Lessons Learned by a Newbie


Unregistered, just back from your Cunard cruise? Get published on Cruise Critic; Write a Review!
Cunard Line

Read hundreds of Cunard Cruise Reviews from cruisers like you.

See posts about:
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 08:37 PM.
#1
80 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
My wife and I just completed the May 8th – 15thEast to West Crossing on the QM2. It was an amazing time. I thought it might be useful to share some of our experiencesand thoughts from this trip, especially for those who might be taking theirfirst ever cruise or their first ever voyage on the QM2. This was our firstever voyage on any cruise ship. We spent two years planning the trip incelebration of our 40th wedding anniversary.

WHAT WE DID RIGHT
Chose the QM2 – While we’ve never been on any other ship,the QM2 was exactly what we were looking for at this point in our lives andexactly the environment we wanted to celebrate this special occasion. The QM2felt brand new. The ship, its crew and the onboard experiences offered exceededall of our expectations.
Cruise Critic Cunard Board – We spent the last two years reading postsand asking questions on the Cunard Board. It’s probably impossible not to havea great time on a QM2 voyage but the insights and advise we received from thosewho generously post on Cruise Critic allowed us to make the very most out ofour time on the ship. We were able to avoid a lot of rookie mistakes.
Britannia Club – This was our hardest decision but for us itturned out to be the right decision. Having no set dining time made ourafternoon activities a lot more relaxing. The Britannia Club dining also had anadditional page of dishes that were available every night if the dailyBritannia menu failed to excite. I ate off of this page twice and also on two occasions I added the seared scallopsfrom the Club menu to the fish of the day on the Britannia menu. Club levelalso guarantees an unobstructed balcony view. Our room, 12022, was an excellentlocation. There are other minor benefits to Britannia Club. Because of a salegoing on at the time of our booking, it cost us about $800 more to be in theClub level, well worth it to us.
East to West Crossing - Without that extra night's sleep on five of the nights we never would have made it. AN East to West crossing is 10 hours longer than the reverse course. That's an extra half day on this wonderful ship.
Cunard Coach – Staying in London at the Victoria DoubleTree by Hilton and taking Cunard bus to Southampton made for a relaxing way toget to Southampton. The hotel is two blocks (4-minute walk) from the busstation. Once there the service took control of our bags all the way to ourstate room. We also felt that if there was heavy traffic or a breakdown, theQM2 might grant us a little extra time before departing because we were using aCunard service. We probably could have saved a little money arranging our owntransportation but again, we were looking for a stress free holiday.
Port Side – Booking a room on port (sunny) side of ship is a must, especiallywith an early May crossing. We were fortunate to have had nice weather all buttwo days and really enjoyed our balcony. A glass of wine on the balcony beforedinner became a regular part of our routine.
Bring Wine – We brought 4 bottles of wine on board. We bought them at a winestore one block from the Double Tree in London. This saved us roughly $150. Wedrank the wine on our balcony and while sitting in the deck chairs on the PromenadeDeck.
Table for 6 – We were lucky to have great tablemates. There was a couple fromAustralia, a single from London and a British single now living in Phoenix.With 6 people it was easy to carry on a table conversation and avoid awkward silencesthat might occur with a table of 4.
Canyon Ranch Spa – We saved generally about 40% takingadvantage of the daily specials from the Canyon Ranch Spa. For example, my wifehad an 80-minute full body massage including hot stones for the Friday dailyspecial price of $149. The normal cost was $280.

WHAT WE DID WRONG
Bag Size – Because we were traveling through Spain the week before departingon the QM2, we choose to travel with 4 carry-on bags that we didn’t have tocheck with the airlines. Our fear was thatthe airlines might lose our bags and all of our evening/formal wear. Draggingthese four bags around and finding places for them in the overhead storage binswas a pain in the butt. Next time we will just pack two large bags and take ourchances with the airlines.

WHAT WE DID RIGHT THAT WAS WRONG
Power Strip – We brought along a power strip to give us extra 110V outlets onthe ship. Not necessary, there were 4 110V outlets in our cabin. More thanenough.

