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QM2 not what it is made out to be

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Just off the QM2. We have done dozens of cruises, but this was our first time, and LAST time on Cunard. The food was of low quality. Steaks in the dining room were mostly grizzle. Choice of food was extremely limited. Entertainment was fairly good. Tour desk was lacking. It was a very sick ship. Not a top ship my any means,

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The ship itself handles the weather better than just about any other ship and the promenade deck is wonderful. Unfortunately, Cunard is packing more passengers on board while maintaining the same level of staff (the recent “remastering” of QM2 and the squaring off of the QV’s stern and subsequent loss of the Chart Room). As a shareholder I understand these moves but as a passenger it makes Cunard less desirable.

 

A couple of years ago my wife tried Oceania with her sister. They both raved about the food (everyone has the same menu, from the Owner’s Suite down to inside cabins). So she treated me to an Oceania cruise and I was hooked. Small, intimate ships, longer port calls, outstanding food and beds, even for steerage passengers.

 

I hate it when companies debase their brands.

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Just off the QM2. We have done dozens of cruises, but this was our first time, and LAST time on Cunard. The food was of low quality. Steaks in the dining room were mostly grizzle. Choice of food was extremely limited. Entertainment was fairly good. Tour desk was lacking. It was a very sick ship. Not a top ship my any means,
Clearly you and I have been sailing on very different QM2s; you should try the one I sail on sometime.

 

Great quality food, lots of choice each evening. Marvellous live entertainment in all areas of the ship.

 

After many, many voyages, I am looking forward to my next voyage on QM2 :) .

 

Next trip; Queen Elizabeth later this month (2nd cruise on her) can't wait :)

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Clearly you and I have been sailing on very different QM2s; you should try the one I sail on sometime.

 

Great quality food, lots of choice each evening. Marvellous live entertainment in all areas of the ship.

 

After many, many voyages, I am looking forward to my next voyage on QM2 :) .

 

Next trip; Queen Elizabeth later this month (2nd cruise on her) can't wait :)

 

 

 

Thanks Pepper. Yours is the only QM2 on which we’ve ever sailed. There may be another, but we’ve never encountered it.

 

 

Sent from my iPod touch using Forums

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Thanks Pepper. Yours is the only QM2 on which we’ve ever sailed. There may be another, but we’ve never encountered it.
Thank you Thaxted. Maybe we'll meet one day on our QM2?

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What in the world is grizzle?

 

This is a description of the state of a fretful child; the baby was very grizzly all evening. Does not relate to food in my opinion. The word that I assume the poster needed to use was gristly, from there being too much gristle in the steak. If only they had used an automatic spell checker they would have got drizzle, a light rain in prolific fine droplets.

 

Regards John

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Clearly you and I have been sailing on very different QM2s; you should try the one I sail on sometime.

 

Great quality food, lots of choice each evening. Marvellous live entertainment in all areas of the ship.

 

After many, many voyages, I am looking forward to my next voyage on QM2 :) .

 

Next trip; Queen Elizabeth later this month (2nd cruise on her) can't wait :)

 

Hi,

 

I agree with your comments. I have sailed aboard the QM2 six times between 2004 and 2017. This is my favorite ship that currently is in service. I have always had a wonderful time aboard the QM2. I am sailing aboard the Queen Victoria this fall for a second time. Also, I have cruised aboard the current Queen Elizabeth as well as the legendary QE2 (seven times).

 

Chuck

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Thank you Thaxted. Maybe we'll meet one day on our QM2?

 

 

 

I certainly hope so!

 

 

Sent from my iPod touch using Forums

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I think that the poster has some valid points. On some measures, I honestly think that the standard QM2 Britannia experience isn't clearly better than the competition on Celebrity, Princess, HAL and other premium lines. Food? Not a clear winner, in my experience. Especially when you look at the lack of published "always available" choices. Yes, I know that they "are" available by special request, but if you don't know the secret menu, it doesn't exist.

