Arguably the grandest, most magnificent ocean liner ever built, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 is a nominee for a Readers' Choice Award for Best Caribbean Cruise. Queen Mary 2 is the flagship of Cunard, whose history dates back to 1839 when Her Majesty Queen Victoria awarded Sir Samuel Cunard of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the first ever license to deliver mail across the Atlantic Ocean.
While she is described as "timeless elegance", Queen Mary 2, which debuted in 2004, offers the latest luxury amenities, from the pampering services of the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at sea to a pool with a retractable roof, allowing it to be enjoyed in inclement weather. Queen Mary 2 also offers an award-winning intellectual and entertainment enrichment program led by prestigious experts in a variety of fields, including literature, the arts, politics, the sciences, culture, maritime history and academia.
The ship, which cost an estimated $800 million to build, is 1,132 feet long--113 feet longer than her predecessor Queen Mary, with space for 2,592 guests in lower berths and 3,056 total guest capacity, when including third and fourth berths. Her crew numbers 1,253.
Queen Mary 2 has more than 10 different restaurant and other dining venues, including the first eponymously named restaurant at sea by celebrity chef, Todd English. She also boasts the only planetarium at sea (also serving as a movie theater and lecture hall) and a casino with 12 gaming tables and 115 slot machines. There are a total of six swimming pools on the ship, including one designed especially for children. There's an authentic English pub, complete with darts, ale and traditional pub fare including cottage pie and fish and chips. Guests can dance the night away in the elegant Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea. The Royal Court Theatre, which can accommodate 977 guests, features lavish theatrical productions and guest entertainers. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy two golf simulators, paddle tennis, basketball and shuffleboard. The Zone/The Play Zone children's programs provide age group-specific activities and entertainment and even certified British nannies for the youngest guests.
During November, December and January, Queen Mary 2 offers 10-, 11- and 15-day voyages to the Caribbean, all round-trip from New York. The 15-day Festive Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Grand Turk, Tortola, St. Maarten, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Thomas; the 11-day Caribbean Delights itinerary stops in St. Thomas, St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Grand Turk; and the 10-day Caribbean Calypso voyage calls into St. Thomas, St. Lucia, Barbados and Grand Turk. There's also an option to extend the Caribbean Delights voyage to 17 days by adding a six-day Transatlantic Voyage from Southampton, Great Britain. Click here for more information about dates and rates.
Accommodation onboard Queen Mary 2 is lush, stylish and contemporary. Nearly three-fourths of the staterooms have private balconies. Suites, called the Grills, range in size from 506 square feet to enormous Grand Duplex apartments of up to 2,249 square feet. For her Caribbean voyages, per person rates start at $1,695 for inside rooms, while suites start at $3,955 per person. All rates are based on double occupancy and do not include government taxes and fees, air or ground transfers. Cunard's Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, which debuts in Fall 2010, also offer voyages to the Caribbean. Click here for information about fares and itineraries.
For more information about Cunard Line, consult your Travel Professional, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go online to www.cunard.com.
Vote now for what you believe is the best of breed for each of the Winter Travel categories. Readers' Choice Awards for the Best in Winter Travel will be announced on January 31st.