I had great expectations of the Transatlantic crossing between Southampton and NYC, fueled by all the novels and historical accounts I read. I should have taken into account that he 19th and 20th centuries are long gone.
After convincing my water-phobic husband and reluctant elderly parents to join me in London, I placed them and our luggage in the Cunard transfer bus to the docks on June 14th, 2015.
When we arrived in our staterooms, I found that my bag had been broken into: the lock was gone and some of the contents had been taken. Unfortunately, the missing items were of sentimental as well as monetary value.
I know, I know, packing valuables is not safe, but I thought that Cunard's reputation would hold true. On top of that, the items were sharp sterling silver skewers intended for tableware, and I did not want them to appear as potential weapons in my hand luggage. My mom had insisted that I keep them and use them for our July 4th BBQ.
When I reported the theft I did not expect to be reimbursed, but I did think the Cunard Security Officer would investigate the matter, since it had happened on their bus or on their ship.
Instead, I was rudely dismissed with a "claim form". The officer showed no sympathy: he quickly dismissed my concern by saying it was "impossible: must have happened at the airport" (But we didn't fly!!!).
No investigation took place. The cold refusal to acknowledge a simple fact, is, in my mind, beneath subpar customer service. A modicum of kindness, a simple apology or sign of concern would have been enough for me.
That was only the beginning of the trip. What followed continued to be extremely disappointing. Service was average. The food in the Britannia Restaurant and the King's Court Buffet was less appealing than other cruise lines (I have sailed extensively with Norwegian, Carnival, Celebrity and others); the Afternoon Tea (I so looked forward to it) was skimpy at best-they always ran out of scones! No Devonshire cream and no lemon curd. It is really sad to hold a cucumber sandwich with no cucumber in it...Oh, well.
My father and husband loved the Cliquot Champagne Bar, though they found it very annoying that all bar seats were occupied by non-drinkers and they had to wait.
The food in the Todd English restaurant was good enough, except for the stuffy waiters and décor. We are still trying to figure out what his relationship with Cunard's history might be.
Since this is a review, I want to be as objective as possible, so I will mention all the positive features I observed on the QM2, in spite of my bad experience:
1. Great ship, wonderful stabilizers: a very smooth ride even in rough seas;
2. I enjoyed the RADA workshops and shows as well as the 3D Opera, the Planetarium and the musical entertainment;
3. As usual, most of the crew (staff) is extremely hardworking and kind, unlike the officers.
If you are considering traveling with the Queen Mary, please know that it is wonderful and full of history, but it is permanently docked in Long Beach, CA.
The currently working ship is, indeed, a distant number 2 for those of us who are dreamers and experienced travelers. To sustain their pompous, smug attitude, Cunard officers who deal with the public will need to base their attitudes in present substance, not past assumptions. Otherwise, the last remaining, feeble connection with history will completely dissolve in salt water.