Royal Experience Aboard Queen Mary 2 Cunard Ocean Liner by May Georgina DeLory

Get fit, polished, pampered and delightfully oiled at the only Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at sea! You’ll feel the energy to succeed and learn how to do it in style—befitting a ueen—on board the venerable Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, part of the Cunard Line of ships, offering classic luxury and ultra-modern amenities between two continents. Getting there is half the fun. While on a six days’ westbound Transatlantic Crossing (Southampton, England to New York City), my adult daughter and I discovered new things about each other. It was our first ocean voyage and it just happened to be on a ship with a storied pedigree:



Cunard Line, Queen Mary 2. By the 1830’s the Industrial Revolution prompted Her Majesty Queen Victoria to invite interested persons to bid for a contract to provide transatlantic mail service. Samuel Cunard of Halifax, Nova Scotia won the bid and signed a contract May 4, 1839 to carry mail on steamships across the Atlantic from Great Britain to North America. Cunard, along with four other financial backers, began the North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, which later became the Cunard Line.

The original Queen Mary was described by Hollywood film star Cary Grant as the eighth wonder of the world. Grant timed his sailings to coincide with the Queen Mary’s Atlantic schedule. There are no ports of call during a Transatlantic Crossing which allows for the opportunity to immerse oneself in the Golden Age of Ocean Travel as heralded by Cunard for 170-years.

Queen Mary 2 was named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll in January 2004 and entered service on January 12th the same year. To date, QM2 has sailed the Atlantic 104 times — a journey for which she was especially built — and made calls to 115 ports in 45 countries. She celebrates five years of service in 2009.

QM2 Grand Lobby
It’s amazing how a touch of brisk sea air revs up the metabolism, emotional spirits, and can easily trick you into believing you’re Tarzan. Pace yourself and you’ll easily have more than enough to keep you busy without becoming exhausted. You can always just chill out for the entire voyage on one of the Queen’s famous cedar lounge chairs and dine like royalty. We decided to let it go full throttle. We learned how to tango with professional ballroom instructors, took acting lessons, enjoyed unique spa treatments, attended gala balls, explored a grand ship, met the captain, met interesting people at the Empire Casino and jogging on deck, sampled cuisine from around the world (it’s like a world gastronomic tour), struck a pose at the Veuve Clicquot® Champagne Bar, took hundreds of photos (one photo in particular at midnight during a foggy evening offered lots of atmosphere) and we still didn’t do everything we wanted to do before the end of the voyage. We decided the frantic pace we set ourselves was worth it and made our spa treatments that much more enjoyable.

The beauty of sailing with the longest ship at sea, the Queen Mary 2 — an ocean liner capable of withstanding the fierce lashings of an angry Atlantic sea — is that there is very little chance of repetition in covering ground aboard ship. There is always something new and exciting to do and new people to meet. Public spaces are enormous, glamorous, and lined with valuable works of art. For my daughter and me it was smooth sailing for the entire voyage to New York City, except for one morning during an acting class when I had tightened my waist belt one extra notch in order to regain somewhat of my youthful teenage figure. I thought I was becoming suddenly sea sick. I’m no expert seagoing female…but I’m a quick study. I loosened my belt and continued to play at reciting Hamlet along with my daughter to pretend (at least I pretended) that we would one day set foot in the 1,105-seat Queen Mary 2’s Royal Court Theatre a mother-daughter duo.

They say getting there is half the fun. On the Queen Mary 2 it’s more than true. Every crossing has celebrity guest speakers and programs on tap, not to mention the opportunity to get in shape over the course of the voyage with fitness classes, and to stretch the mental faculties with science and medical lectures. Jim Horne, director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, is one of the inaugural science lecturers for the new onboard Science and Sea program on the QM2 that began in April 2009. The Literature and Liners program showcases Christopher Buckley on an Eastbound sailing November 5, 2009 and The Kennedy Center Chamber Players New York City to Southampton, England September 8, 2009.

Canyon Ranch SpaClub® Queen Mary 2’s 20,000-square foot SpaClub, offers AquaTherapy Centre and well-equipped Fitness Centre. Yoga on QM2 outside deck.
One of today’s health and wellness trends is towards treatments using water. What better place to indulge in the miraculous benefits of H2O than beneath a waterfall in the Aqua Therapy Centre at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub® surrounded by the intense blue of the Atlantic Ocean? The AquaTherapy Centre is primed for sublime relaxation with sensory showers, whirlpool, ice fountain, aqua therapy pool, and locker rooms. The Thermal Suite relaxes with aromatic steam room, Finnish and herbal saunas, and reflexology basins. Try one of the airbed recliner lounges, neck fountains, or air tub and body massage jet benches before a sports, chronic pain, arthritis, first-timer or therapeutic massage. The Centre is complementary with a Spa Club Passport on the day of any Health & Wellness, Massage, Body or Skin Care treatment. We absolutely revelled in the onboard Canyon Ranch SpaClub and had no difficulty arranging spa appointments to suit our personal schedule.
Canyon Ranch SpaClub®
A jog on the ship’s open-air 360-degree Promenade Deck around the longest ship ever built (3 laps = 1.1 miles) is but one of the healthy activities available on the Queen Mary 2. Canyon Ranch health resorts on land and at sea set the gold standard in fitness, health and wellness, and spa treatments with state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and personnel that cater to both sexes at all levels of endurance. It’s possible to engage in a whole new way to live and view life after taking advantage of what Canyon Ranch SpaClub® experts have to offer. There are classes for the golfer, runner, dancer, cyclist, swimmer, yoga and cardio enthusiast and tips for pet owners. There is a kennel on the QM2. Canyon Ranch lecturer Dr. Joseph Alpert has given talks on bypass surgery and how to stay healthy, live longer and stay out of the hospital.

The SpaClub® is 20,000-square feet on two-decks (7 & 8) with spectacular ocean views and a staff of over 30 professionally trained spa associates. There is a hairdressing salon and a full complement of beauty treatments and well-being classes offered for men and women. You can get your teeth whitened to make any mother proud, your bones manipulated during a chiropractic session, your scalp thanking you due to a Wild Lime Blossom massage treatment, your brain cells multiplying from one of the educational lectures, and just in case the ship’s four stabilizers built by Brown Brothers of Edinburgh, Scotland don’t keep an even keel – which is unlikely – a massage for a queasy tummy is on tap; perhaps a relaxing drink in the Golden Lion Pub will do the trick instead, or at any one of a number of cocktails lounges.

Chandrika is one of the Ayuredic therapists on the Queen Mary 2. She says there are two main kinds of Ayurveda treatments offered on the QM2: Abhyangam massage and Kizhi (herbal pouch treatment) utilizing imported authentic Ayurvedic medicated oils. “Authentic” is the operative word here to keep in mind. Cunard is known for offering guests the highest possible quality of service to make your voyage a memorable one. Chandrika uses a special massage to reduce pain, inflammation, swelling and in the case of post running issues to aid in the removal of waste body by-products such as lactic acid.



Thai massage — where arms and legs are gently eased this way and that way for a long and careful stretch by the therapist– is one of the new treatments on the Queen Mary 2. The treatment makes use of pressure points on the body followed by deep strokes along body energy channels for cross-fibre friction massage. After our separate treatments, both my daughter and I agreed the Thai massage was an exhilarating experience that left us feeling taller, lighter, and full of energy to spare. The cocooning envelopment bed is another very popular relaxation treatment.

The SpaClub® is more than a place to get gussied up in one of more than 24 massage, body and skin care treatment rooms and ready for the numerous evening balls in the largest ballroom at sea in the Queens Room, or to be appropriately seen making an entrance down one of the sweeping staircases or in the always packed G32 disco. The SpaClub® is a refuge to discover your personal qualities at your own pace. The SpaClub® is also a place to learn the six steps to healthy eating for weight loss or weight maintenance. Canyon Ranch cuisine available in all QM2 dining rooms assists with a weight maintenance plan. The spa menu is extensive and exciting, designed by Canyon Ranch chefs and Cunard’s Executive Chef Jean-Marie Zimmerman. I think a week on the QM2 enjoying all the benefits of the SpaClub® is an ideal way in which to get ready for a wedding. All the services are available in one place…and what a special place this is sailing on the Queen Mary 2.

