We have taken a while to get around to writing our review of our most recent cruise on Cunard Queen Mary 2 (QM2). It’s been a busy month or so at home and in work. But that’s not the only reason – the post cruise blues really kicked in after returning home.
In all honesty we came home quite deflated. It wasn’t the ships fault, the ship was absolutely stunning, and by far our favourite of all ships we have sailed on. It wasn’t the staff, they were fabulous and it wasn’t the food – that was the best we’d had.
So what was it? Well, let’s just say there were a couple of let downs…
Two days before the cruise we were advised that due to ‘customer feedback’ Cunard had taken the decision to spend two full days in the not so beautiful commercial port of Zeebrugge. This meant we missed the joys of having a sea day which was one of the things we were really looking forward too. The second let down was that the Spa hydro-pool facilities were closed for the duration of the cruise, so our planned day in there relaxing was also a no go.
Normally these wouldn’t really bother us, but looking forward to both and having neither did tarnish it slightly – we suppose this is the risk on a short cruise and it most certainly hasn’t put us off, had it of been our first Cunard experience possibly it would have, but for us it’s made us more determined to do a Transatlantic.
Initial impressions of Queen Mary 2 and our Stateroom
We arrived at Ocean Terminal around 1pm and were given our coloured card and asked to take a seat. By the time we had completed the questionnaire, taken some photos and updated our Instagram story, we were being called to check in. Soon we had our ID card in hand, breezed through security and were making our way on to the beautiful Queen Mary 2.
We arrived in the spectacular Grand Lobby. Since our last visit in 2015, Queen Mary 2 has undergone a ‘Remastering’ and the once elegant glass lifts have been removed from this area. We were disappointed when we learnt they were being removed as we quite liked them but it has given the feeling of a more open space.
Unlike many who head straight for the buffet or the popular Golden Lion put once on board, we always head for our stateroom – let’s get unpacked and make ourselves at home as soon as possible – then enjoy! We originally booked an Obstructed Balcony but selected the auto upgrade option for an upgrade if available and we’re pleased to say we were upgraded to an Enclosed Balcony! Yay!
Our stateroom was on the aft end of Deck 5. As it was an enclosed balcony it would be great for those transatlantic crossings, it was also huge! The room was clean and comfortable, with a large screen now on the wall and tea and coffee making facilities added since our last visit.
Our cabin steward was soon knocking at the door to introduce himself and giving a quick demo of the cabin, a lovely friendly guy!
Please take a look at our cabin tour below so you can see for yourself what the cabin was like, we have to say this was an absolutely fabulous cabin in a great location so we would look at booking this type again.
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Below we will highlight some of the outstanding areas on Queen Mary 2 – we have to emphasise how great these facilities were along with all the staff in them.
Our favourite spot on the ship! Located high up forward, you will find a bar called The Commodore’s Club. From here you would get some spectacular views, all while sipping a nice cocktail or port. At the bar there is an excellent model of the Queen Mary 2.
This is a popular place for a pre-dinner drink, so a word of warning if you want a seat on formal night you will want to get there early.
The menu has a large selection of drinks, but this is where we discovered the Three Queens Gins – a gin named after each of the Cunard Queens.
If you enjoy a nice glass of port and a cigar, you can head in to Churchill’s Cigar lounge which is adjacent.
Golden Lion Pub
Your local at sea… and what a great local it is. Serving food from midday this is a great place to grab a bite to eat. We popped in on our second day, it was quiet but noticed it picked up around lunch time. We had a lovely lunch of cottage pie and steak and mushroom pudding – all washed down with a ping.
If you wanted a friendly lively pub in the evening, this is the place too head!
This used to be called the Winter Garden until the remastering. When we were last on board, we rarely saw this being used and was an area which was slightly wasted. Thankfully the Carinthia Lounge is a busy area, serving light bites during the day and hosting entertainment in the evening.
We called in here on the first evening and had a nice G&T while listening to the Jazz band entertain the guests. Unfortunately this is where we may have had one or two too and food was needed!
Main Dining Room
On Queen Mary 2 you are assigned a seating (6 or 8.30) and a table. As we had booked in advance we were given second priority, but were given our table of choice, a table for 2 on a late seating.
