Cunard Line

Cunard Line

Legendary Cruising
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Cunard Line is the most history-rich cruise line afloat. Its origins go back to 1840 when Sir Samuel Cunard started the first regular steamship service between Europe and North America. Fast forward 170-plus years and Cunard is a successful cruise ship company, and one owned by the Carnival Corporation since 1998. That seemingly weird partnership has worked well, fueling a building spree that led to three new vessels for Cunard since 2004.

Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are feats of modern technology while at the same time their décor and vibe are infused with plenty of old-worldliness, from art and antiques to deco ball rooms and old-fashioned multi-class cabin accommodations. Passengers are assigned to one of the three reserved-seating restaurants according to the cabin category they’ve booked: Suite-and-above passengers dine in the Queens or Princess Grills, while everyone else eats in the grand and sweeping Brittania Restaurant, the only one of the three with an early and a late seating.

All serve tasty continental fare, from fowl and steaks to seafood, pasta and lighter spa fare, with the Grills restaurants also offering the option of diners making whatever special meal requests they desire. Other dining venues include the intimate Todd English restaurant aboard the QM2 and the Verandah Restaurant on the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, offering delicious and rich meals, while there’s also a sprawling casual buffet restaurant aboard all three offering everything from carved meats to pizza and Asian dishes. There are also burgers and hot dogs up on deck and of course a traditional afternoon tea is served daily and accompanied by a string quartet.

The Cunard trio is big enough to offer plenty of entertainment options, from plays featuring graduates of Britain’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (on QM2) to song-and-dance revues, various kinds of live music and ballroom dancing as well. By day, besides wine tastings, bingo and bridge, the Cunard Insights extensive lecture and workshop offerings are on par with what Crystal Cruises offers. Professors, authors, celebrities and other learned people speak about all kinds of things from ocean-liner history to music, architecture, science tops and so much more.

The ships’ large and super-stocked libraries are the best at sea, especially QM2’s, and each ship’s collection of museum-quality Cunard and ship memorabilia is impressive and truly fascinating. Each has a posh spa (operated by Canyon Ranch on QM2) and a fitness center with all the latest equipment and classes. The trio has several swimming pools, plus shuffleboard, quoits and paddle tennis on deck.

Surprisingly to many, Cunard’s three ships offer quite impressive kids facilities, particularly QM2. While the typical crowd is a well-traveled international mix of 50-somethings on up (heavy on the British and American clientele), summer and holiday cruises and crossings see lots of families too.

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