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First Time Cruiser-19 Days on the QM2


MWillow
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My husband and I have never vacationed outside of the US after 27 years of marriage and have never been on a cruise. Why did we decide to start with back to back cruises on the QM2 (transatlantic, Bruges/Cherbourg, transatlantic)? Just nuts I suppose but we're so happy we did!

As we were boarding our flight to NYC on September 26th a news alert came across about the air traffic control center fire in Chicago. We were SO happy to be boarding, and not on one of the thousands of flights that were affected by this mess. I wonder how many people missed boarding the next day because of it? We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express so close to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal that we were able to walk the 1.5 blocks with our luggage when it came time to board the next day. Perfection. After about 90 minutes, we were on board and exploring our gorgeous new home away from home from top to bottom.

We booked ourselves into three different staterooms for each leg of our voyage to check out the differences. We stared in a sheltered balcony on deck 4. 4029 had received some negative press here because it's across from a pantry but we weren't bothered one bit about any extra noise. After checking out our Brittania table allocation we found we were booked at a table for 4 instead of a table for 2 as requested. A quick chat with the maitre d' fixed that right up.

Our sailaway was complete perfection. Because there were 5 ships in Manhattan that day, we left later than 'normal'. Captain Oprey took his sweet time taking us out to sea right at sunset on the warmest, clearest night ever. What a magical start to our first real vacation!

We had booked late seating for this leg and early for the way back but found we enjoyed the late seating so much we changed that. Our only issue was by the time we got back from the 5PM movie and got dressed for dinner, all of the seats in all of the bars were pretty much full.

We enjoyed after dinner dancing in the Queens Room so much! We took daily ballroom dance lessons but the class was so full and short (45 min. including warmup time) it would have been so much better as a refresher for someone who already knew the steps. It didn't keep us from trying, though.

Our daily wake-up was coffee, juice and croissants from room service. It seems like an easy order but they only got it right a few times. No worries, though. We purchased the coffee card and had mid-morning cappuccino in Sir Samuels every day. We took advantage of alternate lunch in the Golden Lion a lot. I miss afternoon tea, but can't seem to convince my husband to wear white gloves and hover over me with a tray of pastries at 3:30 every day, dang it. We did the galley tour on both transatlantic legs. Don't be put off by the length of the line, it goes quickly and is very interesting. We did a wine tasting, which cost extra, but introduced us to three different wines which we eventually ordered at dinner. The wine list mark-up is probably equivalent to most restaurants. I had done my pre-cruise homework by searching for as many 'reasonably priced' bottles locally and we did Queen Mary wine tasting prep at home before we sailed. Difficult, I know. :-)

We took advantage of all of the planetarium shows, there were 4 in the 19 days. Yes, a lot of seats are broken but if you arrive about 10 minutes early, you should find good seats.

By the time we arrived in Southampton, I found myself SO happy we didn't have to get off with everyone else! We had booked Princess Grill for the short four day cruise and found out we had been upgraded to Queens Grill. Woo hoo! The room was gorgeous. We selected two bottles of spirits from the list and ended up taking them with us to our regular balcony room for the journey home. We requested a DVD player for our room and took advantage of it, even though the movie selection was tired. The Queens Grill food was some of the best I've had (and I've had some amazing meals).

I signed up for watercolor classes on the way home and kicked myself for not doing it earlier. The cost was $35 for the materials, the week of classes was free. The paints alone are worth $25 and there were probably $40 worth of additional materials provided. The instruction was very well done, and the man who sat next to me in class was 102 years old.

We experienced some wind force 10 days but the captain had the stabilizers out and we never noticed the dreaded white sick bags by the elevators that folks talk about.

The only hiccup in our trip was on the plane ride home. Our co-pilot never showed up for work so they cancelled our flight and told us we'd have to wait at least 2 days for another. Thankfully, my parents agreed to pick us up at midnight at a different airport almost 3 hours away. Thanks American Airlines.

So... first cruise ever... would we do it again? Evidently yes because we purchased future cruise credit while onboard. We will, however, take ballroom dancing lessons ahead of time.

