Queen Mary 2 - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Queen Mary 2


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 437 out of 500

Accommodation: 174 out of 200

Food: 308 out of 400

Service: 335 out of 400

Entertainment: 86 out of 100

Cruise: 335 out of 400

Overall Score: 1675 out of 2000

Queen Mary 2 Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 148,528

Lifestyle: Luxury/Premium

Cruise Line: Cunard Line

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9241061

Builder: Chantiers de l’Atlantique (France)

Original Cost: $800 million

Entered Service: Jan 2004

Registry: Bermuda

Length (ft/m): 1,131.9/345.0

Beam (ft/m): 134.5/41.0

Draft (ft/m): 32.6/9.9

Propulsion/Propellers: gas turbine + diesel-electric (103,000kW)/4 pods (2 azimuthing, 2 fixed)

Passenger Decks: 12

Total Crew: 1,254

Passengers (lower beds): 2,620

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 56.6

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.0

Cabins (total): 1,310

Size Range (sq ft/m): 194.0-2,249.7/18.0-209

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 953

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 30

Wheelchair accessibility: Best

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 22

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2

Hot Tubs (on deck): 8

Self-Service Launderette: Yes

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/473

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


A real sturdy ocean liner built for transatlantic crossings

Overview. Queen Mary 2 (QM2) offers the pleasures of crossing the North Atlantic comfortably on a regular schedule. It is really suited to couples and single travelers who enjoy the cosmopolitan setting of a floating city at sea with an unequaled maritime heritage. Scores given are averaged for all of accommodation.

The Ship. RMS Queen Mary 2, designated a Royal Mail Ship by the British Post Office, is the largest ocean liner ever built - in terms of gross tonnage, length, and beam, though not passengers carried. A powerful propulsion system allows it to go backwards faster than many cruise ships can go forwards. Taller than the Empire State Building, it is the first new ship to be built for Cunard Line since 1969. In addition to its scheduled transatlantic crossings, QM2 operates an annual round-the-world cruise, and other, shorter cruises.

Almost everything about the liner is British in style, but with some American decor input and accents; even the four tender stations have London names: Belgravia, Chelsea, Kensington, and Knightsbridge. There is a wide walk-around promenade deck outdoors (the forward section is under cover from the weather). Three times around is 6,102ft (1,860m), or 1.1 miles (1.6km). A full line of teak ‘steamer’ chairs adorns the walk-around deck, with plenty of room for walkers to pass. However, plastic sunloungers are provided on some other open decks.

Here’s a deck-by-deck look at the facilities and public rooms, starting at the lowest deck and working our way upward, forward to aft:

Deck 2: Illuminations (and integral planetarium), the Royal Court Theatre, the lower level of the six-deck-high atrium lobby, the purser’s desk, Video Arcade, Empire Casino, Golden Lion Pub, and the lower level of the two-deck-high Britannia Restaurant.

Deck 3: the upper level of Illuminations and the Royal Court Theatre, the second level of the six-deck-high atrium lobby, Mayfair shops, Sir Samuel’s, The Chart Room, Champagne Bar (Veuve Clicquot is the house Champagne), the upper level of the Britannia Restaurant, the Queens Room, and the G32 nightclub.

Decks 4/Deck 5/Deck 6: accommodation and the third, fourth, and fifth levels of the six-deck-high atrium lobby; at the aft end of Deck 6 are facilities for children, including an outdoor pool (Minnows Pool).

Deck 7: Canyon Ranch Spa, the Winter Garden, the sixth and uppermost level of the six-deck-high atrium lobby, expansive Kings Court Buffet, Queens Grill Lounge, Queens Grill, and Princess Grill dining salons.

Deck 8 (forward): upper level of the Canyon Ranch Spa, and the Library and Bookshop. The center section has accommodation. In the aft section are the specialty restaurant Todd English, Terrace Bar, and swimming pool outdoors.

Deck 9 (forward): the Commodore Club, Boardroom, and the Cigar Lounge (Churchills). The rest of the deck has accommodation and a Concierge Club for suite occupants.

Deck 10: accommodation only.

Deck 11 (forward): outdoors observation area. The rest of the deck has accommodation. The aft section outdoors has a hot tub and sunbathing space.

Deck 12 (forward): accommodation. The mid-section has an indoor/outdoor pool with sliding glass roof, and golf areas (Fairways), located just aft of the public restrooms. The aft section has the Boardwalk Café, dog kennels, and shuffleboard courts.

Deck 13: the Sports Centre, Regatta Bar, a splash pool, and extensive outdoor sunbathing space.

