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  • Writer's pictureTori Carter

CUNARD QUEEN MARY 2 REVIEW

Hello from Kirk and Tori!


We sold our house in Canada so that we could travel the world by cruise ships. Our intention is that we could see the world, and report to our followers about the great itineraries, and different ships that are available to travel the world.


This blog is about our experience on Cunard's Queen Mary 2, where we boarded it on February 27, 2024 in Sydney, Australia, to go to New York, USA, arriving in May 2024. We will briefly cover what we loved, and what we didn’t love, and get into a few of the specifics as to what we had to do to get ready for this trip.


kirktoristory reviewing cunard queen mary 2
Cunard Queen Mary 2 Ship Review

BOARDING CUNARD QUEEN MARY 2


We arrived in Sydney, Australia, after doing a 5 day home stay with HomeExchange in Murwillumbah. We had been on a cruise on Royal Caribbean arriving and departing from Brisbane, then rented a car, (Jucy Car Rental), so that we could experience some of Queensland before arriving in Sydney. We rented a hotel the night before. The next morning, we had driven to the Sydney port where we dropped off our luggage, and then drove back to the car rental company to take an UBER back.


Our scheduled boarding time wasn't until 3pm, but we had dropped everything off at noon, so that we would have time to go back and forth to the car rental company and back. We ended up checking in at around 2:15 pm as the line was very short!


TORI'S TIPS: THINGS THAT WE DID PRIOR TO BOARDING


  1. we had our documents printed out and ready to show.

  2. we had our VISAS printed out and made a copy on our phones.

  3. we had emailed Cunard in advance to get permission to bring a case of wine onboard with us.

  4. we had printed out, and pre-tagged our luggage.


Although it was drizzling rain, and we were in a rental car, it was very easy to jump out the of the car and find someone to help us bring our luggage to the drop off area.


The cruise terminal in Sydney was really nice and quite organized in terms of checking in. The overall check in process was very smooth and quick. We found that there was enough communication from Cunard, with emails, and formal mail, that every passenger would be prepared and avoid hiccups during the check in process.


The whole check in process was approximately 20 minutes with the majority of the time standing in line to wait our turn. Once we were processed, we boarded the ship, and started looking for our sheltered balcony cabin, 6208, to drop off our backpacks!



THE CUNARD QUEEN MARY 2 SHELTERED BALCONY CABIN


This was our first time on Cunard, and our first time experiencing a Sheltered Balcony! Queen Mary 2 is the ONLY ship that has the Sheltered Balcony option.


The sheltered balcony did have a cost savings. When we compared the cost of the sheltered balcony to the regular balcony, we were surprised with the thousands of dollars of difference. There are definitely differences between the two styles of balcony, but we were extremely happy with our choice.


As we were on the ship for 68 days, we wanted to make sure that we were going to have enough room to unpack all three of our bags, have fresh air, and the opportunity to see the view from our balcony! We created a comprehensive video about our cabin, and hope that you will view it.



The stateroom was a decent size. It had a queen size bed, 2 end tables on either side of the bed, with lamps and storage. There was a desk with a mirror, a couch, an additional table, a fridge, and loads of storage space.


The cabins are very quiet... at least they were for the first 60 days. On the last leg where new passengers came onto the ship in Southampton, we got a new neighbour that could NOT stop coughing, 24 hours a day. You could hear him through the walls.


This is a picture of an interior cabin that we took. For the Sheltered Balcony, please check out the YouTube Video just above.

Queen bed, two lamps, storage, Cunard
Interior Cabin on Cunard Queen Mary 2

THE BATHROOM


The bathroom was a good size, and was well lit. The shower pressure was great, and the water was almost always hot.


The cabin offers soap, shampoo, and lotion. You will have to bring your own conditioner though.


There is a lot of storage in the bathroom. You can also request robes if you want too.



THE BALCONY


Our sheltered balcony cabin, 6208, was pretty nice! We were located in the AFT and Port side of the ship. It seemed to be a great choice as we got to see a lot of the welcoming events from the ports each morning that we were in port.

Pros:


Our balcony was large. We spent many nights in the chairs playing cribbage; reading, having drinks, and reading. There was a nice ledge across the span of the balcony, so that we never had to put anything on the floor. There was a lot of room to walk around, move our chairs and more!


This was also one of the most private balconies we have ever had. We could never see our neighbours and they could never see us. There was never any awkward moments of seeing anyone else on a balcony and feeling like you had to make small talk! haha.


We had no problem getting internet (they days that we purchased it) out on the balcony. We did keep the door open to make sure that we got a stronger signal though.


Cons:


The sheltered balconies echo in sound, so on the turnover days, when new neighbours would come on the ship, you could hear the doors SLAM on the balcony, as people wouldn't realize the weight of the door. It would scare us, and literally make us jump, but it wasn't often.


The balcony wall is metal, so you can not see a view unless you were STANDING on the balcony.


The sheltered balconies have NO WIND movement, so if you are in a very hot climate, it can get extremely hot and stifling on the balcony.



