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Queen Mary 2 Caribbean Connoisseurs Cruise. 10-20th March 08 
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:14 pm Reply with quote
Steve from Durham
Site Admin
Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 6095
Location: Lancashire.
Queen Mary 2
Caribbean Connoisseurs Cruise
10-16 March 2008



Get comfortable, grab a bottle of wine and quite possibly your Christmas cards. This is a long but worthwhile read.

This was going to be a totally different holiday to previous ones; thank goodness the luggage allowance was 46kg per person. Max 2 cases and 23kg per case.

As the holiday was with Cunard it meant that the carrier was British Airways . The seats are block booked and we where unable to pre book seating. As I have a medical condition, I contacted Cunard and supplied a copy of my GP’s letter.

Cunard responded saying that it was out of their hands! and to contact B.A. which I did immediately. I spoke with Customer Services and a helpful consultant updated the system to allocate seating as per my request once they became available.

We arrived at Manchester airport to find we had to use the new fast check in device which allocates your seat and prints your boarding pass. You then join a queue to drop off your luggage. We managed to operate this and found that we had 4 separate seats in 4 different parts of the cabin. !

I sought out a B.A. rep who was supposed to help, I use the word ’ supposed’ . Her reply to our dilemma was “join the queue the check in staff will sort it” . Rather than sort it out , the check in staff told us there were no window seats together and we ended up with the nightmare situation of 3 in a row and 1 behind. However the cabin crew where top quality and did not mind keeping up plied with drinks and had a good laugh with us.


Arrival in New York’s JFK Airport


I must admit I was not looking forward to this one bit following a previous holiday to the States. We joined a queue that resembled a ride for Disney Land and eventually got to the Immigration booths. A couple to our left made the fatal mistake of walking forwards together, one was sent back like a scolded child then had to shout for his wife to pass him his passport.

Our man indicated for both of us to come forward and I can say that he was a friendly and talkative chap compared to the one to our left.

We passed through with no problems and then joined the customs queue. Same again depending upon which booth you went through depended upon your experience, again ours where courteous & friendly.

Once our cases were collected we headed outside . If you want a trolley make sure you have a US 1 Dollar coin. There were approx 20 people standing around. Some appeared to know what was happening others did not. We were looking for a person with a Cunard sign when we were joined by another 20 or so , it then became a huge mêlée.

A short time later a lady brandishing a Cunard sign appeared and started to count off people for the coach. This nearly started a panic as people from the rear attempted to force through to the front.

About 28 of us were taken to the coach this is to ease the congestion when you arrive at the QM2 terminal . Off we headed through Queens and Brooklyn.

As we approached the Brooklyn dockyard we saw the QM2 for the first time and no amount of photographs prepare you for the full size and beauty of her.





When we got off the coach we identified our luggage and the next time we saw it was in the state room. We travelled through another security check and into the terminal . We joined 1 of 2 queues, at the end of which we produced our tickets, the credit card was swiped and we had our photograph taken . We were given our Cunard ID card and told to carry it at all times as this was not only our room key but was to be shown in bars when ordering drinks and was our identification for embarking and disembarking the ship in the various ports.

What’s the first thing that you don’t want when you’ve been on the go for a day and you have ‘bed hair’ and look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards ! Yes an official photograph ! . Whilst it’s a great idea ,none of us were looking our best. Your photograph is taken besides the ships life buoy .

We walked the gang plank and into the ship. What a breathtaking sight, we were greeted by several crew members ,immaculately dressed wearing white cotton gloves and saying welcome aboard.



I had been memorising the deck plans for weeks and knew where our stateroom was . In fact we had played a game were Pamela had shouted names of bars etc and I had to give directions from the Brittania restaurant. Silly I know but if I got it right I got a glass of wine. !
We where soon at our state room, Deck 4 inside 4178. Two of our cases were already waiting for us and the others turned up in a matter of minutes.


Tipping

On some of the web sites I visited for information on Cunard and the Queen Mary 2 ,I found very mixed responses with regards to the daily tipping charge charged to your on board account.

There had been some bad reviews regarding service , and the Britannia Restaurant in particular had some people ,myself included stating we were considering having this removed as I believe in tipping for what service etc I receive .

Pamela said leave it on and if the service was bad after a couple of days we would speak to the purser and sort it from there.

I am very happy to say we left it on and ended up tipping our 2 waiters and the sommelier something extra for the outstanding service they gave us.

Maria our state room maid was wonderful , the never ending supply of fresh white towels and toiletries were much appreciated. She was well deserving of her tip and more.

