Majestic transatlantic

God save Cunard! The British company regularly sends transatlantic liners between Southampton and New York. And it is the only one. Now boarding for six days on its jewel, Queen Mary 2.

By Jean-Pierre Chanial
Queen Mary 2 arriving in Manhattan.

Three long blasts of its siren and the ocean’s giant – 344 metres long, 41 metres wide, 17 decks and 2 691 passengers – moves away from the pier opportunely named Mayflower – the name of the ship which transported the 102 first pilgrims to America in 1602. Soon enough, Southampton disappears in the dark of the night and the open sea just keeps growing. Once again, a new chapter of the transatlantic legend is marked through this 5 864-kilometre journey to the west.

The first-class way of life

Head due west, next stop: America!

On the very first transatlantic night, the light bubble in the middle of the ocean gets comfortable. The regulars – it is common to have already crossed the Atlantic a dozen times – and the novice all rejoice, they cannot wait for this exceptional journey. The floating palace will meet their expectations, it is a promise.

Just a drop in the ocean.

Beyond its equipment, the ship has twenty bars and restaurants, thirty-seven lifts, a 1000-seat theatre, five pools, a cinema, a spa, a casino, a night-club, an art gallery, an actual pub, a clear deck for joggers to trot across… This huge transatlantic liner is promoting a first-class way of life that only His Majesty’s subjects can (still) promote.

Quite the stylish cabin…

Champagne, diamonds, and designer dress

Sheltered away from the ordinary world and delighted with all the opulence, a tasteful community-grouping develops, with champagne, diamonds, and designer dress, but also the delight of being part of this. Except for a few newlyweds who received a nice wedding gift, or some expatriates starting their American stay in an original way, or even some who do not enjoy the plane, the on-board population averages 60 years old. It displays its social success while acting surprised at the French way of nitpicking about everything such as the weight of crisps, the price of petrol, the abaya and even retirement time.

A majestic cruise

Becoming part of the legend

A trifling matter. On this transatlantic cruise, the atmosphere is constantly festive and friendly, and always an invitation to hand shaking, to chat with this lawyer from New-York or this restaurateur from California. All are thrilled to relive the experience of their German or Irish ancestors. All are delighted to reconnect with a legend that make them proud.

The main restaurant Britannia.

As for the French, they enjoy the succession of exceptional moments. Dinners of course, vest, tie, silk stole, jewellery, and heels please. Then come the show, the curls of the green carpet, the temptations of the shopping arcade, hand to hand strolling towards infinity or towards the stars, lounging on the deckchairs, dancing, or kissing like you are celebrating your 20 summers…

Grills Terrace.

This is a whole journey inside the actual journey, the pleasure of a celebration before the arrival, which is spectacular, as you pass a slightly salty Miss Liberty. This is the end of the transatlantic cruise. The stay in New York may begin.

Queen Mary 2 arriving in Manhattan.

Ask for the programme!

2023: November 19, Southampton-New York.  December 8 New York-Southampton.  December 15, Southampton-New York.

In 2024, there are three French-speaking cruises, on May 16 and on June 23 between Southampton and New York, and on October 18 between le Havre and New York.

For other cruises, January 3, New York-Southampton, April 28, Southampton-New York, May 5, New York-Southampton, May 23, New York-Southampton, June 9, Southampton-New York, June 15, New York-Southampton, July 6, New York-Southampton, July 21, Southampton-New York, July 27, New York-Southampton, August 16, Southampton-New York, August 23, New York-Southampton, September 15, Southampton-New York, October 25, New York-Southampton, etc.

How much does it cost?

For the French speaking May 16 cruise, double interior cabin starting from €3 130 per person, and cabin with balcony starting from €3 780 per person. For the June 23 cruise, this would be €2 880 and 3 450. And for the October 18 cruise, it is €3 130 and 3 880. These prices include the transport from Paris to Southampton or Le Havre and a night in New York, as well as the return flight to Paris. On board, the meals and activities are included. But not the alcohol beverages, Internet (around €100 a week), the spa, the casino… Tipping is not required but not prohibited either.

What about the suitcase?

There is no dress code during the day – beware of the cold weather of the Atlantic. In the evening, ripped jeans and sneakers cannot make it to the restaurant. And two gala evenings require a dinner jacket for the gentlemen and a long dress for the ladies. What is more, you will need a power adapter as there are only British outlets – flat plug standard – on board.

Right on time!

Each night the clocks on the ship change back one hour, to adjust to the New York time – a five-hour difference with English time. When they arrive, the passengers have their watch set on Manhattan time.

No smoking

You cannot smoke on Queen Mary 2. Even on your cabin’s terrace, facing the ocean. Unless you go unnoticed. But apparently, you will quickly be denounced and fined. However, two enclosures are dedicated to smokers, one is in the open air on deck 8 and the other is dedicated to cigars amateurs – no Cuban ones though, as the United Kingdom is subjected to the US ban.

For more information

Cunard France, phone: 01 45 75 80 80
www.cunard-france.fr and www.unoceandecroisieres.com
Cunard UK, phone: 0344 338 8641