There are 14 lounges, clubs, and bars. An observation lounge, the delightful Commodore Club, has commanding views forward over the bows; light jazz is played in this room, which is connected to the Boardroom, and Cigar Lounge. Other drinking places include a Golden Lion Pub (pub lunches are served here, too), Sir Samuel’s (wine bar), a nautically themed cocktail bar (The Chart Room), and a Champagne/Coffee Bar. Outdoor bars include the Regatta Bar and Terrace Bar. The G32 nightclub, which has a main and mezzanine level, is at the aft end of the ship, away from passenger cabins; it is named after the number designated to the ship by its French builder.

Illuminations, the first full-scale planetarium at sea, is a stunning multi-purpose showlounge that also functions as a 473-seat grand cinema and broadcast studio. As a planetarium, it has tiered seating rows, with 150 reclining seats, so you sit in a special area under a dome, which is 38ft/11.5m in diameter and almost 20ft/6m deep - this forms the setting for the night sky. It’s worth reserving a seat for at least one of the several outstanding 20-minute programs. The venue also screens 3D movies.

There are five swimming pools, including one that can be enclosed under a retractable glass roof. A large area of open sunning space includes a sports bar at one end. Sports facilities include an electronic golf simulator, giant chess board, and a paddle-tennis court.

The ship’s Library and Bookshop is the world’s largest floating bookshop and the most popular public room on transatlantic crossings. Staffed by full-time librarians from Ocean Books, it features 10,000 books in several languages, in 150 book cabinets. It is a delightful facility, but there are few chairs, and the adjacent bookshop is quite small.

Children have their own spaces, with a dedicated play area, the Play Zone. English nannies supervise toddlers, while older children use The Zone.

Accommodation. Although there are four separate categories - Queens Grill, Princess Grill, Britannia Club, and Britannia - QM2 really operates as a two-class ship (Grill Class and Britannia Class), and the restaurant to which you are assigned depends on your accommodation grade. You even get a different cabin breakfast menu depending on whether you travel in Grill Class or Britannia Class accommodation. Twenty-five price grades cover everything from standard outside-view cabins to the most opulent suites.

All grades have a 20in (or larger) TV set, and all beds have fluffy European duvets. There’s a mini-fridge, safe, and hand-held hairdryer. All bathrooms have toiletries supplied by Penhaligon. Other features include digital video on demand (English-, French-, and German-language movies are available), music on demand with 3,000 titles, and audio books on demand. One channel covers Cunard Line’s eventful history since 1840.

Beware of cabins on deck 6 located underneath the Kings Court - they can be subject to noise from the casual eatery on the deck above, where almost constant trolley movement adds noise.

Balmoral/Sandringham Duplexes (Grade Q1). The largest stand-alone accommodation is in the Balmoral and Sandringham Duplexes (2,249 sq ft/209 sq m), with superb views along the length of the ship. Upstairs is a bedroom with wood-framed king-size bed, and large (not-so-private) balcony; downstairs is a living room with sofa, coffee table, dining table, and writing desk. There are two marble-clad bathrooms with whirlpool bath and separate shower enclosure, toilet and bidet, and two washbasins.

Queen Elizabeth/Queen Mary Suites (Grade Q2). The Queen Elizabeth Suite and Queen Mary Suite (1,194 sq ft/111 sq m) are located just under the navigation bridge, with good views over the ship’s long bows. There are living and dining areas, with a large private balcony (but not as large as the Balmoral/Sandringham Duplex balconies). The master, marble-clad bathroom has a whirlpool tub and shower enclosure, and a second bathroom with a shower enclosure (no tub). Each suite has the convenience of private elevator access.

Duplex apartments (Grade Q2). There are three duplex apartments: Buckingham and Windsor (each 1,291 sq ft/120 sq m), and Holyrood (1,566 sq ft/145 sq m). Each has a gymnasium, balcony, butler and concierge service, and superb views over the stern.

Queen Anne/Queen Victoria Suites (Grade Q3). These two suites (796.5 sq ft/74 sq m) have the most commanding views over the ship’s long bows. They consist of a bedroom with master, marble-clad bathroom with whirlpool tub and separate shower enclosure, separate living/dining area, and a second bathroom with a shower enclosure (no tub).

Penthouse Suites (Grade Q4). The six Penthouse Suites (758 sq ft/70 sq m) have a living and dining area, large private balcony, bedroom, and dressing room with master, marble-clad bathroom with whirlpool tub and separate shower enclosure.

Suites (506 sq ft (Grade Q5/Q6). These 82 suites (506 sq ft/47 sq m) have a large private balcony, living area, dressing room, marble-clad bathroom with whirlpool tub/shower. Beds can be arranged as king-size or twins.