We left her a bottle of Lanson champagne and a bouquet of white roses, I bought them for Pam on our wedding day but couldn’t take them home with us. Pam left her some ‘girlie things’ as well.

The compulsory 15% added to all drinks does make you wonder though



State room

We had chosen an inside state room as we felt that spending more on a window/balcony was not worth it and intended to put the money to other uses.



There was a half bottle of Pol Acker waiting for us in a ice bucket . A full bottle of Champagne, bouquet of flowers, box of chocolates and a congratulations card from the Commodore plus a voucher for a complimentary formal photograph was also there as part of our wedding package. We were getting married in St. Thomas.

The State room was more than adequate in size for overall space. We stowed our cases , 4 of them , under the bed with ease.

The bathroom had everything we would expect from a top class hotel suite, Gilchrist & Soames 50ml shower gel, shampoo, conditioner & body lotion. Shower caps, cotton wool balls and Q tips. The only thing not in the room which would have been useful and was only noticed when I required it was a needle and thread.

Our stateroom was in an excellent location, just one floor above the Brittania Restaurant.

The TV in the state room has a large range of functions. Unlike normal televisions this one was able to send & receive e mails , the activation code is the last 4 digits on the reverse of your ships identity card. The ability to order room service, watch a movie, QM2 own TV shows, and a web cam of the outside of the ship were also included which was good because we didn’t have a window, we were able to see what the weather was like via the web cam. We even left it switched on over night so that as it approaches dawn it lights up the room.



A confirmation notice of meal sittings and table number plus our excursion tickets were also waiting for us.

The room has a hair dryer which is fitted to a cradle located in a draw below the television. The cord length is more than adequate for use. We had read that someone had had difficulty with the short cord length so we had taken an extension lead (safety tested ) with us and Pamela had packed her own hairdryer . As she said , we get dressed up every night and an important part ( for the ladies) is our hair. She would recommend taking your own dryer and was glad that she had taken hers . The extension cable also allowed the video camera etc to be charged on the bed and leave the area under the mirror free.

The sockets (UK type) located below the mirror are in a tandem setting, however if you have a charger with a rigid cable you will find it difficult to plug in. I took a plug in extension cube from a DIY shop (cost £1) and it worked fine.

There are no tea or coffee making facilities in the room .You have to order room service .

Room Service

Room service can be ordered in 3 ways. Via the interactive television , by the state room phone or in the same way as a hotel, by filling out a card and placing it on the door handle.

We used this service on the morning of our marriage and not only was the food spot on time but was hot & in vast amounts, mmmmm perhaps that was because Pamela had ordered it and thought our friends may have been joining us !


Britannia Restaurant

This was our main restaurant. We had requested 1st seating for the evening meal ..

This is two tiers with an amazing glass “skylight” some three stories above. No doubt about it , its incredibly impressive. On our first night we approached the Restaurant on the level 3 and spoke to the Maitre D who confirmed our details, and had a waiter dressed very smartly in a crisp white uniform show us to our table which was located on the top level.
I have to say that initially we where disappointed in its location, it appeared to be tucked out of the way, but after a couple of evenings we where glad as there was very little traffic from waiters or passengers and our service was outstanding .



I had read a lot about the Britannia restaurant on various websites with regards to lukewarm food, poor service and overcrowding. We experienced none of this , in fact we had the total opposite. However having had breakfast & lunch on the lower floor I can understand why people says its crowded. On tables for 4 the next table is only approx 10 inches away….great for eves dropping !!



Our waiter for the duration of the voyage was Christian (from Chile) accompanied by Brando and the sommelier was Thimbeka (from South Africa)

Christian gave us advice on certain dishes on the menu including his dish of the day . He was always spot on.

I would like to say that all 3 of these staff members where a credit to their Countries and Cunard and helped to make our holiday magnificent.



Oooops nearly forgot to mention that breakfast & lunch is via deck 3L (lower level) . You are assigned a table upon entry, it is only the evening meal that you keep the same waiter and table location.



Todd English

This was originally offered at no charge to QM2 guests but was apparently so over whelmed with reservations that they now charge a cover fee.. Lunch $15, Dinner $30



It holds roughly 156-seats and has views of the Deck 8 Pool and the sea beyond. During warm weather there is al fresco dining .




I would say that reservations are necessary. On our cruise the receptionist informed me the first 2 days and last 2 days are the busier, and on a Transatlantic crossings its best to book early to avoid disappointment.

