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Queen Mary 2 (QM2) offers the pleasures of crossing the North Atlantic comfortably on a regular schedule.
Douglas Ward has been on over 1,000 cruises, and is considered the worlda€™s leading expert on cruising.
RMS Queen Mary 2, designated a Royal Mail Ship by the British Post Office, is the largest ocean liner ever built a€“ in terms of gross tonnage, length, and beam, though not passengers carried. Although there are four separate categories a€“ Queens Grill, Princess Grill, Britannia Club, and Britannia a€“ QM2 really operates as a two-class ship (Grill Class and Britannia Class), and the restaurant to which you are assigned depends on your accommodation grade.
There are 10 dining rooms and eateries (and seven galleys to service them), and all dining venues have ocean-view windows. EntertainmentThe Royal Court Theatre, a lovely venue, has tiered seating for 1,094, though some sight lines are less than ideal. Editor's note: Queen Mary 2 goes into dry dock on May 27th, 2016, for its most significant refurbishment in 12 years. Perhaps no ship currently at sea excites a lover of maritime history like the Queen Mary 2.
The flagship of the Cunard line and successor to the much-missed QE2 does its best to echo the company's storied past, evoking as much traditional 'Britishness' as possible, despite being part of US-owned Carnival Corp. QM2 is also the world's only purpose-built liner, as opposed to a ship, designed especially for Transatlantic crossings. In 2014 the ship marked its 10-year anniversary with another suitably royal occasion -- a tour by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was by his wife's side when she christened the ship 10 years previously. Yet for a ship that's so formal, a cruise on QM2 doesn't always deliver the level of luxury that you might expect. Thanks to its size (at 1,130 feet, Queen Mary 2 is longer than three football fields, and one of the longest passenger ships afloat) the ship can seem surprisingly quiet in spots -- despite carrying 2,600 passengers. And in an era of noisy cruise ship bells and whistles, this throwback to quieter values is exactly what Cunard's passengers crave. At time of writing (May 2014), the ship has completed 215 Atlantic crossings and sailed some 1.5 million nautical miles, 420 voyages and called at 177 ports in 60 countries. As you might expect, given its charge as a transatlantic liner, Queen Mary 2 attracts primarily British and North American passengers, especially on its crossings. Cunard's suggested dress code is perhaps the most formal at sea -- and most QM2 passengers are happy to oblige.
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship Voyager of the Seas sailed from Galveston on Sunday, March 22. And finally, a more conventional sight — the small container ship Libra Ecuador, inbound for Houston from Altamira, Mexico.
Customs and Border Protection arrested five women and four men after the luxurious QM2 arrived at the New York Cruise Terminal in Red Hook. Walker of Walker & O'Neill Law Firm, offering services related to injuries, sexual assaults, fires, negligence, rapes & disappearances on cruise ships, pirate & terrorist attacks, missing passengers, shore excursions, wrongful death and the Jones Act, serving cruise passengers, crew members, cabin attendants, utility workers, waiters, bar tenders, ship doctors and cleaners on cruise ships worldwide. Before you make this important decision, ask us to send you written information about our qualifications and experience. A powerful propulsion system allows it to go backwards faster than many cruise ships can go forwards. You even get a different cabin breakfast menu depending on whether you travel in Grill Class or Britannia Class accommodation. The wines and Champagnes have been selected by Michael Broadbent, one of the worlda€™s top wine experts.Britannia Restaurant.
It stages lavish West End-style productions and hosts headline entertainers and cabaret acts. It comes out on June 21st and will make its first post-refurb crossing from Southampton on June 23rd.