WHAT WE DID WRONG THAT WAS RIGHT
Changing Tables – Somehow we misunderstood and thought thatour Britannia Club table was only assigned to us for dinner. So each morning ataround 9:15AM we would mosey into the Britannia restaurant and ask the maitred' for a table for two by a window and each morning that is what we got.Because we are not morning people, a table for two worked out perfectly for us.
Dress Code – The hot tubs on the Deck 8 Terrace (Stern) is a great place torelax. However, getting there can be a challenge. Cunard dress code says thatone should wear proper clothes over your bathing suit to and from the pool. Ifneeded there are changing rooms at the pools. However, we chose to only whereour bath robes over our swim suits. This was a lot easier and avoided dampclothes on the trip back to the cabin. We would then take the hallway on Deck11 (we were on Deck 12 which does not run the length of the ship) all the wayback to the D Elevators and drop down to Deck 7 as there is no direct access toDeck 8 Terrace from Deck 8 except through the Verandah Restaurant. On the portside of the ship near elevator bank D Deck 7 is a hidden stairway that leads upto Deck 8 Terrace.

AVOID THE CUE
I once had a boss tell me that what was wrong with me was that Ididn't like doing reports. To which I replied, "it gets worse, I don'tlike standing in lines either."
Here is how to take the Q out of the QM2.
Afternoon tea and the Planetarium – Wait till mid-cruise to startgoing.
Lunch in the Golden Lion - Wait till 2'ish for lunch (try London Pridebeer)
Breakfast in either the Britannia or King's Court - Get there after9:10AM
Doing laps on the Promenade Deck - Noon till 1:30PM it is relativelyempty
Evening Shows in the Royal Court Theater - Get there at 8:15PM.Upper level right side first row. Enjoy the relaxing room and have a drink fromtheir bar service.
Laundry Room – Noon


THINGS THAT SURPRISED US
The crew works very very hard and represents more than 50 countries.They are very bright, well informed and genuinely friendly. They take greatpride in their work and were a huge part in making our crossing so special.

The ship is alive with music from noon on.

A lot of the passengers are great dancers. If you are not, still getout on the dance floor. We only had one couple criticize us. In their defense, we (actually me) are really bad.

The Royal Theater singers are extremely talented.

Despite the endless bashing on CC, we loved the complimentary bottleof Prosecco.

SUGGESTIONS
Have an assigned direction for passengers doing laps on the PromenadeDeck. About 95% went counter-clockwise but for some reason there were always afew going the opposite direction and making it difficult for the rest.

There was no Irish music. Maybe offer that in the Golden Lion after10:00PM


The hot tubs on Deck 8 Terrace (stern) are not hot, in fact they arejust warm. This is a great spot to relax and watch the world ocean goby.


We will always treasure our crossing on the QM2. It was everything we had imagined and more. A special thanks to Miss Victoria Kiss. We look forward to our next adventure on this great ship.


Harold Green
aka Jack Dawson
#2
Canberra, Australia
46 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Thanks Jack for a great review. All points noted, especially the laundry as we will be travelling pre and post cruise so I am sure I will be there on the first day!

You have made me really, really look forward to our cruise (QEII) but still have to wait 7 months.

So happy you had a great holiday to celebrate such an important milestone in your life.
#3
New Jersey
9,037 Posts
Joined May 2007
Thank for the review. You did a lot right for a first timer. So are you hooked on ocean voyages now?

One question. You mentioned prosecco. Did you get prosecco or Pol Acker?
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Kathy
The THIRD generation in my family to sail on a Cunarder
28 QE2 - including 2 Midnight Sun, 2 Panama Canal, 6 TAs, 4 Canada/New England, and various Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe itineraries
11 QM2 - 7 TAs, Caribbean, Royal Circumnavigation of Australia, Canada
1 Caronia - Baltic
11 HAL -Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Alaska
1 Princess
2 RCCL
5 NCL - including 2 on SS Norway (RIP)
1 Uniworld River Cruise (Tulips and Windmills)
1 American Cruise Line - Queen of the West, Columbia & Snake Rivers
#5
At Sea
5,307 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Jack E Dawson,

Excellent report, thank you for taking the time to post, and for bringing back memories of my first crossing on QM2 .

