A quick tour around one of the Grand Duplex suites to the aft of Queen Mary 2.
Having had the joyous experience of being aboard the first and last Cunard Queen Mary’s in the space of 48 hours it gave me the opportunity to highlight design cues taken from the first and updated and incorporated into the refit of the latters namesake. Here are some of the design details I encountered in both Queens. It’s great to see that in an immediate gratification age some companies still place such a high value in their past and aren’t afraid to embrace that heritage whilst still facing the future.
The lobby carpet.
Inspiration for the new sunburst design, (which actually features across stairwells as well as the lobby on QM2) can be seen in the famous mural in Queen Mary’s grand dining salon. The design has been brought upto date with a modern twist, but echoes Art Deco styling cues.
A note on the carpets manufacture and heritage. The carpets on both vessels were manufactured by British carpet manufacture Brintons.
The Verandah Grill.
The very first Verandah Grill was aboard Queen’s Mary and Elizabeth and whilst the modern Elizabeth (and Victoria) carried the extra tariff restaurant it was missing aboard Queen Mary 2. Following QM2’s recent refit and the removal of Todd English, the Verandah Grill is once more aboard a Mary plying the North Atlantic route.
As we toured the Queen Mary her carpet designs caught my eye and their influence in the new carpeting across QM2 was obvious. Having seen the remastered QM2 I was keen to seek out obvious inspiration cues and the bold, striking deigns in Queen Mary were obvious.
Queen Mary carpet patterns.
I noticed in both ships the small attention to detail that made them both stand out. Here are a couple from both ships.
The new single cabins, what can I say? We visited with an extremely accommodating guest on deck 2, I think his name was Edward (if you’re reading this, please say hi) and we were blown away by the luxury and scale of his cabin. Trust me when I say I am sirely tempted to ditch Mr. CunardCritic and try one of these by myself!
The cabin windows are two oversize portholes, previously it was the photo gallery (more of which anon) so those of you familiar with Mary will realise the size! Cunard have thoughtfully fitted a window seat for the crusty old devotee of the North Atlantic (as the late John Maxtone-Graham entitled us) to sit and watch the waves crash by from. You see now why I so want one of these.
The bed linen is gorgeously blue and gold and richly embroidered, I want to sleep in that bed!
The bathrooms feature glass walk in showers, please can these be rolled out across the ship please, and are enormous. In room is a soft chair and dressing table (yes with kettle, but room service is still available).
Cunard did suggest they were going to be looking at the pricing structures for these cabins but I suspect as word leaks out they will be in high demand. just imagine starting your day with a cup of tea watching the waves from your own window seat, bliss!
As part of the remastering of deck 7 the next area to be transformed was the much lamented and seldom used winter garden. The idea to reintroduce the winter garden wasn’t a bad one, but it was poorly executed. The old room was just too sterile and lacked any atmosphere whatsoever as well as any actual purpose, being ornament, but not useful. This area has seen another enormous change to become the Carinthia Lounge.
The seating has been changed to overstuffed chairs in tones of blue, grey and cream and definitive pathways have been removed. No longer will it be an area to pass through between spa and buffet, instead thanks to the placing of decorative art deco style dividing panels and placing of seating it has become an area to loiter, enjoy a glass of something delicious or a light bite whilst watching the sea slide by or listening to the harpist.
I have a feeling that this new destination will become a firm favourite with devotees of the line. We visited just prior to lunch and my goodness I wish I could have settled into a chair to enjoy a savoury crepe and glass of sancerre.
Carinthia will offer light bites and speciality wines and ports. Ports will be a big attraction, currently offering a selection of vintages from 1840 up to 2011 (the last vintage available) each accompanied by a menu description of where it was produced and the major events of that year. A delightfully eccentric touch that is sure to delight fellow history buffs!
I look forward to spending time here on our next crossing.
Even if you’ve never seen or used it you will be aware that the buffet area on Queen Mary 2 was somewhat of a disaster zone. Some say it resembled a motorway services, which was in a lot of respects completely true. That it did though was a shame as the majority of the food that was produced was actually very good, especially from the specialty areas. I personally enjoyed the morning omlette station and at lunch the pasta of the day.
Well, dear reader, I am pleased to say that the once reminiscent of a stop at some motorway roadchef buffet area is no more! Kings Court has been completely gutted and entirely remodelled, save for the chefs galley which remains in situ, all be it refurbished.
Redone in tones of grey and cream, the area now has beverage stations built into the central wall space instead of across the area, they now run along the centre line of the space. they still offer the choice of juices, coffee and twinings tea and, don’t worry, the ice cream manchines are still there.
Where used to be the glass lifts down to the lobby has seen the lifts removed and the area levelled to accommodate a new, and quite frankly, enormous central server with special stations around the outside. Seating capacity remains exactly as it was. I am eager to see the new Kings Court in action, but from the impression I felt I think this new buffet area will be a huge improvement on the old.
p.s. my favourite new feature to Kings Court is hand washing basins, so much better than just relying on hand gel.
Queen Mary 2 at 12 years old was a lady in need of a facelift. She was state of the art when she was launched and has seen new mega ships follow in her wake. Following 25 days in Hamburg she has been pulled bang up to date and is ready for the next 12 years.
Here are the first images of a busy day. More will follow tomorrow.
Today the newly remastered QM2 leaves Hamburg bound for Southampton and a reunion with her younger sisters, Queens Victoria and Elizabeth on the 23rd June.
We can’t wait to see them all together and the newly remastered flagship will hopefully dazzle us all with her new look.
In three days, QM2 will be back in Southampton to show off her refurbished self to us all. As noted in the previous post, we will be there, posting our photos and sending her off on her transatlantic crossing. If there are any particular areas you want photographing, please let us know in the comments.
With just four days to go before Queen Mary 2 returns to Southampton we take a look at what we can expect to see following her multimillion pound refit.
Updated and refurbished grill cabins.
(Photo credits to sovereign cruise club).
We can also expect a big change to deck 7 with the complete rejig of the Kings Court and removal of the winter garden.
Of course I know you’ll be excited to see the completed changes documented on her arrival and official relaunch in Southampton on 23rd June.
Well with just 4 days to go I can reveal that your CunardCritic team will be there!
Expect photos, videos and a full write up to be published throughout the day.
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