Queen Mary 2 – On Board Cunard’s Remastered Flagship
Queen Mary 2 is the flagship of the iconic Cunard brand. A symbol of indulgence, with a luxurious legacy garnered from over a decade of ventures across the high seas.
She is to ocean-faring what the Orient Express is to riding the rails.
And she’s recently had a bit of a facelift.
Queen Mary 2 (that’s the correct nomenclature, by the way – not Queen Mary II as if often seen), has been upgraded, with a fresher look, some new accommodation features, and a new-style venue for less formal occasions. All to the tune of £90 million.
Among the accommodation changes are 30 new Britannia Club Staterooms – and 15 Single Cabins, a first for the company. They’re not just for solo travellers; family groups often consist of an odd number of guests, and the Single rooms are also intended for this purpose.
Above: Standard Balcony Stateroom (top); Queens Grill Stateroom (left); Single Cabin (left)
Cunard Canines (and Felines)
Pets increasingly form part of the family unit too, and Cunard recognises this. The ship is (so far) still the only transatlantic ocean liner to provide a kennel service, which, as it happens, includes the dedicated attention of a kennel master and a regular play schedule.
Part of the £90 million budget has gone towards expanding and upgrading the kennel quarters, so that more Rovers and Felixes (22 in total) can accompany their humans in an even greater degree of comfort.
For good measure, there’s a New York fire hydrant and an English lamp-post in place too. Undoubtedly installed for those furry friends either hankering for familiar home comforts or wishing to acclimatise to their future environment (!). Cruise Critic explains in more detail.
The Carinthia Lounge
Formerly the Winter Garden, this new communal lounge is light and airy, meeting the need for an informal but still elegant area to relax and eat. A range of speciality beverages or vintage ports is on offer, and there’s a selection of patisserie items to sample.
Above: The Carinthia Lounge
Throughout much of the ship layouts have been redesigned, soft furnishings and artwork updated, and facilities improved. Some of the changes are more subtle than others – while the King’s Court buffet has been completely overhauled for a better flow, the Queens Grill Restaurant has been simply but effectively updated and streamlined.
Above: The streamlined & refreshed Queen Grills Restaurant. Below: the art deco tub chairs contrast the sumptuous trimmings of the general décor in the Queen Mary Suite, mixing the traditional with the contemporary:
The scale of the refit, or remaster as Cunard refer to it, is rather impressive.
Another unique aspect of Queen Mary 2 is her planetarium, the only seaborne one in existence, and located within the Art Deco-style Illuminations theatre venue. On a planetarium show night, the suspended dome is lowered to surround the audience before transporting them to far flung corners of the universe with one of their specially commissioned programmes.
This part of the ship wasn’t part of the refit, but it merits a mention for its uniqueness – and it’s a subject close to the heart of Travel Continuum, so what can I say?!
Green Mary 2?
This lady isn’t really built for environmental sustainability, she’s high-maintenance and that isn’t going to change much, but she has now at least been fitted with four new scrubbers and the corresponding exhaust gas filters.
A scrubber system is an air pollution control device which removes some solid particles (such as black carbon) and some toxic gases. Scrubbers can’t cut the emission levels of carbon dioxide. The process doesn’t eliminate the unwanted substance – it converts it into another form i.e. liquid, solid paste or powder, which still needs to be disposed of safely.
There are a few other minor improvements, for example, some of the lightbulbs have been replaced with more energy-efficient options, which will also reduce costs. Perhaps next time there’s some investment there’ll be further progress on reducing environmental impact.
Incidentally, there some very exciting things afoot (or at-anchor?) in the sustainable cruising realm, and I’ll be writing more about that in future posts.
Meanwhile, Queen Mary 2 continues to epitomise the ultimate in stylish sea-going adventures. She floats on like the thoroughbred she is, gliding along on World Voyages or nipping back and forth across the Atlantic, all the while classy and dignified.
One day, the new generation of cruise liners will oust her, with sustainability at the forefront of their design specification.
For now, though, as far as traditional cruise liner showstoppers go, Queen Mary 2 rules.
Disclosure: I visited Queen Mary 2 as part of a combined familiarisation and corporate engagement exercise through Carnival UK. All images and opinions are my own.