Queen Mary 2 may well be my favorite ship. After more than three decades of ship travel on oceans and rivers all over the world, this ocean liner (don’t call her a “ship” or, heaven forbid, a “boat,”) seems to really be the epitome of it all for me. This is my third or fourth crossing on QM2, but I sailed on the Queen Elizabeth 2 in the 1980s where I lectured on guidebook writing, again in the early 1990s, and on the Queen Victoria within the last few years.
Consider my dining room table assignment.
I had been assigned a table for two at early seating when the ship expected me to travel with my grandson. As he is no longer with me, after the first night’s dinner I requested to be seated at a larger table and, if possible, at second seating.
Instantly, I was seated at a great table with great table companions. We have a charming priest from Boston, a young man returning to the States after living in Italy, a seasoned traveler on his way home to San Francisco and my “adopted” New Jersey daughters and the recent college grad daughter of one of them. All are kind and gracious and fun.
In fact when I told them all I’d not be with them tonight, I’d be dining in the lovely Todd English Restaurant, they all decided to join me. It is an alternative restaurant and comes with an added cost, but that “all for one” attitude really touched me, and although we couldn’t all get in tonight, we do have a table of seven reserved for tomorrow night for our “family.”
But enough about me.
The ship, almost 10 years old, was such a marvel when it came on line in 2004 that hundreds turned out to view her from local bridges when she made a maiden call at Port Everglades.
The ship weighs more than 150 ton, is 1,132 feet long and 131 feet wide.
“Spaciousness” is the immediate early reaction to boarding. Public rooms are decorated subtly and might be described as “Downton Abbey” goes to sea – with all the 21st century bells and whistles!
Lounges and bars — which double often as trivia game or musical performance sites — feature comfy couches and chairs, and all pay homage to the long, long Cunard maritime history, British Royals and an elegant way of life.
Consider The Royal Court Theater, a magnificent performance venue, the Chart Room Bar, Sir Samuel’s (as in Samuel Cunard, of course,) Churchill’s Cigar Lounge and the Commodore Club.
It all reflects a time of elegance, comfort and, yes, that same word one more time, grace.