Last June Chet and I had the privilege of sailing on the Queen Mary 2 from New York City to Southampton, England. It was the first time we had sailed with Cunard since our honeymoon on the QE2 some 29 years earlier.
We discovered that the Cunard experience was much the same: refined, upscale, classy and fun. We enjoyed a Princess Suite and dined in the Princess Grill and again found the experience similar to what we had enjoyed in the Queen’s Grill on that earlier sailing. We found the “crossing” to be a memorable experience and one that every experienced cruiser should enjoy.
So it is nice to note that the Queen Mary 2 is about to mark a major milestone.
Cunard Line’s flagship will achieve its 200th Transatlantic Crossing on her July 6, 2013, voyage from New York to Southampton in her ninth season since entering service in 2004. The milestone will be commemorated with various activities and special speakers and performers on board to add to the celebratory mood.
“Sailing a Transatlantic Crossing aboard our flagship Queen Mary 2 is a luxury travel experience like no other,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “And now with 200 Crossings under her belt, the grandest ocean liner in the world has proven to be the icon of the new golden age of ocean travel across the Atlantic.”
As part of the Cunard Insights on board enrichment program, Stephen Payne, who was largely responsible for the overall design of Queen Mary 2, will present a fascinating perspective on her construction. Stephen also will be the guest of honor at an evening gala on board, which will include a commemorative dinner with a special menu. In addition, BBC newsreader and Classic FM presenter Nick Owen will lecture on board.
Also adding to the festivities will be 16 musicians, plus a band leader and vocalist, from the world-renowned Juilliard School of Dance, Drama and Music. The group will perform as a jazz orchestra providing a selection of big band, swing and Glenn Miller-style music and smaller ensemble pieces. Other Juilliard performances will include an evening event in the Royal Court Theatre with full orchestra and vocalist, an afternoon tea dance, lunch time jam sessions featuring an ensemble in the Chart Room, and a late evening ensemble in Illuminations. The band leader and members of the orchestra will also give two jazz master class lectures and a live Q&A.
Queen Mary 2 is still the largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built. She is also the fastest passenger ship in the world.
In the course of the flagship’s 200 Transatlantic Crossings, Cunard estimates that passengers have consumed:
8.4 million cups of tea
481,000 bottles of champagne
960,000 liters of milk
In total, Queen Mary 2 has served 22.4 million meals and sailed over 600,000 nautical miles during her first 200 Crossings. These figures do not take into account her annual World Cruise or her sailings to the Canaries, Fjords, Iceland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, around Britain, up to Montreal and Quebec in Canada or among the Caribbean islands.
Looking at Cunard’s earlier vessels, Queen Mary (1936 – 1967) crossed the Atlantic 1,001 times; Queen Elizabeth (1940 – 1968) crossed 896 times; and Queen Elizabeth 2 (1969 – 2008) crossed 812 times.
Special promotional fares for the 200th Transatlantic Crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 on the July 6, 2013, voyage start from $1,399 per person.