A highlight of most people’s cruises in their dining experiences, they can make or break your cruise and in this post we will discuss the Cunard dining highlights.
In November 2018 we spent three nights on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, a short round trip cruise from Southampton to Zeebrugge, Belgium. During the three days we tried to experience as much as we could cram in, we don’t mean just time wise but also our bellies and this is what we will cover in this post.
Full Cunard Queen Mary 2 Ship tour
We’ve sailed all three Cunard Queens, but this was the first revisit of Queen Mary 2 since her ‘Remastering’ in 2016. Anyone who is familiar with Cunard will know they still operate a type of class system, you have you Queen and Princess Grills suites, Britannia Club Staterooms and then your standard Britannia Staterooms. We were standard Britannia.
The Grills guests have their own restaurant located in another part of the ship. When it comes to Queen Mary 2, this is a great shame as the Main Dining Room, named The Britannia Restaurant is most probably one of the most beautiful. Britannia Club guests dine in a priced area in the Britannia Restaurant, but with no allocated dining times. Us lower echelons, voyaging (you don’t cruise with Cunard, you are on a voyage!) in standard Britannia staterooms are allocated our dining times. Depending on your fare, you may be able to choose your table size and preferred time, we opted for an 8:30 dinner on a table of 2, did we get it? We would have to wait and see until arrival.
So, come with us now as go through our Cunard dining experience on board Queen Mary 2.
Okay, the first place isn’t part of our foodie trail, more our drinkie one! Located high up and forward, you have some stunning views from here. Behind the bar you will find an excellent model of Queen Mary 2, which you can admire as you sample the cocktail menu – with cocktails inspired by Cunard’s seven most decorated Commodores.
This was our favourite bar, to be honest any bar in this location on any ship is usually our go to spot. The views as we said are stunning, you can sit with a drink or a book staring out at the ocean for hours.
It’s in the Commodore Club we found the 3 Queens Gin. Named after Cunard’s three ships – we couldn’t miss the opportunity to try them, all three of them we might add! For us Brits, its worth noting the measures are larger than you standard 25ml, with 1oz (29.6ml) and 2oz (59.1ml). We could never decide on a favourite but as they are served in all bars across the ship, we would just work our way through them as we moved from bar to bar.
The Golden Lion
A popular place for many on embarkation day is the Golden Lion. While others head to the Kings Court buffet, why not pop along to your ‘local’ for a Pint and some Fish and Chips?
We ate here on day two, unfortunately the ever-popular Fish and Chips was unavailable so instead we had a very tasty Steak and Mushroom pudding and a Cottage Pie. We arrived at around 11.30 after exploring the ship, at the time The Golden Lion was very quiet, which it quite rare as this is a popular place. By the time it was midday and we were ordering our food, the place had filled up with thirsty and hungry punters. So, a tip is to get there early if you fancy an early lunch.
On our 2015 visit, this was called the Winter Garden. To be honest, at the time we thought it was a terrible waste of space as we rarely saw anyone ever use it.
In the 2016 Remastering the Winter Garden was removed and replaced by Carinthia Lounge – “a heaven of escape, relaxation and discovery”. This is a major improvement and we’re glad to see the space is now really popular with passengers.
Serving Illy coffee Tea Forté teas, this is a great location to come and chill during the day. If that’s a little too soft, there is a selection of Iberian wines by the glass, fortified wines, beers, ciders and Ales. Take a look at their port cellar – it’s quite impressive!
If a juice gets you going in the morning, this may be the place to visit during breakfast, while at lunch they serve a range of tasty snacks from an area where you can choose your own plate.
If there is one thing Cunard are known for, its for a good afternoon Tea. On Queen Mary 2 you have many options, so there is no excuse for not having afternoon tea while on your voyage, however you choose to do it.
This is the traditional Cunard afternoon tea. With white gloved waiters serving you tea, finger sandwiches, cakes and scones while being entertained, on our day by the pianist. Sometimes it will the Harpist, the band or a string Quartet. Doors open at 3.30pm, but people start turning up around 3pm, so get there early if you want to be straight in.
