Queen Mary 2

SuiteCruising Reviews.

Queen Mary 2

Suite Cruising on the Queen Mary 2 - By Kris Krenz, MCC

On a frigid day in early March 2005 a giant ghost ship pulled into the pier at NYC. Covered in ice and snow after cruising through the last nor’easter of the winter season, she hardly appeared as if she was in the tropics two days prior. This was the Queen Mary 2’s triumphant return to New York City after wintering in the Caribbean.

This was an exciting day for my wife Maureen and I, as we were getting ready not only to board her for the first time but also to cruise not as travel agents but as revenue paying Princess Grill guests.

On the Queen Mary 2 (QM2), Cunard offers passengers the choice of traveling in different classes. While I have clients who are not happy about a class system, this works as a magnate to attract more upscale vacationers who may not choose to cruise onboard a mega ship. As a suite guest, on most popular cruise lines, one may not have as much intimacy. On most mega liners, suite guests still share the same dining room(s) and public spaces with all passengers. The QM2’s intimacy stretches beyond the stateroom suite. The Grill guests exclusive public spaces and dining rooms provide intimacy similar to that onboard smaller luxury oriented ships.

I consider the QM2 a three-class ship. First-class being the Queen’s Grill, second-class being the Princess Grill and third-class is the Britannia class. It does however appear that the Queen’s Grill and Princess Grill are closely related as these passengers share most of the same amenities including the Queens Grill’s private lounge and deck area. The major difference is that Queens Grill guests have private butler services, included soft drinks and select spirits or wine. (Maybe the best way to characterize the class differences onboard as a split between luxury and premium.)

If you are more interested in a luxury cruise experience on a mega ship consider the Queen or Princess Grill categories. If you are more economically minded and are used to mass market cruising, the Britannia Restaurant class is a good option.

What are the main extra features when you cruise in a grill class? The main difference is the size of the staterooms and amenities offered. Both the Grills have separate dining rooms with open seating times. There is also a private concierge lounge that offers light refreshments, comfortable seating, a shore excursion coordinator, a front desk information person and more.

Side of Queen Mary 2

Many of today’s cruisers are used to a “one class” ship or think all guests are treated equally and have full run of the ship. The “I’m better than you” snobbery innuendoes of the class system does and has turned off a few patrons. (Note: Suite guests on most popular lines do receive priority, preferential treatment and extra exclusive amenities, but unless a client is a suite cruiser they may be oblivious to this fact.) After all, suite cruisers do pay more, expect and deserve better.

While the Princess Grill was not the best of the best onboard, I felt that I was given a first class treatment. Cunard did not disappoint. I felt that I received a better stateroom, quality of food, service and a more intimate vacation.

The dining experience in the Princess Grill. – The Princess Grill is located high on deck 7 next to the Queens Grill. My understanding is that the grills share a separate kitchen from the Britannia Restaurant. This would only make sense, as the Britannia Restaurant is located on Deck 2 and 3 and geared for two diner seatings. Is the food the same?

We discovered that while the menus are considered the same, the food served varied in the Queens and Princess Grill versus the Britannia, and the level of service was different. There is more service staff per person in the Queens and Princess Grills, and the physical make up of the restaurants affects the overall dining experience. The Britannia Dining Room is much larger and grandiose than the others, which are more intimate featuring subtle elegance.

Our dining experience in the Princess Grill was very quiet and relaxed. I truly did not miss the deafening din of clanking dishes, hopping waiters, hustling bus-persons and loud chatter that is common in most main dining venues onboard a ship. In recent years my wife and I have found ourselves often eating in alternative dining venues just to escape the busy atmosphere. Other cruisers may not feel the same way, but when I am enjoying a nice meal, I personally would like my surroundings to be calm and relaxed. I could almost equate our dining experience in the Princess Grill to eating every night in an alternative restaurant without the extra cost. --Consider this, if a guest dined every night onboard in a pay restaurant, these extra expenses would cover the up front cost of a Princess Grill upgrade for one person.

Queen and Princess Grill Guest Private Deck

As a Grill guest, your table is always waiting, and you have a relatively long open time period to dine, which makes the dining routine less regimented. In addition, you never have to wait for an open table when the restaurant is full like other cruise lines that offer open seating options. No reservation times are ever necessary.

Our Princess Grill Stateroom came with extra included amenities. When we first arrived there was an iced bottle of champagne waiting for us, along with Cunard slippers (yours to use and take home) and large bathrobes. Chocolate covered strawberries, personalized stationary and other niceties were included throughout our cruise along with all the bottled water you could drink.

The Princess Grill stateroom decor included a couch and seating area, a walk-in closet with plenty of space to stow your luggage, large closets as you entered the stateroom, a writing desk/vanity with plenty of drawers, nightstands, TV, Phone and more. The bathroom was apartment-sized and included a shower/tub. The windows are floor to ceiling and overlook the large veranda, which has two cushioned teak lounge chairs and a coffee table.

Service Level – When ordering room service for breakfast, our food order always came as requested, not 30 to 45 minutes later. A comprehensive breakfast menu of hot and cold foods was available. It was nice receiving hot eggs to order during the times I specified. Throughout the day we discovered that room service was extremely prompt not taking more than 5 minutes after the order was placed.

The Concierge Lounge on deck 10 is extremely convenient for all suite guests (and much better than running down to the Pursers office on Deck 2 and standing in line). We made all of our shore excursion arrangements here, picked up our tickets for the limited seating planetarium show and Maureen even arranged to purchase a new Cunard bathrobe through this office. Due to the shear size of the QM2 using this conveniently located lounge saved a lot of precious vacation time.

Just the basic differences of stepping up to the Princess Grill category did add something extra special to our vacation. The extra cost was easily justified.

Contact us for your Queen or Princess Grill stateroom - By Kris Krenz. MCC

Kris Krenz Cunard Academy Certificate of Achievement for Top Commodore Level

Kris is a top level graduate of the Cunard Academy.

PAK-N-GO Cruises and Tours has the expert distinction of Cunard Commodore.

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