The 9 Most British Things on Queen Mary 2

by Kayla Becker

The 9 Most British Things on Queen Mary 2

by Kayla Becker

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 comes from a long line of Southampton-based ocean liners where British culture is around every corner. How British is she? Well, first of all, she was christened by the queen herself. But that's certainly not all. There are a wide variety of spaces on board where you can soak up across-the-pond experiences to your anglophile heart's content. Here are the nine most British things to see, do, and eat on the Queen Mary 2.

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Cunard's afternoon tea service / Cunard
Scones at afternoon tea
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1. Proper Afternoon Tea 

You may find afternoon tea on just about every cruise ship, but none compare to the show-stopping event on Cunard ships, an iconic tradition for over a century and a half. Just how popular is tea time on crossings? The ship goes through a whopping 1.3 million tea bags every year.

This popular ritual takes place daily in the Queen’s Room, where a violinist or harpist plays. White-gloved butlers serve Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and "traditional afternoon tea," a house blend of Assam, Kenyan, and Ceylon selected just for Cunard from English tea maker Twinings. Crustless finger sandwiches, such as cucumber or tomato and cheese, are followed by sweets (including banoffee cake and fruit cake) served on fine white plates decorated with the gold Cunard seal. The best part: freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, which is brought in from Essex. 

You may find afternoon tea on just about every cruise ship, but none compare to the show-stopping event on Cunard ships, an iconic tradition for over a century and a half. Just how popular is tea time on crossings? The ship goes through a whopping 1.3 million tea bags every year.

This popular ritual takes place daily in the Queen’s Room, where a violinist or harpist plays. White-gloved butlers serve Earl Grey, Darjeeling, and "traditional afternoon tea," a house blend of Assam, Kenyan, and Ceylon selected just for Cunard from English tea maker Twinings. Crustless finger sandwiches, such as cucumber or tomato and cheese, are followed by sweets (including banoffee cake and fruit cake) served on fine white plates decorated with the gold Cunard seal. The best part: freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, which is brought in from Essex. 

Golden Lion Pub
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2. The Golden Lion Pub

You can grab a pint of the UK’s best beer, including Guinness and Pedigree, at this traditional pub, where there’s usually a football match roaring on the screen. The large selection of ales and traditional drinks include a proper Pimm's Cup, but what really transports your taste buds is the lunch menu, which features British classics such as Steak and Guinness Pudding and Beer Battered Atlantic Cod and Chips. There's also a great sense of camaraderie, and you'll catch a pub quiz here daily, so come prepared with your best game face. 

You can grab a pint of the UK’s best beer, including Guinness and Pedigree, at this traditional pub, where there’s usually a football match roaring on the screen. The large selection of ales and traditional drinks include a proper Pimm's Cup, but what really transports your taste buds is the lunch menu, which features British classics such as Steak and Guinness Pudding and Beer Battered Atlantic Cod and Chips. There's also a great sense of camaraderie, and you'll catch a pub quiz here daily, so come prepared with your best game face. 

Full English breakfast buffet
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3. Full English Breakfast

Serve yourself a Full English Breakfast at the King’s Court buffet. Here, the spread includes black pudding, mushrooms, broiled tomatoes, eggs made to order, toast, and bacon rashers (that's a thicker cut than traditional American bacon). And while we've never fully understood the appeal of baked beans at breakfast, we saw heaps of them on our British friends' plates. 

Serve yourself a Full English Breakfast at the King’s Court buffet. Here, the spread includes black pudding, mushrooms, broiled tomatoes, eggs made to order, toast, and bacon rashers (that's a thicker cut than traditional American bacon). And while we've never fully understood the appeal of baked beans at breakfast, we saw heaps of them on our British friends' plates. 

Fish and chips with a Greene King IPA
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4. Yummy British Lunch Items

A proper British breakfast might mean you're not at all hungry for a proper British lunch, right? If you do manage to find room at midday be sure to look for Cornish Pasties (baked meat pies) and rich Shepard’s Pie on the lunchtime buffet. (Don't like buffets? Head back to the pub for the tasty fish and chips with malt vinegar.)

A proper British breakfast might mean you're not at all hungry for a proper British lunch, right? If you do manage to find room at midday be sure to look for Cornish Pasties (baked meat pies) and rich Shepard’s Pie on the lunchtime buffet. (Don't like buffets? Head back to the pub for the tasty fish and chips with malt vinegar.)

RADA performs The Bard on Board
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5. Traditional English Theatre

You know it’s British when “theatre” is spelled with an “re.” Beyond that, the plays on the ship are performed by an English troupe, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), who bring to life the work of favorite British playwrights and authors. On our sailing, we saw a compilation of Shakespeare plays for the 400th anniversary of his death, plus a smart adaptation of Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice."

