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All Aboard the Queen Mary 2

All Aboard the Queen Mary 2

Looking for a more leisurely (not to say stylish) way to cross the Atlantic? Look no further than the legendary Queen Mary 2, the one-of-a-kind ocean liner and flagship of the Cunard Line.

RMS Queen Mary 2 (or QM2), with a capacity of around 2,700 passengers and 1,200 crew, is the largest ship in Cunard’s history, and the world’s only true ocean liner currently in service.

The “ocean liner” distinction here is the iconic 7-night transatlantic crossing the ship makes, between Southampton, United Kingdom, and New York, United States.

So, what else makes her special?

Table of Contents

Royal Rendezvous

Queen Mary 2 Royal Rendezvous

First, there’s the glamour associated with royalty. The ship (named after the first Queen Mary ocean liner), was christened in 2004 by the British reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II (and you can have your own royal rendezvous in the Queens Grill or the Princess Grill!)

More royal names abound: there’s the Queens Room, the Kings Court, the Windsor Suite, and the Balmoral Duplex, not to mention the Royal Court Theatre, where passengers can watch members of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The liner’s official name, RMS Queen Mary 2, even follows suit, the “Royal Mail Ship” status being conferred as a gesture to Cunard’s history, although the ship doesn’t usually carry mail.

What’s the difference between a cruise ship and an ocean liner?

Ocean liners are designed to undertake a “line voyage”, between two points across a large expanse of open ocean (such as the transatlantic crossing between North America and Europe).

Cruise Ships are typically designed to undertake pleasure voyages, closer to the coast, and sailing between multiple ports. QM2 is currently the only ocean liner in operation.

White Star Service

The good news is that this vibe of luxury is not just skin deep. The Cunard line prides itself on its “White Star Service”; a classy combination of comfort and courtesy, where passengers are treated like royalty but feel at home. Cunard staff are trained at the White Star Academy to deliver expert care and service.

Included in the price for even the cheapest cabins are a kingsize bed, bathrobes and slippers, a nightly turndown service, Penhaligon’s toiletries, steward service, and sparkling wine to welcome you aboard.

Think of Queen Mary 2 as a small floating city – one furnished with every sort of amenity and activity. You can visit a new bar every day of your week’s voyage. There’s a library, a planetarium, an art gallery, a spa and beauty salon, a gastropub where you can taste the exclusive Cunard ales, and five swimming pools.

There are classes in fitness, fencing, and wine-tasting. Evening entertainment ranges from tux-and-bowtie balls to pub quizzes. And of course, there are all the customary cruise ship deck games.

A transatlantic voyage on Queen Mary 2 is a unique experience, offering what every traveler can expect from the “greatest ocean liner in the world”.

And, as cruise specialists Cunard similarly promise for QM2’s sister ships Queen Elizabeth, Queen Anne (maiden voyage scheduled for January 2024), and Queen Victoria, the royal vibe on board is universal. On Cunard liners, the luxury lifestyle once restricted to the elite is now available to all!

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History of Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 Ship Sign

RMS Queen Mary 2 was first conceived by Cunard’s owners, Carnival Corporation, in 1998, thanks in part to a surge in demand for transatlantic voyages generated by the 1997 movie Titanic. The aim was a return to the glory days of transatlantic travel.

The ship was designed by a team of British naval architects led by Stephen Payne, who had already worked on many Carnival Corporation ships, and who was awarded the OBE in 2004 for “Services to Shipping” He was later elected President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

So the guy knows a thing or two about ships.

Queen Mary 2, purposely built for crossing the Atlantic Ocean, was the first ocean liner to be built for more than thirty years.

At the time of its design, it was to be the longest, largest, and heaviest passenger ship to ever sail. However, bigger cruise ships have since been built, and it no longer holds those records.

Currently, the world’s largest passenger ship is Royal Caribbean International’s Wonder of the Seas, at 1188 feet long and 236,857 tons. She is both longer and heavier than Queen Mary 2, who clocks in at 1132 feet and 151,400 tons.

But the Wonder of the Seas is a mere cruise ship, meaning Queen Mary 2 still remains the largest ocean liner ever built!

The building of Queen Mary 2 was awarded to Chantiers de l’Atlantique on the 6th November 2000, with construction starting in 2002. The company first laid down the keel on the 4th of July at their construction dock in Saint-Nazaire, western France.

It took 3,000 craftsmen 8 million hours to construct the ship. In total, 20,000 people were directly or indirectly involved in the design, construction, and fitting of Queen Mary 2.

