Queen Mary 2
by Paul Kennedy
April 15, 2006
The once we were in the Winter Garden, it was being used to display artwork and looked more like someone's attic than a lounge. Being separated from the outside windows by the corridors leading fore and aft, it was a rather gloomy room. In contrast, the Queen's Room is magnificent and it has the aura of a grand hotel when afternoon tea is served.
The Golden Lion pub seemed to be popular throughout the day, although the Chart Room, Sir Samuel's and the Champagne Bar were less busy except before lunch and dinner, and in the evenings. Our favourite spot, though, was the Commodore Club on Deck 9. It is very comfortable and much more intimate than other public rooms. We would spend two or three hours reading there each morning. It also has the advantage of a magnificent view over the bow, except for us, we had two days of thick fog and two days of heavy rain when nothing could be seen.
Having been at sea for 2 1/2 years, the ship was still spotless inside and out and no sign of wear and tear.
FOOD AND SERVICE
We also tried the Todd English Restaurant for a birthday lunch (we were packing in the occasions on this trip!). It is a beautiful room. The service was impeccable, but unfortunately, the food was not to our taste. The ingredients were first class, but too many strong and strange flavours appearing unexpectedly - is this fusion food? However, others we spoke to loved it, so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend you at least try it.
A criticism from our previous cruise still exists, namely King's Court. We still found the layout very confusing and difficult to use. We only had lunch there once, on the day of embarkation. I wanted cold meats with salad, but the counter with the cold meat only had pasta salads. Vegetable salads were at another counter down the corridor and which I had to hunt out. Perhaps it is a matter of becoming familiar with the layout and perhaps I am biased - I much prefer to sit in a formal dining room being served by liveried stewards! We have never tried King's Court in the evenings, so can't comment on what it's like then.
The cabin was comfortable and reasonably spacious with enough storage space for what we needed for a transatlantic, although I am not so sure for the Mediterranean cruise we are taking in July when we'll have all the extra shorts, T-shirts and short sleeve shirts not required on this crossing. The beds, made up into a king size bed, were very comfortable and sufficiently high to enable us to get our enormous suitcases underneath.
Our steward, John, did an excellent job in keeping the cabin clean and tidy and no matter what time we went for breakfast or for how short a time, the room was always made up by the time we got back.
Throughout the ship, there are live entertainers in the various public rooms. We didn't use the Queen's Room in the evenings, so have no experience of the orchestra there. We particularly liked, though, the pianists who played in the Commodore Club in the evenings. They took turns and played in other parts of the ship as well. The jazz band in the Chart Room was not a favourite, however - far too loud, making pre-dinner conversations very difficult.
Of course, there were no ports of call as such, but we had the experience of the ship leaving the new Brooklyn Cruise Terminal for the first time. There was a gala event on board for the New York City mayor and other local bigwigs, and we expected the terminal to be chaos. In fact, it all went very smoothly and we were on board within 30 minutes of arriving. Almost an extra day on board which gave us the opportunity to re-explore the ship and take photographs of Manhattan from a different viewpoint.