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The Med

Queen Mary V Queen Elizabeth

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Hello 

I’m looking for some advice.

We have a few cruises under our belt and while we have enjoyed each cruise, we haven’t found a cruise that is the perfect fit for us.

For example, we really love Celebrity but we miss the formal nights. (it hasn’t put us off, we’ve got another cruise booked with them and are very excited to try a new ship).

We enjoyed Oceania, we enjoyed the clientele, the food, the ambiance, but the ship was too small for me and the evening entertainment was dire.

P and O the entertainment was good but we feel that generally standards are going down.

Weve also experienced Princess, NCL, and RC.

 

We love fine dining but the biggest draw for us apart from lovely food is the entertainment.

We go and watch a show every evening, sometimes a theatre show and something else as well.

We like having fun, but we quite like the formality of dressing for dinner and being with like minded people who have manners and respect for each other, hence why Cunard was suggested to us.

 

 

We have decided to try one of the 2 night cruises from Southampton so that we can get a feel of Cunard to see if we like it.

We won’t be booking any speciality restaurant on that occasion so will be in the main dining room on both nights.

 

Should we go for QM 2 or QE?

 

Another question,  is all dining on Cunard fixed dining or do they do flexible dining?

 

Edited by The Med

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Cunard does seem a reasonable fit if you prefer formality.  I've got a pair of the two night short cruises [Southampton to and from Hamburg] coming up in between eastbound and westbound transatlantics. I have noted some remarks that the short cruises are 'not like' longer sailings, but I have not noticed a discussion of this in detail. These short cruises feature a formal/gala night ['black tie' dress code in most public areas].

 

There are three (and a half) main dining rooms, depending on your stateroom category

The Britannia dining has two dinner seatings [with assigned seating] plus open seating for breakfast and lunch.

The Queens & Princess Grill (and Britannia 'Club') have assigned seating (its always your chair), but do not have fixed seating times within their service hours.

 

Back in 2017 the Upgrade Fairy blessed our tablemates with a Queens Grill upgrade, but they elected to dine with us in late seating Britannia. 

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Both ships are nice in their own way.  QM2 is a true ocean liner so I would recommend trying her first. 

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Just recognize that a two-night cruise (especially Southampton-Hamburg or the reverse, if I may say so) doesn't present Cunard in its best light.

 

Departure from Hamburg on QM2 is special, though. 🙂

Edited by Underwatr

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By all means travel on Queen Mary 2. She is an ocean liner is every sense of the word. Queen Elizabeth, is much more a cruise ship like those of Princess and Holland America. 

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Thank you for the replies.

i do understand that the 2 day cruises are only a taster and not a true representation of a full voyage but I think it’s a good idea for us to try it.

 

Both of the cruises are Southampton-Bruges- Southampton.

This means no flying for us

 

Q930 1st -3rd Nov 

M937 17th - 19th Nov 

 

Looking at one of the sticky topics where it shows the dress code, neither of these cruises have a gala night, both nights are smart attire.

How accurate is this information do you think?

 

 

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Obviously the QM2 is sui genesis, and worth experiencing for itself on that account. 

But, if you don’t like long long distances, book QE.

If you want to go in the Grills, the QE facilities are far nicer - separate walk-in shower, much nicer dining room, nicer terraces.

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11 hours ago, Underwatr said:

Just recognize that a two-night cruise (especially Southampton-Hamburg or the reverse, if I may say so) doesn't present Cunard in its best light.

 

Departure from Hamburg on QM2 is special, though. 🙂

 

Couldn't agree more.

 

 

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3 hours ago, The Med said:

Thank you for the replies.

i do understand that the 2 day cruises are only a taster and not a true representation of a full voyage but I think it’s a good idea for us to try it.

 

Both of the cruises are Southampton-Bruges- Southampton.

This means no flying for us

 

Q930 1st -3rd Nov 

M937 17th - 19th Nov 

 

Looking at one of the sticky topics where it shows the dress code, neither of these cruises have a gala night, both nights are smart attire.

How accurate is this information do you think?