One exciting design innovation was the use of satellite weather data. The Marine Research Institute in the Netherlands – MARIN – developed a mathematical model of QM2’s projected voyages which suggested that whatever the weather conditions, the ship would reliably adhere to her timetable.

She faced her first major test during a transatlantic crossing early in 2004, in the form of two severe storm systems. Despite the fierce intensity of the storms, she made it to New York on schedule.

The final construction cost may seem high – some $800,000,000 – but that’s because of the 40% extra steel required. This extra steel is because of the need to sit lower in the water (what naval engineers refer to as a “deeper draught”) making QM2 more stable than a normal cruise ship. 

The liner also demands higher endurance capabilities than a cruise ship as it has to cross wide expanses of ocean, withstanding all weathers, but still sticking to a strict schedule.

This is particularly relevant in the North Atlantic, widely considered the world’s most unpredictable ocean because of its exposure to coastal winds and rapid temperature changes.

Can you get seasick on Queen Mary 2?

Yes, it is possible to get seasick aboard Queen Mary 2, but it is a rare occurrence since the ship was designed and constructed to limit it. And even if you fall really sick, there is an onboard medical team to attend to you. So, you have nothing to worry about.

PRO TIP: Feeling seasick? Get out on the deck! You get seasick when your brain can’t tell which way is up. Get a glimpse of a horizon to get your brain back in line!

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Is the Queen Mary 2 Safe?

Sailing Queen Mary 2

Although Queen Mary 2 has an impressive maritime safety record, a tragic accident on November 5th, 2003 (8 weeks before its maiden voyage) caused 16 fatalities, when gangways were changed at the last minute during an open event at Saint-Nazaire for friends and families of construction workers.

Despite the challenges, construction was completed on time, and within budget. Queen Mary 2 left the Saint-Nazaire dry dock on December 22nd, 2003, arriving in Southampton, England, four days later.

Her christening by HM Queen Elizabeth II took place on January 8th, 2004, and she set sail on her maiden voyage four days later on January 12th, from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States, carrying 2,620 passengers.

MAIB (Marine Accident Investigation Branch) archives for December 2011 record another incident. The ship was approaching Barcelona in September 2010, when a capacitor explosion in the electricity supply caused a power failure.

No one was hurt, and auxiliary power enabled the ship to berth perfectly safely. To avoid similar disruption, design changes and maintenance routines were subsequently adopted.

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Queen Mary 2 – Technical Features

Queen Mary 2 Ship

Queen Mary 2, the iconic flagship of the Cunard Line, has some impressive and innovative technical features. Its power plant, propulsion system, navigation system, and other features are on another level. Let’s dive deeper into these specifications.

Power Plant and Propulsion System

To provide electricity to serve the hotel needs (16MW) and the propulsion load (86MW), Queen Mary 2 has four hefty sixteen-cylinder Wärtsilä 16V46CR EnviroEngine marine diesel engines, with a total output of over 67MW.

These engines use modern common rail fuel injection technology, which optimizes the combustion process so that fewer pollutants are produced, allowing them to operate without visible smoke.

Additionally, Queen Mary 2 has two General Electric LM2500+ gas turbines that generate 50MW. These are used for powering Alstom electrical motors located inside the podded propulsors.

These arrangements allow the ship to sustain much higher speeds (the top speed is 30 knots – very fast for her size) and are economical when cruising at low speeds.

The turbines, manufactured in Ohio, USA, were specially designed to be some 35 tons lighter than previous similar gas turbine installations. This compactness increased the ship’s available space for cabins and public areas, helping to maximize her revenue potential.

The total generation capacity is nearly 120MW, about double the power of a conventional 100,000-ton cruise ship, or enough to supply a city with a quarter million population – say, Laredo, Texas, or Southampton, England.

Another new departure was the decision to have quadruple – instead of the usual twin – podded propulsion units.

Each of these 21.5MW Rolls-Royce Mermaid podded thrusters has a forward-facing low-vibration propeller with stainless steel blades bolted individually. Helpfully, there are 8 spare blades stowed on the deck – just in case.

The two forward non-azimuthing pods (that is, units rigidly connected to the hull) provide forward/aft propulsion, with the two aft fully-azimuthing pods (pods that can be rotated to any horizontal angle) providing fore/aft propulsion and 360º maneuverability.

This design eliminates the need for a rudder and the ship can be maneuvered by a single joystick on the bridge!

