BY SUSAN HANSON
Some classics keep us coming back – and for good reason.
After a total redesign in 2016, Queen Mary 2 reclaimed her throne, looking fresher than ever. While there are plenty of new players at sea, Virtuoso travel advisor Fran Kramer of Rochester, New York, declares her devotion to Cunard’s 2,961-passenger flagship, which she describes as “the epitome of gracious living,” following her recent cruise. Here, a few features worth hailing.
After its makeover, QM2 exudes a Hollywood-heyday allure. Stepping foot in the redesigned public spaces “is almost like being on a movie set waiting for the stars and director,” says Kramer, adding that the sweeping staircases, brilliant chandeliers, and exotic fabrics are reminiscent of backdrops for The Great Gatsby. Despite the formal ambience, however, the ship never feels intimidating or stuffy. Besides, Kramer notes, “Don’t we all have party clothes in the closet that we rarely get to show off?”
At Your Service
The glamour is even more enhanced in the Grills accommodations, with gorgeous decor and white-gloved butlers who unpack luggage, deliver canapés each evening, make dinner reservations – and even assist with pesky bow ties. Kramer lauds the Grills-exclusive dining room, where guests can linger for the entire evening and enjoy a number of tableside preparations. She finds the reserved area for afternoon tea more intimate, as well: “It overlooks the water and has a relaxed atmosphere – no rush, no crowds.”
A Day in the Life
For Kramer, the ideal sea day aboard QM2 begins with a walk around the polished decks, fresh-made cinnamon breakfast bread, and an “always outstanding” lecture before a nap on her cabin’s private balcony. After lunch, she recommends the fencing lessons (“as many laughs as Saturday Night Live!”), followed by a surf-and-turf dinner and a theater show, preferably in one of the private boxes.
“The quality of Cunard’s enrichment programs is top notch,” says Kramer. During her many sailings on the line’s three ships, she’s attended talks by everyone from a Royal Family butler to a former Concorde pilot to a U.S. diplomat involved in the Iraq War. Aboard QM2, guests can browse the well-stocked library and explore the skies in the only planetarium at sea.
Cunard’s classic transatlantic sailings offer the perfect way to experience the great expanse and gentle lull of the ocean, Kramer observes. “We forget that before planes, trains, and automobiles, it was the seas and rivers that connected us all.”