My wife and I recently had the pleasure of sailing aboard the elegant Queen Mary 2. At 151,000 Gross Registered Tons she is one of the largest ships afloat. The Qm2 is now six years old but the maintenance done on board has kept her in pristine condition and she is showing no signs whatsoever of wear and tear.
Cunard operates a very traditional cruise where wardrobe is important. Their product is not intended for the casual crowd. One of the benefits of cruising Cunard is the amount of time scheduled in port. They generally arrive earlier and stay later than other cruise ships. On our cruise we had five port visits on a seven night itinerary, more than the usual amount on seven night trips.
We sailed in cabin 6139. I do not recommend this cabin, it is just below the galley on deck seven and the noise level is very high – we use a white noise machine that was invaluable on this trip.
A Walkthrough of the QM2:
There are four pools, one of which is indoors and available year round. I believe the QM2 has nine hot tubs all kept warm and in use on our trip. There is a golf simulator as well as paddle tennis, shuffleboard and other deck top games.
There is a large casino on deck 2. They do deal Blackjack from an 8 deck shoe but have “3 Card Poker”, “Caribbean Poker” and a number of gimmicky Black Jack games available. There is an automated “Texas Hold um” table and a full size Craps table as well. The Slot Machines are of the older variety that dispense coins as opposed to chits.
Across the deck from the Casino is The Golden Lion Pub, a fine utilization of space. Piano Music available daily, Pub Lunch every day from noon to 2pm. Many brands of beer, ale, wine and liquor as well. It is the location for the daily trivia games and bingo. One side is smoking while the bar and a large area are non-smoking.
The Pursers Desk and Tour Desk occupy the floor level of the Atrium. This space is used for musical entertainment every afternoon and early evening.
Moving towards the stern is the two deck Royal Theatre home of RADA; the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, which presented two shows during our cruise. Moving around the side of the theatre are quiet areas set up for board games and extremely addicting jigsaw puzzles. Further towards the bow are Cunard Connections; the computer and internet space, and Illuminations theatre with two of the most compelling “outer space” features. Illuminations features a four projector format on a rounded ceiling. Tickets are available at the Connections desk daily at 10am and run out quickly.
Deck Three to the stern past the Britannia Upper Dining room is the Queens Room – home of daily High Tea at 4pm and evening dancing with a 14 man orchestra. Ballroom dancers are in evidence every night and are especially blessed on formal evenings. I believe this is the most magnificent room on any ship at sea. Also held here is the Captains cocktail party and many other events during the cruise.
Forward on Deck seven is the Canyon Ranch Spa and salon space. Manicures, Pedicures and hairdressing are also available here. Deck eight has more Spa space and the Library and bookstore. Finally, Deck nine forward is the home of the Commodore Club and Churchill’s Cigar Bar.
Dining is set up as traditional two seating; 6:00pm and 8:30pm in the Britannia Dining Room (dining room is based on category booked). The dining room has reserved tables in the evening and open seating breakfast and lunch.
Alternatives dining options are all on Deck seven. At the Carvery enjoy grilled meats and poultry. The Lotus restaurant has Asian favorites. La Piazza has food with an Italian bent and finally, the Chef’s Galley is for those wanting a light meal. All restaurants are available to those in the Britannia classification.
Specific nights are set aside for the Chef’s Grill where there are reservations available for only 24 people. The chef demonstrates his cooking techniques live on closed circuit television. The meals are a bit drawn out, but delicious. The same is done once or twice a week in La Piazza and Lotus so it is imperative to consult the Daily Programme and contact the Maitre D’ Hotel for reservations on the days you wish to attend.
Deck seven also houses the Queens Grill and the Princess Grill for those cabin classes. In the main dining room there is space set aside for a single seating of the Britannia Club for cabin category AA.
The fine dining alternative restaurant is Todd English located in the stern on Deck eight. We enjoyed this culinary experience on Ellen’s birthday, truly a “World Class” meal. One of the best I have ever had anywhere! The charge is a very reasonable $30 per person. Food and service were extraordinary. Reservations are available beginning at 10am daily.
The food aboard was probably the best I have ever had on a cruise. The only reservation may have been the deserts. I just didn’t feel they were of the same quality and inventiveness as the entrée’s and salads that were available throughout our cruise.
We were on a seven night Canada and New England trip North from New York. We had a tender stop in Newport, Rhode Island. The QM2 docked in Boston. Another tender stop in Bar Harbor, Maine. Then we had docked stops in both Halifax, Nova Scotia and in St. John, New Brunswick. We generally were lucky to have about ten hours in each port which is more than most lines spend ashore.
The Queen Mary 2 provides a very satisfying traditional experience at sea. It is specifically aimed at conservative, mature passengers who demand and recognize quality.