The Cunard Line has long been associated with the image of opulent cruises. Currently, the company is sailing three luxury liners, the Queen Mary II, the Queen Elizabeth, and the Queen Victoria. While the company’s reputation was built on transatlantic voyages, the current ships’ itineraries include a variety of destinations, including Caribbean, Hawaiian, and Mediterranean cruises.
In 2004, the Queen Mary II replaced the Queen Elizabeth II as the line’s flagship. The Queen Mary II still undertakes transatlantic sailings, as well as periodic world voyages that circumnavigate the globe. It was on the Queen Mary II that my Uncle Dale and Aunt Jennifer spent their honeymoon in 2005.
Many passengers only sail one leg of their transatlantic journey on the Queen Mary II. My aunt and uncle chose a round-trip voyage from New York City to South Hampton, England, which only allowed a few hours in South Hampton before the return sailing. A decision they were not entirely happy with.
“The meal menus and selections and entertainment were the same for the journey from South Hampton to New York City as they were for the journey from New York City to South Hampton,” says Jennifer. “We were a little bored with it by the second leg of the trip.”
Plenty to Do
Cunard often presents guest lecturers, special performers, or theme-based cruises as part of its Enrichment Programmes. On my aunt and uncle’s trip, the British author Terry Waite, who was taken hostage in Lebanon in the late 1980s, was the guest speaker. Search the Enrichment Programmes’ events calendar for speakers or events that might be of interest and make your journey even more enjoyable.
Activities abound onboard a Cunard ship. Jennifer took advantage of a free photography class. There are classes on other subjects as well, including how to play bridge. My uncle won a deck of QMII playing cards during a trivia contest in one of the pubs.
Rockin’ the Boat
My aunt does warn potential cruisers that transatlantic voyages are not always smooth sailing.
“There were a few times that the ship was rocking back and forth roughly,” she said. “Those were the only times that we felt any sea sickness.”
Overall, my aunt and uncle’s Cunard voyage was a good one.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise,” Jennifer says. “The ship was absolutely beautiful and the service was wonderful. There were fun things to do every day and evening. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to splurge on a special experience.”