Cunard calls Queen Mary 2 renovation a ‘remastering’

The Queen Mary 2 in New York after a $132 million refurbishment. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin

ONBOARD THE QUEEN MARY 2 — Even royalty needs a facelift from time to time.

The venerable QM2 (if an ocean liner can be considered venerable at the age of 12) went under the surgeon’s knife earlier this year for a $132 million refurbishment that Cunard Line calls the ship’s “remastering.” It even has its own hashtag, #qm2remastered.

Cabins were added, a lounge was completely redone, the buffet restaurant was retooled and the ship was updated throughout.

The biggest change on the QM2 is undoubtedly the Carinthia Lounge, which takes the place of the Winter Garden just forward of the Kings Court buffet restaurant. Hotel director David Shepard called it “one of the most successful venues” of the remastering. “It’s become an extremely popular venue, day and night.”

The new Carinthia Lounge is busy with passengers throughout the day. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
The new Carinthia Lounge is busy with passengers throughout the day. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin

I was a guest on the ship during its Aug. 9 eastbound transatlantic crossing, and I found that Shepard wasn’t exaggerating. At any time of the day, the Carinthia was busy.

People carried their lunch plates from the Kings Court or from a food station in the lounge itself; listened to live piano or jazz music; read or napped; knitted as part of a knitting circle overseen by one of the social staff; or admired the display of vintage ports going back more than 170 years. A bottle of 1840 Ferreira can be purchased for $4,445.

Shepard pointed out that unlike the Winter Garden, which had walkways straight through the room, the path through the Carinthia meanders just enough to cut down on the speed of walking passengers. And the color scheme of the room is a pleasing cream and blue, just right for slowing down and relaxing.

The Kings Court buffet also looks brand new. A new flow for passengers around the buffet makes things less crowded. Certainly it was bustling during peak breakfast and lunch periods, but I didn’t notice long lines at food stations or waits for tables.

Cunard created a bank of 15 cabins for single passengers on its second and third decks by reducing the footprint of the casino and photo gallery, respectively. I was a little surprised that Cunard shrunk the casino, but a smaller photo gallery makes sense, as almost every photo of every passenger could easily be found in an easy-to-navigate menu on about a dozen large touch-screen computers.

The iconic Britannia restaurant looks very much the same despite an extensive refurbishment. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
The iconic Britannia restaurant looks very much the same despite an extensive refurbishment. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin

The Queen also has a new Deck 13 with the addition of 30 Britannia Club cabins.

In other instances, the remastering was subtle. For example, a pair of elevators was removed from the QM2’s Grand Lobby. My guide pointed out their absence; I’d totally forgotten about them. The room seemed just the same, if not more spacious and elegant, without the elevators.

For passengers dining in the exclusive Queens Grill, the restaurant was updated with comfortable new chairs and window treatments. Grillwork partitions edge out from the exterior wall at intervals, breaking up the room just so slightly. In the Queens Grill and Princess Grill, waiter stations were moved from the center of the room to adjacent to the galley entrances.

The cabins are in the process of being updated to slightly more modern lines. A fountain was removed at the entrance to the Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

The remastering video in our cabin showed a time lapse of the hull being scrubbed and repainted. My balcony on deck 4, which was cut from the hull, was clean and showed no signs of paint buildup. Technical and structural changes were also made.

The Kings Court buffet was completely redone. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
The Kings Court buffet was completely redone. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin

But past passengers expecting a serious overhaul of the Queen won’t be in for a shock. Cunard Red will always be Cunard Red. The color schemes and formal touches remain the same, especially on decks 2 and 3, where the Britannia restaurant, Royal Court Theater and Queens Room are still the focal points of the evening. Guests still walk past the giant art deco panels on the wall on their way to the restaurant or Chart Room.

The formality and tradition of the transatlantic crossing remain intact. “It’s the sense of occasion for me,” Shepard said. “It’s all about a formal, memorable impression.”