The Main dining room on board is The Britannia Restaurant. Words cannot describe how impressive this dining room is – it’s beautiful!
We enjoyed our evening meal here, the food and service was top notch and the waiters couldn’t do enough for you.
It was thoroughly enjoyable – the food, excellent service and surroundings coming together to provide a perfect evening.
The Verandah Restaurant
The speciality dining on board is the Verandah. We had hoped to get lunch here one day but as this was unavailable, we opted to have our final evening meal here.
A new concept on Queen Mary 2 is The Steakhouse, which is now being rolled out across the fleet. There is an array of steaks and meats from the grill as well as a limited vegetarian option. We had already decided what we wanted to eat after speaking to one of the waiters while on our walk about collecting photos, he recommended the sharing platter which had a variety of cuts along with a number of sides – all of which was outstanding.
At 39 USD, we think this was great value for money and again, the staff in this restaurant provided outstanding service.
Sir Samuels (Godiva)
If you are after a chocolate fix, this is the place to come. Offering a range of Godiva chocolates for you to take away, or why not take a seat and have a nice hot chocolate and some cakey goodness!
Stopping by here is definitely a treat as are the cakes on offer, but there is also an afternoon tea served here for a small cover charge, it looked amazing but as we’d already had our fill of cake, we decided against it.
Talking of afternoon tea, experiencing a Cunard afternoon tea in the Queens room is a must do. Being on a short cruise it was really popular so getting there at least 20 minutes early is recommended.
Inside, a pianist who tapped away while we were served cup after cup of tea along with some lovely savouries and sweet treats by white gloved waiters. This really is a beautiful experience!
For the location you cannot beat the Queens Room and the cake selection was good. But we couldn’t help feeling that our afternoon tea on P&O Oceana back in May had that edge of Cunard’s this time. If we could take the best bits of Cunard (the Queens Room, the white glove and attentive waiters) and combine with P&O’s (A better selection of Savouries and Sweets) we would have the perfect afternoon tea.
But the important question and possibly the deal breaker – who has the best scones? For us, it’s Cunard!
We hate buffets, with a passion! Usually they are cramped, lack seating and the food is not the best.
It’s completely different in Kings Court, light and open with plenty of seating and the food selection is amazing along with the quality and service.
We had breakfast here on two occasions, there was never a problem finding a seat and once seated you were offered tea or coffee which is a really nice touch – nothing worse than trying to carry a hot mug of coffee when your coordination isn’t at its peak (that’s the Gin’s fault) and people don’t look where they are going.
During lunch there was a wide selection of meals available, you could opt for salads, pasta and pizza’s, roasts or, as we opted for – sushi. The selection never seemed to end and we had to restrain ourselves from trying everything so instead opted for a selection of sushi and oh boy was it good! Yum!
Queen Mary 2 boast a Planetarium at sea and is 20 minutes of your time well spent.
There is no fee for this, you just need to grab the tickets while available – if you do miss them just turn up and if there are spare seats available you will be able to watch the show.
Cunard host a number of talks on their voyages. Maureen Ryan, ex Cunard Social hostess was doing talks on this cruise. We had seen the talk previously when on Queen Elizabeth so we decided we would give the live talk a miss and instead caught up with it on the in-stateroom TV.
She provides an overview of the history of Cunard and how she became involved in the company – we found its really interesting and she’s quite witty – absolutely worth a visit.
The end of a great mini cruise
So, before we knew it, it was time to leave, and with the negatives aside we did really enjoy the cruise very much. The staff, service and food on board was just perfect, and as for the Queen her self? She was beautiful!
Thank you for reading, we hope you have enjoyed this review of Queen Mary 2. This reflects our experience while on our 3-night Belgium cruise from Southampton in November 2018. We paid £306 per person for this cruise, which at time of booking was for a Obstructed Balcony Cabin but were later upgraded to enclosed Balcony as we opted for ‘auto upgrade’. For the latest prices, check out http://www.cunard.com. We always try and be open and honest and hope this is reflected in this post, our opinions are completely impartial and in no way has this review been sponsored or its content influenced by Cunard – if you have any questions please get in touch with us.
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