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Queen Mary 2

Cunard Rules The Waves

November 22, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Mary 2

Guest Blog: Mike Pearse, ITV News

We left Southampton for Queen Mary 2′s latest voyage to New York on a dark and damp Thursday, November 10th, 2011. But this trip has been anything but dark and damp.

This is the first time I have travelled on the ship since her fifth birthday trip around the UK. And first impressions are that standards are higher than ever and have not only been met but exceeded. From the moment you board the ship you are treated with first class service.

Staterooms are spotless and those who attend to you could not be more friendly. They are happy to bring you anything you require and nothing seems a fuss.

I am on this crossing to film some reports for ITV News in the UK. They will be broadcast next April as part of a series looking at how safety and travel from Southampton to New York by sea has changed over the years since the Titanic one hundred years ago.

Many of the fellow guests have been on QM2 many times before and they tell me they can’t wait to get underway. The safety drill over it is time to change for drinks and dinner. In the Britannia Restaurant we are greeted, just like everywhere else on this ship, with high quality service, smiles and a first class attitude. As ever our food and wine is what you would expect in a top London hotel and when one in our party asks for something not on the menu it is never any trouble. This ship has a very can do attitude you do not often experience even in many of our top dining places at home.

But this is just the start and I am pleased to report as we near the end of our trip things have not changed but got even better. Staff right around the ship maintain the highest standards and are a credit to Cunard.

The Master and officers have kept us fully informed all the way of our progress and the Captain’s Reception saw drinks and canapés of a mouth-watering standard. Captain Kevin Oprey took time to talk to guests and pose for photos and then spent far longer than I had expected talking with those who attended.

As the days have continued we have dined in Todd English and found the food exceptional. The staff were, as we have come to expect, expert in knowing what is on the menu. A nice added touch was meeting the chef who prepared our meal. The chicken and fish courses are to be recommended.

At every step of the way we have found standards maintained and exceeded. My uncle has a saying “keep it First Class” and it certainly has been that.

As for things to do on board the problem is fitting them into your busy schedule.

Eating plays a great part from the buffet breakfasts to full English, lunch at a number of venues to the formal evening meals food is one thing you can not fault.

Lectures have been extremely informative.  From one about earthquakes and tsunamis by Dr. Keith Johnson to the work of the RNLI by Martin Woodward MBE, they have been well attended and liked by fellow guests. Classical performances by Kerenza Peacock and Alison Farr were brilliant and the vocals of David Shannon showed West End quality. We have also heard international band VIBZ and Roger McQuinn from the Byrds has been telling us about the history of the band.

Many varied films on board have entertained cinema goers but one very good event was the Bizet Opera Carmen in 3D. It was nothing short of brilliant and sure to be a big hit. Harry Potter is also being shown before we arrive in New York, again in 3D.

It was pleasing that we marked Remembrance Day both on November 11th, at 11am and with a special service on Sunday. Many of us on board were determined not to forget. We were allowed to remember with pride.

You have to mention the weather. It was a little rough during the first couple of days but soon became calm with a mostly moderate sea. A very good crossing for the time of year.

One could go on forever writing about every minute of every day but being on QM2 is something you have to experience. What is so impressive is how many people on board have been not once, or twice but six, seven or eight times. Some will only have a few hours in New York for lunch and return straight away. That is how much they love this ship.

Dining on the Captains table was a great end to our week at sea. A visit to the Bridge to hear the whistle blown at noon was also very exciting. Another visit was behind the scenes to the kitchens on board. It is a massive operation to cook and prepare so many meals and the planning is often done weeks in advance to make sure everything remains up to standard. By my maths an average crossing has 3,700 passengers and crew and totals some twelve thousand meals a day. It is a major challenge but one executed so well.

So to sum up this has been a trip which has seen Cunard keep up its exceptional service and standards. Cunard does keep it First Class and does rule the waves between Southampton, New York and the rest of the world.

  1. Kenneth Eden says:

    Mike Pearce summed up the QUEEN MARY 2 sailing perfectly, especially for repeaters to the ship and Cunard Line. Short, to the point, and with just enough oomph to stir memories from crosings – at least for me – without doing a full review.

    Perfection, Mr. Pearce! I look forward to the broadcast next April, and I am sure Peter Shanks will keep us in the loop and let us in the States know where to find the show on TV.

