QE2 - The Grand Ocean Liner

Queen Elizabeth 2

The QE2! Imagine a floating palace where the pleasures are unmatched. Where royalty, millionaires, astronauts and film stars have been known to stroll on gleaming teak decks while savoring the earth’s most dramatic panoramas.

Welcome aboard the one and only Queen Elizabeth 2. Thanks to a recent refurbishment from bow to stern, she is uniquely prepared to pamper you with the utmost contemporary comfort.

During days at sea, guests enjoy a satisfying variety of concerts, films and illuminating talks, all presented in opulent surroundings that have never looked more refined.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 sails the majority of the world’s waters becoming an honored guest in ports near and far. Her yearly World Cruise is a highlight of a history dating back to 1922 when Cunard started the tradition of exploring around the globe by ship.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 is over 960 feet long and carries more than 1,700 passengers. She is the last of the great transatlantic liners and is often referred to as a destination herself. Although she originally entered service in 1969, she is still the fastest passenger ship in service.

Magnificently refurbished over the years (and as recently as 2004), the QE2 features the most extensive range of facilities of any passenger ship afloat including a garage for up to 40 cars, a kennel for the pooch and a nursery for the little ones.

I had the good fortune to sail the QE2 with my father who had not seen England since his days with the RCAF during the war and his crossing was by troop ship. Boarding this majestic vessel, we were awestruck with a sense of stepping back in time.

Excitement fills the air from the moment you see the distinctive silhouette of the QE2. The upswept prow. The sleek black hull. The stack in Cunard’s signature red. As the tug boats began the duty of moving us to the channel, a deep nautical whistle resounds, British officers bow crisply, ushering us on board and a beautifully attired brass band salutes our departure dockside in Southampton.

I could only imagine the rich history of the crossings to New York. Exploring the vessel became a must.

Accommodations range from rather small inside staterooms to luxurious penthouses with private balconies. The bathrooms in all levels of accommodation sport marble fixtures, art deco style cabinetry and luxurious terry robes.

Among the many facilities available on board, 5 restaurants and 2 cafe's, 3 swimming pools, an English pub, night-club and several bars, 481 seat Cinema, Casino, and a Shopping Promenade with a branch of the world famous Harrod's. Also available, a Health Club, Beauty Salon ,Hospital and Computer Learning Center. The Library is superb with over 7000 books in many languages combined with a memorabilia book-shop and a full time librarian.

The Queen’s Room is a real ballroom, with a large dance floor for real dancing to a big band, whereas during the day it is “stately quiet” with comfortable chairs and a traditional British tea service.

During the day, you catch a tan by the pool, or just relax in a deck chair with a good book and watch the Atlantic glide by. There is always some type of organized activity going on so you can be as active or sedate as you choose.

Since evenings at sea are usually formal, during the late afternoon you will notice more and more people drifting back to their staterooms to prepare for the events of the evening which may include the captain’s reception.

The Queen Elizabeth 2, although a one class ship in all public areas, offers five principal restaurants and one informal dining spot. Your restaurant assignment depends on the category of stateroom you obtain. The ultimate category, the Queen’s Grill, provides a la carte dining with everything cooked to order a la minute and is arguably the finest dining experience at sea and is comparable to the very best shoreside gourmet restaurants anywhere.

Regardless of your restaurant category, the food and service are superb and the evening formality is refreshing and a delight to observe, with men in tuxedos and ladies in long flowing formal gowns. A step to yesterday.

For the ultimate in speed and seamless English charm, Cunard offers a combination program using British Airways in one direction and returning on the QE2. The Venice Simpleton-Orient Express offers a glamorous way to travel between London and the QE2 in a magnificently restored British Pullman car as you enjoy champagne, gourmet cuisine and pastoral scenery.

Crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth 2 will remain a treasured memory. If travel is meant to be savoured, then crossing the oceans should be a majestic experience, and thanks to Cunard it is indeed.

Sid Kaplan
Cruise Vacations Guide

PS. For more information on the QE2 see Queen Elizabeth 2.

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Did You Know?.

CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) 62 cruise line members represent more than 90 percent of global cruise capacity, with 482,000 berths on CLIA Member ships. With more than 22 million people cruising worldwide each year, the cruise industry will invest $25 billion to launch 55 new ships between 2015 and 2020. In 2015, the industry will introduce six new oceangoing cruise ships and 16 new river cruise ships.

Top 2014 Cruise Trends (CLIA)

Rebound in luxury cruising (luxury category ships, onboard upgrades) based on an improving economy and increased consumer confidence

Multigenerational and celebration travel increase for all passenger source markets with larger sized family as well as social/ affinity groups traveling together

Continued development and availability of technology to facilitate and lower the cost of onboard communications as well as to provide more efficient passenger servicing

Expectation of first-time passenger growth driven by the 95 million Millennial generation based on population size and positive experiences cruising with their parents

Cruise lines offering more all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities for increased ease in booking and ship enjoyment

Cruises increasingly attracting consumers seeking active vacations with extreme excursions, longer stays in ports for sightseeing and high-energy onboard facilities

Seeing the world in comfort and ease, especially exotic locations, will continue to drive new itinerary creation and cruise ship deployment

Hot destinations for 2014 according to CLIA cruise line members include: Trans Pacific, World Cruises, U.S. Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic Rivers