During the cocktail party on formal night for Britannia-level passengers, the ship’s captain, Christopher Wells, quipped: “Cunard has spent 100 million … changing the carpets, ladies and gentlemen.”

That wisecrack got a lot of laughs, but there was plenty of new carpeting around the ship, including sunbursts on the elevator landings that were inspired by designs from the original Queen Mary.

The Queens Grill was updated with new furnishings. Partitions along the outside wall edge into the room to break it up slightly. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin
The Queens Grill was updated with new furnishings. Partitions along the outside wall edge into the room to break it up slightly. Photo Credit: Rebecca Tobin

A short documentary and time-lapse video of the remastering showed how much of the inspiration for the QM2 was taken from the Cunard archives.

For example, the Todd English specialty restaurant was replaced by the Verandah, a French restaurant that takes its name from the original Queen Mary. The concept has been updated, however. The original Verandah was available only to First Class passengers, while on the QM2 anybody can book a table.

This Ship Now: Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2

The golden age of Atlantic Ocean crossings recalls images of elegant ladies arriving with huge steamer trunks, filled with elegant gowns and jewels, for their journey by sea. The jet plane might have taken over most trans-Atlantic journeys of today, but that doesn’t stop golden age-style romance and adventure from continuing onboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 (QM2). Fascinating displays of photographs, artwork and memorabilia remind QM2 guests of the line’s 175 years of service as they become a part of Cunard’s historic role in trans-Atlantic crossings.

QM2 is defined as an ocean liner rather than a cruise ship. And although a large percentage of its passengers are taking a leisure trip across the Atlantic, there are some who sail with the intention of relocating, accompanied by their life’s possessions and sometimes even their pets. Therefore, the QM2 carries a mix of passengers from many countries, celebrating significant occasions, moving to new homes and jobs or just enjoying a relaxed, civilized way to travel between North America and Europe.

On my June cruise, some first-time North American guests were intimidated by the stringent dress codes — three formal nights on a weeklong crossing, some with themes including a masquerade ball. Anyone wishing to be truly casual on a formal night is restricted to the Kings Court buffet restaurant and the Winter Garden. Those who attended the formal nights in the Britannia Restaurant, however, mingled with guests wearing everything from cocktail dresses to full black-tie attire.

The Britannia staff was exceptionally warm and accommodating, and the menu was an interesting mix of English classics with continental selections. At lunch and dinner, Canyon Ranch SpaClub selections are denoted with nutritional information, and the line aims to accommodate special dietary needs, from vegetarian to gluten-free.

Kings Court is plentiful and varied, too. Its table configuration, with screened nooks, creates intimate spaces, but it also produces a wandering clientele as they search for their table companions. The buffet is set up in a series of rooms, and it took some guests a day or two to discover the adjoining Chef’s Galley for healthy breakfasts and lunchtime burgers and sandwiches.

Many opted for the large Golden Lion Pub, where shepherd’s pie, a ploughman’s lunch and fish and chips provide English comfort food. Those who chose to pay the very reasonable a la carte rates at  Todd English Restaurant enjoyed exquisite meals, which were beautifully presented and served.

Trans-Atlantic crossings without ports of call are very different from other voyages. Even in summer, the winds and chill of the open sea limit time spent on deck. So the 2,600-passenger QM2 — with the highest space to passenger ratio in the cruise industry — becomes the world to its passengers for a week. They swim in its enclosed pools, line up in the mornings for tickets to the planetarium and attend enrichment lectures, concerts and classes, which range from Internet techniques at the Apple Learning Centre to elaborate napkin folding. There are readings of plays by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, games of bridge, traditional afternoon tea, an outstanding library, movies, ballroom and Latin dancing classes, films and challenging trivia contests.

The Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness rooms deserve special mention — they are outstanding. Classes from stretch to yoga and Pilates are held in additional public rooms, but the areas designated for individual fitness are very well-equipped and in use from early morning until closing. The spa offers a broad range of treatments, including chiropractic sessions, acupuncture and noteworthy reflexology. The facilities include a marvelous steam room with mosaic-tiled individual recesses.

