Newbie cruiser - questions on QM2 (restaurants & entertainment)


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#1
Fort Worth, TX (via Melbourne, Australia)
54 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
First time cruiser - doing a TA New York to Hamburg this August, and I have some questions about the various restaurants on the ship, and about the dress code...

What are the Golden Lion hours? Do they serve dinner, or just lunch? Are there any charges to eat here?

I have the same questions about Sir Samuel's.

Most of the dinner options in the Britannia restaurant that I've seen online look too "frou frou" for my husband. Can he order just a regular steak or do you have to be in one of the Grills to order something which is not on a menu?

I understand the dress code ship-wide after 6pm (& I'm looking forward to the opportunity to dress up!) If I attend a movie at 5:00pm, am I expected to be dressed up for that (since the movie will end after 6:00pm)?
#2
UK
4,309 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
The Golden Lion is open 11.00am to late. Lunch is served 12.00pm to 2.30pm. The meal is free but you have to pay for drinks.

I've only used Sir Samuels in mornings for coffee which you have to pay for. The pastries used to be free but since Godiva took over, they charge $4.95 for a slice of chocolate cake. You should be able to get pastries now at the Carinthia Lounge.

No, you wouldn't have to dress for the evening for a 5pm film.
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#3
East Lancashire
2,743 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
You can order steak, chicken or salmon every night with potatoes and steamed veg. Or there is also Kings Court, but why pay for a cruise and eat in a self service motorway cafe.
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#4
Iowa
1,646 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Just to expand upon the previous excellent replies...

There is no dinner served in the Golden Lion. Only the Pub Lunch. Last time I was on an eastbound crossing as yours will be, the hours for the Pub Lunch were 11:30am to 2:30pm to account for the clock being moved ahead at noon for the time changes.

Sir Samuel's is basically specialty teas and coffees along with Godiva chocolate treats (including ice cream specialties). Items in Sir Samuel's are charged based on a la carte pricing. The hours I have for Sir Samuel's are 9:00am to 11:00pm. There is no lunch or dinner per se in Sir Samuel's.

Regards, John
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#5
San Francisco, CA
1,422 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
A few more dining notes
  • You'll notice a huge rush for tables when the Golden Lion begins serving lunch at noon. If you wait until 1:00 - 1:30, there will be tables opening up quite regularly for fast access and more than enough time remaining for service.
  • You obviously know your husband's palette better than me, but many of the main courses in Britannia are quite simple. You and he may be surprised.
  • As Ray66 mentions, the Carinthia Lounge now serves complimentary light snacks. We found it a handy lunch option on a couple of afternoons on our round-trip crossing last year. Also, by moving it upstairs from Sir Samuels, it's now conveniently located next to King's Court for more options (handy for beverages, and once, while my husband had a couple of items from the Carinthia counter, I brought a burger back from KC)
  • Also, the superb afternoon tea can be filling. ....well it is when you have two of everything So, you may find grabbing something light suits you better than a full lunch on those days.
  • Don't forget the Alternative Dining options in the evening at King's Court. See the Maitre d' at the King's Court (or the "guy at the podium" during lunch) to see the menus (American Classics, Asian, Italian, and another I'm forgetting)
  • It may be me, but since the off-menu items are not listed, I prefer to express my dismay at the choices to the waiter and let him make the suggestion for "something else" - and thereafter, preface requests with "the other evening you said...." As opposed to coming in and making demands for something that isn't technically offered on the menu.
  • We don't commonly use it, but past messages here have indicated that if you have a reasonable request for breakfast room service that is not indicated with a checkbox, you can write it in.
(I'd also recommend being a generous tipper if there are multiple special requests)
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#6
Kansas City
520 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by Lanky Lad
You can order steak, chicken or salmon every night with potatoes and steamed veg. Or there is also Kings Court, but why pay for a cruise and eat in a self service motorway cafe.
You can also have a Caesar salad every night if the menu salads don't appeal to you.
#7
Pennsylvania
6,275 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Shrimp cocktail is always available in Britannia as well. In contrast with other lines these "always available" options aren't mentioned anywhere; you just have to know.

PS: You can also write in a bagel with smoked salmon (lox) & cream cheese (& onions & capers) on your breakfast room service card. We haven't tried being more creative than that. Contrast with e.g., HAL who offers special items on the card but charge for some.

Cafe Carinthia also has (free) small food plates at breakfast & lunch. We ate lunch there often over Christmas rather than Britannia or Kings Court.
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#8
Leeds UK
3,794 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Originally posted by onehappystudio
First time cruiser - doing a TA New York to Hamburg this August, and I have some questions about the various restaurants on the ship, and about the dress code...