A personal meal plan can be organized during a Personal Analysis session to make things really easy. Issues of sweeteners, salt, carbohydrates, fibre and protein are addressed with nutritionally balanced meals. Canyon Ranch spa menu selections involve whole-wheat buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruit, salads using fresh herbs and quality oils and vinegars, soups such as roasted corn chowder with dill, lemongrass coconut chicken soup, soba noodles with seared scallops and cucumber salad, crab and mango salad, sushi, fish, raspberry mustard-crusted chicken breast, sautéed snapper with kumquat vinaigrette, seared beef tenderloin with truffle, and crème brulee with Grand Marnier liqueur make up just some of the sumptuous offerings.

Brandan, SpaClub fitness instructor, suggests for the first-timer to speak with the orientation gym instructor about appropriate classes and correct use of the equipment available to you. Brandan highly recommends a 60 minutes’ Personal Training session to make full use of the weight training, Pilates reformer work or Yoga/Pilates mat work. Brandan says often the PT sessions overlap into a custom nutrition plan for fat reduction and/or muscle gain. And for anyone taking part in a marathon pre/post voyage, a PT session will incorporate an LSD training and interval-training schedule along with stretching and strength training exercises, nutritional advice, massage, and advice to set a personal goal that leads up to race day.

And for those persons with mobility or physical limitations the “Sit ‘n’ be Fit” exercise class done in chairs and “Totally Tubing” class will teach you how to improve balance and muscle strength when getting up from a seat or toilet or when reaching up to lift objects down from a shelf, all very important movements as we age or recover from a prolonged illness where movement has been restricted. During one such class I learned that there was an imbalance on one side of my body. Strength training on this one side was in order. Just remember when you first board the ship not to let the elegance and grandeur overwhelm you so that you forget there is some measure of organizational skill needed to tap in to the ship’s extensive activities and spa offerings.

QM2 private veranda accommodation
On the first day before sailing there is an open house and tour held at the Spa. Spa services may be arranged in advance of sailing (up to 21 days) or once sailing has begun. Read the “Today’s Activities” schedule delivered to your stateroom each day for important information on the ship’s activities. This piece of information is invaluable. Keep it with you as you travel about the ship just in case you have a change of heart and find yourself wanting to use the putting and driving ranges, and golf simulator on a whim and find yourself instead near one of the many fabulous pools. In addition to the SpaClub® indoor pool, there are four outside pools one with a retractable glass roof. Healthy choices.

And what would a fitness/wellness plan be without exercising the mental faculties. Queen Mary 2 isn’t just a BIG BOAT that knows how to treat a lady of stature….you can add a few new brain cells while you’re sailing merrily along with Cunard Insights program of learning. There are lectures, debates, performances, workshops and social gatherings featuring guests on an international standing. The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) is a new part of the exclusive award-winning enrichment programming aboard the Queen Mary 2’s November 5, 2009 to April 29, 2010 Transatlantic crossings in association with Cunard Insights. Cunard is the sponsor of the festival’s World Documentary Competition. So if meeting film writers, producers, directors, actors and the like is of top priority to your enjoyment, then the Queen Mary 2 Insights program is for you.



Princess Grill Princess Suite
We weren’t surprised Cunard’s Grills Accommodation was awarded for 2009 by Berlitz top rankings for “Best Overall Food” & “Best Overall Service” with a five-star Berlitz rating among the Top Ten Large Cruise Ships. Additional information on Cunard is available in the 2009 Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships compiled by Douglas Ward a world-renowned cruise authority and president of Maritime Evaluations Group. Every moment my daughter and I spent in our Grills Accommodation felt like a lavish hotel room. We both can recall exactly how surprised and relieved we were to see multiple his/her cupboards and walk-in closet. But the walk-out private terrace with classic Cunard lounge chairs was the icing on the cake. Cool breezes and invigorating sea air. We also weren’t surprised that Canyon Ranch SpaClub was voted one of the “Top Ten Spas” by Berlitz. It all makes for an affair to remember.
Next trip we want to combine a Transatlantic Crossing with a short Getaway voyage to Europe. Summer 2010 will see the Queen Mary 2 sail five voyages to Northern Europe from Southampton and Hamburg, Germany. And fall 2010 from New York the Queen explores Canada and New England. There are many connecting points at the front and/or end of a Transatlantic Crossing offering excitement and legendary adventure. We learned Cunard sails the world, too, stopping at different ports of call, and does sailings into Canada’s eastern provinces for more of a sightseeing holiday than the historic six-days’ Transatlantic Crossing.