Are you thinking of cruising on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and wondering what cabin to choose?
Discover if a sheltered balcony cabin is the right cabin for you in my detailed review of this style of cabin.
I’ve been considering a transatlantic cruise with Cunard but wasn’t sure if they were the cruise line for me.
So before I took the plunge, I tried a short mini cruise with them to see what they were like.
As a solo traveller, I often end up booking inside cabins. Much as I’d love a balcony cabin every cruise, they are often a lot more expensive than an inside one and I usually prefer to put that difference towards my next cruise.
However, when I booked a mini cruise on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a sheltered balcony cabin was exactly the same price as an inside.
They didn’t have to mention that twice, it was perhaps the quickest cruise I’ve ever booked!
As I had never cruised with Cunard before I was looking forward to seeing what they had to offer.
The taster cruise was three nights with a sea day and port stop in Le Havre, France.
A little bit about Queen Mary 2
The Queen Mary 2 is an icon of the seas.
The last ocean liner in the world, a cruise on Queen Mary 2 offers a glimpse into the past and the romance of travelling on the seas.
At 1,132 ft in length, she carries 2,691 passengers and 1,173 crew. However, she never really feels crowded.
She was built for sea days (and there are plenty of them on the transatlantic cruises she is famous for) and has variety of dining and entertainment options to suit all tastes.
What is a Sheltered Balcony Cabin on Queen Mary 2?
A sheltered balcony on Queen Mary 2 is a balcony that is cut out of the ship’s hull.
They are located on decks 4,5, and 6 so you are low down on the ship and relatively close to the sea.
Perhaps not what you expect when you envisage a cruise ship balcony, they offer more privacy than the usual type of balcony as they are almost fully enclosed.
In rough seas or not so great weather they provide some shelter from the elements so you can still use your balcony.
Queen Mary 2 Sheltered Balcony Cabin Review
I booked a saver fare for this cruise. For only three nights I wasn’t too worried about decks or location. With hindsight perhaps I should have been.
As soon as I received my cabin number I did what most people probably do and googled it to see if there were any reviews or pictures.
The first review I saw said avoid that cabin at all costs. It mentioned it being a noisy cabin and that it was difficult to get any sleep in.
So, it was with a little trepidation that I boarded the Queen Mary 2.
I was given a grade upgrade and was allocated cabin 4180.
Located on deck four at the aft, it was in a great location in terms of being able to get to many of the ship’s amenities and facilities quickly and easily.
However, it was directly above the Queens Room & not far along from G32, the ship’s nightclub.
That was the source of the poor review I had read. They mentioned being able to hear noise long into the early hours.
So, I was a little worried about what the cabin was going to be like.
The first night was fine. I think the gentle hum of the ship’s engines probably covered most of the noise. Either that or it was a quiet night.
I think that lulled me into a false sense of security & I wondered what the other reviewer had meant. Perhaps they had super sensitive hearing I thought.
After the following two nights I understood exactly what they meant.
The noise was constant most of the evening. Annoyingly you couldn’t work out the song being played or sung. As a big fan of music it would have made it a little easier to bear.
Instead, all you could hear was the deep thud of the music.
Thankfully it receded around midnight both nights so it didn’t disturb me as much as it could have done.
That said, I honestly don’t know why you’d put cabins above a venue like that. You must know you’ll probably be dealing with complaints all night long.
One other potential issue with cabins in this location is you may feel more movement here than you would if you were midship.
I definitely felt a bit of movement at times and there were lots of vibrations as we returned to Southampton.
So, if you don’t fare well with sea sickness you may want to avoid cabins in this part of the ship.
Noise and movement issues aside, the cabin itself was great.
All my cruises so far have been on new ships or recently refurbished ones so with the Queen Mary 2 being around 20 years old I was worried I would find the cabin a little dated.
However, that wasn’t really the case. It was actually a really nice cabin.
The decor may be a little understated but it still has a regal feel.
Entering the cabin, a large wardrobe is to your left & the bathroom to the right. This makes a little corridor-like space before you get into the main cabin area.
There is a full-size mirror on the wall next to the bathroom door along with the air conditioning controls.
Pro tip here, definitely check they are at a comfortable temperature for you. I spent the first day freezing before noticing them and realising I could make the cabin warmer. It had been a long week is all I’m saying.
