regards to disembarkation, you will be given a specific time window to get off the ship. We were initially given 7.30 and managed to get it changed to 9 am. If you arrive on a good day, you will have incredible views of New York and the Statue of Liberty. I didn’t go on deck for the arrival as it was still dark.
We were transferred to the Mariott in a nice air-conditioned people carrier, along with some very nice other guests from Switzerland and others from UK. The tickets do say “hospitality” and we were expecting a little more than we got. What we received was:
**transfers from dock to Marriot (Times Square)
**left luggage facilities in hotel
**meeting point at 2.30pm back to airport
**transfer to JFK
We had arranged to meet some friends for lunch, so it worked perfectly.
One piece of advice, have some dollar bills for the transfers. The drivers are NOT embarrassed to demand tips, even though this has all been covered by Cunard…
Some other points,..
**our friends were going to take is to JFK, but we decided to let Cunard take the strain… just in case there was a problem with the transfers. As it happened, our driver took is all around the place and it took 90 minutes.
**on board – once you have been given your dinner sitting times, (if you are on the cheap ticket like me, you don’t have a choice), go and find the maître d and drop him about $20 at the start, and he will change you to your preferred choice.
We took the late sitting, but found everything such a rush, next time we will take the early sitting and eat around 7pm…
Enjoy and please provide a report…..3 Oct 2014
That is great, thanks so much. The facilities work fine for me as I want to dump my bags and go to a mall in NJ to stock up, bus from Port Authority so very handy. Late sitting fine for me as like to eat late.
One more thing, although I do not dress like a tramp, I do not want to wear a suit each night on holiday. I will for a couple of night and a dinner jacket for the galas, but is it acceptable to wear smart shirt and trousers?
Thanks for taking the time to reply.3 Oct 2014
@FCW – I had presumed the Formal nights meant black tie, but many people wear dark lounge suits on formal nights. Other nights are jacket and slacks – no ties needed.
Many people just don’t turn up for dinner on the formal nights, instead choosing one of the other restaurants or the Kings Court (buffet style). Either way, you will NOT go hungry!
Choose carefully about the dinner timings. 8.30pm (doors open) generally means dinner at 9pm. In future we will take the early sitting, doors open at 6pm… but will glide in for dinner at 7pm…3 Oct 2014
I am flying in to UK so not sure I will have room for more than 1 or 2 suits, maybe it will be the King’ s Court for me! I will report back on my return.3 Oct 2014
I said I would do a review on my recent cruise on the QM2. Martyn has set the bar extremely high, and I cannot match that but here goes:
I will point out that this was my 14th cruise having previously sailed with Crystal, Azamara, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Princess and NCL. I had been put off a bit by Cunard as thought it would be too dressy and passengers would be stuffy, how wrong could I have been.
I had travelled the previous day to Gatwick and got the train to Southampton. Do not bother booking first class on Southern trains as it is not worth it. Few hotels were available so I stayed at the Ibis Budget. This was basic but comfortable and very friendly reception staff. It was within walking distance of the train station and also the town centre which was handy as I needed to do some shopping, buying a tux being top of the list.
I took a taxi to the port and that was about GBP 10.00, mainly due to the long waits at the many traffic lights. I was met by a porter who took my bag but didn’ t seem happy with the $3 tip, holding each note up separately! I had arrived at 15.00 and there was a bit of a wait at check in but I think I was on board within 30 minutes.
This was a last minute booking and I got a fantastic deal. There are three classs on QM2, Queens Grill, Princes Griill, and then us, so I was aware it was the basic level and I had no Cunard status. I got to my cabin and was pleased with the layout. It had a balcony which was nice although I hardly ever used it. Everything else was as expected, plenty of storage space, a really comfortable bed, bathroom with shower, toiletries etc. The cabin attendant Nick called to make sure everything was ok and made sure I was aware one could not smoke on the balcony. I was on deck 5 towards the front of the ship. I went to the King’ s Court buffet but it was late for lunch and there wasn’ t a great deal available, I later found out the King’ s Court is spread out over 3 areas so there would have been plenty available at the other stations. We were then called for muster which seemed to take a long time and no names were ticked off which I thought strange. I had a walk around the ship and it struck me how friendly most people were and looked like I would enjoy this cruise.