We used this restaurant for our wedding evening and noticed it was ¾ full . We had one of the corner booths which was very romantic . The waiter described in detail every item on the menu.

At the end of the meal the staff presented us with a celebration cake, which they immediately offered to place in the state room as there was no way could we have fitted in another morsel. Suffice to say I enjoyed it and made a huge dent in the strawberry gateaux when we retired at Midnight.


Kings Court

At breakfast there are various stations serving up omelettes, quiches, breakfast meats, rolls, croissants, cereal, fresh fruit, crepes, pancakes etc.

At lunch its subdivided into specialty areas which offer Asian/fusion option (“Lotus”), fresh-carved meat (”The Carvery”), Italian fare as well as burgers and chips (“La Piazza”). There is a “Chef’s Galley” where, for a reservation and an extra fee, you could sit on the galley itself and have an interactive dining experience with the galley’s chefs!

For dinner it keeps the lunch time themes but tried to take on a more restaurant type feel with table cloths and table service. Again reservations are recommended but not compulsory.

We visited here only once for a lunch time visit , jus to say we had used it and to give an opinion for this report. In our point of view we found this to be just like a self service fast food type outlet, don’t get me wrong it does its job…food….but we found it to be chaotic and again people lacking in manners!
The waiters are not there to be treated like slaves, queuing means just that !!.

On another occasion I happened to walked through the Kings Court to the outside deck , at that time it smelled strongly of greasy food, this was also commented on at the outside swimming pool decking area as the smell rushed up when doors where opened.

As far as I am aware this only happened on 1 occasion as we sat up on the pool area every afternoon and never noticed it again.


Board walk Café


This is close by the pool on Deck 12. Its also called the “Lido Deck” buffet with Hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, fries and salads served here. It’s always casual and was open for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner , it was even open past mid-night!
As this is an outdoor venue the weather dictated its hours of operation.


Golden Lion

It aims to be an authentic English Pub, and does a fair impression. Initially we thought this wasn’t what we wanted. However to give its due, it was very welcoming and served decent pub type food, fish and chips, curry and rice, to name a few.
The food was served between 12:00 – 15:00 daily.

A number of daily pub type quizzes were organised during the cruise and during the 2 days at sea they where well represented with some questions being slightly loaded to certain countries (or is that because we where unable to answer the questions) !!.

In the afternoon and evenings a pianist played a range of music from classics to jazz. As we are not jazz fans , we visited other areas of the ship at those times

They also had Karaoke on a few times plus a couple of the European Football matches. They erected a large projector type screen for all to see as well as a couple of extra televisions.

Sir Samuel’s:



This was situated opposite the Golden Lion, it’s a quieter coffee / wine type lounge with slightly better surroundings. Various types of coffee and hot chocolate were served here. There was a large wine selection, either by the glass or bottle and lunch time light snacks were available.


Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar




The Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar, was off the Grand Lobby with access via the lobby or chart room. We spent many a night relaxing on the comfy sofas sipping our bubbly in Waterford crystal flutes.
There are around seven different Veuve Clicquot champagnes on offer.



When you order Champagne you get a little bowl of strawberry’s to compliment it.

Its worth noting that you are able to order drinks other than champagne whilst in this bar, the staff take your order and collect it from the chart room bar and bring it to you.


Chart Room

This is next door to the champagne bar and is more spacious .



Its a long narrow lounge with window seats on one side and comfy wall seats and sofas on the opposite, with the bar at one end. Music varied from a harpist who was amazing to a jazz trio , another reason to sit in the champagne bar !!.



Our only complaint was that other than the harpist , the music was too loud. We had to raise our voices in order to have a conversation with each other.


Commodore Club

We thought this was a well kept secret !. I had read about it otherwise I doubt we would have found it. It’s relatively small but its remote location meant it wasn’t as busy as the rest of the main area bars.

It has superb views during the day, but on an evening the blinds have to be drawn to prevent the light blinding the bridge.

Behind the bar is a huge scaled down model of the QM2 with internal lights. In the evening you can see how the QM2 would look to other ships. The atmosphere is quiet and very relaxed and after a large meal some of us nodded off !!!!




G32.

This is a two-level disco , with smoking allowed in the upper level.
To get to G32 you have to go through the Queens room.