A major advantage of having 4 pods is that the reduced hydrodynamic loading on each propeller means lower levels of propeller-generated noise and vibration. The quadruple pod installation also provides a reassuring level of redundancy; with just 3 pods working, the ship can still maintain a steady 26 knots.

There are also four stabilizers which, when combined, reduce the ship’s roll by 90% when turning. All these design features offer smooth sailing and comfort to the passengers. So don’t worry – your champagne won’t spill.

How much fuel does the Queen Mary 2 hold?

It has a fuel tank capacity of 4,381 metric tons, enough to keep the ship sailing for 10 days straight without refilling. The ship consumes fuel at one gallon per 41 feet covered when sailing at 29-30 knots.

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Navigation System

Queen Mary 2’s bridge is huge – nearly 150 feet wide. It has a fully integrated bridge system that controls the navigation systems, radar, engine monitoring, and dynamic positioning system.

It was designed by a British firm, Kelvin Hughes (now Hensoldt UK). The firm also supplied many of the ship’s electrical components and accessories, including the Electronic Chart Display and Information (ECDIS) system.

Also screens showing radar, navigation displays, safety management systems, maneuvering systems, power management displays, water consumption, ballast transfer, and weather systems.

Desalination Plants

Freshwater aboard Queen Mary 2 comes from three desalination plants. Each plant produces 170K gallons per day, thanks to their multiple effect plate (MEP) desalination technologies. However, an additional plant was added during the $132 million 2016 refit to meet the demands for freshwater.

The desalination plants get energy from steam and cooling water from gas turbines and diesel engines. Also, the power can come from oil-fired boilers. These are usually backup sources.

The seawater intakes are located in the ship’s hull. Once desalinated, the brine (concentrated salt water solution) is channeled back to the ocean where it belongs!

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Transatlantic Sailing by Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 Cruise

Since its maiden voyage across the Atlantic from Southampton to New York on January 11th, 2004, Queen Mary 2 has made the round trip of 7500 miles many times.

So, what is it like to sail across the Atlantic Ocean on the world’s greatest ocean liner?

QM2 Departure and Arrival Times

So, how long does it take Queen Mary 2 to cross the Atlantic Ocean?

The departure time for both eastbound and westbound transatlantic crossings (from New York or Southampton) is 5:00 pm, but formal announcements start an hour earlier. The typical journey across the Atlantic Ocean when aboard Queen Mary 2 takes 7 nights.

Most of the crossing is quiet and calm with clear blue water, especially in summer, although the sea can sometimes be rough with choppy waves. Unless it turns foggy (which is not unusual in the winter) you’ll find the sun setting at sea a breathtaking experience. Don’t forget your camera!

The Queen Mary 2’s clocks are altered during the voyage to accommodate different time zones, with passengers being notified of time changes in “The Daily Programme”, the onboard newspaper.

The ship arrives at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, New York, at 6:45 am, EST/EDT. This may be fine for early risers, but can be challenging for the rest, as passengers are expected to be on deck by 4:45 am.

Buying a Ticket for Transatlantic Crossing

Reservations must be made in advance to board Queen Mary 2. You can do this directly with Cunard Line or through agencies such as CruiseDirect or Cruise Nation.

Regardless, you will need to use your personal and booking reference to log into the Cunard Line’s “My Cunard” voyage personaliser. This is an online portal with your booking information.

You will get your allocated cabin (otherwise known as “stateroom”) and dinner sitting information just before the scheduled sailing date. These are available on your voyage personaliser. So, download and print your tickets and luggage labels on time.

How to Buy Your Ticket for Transatlantic Crossings

This depends on your location. If you come from the UK or any other European country, go to Cunard.com to check prices and buy your tickets. But as mentioned, cruise line agencies are also an alternative. In fact, they can offer cheaper options.

Non-US citizens will require a visa. If you are a European or UK citizen, go to the United States Department ESTA website to get approval to go to the United States. You will be required to fill out a form and pay a fee for this process.

If you live in the United States or Canada, book your ticket from Cunard Line or another cruise line agency of your choice. Once again, don’t forget about the visa you need to travel to the UK.

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Cost of Sailing Aboard Queen Mary 2

The cost of transatlantic crossing varies depending on the season and cabin of choice – and who you book through. The least expensive staterooms have no windows (or portholes if we’re getting technical), so you cannot see the ocean from these cabins.

Since most people like the ocean views when aboard Queen Mary 2, you may consider Oceanview cabins. These are not super expensive but have portholes for viewing the sea.