 

Likewise the attitude from Cunard corp and many on board. (Although, personally, my interactions with the Pursers Desk have been fine) Evidently when replies are sought, silence is golden. Unlike other lines which spend time monitoring social media to alert them to problems, Cunard seems to revel in ignoring it.

 

Cunard sells the experience as total luxury. Except in the grills, it isn't close. It's wonderful. I love it. But - if one is looking for a luxury experience with exceptional food at Britannia levels, it ain't gonna' live up to the hype.

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A couple of years ago my wife tried Oceania with her sister. They both raved about the food (everyone has the same menu, from the Owner’s Suite down to inside cabins). So she treated me to an Oceania cruise and I was hooked. Small, intimate ships, longer port calls, outstanding food and beds, even for steerage passengers.

 

I hate it when companies debase their brands.

 

We had two consecutive cruises Oceania Riviera + transatlantic on the QM2.

The liner looked like a floating palace after the Riviera. It was so refreshing!

As for the food in the MDR on the QM2 - yes, it does not make credit the most reputable brand in the world. I am not able to find an explanation for that. We had meals in the buffet and the pub most of the time.

Given this deficiency, the overall experience nevertheless surpasses all the rest available at sea.

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I love QM2 - and her sisters- but QM2 is my favorite - the grandeur, the style. As for the food in the Britannia- well it never failed for me to leave the table quite pleased witth my food. Compareable to Celebrity´s quality once was ( no longer ) ! You can´t expect 5 star meals when not paying the price for it!

As always with food- cat´s love to have mice for their meals- I don´t fancy them- in other words- some may like it some not!

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I find the Cunard experience to be a fine combination of excellent sea worthy ships, The "British" tradition tea every afternoon and of dressing for dinner (even the informal is leaps over informal on other lines) and best of all, the passengers. Dinner in Britannia at a table for 8-10 simply can not be matched and that makes the food a secondary thought Though I will say, the staff will go out of their way to please if you simply ask politely.

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I think that the poster has some valid points. On some measures, I honestly think that the standard QM2 Britannia experience isn't clearly better than the competition on Celebrity, Princess, HAL and other premium lines. Food? Not a clear winner, in my experience. Especially when you look at the lack of published "always available" choices. Yes, I know that they "are" available by special request, but if you don't know the secret menu, it doesn't exist.

 

Likewise the attitude from Cunard corp and many on board. (Although, personally, my interactions with the Pursers Desk have been fine) Evidently when replies are sought, silence is golden. Unlike other lines which spend time monitoring social media to alert them to problems, Cunard seems to revel in ignoring it.

 

Cunard sells the experience as total luxury. Except in the grills, it isn't close. It's wonderful. I love it. But - if one is looking for a luxury experience with exceptional food at Britannia levels, it ain't gonna' live up to the hype.

 

Very good points, Mark. I pretty much agree. But we will continue to include the QM2 in our plans because of the availability of Atlantic crossings, and because we dearly love many of the public rooms on the ship.

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We are soon to do cruises 6,7 and 8 with Cunard - and our 3rd on QM2. I have noticed that of all the ships we have cruised on from various different cruiselines, QM2 is the one that I get the most complaints about. I can't really understand these complaints - but I suspect that it has something to do with the complainers expectations. QM2 is an extremely "overhyped" ship - when it visits my country, it is front page news and the word "luxury" is liberally used. Cunard themselves like to promote this aspect - and call their two other Queens "Ocean Liners". Personally, all of these cruiselines are much the same to me in most respects - except for those in which they differ. Cunard does differ from other cruiselines - whether that difference is good or bad is subjective.My wife and I like the ambiance of Cunard ships - but we also like the completely casual and laid back style of the Norwegian Cruiseline ship "Pride of America" cruising around Hawaii . Sometimes I think that some people need to live in some cave in Afghanistan for a few weeks to regain perspective in their lives !! :)

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Sometimes I think that some people need to live in some cave in Afghanistan for a few weeks to regain perspective in their lives !! :)

 

How true! Unfortunately there are people who enjoy to complain all the time - I ignore them because they do not only spoil the time of other guests but their own time as well. To me it has never happened before that the food was as bad as described, and if it was, there are plenty of other places on the ship to go to.

