A transatlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 is undoubtedly worthy of a place on your cruise bucket list. Until a couple of years ago, it was on my list too, along with a gondola ride in Venice and seeing the northern lights. I haven’t ticked off the northern lights yet but Queen Mary 2 lived up to my every expectation and more.
From the second she came into view, I knew it was going to be a special trip. I’d heard from hundreds of our customers over the years just how incredible Queen Mary 2 was but seeing her for myself was something else. Our embarkation was swift and before I knew it, I was fully embracing ocean travel in all its glory.
After a delicious lunch at King’s Court, we headed up to Deck 11 to settle into our balcony stateroom. I think when sailing a transatlantic voyage, the type of accommodation you choose is important. For me, a balcony stateroom was an obvious choice - I just loved eating my breakfast on the balcony each morning and throwing the doors open to let the sea breeze blow through whilst getting ready for dinner in the evening.
Although I opted for a balcony stateroom, the inside and oceanview cabins are also well appointed and incredibly comfortable. Every room on board is spacious and comes with all the mod-cons you’d expect from a modern-day ship. To my delight, my cabin provided ample wardrobe space. It’s difficult not to go mad with the packing when you’re on a no-fly cruise, as there’s no restriction to how much you can take. So, along with the kitchen sink, I unpacked my eight pairs of shoes and found a home for all the long dresses I’d bought over the years but never had the right occasion to wear. Until now!
Dining on board Queen Mary 2 was an experience in itself. We dined at the Britannia Restaurant most evenings and really enjoyed the formal nights which at last gave me the opportunity to wear one of my glamorous dresses. Our table was situated just below a huge and impressive tapestry of the ship, which stretched right up to the top level - it was quite a conservation starter!
The Verandah Restaurant was another of my favourite eateries on board. The menu was fabulous, offering incredible authentic French cuisine. I loved that the decor inside was inspired by the original Queen Mary - it really made me feel part of Cunard’s iconic history.
With a staggering 13 decks, Queen Mary 2 is an entertainment playground of dining, dancing and socialising. I quickly came to realise that she’s a destination in herself which is what makes her the perfect ship on which to cross oceans. A cruise like this is all about being on board, losing track of time and relishing in the lost art of relaxation. Once you’ve read every book in the largest library at sea and fancy being a little more activity, there is plenty to do on board, by day and after nightfall. My personal highlights were:
- Stargazing at the planetarium: Queen Mary 2 was the first ship to ever have a planetarium and it’s well worth a visit! I visited on multiple occasions during my trip - it was hugely relaxing and educational at the same time!
- Pampering at the SpaClub: Cunard has remained loyal to the Canyon Ranch Spa brand since Queen Mary 2 first set sail and I loved it. The SpaClub is perfect for indulging in its signature massages, treatments and facials. There’s also sensory showers, an ice fountain and a finish sauna. I’d recommend you try them all. I found the treatments to be great value too, so there was no guilt involved in making myself feel (and look) great before the formal nights.
- Learning new skills: The team on board work hard to ensure that your trip is as fulfilling and enriched as you please and there’s so much to choose from. My attempts at acting at the RADA workshop were laughable but fun at the same time and there were plenty of seminars and lectures from academics and politicians on board. Every evening, we came together with our dinner guests and exchanged stories and demonstrations of the skills we’d learnt that day. I’m not much of a dancer myself but our friends we sat with at dinner had become quite the professionals from attending the daily dance classes. They definitely showed us a thing or two in the Queen’s Ballroom!
Of course, all good things must come to an end. When it was time to disembark in New York and fly back to London, I reflected on my wonderful trip across the pond. For me, cruising the world with Cunard remains the single most incredible way to spend my time away from home. The only way that these voyages could be topped is if we could stay on board forever. Failing that, I’d settle for bringing the crew home, to enjoy the White Star Service, the captivating show entertainment and the music that fills the air every evening.