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Queen Mary 2
Cruise Diva's Cruise Diary
Crossing the Atlantic in Royal Style

Part Four

It Was Different Out There
In the Cunard tradition since its founding in 1840, Queen Mary 2 was built with safety as a primary consideration. Unlike her predecessors, she was also designed as a multi-functional liner, offering not only cruises, but also regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings between Southampton and New York.

Make no mistake, while Queen Mary 2 offers cruises, she is a transatlantic liner at heart. To withstand all that the ocean can throw her way, she has a stronger hull design and heavier steel. Where you find the real difference between her distinctive design and that of a typical cruise ship is in her layout.

A "stepped down" stern gives QM2 a decidedly liner profile and her red and black stack is incredible for its huge size, but where she's really different is in her "lido" area. There are multiple pools and whirlpools, both on her top deck as well as the aft decks, but no expansive lido area buffet. There's a small grill tucked into a corner aft of the Deck Twelve swimming pool, but the main buffet area is lower in the hull on the promenade deck--a more sensible location when you consider QM2 spends as much time on the less forgiving North Atlantic than in calmer cruising seas.

QM2 may no longer be the largest passenger ship at sea, but she's still big. Really big! It took a couple days before I was confident that I could find my way to the Cunard ConneXions learning center without getting lost along the way. It didn't take quite that long to figure out the closest computers with Internet access were in the library, along with a collection of over 8,000 books. And I have to admit that I loved the little surprises that seemed to be around every corner--little nooks to read or play board games or just watch the sea slip past.

One tip about getting around easily--there are four elevator/stairway lobbies lettered A through D (fore to aft) and the Daily Programme indicates which stairway is the closest to each public room.

Hint: Illuminations is the site of lectures, movies, and televised sporting events with seating for over 500; however, the only planetarium at sea is also housed in the space. When in use for virtual reality and celestial shows the screen is lowered from the ceiling and 150 people are accommodated for the presentation in reclining chairs below. With seating limited, pick up complimentary tickets early in the day.

Crossing as Transportation
During my crossing I met several North American families returning home to the United States and Canada after living abroad. Exploring their options to return to the States after studying in Great Britain, Kevin Skipper booked passage on QM2 with his young family because “it was less expensive to return on a ship than purchase four airline tickets.” Plus, after living abroad for several years, the family had an excess of luggage, including children’s car seats, which could be brought aboard at no additional charge. Try that with an airline! The Skipper children, at ages two and-a-half and four, looked forward to the children’s program and loved to “go to school” as they called the Children's Zone activities. The Skipper parents were delighted that babysitting on QM2 is complimentary, an unexpected savings.

Comment on Commentary
Speaking of unexpected savings, I was very surprised that my name was announced over the public address system the last evening on board. Seems my comment card was randomly selected from those already submitted at reception and I "won" the equivalent of my bar bill. Yes, as of 6 o'clock pm the night before reaching New York, my bar bill was zeroed out. A word to the wise... turn in those comment cards.

My final comment? A crossing on Queen Mary 2 was everything I expected and more. More enrichment programs, more entertainment, great dining, interesting fellow passengers, and yes... more princess treatment than I expected.

It was a crossing fit for royalty.

Back to QM2 Crossing Diary --> Part OnePart Two, Part Three


Crossing or Cruising? What's the difference? Cruise Diva looks at conventional cruises, repositioning cruises, and a traditional Transatlantic Crossing on the largest ocean liner ever to sail the Atlantic, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2

Learn more about the building of the Queen Mary 2 --> The 12-Part Series

Queen Mary 2, Relive the maiden crossing by Dr. John M. Clearwater

Photographs © Linda Coffman,

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