Queen Mary 2 was the widest and highest liner in the world, when she made her maiden voyage in 2004. Featuring 17 decks, she was built as a transatlantic liner, able to cross the Atlantic in record time. With a minimum size of stateroom at 200 sq ft, it offers comfort and elegance. There is an excellent Canyon Ranch Spa and gym, a unique Planetarium, and many amenities on board. This ship, weighing in at 150,000 tons, carries 2640 guests with 1253 crew. She is a worthy successor to the old Queen Mary and the QE2.
Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are classed as cruise ships, rather than liners, but offer the usual Cunard stylish elegance. Queen Victoria made her maiden voyage in 2007 and was Cunard’s second largest ship at the time. Queen Elizabeth made her maiden voyage during 2010 and will operate as a sister ship to Queen Victoria, carrying up to 2092 passengers. She will become Cunard’s second largest ship, being slightly larger than the QV. The ships are 90,000 and 92,000 tons carrying around 2000 guests with nearly 1000 crew.
On all Cunard ships, guests dine in different main restaurants according to the level of stateroom the guests occupy, although public rooms are available to all guests. There are two sittings for dining in the main Britannia Restaurant in an evening. For those guests dining in the Queens and Princess Grill Restaurants, which is open dining for dinner, there is an added private outdoor area (QV & QE) for use during the day.
There are speciality evening dining venues available on all ships including the Todd English Restaurant on the QM2 and the QV and The Verandah on the QE. In addition, on QM2 the Kings Court venue is converted in an evening to have four different sections: La Piazza serving Italian food, a traditional British Carvery, Lotus offering Pan Asian, and Chef’s Galley with cooking demonstrations. On QV and QE, the Lido Restaurant transforms into three evening dining venues: Bamboo offers Pan-Asian cuisine, Coriander focuses on Indian food and Prime serves seafood and steaks. All carry a cover charge.
There are other traditional venues on the ships like the Queens Room, popular dancing venue, offering proper ‘English’ afternoon tea and an English Pub, The Golden Lion, offering traditional ‘pub’ lunches like fish and chips and steak and kidney pie.
The Queen Victoria is the first ship to have private boxes available in the theatre. The decor on the ship is quite different, and will be a tribute to the original Queen Elizabeth and the QE2, evoking the 1930s in its Art Deco features.
Children are welcome on the ships although you don’t see them in great numbers which could have its attractions for some families. Catering for children and youths aged from 1 to 17 years, they are normally split into three groups. A special supper/tea is served between 1700 and 1800. Parents should check at the time of booking which sitting of dinner they should choose to prebook, as the ‘Fun Zone’ closes early evening to allow staff to have their break before reopening again. There are normally certified British nannies on board to care for babies aged one and above. It is always wise to check children’s facilities available before booking.
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Photos: 1. QM2 Winter Garden Lounge (Cunard) 70