You know it’s British when “theatre” is spelled with an “re.” Beyond that, the plays on the ship are performed by an English troupe, Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), who bring to life the work of favorite British playwrights and authors. On our sailing, we saw a compilation of Shakespeare plays for the 400th anniversary of his death, plus a smart adaptation of Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice."

Children's Centre on Queen Mary 2
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6. British Nannies

Even though they no longer dress like Mary Poppins, the nannies have all completed standard training to qualify them to work in English nursery, primary, or secondary schools, and have experience planning activities for children ages 2 to 17. Children break for teatime each day (from 5 pm to 6 pm) when they can head to the main dining room or to the Chef's Galley for a tea party. Older kids and teens are well cared for, too, with special cultural events such as “Great British Afternoon” and the “Barmy BAFTA Awards.”

Even though they no longer dress like Mary Poppins, the nannies have all completed standard training to qualify them to work in English nursery, primary, or secondary schools, and have experience planning activities for children ages 2 to 17. Children break for teatime each day (from 5 pm to 6 pm) when they can head to the main dining room or to the Chef's Galley for a tea party. Older kids and teens are well cared for, too, with special cultural events such as “Great British Afternoon” and the “Barmy BAFTA Awards.”

Queen Mary 2's Naming Ceremony with the Queen
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7. A Royal Lineage

Stories printed on the walls throughout the ship reflect the long history of the British cruise line, whose ocean liners started cruising the Atlantic between Southampton and New York back in 1840 when a ship was the only way to cross. Grab a headset from reception and you can take a guided tour of the ship's artifacts while you read about the ocean liners of ages past, including the now-retired Queen Elizabeth 2, and The White Star Line’s ill-fated Titanic (which we passed on transatlantic sailing). While there's nothing to see but endless blue water, it's an eerie feeling knowing you've crossed just north of the wreckage below, in the spot where the liner sank. And all of the ships in the line have been approved by the monarchs. Each ship in today's fleet has been christened by a member of the royal family.

Stories printed on the walls throughout the ship reflect the long history of the British cruise line, whose ocean liners started cruising the Atlantic between Southampton and New York back in 1840 when a ship was the only way to cross. Grab a headset from reception and you can take a guided tour of the ship's artifacts while you read about the ocean liners of ages past, including the now-retired Queen Elizabeth 2, and The White Star Line’s ill-fated Titanic (which we passed on transatlantic sailing). While there's nothing to see but endless blue water, it's an eerie feeling knowing you've crossed just north of the wreckage below, in the spot where the liner sank. And all of the ships in the line have been approved by the monarchs. Each ship in today's fleet has been christened by a member of the royal family.

Britannia Restaurant
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8. Class System

While they may not carry the designation "first class" or "second class" anymore, there is still a class division on Cunard ships — something you don't find on most modern American ships today. Based on your category of accommodation, you're strictly assigned to either the Britannia, Princess Grill, or Queens Grill restaurants, each with a varying degree of menu options. But don't worry, even the lowest-tier restaurant, Britannia, has excellent food choices and service, set in a grand, two-story dining room, and all passengers can book a night in the specialty restaurant, The Verandah. Princess and Queens Grill guests are afforded a little more privacy and privilege, including the largest suites, exclusive access to the Grills Lounge, and at the Queens Grill level, a personal butler.

While they may not carry the designation "first class" or "second class" anymore, there is still a class division on Cunard ships — something you don't find on most modern American ships today. Based on your category of accommodation, you're strictly assigned to either the Britannia, Princess Grill, or Queens Grill restaurants, each with a varying degree of menu options. But don't worry, even the lowest-tier restaurant, Britannia, has excellent food choices and service, set in a grand, two-story dining room, and all passengers can book a night in the specialty restaurant, The Verandah. Princess and Queens Grill guests are afforded a little more privacy and privilege, including the largest suites, exclusive access to the Grills Lounge, and at the Queens Grill level, a personal butler.

Butler service
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9. British Butlers

Passengers in the highest class, Queens Grill, have their very own "Jeeves," who are all trained and have passed the standards of the International Guild of Professional Butlers. Their duties go above and beyond the lower classes' cabin stewards to include escorting guests directly from check-in to their suite, unpacking and packing, serving en-suite canapés every day, and creating intimate cocktail parties.

Passengers in the highest class, Queens Grill, have their very own "Jeeves," who are all trained and have passed the standards of the International Guild of Professional Butlers. Their duties go above and beyond the lower classes' cabin stewards to include escorting guests directly from check-in to their suite, unpacking and packing, serving en-suite canapés every day, and creating intimate cocktail parties.

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