I put a brief writeup on Cruise Critic. I have not written a real review as yet. I am very fond of Holland America cruises and don't think my QM2 experince changed my mind. The ship is beautiful, but service and food varied from OK to Not So Good.
Although QM2 does not yet have the history nor magic of QE2, and you know that going on during the first year, I found that it worked pretty well. (Looking back, I guess that because there were very few quirks in service and that everything ran smoothly, I have few funny stories to share.)
Service in Britannia was excellent. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all arrived in a reasonable amount ot time after being ordered. I had hestitated to eat breakfast and lunch in the Briatania because in QE2's Mauratania and Caronia the service is alway so s-l-o-o-o-w, but on QM2 it was perfect.
Immigration to get back into the US resulted in long lines only because passangers did not follow the schedule set out by the Ship. Everyone tried to go at the same time rather than the time alloted to them. If people had gone at their assigned times, there would not have been a line snaking through the ship. But as we waited in line, we chatted and had a good time comparing notes.
Embarkation took a quick 45 minutes! WOW, almost too fast to enjoy sizing up your fellow passengers as you waited in line at Pier 92.
Disembarkation went on schedule and I was on my noon train home as always. Customs slowed it down a bit as did over anxious passengers crowding the hallways rather than, again, following instructions.
Kings Court is a bit of a zoo and unlike QE2's Lido, the wait staff does not get your beverages for you.
At first after getting home I did not know whether I would do QM2 again. But thinking back on it, I certainly WILL do it again.
If you were on board, you know that there were some snafus with the shore excursions, but boy-oh-boy did the staff of the Tour Office work hard and in the end did a very admirable job getting us on our tours. Four stars to them for their hard work! (The problems seem to stem from the Miami Cunard office and not from the on-board Tour Office.)
QM2 has some kinks to work out but that is the fun of being on her the first year. You get to see a work in progress! (The ship's TV station shows great films on other liners, and according to one, boy did QE2 have some major major problmes her first few years!)
Our experince with dinner in the Britannia was different. The first couple of evenings, we had nothing to eat but bread and butter for nearly an hour after sitting down. Dinner was served all around us, but nothing for our table of eight. Once we got our appetizers, the rest of the meal went OK. We were one of the last tables out of the dining room and had problems getting a seat for the show. The third evening, we talked to the waiter and for a few nights things went more quickly. Before the end of the cruise, we had had another couple of evenings when things were quite slow getting started, like in the beginning. Other than the slowness, we thought the dining room service was good.
Shore excursion? Put in your Order Form when you board and cross your fingers. I found, as did others, than faxing it to Cunard ahead of time did not give your priority as the Tour Office does not get your Order until the trip begins, even though Cunard in Miami has received it.
By the way, the shore excursions are not all they are made out to be. Unless the tour goes some place you do not want to miss under any circumstances, you might be better off spending time ashore on your own. The logistics of the tours drove me up the all and I ended up doing the ports on my own and having a good time.