What are the Golden Lion hours? Do they serve dinner, or just lunch? Are there any charges to eat here?



I have the same questions about Sir Samuel's.



Most of the dinner options in the Britannia restaurant that I've seen online look too "frou frou" for my husband. Can he order just a regular steak or do you have to be in one of the Grills to order something which is not on a menu?



I understand the dress code ship-wide after 6pm (& I'm looking forward to the opportunity to dress up!) If I attend a movie at 5:00pm, am I expected to be dressed up for that (since the movie will end after 6:00pm)?


Are you sailing 3rd August? If so we’re on the same sailing but only back to Southampton. Been on lots of cruises but 1st time with Cunard. Looking forward to formal being formal and smart casual being smart casual. Also looking forward to dancing on a proper dance floor. Most cruise ships have dance floors as big as postage stamps!


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Paul



Upcoming cruises:
Cunard QM2: New York to Southampton 03.08.2018 (just had to do it)
RCI Jewel of the Seas: Italy & Greece 27.09.2018 (Cruising with friends)
Celebrity Edge: Eastern Caribbean 10.02.2019.(couldn't resist a peak at the new addition )

Cruises behind us: Celebrity Millenium: SE Asia December 2017. Celebrity Solstice: Alaska, June 2017 (cruising with the Martini Mates, ❤️)
Celebrity Eclipse: Southern Caribbean. January 2017.
Celebrity Constellation: Athens, Israel. October 2016
Celebrity Constellation: Italy, Croatia. June 2016
Celebrity Eclipse: Spain, Portugal & Canaries. October 2015
Celebrity Infinity: Westbound Panama Canal. November 2014
Celebrity Eclipse: Baltics. June 2013
RCI Voyager of the Seas: Caribbean (New Orleans). February 2012
RCI Splendour of the Seas: Eastern Med. August 2001
Thomson Sapphire: Western Med. August 1995
#9
Fort Worth, TX (via Melbourne, Australia)
54 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Originally posted by LF2C
Are you sailing 3rd August?

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Yes, we are sailing on 3rd August, from New York to Hamburg. Neither of us have been a cruise before (never had the urge to do a cruise, but doing a TA crossing on Cunard has been on my bucketlist since I was a child - it's the second-to-last bucketlist item to be checked off!)
#10
Leeds UK
3,794 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Originally posted by onehappystudio
Yes, we are sailing on 3rd August, from New York to Hamburg. Neither of us have been a cruise before (never had the urge to do a cruise, but doing a TA crossing on Cunard has been on my bucketlist since I was a child - it's the second-to-last bucketlist item to be checked off!)


You have to bear in mind that a TA on the QM2 isn’t like a normal cruise, where you have lots of port days


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Paul



Upcoming cruises:
Cunard QM2: New York to Southampton 03.08.2018 (just had to do it)
RCI Jewel of the Seas: Italy & Greece 27.09.2018 (Cruising with friends)
Celebrity Edge: Eastern Caribbean 10.02.2019.(couldn't resist a peak at the new addition )

Cruises behind us: Celebrity Millenium: SE Asia December 2017. Celebrity Solstice: Alaska, June 2017 (cruising with the Martini Mates, ❤️)
Celebrity Eclipse: Southern Caribbean. January 2017.
Celebrity Constellation: Athens, Israel. October 2016
Celebrity Constellation: Italy, Croatia. June 2016
Celebrity Eclipse: Spain, Portugal & Canaries. October 2015
Celebrity Infinity: Westbound Panama Canal. November 2014
Celebrity Eclipse: Baltics. June 2013
RCI Voyager of the Seas: Caribbean (New Orleans). February 2012
RCI Splendour of the Seas: Eastern Med. August 2001
Thomson Sapphire: Western Med. August 1995
#11
Fort Worth, TX (via Melbourne, Australia)
54 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Originally posted by LF2C
You have to bear in mind that a TA on the QM2 isn’t like a normal cruise, where you have lots of port days
That's what's always appealed to me - my life is too busy, too rushed, and I'm too connected. I want 9 nights where there is nothing to do but relax. A regular vacation ends up not being relaxing for me.

