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peteukmcr

Newbie to Cunard, specifically QM2, all suggestions welcome

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As we enjoy in transatlantic crossings (having done 3 to date and have 2 more booked), but not with Cunard, we are considering Cunard for future voyages to New York.

 

Therefore, to try and experience the onboard ambiance, we are sailing on M818E in May 2018 from Southampton.

 

Now we know that this will not be totally representative of a transatlantic voyage, but hopefully will give us a flavour of how life onboard QM2 is conducted.

 

We understand the dress code on this sailing is only informal (jacket required) which we have no issue with as even though dress suggestions on the lines we have sailed on most frequently (RCI and Celebrity) have become more informal we still dress in tuxedos and so have no issue with this at all on any line.

 

I’m looking for any tips or suggestions that we should consider in advance of sailing.

 

Thanks

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Afternoon tea in the Queens Room is a must

If you like cocktail bars then the Commodore Club is the place to go.

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Make sure you go to the Bridge viewing room, to look into the Bridge, on sea days.

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(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.

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The library forward on deck 8 is worth visiting - there are comfortable chairs looking out to sea over the bow.

 

Lanky Lad has already suggested afternoon tea in the Queens Room: you have one sea day on your itinerary - I expect it will be very busy so I would recommend arriving a few minutes before 3.30. Sometimes the doors are opened early, sometimes at 3.30 on the dot.

 

Hot canapés are served in the Commodore Club, usually around 6 & 8pm, to accommodate the two sittings in the Britannia, though the times might vary. If you're on the late sitting, it's best to get there before 7.30 as the room starts to fill up with diners who have eaten early.

 

A walk around the promenade deck - indeed exploring all of QM2's exterior decks, is also a "must" in my view.

 

Enjoy your trip!

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Thanks for all your suggestions, as it is only a short sailing we’ll have to be selective in what we do regards dining, but will be exploring as much of the ship as possible, although I doubt we’ll have the budget for the all access tour! Would leave that for a longer voyage.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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We have been following this thread with some interest as we are also Cunard newbies - and will be onboard the QM2 for a 14-day New England Canada cruise embarking from NY on Sept. 23rd. Any other tips for those who will be taking a somewhat longer voyage?

Also - how long before the cruise will Cunard release the identity of the onboard guest presenters?

Thank you.

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You will have 3 Formal nights so not completely informal as you believe.

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You will have 3 Formal nights so not completely informal as you believe.

We understand there will be more formal nights - we are looking forward to dressing up!

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You will have 3 Formal nights so not completely informal as you believe.
The OP is only on board for 3 nights in total

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The OP is only on board for 3 nights in total

 

 

 

Yes, all 3 nights are Informal on this unusually short cruise .

 

 

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You will have 3 Formal nights so not completely informal as you believe.

Actually no, it is listed as ‘informal, jacket required’ on the voyage personaliser and I checked this with Cunard and it shows on the website this too.

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The OP is only on board for 3 nights in total

Zider was presumably replying to ponstad, not to OP. A bit of quoting on zider's part would have prevented the confusion...

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It's really simple, on a crossing there are 3 formals per week and on a cruise there are 2 per week.

 

On a "taster" there are none.

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Make sure you walk around the wonderful prommenade deck QM2 offers- seldom to find anymore nowadays! Queen Mary 2 is a very special ship!

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Once again, many thanks for all the suggestions. Walking around a promenade deck is a favourite for us too.

 

I have noticed from the voyage personaliser, that Cunard are as vague as P&O on publishing port arrival and departure times. Yet if you were to book a ships shore excursion then the tour departure times are specified.

 

I am used to the other lines I've sailed with on having specific port arrival/departure times published well in advance of sailing (in all cases at the time of booking). I have done searches including the port of Le Harve, but cannot get any times.

 

Do Cunard only provide this in the Daily Programme?

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I have noticed from the voyage personaliser, that Cunard are as vague as P&O on publishing port arrival and departure times. Yet if you were to book a ships shore excursion then the tour departure times are specified.

Have a look at http://www.cunardcruceros.com, the port times published there are reliable from my experience. Vagueness about port times seems to be a Southampton 'thing' but the information leaks out through such semi-official Cunard channels in addition to the well known cruise calendar and port sites.

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Have a look at http://www.cunardcruceros.com, the port times published there are reliable from my experience. Vagueness about port times seems to be a Southampton 'thing' but the information leaks out through such semi-official Cunard channels in addition to the well known cruise calendar and port sites.
Thanks for that, I'd already tried my usual reference points, but not this one.

 

The Southampton 'thing' only appears to affect P&O and Cunard, as it is definitely not a issue with RCI, Celebrity, MSC nor Princess (all of whom I have sailed with from this port with the exception of Princess) and all show port departure/arrival times even when planning a cruise.

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The Southampton 'thing' only appears to affect P&O and Cunard

 

Hint: it’s nothing to do with Southampton as a departure port, more to do with wherever Carnival UK’s head office might be. :)

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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.

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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.

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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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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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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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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?

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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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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 .

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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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(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!

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The Back of the House Tour tickets are sold at the Excursion Desk. I recommend to do some overnight camping in front of it. ;p

 

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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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.

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The Back of the House Tour tickets are sold at the Excursion Desk. I recommend to do some overnight camping in front of it. ;p

 

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.

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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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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.

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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! :-:'):')

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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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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!!

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(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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