The Queen Mary 2 at Southampton, about to make a transatlantic crossing to New York  

Information on this page...

A beginner's guide to planning, booking & making a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2.

  Transatlantic schedule & sailing dates 2014-2015

  How much does it cost?    

  How to buy tickets

  Westbound transatlantic information - a practical guide

  Eastbound transatlantic information - a practical guide

  Is westbound or eastbound better?

  Choosing your cabin - QM2 restaurants - Bars - Entertainment

  Travel with children on the QM2

  Useful information - baggage, dress code, payment on board, internet, smoking, dogs.

  About the Queen Mary 2   -  QM2 books & souvenirs Hotels  

  Alternative transatlantic sailings by freight ship

A scheduled ocean liner service between the USA & Europe...

  The Queen Mary 2 arrived in New York after a transatlantic crossing from Southampton

"The only way to cross".  Queen Mary 2 at Brooklyn, New York...

Cunard maintain a scheduled transatlantic passenger service between the UK and the United States, with at least one sailing a month in each direction between Southampton & New York from April to November, usually now taking 7 nights.  You'll travel aboard the largest ocean liner in the world, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 (QM2).  'Getting there is half the fun' - it's easily the most civilised, romantic and exciting way to arrive in New York...

Crossing the Atlantic by ocean liner needn't cost much more than a business-class flight, as fares for two people sharing the cheapest 'Britannia' stateroom start at as little as 969 per person each way, children from around 470 each way.  And this includes 7 nights accommodation, all meals & entertainment.  However, prices vary enormously, on popular summer crossings it can cost more, on the other hand you can sometimes find special offers from as low as 698.  Naturally, for millionaires the QM2 has more luxurious suites, costing tens of thousands.

A transatlantic journey on the QM2 isn't a cruise, it's a crossing, and many people use the QM2 as their preferred mode of transport between Europe & the United States.  The Queen Mary 2 is no mere 'cruise ship', but a real ocean liner built with the extra strength & power to withstand the rigours of the North Atlantic in all weathers.  The 2003-built QM2 took over the transatlantic service in 2004 from Cunard's 1967-built QE2.  This page has all the practical information you need to plan, book and make a transatlantic trip on the Queen Mary 2.

The Man in Seat Sixty-One says:  "From personal experience, I now realise that staggering round a transatlantic liner in a dinner jacket with a martini is the normal, rational, reasonable way to cross the Atlantic.  Heading for an airport and strapping yourself to a flimsy aluminium tube is an unfortunate and eccentric aberration."


Transatlantic sailing dates & schedule

Southampton ► New York

2014 transatlantic sailings:  None January-April.  9 May, 5 June**, 24 June, 21 July, 20 August, 8 September, 8 October, 12 November, 15 December.

2015 transatlantic sailings:  10 Jan***, 3 May, 27 May, 14 June, 22 July, 11 August, 20 September, 22 October, 15 December.

All crossings are now 7 nights except where shown.  The Queen Mary 2 usually sails from Southampton at 17:00, arriving in New York 7 nights later at 06:30-07:00.  The terminal she uses in Southampton varies.

* = Queen Victoria, not Queen Mary 2.  ** = 8 night crossing, not 7.  *** = 8 night crossing by Queen Elizabeth, not QM2.

New York ► Southampton

2014 transatlantic sailings:  3 January, 16 May, 13 Jun, 6 July, 28 July, 27 August (8 nights via Halifax), 27 September, 28 October, 19 November.

2015 transatlantic sailings:  3 January, 25 April, 10 May, 3 June, 21 June, 14 July***, 4 August, 19 August, 4 September, 11 October, 29 October, then 3 January 2016.

The QM2 usually sails from New York Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at 17:00, with check-in opening at 13:00 and closing at 15:45.  She arrives in Southampton at 06:30 seven nights later, although the odd sailing only takes 6 nights and a few 8 nights. 

* = 8-night crossing by Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth, not Queen Mary 2.  ** = 8 night crossing, not 7.  *** = 8 night crossing, calling at Halifax.

How to check sailing dates, times, prices & availability...

  If you live in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, go to www.cruise.co.uk and use the search facility at the top.  Select a date range (which could be the whole year), change 'All destinations' to 'Transatlantic', change 'All cruise Lines' to 'Cunard', for a westbound crossing leave 'Sailing from Europe' selected, for an eastbound crossing change this to 'sailing from New York'.  You can also check crossings at the Cunard website cunard.co.uk, but it's harder to find a clear transatlantic timetable and you'll often get a better price from cruise specialists Cruise.co.uk.  To check sailing dates & prices by phone, call 0330 303 8103.

  If you live in the USA or Canada, you can confirm sailing dates, times and availability online at www.cruisedirect.com or by calling 1-800-7-CUNARD.

Transatlantic fares

Cunard one-way fares for transatlantic crossings:

Travelling as a couple or solo?

Inside Britannia

Oceanview Britannia

Balcony Britannia

Princess Grill suite

Queen's Grill suite

Two passengers in 2-berth cabin, per person:

From 969

From 1,169

From 1,219

From 2,719

From 3,569

One passenger with sole occupancy:

From 1,868

From 2,218

From 2,306

From 5,668

From 7,368

Inside = cabin without window, Oceanview = cabin with porthole, see the cabin accommodation guide.  All other staterooms & suites have a balcony, except the two Q3 Royal Suites. 

Britannia = allocated to the Britannia restaurant for meals.  Princess or Queen's Grill = allocated to the superior Princess or Queen's Grill restaurants for meals.

How to find cheaper tickets:  You'll often find cheaper fares if you buy your tickets from a cruise specialist such as www.cruise.co.uk (UK-based) or www.cruisedirect.com (in the USA or Canada), both of which have online booking for transatlantic crossings and cruises.  Agencies like these can save perhaps 100 per person or more off the official Cunard price, and you'll also find cheaper fares if you shop for last minute deals and late-season crossings, as low as 799 or better, for example.  However, be aware that in high summer transatlantic sailings can get full many months in advance.

Round trip fares:  There are special 'round trip' fares covering two back-to-back crossings with just 1 day in New York, but if you plan to spend more than a day at your destination you'll need to pay one-way fares each way.  In other words, for all practical purposes a round trip on the QM2 means buying two one-way tickets.

Child fares:  See here.

