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I avoid most cruise ship steakhouses, but this one is exceptional

July 08, 2022
8 min read
An 8-ounce fillet at the steakhouse on Cunard's Queen Mary 2
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Editor’s note: TPG’s Ashley Kosciolek was hosted by Cunard Line to experience a transatlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2. The opinions expressed below are entirely hers and weren’t subject to review by the line.


I tried to be a vegetarian once, and it was a disaster. I was in eighth grade, and I decided I liked animals too much to eat them. I came home from school one afternoon and declared my hatred of meat, and my mom — bless her — went out the next day to buy a vegetarian cookbook.

But, when faced with the choice between tofu and bacon, I caved. Hard. My resolve lasted less than a month, and that was that. To this day, I'm still not a big fan of meat, and when I eat it, it's almost always chicken. I do crave red meat sometimes, but unlike my steak, which I prefer medium, those occasions are rare.

When I cruise, for the reasons I've mentioned, I tend to dislike dining at onboard steakhouses. I find that the overall result is often disappointing, with the quality of meat unpredictable and the sheer amount of food unmanageable. Not so, however, on one particular ship.

I'm going to go ahead and say it: Steakhouse at The Verandah on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is the best cruise ship steakhouse experience I've ever had. Here's why.

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A selection of steak cuts is presented to diners before they order at Steakhouse at The Verandah on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Steakhouse at The Verandah menu

The menu at Steakhouse speaks for itself. From sirloin cuts of wagyu beef and Alaskan king crab to sides that are so delicious it's difficult to choose just a couple, I was thoroughly impressed. While most steakhouses offer some enticing options, the quality and selection found in Cunard's venue are — excuse the pun — a cut above.

Click the menu image below to see a complete, full-size version.

Dinner menu from Steakhouse at The Verandah on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. (Image courtesy of Cunard Line)

Consistency

Steakhouse at The Verandah on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Of all the onboard steakhouses I've tried more than once, QM2's has been the most consistent. Everything, from the options and the presentation to the service and dimly lit, elegant ambiance, has continued to wow me.

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I ate there for the first time in 2018 — shortly after the space had been converted from The Verandah, a specialty restaurant that served French cuisine — and it blew me away just as much this time as it did then.

Related: The 9 best meals you can have at sea

My go-to steak is fillet because it doesn't have much fat, and it's easy to cut. Both times, my 8-ounce Black Angus fillet was prepared perfectly, and it was so tender I was able to cut it with a fork. (Yes, I know my table manners leave something to be desired.)

The sides and desserts were true standouts each time, as well.

Special touches

Passengers can choose from a selection of knives. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

The steakhouse's bread, served pull-apart style with butter that's just slightly sweet, is iconic — the perfect preamble to an all-around delightful meal. Most restaurants' pre-dinner bread offerings are boring, but that isn't the case at Steakhouse at The Verandah, where I actually opted for seconds.

Prior to taking our orders, our waiter came to the table with samples of each of the different meat cuts, allowing us to see exactly what we'd be ordering. As someone who's decidedly picky about protein, it's a gesture that made me feel more confident I'd love what was to come.

After we ordered but before the food arrived, our waiter returned with a selection of knives. The handles varied in construction and shape in an effort to cater to diners' different hand sizes. The attention to detail was astounding.

Related: 5 reasons you should splurge on a cruise ship specialty restaurant

Manageable portions

Broccoli and tempura onion rings at the steakhouse on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Although the fillet was listed on the menu as 8 ounces, I requested the smallest piece they could find, knowing that I normally don't finish my meal. Wasting food is one of my pet peeves, so I was glad to see that, true to my request, the piece I received appeared to be smaller than average. I gladly polished off the entire thing but still had room left to enjoy my sides and dessert.

Speaking of the sides, I was floored by the flavor and quality of the steamed broccoli, tempura onion rings, and potato and cheese bake. When combined with the fillet, each was large enough to make me feel pleasantly full rather than uncomfortably stuffed.

Service

A waitress adds rum to the rum baba at the steakhouse on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

To kick off our evening, an experienced sommelier stopped by the table to ask if we'd like to order anything to drink. My dining companions chose wine, but I went with one of Cunard's signature beers — Cunard Black, billed as a "biscotti breakfast stout." It was delivered rather ceremoniously on a silver tray.

When it came time for dessert, our waiter didn't even blink as I ordered two, unable to successfully decide between the wild strawberry Pavlova and the triple chocolate skillet cookie. Both were superb, the first breaking open to reveal a delectable mess of strawberries and cream and the second offering gooey chocolatey goodness.

Strawberry Pavlova at the steakhouse on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

But the flourish was far from over, with a waitress preparing one companion's rum baba tableside and a waiter putting together another tablemate's cheese plate right in front of us from a trolley.

Related: The ultimate guide to cruise ship food and dining

Price

The triple chocolate skillet cookie at the steakhouse on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

Steakhouse at The Verandah is an extra-fee restaurant that levies a fee of $45 per person — one of the more reasonably priced steakhouses afloat. When you consider the food quality, level of service and special touches, it would be worth twice the price, particularly as it rivals some of the best steakhouses on land.

Note that there are additional upcharges for certain menu items. For example, you'll pay a $30 supplement for the Earl Stonham wagyu 8-ounce sirloin and a $20 supplement for a seafood platter for two, which includes Maine lobster, Irish mussels, Alaskan king crab, Grand Bank scallop ceviche and jumbo Mediterranean carabinero prawns. Additional fees are also added for anyone who wants to order more than one main or dessert.

Lunch is also offered for $25 per person. The menu is abridged, but it's a less expensive way to enjoy the eatery if you'd like to save some money.

Bottom line

Steakhouse at The Verandah on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is a classy dining affair, but its pomp is backed by food and service that are as exquisite as you'll find anywhere on land — and for a much better value.

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Featured image by An 8-ounce fillet at the steakhouse on Cunard's Queen Mary 2. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees