Time Traveling with Cunard

by  Amber Nolan | Jun 18, 2009
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 cruise ship
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 cruise ship / Photo courtesy of the cruise line

I wasn’t expecting tropical weather, but I had anticipated spending some time on the outer decks curled up with a good book – but crossing the Atlantic can be breezy, cloudy, and always unpredictable. Of course, Cunard knew this when they built the Queen Mary 2, and designed her to make traveling these rough waters as smooth as possible, and to keep passengers entertained when the weather refuses to cooperate.

Yesterday I snagged a ticket to “Infinity Express” in Illuminations - the ship’s planetarium. The show lasted about twenty minutes under a giant dome screen and covered some interesting deep-space topics like the unfathomable number of galaxies, Mars’ Grand Canyon, and Jupiter’s diverse moons. I loved the show, but the seats recline, and the soothing sounds of the universe can easily put you to sleep (the person next to me was snoring half way through).

Prior to that, I attended an interesting lecture with Professor David Beerling called “An Ancient Ozone Catastrophe,” which examined a mass extinction that took place over 186 million years before the dinosaurs’ disappearance. Each day features a new guest speaker, and later today will be author Erica Jong.

The Texas Tenor, Preston Coe wouldn’t normally be on my nightlife agenda, but the moment he hit his first note I was sold. His performance began with some stage-shaking Italian ballads, all the while his electric guitar waited patiently behind him for Preston to perform some classic rock and roll hits. I also attended a production featuring the Royal Cunard Singers. The four singers, combined with the ship’s orchestra performed hits from Stephen Sondheim, Dusty Springfield, and classics from The Sound of Music, and Bed Knobs and Broomsticks, among others.

The performances were excellent, however the venue, the Royal Court Theater wasn’t as elaborate as I had envisioned. One public room where the Queen Mary 2 does shine is the Queens Room. Chandeliers are dripping over the ballroom floor while guests dress in their finest formal wear to attend events such as the Black and White Ball, the Mascarade Ball, and the Captain’s reception.

Each day at 3:30 passengers can take afternoon tea, during which time white-gloved waiters serve pastries and the finest English tea while an orchestra plays classical music. I must say it has been one of the highlights of my voyage thus far. It sounds so simple, yet it really gives a glimpse into the past and defines a Cunard cruise.

Between the tea time, elegant ballrooms, and setting the clock back each night, I am – quite literally – time traveling.


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