 

 

Cunard do have form for making one night Formal optional at the last minute !

We're on the QM2 cruise in November, 2 nights is never enough but it's better than 0 nights.

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16 hours ago, exlondoner said:

Obviously the QM2 is sui genesis, and worth experiencing for itself on that account. 

But, if you don’t like long long distances, book QE.

If you want to go in the Grills, the QE facilities are far nicer - separate walk-in shower, much nicer dining room, nicer terraces.

 

I don't think anyone would disagree that the Grills facilities are superior on the QE (and QV) over the QM2. But the Princess Grill staterooms on the smaller ships are nowhere near as nice as those on the QM2 - just a longer version of a typical  balcony stateroom - with a tiny balcony - and a bigger bathroom with tub and overhead shower.

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4 hours ago, david,Mississauga said:

 

I don't think anyone would disagree that the Grills facilities are superior on the QE (and QV) over the QM2. But the Princess Grill staterooms on the smaller ships are nowhere near as nice as those on the QM2 - just a longer version of a typical  balcony stateroom - with a tiny balcony - and a bigger bathroom with tub and overhead shower.

 

I entirely agree. They are very disappointing. The QM2 ones are so much better in shape.

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In another thread here someone posted photos showing that a QV/QE Princess Grill suite was essentially identical to a Princess Cruise Line mini suite.

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4 hours ago, david,Mississauga said:

 

I don't think anyone would disagree that the Grills facilities are superior on the QE (and QV) over the QM2. But the Princess Grill staterooms on the smaller ships are nowhere near as nice as those on the QM2 - just a longer version of a typical  balcony stateroom - with a tiny balcony - and a bigger bathroom with tub and overhead shower.

Sorry, but I would have to disagree, I far prefer the Grills on QM2 - although we are happy enough on the smaller Queens.

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QM2 is one of a kind.  A grand ocean liner built to traverse the world's oceans with ease.  Her design is special and unique, with a quirky interior layout that adds to her charm.  She has some of the best outdoor deck space of any ship afloat.  A full wrap-around promenade deck that is extra wide.  She is uncrowded even though she carries 2000+ pax.   Inside she is grand.  Lots of two and three level spaces.  A fabulous and elegant grand lounge with a massive dance floor, a planetarium, even a two level night club that can get hopping.  Also inside is a Cunard history walk that is a very nice way to spend an afternoon.  She has several pools, one of which can be enclosed in cold weather.  Her Canyon Ranch Spa is lovely with a wonderful spa pool.  There are grand interior promenades right down the center of the ship, thanks to her divided funnel uptakes from the engine room.   Ceilings are tall and her staircases grand.  I can't stress enough how impressive she is.  I've sailed on over 120 cruises and she is also by far the most stable ship I've ever sailed.  She literally plows through the seas.  Quite impressive.  

 

QE and QV are very nice cruise ships, but they are just that, cruise ships.  They are not unique and in fact their design comes from Holland America.  They are Vista Class ships and there are many of them (but with different decor and slightly modified layout).  They do offer a very nice experience, but they are no QM2.  

  

 

 

Edited by eroller

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I prefer the two small queens by far - easier to navigate, lovely midship ballrooms that can be appreciated at different levels and the ability to dine outside on a lovely deck behind the lido. Oh yes an uninterrupted views out to sea from the lido. 

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16 hours ago, eroller said:

QM2 is one of a kind.  A grand ocean liner built to traverse the world's oceans with ease.  Her design is special and unique, with a quirky interior layout that adds to her charm.  She has some of the best outdoor deck space of any ship afloat.  A full wrap-around promenade deck that is extra wide.  She is uncrowded even though she carries 2000+ pax.   Inside she is grand.  Lots of two and three level spaces.  A fabulous and elegant grand lounge with a massive dance floor, a planetarium, even a two level night club that can get hopping.  Also inside is a Cunard history walk that is a very nice way to spend an afternoon.  She has several pools, one of which can be enclosed in cold weather.  Her Canyon Ranch Spa is lovely with a wonderful spa pool.  There are grand interior promenades right down the center of the ship, thanks to her divided funnel uptakes from the engine room.   Ceilings are tall and her staircases grand.  I can't stress enough how impressive she is.  I've sailed on over 120 cruises and she is also by far the most stable ship I've ever sailed.  She literally plows through the seas.  Quite impressive.  

