A connoisseur’s guide to the Queen Mary 2
By Kevin Chaffee
As an inveterate ocean liner buff who fell instantly in love with the three transatlantic leviathans I have boarded (the old Queen Mary, S.S. France and Queen Elizabeth 2), I eagerly anticipated a summer crossing from Southampton to New York on the new Queen Mary 2, touted as the largest (1,132 feet, 148,500 tons), most expensive ($780 million) and most luxurious ship ever built. I admit to a few reservations after friends who had already sailed in her described the pride of the Cunard Line as “too big,” “decorated like a Marriott,” or not having a glitzy enought passenger list.
Yes, QM2 is enormous, and while that meant I wasn’t gently rocked to sleep by the incessant hum of the engines as we plowed through the Atlantic, it also ensured that most landlubbers aboard slept through a powerful maelstrom with Gale Force 11 winds and 33-foot swells. If “too big” translates to extra safety and comfort, to say nothing of an onboard planetarium, a library that a mid-sized town would be proud of, and numerous extra dining options, so be it.