Launched in 2004 with a christening featuring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Mary 2 attempts to conjure the traditional charm of ocean voyages with classic afternoon tea, elegant decor and dressy eveningwear, along with an outstanding outdoor Promenade ringing Deck 7.
The sprawling Kings Court buffet on Deck 7 can be a zoo at peak hours, with passengers jostling for prime window seats, and service in the shops can be indifferent. Indeed, it has the highest passenger to space ratio in the industry, and as we prowled the corridors reading the delightful historical placards, we found ourselves alone in some hallways. There is just one announcement a day -- at noon, by the Captain -- telling us our progress, and that's it. Many choose Cunard for its adherence to tradition and a stricter dress code than you see followed on other mainstream lines.
During the day, people tend toward country club casual, although a transatlantic or European cruise is dressier than a cruise in, say, the Caribbean. An "informal" night on QM2 can feel as fancy as a formal night on other ships, with most women wearing cocktail dresses or stylish separates and men wearing sport coats (note that it is only fairly recently that Cunard relaxed the dress code to allow gentlemen not to have to wear ties on an informal night). At 137,276 grt and 1,020 feet (311m) long overall, Voyager is the fifth-largest cruise ship in the world, after Queen Mary 2 and Voyager’s own Royal Caribbean consorts of the Freedom class. Taller than the Empire State Building, it is the first new ship to be built for Cunard Line since 1969. Twenty-five price grades cover everything from standard outside-view cabins to the most opulent suites.All grades have a 20in (or larger) TV set, and all beds have fluffy European duvets. No neon, no PA announcements and no vendors enticing you to buy things all contribute to a refreshingly adult cruising experience. Even within the sanctuary of the vessel's upper echelons -- the Princess and Queens Grills Restaurants and Lounge -- some staff can still be stiff and unhelpful. Part of the appeal of this ship is just these nooks and crannies where you can read, play cards or simply stare out to sea. That being said, the ship's iconic status means that you'll find all nationalities onboard. You will find more children and teenagers onboard during summer school holidays on itineraries that aren't transatlantic (such as Caribbean, Eastern Seaboard and Norway).
A crossing will typically feature three formal nights -- some with a theme, such as Black and White or Masquerade -- and three informal nights.
And formal nights are just that, with the majority of women in long gowns and men in tuxedos (or dark suits). A lavish room almost three decks high, it has two grand sweeping staircases so you can make your entry in style. Thirty additional Britannia Club Balcony cabins, giving more passengers access to the exclusive Britannia Club Restaurant (which will also be expanded during the refurb). The daily program, along with Canyon Ranch's onboard spa and fitness facilities, provides plenty of diversions, but they're more sedate than rock-climbing competitions and waterslide races. A passenger breakdown for a roundtrip New York-to-Canada sailing encompassed 26 nationalities.
A 15 percent tip is automatically added to your bill for purchases in the bars and lounges (and there's also a space for an "extra" gratuity). There is a wide walk-around promenade deck outdoors (the forward section is under cover from the weather).
Breakfast and lunch are open seating, while dinner is in two seatings, all with crisp linen and fine china.
Plus there is something to be said for a rigorous dress code; donning sport coats and cocktail dresses does prompt you to sit a little straighter (even if wearing heels gets old after a few days). Treatments in Canyon Ranch SpaClub include tips (12.5 percent), but you can add more there, as well.
Other features include digital video on demand (English-, French-, and German-language movies are available), music on demand with 3,000 titles, and audio books on demand.
The addition of the Verandah Restaurant, replacing the Todd English restaurant, with an all-new menu that will be rolled out to the rest of the fleet once Queen Mary 2 comes back into service.
If you're looking to add a little elegance to your life, a crossing on Queen Mary 2 will certainly fit the bill.

A full line of teak a€?steamera€™ chairs adorns the walk-around deck, with plenty of room for walkers to pass. One downside of open seating for breakfast or lunch is that youa€™ll probably have a different waiter each time, who wona€™t know your preferences. Ten new animal kennels, along with a new inside play area and a larger outside walking area -- plus a lampost, for the dogs. Also, if you are seated on the lower level underneath the balcony formed along the sides of the upper level, you may feel enclosed in an inferior space.
A complete redesign of Kings Court, the ship's central buffet, with new serving stations, pre-set tables, waiters serving drinks and a reconfigured seating arrangement to create a less crowded experience.
Upstairs is a bedroom with wood-framed king-size bed, and large (not-so-private) balcony; downstairs is a living room with sofa, coffee table, dining table, and writing desk. As part of the redesign, a bank of elevators will be removed in order to use the space for a central serving station, also reducing the number of entrances and exits to the buffet to make the flow of traffic less confusing. There are two Grill Rooms (the 200-seat Queens Grill and the 178-seat Princess Grill), which are small dining salons. The addition of the Carinthia Lounge (replacing the current Winter Garden), an all-day venue serving a light breakfast and lunch, followed by an afternoon tea and evening drinks, refreshments and entertainment. Both are located aft and have, in theory, fine ocean-view windows a€“ although walkers passing by on the exterior promenade deck can be disturbing in the daytime, so window blinds are kept down. The master, marble-clad bathroom has a whirlpool tub and shower enclosure, and a second bathroom with a shower enclosure (no tub). Canyon Ranch SpaClub recommendations and vegetarian options are provided on all lunch and dinner menus.Todd English Restaurant. This 216-seat reservations-only restaurant is named after the American TV chef whose Boston restaurant (Olives) has a fine reputation. An observation lounge, the delightful Commodore Club, has commanding views forward over the bows; light jazz is played in this room, which is connected to the Boardroom, and Cigar Lounge. The room has been designed with intimate detailing and overlooks the Pool Terrace, allowing for alfresco dining. Food presentation from an A -la-carte menu is excellent, although overly fussy at times, but the venue is disappointing.Kings Court. This truly nondescript, informal eatery has 478 seats and obnoxious daytime lighting, and is more suited to a land-based shopping mall. Breakfast is repetitive, but includes British traditional standards: eggs, bacon, kippers, and fried tomatoes. Ita€™s worth reserving a seat for at least one of the several outstanding 20-minute programs.
The venue also screens 3D movies.There are five swimming pools, including one that can be enclosed under a retractable glass roof.
Each has a lounge area, large private balcony, and marble-clad bathroom with whirlpool tub and separate shower enclosure. Sports facilities include an electronic golf simulator, giant chess board, and a paddle-tennis court.The shipa€™s Library and Bookshop is the worlda€™s largest floating bookshop and the most popular public room on transatlantic crossings. You can also order from the restaurant menus and have breakfast, lunch, and dinner served in your own suite or cabin. Staffed by full-time librarians from Ocean Books, it features 10,000 books in several languages, in 150 book cabinets.
It is a delightful facility, but there are few chairs, and the adjacent bookshop is quite small.Children have their own spaces, with a dedicated play area, the Play Zone. An en suite bathroom has a shower enclosure, washbasin, toilet, and toiletries cabinet.Wheelchair-accessible cabins.
All have pull-down closet hanging rails, above-bed emergency pull-cord, and large, well-equipped bathrooms with roll-in showers and handrails.

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