Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is a beautiful ocean liner able to glide through the roughest seas. The ship itself is a work of art with wonderful displays of flowers, paintings and pictures throughout.
She also offers exquisite dining options, excellent speakers’ programs and nightlife that includes both a live DJ with a resident band and also a full orchestra for dancing in the grand ballroom. Her shopping options are equally impressive.
The boutiques on Deck 3 are brightly lit. The attendants stand by ready to help but not annoy. The shops contain everything from toothpaste to outer wear and masks for the popular Masquerade Ball.
Also available are a variety of cufflinks and bowties for any man who’s misplaced theirs or wants something new for gala nights. My husband, Tim, found a pair of suspenders to add to his formal wear. With no belt loops on his tuxedo trousers, he never has completely trusted its elastic side tabs to keep his pants securely at waist level.
For women, there is an array of dresses, shawls and tops that would also be perfect for Gala Nights, along with accessories such as bracelets, earrings and necklaces in all different price ranges.
Once while walking through the shops I saw an auction for some of the more expensive pieces of jewelry. And I noticed raffles for jewelry were also popular. If jewelry is of interest, take time to look because there’s no telling what sale opportunity might pop up.
Anyone searching for a special accessory or an outfit should take advantage of Cunard’s personal shopping experts. Whether it is jewelry, fragrance, watches or clothing, these helpers can arrange a viewing of your selections in the privacy of your stateroom. This is so much easier than trying to decide how well something fits while changing in a closet sized space. Best of all, the aid of a personal shopping expert is free. Just inquire in the boutiques.
Once you pass a small Barbour section with shirts and jackets tucked into an alcove, you enter an area with a wide selection of Cunard brand souvenirs. From Teddy Bears to sweatshirts, jackets, t-shirts, key rings, mugs, glasses and a host of other things Cunard are available for purchase. But good luck on finding a shot glass with the Cunard logo. We like to collect them from where we’ve enjoyed our favorite experiences, and this cruise certainly counts among them.
While onboard QM2, I realized there was no reason to lug a big bag around most of the time. I needed a smaller handbag. After perusing the different shops, I found the perfect sized leather bag. Was it expensive? Maybe a little, but it also was on sale. Made in the UK, the handbag was not a brand I’ve ever seen in the US. I do love it and feel lucky to have found something so perfect.
One section stocks a fine selection of Scotch whiskeys and also the 3 Queens Gin, the trio of small-batch gins created exclusively for Cunard. The gins are named after Cunard’s three ships—the Queens Mary, Elizabeth and Victoria. Each of these London dry gins is distilled with different botanicals to infuse them distinctive flavors. Before purchasing, you can sample them in any of the ship’s bars.
If you’re looking for a piece of artwork as a reminder of your voyage, visit the Clarendon Fine Art Gallery on Deck 3 aft of the Britannia Restaurant. The contemporary art displayed there is original, thought provoking and of course for sale. It is a fun walk just looking at all the different styles of artwork. However, it’s also possible the best remembrance of your cruise might be found in the Images Photo Gallery.
During my shopping on Queen Mary 2, I was impressed by the friendliness of the staff in all the stores. They were always happy to simply pass the time with me when they weren’t busy. It didn’t matter whether we talked about the merchandise, the weather or where I was from, their congeniality shined. And I never once felt pressured by them to make a purchase, and that says a lot.
Story and photos by Linda O’Keefe
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Cover photo: Cunard Queen Mary 2 in New York Harbor, courtesy Cunard