Most of the remaining staterooms and suites have balconies but cost more. The Britannia, Princess, and Queens Grill suites are allocated to either the Britannia restaurant and Princess or Queens Grill Lounge restaurants for meals. More about this later.

How do you get the best deal?

You can buy a cheaper ticket to sail aboard the Queen Mary 2 by getting your tickets from cruise liner agencies. These specialists with online booking services for transatlantic crossings and cruises can offer better deals than the Cunard Line. Choose them to save a few dollars for your next journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

Queen Mary 2 Room Price List

You can also get better deals when you purchase your ticket at the last minute or consider a late-season crossing. But there is a disadvantage to this strategy. Queen Mary 2 is usually full many months in advance during summer.

Buying a back-to-back ticket is also another way of saving. This round trip fare involves paying for a round trip with just one day at your destination.

This may be the best choice for honeymooners and leisure travelers. But if a two-way ticket is not suitable, you can buy a one-way ticket.

Choosing Early Saver or Saver fare over Cunard fare also helps you save money. However, these options give you much less choice regarding cabin and restaurant preferences.

And while Cunard Fare bookings usually have rooms allocated 6 weeks prior to sailing, Saver Fare bookings may not have staterooms allocated until the day before embarkation. They are, therefore, better for passengers who are prepared to be flexible.

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What the fare covers

Your transatlantic crossing fare covers your cabin accommodation, all meals in your allocated restaurant, casual dining in other onboard locations, a full program of onboard entertainment (daytime and evening).

Also 24-hour-a-day room service (though with a limited menu), and children’s facilities, including a range of activities for ages 2 – 17. The entertainment includes live theater shows, films, lectures, live music, and more.

The fare does not cover alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the bars and restaurants, or mini-bar drinks in the cheaper cabins.

It also does not cater to Canyon Ranch Spa access fees, treatment, and internet access. Fine dining (as opposed to casual meals) in a restaurant other than the one you are allocated also costs extra.

In terms of gratuities or service charges, a Hotel and Dining charge is automatically added to your onboard account.

This charge, which varies depending on your cabin type, is shared amongst stewards and other members of staff. You can change these charges by contacting the Purser’s Office once on board.

For all bar and wine purchases, a 15% service charge is added to your account and this is shared amongst the bar staff, while a 12.5% salon service charge is passed directly to the crew member who has looked after you. This charge is also automatically added to your account.

Before we list cabin types, let’s briefly talk about what you will find in every cabin.

The following features and facilities are the minimum you can expect in all passenger cabins on Queen Mary 2:

  • King-size bed with cotton sheets and two hollow-fiber pillows per person
  • Private bathroom with shower, sink, and toilet
  • Flatscreen satellite TV
  • Dressing table/desk and chair
  • Coffee table and chair
  • Tea & coffee-making facilities
  • 240V UK & 110V US style power sockets
  • Pay-per-minute internet access
  • Bathrobes and Penhaligon soap, shower gel, shampoo & conditioner
  • Hairdryer
  • Plenty of wardrobe space
  • Complimentary room service (limited menu) – available 24/7
  • Solid electronic safe for your valuables
  • Complimentary half bottle of sparkling wine
  • Chargeable mini bar
  • Services of a personal steward

The cabins are configured with either twin or double beds. Use the voyage personaliser to select your preference. The ship also has a limited number of single-occupancy staterooms.

A small number of staterooms are wheelchair/mobility scooter accessible. All accessible staterooms have wide doorways and floor space for maneuverability, while accessible bathrooms include grab rails, flush thresholds, and shower stools.

You’ll need to provide details of your mobility aid when booking so that the correct stateroom can be allocated.

Cabins and suites come in three designations – Britannia, Princess Grill, and Queens Grill.

These names correspond to the restaurant allocated to guests in these staterooms, with the Britannia being the cheapest and least spacious, and the Queens Grill being the most expensive and spacious accommodations. Let’s explore the differences in more detail.

Britannia Inside Stateroom

A Britannia Inside Stateroom is the most affordable option. These cabins are approximately 157-194 sq ft in area and have no window.  If you reserve this category of stateroom, you will be allocated to the Britannia Restaurant. The rooms have double or twin beds and all other features listed above.

Britannia Atrium View Stateroom

A limited number of Britannia Inside Staterooms have a small window with a view onto the impressive multi-story atrium above the Grand Lobby. Accordingly, these cabins, found on decks 4, 5, and 6, are more pricey than the regular Britannia staterooms

The Britannia Atrium View cabins are also allocated to the Britannia restaurant.

