Crossing the North Atlantic in Style on the Queen Mary 2
With her 151,400 tons, her mighty majesty indeed rules the wavesby 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. 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.” 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. 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.