Crossing the North Atlantic in Style on the Queen Mary 2


With her 151,400 tons,
her mighty majesty indeed rules the waves


The majestic Queen Mary 2 sets sail beneath the expansive Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

by André Gayot

The Statue of Liberty fades away in the mist as we just slip underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the lapping strengthens, the breeze broadens out and the sky darkens. The Queen Mary 2 begins her one week journey across the Atlantic for the 215th time, knowing inclement weather is ahead. It’s her ten year anniversary, and she is going strong. Beyond the North Atlantic journey she was built for, the Queen Mary 2 has traveled the world over, docking in sixty different countries.


The massive Queen Mary 2 is a full 21 meters longer than the Eiffel Tower


Of course, there is really no need to worry about the weather; the Queen Mary 2 is the largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built. This mountain of steel is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and weighs in at a mighty 151,400 metric tons. The Queen Mary 2 can ply her way abreast of the most ferocious waves with confidence, safety and even comfort, thanks to four fins that can be deployed under the hull to counter act the rolling motion and keep the vessel steady. “The QM2 is an ocean liner,” insists the owner Cunard, a two-century old British navigation company, now U.S. owned, “with the capacity and the flexibility to fulfill different roles, including that of a cruise ship.”


A relief panel by Arnvid Brandal decorates the central passage


So who would want to spend seven days crossing the Atlantic, when eight hours in an airplane would suffice? Obviously this voyage is not for everyone, but you’d be surprised by the number of candidates opting to eschew a harried sense of time for the tranquil ocean voyage, including those who suffer from a fear of flying or don’t handle jetlag well. On a slow, calm, stable boat such as this, without agitation or obligations, peace of mind comes on its own. To perfect the soothing atmosphere, 128 artists contributed to the decoration of the beautifully adorned ship, where 5,000 works of art, including bronze and glass sculptures, are on display.


The Canyon Ranch Spa offers on-site pampering for guests


However, if contemplation and meditation are not your cup of tea, there’s a roster of occupations: shows, movies, lectures, concerts, stargazing, wine tastings and dance lessons, to name a few. It’s possible to be taken care of all day long, from breakfast in bed to an evening massage at the Canyon Ranch Spa (this pampering comes at a charge though). The calm, restrained and decidedly upscale ambiance of the Queen Mary 2 is readily sought by the clientele, whose average age is 65. So it goes without saying that guests are expected to dress and behave like real ladies and gentlemen. No shorts, no short sleeves or sandals past 5 p.m. Evenings that are not strictly formal are at least “smart casual,” and ties and jackets are de rigueur, while black tie attire is strongly recommended for the Gala dinner. Those without proper attire should make their way to the less formal King’s Court restaurant open 24 hours.

One thought on “Crossing the North Atlantic in Style on the Queen Mary 2”

  1. Dear Andre,
    Thank you for a lovely report and description of this wonderful crossing. It was a pleasure to read.
    Four of my American Cousins took this same ship to go to East Africa a few years ago, and had an absolute fabulous time.
    I myself, coming for the first time to the US, invited to spend the summer at my Aunt and Uncle’s in NYC, decided to cross by ship rather than fly,and came on the magnificent SS FRANCE. The crossing was beyond exceptional, but the arrival was unforgettable: it was early July,7.00 AM. A bluer sky never was, a brighter sunshine either, a more excited 20 year old never will be, but above all, a more magical appearance than the Statue of Liberty as we entered the New York Harbor certainly does not exist. I was so overwhelmed by so much beauty, by the unparalleled and grandiose Manhattan Skyline that I could not stop crying. And then I thought about the millions of people who immigrated to the US decades before, and I could feel in my heart the infinite joy and gratefulness they must have felt to be able to come to this beautiful country. If I, a privileged young Parisian, could be so, so moved by the sight of this exceptional and beautiful Tres Grande Dame, how could those poor people fleeing all the horrors they were lucky to escape from, feel at her sight? So I just cried some more!!
    Micheline Arnould

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