What does the fare include?  All Queen Mary 2 transatlantic fares include your cabin accommodation, all meals & afternoon tea, on-board entertainment such as shows, lectures, films, access to the swimming pools & library, plus the tea, coffee & juices available in the Kings Court self-service.  The fare does not include alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks served in bars or at meals, Canyon Ranch Spa access & treatments, or internet access.  Also, a 'discretionary' fee of around $11-$13 per person per day will be added to your on board account each day as a gratuity for staff.

How to buy tickets

  If you live in the UK...

  If you live in the USA or Canada...

How does the ticketing work? 


Westbound transatlantic information

 

A journey from London to New York...

  Taking the train from London to Southampton to connect with the Queen Mary 2
 

Take a fast train from London Waterloo:  Cunard no longer organise a 'boat train', but fast air-conditioned electric trains link London's Waterloo station with Southampton Central every 30 minutes, journey time 1 hour 17 minutes, fare 38.50.  There's one at 12:05.  A taxi to the QM2's terminal costs around 7-10.

  The QM2 at Southampton City Cruise Terminal
 

Boarding the Queen Mary 2 at Southampton:  The Queen Mary 2 towers over her terminal in Southampton.  This is the City Cruise Terminal, but she can also use the QEII Terminal, the Mayflower Cruise Terminal, or the new Ocean Terminal.  Check which she will use for your crossing.  Check-in is usually 13:00-16:00, sailing at 17:00...

  Sunset over the Isle of Wight:  The view from Stateroom 6029
 

Rounding the Isle of Wight...  After dinner, the sun sets over the Isle of Wight as the Queen Mary 2 heads for the Atlantic...

  Queen Mary 2's four screws churn up the Atlantic astern
 

At sea on the North Atlantic...  Always changing, sometimes foggy, sometimes sunny, sometimes smooth & glassy, sometimes grey and brooding.  Each crossing is an epic voyage of 3,150 nautical miles (3,625 statute miles), taking 7 nights.

  At the end of a transatlantic crossing, the Queen Mary 2 approaches the Varrazano Narrows suspension bridge
 

The QM2 approaches the Verrazano Bridge:  In the pre-dawn glow, small fishing boats are sighted, then the lights of Long Island come into view.  The Queen Mary 2 heads towards the Verrazano Narrows suspension bridge at the entrance to New York harbour.  It's not yet 5am, but the forward decks are crowded, voices hushed in anticipation...

  The QM2 approaches the Varrazano Narrows suspension bridge
 

Under the Verrazano Bridge:  Cameras click as the Queen Mary 2 clears the Verrazano Narrows bridge with just a few feet to spare above her funnel and enters New York harbour...

  New York's manhattan skyline seen from the Queen Mary 2
 

Sunrise over Manhattan!  Once under the bridge, that famous New York skyline comes into view, lit by the dawn glow...

  The Statue of Liberty seen from QM2's forward observation deck.
 

Statue of Liberty:  The Queen Mary 2 passes the famous Statue as she turns into the Brooklyn terminal...

  Queen Mary 2 arrived at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
 

Queen Mary 2 arrives in Brooklyn:  The Queen Mary 2, just arrived in New York at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at 07:00.  Plenty of yellow cabs are available, you can be ashore in Manhattan by 10:30, taxi fare $35-$40..

  Amtrak Acela Express 150mph trains at Boston South station
 

Onward trains:  Amtrak trains will take you from New York's Penn Station to Washington DC, Boston or even Chicago, LA or San Francisco.  A coast-to-coast train trip takes 3 nights, a great experience.  Beginner's guide to train travel in the USAA journey across the USA by train, in pictures...

 
 

Eastbound from New York to London...

  Queen Mary 2 at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, August 2010
 

All aboard for Europe!  Take a Yellow Cab across the Brooklyn Bridge to board the Queen Mary 2 at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

  Queen Mary 2 at Brooklyn Cruise terminal
 

The Queen Mary 2 towers high above the terminal.  Check-in is usually 13:00-15:45, and she sails at 17:00.  Settle into your stateroom or suite, then head up on deck for departure.

  Queen Mary 2 about to sail from New York
 

Sailing from New York.  The Manhattan skyline disappears astern, the Statue of Liberty passes to starboard, a calypso band is playing and champagne available on the QM2's after decks...

  The QM2's funnel inches under the Verrazano Narrows bridge with just feet to spare
 

Inches to spare...  The QM2's funnel inches under the Verrazano narrows bridge with just 10 feet to spare.  Incidentally, one of the QM2's two funnel-mounted Tryfon horns (the starboard one) is borrowed from No.2 funnel on the original Queen Mary, the QM2's other horn is a modern copy...

  The QM2 sails out into the Atlantic
 

Out into the North Atlantic...  The band's playing and champagne still flowing as the 'Mary heads out into the Atlantic...

  Queen Mary 2 in mid-Atlantic
 

A smooth crossing.  Some days the Atlantic is grey and brooding, others it's smooth and glassy, some days are sunny, others foggy with the 'Mary's foghorn booming out a warning...

  Queen Mary 2 arrived at Southampton QEII terminal
 

Arrival at Southampton at the QEII terminal.  The original Ocean Terminal where the first Queen Mary, the Queen Elizabeth and even the Titanic docked is just around the corner, beyond and to the right of the red-hulled ship in the far background...

  Welcome to London!
 

Take a taxi to the station (7-10) and the next fast train to London Waterloo.  They run every 30 minutes, journey time 1 hour 20 minutes, fare 38.50, first class 64.70, no reservation necessary, just buy a ticket at the station & hop on the next train.  Welcome to London!

Here is a typical transatlantic timetable, port transfer & journey information for most westbound QM2 sailings.  Although they normally follow this pattern, please check the sailing time & check-in times for your specific date when you book.  If you find that something has changed, please let me know.  If you plan to travel eastbound, see the Eastbound information Are  westbound or eastbound crossings better?

Train connection from London to Southampton...

A fast train leaves London Waterloo at 12:05, arriving at Southampton Central at 13:22.  This is only a suggested train, as trains run every 30 minutes between London Waterloo & Southampton.  By all means take an earlier or slightly later one depending on your check-in time.  No reservation is necessary for London-Southampton trains, you just turn up, buy a ticket at the station and hop on the next train.  The fare is 38.50 adult one-way, children under 16 half price, children under 5 free.  First class costs 64.70.  You can check train times & fares at www.nationalrail.co.uk.  You can check train times & fares from anywhere in Britain to Southampton using www.nationalrail.co.uk.  Direct trains run from Manchester, Birmingham, Oxford, Reading, Bristol & Cardiff to Southampton, so you won't have to cross London.  Beginner's guide to UK train travel Train connections from Paris & other European countries to London.