Happy sailing!

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What a wonderful first cruise. I like the way you booked different staterooms and got to try different experiences (nice upgrade, BTW).

 

I have heard from a number of people how great the watercolor classes are. Unfortunately, I barely have enough artistic talent to draw stick figures.:eek:

 

You did know in advance how addictive cruising is, didn't you?:D:D Hope your next one is as wonderful!

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Wow, you made quite a splash for your first cruise, complete with a visit from the upgrade fairy! It's a joy to read how much you enjoyed everything, and hats off for trying different cabins and organizing a pre-voyage wine tasting (very savvy! may have to steal that idea!). Thanks for sharing your experience, and happy planning the next one!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

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Thanks for posting your happy report, MWillow. My wife and I were on that cruise and we enjoyed it as much as you did. Booking a different grade cabin for different legs of a cruise is an interesting idea, maybe we'll try it sometime. But was it a pain having to move your stuff from cabin to cabin twice? I uploaded all the Daily Programmes and other mementos of the 19 days here should you care to tweak your recollection of what happened each day. Wishing you a bon voyage on QM2 soon again.

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My husband and I have never vacationed outside of the US after 27 years of marriage and have never been on a cruise. Why did we decide to start with back to back cruises on the QM2 (transatlantic, Bruges/Cherbourg, transatlantic)? Just nuts I suppose but we're so happy we did!

As we were boarding our flight to NYC on September 26th a news alert came across about the air traffic control center fire in Chicago. We were SO happy to be boarding, and not on one of the thousands of flights that were affected by this mess. I wonder how many people missed boarding the next day because of it? We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express so close to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal that we were able to walk the 1.5 blocks with our luggage when it came time to board the next day. Perfection. After about 90 minutes, we were on board and exploring our gorgeous new home away from home from top to bottom.

We booked ourselves into three different staterooms for each leg of our voyage to check out the differences. We stared in a sheltered balcony on deck 4. 4029 had received some negative press here because it's across from a pantry but we weren't bothered one bit about any extra noise. After checking out our Brittania table allocation we found we were booked at a table for 4 instead of a table for 2 as requested. A quick chat with the maitre d' fixed that right up.

Our sailaway was complete perfection. Because there were 5 ships in Manhattan that day, we left later than 'normal'. Captain Oprey took his sweet time taking us out to sea right at sunset on the warmest, clearest night ever. What a magical start to our first real vacation!

We had booked late seating for this leg and early for the way back but found we enjoyed the late seating so much we changed that. Our only issue was by the time we got back from the 5PM movie and got dressed for dinner, all of the seats in all of the bars were pretty much full.

We enjoyed after dinner dancing in the Queens Room so much! We took daily ballroom dance lessons but the class was so full and short (45 min. including warmup time) it would have been so much better as a refresher for someone who already knew the steps. It didn't keep us from trying, though.

Our daily wake-up was coffee, juice and croissants from room service. It seems like an easy order but they only got it right a few times. No worries, though. We purchased the coffee card and had mid-morning cappuccino in Sir Samuels every day. We took advantage of alternate lunch in the Golden Lion a lot. I miss afternoon tea, but can't seem to convince my husband to wear white gloves and hover over me with a tray of pastries at 3:30 every day, dang it. We did the galley tour on both transatlantic legs. Don't be put off by the length of the line, it goes quickly and is very interesting. We did a wine tasting, which cost extra, but introduced us to three different wines which we eventually ordered at dinner. The wine list mark-up is probably equivalent to most restaurants. I had done my pre-cruise homework by searching for as many 'reasonably priced' bottles locally and we did Queen Mary wine tasting prep at home before we sailed. Difficult, I know. :-)

We took advantage of all of the planetarium shows, there were 4 in the 19 days. Yes, a lot of seats are broken but if you arrive about 10 minutes early, you should find good seats.

