THERE is something about Mary. Her sense of refined style, her royal credentials, her black livery and distinctive red funnels all attract crowds as she sails into ports around the world.
australiancruisingnews.com is talking about Queen Mary 2 (QM2), the flagship of Cunard’s fleet of ocean liners, and a standout among cruise ships for turning voyaging into an elegant art form. Her Cunard pedigree harks back to the golden age of ocean travel in the early 20th century, and she remains British to her bootstraps.
Now part of the global Carnival Corporation, QM2 was named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on January 8, 2004, and has since sailed 419 voyages, including over 200 Transatlantic crossings, visiting 182 ports in 60 countries, and carrying more than 1.3 million guests.
The stately queen, with on board amenities that are very much 21st century, will circumnavigate Australia as part of her 10th world cruise after arriving in Fremantle in Western Australia this week, carrying 2600 guests.
Leaving Southampton (UK) on January 10, QM2 sailed Down Under via Cape Town, and after Fremantle sails to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, the Whitsunday Islands and Darwin. Then she cruises to Bali (Indonesia) before returning to Fremantle on March 6 for another voyage around Australia.
QM2 was the world’s largest cruise ship until the launch of Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas in 2006, with 3634 guests, and Oasis of the Seas (2009) and Allure of the Seas (2010), which both carry 5400 guests.
More classy Queens are on their way to Australia this summer with Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth sailing into Sydney on March 1 and Queen Victoria to Brisbane on March 3.
Once this year’s 10th anniversary celebrations are over QM2 will play an important role in the Cunard’s 175th anniversary when the three Queens – Mary, Elizabeth and Victoria – meet on Liverpool’s River Mersey in May next year to honor that city which was Cunard’s original base before her current home port in Southampton, on England’s southeast coast, cunardline.com.au