Britannia Oceanview Stateroom

Queen Mary 2 Room
image by David Jones is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A view of the sea is essential for some travelers.

The Britannia Oceanview staterooms, which have a small non-opening window to let you safely observe the ocean, can be about 40-80% more expensive than cabins with no windows or portholes, depending on your sailing dates, but are worth it if that sea-view is non-negotiable.

These staterooms are approximately 159-201 sq ft in area and are allocated to the Britannia restaurant.

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Britannia Balcony Staterooms

Britannia Balcony Staterooms, each with a private balcony offering natural light and a chance to enjoy the ocean breeze, are a slightly more spacious 248-269 sq ft, with the exact size dependent on the stateroom position on the ship and grade. All are allocated to the Britannia Restaurant.

The Britannia Obstructed View Balcony option is the cheapest balcony cabin option and is so called because your view of the ocean is obstructed by a lifeboat or tender boat. These staterooms are found on deck 8.

The Britannia Sheltered Balcony cabins have, as the name suggests, a sheltered balcony and are found on decks 4, 5, and 6. They are larger than the Obstructed View cabins and so cost more, but provide a less restricted view from the balcony.

The Britannia Balcony proper staterooms have a glass-fronted balcony. They are smaller than Britannia Sheltered Balcony Staterooms but have more natural light and better sea views, hence the higher price-tag than the other Britannia Balcony options.

Britannia Club Balcony

Britannia Club Balcony Room
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Britannia Club Balcony Staterooms represent a significant step up in comfort.

The ticket price for a Britannia Club Balcony Stateroom is just over double the cost of the cheapest cabin on Queen Mary 2, but this is the level at which Cunard’s famous pillow menu kicks in, with 9 options available including an all-goose-down pillow, and even a snore reduction pillow.

And as well as lovely sea views from your private balcony, you are allocated a reserved table at the Britannia Club Restaurant, a private dining room within the Britannia restaurant. You also enjoy priority embarkation and disembarkation. These cabins have an area of approximately 248 sq ft.

Princess Grill Suites

Queen Mary 2 Princess Grilled Cabin
image by Management/TripAdvisor

A Princess Grill Suite costs a little under three times the price of the basic Britannia Inside Stateroom but is significantly larger, at about 381 sq ft.

These suites are allocated to the exclusive Princess Grill restaurant, where you can dine any time at your reserved table. Other additional benefits include a bath as well as a shower, a sofa, personalized stationery, and fresh fruit delivered daily

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Queens Grill Suites

Queen Mary 2 Queen Grills Suite
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Queens Grill Suites represent the ultimate in luxury and indulgence on board Queen Mary 2. They range in size from 506 sq ft – 2249 sq ft, with a number of two-story suites available.

Further treats included in the price are bathrooms with additional dressing areas, a complimentary minibar, pre-dinner canapés, binoculars, and – last but not least – the services of a real butler!

There are 5 styles of Queens Grill suite, all allocated to the exclusive Queens Grill Restaurant and terrace. They are, increasing in price and size, the Queens Suite, the Penthouse, the Royal Suite, the Duplex, and the Grand Duplex. They all have balconies, with two Royal Suites being the only exceptions.

Queen Mary Restaurants and Bars & Lounges

Queen Mary Lounge Area
image by Lindemann97 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Queen Mary 2 is not short of eateries, bars, and lounges. The restaurant you will be dining at for free is allocated to you when you buy your ticket.

The most popular restaurant is Britannia. That is because the most cost-effective cabins are allocated to it, which are in the majority. Other more expensive staterooms and suites are allocated to the more intimate Princess Grill and Queens Grill restaurants.

However, if you want to “eat out”, there are other dining venues to choose from. Be warned, though: you may have to pay extra to dine in these venues instead of your allocated restaurant. Note, too, that Britannia guests aren’t able to eat in the more exclusive Princess and Queens Grills.

If you don’t feel like going to any of the dining venues, you can request free room service. This is free for all staterooms and suites throughout your voyage. However, the menu is a simple one, mainly comprising of burgers, crackers, and pasta. Download the room service menu for detailed information.

If you order any drink in your room, you pay at the same rate as at the bar. You can also order breakfast to be delivered to your stateroom, except on the first morning aboard Queen Mary 2.

Are drinks free aboard Queen Mary 2?

You may have heard that drinks are free on fancy cruises such as these! Well, that’s true to a certain extent.