  2. Roger Waterfall says:

    Good to hear that things on QM2 are “even better” than ever, from my personal experiences I can’t imagine how improvement could be possible.
    The only thing that is not an improvement, is the addition of the Bermuda coat of arms (depicting the intentional shipwreck of the Sea Venture) onto the red ensign. At least a version of the red ensign is still flying from QM2′s mast, it could have gone altogether, we must be ‘thankful for small mercies’.

    How many weddings at sea, per sailing, do Cunard intend to allow? Too many and it would start to impose on the voyage enjoyment of those passengers not involved. Which ‘public areas’ will be reserved exclusivly for the bridal party? Or during the refit will a new area be allocated? if so, which area will be ‘lost’ to others?

    I hope that the next time I am on QM2, I can also report everything is better than ever.
    Decreasing the number of photo ‘studios’, in the corridors and stairways, would be one way to do that.
    How about a proper studio, with all the lights and phony backdrops that currently litter the ship, where the wedding party and those wanting that facility could go, by appointment. My refit suggestion.

  3. paul clayson says:

    re your reference to memorial services, we were on the Queen Elizabeth’s voyage to the Holy Land over the Rememberance Day period, and I have never before seen standing room only in the theatre for a non-denominational Sunday service.
    Beryl & Paul Clayson
    Ontario, Canada

  4. Anthony jr says:

    Rule Cunard Line, Cunard Line rules the waves, Ocean Liners never never never shall be gone!

  5. The Cunard Queens are a fusion of past, present, and future served in the finest traditions of the sea. There is no better way to travel the oceans of the Earth then in the wake of 171 years of Cunard glory. I truly love what you do because you do it so well. I hope I live to have a thousand days with the Cunard Queens!

  6. Hwfiv says:

    I was on this same crossing, and I couldn’t agree more! It was my second voyage this year, and my expectations were quite high after a flawless July 4th trip. But Cunard exceeded even my high expectations. There is truly nothing like a Transatlantic and to do it on Cunard is an exquisite experience. I’m thankful that Cunard has kept up the high standards and hasn’t been forced to cut the kinds of corners that would turn the QM2 into another Carnival “fun ship”. The real treat, of course, was seeing how this amazing ocean liner handled the “rough” seas and the category 9 winds that we had. Felt like nothing more than being on a rocking horse. Very impressive.

  7. William Hutton says:

    Queen Mary 2 is a very special ship and there is something magical about making a transatlantic crossing. The tradition of Cunard and the ship adds to this feeling and makes formal evenings occasions to relish. I was therefore disappointed to see from the dress code published in the FAQs that there are less formal nights on QM2 in 2012. As an example there will only be 3 and not 4 formal nights on a transatlantic crossing. On the 2012 World cruise there will only be 33 formal nights compared to 43 in 2011. Please don’t erode part of what makes Cunard and Queen Mary 2 in particular, so special. More formal nights please !

  8. Peter Shanks says:

    Hello All – Many thanks to Mike Pearse for a very good read. Mike is a good friend to Cunard and has been instrumental in us getting so much positive television coverage for so many of our special events over the years. He is a very capable television journalist.
    Roger – rest assured we continue to fly the pure Red Ensign on our ships. As to the frequency of weddings we will of course make sure they do not disrupt the flow of the ship or our overall guest experience. You may know that we have been very successful with our ‘Renewal of Vows’ and have managed them quietly so as they do not cause any disruption – we plan to do the same with our wedding programme.
    Exciting times – Queen Mary 2 heads to Hamburg tomorrow for her refit, we will be keeping you up to speed on how she gets on. Best Regards. Peter

  9. Roger Waterfall says:

    Many thanks for your reassurances Peter.
    My worries seem unfounded, I must ensure that I am not becoming a ‘grumpy old man’.
    Of course, nothing will stop us voyaging with Cunard.
    (Though itinerary dictates that our February cruise is with sister company HAL)
    Regards Roger

  10. Beryl Moss says:

    What a very interesting blog and am looking forward to seeing the ITV programme next year which this will be part of. Have not yet done a Queen Mary 2 Atlantic crossing but this is on my list of voyages to do in the not too distant future.

  11. Judith Sayers says:

    Interesting blog, and the Atlantic crossing is definitely a must, our first trip was the transatlantic, and we have been addicted ever since. Looking forward to the blogs on the refit.

  12. Alasdair Cook says:

    Having been on this same voyage and my 1st experience of Cunard I have to agree it was a fantastic experience and hope to do it again. A lot different to my first cruise as a school boy aboard the ex troopship SS NEVASA back in 1969 and I thought that was a big ship! Thanks Cunard

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