Taxi transfers in Southampton...

Make sure you know which of the four possible terminals the QM2 is sailing from, the QEII terminal (dock gate 4), City Cruise Terminal (dock gate 10), Mayflower Cruise Terminal (dock gate 10), or the new Ocean Terminal (dock gate 4).  Map of Southampton, showing all cruise terminals, Southampton Central Station & the historic Ocean Terminal.  A taxi from Southampton Central station takes 10 minutes and costs around 7 to the Mayflower or City cruise terminals, around 10 to the QEII terminal or Ocean Terminal.  You'll find plenty of taxis waiting at the station.

Queen Mary 2 check-in & embarkation procedures at Southampton...

Check-in usually opens at 13:00 and closes around 15:45.  Cunard will give you a specific check-in time on your e-ticket to stagger people arriving, but you can arrive earlier if you like.  Visitors are not allowed on board, so anyone seeing you off will have to leave you at the terminal.  Cunard either send you or allow you to download labels showing your departure date & cabin number, remember to put one on each bag before arriving at the terminal.  When you get there your larger bags are immediately taken from you, they will magically reappear later in your stateroom.  No bag should exceed 23Kg (50lb) but you can take as many bags as you like as long as they will all fit into your stateroom.  You then walk into the terminal and fill out a brief health form, to notify the ship of any fever you have or any diarrhoea you've had in the last 48 hours.  You then get a green card with a letter, for example 'K'.  You wait in a lounge area until your letter is called, then you walk up to the check-in counter.  At the check-in desk, you show your e-ticket, your passport & your credit card for on-board purchases, and a webcam photo is taken of each passenger for security purposes.  You hand in the health form.  Each passenger is given a credit-card sized plastic card which acts as your embarkation card, cabin key and charge card for buying drinks and souvenirs on board.  There's then a short queue for an X-ray and metal detector security check, then you go up the gangway onto the QM2, entering the Grand Lobby on deck 3.  It's a painless process compared to airports.  If you feel like a late lunch, or just a tea, coffee or juice when you board, you'll find the King's Court self-service restaurant on deck 7 open for business and offering all of these.

What's an Atlantic crossing like?

The Queen Mary 2 is usually due to sail from Southampton at 17:00.  This is the most usual time, but please check for your sailing date.  Once on board and settled into your stateroom, listen for announcements about emergency drill.  This is held at 16:00 and takes about 20 minutes.  You listen for the alarm bells, fetch your lifejackets from your stateroom and go to your allocated muster station where staff will brief you on emergency procedures and you'll listen to an announcement by the captain.  When it's over, return your lifejackets to your stateroom and head up on deck for departure...

Soon after 17:00 the QM2 sails, with a band playing on her aft decks and glasses of champagne available (around $17).  She is sometimes moored facing upstream, sometimes downstream, and if she's moored facing upstream at the City or Mayflower terminals, she'll first head further upstream before turning around, somehow managing to turn her 1,130 foot length without hitting the far bank of the river or the small boats moored there.  If sailing from the QEII terminal there's a turning basin nearby where she will turn round. 

Southampton's historic Ocean Terminal:  Cunard no longer use the traditional and historic Ocean Terminal dock, from which the original Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and even Titanic would have sailed.  Indeed, the old 1950 terminal building was demolished in 1983 and this hugely historic location now looks totally unremarkable, a freight dock with a couple of multi-storey car parks next to it for vehicle exports.  You won't know that you're looking at it unless you know where it is, so see this map.  It's just north of the QEII terminal, just south of the City & Mayflower terminals.  About the old Ocean Terminal.

After turning around, the Queen Mary 2 heads downstream into the Solent, heading directly towards Cowes on the Isle of Wight before making a tight turn to port (left) in the deep water channel, passing Ryde to starboard (right) and Portsmouth to port.  The QM2 rounds the Isle of Wight using the deep water route to the east (although this looks like the long way round on a map) and heads out into the English Channel.  By breakfast next morning, you're well past Bishop Rock lighthouse and out in the Atlantic...

Seven nights at sea on the Atlantic.  Cunard have slowed down their crossings from 6 nights to 7 nights each way for the 2011season onwards, although an occasional crossing still takes 6 nights, please check for your specific date.  This is two days slower than it used to be, as the weekly service operated from 1946 to 1967 by the original Queen Mary and her consort Queen Elizabeth took just 5 nights for the 3,150 nautical miles (3,625 miles).  There may be no coastline or islands to see in mid-Atlantic (or even other ships, usually), but personally I never tire of gazing at the brooding waters of the North Atlantic.  It changes from day to day, sometimes smooth and glassy, sometimes choppy and sombre, sometimes sunny, sometimes foggy with the Queen Mary 2's fog horn blaring at regular intervals.  You may get rough crossings especially in October, November or December, but my crossings on the 150,000 ton Queen Mary 2 or 70,000 ton QE2 have been rock steady all the way.  You could be in a 5 star hotel rather than on board a ship!  The QM2's clocks are put back an hour at 2am on five of the seven nights because of the time difference, giving you a welcome extra hour's sleep in this direction.  You will pass within a few miles of the resting place of the Titanic (within 38 nautical miles on my own last westbound crossing) and an announcement may well be made on board.  Naturally, you'll find a whole programme of entertainment & activities on board every day, and if you really want to be bored you'll have to work hard at it.

The QM2 arrives in New York at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal at 07:00.  This is the highlight!  Whether you're a natural early riser or not, make sure you're up and on deck by 04:45 on the morning of arrival in New York, as the arrival into New York by ocean liner is something you will remember all you life.  There's a forward-facing observation deck on deck 10,  immediately below the bridge, accessed from 'A' stairway.  You'll see the lights of Long Island to starboard (the right-hand side) and the Verrazano suspension bridge approaching dead ahead at the entrance to New York harbour.  The Queen Mary 2 passes under the bridge with just a few precious feet of clearance above her funnel, and as she does so the fabulous Manhattan skyline comes into view.  The QM2 no longer uses Cunard's traditional terminal at Pier 90 on Manhattan itself, so she no longer steams right past the Statue of Liberty, but instead she turns to starboard (to the right) opposite the statue and heads into the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, berthing within sight of the famous Statue and Manhattan skyline.

Queen Mary 2 disembarkation procedures in New York...

