10 Reasons Why You Should Experience an Atlantic Crossing Aboard The Queen Mary 2
A Luxurious Cruise Liner Offering A Historic Experience
Have you ever wanted to board a cruise ship to take a short break from reality and escape from your day to day life? Cruise ships are a great avenue to see the world and withdraw from society for a while.
My family took a 7 day Atlantic Crossing from Southampton, England to New York City aboard the Cunard Line Queen Mary 2 around Christmas time of 2016 and though I wasn't sure if it would be my cup of tea, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Below are the 10 reasons why I feel that this is a travel adventure that everyone should experience during their lifetime.
The Queen Mary 2
The Queen Mary 2, also referred to as the QM2 is a transatlantic ocean liner and is the flagship vessel of the Cunard Line. At the time the ship was completed in 2003, she was the longest passenger ship ever constructed. With a gross tonnage of 148,528 she was also the largest. A larger ship has since been constructed but she is still the largest ocean liner ever manufactured.
Since the QM2 was designed as an ocean liner for Atlantic crossings, she was built differently from other standard cruise ships. She contains 40% more steel in her structure and has a top speed of 56 km/h; 35 mph (just over 30 knots) and a cruising speed of 48 km/h; 30 mph (26 knots), which is significantly faster than contemporary cruise ships.
The Queen Mary 2 offers passengers a vast amount of facilities to choose from including 15 bars and restaurants, numerous luxury stores and boutiques, a theater, a casino, a ballroom, 5 swimming pools and the first ever built planetarium at sea.
Although the Queen Mary 2 was constructed for Atlantic crossings she is also used for cruising; the Cunard Line offers 12 or 13 day cruises aboard the QM2 from New York City to the Caribbean and an annual world cruise.
Read why I recommend this luxurious cruise liner for an extravagant experience.
1. A Luxurious Atmosphere
The atmosphere and ambience of the Queen Mary 2 is one of luxury and prestige.
The guests come from a variety of countries, but the vast majority are British nationals. There are some American and Canadians in the mix, and guests from a number of other European countries on board.
As a North American I felt I was hanging with a proper crowd solely because of all the British accents.
The crew treats the guests with prestige and the interior of the ship is presented beautifully.
After 6:00 PM, those that want to be in the bars, restaurants and common areas are required to dress formally: a suit and tie for gentleman and an evening dress/gown for the ladies.
If you prefer not to dress up you're still allowed to hang out in the cafeteria area and on the deck of the ship, but if you want to be in the mix of things in the heart of the action you'll need to bring some nice clothes.
Check Out This Slideshow Demonstrating the Degree of Luxury You'll Experience Aboard the QM2
This requirement provides for an extremely proper and luxurious atmosphere and is a huge theme of the cruise.
In my personal life I'm not one to dress up all that much, but this prompted me to do so and it's nice to look good every once in a while and see everyone else dressed to the nines.
It felt like prom! And everyone loves going to the prom, right?
Plus, I clean up rather well if I do say so myself :)
But what is there to do to entertain yourself while at sea for a full 7 days?
The daily itinerary on the Queen Mary 2 is full of activities you can take advantage of to keep yourself entertained. Each day a schedule is left at the door of your stateroom for you to browse through and see which entertainment endeavors you'd like to do to keep yourself occupied throughout the day.
Some of the entertainment activities from which you can choose are:
Fitness and Sports
- Fitness Classes, Fencing, Golf Competitions, Trans-Atlantic Games, Table Tennis Tournaments
Pub and Bar Games
- Karaoke, Trivia and Darts Tournaments, Game Shows, Live Sporting Events, Wine/Whiskey Tasting
Gambling & Cards
- Casino, Poker, Blackjack, Bingo and Bridge Tournaments, Board Games
- Line Dancing, Ballroom Dancing and Tango Dancing Classes
- Various Lectures & Seminars, Art & Watercolor Classes, Computer, iPhone and Technology Courses
- Christian & Jewish Worship, Solo Traveler, Friends of Bill W (AA) & Dorothy (LGBT) Meetings
What's There to Watch?
- Daily Shows in the Planetarium, Different Films Shown Daily, Television Programs
- Live Music, Comedy Shows, Formal Balls, Poetry Recitals, Nightclub with Dance Floor & Bars
These are the Daily Programmes Showing Activities for Each Day of the Voyage
If you get active and participate in the activities that are offered for the guests, it's virtually impossible to get bored. There is simply not enough time to partake in them all; there's always something to do!
When it comes to entertainment, The Queen Mary 2 delivers.
3. Interior Decor
The interior of The Queen Mary 2 is eloquently decorated in virtually every space you go.
There are art pieces depicting historic newspaper articles and informative pieces on the history of the Cunard Cruise line and the ships that it has in its fleet.
Most impressive to me were the murals that line the main hallways connecting busy thoroughfares to the Grand Lobby. The murals are extremely detailed and beautifully crafted. One can spend hours looking at them and searching for all of the little nuggets contained within.
Murals Adorn the Main Hallways Paying Homage to Roman Mythology, the Zodiac and the Six Habitable Continents
Throughout the ship you'll find pictures and painting of famous people who have crossed the Atlantic Ocean with the Cunard Line in the past.
