Fit for a Queen.
From exclusive dining to grand suites, we open our archive to see how the Queens Grill, Cunard’s ultimate ocean experience, has evolved over the years.
There’s a first time for everything, and tonight will be mine at the famous Black and White Gala Night aboard Queen Mary 2.
A sense of anticipation crackles round the ship as everyone puts on their finest monochrome evening wear, and I soon start to see why Cunard attracts such a loyal body of fans. OK, this may be just a 3-night mini-cruise from Southampton to Cherbourg, but everyone has taken the chance to look their very best, and as couples and groups of friends glide around the decks – champagne in hand, sequins and shirt-fronts gleaming – we’re transported back to the golden age of travel.
This elegant dining space, complete with white tablecloths, polished cutlery and a huge choice of dishes, is one of the most celebrated venues on the ship, and it’s easy to see why. With the atmosphere of a private members’ club, it offers a fabulous choice of dishes – from light healthy lunches to full-on three-course dinners – all of them absolutely delicious. Not wanting to overindulge on day one, I go for tomato soup with an Asian-inspired salad – and both are exemplary.
Grill Suite guests can dine here, at their own exclusive restaurant, but there is also the option of the buzzy Britannia Restaurant, the Kings Court, Boardwalk Cafe or specialty steak restaurant The Verandah on deck 8. For teas, coffees and light snacks, the Carinthia Lounge is the perfect place to meet – unless you fancy Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Bar on deck 3. Well, who wouldn’t?
So that afternoon I join a few of my fellow travelers as we are treated to a tower of warm savory brioches, mini-quiches and a pile of fresh scones, sweet eclairs and bright macarons, washed down with a glass or two of ice-cold champagne (or the finest Twinings tea, for those who prefer it). With live musical accompaniment from an excellent harpist, it’s an amazing experience that shouldn’t be missed – and a snip at $34.50 per person.
Back on board, I enjoy a last meal at The Verandah, with its mouth-watering selection of steaks (my kobe beef is one of the best dishes I’ve eaten in years). And full marks to its interior designer – with a super-cool bar and sexy interiors, you could easily think you were already in Manhattan.
There are no two ways about it – I have fallen in love with Queen Mary 2, her wonderful ambience and heritage and the marvelous staff. If you’ve never sailed on Cunard before, you’ll be amazed at what is on board – so beg, borrow or steal a ticket for this extraordinary ship. You won’t be disappointed.
Explore our article library for a glimpse into our proud 180-year history, special Cunard recipes, and tours of stunning destinations all over the globe.