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Special Travel Issue | noble crosssings

Queenly Succession

Side Trips: Travel Tips, Trends and Tools

October 13, 2002|RENEE VOGEL

In her day, the elegant Queen Elizabeth 2, renowned for her regal bearing and the amount of caviar consumed on board, has ferried everyone from the Queen of England to the Sultan of Brunei to Elizabeth Taylor. But soon the colonies will be seeing much less of the grande dame: The legendary liner is retiring from transatlantic sailing after 33 years of crossing the Pond between New York and Southampton, England. Beginning in 2004, the route will belong to the Queen Mary 2, the newest member of the Cunard line.

The 150,000-ton QM2, pictured here in an artist's rendering, is touted as the "largest, longest, widest, tallest and most expensive passenger vessel ever constructed." The massive ship will carry 2,620 passengers in 1,310 staterooms and suites (most with private balconies); 10 dining venues, including one operated by celebrity chef Todd English; a 20,000-square-foot Canyon Ranch spa; 14 bars; five pools; a planetarium; British nannies for the kids; and a pet kennel.

The QM2's 14-day maiden voyage from England to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in January 2004 is nearly sold out. Transatlantic crossings begin in England on April 16 of that year. The QE2 will end her once-a-year world cruise in New York in time for her last eastbound Atlantic journey, leading the way to London on a tandem crossing with her younger sibling.

Traditionalists still have time to book one of the QE2's final transatlantic cruises during her farewell season, April through December 2003. Thereafter, the cruise world's queen mum, which still holds the title of fastest passenger liner on the high seas, will sally forth on other England-based cruises.

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Six-day transatlantic crossings on the QE2 and QM2 start at $1,499 per person, double occupancy, including one-way air transportation, (800) 7-CUNARD, www.cunard.com.

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