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Author Topic: QM2?  (Read 4224 times)

Nemo

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QM2?
« on: May 10, 2016, 03:27:53 pm »

Anyone been on board? Any tips?  Just booking my ticket for New York.  :-))
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derekwarner

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2016, 04:02:51 pm »

Is it a one way ticket Nemo?...

1. emigrating to the land of milk & honey & will you ever get used to left hand drive {-)
2. if steerage Class, just watch out for the bilge rats :embarrassed:

Derek
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Charlie

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2016, 04:13:38 pm »


Yes, smuggle your Atlantis onboard, then post a photo on Mayhem of her sailing in the QM2 swimming pool %%

Anyone been on board? Any tips?  Just booking my ticket for New York.  :-))

Colin Bishop

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 04:29:13 pm »

We did Southampton to New York in late September 2011, it was a fantastic experience. We also tacked on a bargain 3 night stay in New York, Times Square and then did our own thing for a week or so touring inland New England by train and hire car. The standard Cunard fare usually includes a return air flight but you can take that at any time within reason, you don't have to fly straight back.

The ship had a major refit last year with various improvements. It is not a conventional cruise ship but designed as an ocean liner. Apart from improved sea keeping (very desirable on the North Atlantic) the internal layout is designed to keep you interested and still finding new things during  a week at sea with no ports of call. We never did get around to visiting the disco!

The interior deco is very much influenced by the history of North Atlantic travel with models and some superb paintings. The Britannia Restaurant is just stunning. If you are booking a balcony cabin, don't expect to sit out on the balcony as it either will not be catching the sun if it is on the wrong side of the ship and, more likely, the wind will discourage you entirely. We had  an Ocean View cabin but an inside would be OK as well. The cabins are a good size but you won't spend much time in them. We found the beds very comfortable indeed.

QM2 is a very long ship and in an Atlantic swell the ends do go up and down by quite large amounts. If you are inclined to be queasy then a cabin low down amidships is the best bet - they don't put the main restaurant down there for nothing!

The ship docks early in Brooklyn Red Hook so if you want to experience the famous entry into NY (and who doesn't) you will need to get up early to catch the passage under the Verazano Narrows bridge (minimal clearance) and the subsequent run up the harbour past the Statue of Liberty. At the time we went the passage under the bridge was in darkness and we then had thick fog until the ship actually docked after which it cleared to reveal NY in the dawn light.

Are there any other particular tips you are looking for?

Colin
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Nemo

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2016, 05:55:56 pm »

Yes, smuggle your Atlantis onboard, then post a photo on Mayhem of her sailing in the QM2 swimming pool %%

That would be a challenge indeed!  :-)
Hope Arrows don't see this or he will be asking me to smuggle his Red Oktober on board!
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Nemo

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2016, 06:15:17 pm »

Colin. Yes, I got all that info from Cunard - about 50 pestering emails already! There is a massive refitting due in a few weeks time as she is going into Hamburg for what they call 'remastering' - everything from cabins to menus and carpets are being changed - some task in 3 weeks!
As I live near Gatwick, I was a bit put out that their selected return airports are very strange with the nearest to me being Luton which is not very convenient, oh well!

Tips? Anything particularly interesting to do or see on board. Am hoping the Chief will allow me to play around in the engine-room, maybe do the odd oil-change, things like that which, for an old fitter would be a treat!  {-)
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Colin Bishop

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2016, 07:00:46 pm »

We had a scheduled BA flight back into Heathrow. We just said which day we wanted to fly back and they arranged it. We live near Guildford so got a train to Southampton and were picked up unexpectedly by our Daughters on our return, we were going to use the train/bus/taxi combination to get home.

There is a lot of general info on the Cruise Critic Website Forum: http://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=54

As far as things to do are concerned it rather depends on the schedule of entertainment and activities for your particular crossing, you may enjoy some and not others. There are two show lounges, one of which has the famous planetarium. There are shows and films on every day of course. I seem to remember that there are opportunities to go behind the scenes, the kitchens for example, but I don't recall an opportunity to see the machinery spaces which tend to be off limits these days for security reasons. There is a viewing window at the rear of the bridge which was open most of the time on our crossing. We spent quite a bit of time in the forward bar/lounge overlooking the bows with a book etc. and the nearby library is well stocked with a lot of maritime related material. If the weather is good then the pool areas at the stern are pleasant places to spend time. There are gym facilities and an expensive spa if that takes your fancy!