The DJ had a wide range of music from rock and roll, rock, modern and the latest releases, much to cover everyone’s tastes really. Most nights there was a live band who did 2 sessions of 30 minutes. The band were called Vibz, a band from St Lucia. They also performed at the daily sail away parties . We enjoyed them immensely



G32 had lots of shiny metal and flashing lights. I overheard some people complaining that it was to noisy and bright !!!! isn’t that what a disco is supposed to be ? We visited there most nights as did a lot of other guests,. It was a good way to burn off of some calories !!.

The name G32, incidentally refers to the vessel’s shipyard hull number prior to being named Queen Mary 2. Well they say you learn something new everyday !


Atlantic Room


This functions as a card room . Its on deck 11 and there is an outdoor observation deck just outside the doors. Its where you’ll find the best outdoor views of the sea ahead – weather permitting!


Churchill’s Cigar Lounge

This lounge was just behind the Commodore Club. Its good for those who want a cigar and a drink. We looked in and that’s about it, as a non smoker we left it for those who do.




Empire Casino

This fills a large portion of Deck 2 on the port side. It had picture window views.

There are lots of Slots, video poker and Blackjack as well as a very convenient Casino Bar.



They had a couple of non smoking evenings in the casino which appeared to be popular.



I had a $10 note (bill) and decided to have a go on the slot machines, I picked an area where no one was either smoking or covering 4-6 machines !. put my money in the feeder and away it went. I had 10 goes ($1 a game). On my 9th go all the lights started to flash and the LCD amount read out went ballistic. I’m not a gambler and simply went to the casino as Pamela was having 40 winks, so this was all new to me.

I decided to press the “give me my money button” and the machine promptly started to pump out Cunard silver dollars, 186 of them !
I cashed in 185, wanting the last one as a keep sake.

This was the first and last visit to the casino on our voyage.


Queens Room

The biggest ballroom and largest dance floor at sea we are told .
This room was used for a number of activities advertised in the ships daily programme which included traditional English High Tea service. Every day white-gloved staff served up tea and scones with whipped or clotted cream, finger sandwiches and delicate pastries.

The atmosphere was quite formal, with an orchestra playing and dancing .



It was also the venue for the Captains Cocktail party whilst we enjoyed this experience it is one that we would miss out on when we return. We found it to be very rushed and on a conveyer belt theme.



I know the Captain / Commodore has a lot of people to meet and greet, but to look you in the eye whilst shaking your hand, rather than looking at the couple who where next might have been better etiquette.

I’m sure for some actually shaking the commodores hand would be one of the high lights of the cruise, and after looking at some of the photographs in the photo area I would be rather scared if I was him !!

The ‘champagne’ that was served, was awful. It was not the same taste as the Pol Acker which we were given in our stateroom. It tasted like Listerine mouthwash with bubbles !. The room was very crowded and any attempt to get a drink from an extremely busy waiter was like getting blood out of a stone. I’m sure some people have a different take on the proceedings, this is simply how we found it.


Buccaneers Ball

This took place in the Queens Room.

Watching pirates ballroom dancing was certainly entertaining. During the course of the evening a number of games were played. One game was a rendition of musical chairs, except remove the chairs and in their place put male pirates. This worked fine until there were 2 females and only 1 male pirate left. A staff member stood at each end to ensure that the remaining females had to walk round them prior to passing the last pirates knee.

Picture the scene, 2 females patrolling around the pirate to music. As they passed him they would slow down , then gather up speed in order to get round the staff member and back to the pirates knee, hoping that the music would end right there.

Now I know what a matador must feel like in Spain !!

When the music finally stopped both females launched themselves at the pirate taking him to the ground in what wouldn’t go a miss in an international rugby game !! One female finally sat on the pirate’s knee with a grin that said “I got the cream” whilst the other female made accusations of being pushed and cheating !!!.

We decided to leave at this point and visit G32 the excitement was just too much.


Black & White Ball

Again, this took place in the Queens Room.
This followed the Captains cocktail party and the majority of people attending did enter into the theme , wearing black and white.


Masquerade Ball

Again big band style evening with plenty of ballroom dancing. Masks where on sale prior to the ball, but those entering into the spirit where very few and far between. We wore masks that had been bought by our friends on a trip to Venice. We stayed for a hour or so but the call of the G32 was too much for us to resist and judging by the amount of people in there , they felt the same .

[img]http://img4011.photobox.co.uk/]


I had an interesting discussion with a few people of various ages with regards to the Queens room. It was an elderly gentleman from New York who said “what are they going to do in 10-15 years time when us oldies are no longer here”. He was referring to the ballroom dancing, and as cruise ships are encouraging a younger audience the generation who do ballroom dancing will be gone. Interesting thought ?!

