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Queen Mary 2 – Queen of the Seas for ten years!

January 15, 2014

Laura

Posted in: Insights Speakers

In our latest blog post, Maritime Historian & Author, and Cunard Insights Lecture, Chris Frame looks back on the first 10 years of Queen Mary 2, as we celebrate her 10th Anniversary…

Last week marked the 10th anniversary of Queen Mary 2’s introduction into Cunard Line service. The 151,400 gross ton liner marked the occasion with a call to Southampton; where her fleet mate Queen Elizabeth met her. The occasion was completed with a dramatic fireworks display.

Now on her annual world cruise, the beloved Queen Mary 2 is sailing into her second decade. But why is she so famous? Here are five reasons why Queen Mary 2 really is the most magnificent and special ship currently in service.

Reason One: QM2 is the ship that no one thought they would build:

Queen Mary 2 is a true Ocean Liner, built to the same high specifications as many of the world’s most well known vessels. Famous names such as Aquitania, Majestic, Queen Mary and QE2, were all true Ocean Liners.

An Ocean Liner is different from a cruise ship. Rather than being built to sail from port to port, Ocean Liners are built to undertake direct line voyages from point A to point B across a large expanse of ocean. In Cunard’s case, this was the North Atlantic Ocean, one of the most unpredictable oceans in the world.

As a result Ocean Liners are built to be faster and stronger than cruise ships.

By 1969, when QE2 came into service for Cunard, the era of the Ocean Liner was drawing to a close. Eclipsed by the jet aircraft, cruise lines turned to full time cruising. But Cunard endured, maintaining the ever popular QE2 on the Transatlantic Crossing.

Everyone thought the QE2 was the last of the great Ocean Liners. Then, in 1998 Carnival Corporation acquired Cunard, and announced their plans to build Queen Mary 2. The world watched in awe as the plans for this ship came together. The promise was for the longest, tallest, widest and most expensive passenger ship ever built! And Cunard was true to their promise. The first Ocean Liner built in over 30 years became a reality, despite what the critics said!

Reason Two: She’s the only ship of her kind:

That’s right; QM2 is the only true Transatlantic liner currently in service. For this reason, there are certain elements about the ship that make her unique.

Firstly, you’ll notice she has a very long bow compared to cruise ships. This is to help protect the superstructure from the ferocity of the Atlantic weather. There is a large ‘breakwater’ on the bow, designed to deflect waves away from the ship and its design is borrowed from the legendary Ocean Liner Normandie. In fact, Queen Mary 2 was built at the same French shipyard that built Normandie!

Queen Mary 2 is also a very fast ship. Her mix of diesel electric engines and gas turbines allow her to achieve a top speed of 28.5 knots. This makes her the fastest passenger ship in service today.

This speed means that even if she has to slow down during bad weather, she can make up time and get to her destination on schedule. There are very few late arrivals when sailing aboard Queen Mary 2!

One other thing to note is she is a very stable and secure ship. Her steel hull plating is considerably thicker than a regular cruise ship, while she has been specifically built for a stable ride, even in the worst weather. If you’re going to be in an Atlantic storm aboard any passenger ship, Queen Mary 2 is the one you want to be on!

Reason Three: The rich and famous love an Ocean Liner:

Throughout history, the rich and famous have loved an ocean voyage aboard Cunard’s Ocean Liners. In the 1920’s and 1930’s it was famous politicians, stage actors and royalty. Throughout the 1950’s it was Hollywood stars.

The same is true today. In fact, the allure of Queen Mary 2 started early when, in 2004, she was chartered for use as a hotel ship during the Athens Olympic Games. Here, she played host to the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Jacques Chirac and former US President George H. Bush!

Queen Mary 2 has also attracted a host of other prominent people throughout her first decade of service. Some, such as Archbishop Desmund Tutu have even participated in the world class enrichment programme aboard the ship!

And what else would guests expect when sailing on this great vessel? After all, she was named by HM. Queen Elizabeth II and carries the name of Mary of Teck (Queen consort to King George V)!

Reason Four: She offers experiences no other ship can:

From the very start, Queen Mary 2 was designed to be a unique ship and to offer once in a lifetime experiences to guests travelling aboard. This forms part of the design of the ship.

For example, she is the only passenger ship afloat that has a seagoing Planetarium – Illuminations. Here, guests can travel through space and time and learn new things about our universe.

As a true Ocean Liner, after dinner dancing is a tradition upheld aboard Queen Mary 2. To this end, the ship has the world’s largest seagoing dance floor in the Queens Room. Situated under two giant chandilers, this elegant space is the perfect venue to dance the night away. During the day, novices can learn to dance thanks to the assistance of onboard dance instructors.

Her “grand halls” on Deck 2 and Deck 3 are reminiscent of the grand saloons of Ocean Liners from a bygone era, while the ship was the first ever passenger liner to offer a seagoing version of the Canyon Ranch Spaclub.

And then there’s the WOW factor that this ship offers. She’s huge! At 151,400 gross registered tons, Queen Mary 2 is one of the largest passenger ships afloat, and certainly the largest Ocean Liner ever built. With her black hull, white superstructure and the trademark Cunard funnel, she certainly turns heads!

If you’re sailing on Queen Mary 2, chances are you’ll see a crowd of people gathering to view the ship as she arrives and departs ports around the world. Memorable occasions include her 2004 maiden arrival into Hamburg, where over 1million people came to see the ship – while in 2007, when Queen Mary 2 met QE2 in Sydney Harbour, over 2million people flocked to the city to view the two Cunarders together. The event left Sydney in a standstill with commuters unable to return home for hours!