 

QE and QV are very nice cruise ships, but they are just that, cruise ships.  They are not unique and in fact their design comes from Holland America.  They are Vista Class ships and there are many of them (but with different decor and slightly modified layout).  They do offer a very nice experience, but they are no QM2.  

  

 

 

 

For different reasons I like the QM2 and the QE equally. For cruises I prefer the QE (I have not yet been on the similar QV) and for crossings I prefer the QM2. We have previously discussed the Grills, but the QE has some aspects which to me are superior to the QM2, namely the Grand Lobby, the Royal Court Theatre and the Commodore Club, which appears to be bigger although that is not possible. The QM2 has an additional theatre, Illuminations - which is great for lectures and films - an outdoor observation deck, and real teak decks. I could go on about other comparisons.

 

Other than the QE, I have been on only one other Vista Class ship: Holland America's Noordam.  That ship has only two things that are superior to the QE: real teak decks and some scenic lifts. There is nothing else that appeals to me. The small main lobby surprised me. It is a low-ceiling area with what appears to be a rather small hole cut in the deck above. There is one narrow curved staircase connecting the levels. The QE has a vast lobby space with gorgeous staircases. The Noordam lacks other areas that give a feeling of spaciousness other than the main theatre. The shopping area is cramped. I don't know what other Vista Class ships are like, but Cunard did very well with the QE.  To me, it feels more like a liner than a cruise ship.

 

As I have said before: if we could take the best of the QM2 and the QE that would be, to me, a perfect ship.

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4 hours ago, david,Mississauga said:

 

For different reasons I like the QM2 and the QE equally. For cruises I prefer the QE (I have not yet been on the similar QV) and for crossings I prefer the QM2. We have previously discussed the Grills, but the QE has some aspects which to me are superior to the QM2, namely the Grand Lobby, the Royal Court Theatre and the Commodore Club, which appears to be bigger although that is not possible. The QM2 has an additional theatre, Illuminations - which is great for lectures and films - an outdoor observation deck, and real teak decks. I could go on about other comparisons.

 

Other than the QE, I have been on only one other Vista Class ship: Holland America's Noordam.  That ship has only two things that are superior to the QE: real teak decks and some scenic lifts. There is nothing else that appeals to me. The small main lobby surprised me. It is a low-ceiling area with what appears to be a rather small hole cut in the deck above. There is one narrow curved staircase connecting the levels. The QE has a vast lobby space with gorgeous staircases. The Noordam lacks other areas that give a feeling of spaciousness other than the main theatre. The shopping area is cramped. I don't know what other Vista Class ships are like, but Cunard did very well with the QE.  To me, it feels more like a liner than a cruise ship.

 

As I have said before: if we could take the best of the QM2 and the QE that would be, to me, a perfect ship.

 

 

Good points.  I actually prefer Celebrity (and other cruise lines) for cruises as I love their ships and the more informal atmosphere.  Great food and service too.  But for crossings it's Cunard and QM2 all the way!  Mind you I have enjoyed Cunard for cruises, but to be honest after a long day in port I often don't feel like dressing up.  On a crossing I don't have that issue and enjoy dressing up.  

 

I've sailed on several Vistas and by far Cunard's are the nicest.  I also recently sailed on NIEUW STATENDAM which is what the new Cunarder will be based on.  I quite liked the ship although many die hard HAL fans do not.  I'm not a big fan of HAL so for me it was a refreshing, modern change.  I did miss the wide wrap-around promenade deck with seating, and unfortunately the new Cunarder will be lacking this as well.  It's just a narrow walkway behind the lifeboats with no view, and just a few patches that are open to the sea.  

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I agree - the atria on HAL's Vista's (as well as the R-class Amsterdam) leave much to be desired.