A note explaining QM2 disembarkation procedures will appear outside your stateroom a day or two before arrival.  If you can carry all your own bags, you can register for 'Express disembarkation' by contacting the purser's office on deck 2 the day before arrival.  Once registered for Express Disembarkation you can leave the ship around half an hour after she docks, meaning around 07:30.  Otherwise, coloured labels for your bags will appear outside your stateroom the day before arrival.  You put a label on each of your bags and place them outside your stateroom door between 20:00 and midnight before arrival.  Your bags will disappear overnight and will be waiting for you in the cruise terminal next morning, in an area marked with the same colour as your labels.  The colour of the labels also indicates which time you have been allocated for disembarkation, and in what part of the QM2 to gather before disembarkation.  The upper decks with the more expensive cabins tend to disembark first (e.g. decks 9, 10, 11), other decks such as 4, 5 or 6 later.  Disembarkation takes place between 08:00 and 11:00, so you can be sure of getting off the ship by 11:00 or earlier.

Taxi transfer from Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to Manhattan...

The Tour Office on deck 2 offers to arrange a private transfer by minivan to any Manhattan hotel for a 'mere' $429, or they can sell you tickets for a transfer bus to Grand central Station for $59 per person.  Both options are crazy, because a normal yellow taxi from the terminal taxi rank to anywhere in Manhattan costs only $40 for up to 4 people and all your bags.  You'll find plenty of taxis waiting right outside the terminal building, so this is an easy option.  Enjoy the drive across the famous Brooklyn Bridge in a traditional New York Yellow Cab!  The taxi ride takes 20 minutes.  After a classic Atlantic crossing, why not splash out on a night at New York's classic hotel, the famous Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue near Grand Central Station?  Other hotels in New York.

Amtrak train connections to Washington DC, Boston, Chicago & all points west...

You can be at Penn Station by 11:30 or earlier, for onward train connections.  Washington DC is only 3 hours away by train, Boston 4 hours or less.  The Lake Shore Limited train to Chicago leaves Penn Station around 15:45 arriving in Chicago next morning, with connections for all points west including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Seattle.  You'll also make the afternoon Crescent overnight train to Atlanta & New Orleans, or the afternoon Silver Meteor overnight to Florida.  You can book any of these trains online in advance at www.amtrak.com, collecting your ticket from the self-service machines at Penn Station.  Note that between New York & Washington or New York & Boston you'll be offered two different types of train:  The premium-fare Acela Express 150mph high-speed train with business class and first class, but no coach class, and the slower but cheaper Northeast Regional trains with coach class and business class.  Beginner's guide to train travel in the USA.

Amtrak train connections to Toronto, Montreal & Canada...

Two daily trains link New York with Canada, the Maple Leaf to Toronto and the Adirondack to Montreal.  Both trains leave New York in the morning, so you'll need to spend the night in New York.  It's a very scenic run along the Hudson River valley, past West Point Military Academy, Storm King Mountain and Bannerman's Island.  As it's name suggests, the train to Montreal also passes through the scenic Adirondack Mountains and past Lake Champlain.  Information on trains from New York to Canada.  Change in Toronto for the famous Canadian trans-continental train three times a week to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Jasper & Vancouver.  Beginner's guide to train travel in Canada.

Eastbound transatlantic information

Here is a typical timetable, transfer & journey information for most eastbound trans-Atlantic crossings.  Although they usually follow this pattern, please check sailing & check-in times for your specific date when you book in case they are different.  If you find that anything has changed, do let me know.  If you plan to travel westbound, click here Are  westbound or eastbound crossings better?

Train connections from Washington DC, Boston, Chicago & other US cities to New York...

Amtrak trains runs from Washington DC to New York in just 3 hours, Boston to New York in less than 4 hours.  The daily Lake Shore Limited links Chicago & New York overnight, with connections in Chicago from LA, San Francisco, Seattle, etc.  However, the Lake Shore arrives at New York's Penn station in the early evening, too late for same-day connections with the 'Mary, so you'll need to leave Chicago two nights before the 'Mary sails and spend a night in New York before sailing day.  You can check schedules and fares and buy tickets for any of these trains online at www.amtrak.com.  Note that between New York & Washington or New York & Boston you'll be offered two different types of train:  The premium-fare Acela Express 150mph high-speed train with business class and first class, but no coach class, and the slower but cheaper Northeast Regional trains with coach class and business class.  Beginner's guide to train travel in the USA.

Train connections from Toronto, Montreal & Canada to New York...

Two daily trains link Canada with New York, the Maple Leaf from Toronto and the Adirondack from Montreal.  Both trains arrive in New York in the evening, so you'll need to spend a night in New York before sailing day - Check hotels in New York.  It's a very scenic run down the Hudson River valley, past West Point Military Academy, Storm King Mountain and Bannerman's Island.  As it's name suggests, the train from Montreal also passes through the scenic Adirondack Mountains and past Lake Champlain.  Information on trains between Canada & New York.  The famous Canadian trans-continental train links Vancouver & Toronto three times a week, via Jasper, Edmonton & Winnipeg.  Beginner's guide to train travel in Canada.

Taxi from Manhattan to Brooklyn Cruise Terminal...

A normal yellow cab from New York Penn Station or any hotel in Manhattan to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal costs around $40 for up to 4 people and all your bags.  Enjoy the drive across the famous Brooklyn Bridge in a traditional New York Yellow Cab!  The taxi ride takes 20 minutes.

Queen Mary 2 check-in & embarkation procedures in New York...

Check-in usually opens around 13:00 and closes around 15:45.  Cunard will give you a specific check-in time on your e-ticket to try and stagger people arriving, but you can arrive earlier if you like.  Visitors are not allowed on board, so anyone seeing you off will have to leave you at the terminal then wave from the shore.  Cunard will have sent you adhesive labels showing your departure date & cabin number, remember to put one on each bag before arriving at the terminal, as when you get there your larger bags are immediately taken from you.  They will magically reappear later in your stateroom.  No one bag should exceed 23Kg (50lb) but you can take as many bags as you like as long as they will all fit into your stateroom.  You then walk into the terminal and join the short queue for a ticket check, then another short queue for the X-ray and metal detector security check, then you join a long zig-zag queue (1 hour plus) for check-in proper.  At the check-in desk, you show your e-ticket, your passport & your credit card for on-board purchases, and a webcam photo is taken of each passenger for security purposes.  You also hand in a brief health form notifying the ship of any fever you have or any diarrhoea you've had in the last 48 hours. Each passenger is given a credit-card sized plastic card which acts as your embarkation card, cabin key and charge card for buying drinks and souvenirs on board.  You then go up the gangway onto the QM2, entering the Grand Lobby on deck 3.  Apart from the time spent in the main queue (have a reading book and some refreshments to hand), it's a painless process compared to airports.  If you feel like a late lunch, or just a tea, coffee or juice when you board, you'll find the King's Court self-service restaurant on deck 7 open for business and offering all of these.

