Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Review : Everything you need to know about this cruiseship
Whether you are planning on going on the Queen Mary 2 or you have already booked your cruise and want to know what to expect then read my ship review where I tell you everything on what to do, where to eat and some tips to get the best out of your cruise on Cunards Queen Mary 2.
Queen Mary 2 Review
I really enjoyed being on the Queen Mary 2 the food, the cabins, the entertainment and the crew are amazing. The ship was quite accessible for anyone will mobility limitations.
About the Queen Mary 2
The Queen Mary 2 owned by Cunard first set sail in 2004. She is a luxury transatlantic ocean liner and this is evident in the service that you receive whilst on board. I cannot fault anything to do with the service or the delicious food.
My only quibble with this ship is the class segregation on the Queen Mary 2. I didn’t like the fact that some areas were closed to non-grill passengers. I understand that they have paid more for their cruise but this did divide the passengers.
I had heard about this from cruising on other ships and people had exaggerated telling me you had to get out of the lifts if a grill passenger gets in, this is not the case. They just have their own restaurant, sitting area on deck and separate cocktail parties.
There is a bit of a class system on Cunard which I haven’t experienced before and even though it doesn’t bother me being in an inside cabin I don’t like being looked down on because of it and I do feel that this happens with some passengers that are in the grills.
Sailing on the Queen Mary 2
The ship is definitely built for its normal voyage of across the transatlantic as there is very little movement. When sailing and you can hardly tell we are moving we even went through the Bay of Biscay which is renowned for being very choppy and apart from a few rocky movements during one night I didn’t feel much.
I feel like the ship is upside down compared to other liners as the lobby, bars, and restaurants on are the 2nd deck and the cheapest cabins are on the 12th deck and they normally say the more you pay the more you sway as the top decks are generally the most prestigious cabins.
I know this isn’t the case on this ship as my cabin is located on the 12th deck. The grills which are the larger cabins are located on decks 9 and 10.
Decks on Queen Mary 2
Even though the ship can be busy at meal and show times as they were over 2000 passengers, I always found a quiet spot to sit whether it be in a lounge or out on deck.
My cabin was on deck 12 and I admit I didn’t venture far from here during sunny sea days as I had found a perfect spot out on deck. It was by the stairs going up to deck 13 so had a lot of passing foot passengers but it was a wind trap which mean even when it was blustery I could still sunbathe and not feel the chill it also had sun for the majority of the day.
There are loungers inside and out and a bar so there was no need for us to go anywhere else. However, when walking around the ship I noticed there were plenty of chairs and deck space on the other decks so it wasn’t a problem like on some ships where you have to fight to get a lounger.
The sunloungers are free to use and if you like a certain spot and there are no sunloungers there you can easily move one to where you would like to sit. As long as you are not blocking access you can put your chair or sunlounger wherever is suitable for you.
It has the same general rule of all cruise liners to not saving loungers and I think that this was mostly being respected as it wasn’t often you would see a lounger for any length of period with just a towel.
My cabin on the Queen Mary 2
I visited a few Queen Mary 2 cabins the inside ones had a similar layout to mine but the Queen Grill cabins were much bigger and I would love to have been in one of those.
I was in an inside twin cabin number 12045 front ship on the 12th deck. There are 13 decks and above my cabin was the sundeck. I was worried that I would be woken by moving sun loungers but I never heard anything in fact the cabin is very quiet as it is down a separate corridor off the main corridor so unless people are getting to the 5 cabins are on this corridor then there is no need for anyone to walk down here so no passing people.
My cabin steward was called Alex, friendly and efficient as normal on a cruise ship nothing is too much hassle. The cabin was spotless. It is a family cabin so there are two beds that can be added to make it a 4 berth. It would be a tight squeeze if there were 4 adults unless it was only for a short journey but might be ok if it was two adults and 2 kids.
Bathrobe and slippers were supplied along with shampoo, body moisturiser, shower gel, cotton balls and cotton buds, feminine hygiene bags and sick bags. There was a turn down service every night with a Godiva chocolate and the next day’s program being left on the beds.