Accommodations are especially important during a crossing with no time spent on shore, and QM2 has choices from 157-square-foot inside cabins, some looking onto the atrium, to two-level Queens Grill duplex apartments, measuring up to 1,566 square feet. Two Grand Duplex suites offer 2,249-square feet of space, including individual kitchens and exercise equipment.

Spending a whole week onboard creates a special relationship between passengers and the ship. Both first-timers and passengers who cross every year tend to be proud of their part in the decades of maritime history QM2 represents.

Ship Portrait of the Costa Mediterranea Costa Cruises

Ship Portrait and report from on board the Costa Mediterranea Costa Cruises

The Costa Mediterranea Costa Cruises was built in 2003, is 293 m long and has 85,619 GT. Overall, the cruise ship has 1,057 cabins, of which 660 have a private balcony. For an 11 year “old” cruise ship balcony cabin share of 62% is by no means a bad cut.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The interior is inspired by Italian palaces of the 16th and 17th century, Venetian influences are everywhere to be found in the design. Interior Designer Costa Mediterranea is, like its sister ship “Costa Atlantica”, who lives in Miami interior designer Joseph Farcus. The since 1978 working for Carnival Farcus shows the way on most cruise ships of Carnival Corporation & plc responsible for the interior design and is known for his extravagant and eye-catching style.

Let’s start again on the lower decks.

Deck 1 houses adjacent to the large Giardino Isola Bella Lounge, which represents one of the evening meeting on the Costa Mediterranea, the Selva Disco. The Selva Disco is equipped with a modern stereo system, extending over two decks and has built-in bar with plenty of seating. Overall, Disco is very inviting and appealing.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Located on Deck 2 and 3, as on almost all cruise ships in the bow the great theater. On the Costa Mediterranea it is called Osiris and the theater can accommodate a total of three decks. Contrary to our expectations, the theater is almost classic and simple in design, all seats have small tables where drinks can be parked. This is practical and not universally standard.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

On the port and starboard side of the Osiris Theatre are tucked two long passages that call themselves Winter Garden.While the colorful designer lamps on the walls and the wall paneling remember not necessarily to a conservatory but these two transitions are during the day as a perfect retreat from which one even has a pleasant sea view.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Calm down, it should not always go in Winter Garden, because this is at the same time on one side of the access to the Virtual World of Teens traveling on board. In the virtual world the teens can go to various play equipment car race or deliver a duel in virtual soccer. The offer is very diverse. The Squok club for younger guests is located on Deck 5 in the bow area above. Unfortunately, access to the time of our visit was not possible.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Kids & Teens under 18 years traveling onboard most ships of Costa Cruises now. More specifically, traveling up to two children up to 18 years for occupancy of upper beds in the cabin with 2 adults free and pay only the mandatory service charge. We are happy to inform you about regarding the exceptions in person. These rules.

On deck 3, the upper level of the Selva Disco and much of the public ranges. The Talia Lounge is located at the main restaurant Degli Argentieri and is recommended as one of the venues before dinner or as a chill retreat for entertaining evenings with friends and acquaintances. Comfortable lounge chairs invite you to linger and optical separations between the seating arrangements create an intimate atmosphere.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

At the rear, the Costa Mediterranea is the large main restaurant Degli Argentieri, which as a classic restaurant is available to guests with reserved tables in table two times. The walls are adorned by Italian designs and sculptures, the overall design is quite restrained and not overloaded cheesy. In addition to a variety of large tables with 8 seats have small groups, couples and families the opportunity to dine at significantly smaller tables. So we can also discover 2 or 4 tables in both the pane and in the open gallery during our tour.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Heart of the Costa Mediterranea is the Maschera d’Argento Atrium with the Maschera d’Argento bar as a central meeting point in the middle. Barstool made of leather and an elegant granite bar stone give rise to a quite high-quality impression.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Well, the colorful plastic lamps and the shrill tones not necessarily meet the taste of a typical German cruise guest but overall the Atrium of Costa Mediterranea quite handsomely. Particularly striking is already at this stage of our tour of the excellent overall impression of the ship. Noticeable signs of wear can be hardly recognizable and the cleanliness is excellent.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

