Last weekend saw myself and 119 of my colleagues board the stunning Queen Mary 2 for our annual Christmas conference. For me this was my second time sailing on the Queen Mary 2 and was looking forward to being back on board and seeing if anything had improved since I was last on board – you may recall I was disappointed last time I sailed on her (the last blog can be read here: http://www.cruise.co.uk/cruise-blogs/kerryscruiseguide/2013/12/06/were-my-expectations-too-high-or-reality-too-much-of-a-disappointment/ )
Boarding again was easy and walking back into the atrium was like walking back in time, with the Christmas tree in the atrium and the Wind in the Willows characters having a second Christmas on board around the base of the tree. We had a couple of hours spare time before our conference session started so went to the Kings Court for lunch, and then me and my colleague Donald went walking round the ship taking photos of the higher decks and as i had been on before I was Donald’s little tour guide – although I never got a tip at the end.
For me, Cunard still has to work on the attention to detail. For example we had booked to have our room as a triple and the main beds to be in twin configuration but the cabin had been made as a double – something that was easy enough to rectify but should have been right first time. Secondly if you are expecting three people in the cabin then surely you would have three sets of towels in the bathroom? Well we didn’t and after life boat drill we paged our cabin steward to be told he was going to dinner and would send someone to help us with the towels and also some wine glasses. Not long after there was a knock on the door and the lady advised we could have some more towels at turn down service – after explaining we only had 2 towels for 3 people and we all wanted a shower she did then scurry off to find some for us. The wine glasses which were going to be 20 minutes never came.
Another good example is breakfast in the Britannia – one morning I ordered 2 pineapple juices and a pot of tea. One pineapple juice arrived and was advised the other was on its way (could they not have come out together?) my tea I asked a further 3 times and it finally came when my colleagues were on their second coffee. One of my colleagues ordered a fried breakfast, she received most of the items and told the scrambled egg was on its way, he then came back with a plate of sauteed potatoes, but to this day she is still waiting for her scrambled egg and toast!
I did think the food had improved in the Britannia restaurant in the evening, and as there was such a large group of us we did rotate round the tables we had been allocated and everyone had consistent service. The waiters were happy to bring extra courses nor did they bat an eyelid when two of my colleagues without realising ordered a main dish from the spa section on the menu thinking it was a starter, and then ordered starters, soup and then another main dish and 3 desserts each.
What was also nice to see which I didn’t see as was too early last year, was the Gingerbread castle display the chefs had made and could be found on deck 3. Must admit as I walked past I was tempted to take one of the sweets off – but I didn’t. As this was a working trip we didn’t get the chance to experience afternoon tea and unfortunately the Planetarium broke down when it was our viewing so many of my colleagues who had never been on Queen Mary 2 were disappointed.
Overall the service was a lot better and more consistent on this cruise but I wouldn’t say was quite at the Cunard White Service level that you would expect, however I would have liked to stayed on longer and sail to New York where as last year I was happy to get off.