Queen Mary 2 – A Wondrous Lady Gets A Lovely Makeover

by Vanessa Lee

Captain Wells and Vanessa


Carinthia Lounge

Veuve Cliquot Lounge

Ella Bean, a Yorkie mix, enjoys the remastered kennels on the Queen Mary 2

The pride, and indeed, the love for the venerable Queen Mary 2 is evident throughout the newly remastered ship, but none more so than when one speaks with the Master, Cap‎tain Christopher Wells. 


During a private visit to the Bridge I was able to engage with the Captain and ask questions about the changes to the vessel under his command  -- and to do a little reminiscing too.


As we spoke and I heard his perspective on the changes wrought on this iconic ocean liner, I learned about the additions, enhancements, environmental improvements and more, but what was most striking is the man's love for his ship. Other officers, crew and staff I spoke with demonstrated the same passion for the liner and were also proud of its  lovely remastering. 


‎And when asked to sum up the Queen Mary 2 in one word, Captain Wells simply said "elegant." And indeed she is, even more so now since this extensive renovation which I judge to be a fantastic success.


The ship, since her christening in January, 2004, has always projected an air of understated elegance.  Queen Mary 2 naturally has that very British  feeling, in keeping with her storied heritage. The legacy must live on and Cunard Line has very carefully respected the history of the QM2's ‎fabled predecessors, particularly and  in harmony with the original Queen Mary, a beautiful Art Deco ship still docked to this day in Long Beach California.


In a nod to the tradition of the grand era of trans-Atlantic ocean liners, this Queen's new décor, carpets, furnishings   and other decorative items have taken into account the grande dame that came before.


Being a Cunarder since the age of 15, and having had the fortune to sail on a number of the Line’s ships, I have also sailed on the  QM2 on a number of occasions, but not in more recent years. Therefore there were a few changes in the remastering that had me a little confused.  One is the addition of Deck 13 Britannia Club staterooms with‎  a superstructure change that fits seamlessly into the ship. One would never know this area had just been added. 


Then there’s the removal of two glass elevators in the Grand lobby which took you up to Deck 7 and the King's Court buffet area and as a consequence, the enlarging of that space to better serve guests in a very popular casual dining area. I must say I was wandering about a bit trying to figure out where those elevators went!


And likely one of the most important changes was to take the under-utilized Winter Garden, which never quite made it with its chopped up spaces, and turn it into the Carinthia Lounge, now a convivial room well-used by guests for all manner of things. The  fine and extensive collection of very special ports – many from years pivotal to Cunard’s history -- is fabulous and the  lovely bar, musical entertainment and light bites throughout the day add to the guest's enjoyment of just relaxing in the Carinthia.


I had expected something a little more dramatic and perhaps even spectacular but this is really a change to afford the guests a comfy lounge and an extension of the Kings Court  as it is just across the hallway.  Reports from the Hotel Manager indicate that guests are really using this space and it is becoming a very popular venue.


I still adore the sexy, chic and sophisticated Chart Room on Deck 3 adjacent to the equally fab Champagne Bar from Veuve Clicquot. These have always have been big hits, and as we gathered one evening for the Black and White Ball, everyone bedecked in their finery and a good two thirds of the gentlemen looking dashing in their tuxes and dinner jackets – well, it just seemed to sum up what sailing on this glamorous ship is all about. Sipping on a glass of very good champagne seemed totally fitting.


The addition of the Godiva Chocolates space in a part of Sir Samuels's is a tasty and clever moment and, saving the best for last, it was the new Verandah Restaurant on Deck 8 that was a true wow for me.  The superb cuisine, attentive service and wonderful atmosphere make this a must-do for an intimate and delicious dining experience.


I was also impressed with the refurbishments of  both the Princess and Queens Grills  and their shared cocktail lounge, all of  which I adored. Rich fabrics, suitable colours and lots of gorgeous carpets, wall coverings and draperies, many designed with a nod to the original, make this ship even more elegant and charming. The “makeover” has done wondrous things to this very fine lady and was well worth the more than £80 million invested.


Bravo Cunard – thank you for taking such good care of this wonderful ship and remastering her so beautifully.

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