Cunard QE 2 Visits Boston

This June, with a nor'easter raging in Boston, I was fortunate to take a
QE2Click for larger pic
tour of the Cunard Line's flag ship, Queen Elizabeth 2. For reasons unknown, I had formed a picture in my mind of this ship being dark, dressed with velvets and deep tone colors. But following Cunard renovation last fall the ship is richly decorated and I was totally enchanted as I toured so many areas. We were given a private tour by Peter Strida, "on loan" from the Cunard's Caronia where his job is assistant cruise director. As a cruise host on the QE 2 he afforded us a wonderful peek into life aboard a beautiful liner.

We boarded the ship in a circular atrium area paneled with wonderful burled wood and a stunning mural depicting the history of the Cunard Line. This set the tone for the ship, with an impressive collection of Cunard memorabilia, including a huge model of the Mauretania, built in 1907 (it took 12 men to put in place). Another interesting artifact is a large sterling silver trophy called the Boston Cup. Finely detailed throughout, and encrusted with sea shells around the base, it mysteriously disappeared, and showed up fifteen years ago in a London pawn shop much to the delight of the Cunard Line.

The decor and layout of this ship reminds me of a fine European boutique hotel. QE 2 is beautifully proportioned, the public spaces flow well, and nowhere do you seem overwhelmed. With a light and airy decor, there are many spots to get lost in a good book or have a card game as you gaze out at sea.

If you are a dancer, the Queens room, decorated in royal blue and gold, has a large wooden dance floor and seems much larger than those found on the newer behemoths. The Pub is a wonderful bit of London, transported to the high seas, a great hangout for the late night crowd and a perfect spot for jazz and Dixieland.

Assigned by cabin category, the Queen's four main restaurants differ in style but all have lovely decor. The Caronia, and Mauretania restaurants were elegantly appointed and I could picture gentlemen passengers in tuxes and ladies in flowing gowns being attended to with impeccable service. The casual Lido restaurant boasts a soothing grass green motif, a large curved bar and is perfect for a quick bite. The Queen's Grill, where the Queen has her table always on reserve, is the ship's most exclusive restaurants with its crisp white linen and breathtaking chandeliers.

While less than a century ago, communication from a ship crossing the Atlantic relied on Morse code, today you can send and receive e-mail from QE 2's business center. With one of the largest libraries afloat (6,000 books) the six day crossing between New York and Southampton affords the leisure of time for catching up on best sellers.

I was delighted with the QE 2 and would book a cruise or crossing with great anticipation now. If you are fortunate to sail this Grande Dame, you will have an elegant journey surrounded by a tasteful state of luxury and historical ambiance.

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