…and she is magnificent! Standing taller than the Statue of Liberty and as long as 41 London buses end to end, I am of course talking about Cunard’s latest addition to their fleet, Queen Mary 2 or QM2 as she is known for short. To see the ship from the Quayside is impressive enough, but once inside it is hard to imagine what could be grander than this.
We embarked via the Grand Lobby which as the name suggests is very grand. The use of light colours and glass give you an enhanced feeling of spaciousness and sheer luxury. The staircase sweeps down each side of the lobby to the deck below where a pianist played the grand piano. It was from here that we were given a map and sent on our way!
The QM2 has all the facilities you would expect from a ship in this class like swimming pools, spa facilities, gymnasium, library, shops etc but it also has a couple of unusual firsts. ‘Illuminations’ is the only planetarium at sea. Here the theatre’s remarkable dome offers hi-tech programmes that include astronomy and virtual reality shows. ‘Illuminations’ also serves as a cinema, broadcasting studio and a 500-seat interactive learning environment. Another first in cruising is Cunard Connexions. This is a college at sea which provides expert instruction in a range of subjects such as computer skills, languages, art, wine tasting, cookery, music and more.
QM2 caters well for children too. They have their own clubs which look after the interests of different age groups, a soft play area with ball pit and even a night nursery for the very young. The cabins are all very luxurious and three quarters of them have their own balcony. We started off in the duplex apartments which are shamelessly extravagant. Built on two levels they each have an expansive living room, an upstairs bedroom with two bathrooms (one each!) with a whirlpool bath and shower, a very large balcony and of course a butler. These cabins are an unbelievable 2249 square feet, of course there are other cabins that are more affordable such as the standard outside and inside cabins. Having called these cabins standard, they are in fact far from standard. All are decorated in pastel colours, have a bathroom and ample wardrobe space and give you 194 square feet to move around in. As a comparison Oriana’s inside cabins are 150 square feet.
Like the QE2, the grade of cabin you choose will determine which of the three restaurants you dine in. The higher categories will dine in the Queen’s and Princess Grills, while the lower categories will share the beautiful Britannia dining room with its own grand staircase and tiered seating. As you would expect there are a number of alternative dining venues covering Asian, Italian and English fare.
Overall I couldn’t help being impressed by the QM2. It is like a floating resort but with a very English appeal–not at all like the large American resort type ships. For those of you who like a big ship cruise experience, QM2 will not disappoint you.
QM2 is more than twice as long as the Washington monument is tall (550ft)
QM2 is 147ft longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall
QM2 is more than 3-and-a-half times as long as Big Ben is high (310ft)
If the QM2 were afloat in the pool at the foot of Niagara Falls her stack would rise more than 20ft over the rim
Finally, the QM2’s captain is the son of the captain in charge of the QE2 when she was launched in 1969