My wife and I have been considering a cruise on the QE2, and I recently read the reviews of it on the Cruise Crtitic site. Is the ship really as shabby as the reviews make it sound? Even the people who loved the experience said that the QE2 requires extensive interior (or at least aesthetic) work. Will the QE2 be a jarring experience after traveling on the QM2 in a PG cabin? Would Q3 cabins be roughly equivalent to PG?
Also, is the QE2 able to dock at most of its ports of call?
We are going on the QE 2 (P 2 category) on the July 30th Cruise after having sailed in a Princess Grill Suite on the March 9th QM 2 Carribean Cruise. We will let you know the difference when we return. I have a feeling comparing the two is like apples and oranges. From what we've heard the food and service in the P 2 catgory is superb.
Of course, there is no balcony or state of the art fitness center, but this will be more of a sightseeing cruise.
We were first on the QE 2 on our honeymoon in 1972, but then again everything was perfect at the time.
I have found a lot of the negative comment to be from those in the least-costly cabins, expecting far more than promised. Take the usual grain of salt when you read these posts. No line is going to say let's go to sea and be shabby and do badly, let's not give passengers value for their money.
Having said that, how did you find the QM2? She is new and plastic. There is not really a great sense of England nor the sea about her. Yet the Princess Grill is (for me) good value. Still, any equipment now running for Carnival-Holland America-Princess-Costa (read new-build) could be called a Queen Something and run as a flagship and in time the once-QM2 would be just another ship.
The QE2 is, now, not just another ship. Being on her will be a far different experience from QM2. She is old, smaller in feel and passenger load (by 1,000 people easily). You will know the ship has been sailing long and has seen much. Ports? Perhaps half you will need to tender to. As you are used to a small grill experience from QM2 (what, under 200 dining? rather than the industrial 1,600 all at once in Britannia), you may well love the QE2 Princess Grill. It is the original grill, designed to be a room for dining at sea. My only complaint is that the original cabin-feed into it has all changed, what with the adding of the verandas up on the superstructure. Many cabins now feed into the Queens Grill, a room down in a well, with no ocean views, but still a nice-enough room.........my special beef being that the original One Deck
First Class cabins, 11 each side, the large oval windows, all now feed into Queens Grill. I've been told some will buy Q3, like my favorite 1049, and request Princess dining. You get the best of both worlds, an original First Class cabin and Princess Grill. Even a 450 or so room dining, the single-seating Caronia, the original First Class Columbia room, can be fine.
The ship will not run years longer. Many go on her now while there is still time. I think you and your wife could consider a voyage. It will be unique. You may grow to love her and miss her when she is gone.
We have just returned from QE2 - our first time on the ship. Haven't been on QM2 but they cannot be compared like for like. QE2 is a majestic old lady and, even though some areas are showing signs of wear and tear, whilst we were on board a team of carpet fitters from Liverpool were spending 3 weeks on her replacing huge expanses of carpet, so money is being spent on her upkeep.
We stayed in P2 and thought the bathroom needed refitting. The rest of the cabin was well maintained (new carpet) but fittings are 1970's style!
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would love to cruise again on her nest year, but she doesn't seem to be doing the Baltic, which is where we fancy going next.
As much as I have enjoyed the QM2 voyages, I did feel more as though I was in a floating hotel than on a ship. I am hoping a QE2 voyage more closely resembles the Caronia experience--our first (and still very best) experience on a ship.
QE 2 was built in 1968 and she's showing her wear. In my experience, the British "spare expenses" when it comes to furnishings. And, the cabins can be miniscule in some categories compared to QM 2. It's apples and oranges. Queen Mary 2 was built by Carnival, which puts a lot of money into its ships. For a cruise I'd pick a ship other than QE 2.
I really have to disagree with Anne Campbell's comment - having been on both QM2 and QE2. Being British I really don't think the the British spare expenses when it comes to furnishings - QM2 is great, though with lousy service, but doesn't have the same elegance of a fine English country house that QE2 has. My advice is book QE2 and keep her going for many years - she's a great ship, old-fashioned, yes, but immensely pleasurable to travel on with wonderful service. We're going to the Mediterranean on her next Monday - so I'll post any updates.
Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. It's a spring 2006 Mediterranean cruise we were considering for the QE2, so it would be great to hear your comments. Have a wonderful time.
I found the Caronia a more comfortable experience than the QM2--even in terms of steadiness at sea. I guess we've been seeking to replicate the ambience of that trip in some way, and it seems like the QE2 may just be where that's possible.