My wife, who did ballroom dancing in her youth for many years and is very good ,has been trying to teach me the basic dance steps to the more popular dances , Waltz, jive etc but I’m rather self conscious to be honest. I could see that she really wanted to dance but I think the age of the ’ Dance hosts ’ ( average age 70 yrs ) , despite my offering to go and ask them to dance with her put her off.

Note to self…… Learn to dance before the next cruise !!


Royal Court Theatre

With two-levels and many tiers this is a plush theatre . It presented staged theatre performances and musical productions. We had heard mixed reviews from other people during the cruise and unless you are first in for one of the better seating positions, you can find your self in the top tier, not a bad thing for the view ,but without a bar service unlike the ground level.

I did notice a number of disabled seating areas on the top tier at both entrance areas.

We saw a comedian one night and after a slow start ,not him but the audience, it picked up and ended up being an enjoyable experience.


Illuminations

Illuminations is a huge planetarium and seats over 500 people.
Its used for Catholic Mass, films, lectures and presentations.
The only time we used this was when the US Customs boarded for immigration .


Canyon Ranch Spa Club

This is a totally luxurious haven, there are wellness/treatment facilities. These include the rest areas and indoor therapy pool and whirlpool



The Fitness Room facility has cardio and aerobic fitness with stationary bikes, treadmills and step machines (treadmills face forward for terrific views out to sea); resistance machines ; and a selection of free weights with obligatory flat and incline benches




Third, there’s the Canyon Ranch Spa Club Beauty Salon, which is located one deck up on Deck 8, Pamela had her hair in an ‘ updo’ on the morning of our wedding and she cant praise the staff enough.


Image Gallery

The Image Gallery is on Deck 3 . It allows us almost instant access to our photos. They can process your film, print your digital photos and store everything on CD for you. Also a selection of frames, albums and folios are available.

Must admit we bought several photographs from here.




Bookstore

This is adjacent to the library .It sells the books and has a souvenir shop with nautical literature, posters postcards , and collectibles.

The Commodore had a book signing session during the last couple of days of the cruise, he signed books, picture’s etc of the QM2 and took time out to chat to people.

Wonder if any books ended up on eBay ??!!


Shopping

Mayfair Shops


Pamela went into the shops almost daily , and some she came out of with that ‘ When we win the lottery ‘ look especially, H. Stern's, Chopard and Hermés.




Most afternoon and evenings there was a selection of jewellery and other items for sale on stalls in the corridor between the chart room and grand lobby. These were very well attended.





Excursions

The excursion time table is advertised in the ships newspaper which is delivered to your stateroom the night prior to arrival in a port.

You are asked to be at the excursion reception. This could be the Queens Room or any other venue on the ship. You present your tickets for inspection together with your ships ID card. A coloured numbered sticker is then attached to you and you are requested to take a seat near to the number corresponding to your sticker. When your number is called out you simply follow a member of staff with a board to your transport.

Simple but works well.


Tortola

We had signed up for the Dolphin Swim adventure and presented ourselves to the Queens room as instructed. We got our stickers and within minutes we where aboard a tender on our way to Tortola. After a bit of a wait we were escorted to our transport and were nearly mowed down by a couple power walking to get in front of us , no doubt wanted best seats on the bus !

A short but enjoyable journey in an open sided tram type bus took us to the park.

We watched an instructive video showing the hand movements that the dolphins understand , then a team member talked us through what’s going to happen.

Once we were changed into our swimwear we were given a life jacket , placed into groups of 8 and taken to the pool area. Our experience was wonderful , we got to kiss, dance and had a ride on this magnificent creature. There are photographs taken and the whole thing is videoed. You can purchase these afterwards.

Altogether we were in the water for about 45 minutes.

Photograph cost for 6 is $50
The DVD costs $35

I would highly recommend this excursion to anyone.

The bus dropped us off at the dock where we decided that seeing as the sun was over the yardarm we would have a drink. We found a ’Pussers Rum’ establishment and sipped rum punch whilst watching life on Tortola. It was the perfect end to our time there.








St Kitts

The QM2 docked at this port and the entrance to the town was 100m away. We hadn’t booked an excursion so decided to look around the shops. We passed through the harbour security building and out the other side where we saw lots of taxis parked up on the left hand side. The drivers were all touting for business, shouting and offering deals.



While our wives were looking inside a store, a middle aged gentleman asked if he could approach us to talk, he was polite, humerous and clean . He offered to show us around the island in his mini bus taxi, the price being $20 per person, for a 2.5 hr excursion.

