#10: Cunard Line MinimumAge: Six months (twelve months for Full World Cruise, Exotic Cruises or Transatlantic Crossings) Children’s Programs: Extensive Babysitting: No (but nursery for infants between ages twelve and twenty-three months) Tickets: http://www.cruisecompete.com/lines/cunard_cruises.html Overview Only the ships of Cunard Line evoke the nostalgia of the Golden Age of ocean travel. With a tradition of luxury and service that began in 1840, the line maintains that heritage—though a Cunard Line Caribbean cruise today is significantly different in tone and atmosphere from the ocean crossings of yesteryear.
The fleet of three ships is relatively young; the QM2 was launched in 2004, the Queen Victoria in 2007, and her sister, the Queen Elizabeth, in 2010. All three ships have a romantic aura of glamour that is different from the showy glitz of other big ships. Though the transatlantic crossings come closest to replicating historic voyages, the three Queens now travel the world and have a loyal following of repeat guests. The very formal all-British crews have been replaced by a mix of British and international crew members, though service remains at a high standard, especially for passengers in the higher cabin grades. This reflects the class system of the old ships, in which those traveling in the better accommodations could expect the best food, the best amenities, and the best service. Today, passengers in the less expensive cabins can enjoy the atmosphere of iconic ships but expect service and food on a par with other (non- luxury) cruise lines.
The three Queens represent a marriage of modern technology and Old World charm and elegance. As it was in “the old days,” passengers are segregated according the level of their accommodations. Passengers booked into Grills suites can expect accommodations that range from luxurious to spectacular: for example, the Grand Duplex, 2,248 square feet of glamour and style. Passengers booked in suites or above dine in the Princess or Queen’s Grill, where requests for particular dishes can be fulfilled. Others dine in the elegant two-tier Britannia Restaurant, which features a dramatic grand staircase and some sumptuous menus. The Britannia has two seatings, but passengers who book a Britannia Club stateroom enjoy single-seating dining in the cozier Britannia Club restaurant. All three ships have other dining venues; the QM2 and Queen Victoria have Todd English restaurants. Onboard enrichment on Cunard’s Queens is equal to or better than anything else at sea. Passengers may be treated to performances by actors from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts; contemporary jazz by faculty and students of the famed Julliard School; and planetarium shows created by the Royal Astronomical Society. There’s more, of course, including the riches of the biggest libraries at sea. The spas on the Queens (especially the one on QM2) are simply beautiful. During the day, shorts and beachwear are acceptable; however, after 6 pm these as well as sandals, denim, and sleeveless T-shirts (for men) are not appropriate. Casual wear is acceptable in the main restaurants for breakfast and lunch. Dress code for the evenings is announced in the daily programs and generally falls into two categories: informal (jackets for men, cocktail dresses or stylish separates for women) or formal (tuxedos or dark suits or military uniforms for men, evening or cocktail dresses or dressy pants suits for women). Cunard Line attracts an international clientele (onboard announcements are made in English, German, French, and Spanish) who prefer a traditional ocean liner experience. Passengers tend to be older, but transatlantic crossings, especially during school holidays, attract younger passengers and families.
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