10 things to know before travelling on Queen Mary 2.
Award-winning travel writer Jonathan Thompson reveals 10 things you should know before embarking on your next Queen Mary 2 voyage.
1. No need to worry about pre-cruise prep
Getting ready for a big trip can be stressful: everything from sourcing foreign currency and securing visas to squeezing in that pre-holiday haircut. Not when you’re sailing on Queen Mary 2 though. You name it, they’ll sort it. That’s what they call the famous “White Star Service” (possibly better dubbed the Gold Wand Service).
2. It's not full of "old people"
Belay the blue rinse brigade: the average age aboard Queen Mary 2 isn’t anywhere near 80. In fact, it recently dropped from 59 to 55, and there are plenty of twenty- and thirty-somethings balancing the demographic on each voyage. (Often located in G32 - the nightclub at the ship’s stern). Well if it’s good enough for Jay-Z and Beyoncé…
3. You don't have to go the whole way round the world
Queen Mary 2’s Round The World voyages normally take around 120 nights to complete. But it can be just as much fun joining up for one or two legs. Particularly if there’s a special part of the world you want to see in style.
4. You won't be bored
Even if you did sail the entire Round the World voyage, you’d have something different to do every evening. Queen Mary 2 is the size of a small city, with all of the amenities you’d expect therein. There’s a swimming pool for every day of the week; a new bar for every day of the fortnight. And that’s before you’ve even started on the extraordinary restaurants…
5. You should pack plenty of outfits
From captain’s cocktails to Britannia dinners, ballroom dancing to Formal Nights, you’re going to want a few sartorial options. If in doubt, go glamorous. (Luckily, the staterooms are all spacious enough to house multiple costume changes).
6. Time isn't what it was here
Queen Mary 2 sails against the tides of “real” time, nonchalantly gliding across international time zones with graceful indifference. As a result, those aboard live on “ship’s time”, which often changes overnight. So pack a watch you can swiftly alter and don’t rely on that auto-alarm. (Although on the plus side, if you do sleep in, breakfast in bed is included in your fare).
7. Your best friend can come too
Even canine companions get the White Star treatment here: Queen Mary 2 is the only ship in the world to offer dedicated kennels at sea. There are now 22 luxury kennels in total, as well as a play area and dedicated walking route. (Not to mention a traditional British lamppost and New York fire hydrant to ensure furry guests want for nothing during their aquatic ablutions).
8. Check out the Commodore club
The Commodore Club is your go-to venue for pre-dinner cocktails. Not only does this stylish lounge have the best cocktail menu at sea (you can even book a mixology class, to appreciate the exceptional work here), it also boasts spectacular views of sunset over the ship’s bow, directly below.
9. She's not hard to navigate
Yes, ocean liners are big. Queen Mary 2 is equal to the height of a 23-storey building - and considerably wider! But you won’t get lost if you simply imagine her as a three-dimensional city grid: an enormous cube with four stairwells.
10. Pack a spare piece of luggage
Something smaller and easily folded - like a duffel bag. Because, trust me, from the spa to the onboard shops (Chanel, Hermes and Dunhill for starters), you’ll disembark with considerably more than you embarked with. Don’t worry about lugging it all home though - Cunard will do that for you as well. Yes, that’s part of the White Star Service too.