If the pillows are not right then do mention this to the cabin steward I needed a firmer pillow and I was given a perfect one. The cabin had a safe and plenty of storage space.
I loved that it had tea and coffee making facilities, a TV and a fridge.
Food on the Queen Mary 2
The Kings Court is the self-service restaurant on the Queen Mary 2 and as usual on any ship it has the feeling of a canteen but the food is excellent.
The choice in this restaurant is extensive and the food is not only excellent quality cooked to perfection it is piping hot. In fact, the plates are also so hot that you must use a serviette to pick them up a few occasions I burnt my fingers as have sensitive hands so you need to be careful.
One of the best things for me was that the cold drinks were available all day. On other ships, I have been on you can only get the drinks either at meal times or on some its only at breakfast time.
There was orange, apple, cranberry and still lemonade. A water filter with the option of ice. Herbal and fruit teas, coffee and decaf coffee and hot chocolate. You could also order bar drinks from a menu and the order would be taken from your table with the drinks price being added to your account.
When we first got on the ship in Dubai it was during a norovirus outbreak so the ship was on lockdown which means they remove as much as possible which you must physically touch yourself and serve you. Even at the drink machines people were serving which did make it a slower service but it’s vital to stop the bugs from spreading.
The counters were covered in cling film and food was being put on your plates by crew I preferred this as it meant I knew people hadn’t been touching what I was about to eat.
Breakfast had hot options such as English bacon, streaky bacon, hash browns, grilled tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, choice of eggs, corn beef hash, kippers, sausages. Lots of bread and pastry options, cereals, smoothies, cheese, and cold meats.
Lunch and dinner varied from day to day normally consisting of a roast meat, potatoes, pies, steaks, chicken, fish, curries so much to name. There was a sushi bar, excellent cheese selections, gluten free, soup, salads, breads, rice. And delicious desserts there was even a whippy ice cream machine that you could have various toppings on.
There was a chef’s galley which had burgers, pizza, pasta, hot dogs, paninis, and chips at lunch times, I didn’t notice if this was available at dinner time too. The pizza is made freshly in their pizza ovens but if they were sat around for some time they were a bit dry so it was best to get a slice when it had just come out of the oven and the lasagne was delicious.
Kings court alternative dining
A section of the king’s court was closed for alternative dining, I have to admit I never even saw this area but from the daily programme I noticed they had Coriander Indian Cuisine or Aztec – Mexican cuisine with a $17.50 cover charge.
First sitting is at 6pm 2nd 8.30 I was on the first sitting on table 222 which is on the 2nd floor of the restaurant. The location was perfect we had an 8-table position by a large window.
The movement when sailing in the restaurant is minimal which is how I like it as I can’t eat if the boat is moving around too much I think this is due to the restaurant is located on deck 2 and 3.
Our table had two couples from the UK who were friends and got on in Dubai with us and an Australian couple who got on in Sydney. We all seemed to get on well, the conversation was flowing and no one seemed to be obnoxious which is always a good sign nothing worse than sitting on a dinner table with people that are not nice. I did however encounter this quite a few times at lunch time if I went to the Britannia on one occasion I nearly got up and left.
The service is excellent and even though the food choice seems limited the quality is amazing and I cannot fault it one bit but at breakfast and lunch time it is very slow so don’t go here unless you have a couple of hours to spare. I am not exaggerating as the only time I had breakfast it took over 1.5 hours and I only had scrambled egg and a slice of bacon so I didn’t go to the Britannia again for breakfast.
Serves light breakfasts varying from eggs benedict, muesli yoghurt and fruit pots, breakfast burritos and cakes. The dishes are already plated up and it’s a lot more relaxing than the busy Kings court. They have speciality teas and coffees but these are chargeable. Light dishes are available all day and tasting plates are served for late snack until 10pm which can be accompanied by a speciality port, sherry, or Iberian wine.
There is a collection of 46 different vintage ports, they offer a tasting tour prices starting at $10.95 per person, service charge applies. This is a relaxing place to sit any time of the day to enjoy a snack have a drink or just read a book.