What's an eastbound Atlantic crossing like?

The ship normally sails from New York at 17:00.  This is the usual time, but please check for your specific departure date.  Once on board and settled into your stateroom, listen for announcements about emergency drill.  This is held at 16:00 and takes about 20 minutes.  You listen for the alarm bells, fetch your lifejackets from your stateroom and go to your allocated muster station where staff will brief you on emergency procedures and you'll listen to an announcement by the captain.  After this you're free to go up on deck and admire the Manhattan skyline astern and the Statue of Liberty to starboard (right-hand side).  At 17:00 she casts off, and with a band playing on her aft decks and glasses of champagne available (around $17) she heads out to sea.  Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty slowly disappear astern, and the QM2 heads toward and then underneath the huge Verrazano suspension bridge out into the Atlantic.  There is just a few precious feet of clearance above her red funnel!  An NYPD police boat follows behind (seeing you off the premises?), and a police helicopter buzzes overhead...

Seven nights at sea on the Atlantic.  Cunard have slowed down their crossings to from 6 to 7 nights each way for 2011 onwards, although an occasional crossing still takes 6 nights, please check for your specific date.  Naturally, you'll find a whole programme of entertainment & activities on board every day, and if you really want to be bored you'll have to work hard at it!  There are no islands or coastline to see in mid-Atlantic (or even other ships, usually), but personally I never tire of gazing at the brooding waters of the North Atlantic.  It changes from day to day, sometimes smooth and glassy, sometimes choppy and sombre, sometimes foggy, sometimes sunny.  You may get rough crossings especially in October, November or December, but my own transatlantic crossings on the 150,000 ton Queen Mary 2 or 70,000 ton QE2 have been rock steady all the way.  You could be in a 5 star hotel rather than on board a ship!  The QM2's clocks are put forward an hour at 2am on five of the seven eastbound nights because of the time difference, giving you an hour's less sleep in this direction - if there's one reason why a westbound crossing can be nicer than an eastbound one, this is it!  (update 2013:  Cunard has tried the crazy idea of putting the clocks forward at midday on recent crossings, much to passengers dismay, as it can be confusing and means dinner is too soon after lunch!)  You will pass within a few miles of the resting place of the Titanic and an announcement may well be made on board.  On the last evening at dinner you may catch site of the Isles of Scilly in the distance (about 35 miles west of Land's End), and later the lights of Cornwall twinkling to port.  A first view of Great Britain!  You're now past the Bishop Rock lighthouse an in the English Channel.  Incidentally, a modern transatlantic crossing is now two days slower than it used to be, as the weekly service operated by the first Queen Mary and her consort Queen Elizabeth from 1946 to 1967 took just 5 nights...

The ship arrives in Southampton at 06:30.  You'll need to be up early, at around 04:30, if you want to see the ship round the Isle of Wight and head past Portsmouth & Ryde and into Southampton Water, although this hardly lives up to the spectacular arrival in New York on a westbound transatlantic.  There's a forward-facing observation deck on deck 10, immediately below the bridge, accessed from 'A' stairway.  Otherwise, you'll find the ship docked at the Southampton Terminal when you awake, and the Kings Court & Britannia restaurants serving a welcome cooked breakfast to send you on your way.

Queen Mary 2 disembarkation procedures in Southampton...

A note explaining QM2 disembarkation procedures will appear outside your stateroom a day or two before arrival.  If you can carry all your own bags, you can register for 'Express disembarkation' by contacting the purser's office on deck 2 the day before arrival.  Once registered for Express Disembarkation you can leave the ship around half an hour after she docks, meaning around 07:30.  Otherwise, coloured labels for your bags will appear outside your stateroom the day before arrival.  You put a label on each of your bags and place them outside your stateroom door between 20:00 and midnight before arrival.  Your bags will disappear overnight and will be waiting for you in the cruise terminal next morning, in an area marked with the same colour as your labels.  The colour of the labels also indicates which time you have been allocated for disembarkation, and in what part of the QM2 to gather before disembarkation.  The upper decks with the more expensive cabins tend to disembark first (e.g. decks 9, 10, 11), other decks such as 4, 5 or 6 later.  Disembarkation takes place between 08:00 and 11:00, so you can be sure of getting off the ship by 11:00 or earlier.

Taxi transfers in Southampton...

Note that the Queen Mary 2 can use any one of four different terminals in Southampton, either the QEII terminal (dock gate 4), City Cruise Terminal (dock gate 10), Mayflower Cruise Terminal (dock gate 10), or the new Ocean Terminal (dock gate 4).  Map of Southampton, showing all cruise terminals, Southampton Central Station & the original historic Ocean Terminal.  A taxi to Southampton Central station costs around 7 from the Mayflower or City cruise terminals, or around 10 from the QEII terminal or Ocean Terminal.  You'll find plenty of taxis waiting at the terminal, although there can be a long wait as there are so many other passengers.  The taxi ride takes just 10 minutes.

Train connection from Southampton to London...

A train leaves Southampton at 10:30, arriving at London Waterloo at 11:49.  This is only a suggested train, as trains in fact run every 30 minutes from Southampton to London, so just take whichever the next train happens to be when you get to the station.  No reservation is necessary or even possible for Southampton-London trains, you just turn up, buy a ticket and hop on the next train.  Southampton-London costs 38.50 adult one-way, children under 16 half price, children under 5 free.  First class costs 64.70.  You can check train times & fares from Southampton to London using www.nationalrail.co.uk.  Cunard no longer organise a special 'boat train' in connection with QM2 sailings.  You can check train times & fares from Southampton to anywhere in Britain using www.nationalrail.co.uk.  Direct trains run from Southampton to Reading, Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol & Cardiff, so you won't have to cross London.  Beginner's guide to UK train travel Find a hotel in London.

Onward train connection from London to Paris & mainland Europe...

Onwards to Paris:  Allow plenty of time for onward connections, certainly several hours, and maybe stay in London overnight.  For Paris, take a UK domestic train from Southampton central to London Waterloo (no reservation necessary, see the section above), then take a taxi or Underground across London to St Pancras Station.  Eurostar runs every hour or so from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord in central Paris, journey time 2 hours 20 minutes.   For a beginner's guide to Eurostar travel, see the London to Paris by Eurostar page.  You can book tickets online in advance at www.eurostar.com, and you should indeed pre-book, as London-Paris prices start from just 39 in advance but over 170 if you wait and buy on the day of travel.

