Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Something about Mary; A $160M Overhaul Has Resulted in a Stunningly Luxurious Liner

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Something about Mary; A $160M Overhaul Has Resulted in a Stunningly Luxurious Liner

Article excerpt

TRAVEL

with Ann Rickard

THE mellifluous sounds of the strings as harpist Lara Szabo played were a suitable match for the tinkling of silver spoons in china cups. Then there were the white-gloved waiters coming at us with silver trays of cucumber sandwiches and scones with jam and cream.

Welcome to afternoon tea on board Queen Mary 2, the most elegant of cruiseliners with an air of regal Britishness that takes you into a world of royal indulgences. QM2 sailed into Sydney Harbour on February 25, gliding past her sister Queen Elizabeth anchored outside the harbour.

Cunard's two most famous liners spent a day and evening in Sydney, with Queen Mary 2 even upstaging the Sydney Opera House after a $160million remastering. We were on board to experience this extravagant refurb on a three-day cruise from Melbourne to Sydney.

Fifty new staterooms have been added, with the new Britannia Club Balcony staterooms paying tribute to the original QM art deco heritage. A number of new single staterooms have been included to meet the increasing demand of lone travellers.

We attempted to cram in everything, and there was much, even though we spent too much time enchanted by the men dancers - senior men who know the difference between a cha cha and a tango - employed by Cunard to glide the ladies around the ballroom. Nine of these gentlemen sail the world on QM2 giving mature single ladies a chance to enjoy an old-fashioned foxtrot. Strict etiquette applies and no activity by the men other than dancing is permitted.

Dancing in the old-fashioned way is one thing, food and wine is another.

Queen of them all is The Verandah Grill - reminiscent of Cunard's original Verandah Grills for first class passengers only. Contemporary French cuisine (slipper lobster, magret duck, prune and Armagnac tart in our case) is served in grand tradition by formally dressed waiters who, at the end of a voluptuous dinner, will wheel trolleys of dainty petit fours and dazzling liqueurs to your table. …

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