We were on Caronia in 2002 around the Baltic and had a wonderful time. The QE2 is very much like Caronia only bigger - the style of service is the same - particulary if you book a cabin in Caronia or higher accommodation. We're going to be in a C1 cabin around the Mediterranean which is 242 sq ft so we're expecting it to be nice. There are lots of quiet corners on QE2 so whilst it is big you can always find peace and relaxation, which we find hard at times on the more modern ships. We haven't been on since we did a transatlantic in 2003 so we'll be interested to see what, if anything has changed.
I too, disagree with Anne Campbell - not all of us want glitz and glamour. Perhaps that is because I am British, too! Another plus for me is that there are not hundreds of children around! We had a very few in the Princess Grill who were beautifully behaved - a real credit to their parents. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Andrew - We were on Caronia in 2003 and thought she was wonderful. Our waiter Michael (from Bulgaria) is now on QE2 in Caronia restaurant - you may be lucky enough to get him!
We fancy the Baltic next year, but Cunard ships are not doing that itinerary for some reason. I wonder whether we should try Celebrity - Constellation cruises from Dover to the Baltic and we don't particularly want to fly.
We're booked on Constellation next year on the 29th. July out of Dover. This will be our second Celebrity cruise and we chose it for the same reason as you - Cunard is not in the Baltic next year, at least at the times we can go. Shame.
We were on Galaxy at Christmas and had a wonderful time. Celebrity is excellent, not as good as Cunard by any means - there's no sense of occasion like when a Cunard ship enters or leaves port. But its all very clean and efficinet - though we noticed furnishings in lots of the public areas were very shabby and needed replacing, very strange for an American ship which doesn't spare expenses!!!!! We've booked the Baltic on Constellation for next July as we couldn't find suitable itinaries in the Cunard brochure - again we'll let you know.
But as for now we're back on QE2 on Monday - we can't wait.
I, too, disagree with Anne Campbell. Having voyaged a dozen times on QE2, I can confidently say that she truly and honestly epitomizes the "Golden Age" of the transatlantic liner. Although she does show signs of her age, she is, nevertheless, a classic, the likes of which will never be seen before. I have made two voyages on Queen Mary 2 which I find to be a pre-fabircated "theme park" for the Golden Age to which she aspires but will never truly earn or justly deserve. My advice is to enjoy QE2 as often as possible while she is still with us.
I agree with Andrew and Bobby. We're sailing on Monday on QE2 (for the third time) on a Mediterranean itinerary. Quite frankly, I'm much more interested in being on the ship than the ports of call. The nice thing about this particular cruise is that there are two full days at sea before the first port and three full days after the last one. It's almost as good as a transatlantic (done two years ago along with the Orient Express from London to Southampton - a real Golden Age experience).
As I've said, I have wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise, and I've wanted to sail on the QE2.
This past Monday, my wife and I were nevertheless thrilled when my mother-in-law and sister-in-law suddenly suggested that the four of us take a transatlantic QM2 next spring. We four had taken the QM2 during its short 3-day Mother's Day cruise back in 2004, and we had a great time. My wife and I have never done a transatlantic. More importantly, I got to thinking how memorable it will be to take a transatlantic voyage with these three wonderful women, and it's an opportunity that may not ever present itself again.
So today I reserved two P1 cabins (on opposite sides of the ship, so we can keep both sides of the ocean under observaton!) for the May 29, '06 westbound We're rather close to an elevator bank, but hopefully that won't create any undue noise (if anyone has any experience with QM2 elevator noise, please let me know).
So, unless an unexepected windfall comes my way, any QE2 trip will likely have to wait until 2007. The series of posts in response to my original query have been greatly appreciated, and I hope to have the chance in the very near future to take a trip on that great ship.
We've just come off a 12-night western Med cruise on QE2. We had a fabulous time. The ship is clean and comfortable and plenty of evidence that money is still being spent to keep the ship up to scratch - new carpets, new furniture - indeed, mysteriously the sunloungers on Sun Deck were replaced mid Bay of Biscay (see the difference once I post my photographs of the trip).
Our C1 cabin is the best we've ever had - large, well appointed, a bathroom you can move around in. I agree, few balconies on the ship, but one of the joys of cruising is people-watching your fellow passengers. You can't do that from a balcony. QE2 has lots of quiet areas, so you can easily find somewhere to read and relax. We couldn't do that on QM2.