Certain soft drinks, small bottled waters, juices, coffee, tea, and some non-alcoholic cocktails are free at your allocated restaurant. You pay for fizzy soft drinks and alcoholic beverages separately, usually charged on your onboard account.

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Restaurants on board Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 Dining Area Interior
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Britannia Restaurant

The Britannia Restaurant is the largest restaurant on Queen Mary 2. It is an impressive space spanning three stories, with dining on decks 2 and 3, and with a grand staircase and balcony-style mezzanine. If you book any Britannia stateroom, you will be allocated to this restaurant, with all meals included in your fare.

The Britannia Restaurant can seat over 1300 diners. You can choose the first dinner service at 6.30 pm or the second slot at 8.30 pm.

Remember, however, that you will not have the freedom of selecting your dinner time if you pay for the Saver fare. It will be up to the system to decide when you should take your dinner!

You don’t reserve a table in advance. Instead, you are allocated the table size of your choice when you arrive at the restaurant. There are tables for 2 or 4 diners, or shared tables where you can interact with other passengers.

The ambiance in the Britannia Restaurant is relaxed, so stylish casual wear is the order of the day, with smarter attire – jacket optional – for evening dining.

Princess Grill and Queens Grill Restaurants

The more expensive cabins are allocated to either Princess Grill Restaurant or Queens Grill Restaurant. These are on opposite sides of deck 7 and depend on one galley. Unlike the Britannia Restaurant, these two do not have dinner sittings. You can walk in any time they are open and eat.

Princess Grill and Queens Grill guests also have exclusive access to the nearby Queens Grill Lounge, for pre-dinner drinks or afternoon tea.

OTHER RESTAURANTS ON QUEEN MARY 2

  • The Kings Court Buffet Restaurant is a self-service restaurant serving a wide range of international cuisines, located on deck 7. Tables are bookable in advance; choose tables with an ocean view for the best experience. Food, tea, and coffee are complimentary in the Kings Court, but you’ll be charged for alcoholic drinks and sodas.
  • The Verandah Restaurant, on deck 8, serves mainly steak and seafood. You can pre-book a table here up to 14 days before your embarkation through the “My Cunard” voyage personaliser account. Meals here will be charged to your account.
  • Todd English (specialty restaurant that requires reservation)
  • Boardwalk Cafe (a fast-food bar serving the pool area)

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Bars, Lounges, and Public Rooms in Queen Mary 2

Looking for other nibbles and tipples? You can always try one of these other nooks. Just know you have to pay extra!

Champagne Bar

The Champagne Bar is located on the 3rd deck, just above the Grand Lobby in the middle of the ship.

Commodore Club

The Commodore Club is located high up on the 9th deck, offering spectacular views from the bow of the ship. Many travelers aboard Queen Mary 2 like it because it is away from the hustle. It offers a quiet and relaxing environment for drinking a cocktail while chatting or reading.

Chart Room Bar

The Chart Room Bar is located on the same deck as the Britannia Restaurant. As a result, many passengers go there to enjoy a drink just before and after dinner. It is the largest and busiest bar in Queen Mary 2.

Golden Lion Pub

The Golden Lion Pub is on the 2nd deck and is famous for its classic British pub vibe, complete with pub quizzes and darts tournaments.

As well as Cunard’s craft ales, created by Dark Revolution Brewery, you can also have pub-style meals here, such as fish and chips, ploughman’s lunches, or the daily pie – with the food included in your ticket price.

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Carinthia Lounge

The Carinthia Lounge is located on the 7th deck, near the Kings Court Buffet. Its doors open onto the promenade deck. There is a laid-back atmosphere to this lounge, with a casual dress code. You can call in here for tea, coffee, snacks, or light lunches, or simply kick back and relax.

Queens Room

The Queens Room is mainly used for gala ball nights, as is evident from its wooden dance floor, but it is also used for fencing and dancing classes; afternoon tea is also served here every day at 3.30 pm. The tea is included in your ticket fee, but you will have to pay for champagne.

Churchill’s Cigar Lounge

Situated next to the Commodore Club on deck 9, this is a specifically-designed room for smokers. You can order a whiskey and choose from a cigar menu. You cannot smoke anywhere else in the QM2 apart from Churchill’s Cigar Lounge.

