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Reuben's 3rd

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  1. I also sought advice on this thorny issue. You may find the following site as helpful as I did: “An Insider's Guide to Cruise Tipping” http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=132 . It is an opinion piece (that is, NOT Cruise Critic's suggestion) on the Cruise Critic site. It gives reasoning for “who”, “how”, “when” and “how much” over and above the daily levy, and I have found it a useful guide. 


  2. As has been said before, the weather on the North Atlantic can change on a dime.  On QM2 crossings, I have roasted in April and been chilly in late August.  For on deck, you need to have layers available.  I take a waterproof jacket, a sweater, and just in case, a beret.  The decks can sometimes be wet, so you will not want slippery footwear.  For inside, I wear chinos/jeans and a blouse.  My husband wears chinos and a shirt.  

    Have a wonderful time!

     


  3. Dear Lovetotraveltx:

    What you have described sounds perfect (nice cocktail dress for gala nights, nice trousers/dressy shirt other nights).  Having agonized over this for my first QM2 trip, and having now completed 9, I came up with what I think is a simple test, one that works for both women and men.  Here goes:

     

    Gala Evenings:  Imagine that you are standing talking to two gentlemen.  One is in full tuxedo, the other is wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie.  Given what you are wearing, would a passerby assume that the three of you are about to attend the same function?

     

    Non Gala Evenings:  Same scenario, except one gentleman is wearing a regular business suit with a tie.  The other is wearing a blazer, dress trousers, shirt, no tie.  Would you be assumed to be heading to the same function?

     

    This, of course is just aimed at those who just want to fit in.  My first trip, this little test would have made my wardrobe decisions much easier.  Adjectives are so subjective (is my "dressy"  someone elses's "Let's go to the movies"?).  A word to the wise however; like most large spaces, sometimes it is too warm, sometimes a bit cool.  I always pack a pretty (unclear adjective, again!) wrap.  You don't have to put it on, but you certainly are glad of it when needed! 

     

    Mostly, relax and enjoy!  I have always found the QM2 a delight. 

     


  4. Blue Marble, once again thanks!  Your "bookprincess.com" link works for me, and it actually listed 4 of the 5 speakers on our Apr 28 to May 5 crossing (It missed Dr Robert Thirsk, in my opinion, the best of a very strong field).  What a relief after Cunard, with a significant degree of irritation, had insisted to me that we would only have 2 speakers for our 7 day crossing!

    By the way, Cunard now assures me that they are still working on their website!


  5. Just an (irritated) update; yesterday, I once again tried to find out who the speakers were.  I once again tried Cunard's "contact Cunard" number.  A very pleasant young man, Lou, gave me the two names which appeared months ago.  When I insisted that there must be more for a 7 day transatlantic, he checked with his supervisor, who confirmed that there were only two.  Having been reassured on board last year, when I made this booking, that the lectures were staying, I protested.  The young man tried to transfer me to customer relations; after 23 minutes on hold, I was disconnected.  To his credit, Lou called me back, apologized, and asked if I wanted to try customer relations again, but there really didn't seem to be much point.

    I then tried to use the "contact Cunard" email provided.  I chose "Complaint" , entered my issue, and attempted to send it off.  It insisted that I choose a type of complaint from their dropdown menu; the menu was blank! I chose the blank; it would not accept my email!

    In this or the other similar post, Blue Marble,  Roscoe 39 and MCC Retired have tried to provide links, but the first two's states "the attached is not available..." and MCC's leads to the speakers for 2016-17.

    I cannot believe that this is anything but misinformation.  I shall be one unhappy camper if I board the QM2 on Apr 28 and there are only two speakers!  We love the program, and plan our days around the schedule.  QM2; love the ship and her staff, wonder how the Corporate powers that be manage to tie their shoelaces.

    Oh, I still haven't had a response to my January query to Cunard. 


  6. Thank you, Blue Marble.  I emailed Cunard two weeks ago to find out where this info was.  So far, not even an acknowledgement of my email, much less an answer.  I phoned last week, and got an ever so sympathetic young woman on the phone.  She gave me the two names shown on your list for my Apr 28 QM2.  I find it hard to believe that with slightly less than 3 months to go, they have only confirmed 2 speakers for a 7 day transatlantic.  It's a good thing that the service on the ship is infinitely better than Cunard's apparent corporate abilities!  The ship is delightful, and for us, one of the primary delights is the lectures. 