I was allocated early sitting at 18.30 in the Britannia restaurant for dinner, far too early for me so I changed that to second sitting at 20.30 easily as apparently the first sitting is more popular. I as on a table for 6 but only 5 of us ever turned up. I would not have chosen my table companions apart from one, and at first thought I would ask to move but decided to stay and it was ok, quite entertaining at times actually. We took turns in getting wine each night, but that certainly wasn’ t cheap. The food was well presented and the service was good, but the food was no better than other cruise lines I have travelled on. I did not expect it to be up to Crystal standard but I have had better on Royal Caribbean. It was perfectly acceptable though.
I took breakfast and lunch in the Kings’ s Court and the food was up to a good standard , with a British slant such as steak pie, cottage pie etc. Afternoon tea was also available, either served in the Queen’ s room or from the buffet. You could eat from 04.00 – 02.00 and I am sure many people did.
During the day there were plenty of talks and activities. Margaret Attwood was on board and gave a couple of lectures. There were dance classes (went once) bridge, napkin folding, cookery demos etc. Due to the friends I had met I was busy all day.
The entertainment at night was typical cruise standard with show tunes, Italian night etc. People always rave about the shows on cruise ships saying they are west end, they are not, but are ok for an hour or so.
There were plenty of bars to go to as well to have a drink and chat with friends, and also ballroom dancing where there were some superb dancers. Drinks were a little pricey with a pint of Stella at $6.50 and a G&T about $7.50. Wine from about $9 per glass.
I mentioned the tux earlier and was so glad I bought it (thank you BHS!) Out of the 8 nights, 4 were formal which meant a tux or dark suit and tie, and 4 informal which basically meant a suit without tie (which I thought looked a little scruffy and would have been better without the jacket). There was an alternative if you didn’ t want to dress up but it was all part of the experience. There were also speciality restaurant at a supplement, an Indian, Italian, Todd English amongst others.
The internet was desperately slow and I bought a 2 hour package for $49. The wait to connect was very frustrating but that is how it is at sea.
There was an excellent library with a huge selection of books. There were a few shops selling clothes, perfume, jewellery and alcohol and tobacco. 200 Benson cost $47 which isn’ t that cheap compared to other duty free places.
I had removed the tips charged automatically and tipped the waiter and cabin attendant $45 each and $20 to the assistant waitress who wasn’ t so good.
If you smoke do not go on this ship! There are only 4 places where you can smoke. The Commodore Club but only for cigars and pipes, and deck 7 and 8 outside at the back of the ship. I was at the front and it seemed like miles away. This was a blessing in disguise as I got a lot of exercise and did not gain even a pound during the cruise, and also smoked less. You could also smoke in the upper floor of the disco. I enjoyed a drink and cigarette at the end of most nights and it was very entertaining to see the older people dancing to disco music, think dad at a wedding after having had a few drinks.
The bulk of the passengers were British and American but there were 300 French on board and a handful of Germans. I previously said I thought some pax might be a bit stuffy but almost everyone was friendly. It was so easy to meet people and make friends. There were of course a few of the type who like to give the impression they are well off and then hover around waiting for you to offer them a drink, which they would never return. There were many Cunard regulars on board but they didn’ t bore anyone harping on about all their other cruises and their status with Cunard at I had thought they would.
I didn’ t want this cruise to end but the disembarkation was really smooth. We did have to queue for about 40 minutes to go through immigration. I was surprised to see Alistair Darling in the queue with everyone else. He was on holiday with his wife and is totally charmless, she is lovely though.
Included in this brilliant deal was a post cruise city tour with a very funny guide who kept us entertained, with a short stop at Macy’ s and then a drop off at JFK for my flight home with AA, I have done a report on that on Seat Plans.
All in all, a fantastic experience which I hope to repeat in the future.19 Oct 2014
Glad you enjoyed it FCW…
I hope more posters who cruise (whether for business or personal) will post reviews.
If you are smoker, it may just get worse on Cunard as I was told smoking is to be banned on all QM2 cruisers after the next World cruise.19 Oct 2014
Great review FCW, thanks. I was also told not to smoke on our balcony but I must confess to having a cigar or two. It was November, cold, mid Atlantic, and I guessed no one would know (they didn’t) but somehow seemed fitting as we passed close to where the Titanic sank. Despite being on the Port side I felt it important to look out for icebergs. I mean, they could come from the south, couldn’t they?
I hope they don’t stop cigar smoking though. I met some really interesting people in that small room!20 Oct 2014
Please confess LP – did you throw the cigar ends or flick ash over the balcony???
You clearly didn’t listen to the safety briefing…. I will ensure you are present on deck for the safety briefing when the BT Forum Crossing takes place………….and no reading of the FT when you are meant to be listening…………….. :)))))20 Oct 2014