Obviously, being Cunard, dressing up is part of the 'experience' and expected in the evenings. There will probably be two formal nights with the others being grades of 'smart casual'. I don't like dressing up myself but put up with it as I have always wanted to do a 'Transatlantic'.

You do of course have lots of opportunities to eat.... And drink.... And dance as well (I don't).

Most fellow passengers were pleasant enough on our trip but many will be Americans. As on all cruise ships you will see a smattering of 'plonkers' who are overfull of their own importance but QM2 has more space per passenger than most cruise ships so you are not forced to endure them. Basically it is a relaxing experience and the time does go quite quickly. On our crossing we had several different types of weather starting with an Atlantic swell and progressing through wind, fairly calm and finally fog!

I would recommend getting hold of a copy of the Haynes Workshop Manual on QM2 https://www.amazon.co.uk/RMS-Queen-Mary-Manual-Construction/dp/0857332449 but you might be able to pick it up cheaper or secondhand. It is written by Stephen Payne who designed the ship and is a fascinating technical read. I wish I had had it aboard with me as it would have been an invaluable reference to the ship and its workings. As it was I only bought it afterwards and realised how much I had missed!

Colin
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Nemo

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2016, 07:19:12 pm »

Thank you Colin. I will bear all in mind. I will not be dancing either and will have to put up with dressing up, but I understand there is a self-service place where you can eat without any fussiness if you wish.
This trip has been a dream from when I sailed up Southampton Water on 16/4/04 to see her leave on her first trip to New York. It was a gala occasion and all the fireboats were out, the bands were playing and all the ships in Soton let rip with their horns when she slipped her moorings and went off. I remember it well as I actually approached that graceful bow, reached out and touched it! When security was not so important of course.
(I recall the hull was painted matt black, which was a surprise.)
I will probably arrange my return flight myself as you did.
Bob.

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Nemo

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2016, 07:26:21 pm »

Is it a one way ticket Nemo?...
1. emigrating to the land of milk & honey & will you ever get used to left hand drive {-)
2. if steerage Class, just watch out for the bilge rats :embarrassed:
Derek

No Derek, I have to return or she will hunt me down!!
I will never get used to left-hand drive after a nightmare trip out of Toronto Airport 10 years ago after the flight was delayed and we got there after dark!! Scared me witless - and it wasn't wit! O0
Bob.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2016, 07:46:41 pm »

Bob,

Yes, there is the Kings Court self service facility up on deck 7 (although they may rename and alter it in the update). It is generally considered to be the ship's weakest point in terms of facilities and it would be a crime to have your dinner there when you can experience the Britannia restaurant. We did sometimes have lunch there but the pub does better food in nicer surroundings so we tended to use that. You might think the self service is better for breakfast but in fact the main restaurant with its waiter service is far superior food wise and you don't need to dress up for breakfast, casual is fine.

My interest in the Atlantic Ferry goes back a bit further than yours as my Dad used to allow me to take a sickie from school back in the 1960s and we would catch the steam train from Surbiton down to Southampton where you could get a docks pass if one of the "Queen's" was in. You were only supposed to go to the Ocean Terminal viewing gallery but in fact you could wander all round the docks and see all the (many famous) liners and freighters alongside and even in drydock. Then you could go to the dock head to watch the sailings. It was always my own dream to leave from the Ocean Dock en route to New York and I never thought it could happen so it was quite an emotional moment when it actually did. My Dad would never have thought it possible and I felt very close close to him as we eased away from the quay.