Junior Suites (Grade P1/P2). There are 76 Junior Suites (381 sq ft/35 sq m). Each has a lounge area, large private balcony, and marble-clad bathroom with whirlpool tub and separate shower enclosure. Beds can be arranged in a king-size or twin-bed configuration.

Deluxe/premium balcony cabins. These 782 cabins (248 sq ft/23 sq m) include a sitting area with sofa, and bathroom with shower enclosure. Beds can be arranged in a king-size or twin-bed configuration.

Standard outside-view/interior cabins. There are 62 outside-view cabins and 281 interior cabins measuring 194 sq ft/18 sq m). Beds can be arranged in a king-size or twin-bed configuration.

Atrium-view cabins. Each of these 12 interior cabins (194 sq ft/18 sq m) has an unusual view - into the six-deck high atrium lobby. Beds can be arranged as king-size or twins. An en suite bathroom has a shower enclosure, washbasin, toilet, and toiletries cabinet.

Wheelchair-accessible cabins. There are 30 wheelchair-friendly suites and cabins in various categories. All have pull-down closet hanging rails, above-bed emergency pull-cord, and large, well-equipped bathrooms with roll-in showers and handrails. Facilities for blind passengers include Braille signs and tactile room signs. Eight wheelchair-accessible elevators service the dining areas. Additionally, 36 cabins accommodate deaf or hearing-impaired passengers. There are headsets in the Royal Theatre and Illuminations, and closed-caption TV.

Dining. There are 10 dining rooms and eateries (and seven galleys to service them), and all dining venues have ocean-view windows. The wines and Champagnes have been selected by Michael Broadbent, one of the world’s top wine experts.

Britannia Restaurant. This main dining room seats 1,347, and spans the ship’s beam. A lavish room almost three decks high, it has two grand sweeping staircases so you can make your entry in style. Breakfast and lunch are open seating, while dinner is in two seatings, all with crisp linen and fine china. Vegetarian options are included on all lunch and dinner menus. One downside of open seating for breakfast or lunch is that you’ll probably have a different waiter each time, who won’t know your preferences. Also, if you are seated on the lower level underneath the balcony formed along the sides of the upper level, you may feel enclosed in an inferior space. It’s better to get a table in the central well or on the upper level.

Queens Grill/Princess Grill. There are two Grill Rooms (the 200-seat Queens Grill and the 178-seat Princess Grill), which are small dining salons. Which you dine in depends on your accommodation grade and fare. Both are located aft and have, in theory, fine ocean-view windows - although walkers passing by on the exterior promenade deck can be disturbing in the daytime, so window blinds are kept down. Canyon Ranch SpaClub recommendations and vegetarian options are provided on all lunch and dinner menus.

Todd English Restaurant. This 216-seat reservations-only restaurant is named after the American TV chef whose Boston restaurant (Olives) has a fine reputation. With its Moorish decor, it serves his noted Mediterranean cuisine. The room has been designed with intimate detailing and overlooks the Pool Terrace, allowing for alfresco dining. Food presentation from an à-la-carte menu is excellent, although overly fussy at times, but the venue is disappointing.

Kings Court. This truly nondescript, informal eatery has 478 seats and obnoxious daytime lighting, and is more suited to a land-based shopping mall. It offers self-serve breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is repetitive, but includes British traditional standards: eggs, bacon, kippers, and fried tomatoes. The lunch menu changes daily, and includes several popular Indian dishes. Pizzas, however, cannot be recommended - think cardboard with toppings. At least the beverage station now has real teaspoons.

At night, decorated screens transform Kings Court into four extra-cost dining venues: an Italian trattoria (La Piazza), Asian cuisine (Lotus), a British eatery (The Carvery) for roast meats, and a Chef’s Galley; all have full sit-down tablecloth service (the 36-seat Chef’s Galley has a live demonstration of your meal’s preparation).

Comfort foods are served in the outdoors Boardwalk Café, weather permitting, while pub lovers can find traditional British fare in the popular Golden Lion Pub. You can also order from the restaurant menus and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner served in your own suite or cabin.

Entertainment. The Royal Court Theatre, a lovely venue, has tiered seating for 1,094, though some sight lines are less than ideal. It stages lavish West End-style productions and hosts headline entertainers and cabaret acts. The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) supplies a company of actors to give Shakespearean performances, lead acting workshops, and take part in street-theater performances.

Spa/Fitness. Health Spa and Beauty Services are provided in a 20,000-sq-ft (1,850-sq-m) Canyon Ranch SpaClub, arranged on two decks. There’s a thalassotherapy pool, whirlpool, and thermal suite. The daily charge for using the facilities is waived if you buy a treatment. There are 20 body and skincare treatment rooms. Treatment prices are slightly less on port days.