With best wishes for your next time on board!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Pepper........... (Cunard & QM2; "It is not the only way to cross, but it is the only way to cross")
QM2 - QE - QV - QE2 - interiors. QM2 cabin photos & ship tour. Crossings & Cruises - photographs here . . .
http://www.flickr.com/photos/pepperrn/sets/
...over 3.5 million visits, thank you.
Sailed: QM2, QE, QV, QE2. Booked: QE, ...
#6
UK
1,997 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Well thought out review. Excellent for newbies (and not bad for those of us who have a few crossings under our belts!).

Glad you enjoyed it. Are you hooked on cruising yet
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Past Cruises:
2017Eastbound T/A - Cunard. 2016 Westbound T/A - Cunard: Bahamas & Florida - NCL: 2015 Eastbound T/A - Cunard: 2014 Westbound T/A - Cunard: Norway/Iceland - P&O: 2013 Canary Islands - NCL: 2011 Eastbound T/A - Cunard: 2011 Southern T/A - Celebrity: 2011 Australasia - Princess: 2009 Australia/New Zealand - Royal Caribbean: 2005 Norway - Louis Line: 2004 Alaska - Celebrity: 2000 Eastern Caribbean - Royal Caribbean
#7
Vale of Glamorgan
3,633 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Great post, thank you so much for reporting back.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Email - [email protected]

Please include your Cruise Critic user name and be patient, I do not have full time access to this mailbox and I am in a different time zone to many of you !
#9
80 Posts
Joined Jun 2016
Dear 3rdGenCunarder
I had to go back and look at the pictures we took and sure enough, it was Pol Acker that was left in our stateroom. We thought it was very good and really appreciated such a nice gift.
There is NO DOUBT that we will take more cruises (2019???). Hopefully we can get some of our friends to come with us as well. At this point we will probably stay on Cunard but will continue to use the real-world posting Cruise Critic for insight and guidance.

Harold
#10
New Jersey
9,037 Posts
Joined May 2007
Originally posted by Jack E Dawson
Dear 3rdGenCunarder
I had to go back and look at the pictures we took and sure enough, it was Pol Acker that was left in our stateroom. We thought it was very good and really appreciated such a nice gift.
There is NO DOUBT that we will take more cruises (2019???). Hopefully we can get some of our friends to come with us as well. At this point we will probably stay on Cunard but will continue to use the real-world posting Cruise Critic for insight and guidance.

Harold
Oh well, I had hoped they'd gone for something more to my liking.

Many years ago, friends wanted to cruise for their anniversary and asked us to sail with them because we were experienced cruisers. We got them hooked, and enjoyed many cruises with them. So, yes, share the addiction!!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Kathy
The THIRD generation in my family to sail on a Cunarder
28 QE2 - including 2 Midnight Sun, 2 Panama Canal, 6 TAs, 4 Canada/New England, and various Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe itineraries
11 QM2 - 7 TAs, Caribbean, Royal Circumnavigation of Australia, Canada
1 Caronia - Baltic
11 HAL -Bermuda, Canada, Caribbean, Alaska
1 Princess
2 RCCL
5 NCL - including 2 on SS Norway (RIP)
1 Uniworld River Cruise (Tulips and Windmills)
1 American Cruise Line - Queen of the West, Columbia & Snake Rivers
#11
Franklin, MA USA
7,551 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Thank you. Very helpful review for us newbies.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
X Century3,7~Mercury5~Summit15~Silhouette16 PCL~Caribbean6,9,10~Ruby8~Grand12~Royal17
RCI~Splendor4~Explorer7,9,10~Brilliance13~Allure16~Anthem16,17~Grandeur17 HAL~Zuiderdam4~Veendam16 NCL~Sun6~Spirit8~Dawn11~Jewel12~Gem12,17~Breakaway14 MSC~Poesia14~Divina14 Cunard~QM217
CCL~Liberty5~Miracle11~Glory13
#12
Honolulu, Hawaii
1,985 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
What a delight to read such a detailed and positive review. Thanks for taking the time to do it. I'm sure you will be back to enjoy more Cunard voyages.
#14
4,433 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Thank you for taking the time to post your review. Even those of us who are experienced Cunard cruisers could learn tidbits from post.