You'll also find paintings of British Royalty and prominent figures.
If you happen to take a Christmas crossing as I did, you'll see eloquent Christmas decor throughout the main halls and bars and restaurants.
4. The Amenities
As The Queen Mary 2 is so large, there is a vast amount of amenities and services you can take advantage of on a daily basis including:
- The First Ever Built Planetarium at Sea
- 15 Bars, Restaurants & Lounges
- Fitness Gym
- Outdoor Running Track
- Tennis Courts
- Golf Simulator
- Indoor Pools & Jacuzzis
- Outdoor Pools & Jacuzzis
- Spa Service
- Luxury Stores & Boutiques
- Cigar Lounge
- Computer Lounge with Internet Access
- Area with Card Tables and Board Games
5. The Food and Drinks
What good would a week-long cruise be without great food?
Aboard The Queen Mary 2 this will be the least of your worries. There are numerous restaurants from which can choose, as well as an enormous cafeteria with a huge selection of foods if you don't feel up to dressing formally for dinner.
Dining in the Britannia Restaurant you get numerous choices on your menu for a 4 course meal: a soup or salad, an appetizer, the main course, and dessert. These dinners are included in your ticket to board; there is no extra charge and they are absolutely delicious. At dinner your table gets a designated waiter and a sommelier who will assist you in pairing wine with your choice of plate should you choose to drink.
There are specialty restaurants that offer different types of cuisine each night as well if you are open to paying a little extra.
Other than drinks and the specialty restaurants the food is all inclusive and there's no need to carry cash around on the ship. Anything you'd like to purchase can be charged to your room.
6. Top Notch Service
The crew of The Queen Mary 2 aims to please; they offer five star service to the guests. It's evident that they truly enjoy their jobs. After all, they get to travel around the world on a luxury cruise ship entertaining people who are already having a good time.
When you first board the ship a bottle of champagne awaits you in your quarters.
A Bottle of Champagne and Two Glasses Awaited Me Upon Boarding. They Were Unaware I'm More of a "Two Bottles and One Glass Kind of Guy"
Each day your steward will come in and tidy up your stateroom just like in a hotel.
The wait staff does everything possible to make sure your dining experiences are problem free and enjoyable.
Best of all, the entertainment staff is phenomenal. The Cunard Line does a fantastic job of selecting employees who are personable, have great senses of humor, and enjoy being around other people and entertaining.
7. The Guests
My favorite thing to when traveling is meeting new people.
With roughly 3,000 guests aboard The Queen Mary 2 there was no shortage of people with whom I could visit. And since most of the guests were not in my age range and from other countries, I got to step outside my bubbly little comfort zone and mingle with people I'd normally not get a chance to get to know.
This was an amazing experience in that I got to hear perspectives very different from my own and learned a ton of new knowledge from older and wiser people. Hanging with a bunch of Brits taught me all types of new slang words, all about the cities they came from, and the different perceptions of the world they had.
I highly recommend this cruise for that fact alone.
8. The Beautiful Ocean Views
Although The Queen Mary 2 is full of beautiful sights and is amazing to behold, nothing quite compares to the natural beauty created by the universe.
When crossing the Atlantic Ocean you're thousands of miles away from civilization. There are no lights out there. You get picturesque views of the sunrise, sunset, the stars and the moon. If you're lucky you may catch a glimpse of marine life while on board as well.
It's beneficial to carry a camera with you at all times because you never know what type of beautiful display will pop up in front of you. I saw so many views that were photo-worthy. I hope you enjoy them.
9. Historical Perspective
One of the attractions of doing an Atlantic crossing is knowing that you're making a trip that millions of immigrants, sailors, explorers and thrill seekers have made before. You get a perspective on that history and an idea of how it might have felt to cross the ocean.
Though this ship travels much faster than those of the past and the experience is much more luxurious than most would have experienced crossing the Atlantic in the 20th century, it gives you insight into what it felt like to be on a ship for an extended period of time and getting to know the other passengers on board, interact with them, and quite possibly never see them again.
The Captain announces on the intercom system when the ship passes by the resting place of the Titanic. It's an eery feeling knowing that you're passing over the spot where thousands of people lost their lives.
As the ship gets further out to sea and the distance between you and civilization grows, it's hard not to put things into perspective and see how small and insignificant our lives are.
It's a humbling experience.
10. The Arrival
Arriving into the harbor in New York city is the perfect ending to such a cruise.
You'll probably need to wake up early (around 4:00 or 5:00 AM) in order to catch it, but it's well worth it.
Excitement buzzes all around as guests make their way to the deck to watch the ship pull into the harbor and cross below the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
There are only a few feet of clearance from the highest point of the ship and the lowest point of the bridge. It's exciting to watch it pass underneath.
You can see the Manhattan skyline from the deck, as well as the Statue of Liberty Lingering in the background. Once dawn arrives the view is amazing.
Most of all, it's nice to know that you're now going to able to walk on solid ground and sleep at night without the feel of swaying up and down while at sea. When the waters are calm it's actually a very comforting feeling. It feels like you're being rocked to sleep in a cradle.
However, it's also a great feeling to get your feet back on dry land and walk around the earth.
After a week at sea and away from civilization, arriving into New York City is the perfect ending to the trip.