Mediterranean Cruise Aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2
Taking its name from Mary of Teck, grandmother of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is a regal ship indeed. Of all its voyages, the Mediterranean Medley is perhaps the most fitting of royalty---no surprise, then, that it's a Luxist nominee in the best summer cruises category. In January, the Queen Mary 2 won the Luxist Awards Readers' Choice Award for Best Caribbean Cruise Line.
The twelve-day trip departs from Mayflower Pier in Southampton, England and begins with three days at sea en route to the soaring spires of Barcelona. After a full day in Spain, the ship chugs to Monte Carlo for a day of James Bond-esque diversion before heading down the Italian coast from Rome to Naples. On the tail end, stops include Gibraltar and Lisbon before returning to the U.K.
There are few better ways to experience the Mediterranean than this cruise, thanks in part to the ship itself. Upon its completion in 2004, the 1,132 feet long Queen Mary 2 became the largest ocean liner ever built---bigger than even the Titanic---a distinction it retains to this day. Built at a cost of nearly $1 billion, its cruising speed of 30 mph is about 5 mph higher than that of most modern cruise ships; as such, the exterior decks sport wind screens to protect passengers. The breathtakingly beautiful ship also boasts 14 decks, 5 swimming pools and dozens of dining rooms (fittingly, two of the most expensive options are the Princess Grill and Queens Grill) bars, ballrooms, theaters and lounges, including a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Bar.
Fares for the Mediterranean Melange itinerary start at $2,000 per person, based on double-occupancy, and can exceed $8,000 for the pricier suites.
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