Ricki
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature








#15
Cheshire
240 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Originally posted by Trinnyessex
Thanks for a very informative review . We are sailing 4/8 to New York and this will be our first time .
Hope you enjoy it. We will be on the same crossing. We did an Eastbound TA in 2015 and were back on Mary for the cruise to the Caribbean for Christmas and New Year 2015. We love the ship.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Forums mobile app
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
#16
New York City
7,525 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Thank you for your detailed review Harold. It was a pleasure to visualize this beautiful ship that we are about to embark on again for the first time in 8 years.

Jonathan

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-T337A using Forums mobile app
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature











Liberty of the Seas Review - 8/22/15
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2253857

Live from the Explorer of the Seas - 2/16/14
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1990840

Live from the Noordam Transatlantic - 4/5/08
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=749667

2017 - QM2 - Anthem of the Seas - 2016 - Regal Princess -
2016 - RCCL Anthem of the Seas - 2015 RCCL Liberty of the Seas
2014 - RCCL Quantum of the Seas - 2014 RCCL Explorer of the Seas
2011 - Cunard - Queen Elizabeth - 2010 Celebrity Summit
2009 - Cunard QM2 - 2008 - HAL Eurodam - 2008 HAL Noordam
2007 - HAL Noordam - 2006 - Cunard QM2 - 2006 Cunard QM2
2005 - Cunard QM2 - 2004 Cunard QM2 - 2003 - Cunard QE2
1979 - Royal Viking Line - 1976 - Mississippi Queen - 1974 HAL Rotterdam
1973 - SS France - 1972 - Cunard QE2- 1971 - Cunard QE2 -
1970 - Cunard Franconia - 1969 - Leonard Da Vinci



Royal Carribean Cruise Line - Platinum
Cunard Line - Platinum
#17
Hampshire, England
1,576 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Liked your style Jack.

My only revise would have been the timing in the laundrette.

I've always thought around 6.15 pm for normal or 15 minutes before the opening time for an emergency.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
Dancing above the Waves.



Diving below them.

#18
Austin TX
936 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
Originally posted by Jack E Dawson
Dress Code – The hot tubs on the Deck 8 Terrace (Stern) is a great place torelax. However, getting there can be a challenge. Cunard dress code says thatone should wear proper clothes over your bathing suit to and from the pool. Ifneeded there are changing rooms at the pools. However, we chose to only whereour bath robes over our swim suits. This was a lot easier and avoided dampclothes on the trip back to the cabin. We would then take the hallway on Deck11 (we were on Deck 12 which does not run the length of the ship) all the wayback to the D Elevators and drop down to Deck 7 as there is no direct access toDeck 8 Terrace from Deck 8 except through the Verandah Restaurant. On the portside of the ship near elevator bank D Deck 7 is a hidden stairway that leads upto Deck 8 Terrace.
So glad you addressed this issue. Does the same idea apply when going to the gym? Wear regular clothes and change in the dressing rooms?

Your brilliant review is perfect for a newbie like me!
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
BabsinTX/Barbara & Bill

Looking forward to:
1/7/18--Regal Princess--7-Day Eastern Caribbean
1/17/18--NCL Dawn--Southern Caribbean B2B with 1/28/18--NCL Dawn--Western Caribbean

4/27/18--Ruby Princess--One-Night Vancouver to Seattle
10/8/18--NCL Gem--Canada & New England
10/27/18--NCL Breakaway--15-Night Repo NYC to New Orleans
6/15/19--Viking Orion--Alaska and the Inside Passage
7/6/19--Golden Princess--Voyage of the Glaciers (Southbound)--gets us to Elite!
Fond memories of: Alaska; Bermuda; Boston to New Orleans repo; Caribbean: Western (3X), Eastern (2X) and Southern; Hawaii; Mexican Riviera (2X); Norway; Scandinavia; One-night Vancouver to Seattle; Pacific Coastal (3X); Panama Canal (2X); & Transatlantic (2X)
Cruise Lines: NCL (12), Princess (9), Cunard (1)
#20
30 Posts
Joined Apr 2017
Thanks Jack for a very informative review my wife and I who are first time cruisers will be traveling on QM2 in November westbound and hope to put some of your travel hints tips to good use. best wishes