OUR OBSERVATIONS OF CUNARD QUEEN MARY 2


Overall, there were things that we really liked about the Queen Mary 2, and then there were things that we didn't like on the Cunard. Please keep in mind that these are only OUR opinions, and also it is our opinion from our experiencing many other cruise lines and ships. We do live on ships after-all!


1. Queen Mary 2 is an ocean liner. It is probably the most ideal type of ship that you should experience if you are going on any transatlantic or transpacific cruise. It is extremely stable! There were many days were we would look out the window and be surprised and amazed at the height of the waves, yet we didn't feel any movement at all. If you or anyone you know is prone to sea-sickness, then we would definitely recommend this ship and the Cunard line!


2. This is one place where we noticed a divide in "class". For example, there are certain parts of the ship that are off-limits to those who are not in a suite, or not on the entire world cruise, or not having the most elite status with Cunard. For the most part, we didn't care whether or not we dined in the special restaurants, or got to dine with the captain, but there were a few annoyances where the status system was a bit ridiculous...


For Example: As a WFPB eaters, we have limited things of what we eat. One of the things that is part of our every day diet is berries. Each night, we would ask for a few berries (sometimes you would see a strawberry or blackberry on top of a sugary cake that we don't eat), but we were denied a portion of JUST berries, as they were "only available for the passengers in the suites". So, it was a complete struggle to get any berries unless we got off the ship and purchased our own berries on land to bring it back onto the ship ourselves. Believe it or not, there was also one day that there was a ton of blueberries available to the general buffet that Cunard was giving away by the bowl-full, as the berries were close to going bad. So clearly, they had berries, but we were in the wrong class of passengers to get them. Definitely, there is something wrong when they withhold food from people, and that same food goes to waste.


3. We had met all kinds of nice people on this ship, but we also met some of the most rude and mean "entitled" passengers on this ship too. Some of the passengers were just downright awful. I won't list off a bunch of complaints, but let me just say that there is a lot of aggressive behavior in the laundry room!


4. The crew staff were mostly pleasant. We had some really nice relationships with the majority of the staff, but some of our experiences were unexpected...


For example, Cunard prides themselves on "white glove service", yet, one day we were having lunch in the buffet, and the waiter came to ask if we wanted drinks. We said that we would like water, and he said that we are supposed to get that ourselves... Which is fine, but why bother asking?


5. The Entertainment was average. There were a few shows that we had seen once, but none of them were overly memorable or fantastic enough for us to repeat seeing. However, there were some really good performances featuring guest entertainers. We particularly liked some of the musicians, magicians, acting groups, and dance performers who were invited onto the ship.


The ship also has a planetarium with shows. Illuminations almost always had an evening movie playing; and many educational lecturers on board. We really liked attending some of these additional shows and found the majority of them to be really good.


There are so many other things that one could do to entertain yourself on this ship, such as trivia (daily, progressive, wipe out, themed trivia); Silent discos; art gallery events and lectures; bridge lessons and tournaments; theatre games; an interactive Clue-do game (murder mystery party); exercise classes, arts and crafts classes, tea time... just to mention a few! In other words, we had no problem keeping ourselves busy for 68 days!

6. Exercise played an important role for us on this ship. We spent a lot of time walking laps around the ship and spent a fair amount of time in the gym.


2 laps equal 1.1 km
Walking on Queen Mary 2

There were loads of dance classes with instructors who would teach classes like Waltz and Tango; and there were exercise classes that included Zumba, Chair aerobics, and more. We had tried going to the classes, but found them to be crowded. In saying this though, one could say that these kinds of classes were extremely popular.


Dancing at night in the ballroom was also huge on this ship. If you didn't have a partner, there were also dance hosts that would dance with you. Once night, I was whisked across the dancefloor in 20 seconds flat doing a waltz with one of the dance hosts!


We spent a LOT of time in the gym. It is a good sized gym with 3 rooms that include many aerobic machines (bikes, ellipticals, stair climbers, treadmills, rowing machines), and a room with weights both machines and free-style. The gym was usually fairly busy, but there was enough room for you to get your workout in.


7. The Queen Mary 2 had a nice layout on the second and third floors, but there were some confusing passages that you had to take to get from one place to another. In fact, there were some really awkward places, like going to the Veranda, you had to walk through a fancy restaurant to get there.


We found a few quiet places on the ship, and had a great view at the front of the ship.


Other places that we loved on the ship were the library, the champagne lounge, the chart room, and our own balcony.


The list of things to do and see on this ship are truly endless. It is a unique ship, and quite different from many of the other ships that we have sailed on.




THE FORMAL NIGHTS ON CUNARD QUEEN MARY 2


There were a few great themes that repeated the cycle while we were on the Queen Mary 2. Throughout the cruise, we had special formal evenings, which included the Black and White attire; 20's Night; Black and Gold; and the Masquerade Ball.