  7. Having done QM2's 1st trip to Saguenay, (Quebec City to New York), I can tell you that Quebec City, Saguenay and Halifax are all comfortably docked.  Saguenay built the dock specificly to accomodate QM2 and our welcome was fantastic.  We booked 2nd seating and were glad that we did.  She left at about 5:00 pm.  We stood on the deck as long as there was light.  The trip down the Saguenay River to rejoin the St Lawrence was breathtaking.


  8. Since I had the same question on my first TA, it is a perfectly reasonable question! No, you don't have to wear them to dinner. I have never seen one at dinner, and at least outside of the ballroom, the were few and far between after dinner. I carted masks from home and, as two rather shy people, never put them on.


  9. Dear jomf:

    In 7 QM2 trips (including 5 TA's), we have only encountered one truly miserable soul. She practically lived on the QM2, and complained, sneered and tut tutted her way through breakfast. Sounds as if you have also encountered her. As my husband says, "I only have to deal with her for a short time. She has to live that way!". You were much kinder than me. I am afraid that I would have laughed.


  10. Thank you, Roland 787. I am probably only one step removed from a Ludite, but I found your postings both eminently readable and comprehendable. I rather wish that you had interrupted the overheard Cunard people, to provide your insight. Old fogies like my husband and I (early Boomers) find Cunard's internet service frustrating and will grumble but frequently tolerate this, but we are beginning to be out of the travel market. Cunard needs to replace us, and most younger people just will not tolerate such poor ability to communicate.

     

    Karen


  11. Onehappycruiser, I'm with you. We oncedid an inexpensive, port intense Carribean cruise with friends. Wehad a good time, we were with our friends, but I did not care for theship nor the constant on and off. The QM2, however, was on our bucketlist, because my father left Northern Ireland for Canada by himselfas an indentured 14 year old farm worker, travelling steerage on aCunard ship. He never saw his parents again. We did Princess classon the QM2 in 2013, because I thought that he would have been soproud to have his daughter make the same trip that he did, but up ontop! We enjoyed it, but found the dining room a bit stilted (couldhave just been this crossing). Later that year, Cunard offered us acrossing for $900 Cdn each, Britannia class, and we were hooked! Wehad access to everything that we enjoyed, the lectures, the theatre,the concerts, the planatarium, the Promenade deck, plus we found thatwe enjoyed sharing a table with others, rather than being byourselves. Food is very subjective, but we preferred Britannia. Ihave a dodgy knee, so having a walk in shower rather than a tub wasvery welcome. We have now done 5 crossings and two cruises on QM2,and find that we enjoy the crossings the most. The cruises wereinfinitely better than our Carribean experience, but we are crossers. Nothing handles what the ocean doles out like the QM2.


  12. Hello, Onehappystudio. Inperusing the various threads, I have noted your posts with interest. I too was a newbie 5 years ago (I am now an enthusistic Crosser,preparing for #6). A Cunard transatlantic was also on my bucketlist, and it marked our 40th anniversary. I believe that,as was the case for me, you want to be prepared, to enjoy yourself,and to fit in. With that in mind, I drew up the following:

     

     


    1. Getting from where you are to your cabin after 6:00 pm but before you have a chance to change. As many have told you, it is not a problem. I have never seen it happen, but if someone did throw a hissy fit, that would be their problem, not yours.
       
    2. Dress. You will have noted the heated exchanges and divergent opinions on this topic. I came up with this little test for myself. It is not meant to tell anyone what to do, rather it is meant to give a bit of ease to those who just want to fit in and not feel like a sore thumb. I think that it works for both women and men.
       
      Formal: Imagine that you are chatting to two gentlemen, one in a traditional conservative tuxedo/dinner suit, the other in a dark suit and tie. Would a passerby assume that you were all going to the same event?
       
      Informal: Imagine that you are chatting to two gentlemen, one in a suit and tie, one in a jacket, dress shirt and dress trousers. Would a passerby assume that you are going to the same event?
       
    3. Gala Evenings. Just because a Formal evening has a theme, you don't have to follow it. I carted masks from home for a Masked Ball and we never wore them. I wore a subdued green on the night of the Black and White, and I didn't hear a single gasp! If you want to participate, by all means, enjoy yourself! It is an opportunity, not an obligation.