Other Bars and Lounges in RMS Queen Mary 2

  • Queens Grills Terrace – for Grill Suite passengers
  • Queens Grill Lounge – for Grill Suite passengers
  • Concierge Lounge – for Grill Suite passengers
  • Boardroom – a private lounge for parties and meetings (and sometimes weddings!)
  • Sir Samuels Bar – a high-end licensed coffee shop, serving Godiva chocolate sweetmeats

Activities and Entertainment in Queen Mary 2

QM2 is not short of things to do when aboard. There is something for everyone, regardless of age or taste. These range from reading in the library to dancing the night away!

The program for the following day is delivered to your cabin every evening. You also get navigational information and the start and end of every show.

Library and Bookshop

The library, currently the largest floating book collection anywhere, is located on the 8th deck, just below the Commodore Club. The library remains open 24/7, but the bookshelves are locked outside office hours.

You can borrow books from the library to read elsewhere on the ship, or you can read in the library, in one of the leather armchairs available. Next to the library is a bookstore selling books and travel guides.

Swimming Pools

Queen Mary 2 has five swimming pools, but the most popular is the Pavilion Pool. This is located on the 12th deck and is known for its sun loungers and hot tubs. Towels are provided on-site, and there are changing rooms and a bar that operates at certain hours.

The Pavilion Pool is an indoor pool with a sliding glass roof, but there are outdoor pools on the 7th and 8th decks. One of these, the Minnow pool, is only for kids while the other is adults-only.

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Illuminations Theater

The Queen Mary 2’s Illuminations is the world’s only ocean-going planetarium, with a show created by NYC’s American Museum of Natural History. It is located on the 2nd deck and also serves as a lecture theater and 3D cinema. One or two lecture series are usually shown here during each transatlantic crossing, and topics vary from New York Skyscrapers to the design and construction of Queen Mary 2.

Royal Court Theatre

Queen Mary 2 Royal Court Theatre
image by Management/TripAdvisor

The 1094-seater Royal Court Theatre, located on decks 2 and 3, serves as a venue for production shows and cabaret performances. It also has a number of wheelchair spaces, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Currently Cunard is in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company to bring award-winning West End theatrical experiences to the transatlantic stage.

Canyon Ranch Spa and the Gymnasium

Queen Mary 2 Canyon Ranch Spa

The Canyon Ranch Spa can be found on the 7th deck. It has a beauty salon, treatment rooms, and pool.

You can book an appointment for massage and treatment at the reception desk, but you pay for the services. You can, however, use the treadmills, gliders, and exercise bikes in the free fitness center next door.

Other Entertainment and Activities Facilities

  • Images Photo Gallery & Shop
  • Empire Casino
  • Grand Lobby Atrium
  • Observation Deck
  • Cyber Center
  • Clarendon Art Gallery
  • Video Arcade
  • Mayfair Shops
  • G32 Disco & Nightclub
  • Sports Center
  • The Sun Deck’s pool area
  • Kennels for cats and smaller dogs

Sailing Aboard Queen Mary 2 with Children and Pets

You can sail on the QM2 ocean liner with children, but there are some restrictions you should know about.

First, let’s talk about the unborn! Pregnant women will require a letter from their doctors or midwives to be allowed to board the Queen Mary 2.

Children below the age of 12 months cannot sail on a transatlantic crossing on QM2. Those aged 1-2 years and sailing as the 3rd or 4th person in a group can travel for free, although you will have to select one of the larger staterooms. If the child is the second person in the cabin, the adult fee still applies.

Children above 2 years of age sailing aboard Queen Mary 2 as the 3rd or 4th person in the cabin pay half the ticket fee. But if the child is the second person in the stateroom, again, the adult charges apply.

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Play Area and Child Care

Queen Mary 2 Play Area
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Queen Mary 2 has Play Zone on deck 6 for kids, with well-trained and friendly British nannies to care for the children.

The play zone is subdivided into children of 1-3, 4-6, and 7-17 years of age. These zones are equipped with appropriate toys and even computer games to keep the kids engaged, and kid-friendly clubs and activities are laid on.

You can leave kids over the age of 2 with nannies at the Play Zone for free within its open hours, but babies under 2 years must be supervised by a parent or carer at all times. We recommend contacting Cunard about the current child care arrangements and facilities available onboard.

Can I bring my pet aboard Queen Mary 2?

Yes. Dogs (except some larger breeds) and cats are allowed aboard QM2. However, they are kept in the ship’s pet area on the 12th deck and an exercise area. No pets are allowed in staterooms or public rooms or areas.

Medical Facilities

The Queen Mary 2 has a Medical Center on board, staffed by fully qualified clinicians.

Note that all medical services on board are charged for, with charges applied to your onboard account, so it’s vital (as well as a requirement of the terms and conditions) to have adequate travel insurance. Repatriation, for example, is extremely expensive.