Edited by Underwatr

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=Thank you to everyone who has taken time to reply.

For a relative newcomer, some of the replies are a bit like someone speaking in forked tongue (gobbledegook).

 

Grills, Commodore, Vista Class?

 

 

We’re  just going for 2 nights in a balcony cabin.  For 2 nights I’ll be happy in the main dining room.

I certainly won’t feel that I’m missing out on being in a grill where apparently I can order off menu, truffles or a whole suckling pig.

 

Anyway, thank you to  eroller who just actually gave me a lovely review of both ships.

Thank you. 

Edited by The Med

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Commodore Club = the bar all the way up and forward. Open to everyone despite what the name suggests.

 

Vista Class: Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria were built in the same Italian shipyard as many Holland America ships as well as other passenger ships. Several of the ships share a common basic design which is known as "Vista Class." The public spaces in the Holland America ships are very different from QE and QV but the basic engineering design is very similar. It's a little surprising to travel on another lines implementation of the Vista design.

 

Grills: Suites and suite amenities (including dining) on Cunard ships. Many people looking be sailing in Grills but it can be several multiples of the cost of "regular" staterooms. We book "regular" staterooms.

Edited by Underwatr

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33 minutes ago, The Med said:

 

 

Anyway, thank you to  eroller who just actually gave me a lovely review of both ships.

Thank you. 

 

 

You are quite welcome and I hope you found it useful.  Regardless of which ship you choose I think you will enjoy the Cunard experience.  I do hope you choose QM2 for all the reasons I mentioned.  She is different than any other ship sailing today in so many ways.  That makes her quite unique and special, and very worthy of the Cunard name.  She takes on a completely different vibe during a transatlantic crossing (which she was designed for), but you can still get a little taste on the short cruise.  Good luck and happy sailing!  

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7 hours ago, Underwatr said:

Commodore Club = the bar all the way up and forward. Open to everyone despite what the name suggests.

 

Vista Class: Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria were built in the same Italian shipyard as many Holland America ships as well as other passenger ships. Several of the ships share a common basic design which is known as "Vista Class." The public spaces in the Holland America ships are very different from QE and QV but the basic engineering design is very similar. It's a little surprising to travel on another lines implementation of the Vista design.

 

Grills: Suites and suite amenities (including dining) on Cunard ships. Many people looking be sailing in Grills but it can be several multiples of the cost of "regular" staterooms. We book "regular" staterooms.

 

Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to explain all that.

We've never cruised with Holland America so I can’t make any comparison.

 

Another question, on an earlier post you mentioned that departure from Hamberg on QM2 was special.

Can you explain why?  Is it that Hamberg is especially scenic? 

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7 hours ago, eroller said:

 

 

You are quite welcome and I hope you found it useful.  Regardless of which ship you choose I think you will enjoy the Cunard experience.  I do hope you choose QM2 for all the reasons I mentioned.  She is different than any other ship sailing today in so many ways.  That makes her quite unique and special, and very worthy of the Cunard name.  She takes on a completely different vibe during a transatlantic crossing (which she was designed for), but you can still get a little taste on the short cruise.  Good luck and happy sailing!  

 

 

Yes, I think that we will almost certainly choose QM2 for the reasons you have mentioned. (its uniqueness).

We are not loyal to a particular cruise line and choose a cruise for a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s specifically for the destination, sometimes it’s to try a specific ship.

Some friends of ours always cruise Azamara. I can’t think of anything more boring than getting on a ship and already knowing it inside out, but each to their own.

We start at the top of the ship and love to explore every nook and cranny, gradually working our way through the decks.

So QM2 certainly sounds different.

I accept that we aren’t going to get the full experience on a 2 day cruise.

Interesting that you say about the different vibe on a transatlantic crossing. We much prefer port days to sea days so it’s unlikely that we’d ever choose to do a transatlantic crossing. When looking at cruises if one has too many sea days it really puts me off.

We might feel differently when husband has retired and we have more time on our hands.

I really enjoy coming on cruise critic to read other people’s views and about what’s important to them or the things that for them make a good cruise.

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