The king sized bed – they missed a trick there – takes up most of the space in the centre of the room. It can be configured to two single beds if required.
Like all cruise ship beds it is super comfortable.
On either side of the bed is a unit with a drawer & shelf. A large lamp sits on top of both.
The one thing that is missing here is any separate plug sockets or USB ports. If you want to plug something in here you’ll have to unplug the light.
As a slightly older ship, it’s perhaps not a surprise this is the case but in today’s world when most people have multiple devices it is a little frustrating.
A large flatscreen TV hangs on the wall opposite.There is a fairly decent range of channels including international news, sports and movie channels.
The last third of the cabin is taken up with a sofa, a small table & a desk/dressing table.
The desk has two narrow drawers and a cupboard that hides a fridge.
Tip: Don’t forget to look in here for your welcome bottle of sparkling wine when you board.
One of drawers contains a hairdryer. Though I’m being generous when I say that as it’s one of the worst hair dryers I’ve ever used.
In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s a hair not dryer. It has never taken me so long to dry my hair.
If you have long hair you’ll definitely want to plan in some time to dry your hair so you don’t miss any reservations or plans you may have.
On top of the desk are the all-important tea-making facilities. Here you’ll find a kettle, two cups, coffee sachets & plenty of tea bags.
Above the desk is a mirror with two lamps on either side. Lighting is definitely not an issue in this cabin.
The large wardrobe in the cabins offers a good amount of storage.
It has one single door behind which you can store long or full-length clothes.
Next to this is a half-length single door with four shelves behind, one of which is taken up with life jackets and another with a safe. Below this area are four drawers.
Two double doors lead to a long clothes rail with a shelf above. You can store mixed length clothes here.
28 double hangers were provided. Though if you need more you can just ask the cabin steward. I saw more than one walking down the corridor with an armful of hangers on the first day.
As a solo traveller, it was more than adequate. Especially as it was a short trip. If there are two of you & you are on board for a week or two I think it should be enough unless you like to take the kitchen sink with you.
The one part of the cabin that does feel a bit dated is the bathroom.
That said, it’s perfectly fine. It’s compact, clean and does the job. It’s just doesn’t look or feel very modern.
It is a little small, there isn’t much floor space but it’s enough to do all you need to do.
The shower is probably one of the best I’ve used on a ship. Powerful and with a good water temperature. I wasn’t really expecting that.
The only downside is that it has the dreaded shower curtain.
You won’t find any toiletries on the wall here. There is a shelf where you can put your own or you can use the Penhaligon toiletries provided by the ship that are on the unit next to the sink.
A single door leads out onto the balcony.
Cut out of the ships body, if feels like you are outside but not if that makes sense. It’s almost an extension of the cabin.
It is like having a picture window that changes every day. They make for some great photos.
One of the benefits of these types of balconies is that they are huge. They are very deep so there is lots of space.
There are two recliner chairs and a small table. Both are more than adequate to sit outside and get some fresh air.
The only downside is that you can’t sit down and enjoy the view as the cut-out is higher up. You have to stand up to look out to sea. Well unless you are very very tall when sitting I guess.
One other thing I did notice was that it was the rustiest balcony I have seen so far. I guess some of that is down to the journey’s it takes and the weather conditions it encounters.
I’ve read these cabins are a good choice on transatlantic cruises as you can still use them to get fresh air & some natural light when the weather is not quite for sitting outside on your balcony.
I think I’d agree with that. Although I didn’t use the balcony a lot, it was nice to have some natural light and air.
I was very lucky with the weather and had a great sunset one night. The view was truly spectacular.
Tip: If the weather is in your favour make sure you don’t miss the sunset view from your balcony.
The Last Word
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when cruising with Cunard. I was a little worried I’d find it old and too dated for me.
However, I really enjoyed my cruise and was impressed with the cabin. Despite the noise issue, I actually ended up spending more time there than I have in any other cabin on a cruise ship.
Other than the bathroom it didn’t feel dated at all really and was very comfortable.
I’m still undecided on which cruise line to take a transatlantic cruise with but after my experience, Cunard is definitely going to be an option I consider.
Have you taken a cruise with Cunard? Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear.