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J.R. Roberts

Age: 45

Occupation:Partner in Arhitecture firm

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Cunard

Ship: Queen Mary 2

Sailing Date: February 25th, 2006

Itinerary: UNKNOWN

White star service?

On a recent round trip cruise from L.A. to Hawaii, we got to sample the latest ship from the Cunard fleet, the Queen Mary 2, billed as the biggest and fastest cruise ship on the water. The ship itself is truly beautiful, taking it's design cues from the original art deco era Queen Mary 1. It's size, sadly, may be it's greatest fault. We came a way feeling like cattle. The disappointments started early. We had booked a balcony cabin and specifically requested to not be given an "in Hull" room. We got one anyway. In hull refers to the balcony rooms that are below deck 7, the promenade deck. These cabins have balconies that are fully enveloped with steel walls but have a window cut into them. They are not what most people would consider a balcony and we found the very title quite deceptive. We also requested to be part of the first seating at a table for two. We were given the late seating at a table for eight. We wondered why they even ask preferences. Any requests for changes were met with cold indifference. Can you really maintain a high quality in service, food and entertainment when you're serving 2550 people?

The staff, with the exception of the pursers office, give their all and are probably the best thing about the ship. In our opinion everything else falls short. We also got to give the staff a real test when my cabin mate fell ill and had to leave the cruise mid way through. The staff in the pursers office not only lacked compassion but were down right rude. This was our third cruise and only real disappointment. Crystal and wind star both did a superb job. Bottom line: For what Cunard charges and delivers, you can do a lot better elsewhere.

Below are some highlights and things to think about if you are considering a cruise on the Queen Mary 2

THE GOOD:
Beautifully designed and maintained ship.
Well appointed cabins.
Top notch support staff and service.
Great gym and spa.
Excellent library.

THE BAD:
Food that never quite tastes as good as it looks.
Deceptively vague advertising and brochures.
Standing in endless lines at main dining rooms and some entertainment.
Being charged for soda and other non-alcoholic beverages.
A confusing tipping program.
Weak “watered down” shows.

THE UGLY:
Rude, “burned out” management staff.
Being treated like cattle.
Being constantly bombarded with “art auctions”, overpriced photographic portraits and other methods of separating you from your money.

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