Take the Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2
Even mere mortals can enjoy fabulous luxury aboard the Queen Mary 2
No, you won’t be setting any transatlantic speed records on this ship: New York to Southampton in six days. But once you arrive in England you will be wishing it had taken twelve days instead. Cunard’s “greatest ocean liner of our time” may no longer be the largest ocean liner on earth – it was recently surpassed in overall size (though not in length) by the Freedom of the Seas – but the Queen Mary 2 is without question the most beautiful and luxurious.
After years of construction in France, Cunard took delivery of this monstrous 151,000 ton heavy, 157,000 horsepower strong vessel in Southampton on December 26, 2003. The liner was christened Queen Mary 2 by her namesake’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II the following month and the QM2 set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale on January 12, 2004. She is currently Cunard’s flagship and makes regular transatlantic crossings, having taken over this function from the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) in the year of her christening.
This massive structure, just roughly one hundred feet shorter than the Empire State Building is tall, is full of the sweeping staircases, beautiful staterooms, restaurants and gigantic, ornate public rooms that you would expect to find upon such a luxury liner. A leisurely walk around its 360ï¿½ promenade deck might take some time, but having time is part of the luxury of being able to take such a magnificent voyage as this. And yet to the surprise of many a QM2 guest, you won’t seem to have nearly as much free time available as you had originally expected. There is quite simply too much to do and see on board. And the crew goes out if its way to keep you busy.
The QM2 has the capacity for 2,620 passengers. Knowing that such a large and therefore diverse number of people would be on board, Cunard spared no effort in organizing the biggest selection of entertainment and pleasurable diversion possible. This ship offers you just about any kind of recreational or leisure activity you can imagine. Health and fitness facilities, pools, saunas, gyms and weight rooms, playing fields, a basketball court, “virtual reality” golf, you name it. If you prefer keeping your pulse rate down a bit instead, however, there are of course book shops, seminars of all kinds (try their wine-tasting seminar) and art exhibitions, as well. They even have a planetarium on board!
Of course when the sun goes down below sea level, other forms of pleasurable distraction become available for you, too. Elegant soirees, dancing in the ship’s huge ballroom, music, musicals and theater are all at your disposal. Practically anywhere you turn you’ll find another entertaining point of interest. And elegance is the key word here when it comes to attire, as well. This is one place where your black ties or cocktail gowns will definitely come in handy. They are, in fact, a requirement.
You may have to have your clothing altered a bit during the voyage, however. Dining on the QM2 is everything you can imagine, and probably a lot more. This “gustatory celebration” is a never-ending one – and one that one gets used to understandably fast. There are 15 dining venues altogether, and more varied menus than you can count. The ship’s main dining room is the Britannia Restaurant (how could it not be on such a “very British” ship?), covering three stories in all and centered around a magnificent staircase. The Princess and Queens Grill Restaurants are also stunning dining rooms of the highest quality and culinary excellence, as well.
But eventually, after all of that wining and dining and entertainment have gotten the best of you, you will have no other alternative but to retire to your accommodations. And what accommodations they are! When booking your trip, Cunard will be asking you to choose “your level of gratification.” All this really means is that you will be have to make the painful decision of choosing between three exquisite types of stylish and luxurious rooms, one more comfortable than the other: Gracious Staterooms, Princess Grill Accommodations and Queens Grill Accommodations, as they are called. And yes, you will be gratified.
Booking your voyage couldn’t be easier (see the link below) and you don’t even have to be a millionaire to enjoy this elegant luxury. Prices begin as low as $1,150 and discounts and other special offers are also occasionally available. But don’t think you’ll be able to just go online and find room on board if you don’t plan well in advance. The era of traditional transatlantic sea travel may indeed be long over, but a new era of transatlantic tourism has begun with a bang. New ships like the Freedom of the Seas are continually being built and attest to this. And these new ships will probably also have a favorable effect on prices in the midterm.
But luxury is luxury. And luxury on the QM2 is priceless. And that’s why its worth every penny, so-to-speak.