Sir Samuel’s is home to Godiva and everything chocolate. We popped in here for hot chocolate and a Godiva treat one afternoon. While here we noticed they do a Godiva Chocolate Afternoon tea, served from 2pm to 5pm. After our hot choccy and cake, we were not brave enough to sample their afternoon tea offering, but it does sound exceedingly good!
If you don’t fancy the formality and just want to pick and choose what you want, Kings Court Buffet also offers the option of a relaxed afternoon tea.
Lions Share and Champagne Afternoon Tea
Not available while we were on board due to the lack of Sea Days, the Lions Share is served in the Golden Lion pub and offers savour bites such as pulled pork, scotch eggs, sausage rolls, scones, shortbread and more. For those really wanting to splash out, why not have a champagne afternoon tea with savouries such as feta and mushroom tart and individual deserts all served with a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne.
As you can see, there is an afternoon tea for everyone!
The buffet onboard is located on deck 7. It is bright, open with lots of seating. We visited here one morning for breakfast and had a tasty full English and you don’t struggle to find any seating.
The nice touch here is that they will serve you tea and coffee to go with your breakfast, so you don’t have to balance a mug of coffee while you walk to you seat.
The selection in the Kings Court is impressive, something to suit everyone. For one lunch, we opted for some sushi, it was very good indeed. If that’s not to your liking, there was a selection of salads, meats, roasts, cheeses, hot meal and Pizza. We found the food to be piping hot!
Kings Court is where you would dine in the evening if you wanted a more relaxed evening without having to worry about the dress code.
If like us, the buffet is always the last stop of the night – we can highly recommend the midnight hot dogs, they do a great job of soaking up the alcohol!
Complimentary 24-hour room service is available. We took advantage of this one morning – each night you can put your breakfast choices out with the time you want it delivered. We had a beautiful breakfast delivered with some nice coffee, the ideal way to start your day!
While talking about in room dining, we would like to let you know that there are Tea and Coffee making facilities in the room, with free biccies too! You will also find a fully stocked mini bar – items in here are charged for but it is very convenient.
As we have said, the main dining room on board is called Britannia, and what a stunning restaurant, probably one of the most beautiful areas on the ship.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will no doubt have a great time dining here. The menu has ample choice and the service we received was fabulous, all combined with some of the best main dining room food we’ve had in all our cruises.
We had a table for two, we had chosen this but were not guaranteed it as we were second priority. The tables are quite close together like on most cruise lines with tables for two but the great thing about this is you can choose to be sociable or not.
The first night we were tired, so were quite un sociable, but the following night we chatted to our neighbours for quite a while and got to know them. This was the formal night and it was great to see everyone dressed up in their dresses and tux’s. Its worth noting that Cunard do enforce their dress code so if you want to dine here, you will have to comply. Its definitely worth it!
Open during the day, dependant on the weather you have the Grill on the upper deck. We called in here during the day to check out what was on offer, there was a selection of salads, burgers, hot dogs and fries. We grabbed a burger and some onion rings – very tasty but as its al fresco dining and us being in Belgium in November it wasn’t exactly the warmest place to be. We can imagine this would be a great place to eat in warmer climates.
We will finish this post with our final meal on board QM2. You will find The Verandah on all the Cunard ships and we always book a night in them. A new concept on QM2 which is now being rolled out to QV and QE is The Steak House.
For any meat eaters out there, this is an absolute must! With a selection of cuts and from different breeds, including the Australian Grass-fed Wagyu Beef (additional charge) – one thing is for sure, you won’t leave hungry.
Open for lunch (additional 25USD) or dinner (additional 39USD), booking is recommended, especially on short cruises.
The food and service were impeccable – the only thing that let it down, and this was a small thing – after our coffee there were no after dinner mints or chocolates – something that we thought was a little strange? Other than that, it was perfect!
We really hope you have enjoyed reading this, we certainly enjoyed our ‘mini voyage’ and can’t wait to revisit, we hope once day we can do a transatlantic!