We plan on bringing some of our favorite games on board. That, together with some books to read, will be bliss. We'll be celebrating our 30th anniversary on board (well, our anniversary is on the last day - we have booked the Park Hyatt in Hamburg for our anniversary night - our wedding night was spent at another Park Hyatt...)
#12
Kansas City
520 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by onehappystudio
We plan on bringing some of our favorite games on board. That, together with some books to read, will be bliss.
With the QM2's 8,000 volume library, you should have no trouble finding a good book to read. However, be sure to bring along a high-lighter pen for marking the ship's Daily Programme which will be delivered to your stateroom the night before. There may be several lectures or activities that you may find you would like to attend (even if you think you won't now). It's part of the QM2 experience that you shouldn't miss. We frequently find ourselves regreting that we have to decide between more than one lecture or activity that we would like to attend, but are unfortunately scheduled at the very same time.
#13
Fort Worth, TX (via Melbourne, Australia)
54 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Originally posted by BobBranst
be sure to bring along a high-lighter pen for marking the ship's Daily Programme which will be delivered to your stateroom the night before.
Thanks for the suggestion! I will definitely do that!
#14
San Francisco, CA
1,422 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Be forewarned - you may not open your books. After a few crossings with well-traveled but unread books, I've left them at home.

A couple more first time tips:
  1. The Planetarium shows are worthwhile (if for no other reason than a nice little nap after lunch ) However if, one morning, you forget to pick up a ticket for a showing that afternoon, just let a staff member know when they open the doors. Inevitably quite a few people grab tickets and don't show. You should have no problem getting in.
  2. There's an unpublicized behind-the-scenes tour of the anchor area, engine control room, bridge, galley and backstage areas. It takes three hours and costs about $160 per person (you get some souvenirs). It's fascinating and we found it worthwhile. Once. Mechanical engineering geeky types will especially enjoy it.
    Sign up is at the excursions desk when they open the first morning (9:00?) It's first-come-first-serve and always sells out, so plan on one of you getting in line down there an hour early. (You can reserve 2 places for about eight? slots - some slots also go to the concierge lounge for Grill passengers)
- Mark
#15
Fort Worth, TX (via Melbourne, Australia)
54 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Originally posted by MarkBearSF
Be forewarned - you may not open your books. After a few crossings with well-traveled but unread books, I've left them at home.

A couple more first time tips:
  1. The Planetarium shows are worthwhile (if for no other reason than a nice little nap after lunch ) However if, one morning, you forget to pick up a ticket for a showing that afternoon, just let a staff member know when they open the doors. Inevitably quite a few people grab tickets and don't show. You should have no problem getting in.
  2. There's an unpublicized behind-the-scenes tour of the anchor area, engine control room, bridge, galley and backstage areas. It takes three hours and costs about $160 per person (you get some souvenirs). It's fascinating and we found it worthwhile. Once. Mechanical engineering geeky types will especially enjoy it.
    Sign up is at the excursions desk when they open the first morning (9:00?) It's first-come-first-serve and always sells out, so plan on one of you getting in line down there an hour early. (You can reserve 2 places for about eight? slots - some slots also go to the concierge lounge for Grill passengers)
- Mark
Thanks for the tips, Mark!
#16
Ottawa Ontario
32 Posts
Joined Aug 2016
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
#17
Pennsylvania
6,275 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by Reuben's 3rd
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).
We've bought LED tealights at the dollar store (2 for a dollar) and put one at the foot of the bed (and just leave the bathroom light on & the door closed). DW can find the bathroom via the light leaking under the door and can get back to bed via the tealight on the floor.
One light lasts a week or so (switched off during the day) and the dollar store sells replacement coin batteries for the same 2/$1.
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Past:
Queen Mary 2: 8 cruises
Queen Victoria: 2 cruises

ms Amsterdam: 1 cruise
ms Eurodam: 1 cruise
Caribbean Princess: 1 cruise
Carnival Pride: 1 cruise
#18
Fort Worth, TX (via Melbourne, Australia)
54 Posts
Joined Feb 2018
Karen:

Thank you so much for that comprehensive list! I really appreciate the thought that you put into writing it! It will help immensely!

You're right - I'm asking these questions because I don't want to be unprepared before I go, or second guessing myself
#20
101 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
Last May my wife and I took our first ever cruise and chose to do a TA on the QM2. The trip exceeded all of our exceptions. Like you, we had a lot of questions and got incredible help on this Board. Shortly after the cruise I posted a thread entitled, Lessons Learned by a Newbie in which we identified:
What we did right
What we did wrong
What we did right that turned out to be wrong
What we did wrong that we did right
If you care to read the post I hope that you might find it helpful.
Have a great trip.