aboutWe are Akila and Patrick. Ourminds (and waistlines) expand as we travel, cook, and eat our way around the world with our two dogs.
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dining on the queen mary 2
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High tea on the QM2

High tea service on the QM2

On our seven day transatlantic cruise from Brooklyn, New York, to Southampton, England, we primarily did two things: hung out with our dogs in the kennels and ate.  Sure, there were astronomy lectures, plays, cabarets, and endless classes ranging from watercolor painting to basket weaving, but we opted to tour the restaurants and dining options.  In fact, we took many tours of the restaurants.

Brittania Restaurant

Brittania restaurant

Restaurant selection is based on room category.  The vast majority of the ship stay at the "Brittania" level, meaning the cheapest (though still very nice) rooms on board, and eat at the vast Brittania restaurant.  The Brittania serves breakfast between 8:30 to 10:00, lunch from 12:00 to 1:30, and diners are sorted into two seatings for dinner, either at 6:00 p.m. or 8:30 p.m.  Those staying in the Princess Suites, the second tier of rooms, eat at the Princess Grill, and those in the opulent Queens Suites, the most expensive rooms on board, eat at the Queens Grill.  These two restaurants are single-seating, meaning that guests can choose any time between 7:00 to 9:00 to have dinner.

We stayed in one of the Brittania level rooms so I can't speak to the food at the Princess or Queens Grills, but I will mention that based solely on the menus, it appeared to me that all three restaurants served the same vegetarian and gluten-free options at any single meal.  Dining at the Brittania and Grills are included in the price of your passage.

Lunch at the Brittania QM2

Seafood chowder Cheese tortellini QM2 Brittania restaurant
Fish on pasta Seafood tart
Dessert on QM2 Pannacotta

Lunch at the Queen Mary 2 Brittania restaurant

We never made it to the Brittania restaurant for breakfast because we went to see the dogs between 8:00 to 10:00 every day but we occasionally headed to the Brittania for lunch.  Lunch is a three-course affair with relatively small portions, so we normally ordered and ate all three portions.  On this particular day that we took pictures, I started with a Meditteranean grilled vegetable and pesto appetizer and Patrick had a chicken soup.  I had cheese tortellini in an alfredo sauce and Patrick had grilled fish over macaroni, though he wished that he had ordered our neighbor's selection of a seafood tart.  For dessert, I had sticky toffee pudding and Patrick had the tiramisu.  

Baby food on the QM2

A baby's lunch on the QM2

Every single meal we had at the Brittania restaurant was good, solid, and some verged on great.  I always had at least one vegetarian option for each course and Patrick could choose a fish, poultry, or red meat for his main course at either lunch or dinner.  On our last formal dinner, Patrick had lobster tail and the waiters removed the flesh for him, delighting Patrick to no end.  Neither of us would call the food "to die for" but, all in all, we were impressed with the quality and variety of food served at the Brittania restaurant.   I certainly wouldn't turn away a meal at the Brittania.

As with most cruise ships, for dinner, we had a set table with designated diners (in our case, a lovely couple from England) but at lunch, we were seated wherever the restaurant had spaces.  At one lunch, we sat next to one of the few infants on the ship.  When her lunch was served, the waiter brought out a neatly arranged stack of baby food with several varieties and flavors --- even the babies are fed well on the QM2.


Lunch at Kings Court

Lunch at Kings Court

Though the Brittania served good lunch fare, we often didn't feel like spending an hour or more for lunch and opted for the more casual Kings Court.  The Kings Court serves buffet selections with an omelette station and typical breakfast items from 7:00 to 10:30 and sandwiches, pastas, pizzas, burgers, and Asian stir-fries for lunch from 11:00 to 3:00.  Afternoon tea runs at the Kings Court from 3:30 to 5:30, which is a buffet-style version of the tea offered in the Queens Room. 