We decided to take him up on his offer. It was the best thing we could have done . He took us all round the island, giving us options of different things to do and see, it was our choice where to go. We stopped off at some of the places that the Cunard site offered. Just the 4 of us and no crowds. My opinion is to seek out your own transport and do your own thing..


Barbados

The ship again tied up at the dock . We had a short bus ride to the terminal building and another to the ‘Tiami Catamaran cruise and turtle swim‘. The catamaran was very popular and we thought that there were rather too many people on board for the space to be honest..

There were 5 male crew who were good fun. Following the ’ what happens if we capsize’ drill, we were off out to sea and given life vests, masks and snorkels

The crew served complimentary soft drinks , orange, water. cola etc leaving the alcoholic drinks until we had been snorkelling.

About an hour later at the Turtle swim site the crew fed the turtles small amounts of fish whilst us humans just floated around watching and taking photographs. It was a breathtaking experience having a turtle swim past your mask and its flipper touch you.



Once back on board and a short journey later we ’docked’ at a beach for more snorkelling .



Lunch on the boat consisted of hot cooked chicken , fish and macaroni cheese with delicious salads , bread and dressings ,not to mention the copious quantities of alcohol and the crews own cocktail ‘ the salamander’ !!! scrummy and a must for anyone that likes Malibu

We had another 30 minute swim at the beach , this time without the snorkel etc as the crew had put rightly them all away following the serving of alcoholic drinks.



On the trip back there was singing, dancing to Caribbean music and general merriment. We were so lucky to have such a wonderful crew who kept us entertained throughout the whole time. If you do this trip , and we would highly recommend it , don’t forget to take a tip for the crew who work extremely hard.



On the return bus ride to the ship there was a gentleman who had obviously ‘enjoyed himself ‘ with rather too much drink and sun, He was in fine voice singing about every nationality ,Canadian, British, Irish and Scottish, other than his own , the USA.

He was last seen being frogmarched into an expensive jewellery store by his wife !!.


St Lucia

We didn’t have an excursion booked here, we just went into the Queens Room and collected our tender ticket. We waited about 5 minutes for the call and off we went.




There are some duty free shops on the dock side , however we had been told about ’Point Seraphim’ which was across the bay . Its a larger air conditioned duty free shopping area, whilst the shops are similar to those on the dock side ,these are bigger and in altogether nicer surroundings with cafes and bars . It took us about 15 minutes to walk there and got the water taxi back which cost $2 per person.

Had we realised that this was available we would have got it rather than walk.


St Thomas

St. Thomas had been chosen as our wedding island due to the fact that it’s part of the U.S.A. and therefore we didn’t need to be resident for a period of time prior to the date itself. We could simply come off the ship and get married. We always wanted to get married on a beach and combining it with this wonderful voyage seemed the perfect answer.

I had found www.Islandweddingservices.com after a Google search on ’Weddings in St. Thomas’. It showed 3 or 4 sites that were available . I emailed all of them . Michelle the owner of the above site excelled in her speed , friendly, professional and was extremely helpful in her response emails to my many questions.


Pamela has placed a small report with pictures for this on the site.


Manhattan Highlights Tour

We had initially booked this excursion with Cunard as our flight wasn’t till 6pm . However after visiting a website were it had been mentioned that Cunard are obligated to look after you until they drop you at the airport. I contacted them, who confirmed this fact , so I removed the excursion from our list.

On our second night at sea the excursion ticket for the Manhattan Highlights Tour arrived , free of charge . Another thing which is worth remembering as the trip would have cost $99 each .

Our tour guide was very informative and funny , she told us the various places we could visit . The choice of the group was to see Manhattan , we stopped for 30 minutes at ‘ground zero’ and had a hour for lunch at Grand Central Station .






She ensured that we got to the airport at 3pm . It was a very enjoyable and moving day . The visit to ground zero and St.Paul’s Chapel was very emotional.

We are glad we did the tour but would have not been happy to find that we had paid $198 for the two of us when we could have got it free , which is what a couple had done, they didn’t realize it was actually included in the holiday price.



Sailing back to New York

During the journey back to New York as a result of a tornado off Atlanta and a depression of the east side of America we got caught up in some strong sea swell. We where sat in the Golden Lion watching the waves which actually reached the height of the windows !
The Commodore stated that the swells where approx 6-8 meters high.