QE2 has character and doesn't look like a floating apartment block. Yes, its layout is perhaps a bit quirky, but that just provides interest and charm. Couldn't get a QE2 cruise that suited for next year (teaching!!), so on QM2 for a second time. However, will book QE2 again at the earliest opportunity.
Service and food in the Caronia Restaurant was superb - for those who are lucky enough to go grill class, it should be even better.
Sometimes when I am with a group of people the talk turns to travel and many times to cruises. When asked what ships I have been on (and there have been many) the mention of the QE2 always draws the most attention and the most questions are asked. She will always be the best in my eyes, no matter how old she gets.
We have the delightful dilemma of choosing between the QE2 (Queen's Grill) and Holland America's Amsterdam (no. 2 type verandah cabin) for the 2007 World Cruise.
We are concerned with the following:
QE2 - worth the VERY expensive price? (don't suggest dropping a category as I don't think I could stand nearly 4 mos. without private access to the outdoors and the cabins are small as it is) age of passengers? everyone keeps saying 65+ is all there is? (we are 45 and a youthful 62) type of passengers? (Friendly? Talkative? Experienced travelers and general sophistication, to a degree, fine, but snooty, or too conservative or disinterest in meeting others - would be heartbreaking to us for 4 months! ) itinerary? (concerned with long stretches of days in the beginning and end of the cruise that are broken only by not terribly interesting places- for example, in the beginning they waste time (in my view) in Los Angeles and San Francisco and Honolulu and at the end, the final 15 days are broken only by 2 islands and Southampton, then to New York. We actually like the Amsterdam itinerary better, except there is NO New Zealand nor South Africa, both of which are of great interest to us.) condition of the interior? (I have always rather loved "faded grandeur" and certainly more than Las Vegas type glitz or just plain tacky. But is the inside really too 70's (not a terribly attractive design decade ) or TOO run down? Would it just be very depressing?
Any comments, experiences or suggestions for comparison/consideration would be enormously appreciated! Our decision MUST be made by THIS FRIDAY (August 19th) as Cunard must have the deposit on the cabin we are holding IF we are to choose the QE2! Thanks. pw
I read with interest of your dilemna of which ship to choose between HA's Amsterdam or QE2's QGrill grade - whilst I cannot comment on HA the Queens Grill experience is in a nutshell 'superb'. The food and service are exemplary and if you post your email address I can send you some menu samples inc. the QG's a la carte menu - which is very comprehensive.The Maitre D' Mr Chambers has been with QE2 34 + years and the perfect host and along with his very able assistants makes the whole dining experience very special.
The QG Lounge Bar is a very nice place to have pre lunch & dinner drinks and where also for after your meal & the staff here on my last cruise last month were excellent. I know much is said about the 'faded grandeur' of QE2 but as long as you do not expect everything to be brand new & extremely modern you will not be disappointed. Alan Whicker on his 3 part film he took on QE2 described the QE2 in the 1980's as a floating ' Waldord Astoria' and he is not far wrong even in the 21 st century! Yes QE2 is tired in places but all the carpets were being renewed on my last cruise and I hear their will be another major refit in May 2006 so I think talk of her being retired soon are incorrect! Most of the public rooms and bar areas on board are very comfortable and the thing I always find is that you never feel crowded on the QE2. My only real complaints are that the air conditioning could be more powerful and they could do with 4 swimming pools likethey used to have instead of just 1 outdoor & 1 indoor!
Re your fellow passengers you will no doubt meet many interesting people and yes some of them might not want to talk & be aloof but then you meet these sort of people anywhere. From my own experiences on QE2 & I've done 5 cruises, people are very friendly and I feel that even on shorter cruises onboard you are more likely to meet a great mix of both European &International passengers than any other ship afloat! On this past Jul'05 cruise there were 100 Japanese guests with their own tour guides and they even had a Japanese hostess who gave announcements in Japanese and also at all the Drinks Receptions.
I'd be interested to know which cabin you are holding - the best QG cabins are midships on either 2 or 1 deck - members of my family have always liked the 2076 - 2082 number cabins or those on 1 deck that have an elliptical window i.e. 1042 that are better than the 3 portholes in the 2 deck Queens Grill cabins. The cabins whilst dated are very comfortable with plenty of storage space, spacious marble bathroom (even for single cabins when I travel). Even though Grill Class is expensive I think it is worth it esp. for the very quick time you can board the ship - I boarded within 15 minutes of arriving at the QEII Terminal building last month. This is a great +point as if you travel in Mauretania or Caronia grade you could be waiting for 2+ hours!
