I was looking for the most comfortable way to travel. The indignities and cramped space of the airplane are not always the most fun way to travel, though they can be at high price levels. There is one left over 19th and 20th Century British indulgence available for those with the time and inclination, and that is a Transatlantic voyage on a Cunard ocean liner. The process from beginning to end is so well managed. The experience is so civilized. There are also bargains to be had as well as the opportunity for exclusive perks for those like me who seem inclined to enjoy this trip and this ship more than once. Right now, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is the only true ocean liner available. Some say it is already old at 14 years old, I say it has patina and extreme elegance. There is not only the ship to consider, but the reputation of the Cunard Company has had for over 150 years for service and running safe and luxurious ship passenger transport in a truly British way. The Queen Mary is going on journeys all year round, and it crosses the Atlantic and Pacific including very long journeys for the adventurous or the comfort-seeking tourist.
I found it to be an elegant experience from beginning to end. As with any travel, do your best to plan first. Make certain that you have all of your paperwork in order, and then your time will be that much better. We had a great time with not one but two transatlantic voyages this year on this ship.
The Cunard Line was founded in 1839 by Sir Samuel Cunard, who had just won a British Government mail service contract between England and North America over the Atlantic Ocean. Sir Samuel Cunard’s company went far beyond mail delivery, it went on to provide some of the World’s best travel experience on the best ships available in the World to this very day.
Cunard is known for safety, speed, and luxury. Their ships have often been the fastest in the World, and the current flagship Queen Mary 2 continues this great tradition.
In the 1950’s, jet international travel became popular, and the Jet Set was born. However, the fact that Cunard still thrives proves that there are always those who demand old-World high touch service. Some people value comfort and style over speed, and for them, Cunard continues to provide the best service on their Queen Mary 2 Liner. During all of the early jet transport, Cunard bargained for the future by building a huge and luxurious ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2, which served passengers with classic transatlantic service. The Queen Elizabeth 2 was the last word in ocean transport until 2008 when the Queen Mary 2 replaced it. The Queen Mary 2 feels like it encompasses the entire Cunard history on board. There is a sense of procedure over a hundred years old. There is a sense that there is a proper procedure for everything, and that the Cunard Staff is proud of it.
Here is a video about a Queen Mary 2 cruise that gives you a bit of a feel without the drudgery of a full tour:
Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossings 2022 - Westbound and Eastbound
5 June 2022 - Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossing (Westbound) from New York to Southampton.
14 June 2022 - Queen Mary 2 Arrives in Hamburg
21 August 2022 Queen Mary 2 Leaves Southampton, England on Transatlantic Crossing (Eastbound) to New York
27 August 2022, Queen Mary 2 Arrives in New York
Takeaway: Find out more about this voyage.
She was designed by a team of British naval architects led by Stephen Payne, and was constructed in France by Chantiers de l'Atlantique. At the time of her construction, Queen Mary 2 was the longest, at 1,131.99 ft (345.03 m), and largest, with a gross tonnage of 148,528 GT, passenger ship ever built. She no longer holds these records after the construction of Royal Caribbean International's 154,407 GT Freedom of the Seas (a cruise ship) in April 2006, but remains the largest ocean liner ever built. Cunard Queen Mary 2 offers 5 different categories of suites onboard: Royal Suite King George VI & Queen Elizabeth II Observation Lounge; Royal Suite Queen Mary 2 Observation Lounge; Grand Suite Queen Elizabeth II Salon; Grand Suite Queen Elizabeth II Salon with Veranda & Veranda Suite Queen Elizabeth II Salon plus Veranda; Owners’ Suites Three Owners’ Suites located on A deck have been designed by Cunard Designers as individual retreats with private entrances leading onto balconies overlooking either Queens Aft Deck or Princess Deck aft facing forward foyer while one Owner's suite is located on B deck beside restaurant Britannia serving breakfast lunch dinner every evening during their stay onboard Cunard Line's flagship ocean going ocean liner QM2 during her round-the-world voyage departing from Southampton UK bound for New York US eastbound then Boston MA US westbound calling at ports along both routes including Le Havre France Copenhagen Denmark Stockholm Sweden St Petersburg Russia Helsinki Finland Tallinn Estonia Oslo Norway before returning home again via New York City USA stopping each port four days apart starting Saturday April 20th 2020 until Saturday October 26th 2020 when QM2 returns home following 233 days away from Southampton UK where she was built. I wish I was on that Around the World trip, but I am happy with my two transatlantic voyages this year.
The Queens Grand Duplex Suites are not for the faint at wallet. The best two suites on the Queen Mary 2 are the Balmoral Suite 9078 (port-side) or the Sandringham Suite 9069 (starboard) on the Queen Mary 2, both known as Queens Grill Grand Duplex Suites, both with sweeping staircases. To book 7-night Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing departs New York City for Southampton, England on July 8, 2022; The Balmoral and Sandringham suites are $23,949 per person for up to four people.
My impressions of the food
The food on board was absolutely delicious. We ate most of our meals at the Britannia Restaurant, the main one, but we also ate at the main Steakhouse, the Verandah, which requires reservations and at least $100 per diner without alcohol. We did not notice a significant difference in quality between the Britannia and the Verandah restaurant beyond rarity of ingredients. There was nothing lacking about the food on the Britannia Restaurant, room service, or any of the other pubs or restaurants. Illy coffee, espresso, and cappucino were available everywhere on board. If you do not want to go out, all manner of room service is available, and most of it is included. There is a surcharge for premium items including champaign, liquors, wines, caviar, and steaks. Everything else is included which is quite a menu and available at least twenty hours of the day.
My impressions on the service
I really loved the service on the Queen Mary 2. All departments were working well together for a very smooth and comfortable experience. One piece of advice is to make sure to read everything they give you in your mailbox so that you do not miss any features or events or have a dress code faux pas.
It is important to book as early as possible, especially if you wish for deluxe accommodations. The best suites sell out first before the other cabins. The smaller cabins are all quite luxurious, safe, and comfortable too. We had midsized "sheltered balcony" staterooms on the Eastbound crossing to Hamburg, and we will have them on the way back, though we are on an upgrade path which will put us in any higher suite should it become available.
How to book tickets
I loved the ship. There is a deco theme overall, and every room and corridor and deck conveys a sense of quality and continual maintenance. The experience starts long before you get on board with the civilized way of booking. You need your own Cunard Travel Consultant at Cunard to be the best booking agent there is. She has helped us now more than once with flawless plans. Luckily, I can provide her information to you so that you too can book with ease:
Kelli Calassa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone +1 800-468-7752 Ext 21332
Now you can not enter an extension, and you can speak with many fine representatives at Cunard, but you will not find one as serious, successful, or capable as Kelli Calassa. She will get you the best advice, the best tickets, the best promotions, and the best information for planning for upgrades or handicapped assistance. She gave me her permission to share her contact information, as she would love to hear from you all about your travel needs.
For more information:
This video covers many details with a full walk-through tour.
We travelled in normal rooms, but there are higher levels of rooms and dining should you be so inclined. This is the level available in the higher price range:
Full information on Queens Grill amenities:
Ten Tips for Transatlantic Crossings on Queen Mary 2