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Baggage Handling in QM2

You can bring most things, as long as they’re legal. If in doubt, Cunard provides a helpful “What not to pack” list, which includes higher-voltage appliances, long scissors, and balloons.

Make sure to label everything with your name, and if you have it, your cabin number. As your luggage is taken from you when you arrive at the terminal, it needs to be clearly labeled, so staff can get it to you quickly once you’re on board.

For safety and ease of handling, don’t carry anything heavier than 50 pounds. Once you get to your destination, your luggage will be transported to shore for you.

Dress Code When Aboard Queen Mary 2

QM2 has only two dress codes: formal and informal. These apply at restaurants and bars from 6:00 pm, except at the King’s Court Restaurant. The expected dressing code is delivered to your cabin together with the program. It is also available on your voyage personaliser.

Formal

Men put on a dinner jacket and a black tie (Tuxedo and bowtie for Americans) or a dark business suit, while women wear evening dresses. Out of the 7 nights of a transatlantic crossing, 3 are designated as formal dining or gala nights.

Informal

The informal dress code for men is a jacket and an optional tie. Ladies can put on trousers, dresses, or skirts. Denim and shorts are not allowed. It’s informal, not casual!

Daytime dress code

During the day unripped jeans, shorts, and T-shirts are fine, with swimwear being the norm by the pool. Note that swimwear is definitely not allowed in any of the indoor eateries!

Other Expenses in Queen Mary 2

Most of the services you receive in QM2 are catered for in your ticket fee. However, wine, whiskey, champagne, massages, and food in some restaurants and bars are billed separately. Internet services are also charged on your onboard account.

Your onboard account (in USD) is connected to the credit card you provided when checking in. Anything billed separately is charged on it. You will get your statement halfway across the Atlantic and when you get to your destination.

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RMS Queen Mary 2 Summary Chart

NameQueen Mary 2
NamesakeRMS Queen Mary
OwnerCarnival Corporation & plc
OperatorCunard Line
Port of registrySouthampton, U.K. (2004-2011)
Hamilton, Bermuda (2011-present)
Ordered6 November 2000
BuilderSTX Europe Chantiers de l’Atlantique, Saint-Nazaire, France
Yard NumberG32
Laid down4 July 2022
Launched21 March 2003
Christened8 January 2004 by Elizabeth II
Completed22 December 2003
Maiden voyage12 January 2004
Identification– Call sign: ZCEF6
– IMO number: 9241061
– MMSI number: 310627000
StatusIn Service

FAQs

Can I get married on my transatlantic voyage on Queen Mary 2?

Yes! As long as the voyage is 7 nights or more, you can be married on board, with the ceremony conducted by the Captain or a senior officer. In fact, Cunard puts together a 10-guest wedding package for about $3,400.

Does Queen Mary 2 only do transatlantic crossings?

No – you can go round the world! As well as the eastbound or westbound crossing, Queen Mary 2 hosts a wide range of voyages, from a full world cruise of 123 nights to a 7-night trip from New York to Halifax and back to celebrate Independence Day.

Do you have to pay gratuities on Queen Mary 2?

No. While a service charge is automatically added to your account, you can ask the Purser to remove or amend this. As well as the automatically-added gratuities, you can give extra tips at will. These will be added to your onboard account since no cash is used aboard Queen Mary 2.

How many guests does Queen Mary 2 accommodate?

Queen Mary 2 is a 19-deck ocean liner capable of carrying around 2,700 passengers and 1,200 crew.

How much does it cost to cross the Atlantic on Queen Mary 2?

The cost of transatlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2 varies depending on your reserved cabin.

The Britannia Inside stateroom is the cheapest option. The most expensive staterooms are the Princess Balcony Suites and Queens Balcony Suites. The cost varies from $699 to thousands of dollars. Check Cruisespecialists.com for more details.

Is Queen Mary 2 bigger than the Titanic?

Yes. At 1,132 feet long, the Queen Mary 2 is three times bigger than the Titanic and is the world’s largest ocean liner in history. It is also wider, taller, and faster than the Titanic.

Did the original Queen Mary ship sink?

No. The RMS Queen Mary ship, the predecessor of RMS Queen Mary 2, had a successful career crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

It was in service from 1934 to 1967. It currently serves as a floating hotel in Long Beach, California, United States. Interestingly, one of the ship’s whistles on Queen Mary 2 came from the original Queen Mary.

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