     


    1. Check-in on Embarkation. A disproportionate number of people are there as embarkation opens. Some have been assigned or allowed that time, some having arrived from flights or whatever have nowhere else to go, some are just anxious to be underway. That first hour can be chaotic. After that however, it generally quiets down. Personally, my two departures from Brooklyn were much easier than my three from Southampton. None were especially bothersome. On our first from Brooklyn, we were scheduled for 3:00 pm, showed up at 1:30, and just breezed aboard. So, you can go early, but I would avoid that first hour.
       
    2. Seasickness. The QM2 is amazingly stable. She was designed to handle the unpredictible North Atlantic; that is part of what makes her so special. That being said, the lower you are and the closer to the centre, the less motion you will percieve. We prefer deck 5 midships-aft. We have encountered converging storms (Force 10) and one hurricane, to no ill effect. I always take seasickness pills, but have never needed to use them.
       
    3. Useful things that you may wish that you had brought with you.
       
      As one wise correspondent noted already, take a highlighter. You will receive a two page list of events daily; the highlighter lets you make the ones that interest you standout.
       
      Take some small magnets. You will receive notices and invitations. The magnets allow you to post the ones you want where you can see them (the core of the walls is metal).
       
      Take some means of providing gentle light in the bathroom if you might visit in the night. First, I took a conventional nightlight. I quickly learned that, with the (very bright) bathroom light out, there was no power in the bathroom. I now take a flashlight with a pull out end that provides a gentle diffuse light (from Eddie Bauers).
       
      Take a sweater, a waterproof jacket, and perhaps a down vest. This combo allows you to layer as needed and still go for a walk on deck comfortably. The North Atlantic is very changable.
       
    4. The behind the scenes tour. Another writer has already recommended this to you and I heartily second that suggestion. You have said that you do not like having to line up, but this is so good! It does take a lot of climbing stairs, up and down, and sensible covered toe footware is a must, but we enjoyed it thoroughly.
       
    5. The first morning's newbies tour. I swallowed my pride and took it. Its a big ship and a guided tour really helped me.
       
    6. Which seating for dinner. We enjoy dinner in the Main Dining Room, and have done both 6:00 pm and 8:30. On the two eastbounds that we did however, the five hours that you loose over the trip occured one hour at a time near midday. One pm became two pm, 5 days out of 7. While this did allow you a full nights sleep, come 6:00 pm my body thought that it was 5:00 and was not ready for dinner. The 8:30 seating was more comfortable. If peckish beforehand, (that presumes that you haven't done afternoon tea) you can always grab a snack in the Kings Court, or better yet, a sherry and nibbles in the lovely Carinthia Lounge. (note, on a westbound, you gain an hour of sleep 5 nights out of 7).

     

    I hope that this is of use to you. Cunard is of course, not perfect, but we enjoy it. And theAtlantic.....oh, the Atlantic is captivating, mesmerizing, and alwayschanging. Bon Voyage!

     

     

    Karen


  13. Thank you, Bell Boy; I shall just pop a few of these small pre-cut cylinders in my case, maybe even in Martin's shoes! The pulls have become more of a problem as my hands become more arthritic. They were clearly chosen for appearance without sufficient thought to functionality.

    And Ray 66, our last two trips were on decks 8 and 6, which had these deceptive instuments of torture. They are about 2-3 inches square, and you can see them on Cunards site (at least that is so here, in Canada). The old pulls, shown by you, were perfectly functional. I could open them with my pinky!

    Thank you both,

    Karen


  14. We love the Transatlantic on the QM2, and look forward to our 6th this May. That being said, nothing is perfect, and one of the niggling imperfections is the sharp, square, uncomfortable and purchase defying drawer pulls installed during the refit, at least in Britannia class. We have encountered these twice, and have the palm indents to prove it! Could someone who is or was recently onboard tell me if Cunard has corrected this yet?

     

    If not, I may have stumbled upon a fix. We recently had a new hot water tank installed, and the plumber popped insulation over the exposed pipes. It is charcoal grey dense foam, shaped like an open tube, easily cut into 2-3 inch pieces, and could be placed over those uncomfortable pulls, then easily popped off at the end of the trip (don't removed the tape covering the sticky ends). It costs about $1 a foot, in plumbing supplies.

     

    I am hoping that Cunard has fixed this, but if not, I am prepared to explain to Customs why I am bringing plumbing supplies to the QM2!


