By some fluke, and miracle, I boarded the Queen Mary 2 to cross from Southampton (UK) to New York City. My initial thoughts as I queued up at the port, were focused on New York. I was thrilled at the prospect of getting to visit the Big Apple, and life on board didn’t even occur to me. However, when you’ve got seven nights in the Atlantic Ocean ahead of you, you soon learn a rather peculiar but nevertheless fun routine on board Cunard’s flagship.
Unlike a traditional cruise ship, the Queen Mary 2 is an Ocean Liner. There’s a difference in the structure of the ship (one that I’m not fully versed in) that makes it far more effective at battling ocean currents and waves. Therefore, even on particularly stormy days, the Queen Mary 2 rocks and rolls far less than its smaller, cruise ship counterparts. So if you’re planning an Atlantic Crossing, this is by far the most civilised way to travel. The Queen Mary 2, or in fact any of the Cunard ships are definitely part of the luxury travel bracket.
On board, there are a whole selection of bars, including a pub style set up. A casino, ballroom and lecture theatre/observatory which also serves as the cinema. There’s a really well equipped gym, a library and plenty of board games etc. on board to keep you entertained. There’s always some food and drink available in the buffet (I particularly loved the late night snacks) and the restaurants serve some absolutely stunning food. If you plan your days well you can learn loads, exhaust yourself, eat more than you can handle and enjoy an afternoon tea in the ballroom alongside your fellow guests.
I’ve never experienced the top end cabins on any cruise ship, however the standard cabins (this one had a balcony) were plenty big enough, with a comfortable bed, sofa, desk and all the things you would expect from a hotel room. The only thing is the size of the room – cabins all tend to be fairly small but never cramped. Once you get used to the gentle rolls of the Atlantic waves, it’s quite easy to be rocked to sleep on board the Queen Mary 2.
As on most cruises, you receive a daily newsletter informing you of the events available which include lectures, workshops and musical events. I liked to visit the gym, attend a lecture, take some time to read or maybe swim, before visiting the ballroom for Afternoon Tea. The late night cinema screenings were great to visit after the show. It did take me a while to get used to life afloat, not having any trips or towns to visit felt a little odd at first, but you soon develop a new attitude where you make the most of the time you have available. The shows each night were stunning, entertaining and in some cases hilarious. The on board entertainment team were wonderful and the guest performers were brilliant as well.
Once you get used to the luxury lifestyle, something which took me a while at first, life on board can be a dream. The staff are so friendly and polite, and it’s great to become friendly with them, as it makes the whole atmosphere on board a lot more comfortable. I will do another post on the food on board the Queen Mary 2 as it was absolutely out of this world!