Queen Mary 2 – Stargazing, the Environment and Europe without Flying

Queen Mary 2 docked in Southampton, England

Queen Mary 2 docked in Southampton, England


This week we add to our collection of articles and interviews about Queen Mary 2 of Cunard Line. (see index of QM2 articles at http://www.beyondships2.com/queen-mary-2-articles-interviews-reviews.html) QM2 is one the most extensively-covered ships on Beyondships. I have sailed on her more times than any other ship currently in service. In part, this is due to the fact that she sails between Europe and America and thus facilitates getting to and from the ships based on either side of the Atlantic. But it is also because I like the atmosphere onboard, particularly the enrichment program.


One aspect of the enrichment program that I like is that it goes beyond what you normally find on ships. QM2 has the normal sea-going activities such as trivia contests, Bingo, and arts and crafts. Like several other cruise lines, she also has a good lecture series. However, QM2 also has activities such as: acting classes with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts; jazz workshops with professors and/or students from Julliard; and a song writing program in which guests are guided by professional musicians. Some of these activities are regular features on QM2’s daily program, others are presented on some but not all voyages, while still others may only occur once. However, the point is that QM2 consistently provides high quality programs that are beyond what you would normally expect at sea.


QM2’s astronomy program is an example of this kind of programming. The ship was built with the only planetarium at sea. In this facility guests journey through space via programs developed in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History’s Hayden Planetarium. This alone would be enough to place the ship’s astronomy program beyond the norm. However, Cunard also has a relationship with the Royal Astronomical Society in which noted astronomers not only give talks but interact with guests in other ways. Our article about the astronomy program, including an interview with Dr. Chris Crowe of the University of Cambridge, is at http://www.beyondships2.com/queen-mary-2-astronomy.html


A question that is frequently posed by guests is what happens to the leftover food, garbage and waste that is generated during a cruise? In the old days, the solution was just to toss it over the side. However, in these more environmentally conscious days, we know that such an approach has adverse consequences for the planet.


I asked Ariadna Mayoral, Environmental Compliance Officer on Queen Mary 2, about what happens to the garbage and waste on her ship. During the course of our conversation, I learned that there are environmental considerations in nearly every aspect of the ship’s operation. The interview is posted at: http://www.beyondships2.com/queen-mary-2-environmental.html


During the course of my travels, I have met many frequent cruisers in North America who say that they would like to visit Europe but that they do not want to fly. Flying is no longer the glamorous means of transportation that it once was and it is very understandable that people do not want to spoil their vacation by flying.


However, this does not mean that you have to miss out on the experience of going to Europe. While it is more time-consuming than flying, many people sail both to and from Europe. Queen Mary 2 sails both ways. In addition, it is possible to sail at least one way on a cruise ship. In a new FAQ item, we discuss how this is done and some of the considerations involved. It is at http://www.beyondships2.com/faq-europe-without-flying.html



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