The Golden Lion Pub
Seems more like a wine bar than an English pub due to it being long and thin and it’s not as cosy as an English pub would be. Plus, at lunch time when they are serving the pub grub they are playing lift style music on the piano, it would be more authentic if they had a piano playing sing along songs like in the olden days or a modern juke box which people could choose their own music.
The pub has a large selection of ales and other drinks but they are expensive. I drink Martini Bianco and the price of one glass is more expensive than a litre bottle in the UK.
Food in The Golden Lion Pub on the Queen Mary 2 Cruise
I went for the fish and chips as I had heard how delicious they were and the fish was amazing, it was thick Atlantic cod with a crisp non-greasy batter served with slightly minted mushy peas chips and tartar sauce and a slice of lemon.
The chips were slightly undercooked for my liking as they were a little hard in the middle but the fish was well worth the wait. It seems that they are cooking the food to order by the table so we arrived at 12.15 and didn’t eat until 1ish but at least you know the food is fresh.
The Verandah French Restaurant
The Verandah is a specialist French restaurant open for lunch and dinner with a multiple course tasting menu – I didn’t meet anyone on this 20-day cruise that had been to this restaurant. I never even saw the restaurant as it is on deck 8 and I didn’t need to go there.
Godiva at Sir Samuels
Godiva Chocolate afternoon tea for two $9.90 per set plus a 15% service charge – choice of 2 Godiva signature cakes, freshly made Godiva white chocolate key lime scones served with lime marmalade and clotted cream with pot of tea and Godiva pralines. – Every sea day 2pm to 5pm
Extra food and drink events on the Queen Mary 2
There were a few extra food and drink activities you could do on the Queen Mary 2 for a cost. These will vary from cruise itinerary and duration here is a example of what we had onboard our cruise.
- Lunch and Learn – Wines and a tasting menu to match $75 per person
- Whiskey tasting learn about single malt whiskies $26.50 plus 15% service charge
- Fine wine seminar $120 per person
- Cocktail tasting 5 cocktails in a 45-minute open bar $28.75
I had room service a couple of times mainly for breakfast. I am not a big fan of breakfast and will tend to skip it if it isn’t put in front of me so ordering breakfast the night before on a port day would ensure I actually ate before getting off the ship. There were hot options as well as fruit, cereal, and breads. It always came exactly on the time I had requested it with a smile from the waiter.
The room service is free of charge. They had a few different options such as burgers, sandwiches, steak and pasta. There were some options that had an extra charge such as the alcoholic beverages and specialty chocolates and desserts.
Afternoon tea in the Queen room
This white gloved afternoon tea service was very special and definitely a nice treat. The food is delicious as is all the food on the ship but to have it whilst listening to some classical music was wonderful. I only did this twice because I just couldn’t fit any more food in most days.
Things to do on board the Queen Mary 2
There is lots of things to do on the Queen Mary 2 whether you want to relax and people watch or you want to learn a new skill you definitely will not get bored even if you are on a long duration cruise.
I personally loved the sun decks as we had some gorgeous weather during the trip although the ship normally does the Atlantic and I spoke to someone that did that journey in November and she never even went on the decks as it was too cold so if I were doing that sort of journey it’s good to know there will be plenty to keep me busy.
There were many different guest lecturers during our 20-day cruise. I caught a couple of Dr Suzannah Lipscombe talks and found her very interesting especially the talk about Henry Viii. A number of the lectures were also repeated daily on the cabin TVs which was useful to catch up later.
I also attended a few in house lectures given by computer expert Mitch as they were on blogging and social media which is my main interests at the moment. It was excellent for the beginners in this field and everything he said was informative.
- General sir Simon mayall KBE CB – example history and the crisis of ISIS
- Dennis Molnar – example the two best allied spies of ww2
- John Laverick – example One hundred years before Suez
- Peter G Drake – example British Explorers of Arabia and the western dessert.
- Historia & Writer Dr Suzannah Lipscomb – example Prince to Tyrant What changed Henry VIII?