By the time we arrived in Southampton, I found myself SO happy we didn't have to get off with everyone else! We had booked Princess Grill for the short four day cruise and found out we had been upgraded to Queens Grill. Woo hoo! The room was gorgeous. We selected two bottles of spirits from the list and ended up taking them with us to our regular balcony room for the journey home. We requested a DVD player for our room and took advantage of it, even though the movie selection was tired. The Queens Grill food was some of the best I've had (and I've had some amazing meals).

I signed up for watercolor classes on the way home and kicked myself for not doing it earlier. The cost was $35 for the materials, the week of classes was free. The paints alone are worth $25 and there were probably $40 worth of additional materials provided. The instruction was very well done, and the man who sat next to me in class was 102 years old.

We experienced some wind force 10 days but the captain had the stabilizers out and we never noticed the dreaded white sick bags by the elevators that folks talk about.

The only hiccup in our trip was on the plane ride home. Our co-pilot never showed up for work so they cancelled our flight and told us we'd have to wait at least 2 days for another. Thankfully, my parents agreed to pick us up at midnight at a different airport almost 3 hours away. Thanks American Airlines.

So... first cruise ever... would we do it again? Evidently yes because we purchased future cruise credit while onboard. We will, however, take ballroom dancing lessons ahead of time.

Happy sailing!

 

I am really pleased that you enjoyed your first cruise and you choose Cunard, and your report sounds like you had a good time, one thing that did surprised me was, you boarded the ship in Manhattan, I was under the impression the Queen Mary 2 only went to and from Brooklyn?:rolleyes:

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I can't wait to see your photos, pmb1, thanks for posting the link! Moving cabins was super easy. You leave everything you have hanging in your closets on hangers and the staff moves it for you, along with your suitcases which stay in your cabin, not outside the door. On such a fancy cruise, almost everything we took ended up on a hanger.

 

Honestly, brigittetom, we had no problem moving from QG. The only thing we missed was having such a huge room but found the balcony plenty big for the two of us. I guess we'll just have to book a Princess Grill room again to give it a try.

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Honestly, brigittetom, we had no problem moving from QG. The only thing we missed was having such a huge room but found the balcony plenty big for the two of us. I guess we'll just have to book a Princess Grill room again to give it a try.

 

You sound like very, very nice people. :)

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Luckymal, I believe another ship had her berth in Brooklyn that day so I guess we lucked out. She did dock in Brooklyn on the return.

 

Lady luck was on your side, first of all sailing from Manhattan and then moving up to the Queens Grill, Christmas came early for you this year (I am jealous). Docking at Brooklyn is a bit ********.

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Luckymal, I believe another ship had her berth in Brooklyn that day so I guess we lucked out. She did dock in Brooklyn on the return.
No, MWillow. QM2 sailed from the Brooklyn Cruise terminal on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, and returned there on Monday, September 15.
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MWillow--So glad you enjoyed your QM 2 experience. It sounds as though you really took advantage of a lot on offer. We were on board for your last leg, from Southampton to NY. Only our second ocean voyage ever, and second transatlantic on QM 2. First was eastbound 2 years ago, and we loved our experiences both times. My step-daughter did watercolor lessons on the QM 2 several years ago; she liked it so much she's been doing it ever since and has gotten quite good.

 

This time I vowed to try a few things I hadn't done the first time, and accomplished two of them--got a massage and used the spa one day, and participated in trivia in the Golden Lion. Did not manage to persuade husband to do dance lessons, but maybe next time . . . And maybe water color lessons next time too.

 

As others here say, QM 2 is addictive.:)

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Hi MWillow,

 

Thank you for writing such a great review :) . Such a joy and pleasure to read, with humour thrown in, I found myself smiling halfway through and grinning by the end! I am so very pleased to read you had such a great time and did so many things while on board (time on QM2 vanishes fast, doesn't it? There are never enough hours to do all I want to do after reading the Daily Programme).

 

Thank you again :) Many happy sailings for the future!

Edited by pepperrn
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Loved your review and what a great first cruise.

 

We have cruised before but have just booked our first Cunard cruise on the QM2 for 20 nights next July and after reading your review I just know we have done the right thing and can't wait for the cruise to be here.

 

Susan

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