August 2016 - Queen Mary 2 to Transatlantic
The Queen Mary 2 was in dry dock in Hamburg from the end of May through the third week of June, resuming her crossings of the Atlantic just a few weeks before our Eastbound crossing on July 6, and our return sailing from Southampton on August 1. The "remastering", as Cunard calls it, was advertised heavily for many months. So, I was looking forward to the wonders we would find aboard.
I'm sure if we were occupants of one of the several brand new suites dropped onto the 13th deck while the ship was in dry dock, enjoyed some of the improvements in the other most expensive suites, or inspected the newly cleaned and painted hull or engine pods, we would have seen many great improvements. From our vantage point, staying in a middle-level balcony stateroom, the ship was beautiful, but the "remastering" was greatly over-hyped. To be fair, the Carinthia Lounge and the King's Court buffet, available to all, are very nicely redecorated. There is also much beautiful, new carpet in many of the public areas. In a giant leap forward into the latter part of the last century, the tiny TVs that sat on the counter next to the vanity have been replaced by 42" flat panel TVs mounted on the wall, opposite the bed and love seat. There are probably other areas that have been redone that we didn't use or didn't notice.
For us, as middle-of the-road balcony stateroom guests, the ever-present hyping of the remastering was a yawn. Other than the new TVs, nothing was done to the vast majority of the staterooms. Ours still had scuffed walls, dingy, pilled carpets, and rust on the veranda. The new TV system had bugs not worked out on the first few crossings. Our television was stuck on Korean language menus and controls, and the volume control was inoperative. Technicians did come in promptly and replace the television. On the second day my key card didn't work. I assumed I had carelessly demagnetized it, and I took it to the purser's desk to be re-encoded. Still it didn't work. When we found that my wife's card also no longer worked, I went back to the purser. They thought probably the door lock had failed overnight. A few hours later, someone came and replaced the door lock. Then, the cabin stewardess' card key wouldn't work in the new lock. A couple of days later the new TV developed a mind of its own, repeatedly turned itself on and off endlessly. The technician determined another new TV would be needed (not that we really watch much TV on a cruise.) Since the TV technicians were finished for the day, he said it would be replaced the next day. As he tried to leave I had to tell him that it was not accepable to leave the TV alternately turning itself off and on all night. He eventually figured out how to get behind the TV mount to disconnect the power. The next day a third TV was installed.
The stench of old cigarette butts in the 6th deck "C" elevator area on the non-smoking QM2 was awful. I can only guess they used the container standing there to dump the ash trays from the deck 7 outside smoking area.
Since we were "commuting" between New York and Southampton before and after our Celebrity Eclipse Baltic/Scandinavian cruise, it was helpful that the QM2 has several laundry rooms where guests can do their own washing, since the Celebrity Solstice-class ships don’t have any do-it-yourself laundries . It is a miserable experience, though, since theQM2’s laundry room is tiny and sweltering,
The launderettes are a great convenience, but once the first loads of clothes of the day are washing, you don't have much choice but to stand there waiting for a machine to become available. The "remastering" didn't address the lack of ventilation or cooling. It is still hot as blazes in the launderettes.
When the Kings Court buffet was being redecorated, the floor plan was completely revamped. There are several small, quiet alcoves and nooks with 2 to 5 tables, giving a feeling of pleasant isolation from the hustle and bustle of the buffet. The chaos in the buffet, however, is worse than before the remastering. The renovation seems to be a designer's plan of form over function. There are four separate food serving areas in a line down the center of deck 7, separated by passages and cross corridors. While the intention seems to have been to separate the pizza and pasta station, the hamburger and hot dog section, the hot and cold beverage stations, and other food areas, the result is that finding a seat, selecting a salad, beverage, entree, or dessert requires long walks back and forth, in and around, from section to section, often getting disoriented, and then searching for your table which cannot be seen if it is more than a few yards from where you are standing. The milling of hungry guests through four food-serving rooms, carrying plates and sloshing beverages, trying to find a food item, and then having no idea where the table they left is, is a major, recurring frustration. A large, open serving area, within sight of the tables and alcoves, would be much more practical in a self-service buffet.
The QM2 is starting to show the "Carnival-ization" ofCunard.