BLACK AND WHITE

The Black and White Gala nights are beautiful and formal. This is the night where we saw the majority of passengers participating. Mostly you would see men in black suits with either black or white ties, and you would see women with black or white dresses.


RED AND GOLD

On Red and Gold nights, we would see a lot more shimmer in the clothing that the passengers wore. We saw sparkling gold jewelry, shimmering dresses, red glitter dresses. With the men, we saw some really neat patterned red and gold jackets, and colorful ties.


ROARING TWENTIES

The Roaring Twenties theme, in our observation, had the least amount of participants! We did see some amazing outfits with flapper dresses, and neat head gear. We saw men dress up with hats and suspenders.


MASQUERADE

There were a lot of really interesting masks worn on Masquerade nights. Some people had made their own, some had simple face coverings, and others were completely elaborate. We had fun observing the creativity of the passengers.


black and silver masks
Masks at the masquerade ball Queen Mary 2

THE VEGAN FOOD ON THE QUEEN MARY 2


The Queen Mary 2 has a dedicated vegan menu which you could select from each and every day. It was a separate menu that you could use whenever you liked, as long as you ordered from it in advance (the evening before, or the morning of). There were also some vegan or vegetarian choices on the regular menu that could also be altered to accommodate your dietary needs. (The vegan menu is in the video that I posted in this blog).


The lunch menu, in the Britannia, also has vegan and vegetarian options. You could order straight off of the menu most of the time, however there are a few menus that do not have anything vegan at all.


The Buffet always had Indian curry, and a few vegetables to chose from, but as good as it was, it was very tiring to eat vegetable curry almost every single day for over two months! We made friends with one of the chefs, and sometimes he went out of his way to bring us something special like samosa baked just for us!


Another alternative is that in the pizza and pasta section, the chefs, if they have time, will make a marinara pasta with vegetables, or a pizza without cheese for you.


They also have lentil burgers and Beyond Meat burgers available. You just have to ask!


Overall, we made the food work. The chefs will listen to your requests and do whatever they can to make sure that your dietary needs are looked after. Please take a minute to look at some of the food that we ate while we were on the ship!




TORI'S TIPS REGARDING QUEEN MARY 2


1. There is FREE laundry on this ship! The laundry sheets are provided too. The laundry room is VERY busy, and despite signs asking people to keep the door closed (it is pretty noisy), the doors are frequently open. I would NOT want to have a stateroom anywhere close to the laundry room.


Sign showing hours for laundry
Launderette on Cunard Queen Mary 2

2. CUNARD falls under the umbrella of Carnival Corporation, so if you book a ship on a Cunard cruise, you can get your shareholder’s perk! The video below shows you information about the stock, and this link brings you to the new StockPerks app that you are now expected to use.



3. There are a lot of chances that you can win wine and other prizes on this ship. We liked to participate in the trivia games every night, and the prize would be a choice of a bottle of red or white wine!


If you participate in sports and trivia, you could earn stickers which in turn you can trade in for prizes at the end of your cruise.


Here is the activity reward redemption prizes as of May, 2024 on the Queen Mary 2. The numbers show you how many stickers you need to redeem the prize.





IN SUMMARY


We had a nice time on the Cunard Queen Mary 2. For the most part it was comfortable and fun, with a few personal frustrations such as encountering some rude passengers. (Just our experience!)


Our favorite things about this ship is that we had a very stable and smooth journey; we had a comfortable stateroom; we had met a few really nice life-long friends; and experienced some great lectures.


Overall, we would travel on a Cunard cruise again, and continue to take advantage of some of the unique places on the ship such as the library and planetarium.

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6 Comments


normmeyer
May 15

Lisa and her sister went to visit her daughter in Bisbane about a month ago!

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Tori Carter
Tori Carter
May 15
Replying to

We could have met on the rcl!!

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Guest
May 14

A thorough and interesting review! We love QM2, probably our favourite ship. I am disappointed and surprised to hear about your berry issue though, surely something that could easily have been accommodated? Thanks for sharing.

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Tori Carter
Tori Carter
May 14
Replying to

Hi!


Thank you for reading. We did get a bowl of blueberries that one day, and got a few strawberries from the chef who made us samosas. The chefs and staff were very helpful!

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Guest
May 14

We had hair conditioner, we just had to ask for it. We gave up on using the passenger laundry because there are not enough machines and not on every floor (we were on 13 and had to go down to 11 to find a laundry.) We sent out the 15 item bag laundry multiple times. Expensive but much less stressful and time consuming. On other Carnival Corp ships we get free laundry but Cunard only gives a 20% discount to Diamond passengers. We were on for the entire 123 days and overall it was a great time! We enjoyed meeting you too!

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Tori Carter
Tori Carter
May 14
Replying to

Ahhh, I never even thought to ask for conditioner as I always have my own anyway. Thanks for pointing that out.

As for laundry, it was nice that it was free, but you really had to try your luck to get a machine. There was one man on the 6th floor who was there literally every single day ... yet he always wore the same shirt. I THINK he was in business of doing other people's laundry in there. 😄

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