After reading this blog, I think you’ll appreciate that Chris and I really enjoyed our recent twelve-day voyage on Cunard’s’ Queen Mary 2. It was a totally different kind of cruise (in a good way) that just can’t compare to the mainstream cruise lines.
You see the difference from the moment you enter the ship as you are warmly greeted by an international staff dressed in tuxedos and white gloves. You feel like you are taking a step back in time to the ocean liners of yesterday that you see in the old black and white movies.
Exploring the ship, we found luxurious common rooms full of beautiful fresh flowers. I have to admit that just strolling around was fun as we were able to “people watch” the many elegantly dressed passengers on board. As Anglophiles who love everything about England, we were enamored with the ship’s formal English customs like high tea at 3:30 pm with white glove service of tea, finger sandwiches, scones, jam and clotted cream. There were many people from the U.K. on board who had crossed over on the ship’s seven night cruise from Southampton, England to our port in New York.
The Queen Mary 2 boasts accoutrements that no other ship offers, like the largest dance floor at sea, and every afternoon during the tea there is a live band playing and people go out on the floor to dance. It’s just lovely. “Queen Mary 2 is the only ship to host a planetarium at sea. Take a virtual tour into outer space, view the stars and journey to the moon or take a course on celestial navigation” are just a few things you can do while on board on sea days. The Planetarium is also used as a movie theater.
Chris and I love to dress up, so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in four formal nights, including an amazing masquerade ball. Ladies break out the family jewels and some wear their long white gloves. The tone was set at the opening Captain’s Cocktail party where people came dressed to the nines. Gentlemen all wore jackets at dinner. This cruise is definitely not for folks who want a more casual “dine anytime” experience. Even the wait staff is a bit reserved. On many cruise lines, the staff is directed to be informal and chat with the guests. Here they were friendly and attentive, but very quiet and subdued.
Our part of the cruise left New York and we traveled up the coast to Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, and Quebec. On shore, we enjoyed the Newport cliff walk and toured the Breakers, both highly recommended. We traveled to the Saint Anne Cathedral outside of Quebec and an amazing waterfall – a special tour that was off the normal tourist path.
On board, the highest category of cabins are called Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites. Queens Grill suites feature a large sitting area, walk-in wardrobe, and a spacious private balcony. There is also a butler on hand to ensure your stay is perfect. Princess Grill suites are just a bit smaller and don’t include the butler, but you get a shared concierge. These passengers also eat in the exclusive Queens’s grill and Princess Grill restaurants; two separate restaurants where they have their own table and can eat anytime during set hours. We were in a regular balcony cabin that was about 200 square feet that was so well designed that all of our stuff (including for formal wear) packed away nicely. We never felt cramped. They also offer free washers and dryers, so you can keep up with your laundry – and pack less!
Not surprisingly, this is not a family oriented cruise, and it’s mostly baby boomers who can afford to enjoy this high-level of luxury and service. Most of the 60 people in our Mariner’s Club travel group are such big Cunard fans; they don’t want to cruise with anyone else. I met one mother-daughter team who had logged over 1,800 nights on Cunard ships! This cruise was sold out and many people had booked their cabins one year in advance. This is a very special cruise line … it’s so special that you can even reserve a kennel for your dog and “Fido” can come along on the cruise.
Cunard’s fleet includes the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mary 2, and the Queen Victoria ocean liners. If you would like to take a dream cruise on Cunard and experience this level of elegance and luxury, please give us a call and we can give you first-hand information on which itinerary would work best for you. The scones alone, are worth the journey and price of admission on the QM2, not to mention all of the other amenities and extras that would be included. Happy Travels!!!
CHRIS & SHEILA KORTE, ACC
Toll Free: (631) 893-4232 ~ 866-81-KORTE (56783)
Babylon, NY 11702