The ship itself is of high quality, elegant and solid and represents what one expects from a true ocean liner.

Full stop.

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Make no mistake, I love Cunard (as a scan of my past cruises in my sig will verify) but feel that they are in danger. Not only from the aging of their customer base, but from falling behind the competition. No, not in razzle-dazzle, but in other ways.

 

Internet. More lines are offering high-speed Internet. These have also been accompanied with a variety of plans, many not timed. As we all know, that is not the case with Cunard. Improvements have been mentioned with no specifics and no dates. It's not just millennials who are tied to their phones. (Of course, given this platform, I'm clearly preaching to the choir here). It's becoming more common for cruisers to have expectations for something better than two-generations-old connectivity.

 

Related to this, I think every line exceeds Cunard at providing access to reservations and folios and ability to order and manage excursions and dining, before and during the voyage. Literally. I haven't encountered a website which lacks so much information and is so limited in over a decade. Bottom of the pack. Login? Creaky. Advance reservations for excursions, transfers, and dining? Limited. In cabin online reservations? Nope. They certainly must have a review of charges?? No such luck.

Literally, the worst in the industry.

 

What once had been sufficient or even leading (I remember the original QE2 Computer Learning Centre before they could be connected to the Internet or anything else and I went up to the radio room to enter an email on their equipment) - is now woefully out of date. And these aren't frills. They have become expectations.

 

Likewise the food is missing the boat for many. For years, the cuisine was international "country club fancy" dining, as we'd refer to it in the states. And budgets have been shrinking on all lines. In this case, Cunard Britannia is certainly far from the worst amongst its competitors, but Britannia falls short of the consistently luxurious experience that is sold. Perhaps more often a factor of unrealistic expectations, but a cause for disappointment nonetheless.

 

Additionally, today's new passenger profile has different expectations. They like having different experiences and options. With the explosion of food programming and interest in cooking, there's interest in cuisine that goes beyond the old standards. (Dining in foodie San Francisco, I think many restaurant menus come from a "Chopped" mystery basket.) Personally, I found that Celebrity went too far to the trendy in that the best part of some of my meals was the description in the menu. Adding a "Something different" daily dinner option would be helpful for those growing numbers of foodies. On the other end, I think all the other lines offer a standard list of basic items which are always available. Adding these items explicitly to the Britannia menu would help here. (Especially if a new cruiser is feeling "trapped" by fixed dining and few menu choices) I'd also consider adding a truly good burger with good fixins (not the usual preformed patties with a thin slice of pale tomato). Yeah, it's downmarket - but it's also found at some of the top restaurants in New York. I'd also make the alternative dining option more well known. Not only can you not make reservations before boarding, and again, not from the TV either, but if you want to know the schedule for the week, you must chase down the Maitre d' upstairs.

 

Finally, Cunard REALLY needs to step up its presence and interaction with its customers.

 

Note, these are different from the ever-present difficulty reconciling the expectations of ultimate luxury with the reality of being one of 1500 (?) passengers in Britannia - at a per diem of as little as $150. Also none of these suggestions disturbs Cunard's niche and special traditions of formal dress code and fixed dining assignments.

 

I fear that Cunard is sitting on its laurels and has missed how customers have changed and how the rest of the travel and hospitality industry has moved forward and left them behind.

 

Reading the reviews can be enlightening.

Edited by MarkBearSF

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The OP has had the usual jumping on from the “perfect” brigade for simply stating facts as experienced. I don’t doubt that many do find Cunard perfect in every way and I am happy that they do but others, including myself find it hard to understand how eating food which is often well below the standard eaten and cooked at home can be classed perfect. I have often sent back steak that was uneatable and left the replacement un eaten.

 

I have no doubt that standards have slumped well below the early days after QM2 launch.

 

 

DAVID.

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