With its huge art deco-styled lipstick red funnel, blue and white livery and wraparound promenade deck, Helen Flanagan was all at sea on the leviathan ocean liner Queen Mary 2.
Could the grandeur, elegance and romance of the golden age of sea travel exist today or is that the dominion of the movies such as Titanic starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio?
After stepping on board the Queen Mary 2, welcomed by a dashing officer in dazzling whites, gliding along the decks and carpeted passageways, entering a small but perfectly and cleverly designed Britannia stateroom decorated in gold and cream, with a generous sized balcony, it’s time for a glass of Veuve Clicquot whilst we unpack. There’s plentiful of robe space and masses of hangers to swallow up the evening and the less formal albeit casual wear.
If you can afford to step it up several notches the Princess or Royal Grill categories have lavish staterooms and suites including two 209 square metre grand duplex apartments, plus special restaurants, bowing butlers and all the upper-crust accoutrements.
All the hallmarks and expectations of glamerama and good taste yet hints of nostalgia await. From the sweeping staircase in Britannia Restaurant; the six-storey grand lobby; a ballroom where suave gentlemen hosts and terribly refined folk in dinner jackets and sequined frocks, samba to the orchestra; and performing arts in the Royal Court Theatre; to wide gallery spaces with displays of “stars on board” such as Greta Garbo, the Duke of Windsor and Mrs Simpson, plus more than 300 original artworks valued at more than $US5 million, there’s certainly a sense of space and style.
Let’s not forget the many outdoor areas with five swimming pools, golf simulators, putting green, basketball and paddle tennis courts and more. Plus a cool14 bars and clubs, 10 restaurants of various culinary persuasions, 8000-book library, spa and gym with aqua-therapy pool, sauna, ice fountain for the brave, beauty salon and 24-treatment rooms, the world’s first planetarium at sea and eight swanky boutiques and souvenir-stocked shops with must-buy prices.
The Commodore tells us “the flagship of the Cunard Line towers 62 metres above the waterline – the equivalent of a 23 storey building, and is the finest ocean liner ever built. Its four diesel engines and two gas turbines produce the thrust required to launch a jumbo jet. It’s a giant power station run by electric motors…made to take the heaviest weather…it’s as good as it gets.”
Grey Goose Citron martinis beckon in the smart Commodore Club, overlooking the bow, prior to dinner in the Britannia restaurant. Choices are many, quality and service is excellent, wine list extensive. The same can be said about La Piazza, the Carvery and Lotus in specially themed areas of Kings Court, a huge, buffet restaurant catering to all tastes and at all times; and a la carte Todd English where there are small extra costs per dish. English is a Boston-based chef and the modern American fare such as ravioli “love letters” filled with truffled mash and glazed with oodles of butter, is a refreshing change of pace, served with a aplomb. Open sandwiches and tarts in Sir Samuel’s or British staples fish and chips with mushy peas and ploughmans are on the menu in the Golden Lion pub. Both are excellent lunch options as is the Veuve Clicquot Twinings High Tea in the Winter Garden with white-gloved service of dainty sandwiches and rolls, choux pastry swans, scones, tartlets and melodious strains of a harpist.
After dinner it’s show time with headline acts ranging from opera singers, comedians, cabaret stars; playing black jack, poker or slot machines in the casino; or ballroom dancing in the Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea. At the G32 night club, sing and dance to brilliant Caribbean band and after umpteenth stanzas of Feelin’ hot, hot, hot, it’s time for more refreshments. The night is young and tomorrow’s decisions are easy especially when not in port. Or are they?
A multitude of options in the daily oracle range from pub trivia, table tennis, deck quoits, card games, movies, bridge and twist, jazz, ballroom and line dancing classes, martini mixology, whisky and wine tastings, fruit and vegetable carving, art classes, scarf tying and napkin folding to curling up on a steamer chair for a zizz or catching a few stray rays poolside.
No time to be bored. We’re here for a good time, not a long time.
For more information and bookings visit www.cunardline.com.au or call 13 24 41.
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