Updated July 2019
When a few members of our Marketing Team were given the opportunity to get onboard Cunard's prestigious ship, Queen Mary 2, they couldn't wait to finally learn what the fuss is about when it comes to this 5* cruise line. Find out what they made of the ship below.
Spending most days in the office writing about cruise lines and their ships, we were all so excited to get out and go to Southampton to experience one first hand. Queen Mary 2 is one of the most renowned ships in the industry, and so we were all eager to explore everything she has to offer and discover whether or not she lives up to her reputation.
As we approached the docks, we could see her dark blue exterior dominating the port. She looked extremely grand and surprisingly larger than expected. The back of the ship has an open design, and perfectly placed lighting made her look very inviting; we could not wait to see how her interior matched her exterior.
Luxurious red and black Cunard carpets lined the terminal building, and made it feel like they had laid a red carpet out especially for all of her guests. A great touch. After a smooth check-in it was time to go onboard. The entrance to the ship is definitely one of the most impressive to be seen. As we walked onboard we were greeted by a line of beaming crew members dressed in deep red formal uniforms with white gloves. Then we stepped into the grand atrium; it was stunning, like a grand entrance to a theatre. With deep red and gold carpets, grand marble staircases, and the sound of live violinists, it was truly breath-taking. The initial feel is of an elegant, traditional British hotel, a combination of the Ritz and a country manor.
Exploring the Ship
After leaving the atrium it was time to go and explore this beautiful ship. We decided to work our way from top to bottom, so we headed straight for the elevator and up to deck 12. As we stood waiting for the elevator everyone remarked on how spacious it was - all the walkways and elevator areas are wide, ensuring there are no inconvenient crowds of people.
Out on Deck
The top, outer decks have inviting swimming pools, Jacuzzis and whirl pools accompanied by an array of comfortable lounge chairs spread out perfectly. Again, the areas are extremely spacious and nothing was cramped together. It was a beautiful day in Southampton so the outer decks looked even more attractive as the sun beams glistened down on us.
The Dining Venues
The Commodore Club is an exquisite lounge that boasts floor-to-ceiling windows all around, giving panoramic views of the outside. A tranquil atmosphere is found here, leaving you longing to sit with a signature Martini as you sail towards the New York skyline.
As we made our way down the ship we came across Winter Garden. This venue is fascinating; it's an indoor garden with tree-lined walkways, lush greenery and a large indoor water sculpture - it certainly brings an English country garden feeling inside. It would be the perfect place to meet with friends or sit and enjoy afternoon tea.
Keeping with the British theme the Golden Lion pub is a great addition to the ship. It is slightly more lively than the other venues onboard and gives you the feeling of being in a country pub . . . until you look out of the window and see water! It has everything you would expect from your local, including darts, live sport, and even a lunch menu offering fish and chips and cottage pie.
The most prestigious and talked about venue onboard is The Queen's Room. After walking down an elegant walkway we entered this outstanding and unique space. Striking crystal chandeliers hang dramatically from the high ceilings and a large dance area awaits couples to show off their ballroom skills. In the daytime it offers the perfect setting for tea and scones before coming alive with music and dance in the evenings.
A dining experience like nothing before…
We had all heard great things about the food onboard Cunard ships, so could not wait to see how it compared to the cuisine on other lines.
Even the walkway leading to the main dining room is stunning; an almighty walkway with a deep red carpet, stunning lighting and walls full of sculptured murals lead you to the entrance of the dining room. This was an experience in itself, and it is hard to put into words just how spectacular it is.
Upon entering the dining room you cannot help but notice how grand everything looks, from the fabulous chandeliers to the immaculately laid tables. A friendly waiter introduced himself and showed us to our table, where he presented us with a menu that looked extremely enticing. Among the choices were goats cheese accompanied with beetroot and apple chutney to start, steak for main and a chocolate fondue for dessert. Those who had the steak unanimously said it was certainly one of, if not the best, steaks we'd tasted! Cooked perfectly and accompanied by creamy mash and vegetables, it was delicious.
The service we experienced was akin to what you would expect at an evening in Claridges or the Savoy; attentive yet unimposing. As well as superb food, the ambiance of the restaurant is relaxing, though formal. A week onboard would surely be filled with British-inspired culinary delights.
Things to Do Onboard
Not one, but two spectacular theatres are located in the centre of the ship and both showcase a variety of spectacular entertainment. Both theatres are spacious with comfortable seats, bar service, and are the ultimate setting for fun-filled evenings.
Special mention must go to the Canyon Ranch SpaClub; we all said it was one of the best spas we'd ever seen on a ship. Its calming décor, range of treatments, spacious areas and indoor pools make it the ultimate place to escape. The indoor pool with surrounding Jacuzzis and waterfalls create a serene, blissful and exquisite hideaway.
Rooms fit for Kings and Queens
From the interior rooms right up to the Queen's Grill Suite, all levels of accommodation were impressive. With stunning décor, spacious designs and luxurious amenities they are the perfect rooms you'd want to head back to after a long day out exploring in port.
The Queen's Grill suite certainly is an extremely special room, and offers the ultimate in luxurious accommodation. With its own lift, numerous bathrooms, large sitting/dining area and upgraded amenities it would most certainly be fit for a queen!
One of our group summed up the ship perfectly;
"Understated class. The two words that I would use to sum up this ship. It is not Vegas. It is not Hollywood.
But then it was never meant to be. It is however a worthy flagship for Cunard; the Grand Lobby is breathtaking, the food, divine.
If you can stretch to one of the Queen's grill suites you will get a feeling of pure indulgence, and even the entry level staterooms retain a subtle elegance.
There is only so much I can say - take a trip onboard and make up your own mind."
After our time onboard it was abundantly clear that Cunard offer a different experience to other cruise lines, with an emphasis on traditional style cruising with a modern twist. The décor of the ship and all onboard venues, from the carpets and furnishings to art work and lighting, everything looks luxurious yet modern. Cunard promise to make you feel special from the moment you step onboard, and they could not be truer to their word. Being the most famous ocean liners in the world, they have a lot to live up to, and they certainly do not disappoint.
Browse through our range of cruises onboard Queen Mary 2, and arrange to experience your only little slice of luxury.