Cruising aboard the Queen Mary 2
is like living on a city at sea.
ElCerosgsing tahe pond ince
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 evokes
the dignified travel of the past
By Eric Taub
WHILE CRUISING is not the biggest sector
of the travel industry, one type of cruise has
seen dramatic growth over the years: the
This is impressive, because the most popular cruise destinations have been to warmer
climes, such as the Mediterranean, the
Caribbean and Western Europe. Yet the number of Americans making a transatlantic voyage has tripled in the past six years.
Maybe it’s because sailing from the New
World to the Old with nothing but the sea at
your side evokes memories of the elegant
floating palaces of the past, such as the Queen
Mary. With this mode of travel, it’s easy to
set aside life’s normal give-and-take and
enter, if just for a while, a new way of pacing
decker buses on its decks.
It serves 14,000 meals daily. With food
ranging from haute American cuisine (from
Boston’s famed restaurateur Todd English)
to British pub food, passengers are not likely to get
tired of the eats over the six-day trip.
CUNARD CRUISE LINES
In addition to offering
gambling and shopping
from such stores as Hermès
and Harrods, the QM2 is the
only ship with its own planetarium. During the day, the
auditorium’s ceiling is lowered for an educational sky
show created by New York’s
Everyone quickly finds
what attracts them. Lectures
from the Royal Academy,
cooking lessons, martini tasting, e-mail and
Web access, and a full gym boost the options.
To thoroughly make its case, ask Cunard for
its “101 Things to Do” cheat sheet.
For my wife and me, daily dips in the
exquisite spa pools operated by Arizona’s
famed Canyon Ranch, then a massage in one
of the 24 treatment rooms, were highlights.
Next, we did a little reading in the ship’s
library; with 8,000 volumes, it’s the largest
library at sea.
The ship’s size is impressive. Cunard
designed the QM2 with a three-story atrium,
wide corridors and soaring ceilings. The
QM2’s main restaurant, the Britannia, seats
1,351 passengers in an elegant multilevel
room dominated by a two-story mural of the
ship arriving in New York Harbor.
Four stabilizers reduce rolling by 80 percent, so there’s little chance of getting seasick.
A force 9 gale (which we experienced on our
trip) causes only minor rocking and rolling.
A transatlantic cruise might strike you as
a trip suited to the elderly. But it’s also for
young people who want a relaxed holiday. If
you’re looking for rock-climbing walls or
artificial-wave machines, you won’t find them
here. What you will find is a wide range of
activities in keeping with an era that Cunard
once helped to define and now hopes to
The Costco Connection
For more information on this and other vacations, visit costco.com and click on “Travel” or
call Costco Travel toll free at 1-877-849-2730.
If you’ve ever thought about crossing the
Atlantic on an upscale ocean liner, take a look
at Cunard’s four-year-old Queen Mary 2
(QM2), the only vessel making scheduled
transatlantic voyages. Crossing the Atlantic
on the QM2 is not a cruise but a voyage, the
QM2’s captain, Commodore Bernard Warner,
explained to us when my wife and I sailed
with him from Southampton, in England, to
New York last autumn. We and the other
3,000 people on board were not passengers
but guests, staying in staterooms, not cabins.
Semantics? Hardly, the commodore said.
The right terminology, along with a three-week training course at Cunard’s White Star
University, instills the crew with the spirit of
the grand era of ocean voyages, when elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen experienced the finest in service and cuisine.
Everything about the QM2 speaks superlatives: It is the largest passenger ship ever
built. It is as tall as New York’s Chrysler
Building and spans the length of four city
blocks. It could hold 600 London double-
Eric Taub is a frequent contributor to The
Costco Connection. He also writes regularly
about travel and business for The New York
Times and other publications.