We were told that had we been on a smaller ship we would have been bobbing about and struggling . Not to mention the many ‘green gilled’ passengers.

We went to the G32 that evening , dancing was fun, one minute we were dancing on one spot then the next we would be staggering over to the right, then back he left due to the ships movement. Who needs alcohol??!!


Some decor of the ship



One of the walkways between the lobby and lobby, total of 6 bronze walls depicting 6 continents, the USA on has a 2" figure of Homer Simpson watching tv.








Manners

This has to be our biggest complaint. Some people felt the needed to be ignorant to other guests and staff. A simple yes please or even thank you wouldn’t have gone a miss.

I saw one gentleman step aside to let a female passenger into the lift before him, only to be pushed aside himself by another male who wanted to get in.

Why , when queuing up for the coaches do some people think it is beyond them to queue like everyone else and decide to go straight to the front?

At the indoor pavillion pool there were towels laid out on loungers with personal effects like books etc on top. They were left unattended for 2 hours or more . The loungers are few and far between as it is . Why do some people feel the need to ‘ own’ one of these when they clearly are not using them??!! This is something I would expect on a package holiday.

“Manners make eth the man” we are told !!

Reminds me of that saying “There nowt as queer as folk”



Disembarkation

On the evening prior to disembarkation, we were requested to have any cases outside our stateroom by 12 midnight, with the colour coded stateroom labels attached.

On the morning of disembarkation we had to vacate our stateroom by 08:30 and make our way to the venue corresponding to the colour coded labels.

Our labels where ‘Brown 3’ and we were to wait in the Queens Room. The room was bulging at the seams with passengers all waiting for their colour to be called, extra seating had to be provided.

At 09:50 we got the call to leave the ship . We said our goodbyes to the bars , restaurants and casino etc. as we passed by. We handed in our ships ID card and walked off into the terminal.

Organised chaos greeted us !

The terminal had a number of banners advertising different colours, pink, blue etc and this is where your cases are supposed to be. We had to ask where Brown 3 was as there wasn’t a banner advertising it. We were pointed in the general direction of the centre of the terminal and found our cases together with Brown 1 and 2.

The area was totally chaotic with hundreds of people attempting to locate their luggage. There were some porters available but they were in high demand.

This was the only part of the Cunard experience where we felt let down. I’m sure it could have been better arranged. I now understand why some people self disembark with their own cases !!.


JFK Airport


This is a small terminal and again British Airways insist you use the fast drop machines I’m still unsure why they call them this when nearly 200 people are queuing to use them.

We eventually managed to imput our details and surprise surprise we again had 4 separate seats, mirror image to the out bound flight.

We approached a BA lady who I have to say was a credit to the American side of BA. After explaining our predicament she immediately took over the check in machine and within 5 minutes she had arranged it so that we had 2 sets of 2 seats with a window.

Why couldn’t this service have been replicated at Manchester!!!!

The cabin crew on the way home needed an humour injection. We appreciate it was the second flight of the day for them, but surely a smile rather than a scowl would have given a better impression.

When they brought the drinks trolley round I asked for 2 Gin and +Tonics. My god you would have thought I had asked for the crown jewels. I was only allowed one but was told I could have another one later. What am I , 5 years old !!?? Shocked

Quick one on the food hall in JFK, the food costs are on the menu, the drinks are not, 8 drinks approx $80 Shocked

Overall Opinion.

Would I go on a cruise again. Yes 100% without a doubt.

We have booked and Eastbound Transatlantic on the QM2 again in May this year.

Due to the fact that we have been so well looked after , spoiled in fact that we would probably only use Cunard.

Pamela said about the ship that it reminded her of the film ‘Titanic’ . Not for the sinking part ! but for the elegant ‘step back in time‘ glamour, dressing up in the evening and the overall sophistication of the Queen Mary 2 has us totally converted to Cunard.

Sorry if you have found this to long but we wanted to tell everyone just what a fantastic time we had.


Here are some links......

Britannia Dinner Menus......
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604348457393/

10th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604344840895/

11th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604340139910/

12th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604344738961/

13th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604340335778/

14th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604344997121/

15th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604345039721/

16th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604345133391/

17th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604340625170/

18th March Daily Programme
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604340690718/

Disembarkation information / excursions & other stuff
http://www.flickr.com/photos/11358592@N05/sets/72157604342766236/



some photographs of the QM2 & holiday

http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/7935230

http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/7925575



edited to place photo links


Last edited by Steve from Durham on Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:51 pm; edited 4 times in total
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:37 pm Reply with quote
Mark Jones
Joined: 14 Jun 2005
Posts: 3552
Great report Steve, a real eye opener to me, someone who has never been thrilled at the idea of a cruise.