A casino may, of course, not missing, looks at the Costa Mediterranea, of course, not very different from how on all cruise ships. Overall, this area shows but bright and friendly, not directly mediated the typical casino character. Beautiful are the various seating.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The casino is directly connected to the Grand Canal Bar Costa Mediterranea.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

It now leaves the casino on the starboard side, so you will find yourself directly on the Casanova Square. This open and spacious area connects the casino, the Casanova bar, card room and the front staircase together.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Even if the design is a little playful, so also the Casanova Square does not appear cluttered and tacky. The heart of the Casanova Square is a large staircase in Las Vegas style up to deck 3 The flooring consists mainly of granite, comes across as high and elegant. Only the Casanova Bar sprayed through the use of many gold elements a slightly oriental character.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Laterally from the main course of Casanova Square the traveler has the opportunity to relax and watch the hustle and bustle of the Casanova Square. In addition to different seating is separated separately a cardroom to find. Surely this has to even board games or as a meeting place for a little chat. The materials used here fall directly into the eye – Granite worktops, window sills marble, solid wood chairs and thick rugs nestle perfectly into a harmonious overall picture. We find the widespread statement, the Costa Mediterranea was the “most colorful” ship of the fleet, not applicable.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

In the area of ​​the front staircase, we switch to the “Bacco deck ‘(deck 3).

Now we see almost the top of Casanova Square, which is indeed connected by the staircase described to the deck 3. So lie directly above the Casanova bar the Roero Bar and Oriental Lounge. Italian chic with American influences fits as a description for the color scheme of the interior quite well. Comfortable lounge chair, couch many areas, a large dance floor framed by columns and glossy lacquered wood tables are the most striking features of the Oriental Lounge and the Roero Bar.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Compared to current new buildings in the Internet zone or the Internet Point with integrated library seems relatively small.For the separate room next to the Oriental Lounge is a quiet retreat where you can read undisturbed own or borrowed magazines or books.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Shopping fans are certainly in the Via Condotti store and buy there one or another souvenir, a new bag, clock or necklace.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

On the way towards the stern we cross again the region of the atrium, discover the Photoshop and Photo Gallery.

As on Deck 2 are the main Degli Argentieri Restaurant is a bar and a lounge upstream. The bar is part of Dionisio Dionisio Lounge and loads during the day for a cocktail, a cup of coffee or tea. In the evening meet for an aperitif or a nightcap.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

So we leave the two lower decks 2-3 and go up on deck 9 First welcomes us in the front area of ​​the ship Venus Beauty Salon, where the friendly staff upon request conjure a new haircut or offer completely customized nail treatments.

Next door extends over two decks of Ischia Therme Spa area with great ocean view fitness area, treatment rooms, sauna, Turkish steam bath, whirlpool and relaxation areas. The hot tub is a large area surrounded with glass walls, which are supported by white columns. This makes it possible to look directly from the jacuzzi in the gym and on the sea.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

As the Costa Mediterranea was put into service eleven years ago, as the Ischia Thermal Spa was one of the largest spa areas at sea. Today, size and design are certainly no more records on but ultimately convinced everything perfectly and brilliantly clean. The Costa Mediterranea is so far flawless.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

If we now also on the sun deck, then drop another first hot tub and large pool Armonia eye. Even if the design therefore on deck in typical Costa dress comes and we did not like the yellow Costa-lanterns still so convinced the excellent overall picture here. Flooring, pool tiles, sun beds, showers – how old was the ship again? Somewhere wear tracks must be found, we believe. However, stick to the shower head not even water stains, the glass sparkles in the sun as well as all metal railings and boundaries. The varnish wood railing around the pool deck glistens with the water on the Elbe to the bet, the Elbe water rather has a slight yellow tinge.;-)