Onwards to other countries:  Scroll back up to the top of this page and pick a country from the menu on the left.  This will show you how to get from London to any country in Europe.  Having crossed the Atlantic on the luxurious Queen Mary 2, how about taking the Venice Simplon Orient Express vintage luxury train to Italy?  This runs on most Thursdays from April to October, and takes 24 hours from London to Venice.

Queen Mary 2:  Cabin accommodation

Facilities in all cabins... 

Even the cheapest QM2 cabin (or stateroom as Cunard calls them) features comfortable beds, a private bathroom with shower, sink & toilet, a dressing table, TV, a small coffee table & chair, 240v UK & 110v US style power sockets, pay-per-minute internet access, soap, shower gel, shampoo & conditioner, bathrobes, plenty of wardrobe space, room service menu and a solid electronic safe for your valuables that's large enough for a 14" laptop.  A bedtime chocolate is delivered to your stateroom when the steward turns down you bed.

Which type of cabin to choose?

There are a bewildering range of staterooms on the Queen Mary 2 at varying prices, but they basically fall into these categories, in ascending order of cost:

Queen Mary 2:  Standard inside stateroom   Queen Mary 2:  Premium Balcony stateroom.  This one is on 6 deck.

Standard inside stateroom.  The beds can be arranged as a double (as here) or as two singles.  The shower & toilet are behind the photographer.

 

Premium Balcony stateroom.  French windows lead onto a small balcony cut into the hull.  The beds can be set up as a double (as here) or as two singles.

Queen Mary 2:  Standard Oceanview stateroom, number 6029   Queen Mary 2:  Standard Oceanview stateroom 6029, night time mode

Standard Oceanview stateroom (daytime).  The beds can be arranged as a double (as here) or as two singles.  The porthole does not open.  The shower & toilet are behind the photographer.

 

Standard Oceanview stateroom (night-time):  Some standard staterooms are fitted with two drop-down upper berths, one is shown open here.  A cot (crib) for an infant can be provided on request.

Standard inside stateroom 6012, Queen Mary 2   Queen Mary 2: Standard stateroom en suite toilet    Queen mary 2:  6 deck corridor

Above:  A standard cabin, looking towards the door.  The shower & toilet are on the right, plenty of wardrobe space on the left, with a safe for valuables.

 

The en suite toilet & shower of a standard stateroom...

 

Typical cabin corridor on board the Queen Mary 2.

Queen Mary 2:  Restaurants

Which restaurant?

Your allocated restaurant: Each stateroom is allocated a restaurant.  Most cabins, including the Standard inside, Standard Oceanview & Premium Balcony, are allocated to the Britannia restaurant, a magnificent two-storey 1,300 seat restaurant spanning decks 2 & 3 and reminiscent of the grand dining saloons of the great ocean liners of the past.  The more expensive staterooms are allocated to the more intimate Princess Grill on deck 7, and the very best staterooms to the Queen's Grill, also on deck 7.  Your fare includes all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in your allocated restaurant, as well as afternoon tea in the Queen's Room or King's Court.  It does not include drinks, bottles of wine start at around $30 and real ale lovers can choose Old Speckled Hen or Spitfire for around $6 a bottle.  The food is excellent, and you choose from a menu of half a dozen different starters, main courses and desserts, which changes every day.

Optional dining venues:  You can also choose to eat any given meal in the informal King's Court self-service restaurant on deck 7, or 'pub grub' in the Golden Lion pub on deck 2, instead of your allocated restaurant.  It's entirely up to you and how you feel at the time!  The Kings Court has several distinct buffet areas, including the 'Carvery' for English food, the 'Lotus' which specialises in Asian food and the 'Piazza' where you'll find pasta and pizza.

Todd English restaurant:  For a $20 per head surcharge (lunch) or $30 per head (dinner) billed to your on-board account, you can eat in the Todd English restaurant aft on deck 8.  Run by celebrated American chef Todd English, the food here is superb and well worth the surcharge, I strongly recommend trying it at least once or twice during your crossing.  You simply need to call to reserve a table in the morning.

Room service:  If you'd rather eat in your cabin, every cabin has free room service from a simple menu including burgers, pasta, cheese & crackers.  You can order by phone at any time, it's all included in your fare.  However, if you order any drinks from room service, including soft drinks, these are charged at bar prices.  You can also choose to have breakfast delivered to your stateroom, except on the morning of arrival.  Just hang the breakfast order form on your cabin door before retiring.

Which sitting?

The Britannia restaurant has two sittings for dinner, 6pm & 8.30pm, and you can request a sitting when you book.  When you board the QM2 you'll find a note confirming both your sitting and table number for dinner in your stateroom.  There are no specific sittings or allocated tables for lunch or breakfast.  On-board entertainment is arranged so that both sittings can enjoy it, although the 6pm sitting gives you the rest of the evening free, and is arguably more relaxed than the later one.  If you've young children, see the section below.  The Princess & Queens Grills have no sittings, you can dine any time you choose when the restaurant is open, although this makes it a little less sociable than the Britannia.

The huge Britannia restaurant on the Queen Mary 2   Roast pork dinner in the Britannia restaurant.

The Britannia restaurant, seating almost 1,300 guests at 246 tables spread over two decks and three levels.  You make your lunch or dinner choice from a varied 3-course menu...

 

A roast dinner in the Britannia restaurant.  You may find lobster, snails or even frogs legs on the menu...

Prawn starter in the Todd English restaurant on the Queen Mary 2   Dessert display in the Queen Mary 2's King's Court restaurant

The Todd English restaurant.  Well worth the $20 (lunch) or $30 (dinner) surcharge, the food is world class.  This is a garlic prawn starter...

 

The King's Court self-service restaurant.  If you prefer, dine informally in the King's Court on deck 7.  These are desserts & butter sculptures...

Queen Mary 2:  Bars & lounges

There is no shortage of bars and other watering holes on the Queen Mary 2.  They include the Chart Room on deck 3, the Golden Lion pub on deck 2, the Veuve Cliquot champagne bar on deck 3 and Commodore Club forward on deck 9.  The Commodore Club has an adjacent (and sealed) smoking room called Churchills with cigars for sale.  Personally, I'd suggest the Chart Room for cocktails before or after dinner, as it's near the social centre of the ship on deck 3, but for general quiet reading, working on my laptop and generally getting away from it all, the Commodore Club with its forward view over the bows is my top choice.  Drinks are not too expensive:  A tea is $1.50, a glass of wine perhaps $5, a cocktail $8.  Although I'm a non-smoker 99.9% of the time, one of Havana's Montecristo number 2 cigars ($22) and a 1979 Armagnac ($17) were sound recommendations from the barman on the last night of our return crossing...

