Newbie to Cunard, specifically QM2, all suggestions welcome


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#21
London
28 Posts
Joined May 2016
Kynance is spot on re: the library. When I did the crossing last year, it was nice to grab a coffee from Kings Court at breakfast time and retire to the tranquility of the library, where it was nearly always possible to find a comfortable seat with a wonderful view of whatever was ahead of the ship.

And, unless you will be travelling in one of the Grill suites, I would recommend that you take your own baggage off the ship at Brooklyn to avoid a lot of hanging around for disembarkation and then lengthy taxi queues on the forecourt of the terminal. Having said that, I know that people with mobility issues are given priority regardless of the type of accommodation occupied.
#22
140 Posts
Joined Apr 2018
As your arrival day in Hamburg is a sunday, the harbour ferries won't run and you will need a transfer to the nearest S-Bahn station Veddel. Buses run about every half hour, price is €2.50 p.p. and you will need to book ahead: https://www.hansetix.de/en/cruisegate

Veddel is just a regular S-Bahn station from which you will get to the Hauptbahnhof. Close to Veddel is also the Emigrants Museum (Auswanderermuseum) which is the german counterpart of Ellis Island (though not as big or as spectacular). Its premises are the former emigrant's quarters.
--
The 'back of the house tour', as they call it, will not be available on a three night journey. In 2017 they charged $120 for a three hour tour. This is pretty a exclusive event, mainly because many parts of it are done by senior officers (Captain, Deputy, Chief), also you get a glass of paint stripper (i.e. champagne) and an afternoon tea at the Britannia Restaurant.
They don't advertise this tour anymore,they un it once per crossing for about 12 guests.
#23
Manchester, UK
10,670 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by Shuffleboard Dude
As your arrival day in Hamburg is a sunday, the harbour ferries won't run and you will need a transfer to the nearest S-Bahn station Veddel. Buses run about every half hour, price is €2.50 p.p. and you will need to book ahead: https://www.hansetix.de/en/cruisegate

Veddel is just a regular S-Bahn station from which you will get to the Hauptbahnhof. Close to Veddel is also the Emigrants Museum (Auswanderermuseum) which is the german counterpart of Ellis Island (though not as big or as spectacular). Its premises are the former emigrant's quarters.
--
The 'back of the house tour', as they call it, will not be available on a three night journey. In 2017 they charged $120 for a three hour tour. This is pretty a exclusive event, mainly because many parts of it are done by senior officers (Captain, Deputy, Chief), also you get a glass of paint stripper (i.e. champagne) and an afternoon tea at the Britannia Restaurant.
They don't advertise this tour anymore,they un it once per crossing for about 12 guests.
Many thanks for the information regarding the transfer from the steinwerder terminal. Most helpful.
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#24
Manchester, UK
10,670 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Taking into consideration it would appear QM2 will dock in Hamburg at the Steinwerder terminal at 07:00, how are Cunard on letting you disembark a little later, say by 10:00?

The reason I ask is that we are staying on in Hamburg and so don't need to be away early, especially as check in for the hotel won't be until later.
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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK
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#25
Manchester, UK
10,670 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Just wanted to say thanks for all your feedback and we've just returned from our short trip.

Never made it to afternoon tea due to so many things to do on such a short sailing.

We did get tickets for the Planetarium in Illuminations (they did 3 sessions on the sea day).

As for disembarkation, although Cunard head office said we'd be able to leave the ship around 9:30 for our booked 10:00 bus shuttle, we were allocated a 10:15 departure time as we were on deck 6. As a result we signed up for self disembarkation, so we could leave at our preferred time. Worked out OK as we could easily manage our bags ourselves.

As it happened, it was a breeze when we left around 8:30 (used the elevators on stairway A as our cabin was near there) and walked to deck 3. Staff were advising those who had been allocated an early departure time, that no bags had yet been delivered to the terminal and so disembarkation was delayed. Therefore, we breezed through, no immigration (which surprised me seeing the UK isn't in the Schengen Agreement.

So we were in the terminal a good hour before our booked bus, so we grabbed a cab before the hordes descended and was at our hotel by 9:15 easily and only cost €27.

We enjoyed the promenade deck, the Commodore Club and the Chart Room.

The snacks in the Carinthia Lounge we welcome mid afternoon when we couldn't make afternoon tea in the Queens Room.
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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK
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#26
New Jersey
325 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Originally posted by Twigalina
Kynance is spot on re: the library. When I did the crossing last year, it was nice to grab a coffee from Kings Court at breakfast time and retire to the tranquility of the library, where it was nearly always possible to find a comfortable seat with a wonderful view of whatever was ahead of the ship.
Some people on the boards say the coffee in the Kings Court is terrible. Is it that bad. Is it worth bringing my own drip coffee?
#27
Manchester, UK
10,670 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by LB_NJ
Some people on the boards say the coffee in the Kings Court is terrible. Is it that bad. Is it worth bringing my own drip coffee?
It wasn't good at all I'm afraid, that's why we spent a lot on coffee in the Carinthia Lounge.
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Peteukmcr from Manchester, UK
https://highseasescapades.co.uk




#28
Brooksville FL
4,049 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by LB_NJ
Some people on the boards say the coffee in the Kings Court is terrible. Is it that bad. Is it worth bringing my own drip coffee?


Just as in food reviews , personal tastes .
We find Kings Court coffee just fine .
I run up there to fill our thermal mugs first thing in the morning .
We also purchase a Coffee Card for capachino @ Sir Samual’s .
#29
Tampa
1,035 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Hi Ponstead, You now have company on this cruise. Lets meet in the roll call!
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#30
Dallas
89 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
dogs, dogs, dogs (and cats too). Be sure and go up to Deck 12 and check out the dogs in the kennel area. You can't go inside the kennel area,
but inquisitive dogs often come to the gate for a sniff and a pat on the head.
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Mark & Clay

Queen Mary 2 05/2017
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#31
109 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Originally posted by MarkBearSF
(1) Don't miss lunch (free) in the Golden Lion Pub. However, there's usually a rush right at the start. Stop by 60-90 minutes after service starts and you should get seated easily. (Coming from the UK, the novelty factor is likely less for you, but I'm told that their version of fish & chips with mushy peas, cottage pie, chicken tikka-masala, and plowman's lunch is done well.)

(2) Also for lunch, or an odd snack, check out the Carpathia Lounge. It also worked out well one day when my husband found things to his liking, but I went next door to the Kings Court to grab something from there. It's also a nice way to pick up a small lunch on the days you're planning on afternoon tea, later.

(3) The planetarium is fun activity. If you miss on the complementary free tickets available from the desk at Connexions (I usually ran down for the two of us after we placed our breakfast order in Britannia) - just show up for a showing a few minutes beforehand and introduce yourself to the entertainment staff member managing the door. Inevitably, many more people will grab tickets and be no-shows.

(4) The Behind the Scenes tour is excellent. It's a three hour tour of the operating parts of the ship (the room with the spools of lines and anchors was unexpectedly fascinating). No engine room but the engineering nerds geek out in the engine control room (guess what, the engines run on Windows XP), the galley (with snacks), the backstage area of the theatre, and the bridge with a chat with the captain. It's not cheap (last year it was $160, I think) but it's worthwhile once, and numbers are severely limited. It's not publicized, but you can sign up at the Concierge Lounge, if you're in the grills or line up at the Excursions office (I recommend lining up 45-60 minutes beforehand)

(5) If dining in Britannia, be aware that there are other options which your waiter can get upon request, but are not listed in the menu. Your waiter will have the latest info, but traditionally, steak, chicken breast, salmon, caesar salad and shrimp starter were available.

I've heard different comments on where to sign up for the behind the scenes tour. Pursers desk on boarding or excursion desk the first sea morning. Where did you get your tickets? Thanks!
#32
140 Posts
Joined Apr 2018
The Back of the House Tour tickets are sold at the Excursion Desk. I recommend to do some overnight camping in front of it.

Seriously: Do check back with the Purser's Desk if this is different on TA runs and be there when the Excursion Desk opens in the morning.

The tour is $120 p.p. but you will get a glass of Champagne (not just the cheap paint stripper) and your photo taken with the Captain. The MDR kitchen also gave us a nice black apron, but I don't know if this is still the case.
Also, you can annoy the Captain, his Deputy, the Chief and a the rest of the top brass with stupid passenger questions. A truly priceless opportunity.
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#33
4,269 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by CynthiaRI
I've heard different comments on where to sign up for the behind the scenes tour. Pursers desk on boarding or excursion desk the first sea morning. Where did you get your tickets? Thanks!
Excursions desk, first sea day. I got there at 8 (desk opened at 9) and was first in line, by 8:30 there were about 25 people behind me.

You fill out a form and get a letter a few days later if you were selected. Not every9ne can get in as it’s slot controlled but they did two tours on our trip (much to the staff’s chagrin).

I’ll be honest - the tour was inferior to what HAL offers on its larger ships.
#34
4,269 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by Shuffleboard Dude
The Back of the House Tour tickets are sold at the Excursion Desk. I recommend to do some overnight camping in front of it.

Seriously: Do check back with the Purser's Desk if this is different on TA runs and be there when the Excursion Desk opens in the morning.

The tour is $120 p.p. but you will get a glass of Champagne (not just the cheap paint stripper) and your photo taken with the Captain. The MDR kitchen also gave us a nice black apron, but I don't know if this is still the case.
Also, you can annoy the Captain, his Deputy, the Chief and a the rest of the top brass with stupid passenger questions. A truly priceless opportunity.
Did this tour on May 14 and got the apron. Had six photos taken and the only one we received back was a VERY blurry one from the theater stage. I was displeased age told the purser but nothing happened.
#35
140 Posts
Joined Apr 2018
Originally posted by sppunk
Excursions desk, first sea day. I got there at 8 (desk opened at 9) and was first in line, by 8:30 there were about 25 people behind me.

You fill out a form and get a letter a few days later if you were selected. Not every9ne can get in as it’s slot controlled but they did two tours on our trip (much to the staff’s chagrin).

I’ll be honest - the tour was inferior to what HAL offers on its larger ships.
Interesting, I nearly did the overnight camping (at least it felt like it) and turned up at 8:15. I was a lonely man until 9:00. Nobody else (in numbers: 0) turned up to make a reservation for the tour even at this time.
Did you queue when the tour was still advertised in the Daily Programme?

IMHO, they charge you exactly the expenses you cause in employees wages, drinks and souvenirs. Extra security staff and a photographer will accompany you on the entire tour, which lasts 3-4 hrs. Think of it as an excursion within the ship, not as a freebie.
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There are two kinds of contemporary passenger vessels: The Queen Mary 2 and shoeboxes.
#36
4,269 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by Shuffleboard Dude
Interesting, I nearly did the overnight camping (at least it felt like it) and turned up at 8:15. I was a lonely man until 9:00. Nobody else (in numbers: 0) turned up to make a reservation for the tour even at this time.
Did you queue when the tour was still advertised in the Daily Programme?

IMHO, they charge you exactly the expenses you cause in employees wages, drinks and souvenirs. Extra security staff and a photographer will accompany you on the entire tour, which lasts 3-4 hrs. Think of it as an excursion within the ship, not as a freebie.
I never saw it in the programme actually, I posted a link here to ours in my recent review thread.
#37
109 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Originally posted by Shuffleboard Dude
Interesting, I nearly did the overnight camping (at least it felt like it) and turned up at 8:15. I was a lonely man until 9:00. Nobody else (in numbers: 0) turned up to make a reservation for the tour even at this time.
Did you queue when the tour was still advertised in the Daily Programme?

IMHO, they charge you exactly the expenses you cause in employees wages, drinks and souvenirs. Extra security staff and a photographer will accompany you on the entire tour, which lasts 3-4 hrs. Think of it as an excursion within the ship, not as a freebie.

Thanks! I keep hearing 8 at excursion desk on first sea day. So, knowing myself, I'll bring a book, do 7:30 and wait patiently and happily, especially if I'm the first person in line!

New question that just occurred to me. We have 3 rooms for 7 people. (Yes, we WILL be bringing children aboard the QM2! ) My husband and I are in different rooms. Do you think he'll need to be there or can I reserve for both of us, since we'll have different rooms. We are all booked under the same account. Thanks again! I'm making myself crazy about this tour! :-
#38
San Francisco, CA
1,598 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
My experience last year was like the first replier. (I went down at 8 and found 1 other person, by 8:30, the number in line filled the tour. The previous year, I went down at 8:30 and it was too late.)

I recall that each person could reserve up to 2 slots. I just asked my husband if he was addressed by name or had to check in specifically. I don't remember having tickets or putting both of our names on the list - although I very well may have. However, I'd be astonished if she would need to accompany you and I'm certain that the excursions office would be able to accommodate your situation - I'd assume that is the case and mention it when you sign up.
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#39
109 Posts
Joined Oct 2017
Originally posted by MarkBearSF
My experience last year was like the first replier. (I went down at 8 and found 1 other person, by 8:30, the number in line filled the tour. The previous year, I went down at 8:30 and it was too late.)

I recall that each person could reserve up to 2 slots. I just asked my husband if he was addressed by name or had to check in specifically. I don't remember having tickets or putting both of our names on the list - although I very well may have. However, I'd be astonished if she would need to accompany you and I'm certain that the excursions office would be able to accommodate your situation - I'd assume that is the case and mention it when you sign up.
Thanks!!
#40
Petal, MS USA
5,838 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by MarkBearSF
(1) Don't miss lunch (free) in the Golden Lion Pub. However, there's usually a rush right at the start. Stop by 60-90 minutes after service starts and you should get seated easily. (Coming from the UK, the novelty factor is likely less for you, but I'm told that their version of fish & chips with mushy peas, cottage pie, chicken tikka-masala, and plowman's lunch is done well.)

(2) Also for lunch, or an odd snack, check out the Carpathia Lounge. It also worked out well one day when my husband found things to his liking, but I went next door to the Kings Court to grab something from there. It's also a nice way to pick up a small lunch on the days you're planning on afternoon tea, later.

(3) The planetarium is fun activity. If you miss on the complementary free tickets available from the desk at Connexions (I usually ran down for the two of us after we placed our breakfast order in Britannia) - just show up for a showing a few minutes beforehand and introduce yourself to the entertainment staff member managing the door. Inevitably, many more people will grab tickets and be no-shows.

(4) The Behind the Scenes tour is excellent. It's a three hour tour of the operating parts of the ship (the room with the spools of lines and anchors was unexpectedly fascinating). No engine room but the engineering nerds geek out in the engine control room (guess what, the engines run on Windows XP), the galley (with snacks), the backstage area of the theatre, and the bridge with a chat with the captain. It's not cheap (last year it was $160, I think) but it's worthwhile once, and numbers are severely limited. It's not publicized, but you can sign up at the Concierge Lounge, if you're in the grills or line up at the Excursions office (I recommend lining up 45-60 minutes beforehand)

(5) If dining in Britannia, be aware that there are other options which your waiter can get upon request, but are not listed in the menu. Your waiter will have the latest info, but traditionally, steak, chicken breast, salmon, caesar salad and shrimp starter were available.
thanks ! you are most helpful
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