In the evening, the Kings Court is transformed into four dining restaurants which require reservations: Lotus, which specialises in Asian cuisine; the Carvery, a British style grille; La Piazza, with Italian food; and the Chef's Galley, which offers an interactive food preparation experience.  Each of these restaurants also require a $10 to $20 cover charge and none have any vegetarian selections (or will even accommodate dietary restrictions), so we chose not to try them.  The Kings Court also serves up some late night options.

Artichoke salad

Vegetable plate Scallops
Chocolate cake Todd English restaurant Creme brulee Todd English restaurant
Candies Todd English

Our meal at Todd English Restaurant on the Queen Mary 2

For a splurge, we opted one night to go to the Todd English restaurant, with the menu designed by celebrity chef Todd English.  The restaurant charges $30 per person for three courses plus candies to end.  Ultimately, though all of our courses --- a fried artichoke salad, a vegetable plate for me, seafood chowder, and fried scallops for Patrick, and a chocolate raspberry cake and a banana creme brulee --- were all very good, we felt that the price was not worth the difference between just going to the Brittania restaurant which was free.  If the Todd English restaurant offered four courses rather than three, we would have found it to be a much better deal. 

(By the way, the maitre'd at the Todd English restaurant made a huge fuss about me being vegetarian and said that they could make me "only vegetables."  I looked at their menu and asked him whether they could make a plate out of many of the sides included and he looked surprised, as if he had never heard of the concept of a vegetable plate.  My vegetable plate was delicious, with braised artichokes, lovely fried chanterelle mushrooms, and more.) 

The best fruitcake ever

High tea at the QM2 High tea at the QM2
Sandwiches at QM2

Clotted cream and scones

High tea at the Queens Room

All of the preceding, though, is not nearly as important as my very favorite meal of each day: high tea at the Queens Room.  At 3:00 sharp, guests are seated in the elegant ballroom and a parade of white-gloved waiters stream out the doors with finger sandwiches, cakes, and clotted cream and scones.  Oh, and there's tea, of course, but for us non-tea enthusiasts, the tea was the least important of the options before us. 

The best option was the fruitcake because the Queen Mary 2 fruitcake is, hands down, the best fruitcake we have ever eaten anywhere.  That fruitcake would convert the most hardcore comedian who still insists on making fruitcake-as-compared-to-bricks jokes, with its mouthwatering rum-soaked fruits packed into moist, tender crumbs.  Unfortunately, we only found the fruitcake on one occasion and now know better for the next time we board the ship.  No matter what else, fruitcake first.

10/06/2011 23:17
Found your blog through twitter. I've done a trip on the QM2 and one on the Victoria. (both in Britannia class) I was surprised with your comments about the ship not accommodating dietary restrictions. Both my mother and I have food allergies, and on both of our trips the head waiter and table stewards were very conscientiousness with menu planning - even in Todd English and the specialty restaurants. (to the point that Mom had menu selection a day prior so that all food could be prepared separately to protect her from shellfish)

I might suggest letting Cunard guest assistance know ahead of time about your diet, and speaking with your head waiter on the first day. I'm sad to hear that this was a problem. We so enjoy the Cunard ships that we never cruise on any other line.