The QM2's Commodore Club on 9 deck forward.   A Cosmopolitan and Martini in the Queen Mary 2's Commodore Club

The Commodore Club:  Coffee, tea, wine or cocktails, with a great forward view over the Queen Mary 2's bows.  A huge model of the QM2 sits in a glass case behind the bar...

 

Martini, anyone?  If you want to research the many different types of martini, the QM2 is the place to do it...

A Martini in the Chart Room bar   The Queen Mary 2's Chart Room lounge

The Chart Room:  Another martini, this time in the elegant, relaxed Chart Room lounge on deck 3.

Queen Mary 2:  Entertainment

A daily programme for the following day is delivered to your stateroom each evening.  It shows details of the entertainment and activities on board, along with navigational & itinerary information and the opening and closing times of all restaurants, bars and other facilities.  There's an ongoing programme of shows, plays & lectures.  For example, recent crossings featured talks by John Cleese about his work on Monty Python & Fawlty Towers, excellent lectures by an expert on New York skyscrapers, an edited version of Shakespeare's 'Taming of the Shrew' and Oscar Wilde's 'The Importance of being Earnest'.  The QM2 also features the world's only sea-going planetarium, called the 'Illuminations'.  And of course there are several live bands on board, with dancing every evening, sometimes themed such as the 'Black & White Ball' and 'Ascot Ball'.  If it's disco you prefer, you'll find that in the G32 nightclub.  You'll also find the Canyon Ranch spa on deck 7, offering a wide range of treatments from manicures to massages, Jacuzzis to saunas.  If you want to be bored, you'll have to really work at it... 

John Cleese in the Queen Mary 2's Royal Court Theatre   Queen Mary 2's Pavilion swimming pool

Royal Court Theatre:  Plays by Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde, dance shows or  (as here) lectures.  The tall bloke in the middle is John Cleese...

 

Pavilion Pool:  The Queen Mary has several swimming pools.  This is the indoor Pavilion Pool on deck 12, complete with hot tubs and a bar...

QM2:  The Queen's Room   Queen Mary 2's library on deck 8 forward.

Queen's Room:  An elegant afternoon tea is served here every day at 3.30pm with cakes and sandwiches.  In the evening, it's the largest dance floor afloat...

 

Library:  The excellent library and bookshop are forward on deck 8, 'A' stairway, beneath the Commodore Club...

Queen Mary 2's Grand Lobby   Queen Mary 2's Canyon Ranch Spa

The Grand Lobby sports several boutiques on the upper level, selling souvenirs, clothes, watches & jewellery.  You enter the ship here, and the purser's office is here, as well as the Red Lion Pub and Chart Room bar...

 

The Canyon Ranch Spa offers sauna, pool, manicures and massages...

Travelling with children on the QM2

You won't be the only family on the Queen Mary 2, especially on her transatlantic runs!  You'll find plenty of entertainment for children in the Play Zone at the aft end of 6 deck. 

Arrangements for children & pregnant women on the Queen Mary 2...

The Play Zone & child care...

The Zone is aft on deck 6, staffed by a team of friendly young British-trained nannies.  It has a toddler zone for ages 1-3, a Play Zone for ages 4-6 and The Zone with various computer games and other activities for older kids up to 17.  There's plenty to do, and activities such as treasure hunts or ship tours are organised by the Play Zone team.

Cabins & dinner sittings...

Queen Mary 2's heritage trail   Queen Mary 2's heritage trail

The heritage trail:  The Queen Mary 2 is filled with paintings, information panels and even interactive screens telling the history of Cunard Line, its ships, and the famous people who crossed the Atlantic aboard them.

Other useful information

Baggage...

There is no baggage limit on the Queen Mary 2, either in terms of weight or the number of bags.  You can bring what you like, as long as it all fits in your stateroom.  However, for safe lifting by staff, no one item may exceed 23Kg (50lb).  Bags are taken from you on arrival at the terminal and they reappear in your stateroom on board.  At the end of the crossing, they are transported ashore for you.  See the embarkation & disembarkation arrangements in the 'practical information' section above.  If you plan to go one way by ship, the other by air, one advantage of taking the ship on the return leg is that you can take as much shopping as you like!

Dress code...

Cunard sometimes have to fight off a stuffy image, and it didn't help that until early 2013 they had a three-tier dress code as complicated as a Virgin Trains Saver Ticket restriction.  However, in 2013 they simplified it into just two codes, formal and informal.  One of two dress codes will apply each evening after 6pm in all the main restaurants.  You'll be told which dress code applies on which night in the pre-voyage documentation and in the daily programme delivered to your stateroom.

Dressing up is part of the fun, but if you really don't want to play the dressing up game you can wear casual clothes on any evening you like in the King's Court or Lido self-service restaurants and relax in the Winter Garden lounge - though Cunard say that shorts, T-shirts & denim should not be worn after 6pm anywhere in the public areas inside the ship.

Payment on board...

Everything on board, including drinks in the bar, books from the bookshop, massages in the spa, purchases in the shops or internet access, is billed to your on board account.  You simply show your cabin card and sign for the payment.  At the end of the crossing, the total is automatically deducted from the credit card you gave them at check-in.  You'll get a summary of your account delivered to your stateroom half-way across and at the end of the voyage.  Just be aware that Cunard follow the American practice of quoting you one price but charging you a slightly higher price, as all bar prices shown on the drinks menu will have 15% added to them automatically as a gratuity.

Internet & mobile phone access...

Mobile phone access is available on board throughout the crossing, although it isn't cheap, you'll need to ask your phone network for their rates.  Internet access is available throughout the QM2, both in your cabin and in all the public areas including bars but excluding the theatres & restaurants.  Payment is by the minute, and it works well with good download speeds.  You can pre-pay for a bundle of minutes (for example, you can buy 120 minutes for $49.95, which works out at about $0.42 per minute) or simply pay as you go for $0.75 per minute (2013 prices), or do a mixture of both during your crossing.  You can spend the minutes individually, so for example you can log on to download emails, log off to compose replies offline, then log on again to send, thus only using a few minutes of internet time.  To use your own laptop, simply click on the 'Qm2_Guest_internet' internet connection and open a web browser to see the log-in screen.  Register with your name & cabin number on this log-in page and the cost will be billed to your QM2 stateroom account.  If you don't have your own laptop, the Cunard Connexions rooms on deck 2 or the library on deck 8 have self-service internet PCs which you can use for the same rates.  You'll find power sockets for laptops (both British 3-pin and US 110v) in your cabin, and (if you hunt for them) British 3-pin sockets in certain areas of most bars including the Commodore bar on deck 9 forward and the Chart Room bar on deck 3.  Man in Seat Sixty-One's tip:  I found that the Commodore Lounge on 9 deck was the quietest and nicest place to work, there's a 3-pin power socket near the skirting in the 'bridge wing' far side of the lounge.