Having said the above,I am on the ship next for the 20 night Transat crossing & Canadia cruise and am travelling in the Princess Grill grade - where I was lucky to dine on the last night of my recent cruise. I have to be honest and say the food was not disimilar to the Queens Grill albeit the service whilst very good was not very attentive! Whilst they had a smaller a la carte menu you can like in any of the Grills order off menu whenever you like! If it was myself I would probably book the PG Rest for the whole WCruise as you can still make use of the Queens Grill Lounge Bar.
Richard: How wonderful of you to take the time to reply to my Midnight Madness! And such a long and thoughtful answer. Thank you.
We are holding 8001, top deck (Signal?) starboard side, first one behind the whoppo suite. It has 420 square feet, apparently, and a sliding glass door out onto a tiny balcony. If you look at all the starboard side pictures of the QE2, you will see it, top row, farthest right with an obstruction cutting off about half the balcony size. We will try to get an answer from Cunard on Monday, re: if that obstruction makes the balcony too small for two people in 2 chairs or if it cuts any of the light into the room.
I know this was not an "original " cabin and was added, but I am not such a purist as to really care, although I do read that those "verandah cabins" creak like heck in heavy winds and seas. That's ok with me compared to no private "outside" for nearly 4 months!!! Especially when the cabins are as small as they are compared to today's cruise ships.
Yes, yes, I know, this is an ocean LINER built in the very late 60's, so I mustn't confuse the two. Still, 2 rather large people bumping around in 420 square feet or less is still somewhat tight. (Especially with a hubby who won't hang up his clothes!!! )
It does interest me that everyone, in all the reviews I have read, including the pros, do go on so about the food and which particular restauant you are placed in, which, though very important to us (you'd know that if you saw us - not exactly thin specimens) is not the "deal breaker". For me,the cabin is always MUCH more important! as that is your "nest". If we cannot secure the very best we can afford and if there is any question as to bearable size and light and an open door for breezes and the sound of crashing waves (sometimes) and an "escape:" from the inside (and in my nightgown at midnight if I want - providing of course that the ship even HAS balconies - we've been on a very nice cruise where they did not and I survived, but that was for 6 DAYS, not for 4 MONTHS!) then we will pass.
I do have a question for you. I understand the top grill class is the Queen's and most people have written that while the food is superb (and basically the same as the other grills, just more tableside service offered) it is the service that REALLY sets it apart . The less happy comments say it is located "down a pit" which doesn't bother me either as we would most likely only be there for dinner and it's dark outside anyway (we always pick the late sitting in order to stay at the destinations as long as possible). Would we be allowed to "visit" the Princess and Brittainia and Caldonia (can't remember the correct name) and I assume Lido - if they were not filled up or busy? I love the idea of "dining around" and get truly bored in one place all the time.
My big problem (besides the horrendous expense) is the itinerary, though George (hubby) is very happy with New Zealand and South Aftica, which the Amsterdam doesn't do. It is a "wash" otherwise as to Australia and the Indonesian area and China and India, although Amsterdam also skips any visits to Japan.
Amsterdam does all the Egypt area and chunks of the Med. Sea where the QE2 goes straight to the Seychelles and around Aftica., and up by Spain . She spends 15 days! doing this after Africa, eventually going to New York, broken only by 2 islands and Southhampton as destinations,,which is a real downer to me. I don't like TOO MANY days strung out on ship with no interesting "breaks" as it were, though George is perfectly happy with that.
Any further comments would be wonderful and thank you again for your original message. Hope you have a wonderful time!!! on your coming cruise. Porter Watkins
Richard: Sorry. Forgot to note my e-mail. Thought it went along with the message and saw not. It's firstname.lastname@example.org. I had to laugh, too, on rereading your note. We stayed in the Waldorf a year or two ago and thought the same thing; "faded grandeur" for the most part, though the Lobby is probably the most beautiful in New York! Our room and the service anound the hotel (except for a fabulous, sumptuous brunch!) was less than pleasing, even to two laid back, enthusiastic, easy to please, old Southerners like us. The poor old place. No, we do NOT expect anything new, just hope to avoid the truly tacky (lots of 50's, 60's and 70's "decor" is just THAT! not some of the hotels in Las Vegas and some of the newer ones around American cities these days) and hope for an English countryhouse kind of look? Faded chinzes, plaids and tweeds, old polished silver, walls filled with interesting portraits or ships prints, nice solid overstuffed furniture (preferably antique, of course, but not holding our breath here), cheery but quieter colors, books piled in a corner, newspapers scattered on the drinks tray, a small cracklling fire - no, no, I'm getting carried away here, but you know most likely know what I mean. We just HATE the slick, the plastic, the garish, the fakey gilded, the off the factory-line look, and aren't happy with most of the very spare and contemporary either. Not cosy. Anyway, have taken up WAY too much of your time, and again, best wishes for a truly wonderful cruise. Porter (Watkins) P.S. Wish you were going Jan. 07. Think we would all become fast friends.pw
I read your original post and really struggled to think whether QE2 is what you're looking for.
