Deck three houses the upper levels of Britannia Restaurant, Illuminations and the Royal Court Theatre. At the rear of the ship is the Queens Room and late night disco known as G32. G32, high ceilinged and dark is the place to go until the early hours listening to the DJ, dancing and having that final drink. Queens Room is the complete opposite of G32. Boasting the largest ballroom at sea with decorated ceiling, crystal chandeliers and a dance floor inlaid with beautiful marquetry this is the place to go after a formal dinner and dance to the band. During afternoons it is where traditional tea is served with scones and clotted cream.
Heading forward toward the atrium you find Sir Samuels where there is tea and pastries during the day changing to cheese and wine in the evenings. In the Chart Room opposite you can enjoy a pre dinner drink whilst listening to background music ranging from the classics to jazz. Next door is the Veuve Cliquot Champagne Bar stocked with good quality Champagne but like all good things it comes at a price. The remainder of the area is taken up with shops named Mayfair Shops selling the usual items associated with ships shops.
Decks 4, 5 and 6 are in the main accommodation decks housing balcony and inside cabins. All cabins are well equipped and as standard provide, bathrobe and slippers, satellite TV with multi-language film and music channels, refrigerator, safe, hair dryer, direct-dial telephone and a fruit basket if you request one. All the plugs are of the 3 pin British variety so no need to worry about adapters. Even the lowest grade of cabin provides a half bottle of “Bon Voyage” wine. From this you move up through the grades of outside and balcony until you reach the level of Princess and Queens Grill Suites which can only be described as luxurious. These top level suites have their own dining rooms and the standards of amenities are increased. As standard Princess Grill suites have, concierge service, full bathroom with bath and shower, exclusive access to the Queens Grill Lounge, single-seating dining in the Princess Grill restaurant, en-suite dining from the Princess Grill menu, priority embarkation whilst the Bon Voyage wine goes to a full bottle with strawberries. Add to this a selection of pillows and duvets, soft Terry robes and slippers and you are really being pampered. There is also personalised stationary and an atlas. Take that final step up to Queens Grill Suite and you have Champagne instead of wine, a butler and various other niceties.
On deck 7 are the Princess and Queens Grill, the restaurants for those occupying the top level of accommodation. Forward of these restaurants is the Queens Grill Lounge which is dedicated to the afore mentioned passengers. The centre of this deck is taken up with the Kings Court, a buffet restaurant that is open 24 hours a day. In the evening it becomes 4 separate dining areas, each area decorated according to the theme of those four areas. These are Lotus, The Carvery, La Piazza and the Chefs Galley.
Moving forward brings you to the Winter Garden an area inspired by Kew Gardens and a feature on all the ‘Queens’. A white grand piano surrounded by a water sculpture, small trees and greenery make this the ideal place to relax in a comfortable wicker chair and just let time drift by whilst enjoying a drink from the well stocked bar.
At the front of the ship you arrive at the only Canyon Ranch Spa Club at sea. Boasting a Thalassotherapy Pool as the centre piece, this is surrounded by the Aquatherapy Centre, Gym, Whirl Pool, Rest Area and much, more that will provide that feel good factor.
Moving up to deck 8 will find mainly balcony accommodation. There is a pool at the stern of the ship as well as the Todd English speciality restaurant. The restaurant was designed by Todd English and features alcoves where you can enjoy the best in dining whilst overlooking the pool.
The front of this deck houses the Canyon Ranch Spa Club beauty salon as well as the Library and Book Shop. This is not just any library but the largest library at sea with over 8,000 hard back books, 500 paperbacks and a large collection of Audio Books and CD’s.
Deck 13 is the place to sunbathe with a huge expanse of open deck with a splash pool and 2 whirl pools and the Sports Centre further forward.
Deck 12 is the home of the Pavilion Pool with its large sliding roof so that it can utilised in all weathers. Behind this are ‘The Fairways’ golf simulators. The rest of the deck is put to mainly balcony accommodation.
Deck 11 is again mainly balcony accommodation but has the Grills Terrace and whirlpool at the stern and Atlantic Room and observation area at the front.
Deck 10 houses the largest and most luxurious suites on the ship. The largest being at the extremities of the deck.
Deck 9 again is the home of large luxurious suites. At the front of this deck is the Commodore Lounge with its elegant fittings and beautifully appointed bar with flowers on it. Beside this lounge is Churchills. A lounge named after Sir Winston Churchill. No cigarettes are allowed in here, just cigars. At the entrance is a notice to this effect. In the large illuminated wall cabinet are a selection of cigars for the discerning cigar smoker to choose from.
There is so much more to this ship but it takes longer than a visit to cover it all.
This is a large ship, the pride of Cunard, and rightly so. It is a ship of ‘Firsts’ and ‘Largest’.
• The first Planetarium at sea
• The first Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar at sea.
• The first Canyon Ranch Spa Club at sea.
• The largest library.
• The largest wine cellar
• The largest ballroom.
Add to this the 5 swimming pools, 8 whirl pools, 14 lounges clubs and bars, an art gallery, over 5,000 pieces of art and the list becomes endless.
The food I had in the Britannia Dining Room was excellent. Smoked Salmon that was beautifully presented, Steak that your knife glided through and service of a level that is rarely found on ships these days. This is a ship that caters for everyone. It even has kennels for your dog on transatlantic voyages. The entry level of cabin is better than many and the top suites are just pure luxury. Despite there being bigger and glitzier ships this is the one that will transport you in comfort to anywhere in the world irrespective of weather or sea conditions.
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Alan Fairfax - is a professional cruise writer for
YOUR HOLIDAY TV
Alan also writes for the
Ashford Advertiser Media Group with regional papers across Kent
On arrival at the QE2 terminal in Southampton you immediately appreciate the vast size of Queen Mary 2. To give her full title, RMS Queen Mary 2 is the flagship of the Cunard Line and the only true ‘Liner’ left in the world.
Launched in 2003 and christened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on the 8th January 2004 she made her maiden voyage to Fort Lauderdale 4 days later. Queen Mary 2 is the fastest cruise liner in the world being capable of just over 30 knots. At nearly 152,000 gross tonnes, 1,131 ft long and 134 ft across the beam this ship is big by any standards and is still the 3rd longest passenger ship in the world. Being built to withstand the rigors of the North Atlantic this is a very stable ship and the one to be on in rough weather.
On boarding you are immediately aware of just how big this ship is. From Grand Lobby on deck 2 wide carpeted walkways lead you to the various venues. On this deck you find the lower level of Britannia Restaurant, Britannia Club, Red Lion Pub, Empire Casino and Illuminations. The Red Lion Pub is based on a British pub where you will find a vast array of drinks and “Pub Grub”. With a décor of wood panelling supplemented by Chesterfield style settees this is the place for the traditional pint and a chat. Also on this deck are accesses to Illuminations and the Royal Court Theatre. Illuminations, the first Planetarium at sea, is a comfortable two deck high venue also utilised for films and lectures. The Royal Court Theatre is based on a London theatre. Around Grand Lobby are the Pursers Desk, Voyage Sales Office and Tour Desk.