- Guest Jeweller explains various gemstones during the voyage
- Flower arranging, classical afternoon concerts, magic workshop
Games on the Queen Mary 2 Ship
Trivia quiz, shuffleboard, bridge for beginners, intermediate bridge, duplicate bridge tournament, social bridge, and whist play, beat the board, killer darts, social chess, casino, scrabble get together, social draughts, baggo, bingo, complimentary golf competition (105 yards closest to the pin) majority rules, fencing, social table tennis, English premier league football on TV in pub, silly bowling, Mah Jongg get together, paddle tennis tournament.
Meetings onboard the Queen Mary 2
There were lots of meetings during my cruise which included the following:
Christian fellowship, WI and CWA get together, world voyage country fayre, friends of bill w, friends of Dorothy, catholic mass, sailing solo get together, masonic meeting, rotary, retired and serving law enforcement personal, classic car enthusiasts, retired, and serving military gathering Catholic mass, Jewish Sabbath
Dancing on the Queen Mary 2
Line dancing class, ballroom dance class, afternoon tea dance, recorded strict tempo music to dance to, recorded dance music for enthusiast’s ballroom and Latin music, sequence dancing.
Exercise when on the ship
Complimentary – Stretch and relax, walk a mile, total body conditioning, abdominal muscles express but sign up required at boarding
Fee – Pilates $12, indoor cycling $12, yoga $12 Breathing and Meditating $12 Body sculpt boot camp $12
There is a gym that is free to use, and a Spa which unfortunately had very expensive treatments even for a cruise ship so I didn’t use. However I was shown around the Spa and have written an article on it which you can read here, if you want a treat then it does look lovely.
Films in the cinema on the Queen Mary 2
The films are shown in the Illuminations which is set out with theatre style seats on an incline the seats are quite comfortable. It seems that the films are also shown the next day on the film channel on the TV in the cabins.
The lady in the Van, BFG, Baby baby baby, lady in a van, the queen, Manchester by the sea, Sully, Love and Friendship, Indiana Jones and the Last crusade, Mr Church, LaLa Land, Dolly Partons coat of many colours, Jack Reacher Never go back, Lawrence of Arabia, Passenger 3D, the queen at 90 documentaries on her birthday, the queen, Ben Hur
Planetarium on the Queen Mary 2
Is this the only Planetarium at sea, I haven’t come across one before so this does make the Queen Mary 2 seem unique. They had a number of different shows including To space & back, Passport to the universe and Search for life
Clarendon Art works on the Queen Mary 2
The art specialist were constantly changing exhibitions, In fact the ship has quite a lot of art work in its corridors which was lovely to look at whilst exploring the Queen Mary 2.
Crafts onboard the Queen Mary 2
Craft class varies from $5 $8 $15, watercolour class one off payment of $35 for supplies, complimentary tablet class, choir, needlework and knitting (bring your own projects) complimentary apple mac class. Formal portraits, English premier league football match, iPad workshop $15 for 5 classes, Adobe photoshop 3 classes $15
Library on the Queen Mary 2
The Queen Mary 2 claims to have the largest library at sea open 9am to 6pm daily. The books are divided in genre and there are plenty of choice even on sea days when the library is popular I always found something of interest. I like reading murder mystery style books and there was a great selection of these.
There is a large travel reference section, these books cannot be taken out of the library so it’s an excellent resource centre for a travel blogger like me or any traveller who wants to find information about their next destination. The library is busy and I prefer quieter areas to read my books and I could find plenty of these around the ship. There is a also a book store on board if you would prefer to buy and keep your holiday reads.
Night entertainment on the Queen Mary 2
Royal Court Theatre
The theatre has two floors and can seat over 1000 passengers. I preferred sitting on the 2nd floor which was on deck 3 as it had tiered seats so I got a better view.
I did sit on the stage level a couple of times and unless you are near the front it was a bit harder to get a clear view of the acts on stage. The lighting and sound were excellent in here and the stage digital backdrop made the shows look professional.
There were two night shows at 8.45pm and 10.30pm. I personally found the early show quite late as I prefer to see a show straight after my meal but this cruise is catering for people who want to sit in the lounges listening to music and maybe having a dance before the show.
However, the shows I did catch were good for more information on what I saw on this cruise check out entertainment on QM2.