Reason 5: The Commodore and the Crew:

Queen Mary 2 has been the flagship of the Cunard fleet since April 2004 when the ‘Boston Cup’ (a 2.5ft tall solid silver cup originally crafted as a thank you from the City of Boston to Sir Samuel Cunard) was symbolically transferred from QE2 to Queen Mary 2 while the two ships were alongside in Southampton.

As flagship, and as the largest liner Cunard has ever owned, Queen Mary 2 holds a special place in the Cunard fleet. Her crew and officers are extremely proud to serve aboard this great ship, and as a guest, you can see this pride everywhere.

From the genuine ‘good morning’ you get from your Stateroom Steward when you wake up, and Commodore Christopher Rynd’s noon-report, and regular walks around the ship to meet and greet passengers, right through to the silver service offered at Dinner, Cunard’s ‘White Star’ service shines aboard the Queen Mary 2. You really do feel like you’re part of something special.

To the future:

As Queen Mary 2 makes her way around the world, she leaves behind her a fantastic decade. In the past ten years, she’s made over 200 transatlantic crossings, offered unique and wonderful itineraries and created history on more than one occasion.

2014 will see her operating an extended season in Australia, while in 2015; she will play a central role in Cunard Line’s 175th anniversary celebrations. The future is bright for this great Queen!

Happy Anniversary Queen Mary 2! Thank you for the memories!

Stay in touch with Chris:

Visit Chris’ Cunard website online at www.chriscunard.com or like on Facebook.

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  1. Frank and Myrle Sinclair says:

    Would love to sail again! We had an unforgettable voyage.

  2. Kenneth Eden says:

    Chris,

    Thanks for such a lovely tribute to this magnificent ship. The Queen Mary 2 does indeed seem to be everything that was and is and will be in super liners, of that there is no doubt.

    My sailings have all been perfection, not one negative an I say with either the ship or with Cunard. Everything has been as one would expect with a ship of this caliber.

    Having extolled my praises upon the ship and company, a word of caution her – recent reviews have not been too favorable regarding service and menu’s. “nough said.

  3. Richard Beards says:

    Chris, I hope you will be lecturing aboard during the 175th anniversary! RB.

  4. Fran & Chris Bowen says:

    Chris, We loved our voyage from Singapore to Southampton in 2012 on the Queen Mary 2. We had sailed on her before but this was quite memorable for us, not least the extra Security that boarded whilst sailing close to Somalia, very James Bond! Coupled with the required blackout of the ship ship. Also the French helicopter crew buzzing us, after seeking permission to film the ship and then watching as it landed back on its ship successfully first time!

    Have some good photographs and wonderful memories !

    I am sure we will sail on her again, such a lovely ship and wonderful crew!

    Love all Cunard ships! keep up the excellent standards guys!

  5. Pauline Cameron says:

    Happy 10th Anniversary QM2 – I just love you – I am so looking forward to seeing you again for my third trip in Feb. I can’t get enough of the Queen. She is everything you expect of an ocean liner. Hope to be fortunate enough to keep my relationship with you for many years.

  6. Ann Wilkinson says:

    Happy Birthday Queen Mary, long may she Cruise the Oceans. We had a perfect holiday on Queen Mary a round Britain holiday. May CUNARD rule the sea’s for ever.
    Best wishes

  7. judith says:

    Happy Anniversary. Queen Mary 2 is a super ship. Our last trip in on her 2012 was to Canada and back. Have been on both Victoria and Elizabeth in 2013, with Victoria again booked this year. We have no favorites, they are all wonderful vessels, providing us with superb food, accommodation and the service from the crew is excellent. Which ship we travel on is dependent on the destinations. Will be looking to travel on Queen Mary 2 again perhaps in 2015.

  8. Lyn Capron-Tee says:

    I have recently returned from the 26 day voyage to New York and the Caribbean.
    Queen Mary 2 is magnificent.
    There was some quite rough weather over the Atlantic both ways, but Commodore Rynd’s calm expertise, and the structure of this wonderful ship, made the crossings a pleasure.
    I can never thank enough the hard work of every member of the crew, so many of whom we do not ever see.
    Looking forward to the next voyage.

  9. Pam Watson Jones says:

    Just back off our 5th cruise aboard this fabulous ship, Southampton to Cape Town and loved every day

  10. Anne Bates says:

    QM2 you are the best and the greatest, we have sailed with you over the last 10 years many times, our grand children love this ship and can not wait for us to take them again. Once again we will be on board again in April 2014 from Dubai to southampton, this time is even more special (if that is possible) because our daughter is getting married on board on the QM2 on 24th April. About to plan our next trip for later in the year, wheather it is aboard QM2 QV or QE all of which we have done vogages with, we know that our holiday will be the best with Cunard.

  11. Reeva ( boges) Bogan-Lloyd says:

    We have been on the Queen Mary -4 times including three transatlantic crossings. As we live in Australia it is a long way to come but worth the effort. We have not been able to fault the Queen Mary 2 . As far as service it depends solely on the staff and most of the people working on the Queen Mary 2 are fun and happy and willing to help.
    For me, who is on a gluten free diet, I am treated like royalty and bread is backed for me and meals are always prepared for me and I have never once been sick. The variety of food is wonderful and I can not believe that people complain. We have eaten at some of the best restaurants around the world and the food on the Queen mary 2 is not too shabby in any way. We have always been impressed and you can order as much or as little as you like. The only thing I could say is that the time to get the food on the table is often long but I put that down to my special diet.
    I just love being on her and we are planning a 62 day cruise on her in the near future. We are both very excited.

    I find it always difficult having to leave. The entertainment is there, the library, the planetarium, the bars, type afternoon teas served with white gloves. It is certainly based on another Era of luxury. I just love love love it.

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