Colin
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Nemo

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2016, 10:22:01 pm »

I can well imagine your emotions Colin. Around 1960 I was an army trainee and employed at the old Netley Hospital which was being disbanded. My pal Willie and I climbed to the very top of that huge (clock?) Tower one evening, just in time to see the Queen Elizabeth going down and the Nieuw Amsterdam (old one) coming up - what a sight! The sound of their horns was something to remember.  :-))

I have booked for the Britannia Grill as the last thing I want to see is tattooed arms and legs! I got a BZ balcony up front so should blow what hair I have left around a bit!!
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Colin Bishop

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2016, 10:53:58 pm »

You are unlikely to see tattoos on Cunard Bob! But indeed, try to keep your hair on, 20+ knots and heading into a Westerly gale adds up to quite a bit of wind. I'm sure you will have a great time. The Britannia Grill is tucked around the corner from the main restaurant, we were lucky enough to be allocated one of the tables next to the Captain's table in the photo above.

Yes, the old QE and Nieuw Amsterdam together must have been a tremendous sight. I thought the QE was better looking than the Queen Mary with her cleaner profile. We stayed on the QM in Long Beach for one night back in 2001 while driving down Highway 1. My Wife literally had to pull me off the ship the next morning as I was taking so many photos.

Colin
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rsm

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2016, 08:53:33 am »

My wife and I have been on the QM2 a couple of times, the last time was last year for our 10th Wedding anniversary. We did it the other way around and flew out to New York and sailed back to Southampton. Very relaxing way to travel, excellent food and we had Crosby, Stills and Nash to entertain us!
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Re: QM2?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2016, 09:20:05 am »

My friend (also dance partner) had a 4 week cruise on her last year and she had her son with here (46) and he is glued to his baseball cap, but he was asked to remove it on the first day.  She was surprised that he did so but it stayed off for a month.
I shall be on the Queen Elizabeth for a cruise in September, I am looking forward to the dancing!

regards Roy
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Jonty

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2016, 12:20:15 am »

  As I recall it wine in the restaurant is expensive. We found it best to stoke up on reasonably priced stickies in the bar. Our crossing was cleverly scheduled so that we went down Southampton Water in the dark and arrived in New York ditto. There was nothing to see in between either. Good experience all the same.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2016, 06:35:16 am »

Just about all cruise ships spend around 12 hours or less in port for their turnarounds so they arrive early morning and leave early evening' sometimes a bit later so for a good proportion of the year they do dock and sail in darkness. And the Atlantic is a big place so not much other shipping in sight although we did see some marine life.

Colin
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Captain Flack

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2016, 09:16:14 am »

Apparently she is beginning to look a bit "used".  I think the refit is overdue.  Wine comes in at about $45 + tip.  I know someone who has just come back on her.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2016, 10:00:40 am »

Yes, drinks on all cruise ships are expensive, it's where they make a lot of their money while keeping the headline fares low. You can however usually order a bottle of wine, drink half and ask them to keep the rest for the following day. The drinks bill on a Transatlantic can be high as you don't get the opportunity to buy cheaper ones at ports of call - on the other hand there are no excursions to pay for... You have to look at the overall cost really.

Colin
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roycv

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2016, 10:08:50 am »

Hello I think you can buy a drinks package, a one off payment for as many drinks as you want that are 9 dollars or less.  Friends have done this in the past.
regards Roy
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grasshopper

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Re: QM2?
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2016, 12:48:05 pm »

We have started looking for inclusive deals when it comes to drinks on board ship. Not that we're serious boozers, I never touch alcohol when at home or have to drive the next day - which is most days!


We've usually just paid as we go.. drinks go on your account plus the now 18% gratuity and its settled on your last night via your credit/debit card. Our last cruise in January we got an included drinks package which allowed us beers, spirits and wines up to 9 per glass - we upgraded the three of us to the ultimate, only paid for two and had a whale of a time as we tried all sorts of things we wouldn't drink ( cocktails / other spirits etc) if we were paying per drink as usual..


We're cruising again in July, drinks package included and looking forward to a very easy week of not worrying about how much we spend.
Some of the cruise lines won't allow you to consume carry on spirits, they are confiscated and held until disembarkation day but you are allowed two litres of wine.


I'm looking to do a transatlantic again but West to East, spend a few days in NY then sail home. I was fortunate to go the other way on the QE2 in '73, cross the US and board another ship to go across the Pacific to Hong Kong.
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