Cunard Line (Cruises)

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Property Description

Onboard

Queen Mary 2 was built to carry on Cunard's tradition of offering liner voyages year-round between Southampton and New York. She has thick steel plating, a strengthened and lengthened bow, and powerful engines. She has 1,300 cabins, most of which are outside, and most of them have balconies. There are eye-popping suites that top out at 2,250 square feet.

QM2 maintains the custom of assigning restaurants based on cabin accommodations. Passengers booked in the largest suites dine in the Queens Grill. Passengers booked in junior suites dine in the Princess Grill. Both grills offer single-seating service with table-side preparation. All other passengers dine in the three-story Britannia Restaurant, which offers two sittings for dinner and open sitting for breakfast and lunch. In addition there are seven other venues for meals, including the signature Todd English restaurant, open to all passengers by reservation for lunch and dinner. The large Lido Restaurant that serves buffet-style breakfasts and lunches becomes four intimate venues for dinner serving Italian, Asian and English fare, as well as a restaurant with a demonstration galley.

QM2 has the first planetarium at sea, carries Oxford dons for classroom learning and offers acting workshops with students from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. A new addition to its top-notch enrichment programs is Science at Sea, a speaker series featuring prominent science writers.

This ship offers something for everyone. Tea is served by white-gloved stewards in several venues. There is a British pub, a champagne bar, stylish (and expensive) shops and a heritage trail that relates Cunard's history. The stunning two-story spa is run by Canyon Ranch. The ship is wired for Wi-Fi, and there is a computer learning center.

Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth capitalize heavily on the rich heritage of Cunard -- but as newer cruise ships, they also offer all the modern amenities expected. Both have lavish suites of some 2,000 square feet overlooking the stern -- and even standard accommodations are spacious and pleasantly furnished (in contrast to the more basic cabins found on ocean liners of old).

Continuing a well-established Cunard tradition, the passengers in the best cabins dine in the single sitting Queens Grill and Princess Grill restaurants. They also share a lounge and an outer deck area, where the meals can be taken al fresco in good weather.

For those in standard accommodations, the two-deck-high Britannia restaurant can serve up to 800 diners at once. Here you have the choice of first or second seating for dinner, but lunch and breakfast are open seating. A separate British pub serves grub like cottage pie and bangers and mash at lunchtime.

Other dining options include the Lido buffet, which serves breakfast and lunch, and Todd English (Queen Victoria) and The Verandah (Queen Elizabeth), additional for-fee venues for lunch and dinner.

On the sister ships, afternoon tea is a white-glove affair served in the lovely two-deck-high Queens Room. The ceremony is a throwback to an altogether grander age of travel and represents Cunard's commitment to its heritage.

About Cunard Line

Cunard Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, has a long and illustrious history. The line was founded in 1840 by Samuel Cunard, a businessman from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Cunard applied for and received a contract from the British government to carry the Royal Mail from Britain to North America on a fleet of steamships that would maintain a weekly service. The first route was from Liverpool to Boston via Halifax, but the western terminus was soon moved to New York.

In the late 1920's Cunard lay down plans for a pair of liners that would be capable of maintaining the weekly service between Southampton and New York. Construction was delayed by the Great Depression, but the British government issued loan guarantees on the condition that Cunard merge with its rival, White Star Line. Cunard-White Star Line launched Queen Mary in 1935 and Queen Elizabeth in 1939. Queen Mary won the speed record for the North Atlantic from the French liner Normandie and kept it for the next 16 years.

Both Queens and numerous smaller Cunard ships served with distinction as troop carriers during World War II. Winston Churchill credited the two Queens with shortening the war in Europe by a year, as they were able to transport 10,000 troops each trip -- without escort -- because of their speed.

Cunard Line Fleet

Cunard Line now comprises three ships, the 151,400-ton, 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2, the flagship of the fleet, the 90,000-ton, 2,014-passenger Queen Victoria, which launched late in late 2007, and QV's slightly larger sister, the 92,400-ton, 2,092-passenger Queen Elizabeth, which debuted in October 2010. As Queen Mary 2's smaller running mates, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are not intended to cross the Atlantic year-round, but they still have many of the amenities of their larger sister.

Fellow Passengers

Queen Mary 2's Atlantic crossings attract American and British passengers in equal proportions with a significant number of continental Europeans and smaller numbers of other nationalities. Passengers on crossings represent all age groups.

American cruises attract mostly Americans, while on European cruises, QM2, QV and QE sail with mostly British passengers with a healthy dose of Continental Europeans and Americans onboard. Announcements are made in English, German, French, and, on occasion, Spanish. Passengers on cruises tend to be older than those on crossings, but there's enough buzz about Cunard as to attract significant numbers of young passengers and families. (The children's facilities are top drawer.) The dress code rotates among casual, informal and formal in about equal proportion.

*Description courtesy of cruisecritic.com









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