I'll be subscribing to your RSS, so that I can continue to read your posts. Bon Voyage!
Tammy Colson's recent blog post: Wine and Cupcakes!
10/13/2011 09:27
I think that is a very good suggestion Tammy. We even dined with someone who was lactose intolerant, and they said the food was fantastic as long as you talked to them ahead of time. I think we were just surprised that vegetarian food wasn't available without having to specially request it. Nonetheless, the food was still amazing, and lesson learned for the return trip.
Patrick's recent blog post: dining on the queen mary 2
07/09/2015 09:24
Kirstin Osgood-Harrison
We also prefer to sail Cunard for this very reason. I'm a celiac and my husband chooses a gluten free lifestyle. We let them know when booking and are spoiled beyond anything we could imagine on each Cunard sailing. The GF options at high tea are endless. From scones to pastry and sandwiches. For dinner, we are given an advance menu by our head waiter each night and choose our selections the next day. We've toured the galley of each ship and had a chance to see and meet the chef in the exclusive GF kitchen. There is a vegetarian kitchen, a kosher kitchen, etc. Simply give your dietary info at the time of booking and Cunard will never cease to impress. We threaten to stow away and never disembark...
10/07/2011 04:23
I think this is a best review of dining on Cunard that i've seen. Interesting to know how dietary restrictions were handled. Also great photography, would love to see more posts like this.
10/13/2011 09:31
Thanks George!
Patrick's recent blog post: dining on the queen mary 2
10/07/2011 12:33
We still haven't taken a cruise yet, but if this is the kind of food you can gorge on I'm not really sure why we've waited! And the fact that even the infants get a smorgasbord of baby food just tickles me.
Technosyncratic's recent blog post: Photo Essay: Stonehenge
10/07/2011 15:41
WOW it all looks sooooooo amazing!!!
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10/08/2011 22:48
Oh dear god, that looks amazing. Worth the cruise alone.

And that baby's facial expression...priceles!
10/13/2011 09:19
I know this is off topic but ..just found your wonderful blog while researching my forthcoming trip to Africa.

There is a spot you must visit- ICELAND - It could be a stop off on your way home.The scenery is unbelievable, with montains of red,yellow,brown and green. There are areas where you see nothing but black, and it is beautiful.

If you want to get an idea,try Blurb.com/book shop/keith woodley. The pictures are not up to your standard but they will give you the idea.

The blurb is wonderful. Keep up the good work.
10/18/2011 12:18
Thanks Keith! We've heard that Iceland is lovely but I, unfortunately, don't think we'll be able to head there this time around.
Akila's recent blog post: queen mary 2 kitchens
10/15/2011 21:08
The food looks awesome. Though as a vegetarian, I have to say that many a time, the food looks good but when you actually eat it, tastes like soggy cardboard or something. But looks like that wasn't the case here :)

Visited your blog after quite a while and nice to catch up with your travels again!
10/18/2011 12:29
Arundhati, Welcome back! No - the food on the QM2 was actually really good for vegetarians, surprisingly, because on the only other cruise we've been on with Carnival, the food did taste quite a bit like cardboard. So, I was pleasantly surprised with the food on the QM2!
Akila's recent blog post: queen mary 2 kitchens
10/19/2011 08:28
Well, everything looks amazing on this ship, I mean if that is the cheapest dish, imagine the expensive ones! It looks fantastic!
10/19/2011 19:59
looks amazing...a friend of mine went on this cruise and couldn't say enough about it! lovely post and wonderful blog!!
10/20/2011 12:39
thats a great place to eat
12/18/2011 12:36
Nice run down of the food. I've been on the Cunard ships three times. Once on the QE2 and twice on this ship. Disclaimer: I am not a foodie.
I really liked the Kings Court far better than sitting in the dining room. I wish there was a less fancy option for dining with others. On the QE2 there was a bistro on the back deck that did all the meals with burgers and sandwiches as well as a midnight snack. This was awesome.

I found the buffet offerings at Kings Court excellent, especially at breakfast. I like a nice hot breakfast and eating at my own pace stuff that I can recognize.

The one option you didn't mention was room service. I found out on one of my QM2 runs that the dress code is VERY strict for the dining rooms. I was not allowed to eat with my table several nights due to my lack of a suit. All of the food is included with the trip so I was able to happily get a burger and fries send up to my room without paying extra. There was a fair menu of stuff they would do like that. This is partly why I miss the option of less formal on QE2, although it was a fancier ship in a lot of ways.

Queen's Tea is pretty nice, especially if you sit with some others and have a nice chat. I did learn to avoid biting into a pickle sandwich when I expected something sweet.
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09/14/2015 08:20
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