Off the Irish Coast, A Voyage Comes to an End

Our grand voyage aboard Cunard Line’s Remastered Queen Mary 2 has come to an end, as we pass the southern coast of Ireland en-route to Southampton. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Position as of this writing: 49° 39’ N, 5° 36’ W

Speed: 21 knots

Wind: Force 7 / Temperature: 15° / Seas: Slight

It’s my last day aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2. Today, we’re passing off the southern coast of Ireland, and are due to arrive at Southampton’s Ocean Terminal tomorrow morning at 6:30am.

Six days have passed since we left New York on Monday; six days that have given all aboard Queen Mary 2 a better appreciation for the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. If you’ve never done a voyage like this before, it may seem a little crazy to choose a cruise with absolutely no ports of call. My job is to tell you that no ports are no problem.

Voyage M717, New York to Southampton, in full:

Across the Atlantic aboard Queen Mary 2

DAY PORT TODAY ABOARD QUEEN MARY 2
Monday, May 15, 2017 New York (Brooklyn), NY. Departure: 1700 Embarkation: The Crossing Begins
Tuesday, May 16 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Our First Day out on the Atlantic
Wednesday, May 17 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Remastering Queen Mary 2
Thursday, May 18 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Getting There is Half the Fun: Cunard’s Transatlantic Legacy
Friday, May 19 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Grand Days aboard QM2
Saturday, May 20 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Elegant Nights aboard QM2
Sunday, May 21 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Recapping our Journey Across the Atlantic
Monday, May 22 Southampton, England
Arrive: 0700
Disembarkation

Reading about Queen Mary 2, ON Queen Mary 2! Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

This is the part where I should probably rattle off facts and figures. I should tell you how large, how imposing, how grand Queen Mary 2 is – but I feel as though I’ve already done that. I should mention that she crosses the Atlantic for the better part of her year, that she is the only ship in the world to do so, and that a good number of folks use her the way you or I might use a British Airways flight – as transportation to and from England. But, again, I feel we’ve covered that.

Of course, today is the last day to take advantage of Cunard’s daily White Gloved Afternoon Tea in the Queen’s Room. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Every afternoon, waiters parade into the largest ballroom at sea…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…to serve up traditional tea, scones with clotted cream, and finger sandwiches. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

The scones are to-die for. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

If you’ve read this far and have only one takeaway from this report, it should be this: this is a very special ship, operating a very special run. Without Queen Mary 2, this is a cruise that would not exist in its current form. Oh, sure, there are other cruise ships that cross the Atlantic. Many, in fact. But they do so as repositioning cruises; port-laden voyages between Europe and North America that happen once or twice per year, and which deviate little from your standard Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise in terms of onboard features and entertainment.

There’s nothing wrong with those types of transatlantic crossings. I’ve done two of those, on other lines, and have enjoyed them both tremendously. But the feeling is different. This is The Queen Mary 2. This is the crossing. Cunard might be owned by Carnival Corporation now, but that doesn’t mean that Carnival hasn’t been mindful – protective, even – of Cunard’s longstanding transatlantic legacy.

Cunard gives guests a handy little folder to store daily programs, postcards and other mementos as keepsakes. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

This is my third crossing aboard Queen Mary 2, and what I have seen and experienced this week is a Cunard, and a Queen Mary 2, that are continuing to evolve in meaningful, positive ways.

The Carinthia Lounge, added during Cunard’s remastering, is an example of this: a space intended to pay homage to similar venues aboard past Cunard ships. The same holds true for The Verandah, which replaces Todd English on Deck 8. Not only does this better align the specialty restaurants across the fleet (both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth have the same venue), but it also holds its origins in the top-of-the-line restaurants found aboard the original RMS Queen Elizabeth and RMS Queen Mary.

The single most important thing you can fill out: your voyage questionnaire. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

I expected good things from the 2016 remastering, but I really had no idea how deeply it changed the onboard experience. The custom-crafted menus for each public room are a huge success, and I am fond of the attention to branding and detail that has been given to make each lounge distinct and unique in its own right.

Structurally speaking, the King’s Court redo is a huge success – possibly the best on the ship – and the removal of the glass elevators in the Grand Lobby has proven to be a surprisingly successful choice.

The Mark Hodgson Trio plays for guests in the Grand Lobby this afternoon. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

There are a few things that still need to be worked out, however. While the Carinthia Lounge is now more popular than ever, Sir Samuels on Deck 3 is a ghost town. If you like chocolate it might be your thing (the lounge now features Godiva chocolate everything), but every time I pass it, the poor wait staff look bored to tears with their empty room, which is really one of the nicest spaces onboard. I think it might need a Wintergarden-style makeover during the next refit.

I’d also like to see Queen Mary 2 receive the same sort of internet service that Carnival has developed for its ships, with fixed dollar packages designed for different browsing habits, rather than the old time-based packages, where you watch your credit evaporate while you wait for Gmail to load.

Nearing our journey’s end. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

The only other thing I noticed – and maybe this is due to my extreme aft location – is the amount of rattling and clattering around in my stateroom when the ship is brought up to speed. Under 21 knots, I don’t hear a thing. The second we do over 21 knots, my stateroom door rattles like heck, and I have to try to wedge the “Do Not Disturb” placard into the locking mechanism to hold it still.

Those are minor quibbles, though. Of the three transatlantic crossings I’ve taken aboard Queen Mary 2, I think this one has been the best overall experience.

The service onboard is friendly and personable. The food is universally high quality, even in the main dining room. And the ship – well, the ship is amazing. After 13 years in service, Queen Mary 2 looks and feels better than ever.

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Our Voyage Report onboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 has sadly come to a close. Follow along with our future cruise adventures on twitter by following @deckchairblog.

Across the Atlantic aboard Queen Mary 2

DAY PORT TODAY ABOARD QUEEN MARY 2
Monday, May 15, 2017 New York (Brooklyn), NY. Departure: 1700 Embarkation: The Crossing Begins
Tuesday, May 16 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Our First Day out on the Atlantic
Wednesday, May 17 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Remastering Queen Mary 2
Thursday, May 18 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Getting There is Half the Fun: Cunard’s Transatlantic Legacy
Friday, May 19 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Grand Days aboard QM2
Saturday, May 20 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Elegant Nights aboard QM2
Sunday, May 21 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Recapping our Journey Across the Atlantic
Monday, May 22 Southampton, England
Arrive: 0700
Disembarkation

 

 

The post Crossing the Atlantic aboard the Remastered Queen Mary 2 – Day 7 appeared first on From The Deck Chair.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Leave a Reply

Comments