virtuoso global April 2019 Queen of the Atlantic, Cunard Rules Far Beyond

Queen of the Atlantic, Cunard Rules Far Beyond

Cunard’s flagship<em> Queen Mary 2</em> is known the world over.
Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 is known the world over.
Photo by Cunard
Five reasons to join the famed cruise line in Alaska, Australia, and Asia.

From the white-gloved waiters to afternoon tea served with finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones, Cunard has been synonymous with elegance ever since it first sailed from Southampton to New York in 1847. Today, the cruise line sets the standard for luxury ocean travel with its flagship 2,691-passenger Queen Mary 2, the largest liner ever built, successor to the fabled Queen Elizabeth 2, or QE2.

While Cunard is well known as the only cruise line operating regularly scheduled service between Europe and North America, it has been establishing a stellar reputation in other corners of the globe. Here’s how they do it.

Visit Japan in 2020 just as the cherry trees are in peak bloom.
Visit Japan in 2020 just as the cherry trees are in peak bloom.
Photo by Shutterstock

1. Cunard offers special opportunities in Alaska, Australia, and Asia.

Cunard’s journeys to Alaska – starting in Vancouver – allow ten days (rather than the more common seven) for thoroughly taking in the stunning coastline, glaciers, fjords, and forests, and spotting whales, seals, eagles, and bears. Cunard is also the only cruise line offering a full day in Victoria, the island-based capital of British Columbia, which blends historic charm with a youthful vibe.

In Australia, Cunard comes and goes from the greatest variety of ports. While many cruises launch from Sydney and Melbourne, some journeys originate in Adelaide. This means excellent pre-cruise opportunities for exploring the southern coast, which is gaining popularity with visitors, not least of all for its spectacular wine (think: Barossa Valley).

Among the highlights of Cunard’s voyages in Asia are the finely calibrated circumnavigations of Japan. In 2020, nine-day cruises in spring and fall show off the country’s natural bounty when it shines brightest. Admire the temples and shrines of Akita or Kanazawa framed by fluffy cherry blossoms or deeply hued foliage.

Cut a rug on the largest dance floors at sea.
Cut a rug on the largest dance floors at sea.
Photo by Cunard

2. Days at sea are as interesting as days in port.

Your experience during days at sea aboard these ocean liners is up to you, but you’ll never be bored, thanks to Cunard’s renowned enrichment opportunities. One standout: dance classes, including ballroom, Latin, and line dance, available on voyages of seven nights or more. “There are no better ships for dance enthusiasts,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Rob Clabbers. “There’s ballroom dance music every day, with the largest dance floors at sea. And even if you didn’t bring a willing or skilled dance partner, you may ‘borrow’ a dance host.”

Cunard’s celebrated Insights program hosts fascinating experts from various disciplines on every voyage, with lectures and Q&As throughout the trip. In addition, Cunard offers an extraordinary lineup of special-event cruises celebrating fashion, literature, astronomy, classical music, ballet, and more.

“The enrichment lectures are excellent, and topics range widely,” Clabbers says. “On my most recent Cunard sailing, a military television news reporter and a famous actress shared their experiences with us. Fascinating!” With so many engaging activities always on offer, it’s no wonder Cunard has been recognized with industry awards for its onboard enrichment programs.
Colorful Melbourne is one of dozens of vibrant, urbane cities you’ll visit during a Cunard World Voyage.
Colorful Melbourne is one of dozens of vibrant, urbane cities you’ll visit during a Cunard World Voyage.
Photo by Shutterstock

3. Ships move around the globe to offer transcontinental journeys.

With a fleet composed of the most famous ocean liners in the world, Cunard is known for transporting guests across the globe. In keeping with that legacy, the cruise line offers World Voyages that visit multiple continents. While the epic, 99-night World Voyage beginning and ending in Southampton includes bucket-list destinations like Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, and traversing the Suez Canal to arrive in Petra, guests with less time but plenty of thirst for adventure can book shorter segments, like the 36-night itinerary from Dubai to Sydney or the 34-night journey from Southampton to Singapore.

“It’s the ultimate way to see the world without packing and unpacking your suitcase,” travel advisor Judy Perl says. “World [Voyages] segments offer more esoteric ports of call and pair together regions you typically would never think to combine or travel to by plane.” Also, since Cunard doesn’t repeat itineraries, you can settle in for a long journey by linking itineraries on the same ship for an extended adventure.

Each Grills Suite category comes with its own dining room.
Each Grills Suite category comes with its own dining room.
Photo by Cunard

4. Grill suites offer plenty of space and excellent value, especially for longer trips.

Cunard knows that during longer trips the space, comfort, and convenience of your accommodations becomes incredibly important. “Cunard’s ‘standard’ balcony categories are larger than most other cruise lines’, providing room and comfort for longer cruises,” says travel advisor Mike Kempinski. However, he recommends either the Princess or Queens Grill accommodations: “They are well appointed, with plenty of closet and drawer space for longer cruises. It’s pure comfort!” All-inclusive Grill Suites come with designated dining rooms and other amenities, such as butler or concierge service, Illy coffee machines, sparkling wine and chocolate upon arrival, and more.

Experience unforgettable high tea on the high seas aboard a Cunard ship.
Experience unforgettable high tea on the high seas aboard a Cunard ship.
Photo by Cunard

5. All guests experience Cunard’s famous White Star Service.

“Cunard’s staff and crew undergo a rigorous training program, which is positively reflected in everyone you meet, from the deck and engine crew to the dining room servers and stateroom attendants,” Perl says. “The level of service permeates the ship.” Whether you want to make a special request at dinner or have questions about the onboard enrichment programs, Cunard’s polite and courteous staff is always willing and ready to assist. No matter what level of accommodation you choose, Cunard offers the same level of outstanding, award-winning White Star Service to all its guests.

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