Have to admit, you have dispelled a lot perceptions I had. It sounds brilliant.

Really glad you both had a great wedding day, it sounded perfect.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:55 pm Reply with quote
niccol
Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 135
phew..........been waiting for that and it was very good. Glad you had such a fabulous time and many congratulations. I have only polished off one glass of vino!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:46 pm Reply with quote
Pea
Joined: 01 Nov 2007
Posts: 370
Location: Sligo, Ireland
Great report!!

I went on a cruise a number of years ago but the Queen Mary 2 makes that ship look like a ferry!

Love the photo taken at the Masqerade Ball.

Paula

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:44 am Reply with quote
Mark
Joined: 30 Dec 2004
Posts: 1212
Location: Midsomer Norton
Excellent report Steve. I loved the photo of the QM2 where it looks as if it is parked at the end of the road!

I really must do some work now!
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:02 am Reply with quote
Steve from Durham
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Location: Lancashire.
Mark wrote:
Excellent report Steve. I loved the photo of the QM2 where it looks as if it is parked at the end of the road!

I really must do some work now!



You are more or less correct, this was the dock in St Kitts and the photograph was taken approx 50 yards from the ship.


steve
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:18 am Reply with quote
lindags
Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 1287
Location: Merseyside
Wow you would be a wonderful writer for holiday brochures - really informative and a great insight - well done cheers. We intended to go on a cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary and a programme on TV put me off and that's when we came across Meeru but I'll certainly reconsider cruising now.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:10 pm Reply with quote
helenpea
Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 1133
Location: Cleveland
Fantastic report and great to get such a comprehensive insight into such a fabulous ship. Sounds like you had a fantastic time, very envious as hubby has never fancied a cruise...yet Laughing Helen

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Stw1955
Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 185
Location: Ayrshire
Really great report and smashing photos. You really should think about taking this up professionally. Alison and I went on our first cruise last year, unfortunately we caught a norovirus on board which floored us for the last two days and 2/3 weeks after. Would need to consider carefully another.

Stewart Very Happy

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:29 pm Reply with quote
Steve from Durham
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Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 6095
Location: Lancashire.
Glad you like reading it as mch as we enjoyed the cruise, i am in the process of putting some photos into some form of folder and should have it sorted in the next few days....

Even that TOOL ......meeruKENfushi...... enjoyed it Laughing.... hope he likes the next one about the Transatlantic crossing as much


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:51 am Reply with quote
AlisonD
Joined: 19 Feb 2007
Posts: 708
Location: Kent
Great report Steve, looks and sounds fantastic - pics are fab, thanks for sharing it with us.

Alison

p.s. will look forward to the QM2 forum Wink Wink Very Happy Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:14 am Reply with quote
surfinsandie
Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1016
WOW...hats off to you Steve, a truly fantastic report salut Thanks for taking the time to provide such a fantastic trip report. Brilliant pictures and so detailed. So delighted for you and Pamela that it was such an incredible holiday and not to mention the beautiful wedding.

Huge congratulations to you and Pamela, here's to many happy years together.

Sandie x

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:15 am Reply with quote
surfinsandie
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.....p.s. have Walter and Piko forgiven you for leaving them Wink

Sandie x

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:27 pm Reply with quote
Elaine
Joined: 18 Apr 2007
Posts: 459
Location: somewhere nice in Kent
Fantastic report steve, I started reading this afternoon but had to break away due to other pressing duties.. Like the run i needed to do... Back now fromt the pub with a wine in hand...... Really enjoyed your report and fab photo's very infomative to say the least.

We have always fancied a cruise and very nearly booked one instead of meeru last year. Mitch's parents only do cruises and just got back from their second world cruise last month with p&O (in fact they were on the one that never got further than the isle of Whight a few years ago!!) very higly compensated though paid for the next one and some over!!!

Really seriously considering this prospect now....

Sounds like you had an amazing time....hope its not the end of your meeru visits in the future...?

Looking forward to seeing more piccies soon.

Elaine

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:25 am Reply with quote
cazzy
Joined: 21 Feb 2007
Posts: 303
Hi Steve

Brilliant report and photos Will has always fancied a cruise but i haven't this report has made me want to give it a try now so thank you!!

Cazzy Very Happy
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Queen Mary 2 Caribbean Connoisseurs Cruise. 10-20th March 08 
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