I've travelled in a Q2 on the Signal deck - and you're right - the balcony makes the world of difference. For us, it'll be an absolute must unless we were to ever do a Norwegian Fjiords when we wouldn't be outside in the open too much. 8001 has a restricted balcony. We had a full balcony and it was just ok for us to have two deck chairs and a small table between. You have to step over the deck chairs to get from one to another. ie. You can't walk around the front.
There's one thing I think you'll struggle with.... the size of the suite. You say that you're both 'rather large' sized. In a Q2 8001 suite - you can get around, but for the money you're paying you don't get as many square feet as you would on QM2. 8001 is ok, and I suppose it depends how much of your time you'll be spending in there. If we were doing a WC we'd be happy enough with a standard Q2 - and we'd have our 2 year old son with us.
You also ask about the people you might meet.
We did a WC sector and found that whilst the majority of the guests were over 65 years of age, we in fact found that they were extremely pleasant and of course very interesting. (We were 30 & 40 at the time). There was no snootiness that we could notice. We actually made so many friends that we ended up throwing a cocktail party for them towards the end..... and they were guests in their 60's and 70's and we in our 30's early 40's..
Queens Grill is really top rate and if we were to do a WC, yes we would choose QE2. Equally, I would very well understand that some may not choose QE2 as the suites just aren't big enough and/or lack of balcony.
I feel for you - you have a mighty difficult choice in front of you. The only way you can be sure is maybe to take a short weekend break on QE2 so that you get a feel for it. On disembarkation day, you can view other suites when guests have vacated them so that you can weigh up whether you'd prefer to go up a category. Perhaps this is the safest way to quell any fears you have about the suite.
The guests you encounter on a WC are very different from a weekend break (just in case you bump into a British brigade of party animals on a weekend break!!!).
We are also holding 8001 for a cruise next summer. We were recently on the Iceland/Norway cruise and spent some time looking up at 8001, and while its balcony is smaller than the others on the signal deck, there was enough room for two chairs.
Richard, Pete and Nancy: Thanks so much for your replies.
George (spouse) and I went over every single thing we could think of: pricing, cabin, ship, itinerary, our expectations, etc., etc., etc., for over 3 hours and came to the final and very tough decision to go with...the Amsterdam.
It finally came down to the fact that Cunard and the QE2 scared us just a little bit in terms of the cost (nearly $50,000 more than the other); the amount of room in the cabin and balcony (we could not get any sort of picture out of Cunard); the atmosphere on the ship and the type people and their attitudes (really unknown to us- worried about too many rich, stuffy old Brits) and finally the disappointment in the beginning and the end of the itinerary. It turned out there were just about 35-40 days, combined, where the destinations, the "breaks" in the middle of the at sea days, were of no interest to us. That was just too much of a percentage. (For example we had no interest in re-visiting Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, and at the end of the cruise, there are 15 days after Capetown that are "broken" only by a stop at a bay and 2 islands and Southampton, then New York.)
We really liked the Amsterdam prices for the suite, the looks of the suite and balcony. We pretty well know the kind of people there will be (as we have been on Holland America before), and we really were swayed by the itinerary, though HUGE disappointment that they skip New Zealand.
The Queen will be there for us at a later date I am sure, as they say there is going to be a major refitting in May of 2006, so there appears to be a reprieve for the old girl yet again. We plan to sail on her as soon as possible after our "big one".
Wish us luck and thanks again for your interest and comments. pw
For all who question the status of QE-2, Hopefully Cunard treats her better than the SS United States . Anyone passing thru Philadelphia ,Pa. U.S.A. Should stop to see this once proud flagship of the U.S.A. [SAD] May this never occur to QE-2.