Sometimes a matinee was on which was a great way to spend the afternoon
Formal Nights on the Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship
There was 6 formals during my 20-night cruise and apart from the first one which included the captains cocktail party there were nothing special about these nights apart from people having to get dressed up.
Even the menus didn’t seem that much different apart from on a couple of occasions when they had lobster or snails. I was slightly disappointed with the formal nights although the dresses the ladies were wearing were beautiful.
Music on the QM2
Solo guitarist Paul Garthwaite, Music with Vibz, champagne string quartet, harpist Lara Szabo, Pianist Andrew Cavenidish-Grey, Pub Duo Amethyst, pianist Graham Wellard, The jazz club with Mark Hodgson trio, 70s music with DJ Chris, vocalist Clarolyn Maier, Dixieland Jazz. Piano A deux classical concert, classical guitarist Michael Christian Durrants put on and I preferred this so often went to see these shows in the afternoon.
There was a varied mix of entertainment whilst I was on board something for everyone from the Cunard singers and dancers to guest acts such as comedians, singers, and circus acts. My favourite shows were Ben Mills a singer from the UK who reminded me of Rod Stewart and a Jersey Boy tribute group.
Extras Facilities on the Queen Mary 2
Kennels on the ship
This is the first ship that I have been on that had Kennels. During our trip there were no doggies on board as we were a leg of the world cruise and we went to look at the kennels and it was full of suitcases.
But how cool is it that you can take your dog away with you, if I had a pet dog I would love to take it on holiday with me. I even liked the lampposts that the dogs could do their business on.
The tour office is open daily from 9am-12pm & 3pm-6pm. They can offer more information about excursions you can book run by Cunard but are reluctant to provide any information that is not related to the excursions which is understandable. If you want to see some information I gathered regarding ports please go to my port information page.
The tours on offer seemed very expensive compared to other cruise lines I have used. I am not sure if this is because things are charged in USD and due to the poor exchange range now it seems more expensive than normal but I didn’t do any tours with Cunard purely because of the cost factor.
Also, its only hearsay as I haven’t experienced any of the tours but the passengers I did speak to were not happy with a lot of the tours again as the price was so high for what they got. (but this is just gossip!!)
I found the tour office helpful when I wanted some information on pass port we had visited they printed it off for me no questions asked, this was my only encounter with the desk.
Pursers office – main reception
The staff on reception are so accommodating and friendly. They helped with all my requests and always had a smile on their faces.
An area for children I didn’t go here as I had no need. There were a few children on board my cruise and they all looked as though they were having fun.
Charity on board the Queen Mary 2
Queen Mary 2 World Voyage Charity Country Fayre. During the cruise, there had been requests for donations for the fayre to raise money for 3 charities, Race against dementia, Royal national lifeboat institution and the westmead children’s hospital in Sydney.
There were a few stalls selling second hand dresses, trousers and shoes, a change to meet some engineers, some game stalls but It was like a glorified jumble sale and I had to get out as people were pushing and shoving to get to a rack of $10 dresses, not my idea of fun.
Even though it was for some good causes I didn’t like the layout there was no set out route so people were just pushing to get anywhere. There was even a few chairs put at the top of a ramp to say this was for wheelchair access only and when I saw a wheelchair try to get up the people sat on the chair just ignored her and didn’t move so she couldn’t even get to the items.
The prices of the internet packages were quite expensive if you are a silver member you get 1 hour free internet, a gold member 2 hours free internet but the people I spoke to who purchased the packages said it was very slow and sometimes my cabin mate couldn’t even log on.
An example of the costs on the 1st and 2nd May only a mid-voyage special was 530 minutes for $167.95 265 minutes for $89.95 135 minutes for $47.95. It states that it is compatible with mobiles, tablet, laptop, and PC on board but that’s debatable.
There were a few laundries on different floors. They are only small the one I used had 4 wasking machines and 4 dryers and a ironing board. As with all ships the laundry is a place to hear all the gossip. But it can also be quite a hostile place there were reports of a very serious argument during my cruise.
I love the Queen Mary 2 and I can not wait to go back on her or to try the other Cunard Ships
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