  15. Dear Onehappystudio;

    Welcome to your first Transatlantic! May 10 will be our sixth, and despite the original poster's unhappy experience, we have always found that the vast majority of people in the MDR seem to have fun with the opportunity to get dressed up. Assuming that you are not talking movie stars red carpet "who is she wearing" sort of gear for the informal nights, you will not be out of place wearing a long dress. Likewise, on informal nights you would be perfectly at home in dressy trousers and a pretty top. Just enjoy yourself!

     

    Karen


  16. This May 10 will be our 6th QM2 crossing, our 3rd at this time of year. Weather on the North Atlantic can change on a dime. I take a waterproof jacket, a down vest, a beret and a sweater so that I can layer as necessary to go outside for a turn on the lovely Promenade. For dinner, it is wise to carry a wrap, just in case, especially if you will be without sleeves.

    I hope that you enjoy your crossing.

    Karen


  17. As has been said, the power in the bathroom is off unless the very bright bathroom light is on. We bought a flashlight in Eddie Bauer that has a pull out end which provides a very diffuse light. We leave it in one of the wire soap holders and just turn that on and off for nighttime visits. That of course presupposes that we can find the bathroom. Perhaps the tea light outside?


  18. Whirled Peas, thank you, thank you, thank you! We too have had our fair share of complications, but it is the sense of occasion and the warmth of the staff that have us looking forward to our 8th voyage this coming May! Highlights; there are many, generally small warm moments (like the server from my father's home in Northern Ireland) and our delight in the lectures (we have attended nearly all that we could, with most very interesting, a few excellent, and only one boring and one infuriating) but if I had to identify only one time, it would be on our first crossing in 2013. We did the behind the scenes tour, ending with Captain Oprey. When he asked for questions and comments, I told him that, as first timers, we had of course done a lot of online research, and I was struck by the number of people, having been on the QM2 during Hurricane Sandy, who commented on how well she handled. His eyes lit up. Unknown to me, he had been the Captain. He regaled us with what happened and how well she behaved. He was clearly proud of "his" ship. It was a pleasure to see someone so well suited to his job. After that, when I knew Captain Oprey was in charge, I was especially at ease.


  19. Last October, we did the Quebec City to New York segment. Cunard did offer a New York City tour, dropping people off at airports for late flights. If memory serves, they only offered this once we were onboard, and I had never noticed it before. It may well have been a one off, and 6:00 pm may be too early for their view of "late flights". We did not take it, having heard horror stories of delays in getting to LaGuardia, but if I were interested, I would check with Cunard.


  20. Dear Threeoverthree

     

    I too sought advice on this thorny issue. You may find the following site as helpful as I did: “An Insider's Guide to Cruise Tipping” http://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=132 . It is an opinion piece (that is, NOT Cruise Critic's suggestion) on the Cruise Critic site. It gives reasoning for “who”, “how”, “when” and “how much” over and above the daily levy, and I have found it a useful guide. As it suggests, I leave the automatic levy in place. I do make variations; I would expect to leave the chambermaid $5 a night in a reasonable hotel, so I set aside the same for the cabin steward. We tend to eat all meals in the Britannia Dining Room, so we set aside $5 per person per evening. All of course, assumes reasonable service. I counted out what we would expect to pay at home (Canadians tend to pay wait staff minimum wage). Breakfast, lunch and dinner, to say nothing of Afternoon Tea, would far exceed the daily rate of $11.50 Britannia, $13.50 Grills.

     

    To weigh in on the pros and cons expressed in discussion:

     

    In an ideal world, everyone would be paid a reasonable wage and tipping would be a thing of the past. I know that being in a position to take the QM2 makes me a very fortunate person, so, until that ideal world comes to be, I will continue to anticipate the cost of these tips in my planning.

     

    Reuben's 3rd


  21. My husband enjoys wearing his tux; he says it is his most comfortable suit. I certainly would not be offended to have your husband at our table, wearing a jacket and tie and dress trousers. What you described for you is perfectly fine (so long as we look dressy, women have far more options then men). We once had someone at our table in a white tux with sparkly stuff all over it, rather reminded me of a pearly king. THAT was offensive, (but then, so was he) and no one asked him to leave! Please, enjoy every bit of the crossing that appeals to you; it is a wonderful experience.

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