Destination the Seas
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|Peter L Rothholz||July 21st 2015|
Cutting Edge Contributor
If you wish to avoid the indignities nowadays associated with international air travel and can afford the luxury of spending seven days at sea, there is no better way to cross the Atlantic than on board Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2. You will be pampered, wined, dined and entertained around the clock and you will no longer have to wonder why some people yearn for the “good old days” because you will be experiencing them.
Weighing in at 150,000 grt, the QM2 is the largest, longest, tallest and widest passenger liner ever built and with lower berths for just 2,620 guests, she is also the most spacious of the world’s great liners. You will notice this the moment you enter her six-storey Grand Lobby with its dramatic staircase and exquisite works of art. This sensation of spaciousness is one of the ship’s hallmarks and you will be surprised that even when she is fully booked, she never feels crowded.
Unlike trans-Atlantic liners in bygone days, the QM2 is a one-class ship and all passengers, regardless of the price of their stateroom are free to enjoy every part of the ship. Among her facilities are four swimming pools (both indoor and outdoor), an amazing sports deck 200 feet above sea level, complete with a paddle tennis court, half-size basketball court, putting green and state-of-the-art golf simulator, while down below there is a library with more than 10,000 volumes, a ballroom, many lounges, the only Planetarium at sea and the Royal Court Theatre, an ultra-modern venue for Broadway and West End style productions as well as noted individual entertainers.
A rare treat on our recent voyage was the presence of six talented graduates from the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts (RADA) who presented superb productions of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”. They also organized a number of games and story-telling sessions. Similar RADA programs are planned for all QM2 trans-Atlantic crossings.
Most, though not all, staterooms, aboard the QM2 have private balconies and all, regardless of price, have private en suite bathrooms. As is to be expected, there is a wide selection of staterooms and suites but, as previously mentioned, all passengers have equal access to all public facilities.
The Britannia Restaurant, with seating for 1,347 is the principal dining room on the ship and serves traditional continental cuisine. Passengers are assigned to specific tables and to one of two sittings for dinner. Those in higher categories of staterooms or suites, dine in either the Queen’s Grill or the Princess Grill, each of which serves some 200 guests in a single seating. In addition, the informal King’s Court serves breakfast and lunch buffet style. At night the area is divided into three different dining venues featuring Italian, Asian and Indian cuisine. Regardless where you eat, you will find the staff considerate of special dietary needs. As someone who is allergic to gluten I always found a wide choice of dishes from which to choose.
When we first considered a trans-Atlantic crossing on the QM2, we were concerned that seven days at sea might become boring. Instead of being bored, however, we were sometimes frustrated that we could not take advantage of the many programs and activities that were offered. In addition to the RADA and West End revues, there were lectures by authorities on film and astronomy as well as talks by a former head of the White House military office who provided fascinating insights into the “care and feeding” of the American president. There were also classical piano recitals as well as concerts by a string quartette. And to celebrate Cunard’s 175th. Anniversary, there was a masquerade ball and several cocktail receptions.
In the “good old days” when the sea became choppy, you would feel it. Even though we had a day of heavy seas and gale force winds the ship’s stabilizers performed so well that we felt nothing and knew it only because the Captain told us.