After a quick and comfortable flight from London Heathrow with British Airways, we arrived in Hamburg, Germany. Once we had passed through arrivals, a Cunard representative was waiting to direct passengers to their shuttle bus transfer. A 40 minute drive through the city of Hamburg and we arrived at the port to see the spectacular and alluring Queen Mary 2, the worlds only Ocean Liner.
The first benefit of staying in the Princess Grill Suite means that you can skip the queues and access through priority boarding allowing you to start your QM2 experience at the earliest opportunity. This is also applicable to Queens Grill Suite passengers. Upon entrance to the ship I had a great sense of anticipation of what my first cruise was going to bring. The grandeur of the QM2 is obvious at first sight and was just a sign of what was to come.
We made our way to our Princess Grill Suite and our luggage arrived at our door a few minutes later. The cabin was pristine and very spacious, the bathroom was well stocked with Penhaligon’s toiletries and our fluffy white dressings gowns were hanging in one of the two wardrobes along with our slippers. Godiva chocolates and champagne on ice were also a welcome treat! I was taken aback at how large the balcony was even with the addition of two extremely comfortable wicker chairs and a table.
Once we had unpacked, we headed to the Princess Grills restaurant on deck 7. This restaurant is exclusively for Princess Grills Suites customers. Queens Suite customers also have their own exclusive restaurant and all other passengers onboard can dine in the Britannia Restaurant. For those not wanting table service dining, you could also opt for the Kings Court Restaurant which serves a spectacular assortment of buffet food to suit all nationalities and preferences. Alternatively, you could also dine at the Golden Lion, serving traditional British pub food with a slightly more elegant twist.
Nothing was ever too much trouble in the Princess Grills restaurant, and you could mix and match courses between the menu of the day and the A la Carte menu. You could even swap the salad course for Tempura King Prawns!
The Queens room on deck 2 is host to the world-renowned Cunard Afternoon Tea. A sight truly to behold. It is here that you can also find the largest ball room on the Ocean. White glove traditional service is the order of the day offering a variety of finger sandwiches, cakes and scones all served on silver platters. Waiters are only too quick to ensure your plates are full and your teacups aren’t empty. However, if you wanted to wash it all down with champagne instead of tea, you upgrade your Afternoon Tea experience for a small additional cover charge.
The Gala Night on board the QM2 is one really not to be missed. Gentlemen are dressed in tuxedos while the ladies are in beautiful ball gowns and cocktail dresses. I relished the opportunity to get dressed up for the evening as it seems we have very few opportunities to do so in such a way normally. Passengers tend to go all out for the Gala night and is very often the highlight of their cruise.
For those not wanting to participate in the formal dress attire, you can choose to dine in the Kings Court buffet restaurant. The only rule in here is that no shorts or t-shirts are worn in the evening. Other than this, you can dress as informally as you wish.
Every member of staff on board any of the Cunard Ships are trained to the highest possible standard. Before they are allowed to work on board, they have to have been awarded the prestigious White Star Line badge. This goes for everyone from the cabin stewards, to those who work in the restaurants and the pursers desk. I don’t think I walked past a single member of staff without being spoken to and wished a good day. Their attention to detail and polite nature was endearing and only enhanced my experience on board.
Around almost every corner of the QM2 is something exciting to discover. Whether it be the Commodore Club on deck 9 where you can literally watch the world pass you by, the scenic glass elevator, the Empire Casino on deck 2, the Canyon Ranch Spa on deck 7, the Royal Court Theatre on decks 2 and 3 or any of the other extensive choices in shopping, entertainment, health and fitness facilities, bars, lounges and restaurants. There really is something for everyone on board this magnificent ship.
There are reminders of Cunard’s proud history at sea all over the ship. Commemorations, fun facts and heritage are subtly shown on almost every deck only serving to remind you just how prestigious Cunard is. Elegance on board the QM2 is in abundance but not so much so that it is overpowering. I truly believe that experiencing a Cunard ship first hand has dispelled the myth of being stuffy and highly upper class.
If you are looking for a ship that offers exceptional service, incredible food and has something for everyone then I can not recommend the QM2 highly enough. If you are new to cruising or are a first time Cunard customer, then the Hamburg to Southampton (or vice versa) two-night sailing is just enough to wet your appetite. I guarantee though, she will leave you wanting more!