This article that I wrote as a Special Correspondent, first appeared in the Cape Times, South Africa, on Friday 27 January 2017.
Remastered Queen Mary 2, the ship of superlatives, sails into Cape Town
On Thursday 26 January 2017, Queen Mary 2 (QM2) sailed into Table Bay Harbour on a two day visit to the Mother City. Her epic circuit encompasses a route this year that will include ten maiden visits which means nearly a quarter of her ports of call will welcome Queen Mary 2 for the very first time.
Now in her 13th year, she is the world’s only operational ocean liner (not to be confused with a cruise liner) and was originally constructed for Cunard in 2002, replacing the ageing Queen Elizabeth 2. As an ocean liner, she is very different in construction to a typical cruise ship, having, amongst other things, a much sharper bow and four stabilisers as opposed to two.
A lavish £100-million remastering took place in 2016. The plush refit has extended the ships life by another decade and has magnificently transformed the vessel’s ultra spacious interior that is reminiscent of the golden age of Transatlantic travel. 1310 luxurious staterooms comprise standard cabins, penthouses and deluxe apartments complete with butler and concierge services and, in some instances, private elevators and gymnasiums. With a 1000 seater state of the art theatre, the largest library at sea, a 360 degree promenade deck, casino, traditional British pub (the Golden Lion), ballroom, nightclub, art gallery, five swimming pools and a 3D cinema that morphs into the first at-sea planetarium, there is no shortage of leisure options. Eleven restaurants with 150 chefs showcase 343 wine labels, and offer passengers menus that range from healthy to hearty, light to haute cuisine, and an English high tea. The ship also has a very impressive green policy.
Queen Mary 2 stands 23 storeys high, with 17 decks rising 200 metres above the waterline. She is four football fields in length, with a 3.5 acre footprint, is more than twice as long as the Washington Monument (167m), 147 feet longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall (300m), more than three times as long as Big ben’s Westminster Tower (95m) and as long as 36 double decker London buses (9.5m each).
This particular cruise journey continues onwards to, amongst other places, Port Elizabeth (South Africa), Mauritius, Reunion, Australia, Tasmania, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Seoul, Thailand and Portugal, ending in May 2017. For up to 3010 guests at capacity, a voyage on Queen Mary 2 is certain to create unforgettable memories.
For more info about Queen Mary’s various destinations and to book from South Africa, visit www.whitestar.co.za.