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

We go further in the direction Armonia Lido. When Armonia Lido is in principle to the outside of the buffet restaurants. This is covered by a glass roof trailable (Magrodome) and exactly in the middle are the Cadmo pool and an additional Jacuzzi. The covered Cadmo pool has the same size as the Armonia pool and is well suited to swim a few laps.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Instead of the silver-colored aluminum-Chairs would certainly appealing wooden look and would create a warmer atmosphere than the bare metal. For Pool Events is a fully equipped stage available.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Extra space is now offering the Perla del Lago Buffet restaurant as well as the Posillipo Pizzaria. Both restaurants actually merge into a main restaurant at the stern of the Costa Mediterranea and although their age quite inviting designed and easy split.

The different dishes, salads and drinks can be found respectively at different stations, so that should hold at peak times the queues in particular limits.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Very good like the fact that there are still a number of inclusive beverages with meals at the drink counter. These are not “real” fruit juices but at least the offer is in direct comparison to competitors MSC here yet. Iced Tea, Coffee and tea are also still available for free.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

In the Pizzaria obtained at any time of the day quite a large selection of pizzas.

The real fun is the whole free area at the stern of the Costa Mediterranea. Besides the fact that this large outdoor deck is covered with real wood and surprised us very positively, there is another pool plus jacuzzi. We like to mention again that the optical state is absolutely perfect. For the supply of drinks is also ensured, since the Apollo Bar is adjacent to the region of the Apollo Lido.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

On deck 10 the water slide in the Costa Mediterranea is installed in its size certainly is, even after 11 years still standard, although, of course, no more cheers will trigger. The entire sun deck is spacious and incidentally occupied with wood. Sun beds are available in sufficient numbers. Too bad that there is no shade.

The kids pool on Deck 11 (Lido Squok) is actually more of a wading pool and somehow completely unattractive. Even in this area there is no awning. On hot summer days or in warm trades you are exposed unprotected to the sun and felt certainly rather Sahara atmosphere as refreshing water fun. In addition, although the completely flawless, non-slip flooring, but it has been heated up uncomfortably on the day of our visit on board. The outside temperature was a mere 24 degrees. Running without shoes is likely to be impossible in sunlight for children.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Best views and excellent food served in the à la carte Club Restaurant Club Medusa. This magnificent specialty restaurant is located on deck 10 and 11th

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The chefs offer an exceptional dining experience in an elegant and luxurious atmosphere in the Club Medusa Restaurant.The whole area is very open and flooded due to a glass dome light completely. Some places offer beside the culinary experience even one of the senses. If you sit on the balcony in the atrium, so it looks the same nine decks into the depth.Food in high altitudes could be called that.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

Only criticism as part of our tour aboard the Costa Mediterranea is the children’s pool, which would have loveless can not be made and no sun protection. The multi-purpose sports court on deck 11 before the signal mast leaves nothing to be desired, however. Sea breeze is likely to provide a permanent cooling also, if it blows then.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The ship can be seen in a wonderful condition and the age of at least 11 years nowhere. In our view, the design for a cruise ship in the Costa fleet is still rather be described as cautious and discreet. Of course, the taste of German cruise passengers the coloring is not necessarily true but convinced the ship in all respects.

Photo: Ocean Liner Pictures

The lunch buffet at the restaurant meets the expectations for a oriented for international guests breakfast and can basically nothing to be desired. In addition to hot and cold dishes, there is a large salad bar and different desserts are allowed for the grand finale are not missing too. Diabetes is of course separate desserts.

The ship is the way in many areas and barrier-free and therefore suitable for wheelchair users!

For more details, cabin information and recommendations on the routes you like to receive in person, call 04893-4288535 or send mail to

Complete picture gallery << aboard the Costa Mediterranea >>