What will the regulars make of Cunard’s makeover for QM2 pub?

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Golden-Lion.jpgIn little over a month, Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 will be coming out of the water for 14 days to get a bit of a wash and brush-up. There’s enough new carpet to cover 10 football pitches and 18 miles of fabric waiting to be taken on board when the ship arrives in Hamburg on November 26.
First details of the work that is planned were revealed today by Cunard presidernt and managing director Peter Shanks. There’s a lot to be done in those two weeks.
Every one of the 1,310 passenger cabins will be freshened up with new curtains, bedcovers and sheets – as well as those carpets. The Grills restaurants at the stern and the Commodore Club at the other end of the ship will get new floor coverings, and Shanks confesses he is looking forward to trying out the electronic games waiting to be moved into the children’s club.
The most dramatic change looks like being in the Golden Lion pub, which is to be completely re-designed. Shanks says: “Our guests have worn the pub out. The pub lunches are more popular than ever, the bar area is always busy, and sport and musical events are increasingly popular.”
While it will have more deep-buttoned leather chairs and bigger TV screens, I’m not sure British regulars will welcome the change to a decor which is said to “recreate the best of British pubs as well as the comfortable American Country Club feel.” All the best pubs look worn out, and they spend years trying to achieve that look, don’t they?
As for the “new” Golden Lion, see for yourself in the pictures above and below.
The details revealed so far by Mr Shanks are almost more interesting for disclosing what will NOT be tackled during the re-fit.
There can’t be many passengers who appreciate the plastic greenery of the Winter Garden, which remains one of the least-used public spaces on the 150,000-ton ship. But unless Shanks is keeping some information up his sleeve, no changes are planned.
And contrary to rumours which circulated in the summer, there are no plans to return Sir Samuel’s bar to its original use as a wine bar. It will continue to operate as a coffee bar – with new carpets and chair coverings.
Most disappointing, there will be no structural changes in the King’s Court buffet restaurant. I’ve heard it compared to a motorway service station self service cafe, and even Shanks admits many passengers find its layout confusing.
But he says: “To make significant changes to the actual structure of this area would be very difficult and prohibitively expensive.”
He continues: “We have plans to increase the alternative dining opportunities and themed evenings, and removing possible confusion by not having too many different serving stations at breakfast,” before adding his own tip – eat breakfast in the Britannia Restaurant.
“The service is impeccable, you have a wide choice, you don’t help yourself so the portions are smaller and better for you, you sit up straight, you can converse with our wonderful staff, and the whole experience is a lot more relaxing.”
Sorry Peter, but for some of us breakfast is not a time for conversing – with your wonderful staff or anyone else – and a silent sojourn in a King’s Court alcove is preferable, even after queuing to fill a tray with fruit juice, coffee and full English.
It’s good that Cunard are able to invest in keeping QM2 in tip-top condition, but this year’s dry-dock – shortened to 14 days from the 22 days originally planned – has the hallmarks of an interim job. There will be bigger changes to come in a couple of years, mark my words.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:59+00:00 25 October 2011|Cruise News, Cruise Ships|2 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Solent Richard 26 October 2011 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Well as a regular I think the changes to the Golden Lion are just great. It will offer more seating for one of the most popular bars on the ship.
    Now more passengers will be able to enjoy the excellent Dixieland Jazz sessions.
    I can never understand why anyone who has paid to cruise on QM2 would want to push a tray of breakfast or lunch around the Kings Court anyway and had Captain Greybeard ever experienced the Kings Court he would know there are many more than adequate ‘knooks and alcoves’ around the Kings Court, plus also a section of the Winter Garden if one really requires peace to eat.

  2. Simon Cox 26 October 2011 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    The artists impressions for the Golden Lion do look very good but the loss of “milling space” between the bars and alcoves would mean that it’s likely to get extremely crowded at busy times – especially with those enjoying pre-dinner drinks for the 2nd sitting in the Britannia restaurant.

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