Queen Mary 2's first Yuletide in the Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale was billed as a glorious adventure. It turned out to be most ordinary and, in some ways, disappointing.
With all of the hype about QM2 and the grand tradition of the Cunard line, our hopes were high. Embarkation at the pier was the first of a series of embarrassments for the Queen. For starters, the embarkation process itself was a disorganized frenzy. Port workers were rude and often mean, especially in dealing with passengers in wheelchairs or those using other mobility devices. Lines were not well marked and personnel were untrained. At shipboard ID issuance, the workers printed my ID card with my wife's picture and hers with mine. They were unable to correct the error despite several tries, even with ship Purser's personnel assisting. Once aboard, even the Purser's office could not correct the error until the second port call.
Staying in the suites was our only saving grace. The concierge and the suite butlers were superb as were most of the servers in the Queen's Grill. Unfortunately, they never got our names or our preferences down and each meal was like starting from scratch. While menu choices were extensive, the galley had a very heavy hand with salt. It often took the wait staff several tries to get food the way it was palatable for us.
The King's Court, however, was horrid. At one of the ship's themed restaurants, they were unable to deliver a decent product. Dinnertime at La Piazza, the Italian eatery, required reservations. When we arrived at our scheduled time we waited for at least fifteen minutes before orders were taken. Then, it took me over an hour to get a bowl of spaghetti with tomatoes. When it arrived, the spaghetti was overcooked and had no flavor. After that, I stayed away from the King's Grill.
The shopping consultant was a constant source of misinformation. We repeatedly found her information to be either missing important details or inaccurate. Often, recommended stores were among the highest priced around with little, if any, true value. Seasoned travelers and those with any knowledge of jewelry and liquors could do much better at non-recommended stores.
The final blow was housekeeping. While our normal room cleaners were adequate, the "special cleaning" team was awful. My wife had a 24-hour virus. That day, the cleaners removed all the soap and toilet paper from the bathroom and never replaced it. It took a call to the butler to get it restocked. That's not what I expected at all.
All in all, QM2 was a disappointment. While the ship looks beautiful, the service leaves much to be desired. As we overheard many other passengers say, I don't think I'll be repeat passenger on Cunard. There is much better value for a lower price on other cruise lines.