CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Cunard Line Queen Mary 2 British Isles & Ireland March 26, 2004

This was the Cunard's President Cruise with three special shore events in Barbados, Madiera, and Lisbon-they were all treats with plentiful wines, entertainment, and foods.Billed as the "Three Continents Cruise" Port of embarkation was Ft.Lauderdale, stops were Barbados,Dakar,Las Palmas,Lanzarote,Madeira, Lisbon, and disembarkation at Southampton,17 nights total. It was with a mixture of trepidation and some high expectation in boarding at Ft Lauderdale-processing was reasonable as the ship was full. Websites and news reports had reported problems with crew defections, questionable food, and ?service.As we arrived in time for the buffet service for luncheon at the King's Court-casual meal service offerings-the Oriental restaurant-was very good. Two chefs were cooking stir fry foods to order-fresh and fairly tasty. All the seating areas here are carpeted-must be painful to maintain. This is really a cut abve norm. Normally, for breakfasts and lunchs, food was varied in quality and flavors. The carved meats to order were very good. Evenings with dimmed lighting, the site became very attractive. In cases of high demand, without reservations, this was a zoo,passengers roaming everywhere. Our assigned dining w-as in the Britannia Restaurant-three levels. Comfort and service really depended on where you were assigned. We had a table of eight in the rear-first level-ambience was lacking-compared to the front and middle of the room. Service was good, but food variety-flavors-quality varied-I would say comparable to Princess-not what one would expect on a premium line. I would say that the food was even better on the Cunard Princess-servicewise too-before she was sold. I'ave been on the RV Sun, QE2,Caronia (Vistafjord) and Cunard Countess.

Entertainment was fairly good with some British acts for the large British passenger contingent,Only one comedian was not acceptable. Ethnicity of the entertainment was not a problem-no strange English pandering. There were three full production shows with 12 dancers, three troupe singers, and a 9 piece band-all more than the normal on ships. This talent sparkled. but the productions were incoherent in content. My cabin was category B6, Deck 4, with balcony. The catch was that it was cut in the hull-I'ave never experienced this type of balcony cabin before. The balcony was roomy enough for 2 lounges and table, but the hull stopped you from seeing the sea-only the skies. I would say-good for a private reading and sunning, but useless for the full sun-sky-sea effect. The stewardess-from Rumania-was very hard working, but disorganized and needing time management and organization. The ship itself is very attractive, decorwise, finishings, furniture quality. Public rooms are large and fairly well done. But, the ship is really too large-if you were to walk from the fore to aft-a very long 1000 feet walk. The crew was-for the most part-in disarray and many-many needed training-time-experience-morale boosting. Let's give this ship 12 months to settle in.

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