Smoking...

The QM2 is entirely non-smoking apart from the open decks and the Churchill smoking lounge forward on deck 9 next to the Commodore Club.

Taking your dog...

Yes, you can take your dog across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, but they will be kept in the ship's kennels during the crossing and (except for guide dogs) are not allowed in the guest areas.  Contact Cunard for details.

Laundry...

As well as a hotel-style pay-per-item laundry service for laundry collected from your stateroom, you'll find a small free-of-charge self-service laundrette on most cabin decks.  These have washers, driers, free detergent sachets, iron & ironing board.  This came in very handy on both our outward and return crossings on a 5-week trip to the States, as we arrived in the US with bags full of clean clothes and arrived back in Blighty without a huge laundry backlog!  Also useful for ironing dress shirts that have become creased in the baggage...

Visiting the QM2's bridge...

There are no official bridge visits, but there is a viewing room behind the bridge with two large soundproofed windows so you can see what's going on.  It's normally open 09:00-16:00 on sea days, although it's closed in bad weather.  The entrance is on the port (left-hand) side of the ship on deck 12, accessed via 'A' stairway. 

QM2:  Bridge viewing window   The Queen Mary 2's bridge

Bridge viewing area, 12 deck 'A' stairway. 

 

The Queen Mary 2's bridge...

Which is better, a westbound or an eastbound transatlantic crossing?

If you really haven't got the time or money to go both ways by sea, you might want to go one-way by sea and the other by air.  You can often find one-way QM2 fares with a 'free' air fare in the other direction.  If you're British and a shopaholic, the obvious advantage of going out westbound by air and back eastbound by sea is that you can shop in New York and bring back as much as you like, as there are no baggage limits on the Queen Mary 2.  And you'll have the leisurely voyage back home to look forward to at the end of your trip.  However, for my money (not being a great shopper), westbound is much better.  There's the growing anticipation as you near America at the end of an outward westbound crossing, there's the significant advantage of 25-hour days as the clocks are put back on 5 of the 7 nights due to the time difference, and best of all the spectacular arrival into New York harbour in the early morning, with that Manhattan skyline lit by the rising sun.  When you're enjoying your evenings on the town (or rather, the ship) until late at night, the 23-hour days on an eastbound crossing as the clocks are put forward can be a killer!  On the other hand, if I were an American heading for Europe, I might well be tempted to head out by sea eastbound, returning west by air.

Forum for cruise reviews, questions & the latest advice...

A good place to find advice & reviews about the Queen Mary 2 and other ships, and to post your own questions and reviews of your trip, is the online cruise forum at www.cruise.co.uk.

About the Queen Mary 2...

The QM2 was built in 2003 at St Nazaire in France, by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, the same shipyard that built the famous French Line ships Ile de France, Normandie and France.  The Queen Mary 2 is no longer the biggest passenger ship in the world in terms of Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT), as the Queen Mary 2's 148,528 tons have now been exceeded, first by Royal Caribbean's 154,000-ton 'Freedom of the Seas', built in 2006, and then by the 225,000-ton 'Oasis of the Seas' in 2009.  However, the QM2 remains the tallest, longest and widest ship ever built, at 1,132 feet long and 148 feet wide.  For comparison, the original Queen Mary is just 81,237 tons GRT, 1019 feet long, 118 feet wide, and the Titanic was only 46,000 tons, 883 feet long, 93 feet wide.  She uses an unconventional propulsion system:  Four large diesel engines and two gas turbines generate electricity, and this powers four electrically-powered propellers each housed in a 'pod' attached under her stern.  The rear two pods swivel to steer the ship, so the QM2 does not have a conventional rudder.  The propellers face forwards rather than backwards, and give her a top speed of around 30 knots (1 knot = 1.1 mph), although she normally crosses the Atlantic at 23 to 26 knots.  Queen Mary 2 Wikipedia entry.

Souvenirs & books about the QM2...

  Buy books in the USA from Amazon.com...
   

Alternatives to the Queen Mary 2

Passenger-carrying freighters...

In addition to the QM2, some regular freight ships carry a limited number of passengers, and there are occasional crossings by other cruise lines - UK agencies listing both freighter and cruise line voyages include www.strandtravelltd.co.uk & www.cruisepeople.co.uk/transat.htm

A US agency booking passenger travel by freighter is www.freightercruises.com.  Also try www.freightertrips.com of www.travltips.com/cruises/freighter/overview.php

There are links to other websites about travel by freighter at the top of the 'shipping' section on the useful links page.

Sponsored links...


Hotels & accommodation

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Personal recommendation:  Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach (Los Angeles)...

If you get as far as Los Angeles after your transatlantic crossing, it has to be the Hotel Queen Mary, doesn't it?  She makes a good base to explore the Los Angeles - Hollywood - Disneyland area.  The original Queen Mary of 1936 has been permanently moored at Long Beach in California since the late 1960s, some 25 miles from Los Angeles Union Station (about a $90 taxi ride), and it's undoubtedly the most fascinating place to stay in LA.  The hotel consists of most of the Queen Mary's original first class cabins, and there are plenty of restaurants and bars available on board, too.  Hotel guests can more or less wander the ship at will, and even sign up for ghost hunts at night on board (and yes, from my own experience there is definitely something going on on that beautiful but ageing ship!).  Wood panelled art deco interiors have been preserved, although a few modern items have been installed such as televisions, and (as we worked out from a historic deck plan) in some cases two of the Queen Mary's original cabins have been knocked into one hotel suite by turning one of the en suite bathrooms into a connecting corridor.  She is one of the most atmospheric places I have ever stayed.

Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach, California   A cabin, or rather a hotel room, on Hotel Queen Mary

The Queen Mary at Long Beach, California...

 

Cabin 401 aboard Hotel Queen Mary

 

A first class deck, now part of Hotel Queen Mary...

 

Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach...


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