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A transatlantic voyage involves any sailing that crosses the Atlantic Ocean. While many ships offer transatlantic journeys, the ocean liner Queen Mary 2 is the only one to offer a dedicated programme of sailings from Southampton to New York – a journey that epitomises slow travel.

From stargazing sessions to ballroom dancing, poring over ancient art books in the walnut-clad library to lounging on Cunard-emblazed loungers on a polished teak deck, a transatlantic sailing on Queen Mary 2 presents the chance to truly unwind.

Read on to find out why it’s time to book a transatlantic voyage on Queen Mary 2. 

Author: Kerry Spencer

1. It’s relaxing

When you’re sailing a seven-day Atlantic crossing, there really is no other option but to slow down and soak it all up. From the 8,000 books to choose from in the library to the luxurious spa and thermal suite or stretching with a morning yoga class on deck, a sailing on Queen Mary 2 offers the ideal chance to embrace slow travel. Wi-Fi is available for those who choose to stay connected, but it’s not usually a top priority when there’s a jam-packed programme and beautiful spaces to relax in on this wonderful ship.

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2. To learn new skills

Cunard is one of the best cruise lines for enrichment and learning. Take up Latin, Ballroom or Line dancing and show off your newfound moves in the Queens Room. Indulge in your love of art by signing up to a watercolour class or attend a talk by a leading artist on art history. Join a wine tasting session or sign up to gain a professional WSET (Wine Spirit Education Trust) certificate at The Tasting Room. It’s even possible to try your hand at fencing as you sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

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3. To stargaze at sea

Clear dark skies with little pollution are ideal for stargazing, making a transatlantic sailing one of the best opportunities to observe the cosmos. If you’re staying in a balcony cabin or suite accommodation you may want to cosy up on your private veranda for a stargazing session. Otherwise, we recommend grabbing a blanket and reclining on one of the ship’s beautiful teak loungers to soak up the stars.

During the day, grab a seat at the ship’s Illuminations theatre, home to the planetarium, which offers daily shows such as "Cosmic Collisions" and "Stars Over the Atlantic. To complement the planetarium showings, Cunard regularly invites astronomers on board to give talks and lead stargazing sessions as part of the line’s enrichment programme. 

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4. You can take your furry friend

The only cruise line in the world to allow cats and dogs to travel, Queen Mary 2 has 24 spaces for pampered pets in its Kennel Suite on transatlantic sailings. On a 2016 voyage immediately following the ship’s ‘remastering’, we met a fellow passenger visiting her pet dog in the top-deck kennels. She gleefully told us it was her dog’s 23rd time travelling on the ship.

Each dog has its own space inside the kennels and gets to spend time outdoors on a designated section of deck every day. Cunard has even installed a traditional New York fire hydrant and a 19th-century Liverpool lamppost in a nod to the line’s heritage and to make pets feel at home when getting their daily dose of fresh sea air. 

So if you can’t bear to be parted from your pooch the next time you go on holiday, you can always take them with you.

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5. You may make lifelong new friends

This can be said of any cruise or land holiday experience, but on Queen Mary 2 it is far more likely that you will really get to know other passengers due to the sheer amount of time spent on board. There are plenty of spaces to unwind in relative solitude, but if you want to mingle and make new friends, this is the perfect ship to do just that. From connecting over a love of wine at The Tasting Room to late-night conversations at Commodore Club, you’ll most likely have exchanged email addresses with several fellow passengers before you reach New York.

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6. To sip cocktails at Commodore Club

This Deck 9 haunt is a popular venue for good reason. A chic go-to spot for pre- and post-dinner drinks, the lounge bar has an outstanding cocktail menu. Sip on a tipple of your choice (we recommend trying A Transatlantic Love Affair), while chatting to other passengers or soaking up sunset views over the ship’s bow.

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7. To avoid jet lag

One of the many wonderful things about sailing instead of flying to New York is that you won’t encounter any sluggish jet lag when you arrive. Clocks are rewound one hour each day over five days of a transatlantic sailing (Eastern Standard Time is -5 behind GMT), which means you will step off the ship feeling rejuvenated and ready to explore Manhattan and beyond. Not only that, but for each day the clocks go back, you gain an extra hour in the ship’s luxurious king size beds.

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8. It’s a hassle-free no-fly holiday

Whether you have a fear of flying or are just looking to cut out the hassle of the airport, a no-fly cruise offers an ideal solution for travellers to North America. Simply pack up your car and drive or take the train to Southampton. A no-fly cruise means you can also pack more, since you won’t have to abide by airline luggage restrictions. Simply arrive in Southampton, breezily board the ship and make a beeline for the bar or buffet. There’s just one snag: you will need to book a return sailing to completely cut out air travel.

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9. It’s quintessentially British

It might be a cliché, but there’s no denying that most of us enjoy a good cup of tea, especially first thing in the morning. Cunard gets how treasured that first morning cup is, ensuring all cabins are equipped with kettles and Twinning teabags (not all cruise lines offer kettles in cabins). There’s also HP Sauce at the breakfast buffet, scrumptious daily afternoon tea presented by white-gloved waiters and frothy pints served at the traditional Golden Lion pub.

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10. It’s truly glamorous

The ship’s towering Art Deco Britannia Restaurant and the Grand Lobby’s sweeping staircases set the scene for roaring twenties nights and gala balls. Add the clinking of cocktail shakers at Commodore Club, the puffing of cigars in Churchill’s Cigar Lounge and the bubbling of flutes at Laurent Perrier Champagne Bar to the mix and a transatlantic voyage is a truly glamorous affair.

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