Inside the Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 of the Cunard Line
Queen Mary 2 of the Cunard Line. Andrew Wilson/Getty Images

Cunard Line launched the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner in 2004, and the arrival of the new vessel was the most anticipated passenger ship of the early 21st century. Why were people so curious about the new ship? First, the Queen Mary 2 was the world's largest passenger ship when she was launched and was specifically designed to sail transatlantic and round-the-world voyages. As an ocean liner with a 32-foot draft, she is sturdy and can navigate rough seas smoother than traditional cruise ships. Second, the Queen Mary 2 was Cunard's first newbuild since 1969, so fans of one of the world's oldest and most respected passenger lines were excited about this long-awaited new flagship.

In June 2016, the Cunard Line completed a three-week, $132 million remastering of the Queen Mary 2. Highlights of the renovation include:

  • Redesign and refurbishment of the Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites and restaurants and the Britannia staterooms
  • Addition of 30 Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms, and five Britannia inside staterooms
  • Redesign of many public spaces and restaurants, including the transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge, the introduction of The Verandah as the ship’s new specialty restaurant, and the complete refresh and restructuring of the Kings Court, the ship’s buffet area
  • Twelve additional pet kennels and other enhancements
  • A complete repaint of the ship exterior and significant technical enhancements and structural changes to the Cunard flagship.
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Common Areas

Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner Atrium
Steve Sands/Getty Images

The refined, luxurious common areas on the Queen Mary 2 complement the elegant atmosphere one would expect on a classic ocean liner. The Queen Mary 2 feels very British, but has European and American touches. The ship is best-known for its transatlantic voyages, and with many days at sea, it's not surprising that the Queen Mary 2 offers many onboard activities and beautiful spots perfect for relaxing.

Some of the traditional Cunard hallmarks are found throughout the Queen Mary 2 -- sweeping staircases, soaring public rooms, a grand ballroom, and a 360° promenade deck that is about 0.4 mile/lap. The ship has 14 decks of sports facilities, shops, bars, lounges, 5 pools (one with a retractable roof) and 10 restaurants.

Nighttime on the Queen Mary 2 is elegant, and the ship plays host to formal gatherings in the evenings. After dinner entertainment includes dancing in the large ballroom, pianist in the Commodore Club, a casino, jazz in the Chart Room, and a wide variety of memorable shows in the Royal Court Theatre.

Some of the other special common areas on the Queen Mary 2 include:

Canyon Ranch SpaClub®

It is not surprising that one of the most luxurious ocean vessels ever built features a Canyon Ranch spa. This highly acclaimed health resort company has brought its luxury spa experience to sea with life-changing programs from stress-relief classes to workshops on diet, healthy aging, and disease prevention.

The Queen Mary 2 Canyon Ranch SpaClub® is a two deck, 20,000 square foot spa facility which includes 24 treatment rooms, a thalassotherapy pool with deluge waterfall, a whirlpool, thermal suite with both herbal and Finnish saunas, reflexology basins, and an aromatic steam room.

Planetarium - Illuminations

Guests can take a virtual ride into outer space, view the stars and other visual spectacles or take a course on celestial navigation in Illuminations, in the Queen Mary 2 full-scale planetarium.

Cunard ConneXions and Insight Program

Cunard offers an educational and entertainment program of activities every day, The Queen Mary 2 cultural enrichment program includes 7 classrooms and a 500-seat auditorium where you can attend workshops, seminars, and lectures on such diverse topics as fashion, foreign languages, watercolor techniques, or period furniture.

History & Art

Renowned international artists were commissioned to produce over 300 original works of art valued at over $5 million. For history buffs, the museum-quality Maritime Quest exhibit is a fascinating tour that takes you back to the golden era of transatlantic cruising.

Play Zone/The Zone

The Queen Mary 2 was designed to accommodate all ages. For guests who wish to take their children or grandchildren along, The Play Zone is like a well-run camp for children 2-7 years old. (Ages 6 months to 2 years can attend with a parent.) A separate facility, The Zone, provides hours of supervised entertainment and activities for children 8-12 years old.

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Suites and Staterooms

Queens Grill Balmoral Suite on the Queen Mary 2
Cunard Line

Exclusive lounges and dining for guests staying in cruise ship suites have become popular over the past decade. Like commercial airliners, all classic ocean liners had different classes, and the Queen Mary 2 is no different. The ship has four different categories of accommodations: Queens Grill, Princess Grill, Britannia Club, and Britannia. At least a dozen different types of cabins and suites make up the four categories. Guests are assigned to different dining venues based on their level of accommodation. 

During the Queen Mary 2 remastering, Cunard added 30 Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms, and five Britannia inside staterooms. These new accommodations increased the total number of guests on the ship to 2691. 

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Queen Mary 2 Verandah Restaurant
Cunard Line

Cunard added new dining venues and enhanced the old ones during the ship's 2016 remastering. One of the new additions is The Verandah Restaurant, which is similar to the famous Grill on the original Queen Mary. A second new dining venue is the Smokehouse Grill, a new alternative dining concept. The Kings Court Buffet was completely transformed. Cunard also has refurbished and added new menus to the Queens and Princess Grill. 

In addition, Cunard changed the menus in the existing Britannia Restaurant and Golden Lion pub, along with Cunard’s Afternoon Tea selection served in the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar.

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Carinthia Lounge

Queen Mary 2 Carinthia Lounge
Cunard Line

The Carinthia Lounge serves an alternative breakfast and lunch along premium coffees. This lounge occupies the former Wintergarden space. This transformation is one of the many on the Queen Mary 2. Those who have sailed on her before will love the changes, and those who have not will appreciate the elegance and classic lines of this traditional ocean liner.