CUNARD'S QUEEN MARY II - British Isles Commemorative Cruise

Marisa Ippolito on 16 October 2010
I was invited to join the Queen Mary II for part of her commemoration voyage around the British Isles to celebrate her 5th Birthday. We departed Southampton and included ports of call in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Cork and Cherbourg. She is such a beautiful ship and will surely make you reminisce to a grander age when sailing in such luxury and opulence was a pastime afforded only by the rich.

Filled to the brim with restaurants, a grand theatre, ballrooms and a truly fascinating planetarium, I loved my chance to explore the decks, seek out the nooks and crannies (I even found dog kennels for owner’s pampered pooches), eat glorious food and languish in luxury in the Spa. The ship’s rich history is apparent in a fascinating exhibition that is repeated in various parts of the ship with stories and photographs adorning the walls inviting you to stop in your tracks and learn about the glorious vessel you are sailing in.

Entertainment was top class with musical performances by Lesley Garrett and lectures by guest speaker Carol Thatcher. The Commodore warmly welcomed us all at the Black and White Ball (which I just loved dressing up for and feeling special) as we all mingled with champagne in hand. There is a superb choice of dining restaurants; the exclusive Queens Grill and Princess Grill are available to guests booked into suites whereas I (accommodated in a beautiful Balcony cabin) dined in the fabulous Britannia Restaurant, 2 stories high with a grand sweeping staircase. I also tried lunch in an English pub, the Golden Lion, where you can get fish and chips or curry! Celebrity chef Todd English has a signature restaurant on board and offers the cutting edge of culinary design. White glove service afternoon tea is a very traditional affair in relaxing surroundings with a quartet playing discreetly in the background.

On board, guest can enjoy many activities including casinos, 5 swimming pools (indoor and out), a fitness centre, sauna, steam and room. There is also a wonderfully stocked library where you can borrow a book and take it back to your room to relax.

I had the added advantage on this trip of a special VIP visit to the ships galleys. What an amazing insight to just how mammoth a task it is to prepare top quality food for nearly 1400 guests, several times a day! The shiny stainless steel surfaces were so pristine you could eat your dinner off them!

My only sad moment was having to leave the ship early in South Queensferry. However, I felt honoured to have sailed in the Queen Mary II and can recommend her to a wide guest profile. To my surprise, the clientele on board were a great mix of people from all walks of life and nobody felt out of place. My thanks go to Cunard and the wonderful crew for a fabulous cruise – I can't wait for my next one!