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Hope you are all having a great summer.
Thought as it is summer, I would send out a piece I wrote for a website on my trip on the Queen Mary 2 -- a wonderful example of great customer service and experience marketing.
Note: I have no connection with Cunard. I do not work for them. I did lecture some years ago as a passenger and six years ago wrote an article about the QE2 for a website, but have never received any monies from the company.
I am just a fan of Cunard since 1964! I also have no connection with the Paul Revere House. It has just been one of my favorite places since I was five years old.





by Phyllis Barr


Phyllis Barr


Corporate Culture MarketingSM by Barr Consulting Services

New York, NY





On July 1st I sailed out of Brooklyn, New York, heading North on the Queen Mary 2. It was my first trip on this ship. I had traveled on the first Queen Elizabeth, the QE2 and the Canberra in the past. We were on our way to Nova Scotia, Canada and Boston where we would, appropriately, spend the 4th of July. Home to Paul Revere and near the homes of John and Abigail Adams, it is a special place to be on our country’s birthday!


The QM2 had her maiden voyages in 2004. To say she is large, doesn't convey just how big she is. She is 1,132 feet long; her beam is 135 feet; and she is 236.2 feet high. The ship can carry 2,620 passengers and 1,253 crew. Her average cruise speed is 28.5 knots. Her gross tonnes is 151,400 and her 157,000 horse power electric plant is environmentally friendly. The QM2, which has an extra thick steel hull, is built for transatlantic crossings as well as cruising.


In other words, she is a small city in herself with everything from shops to a planetarium to a theater, the elegant Queen’s Room, places for children to play, a pub, lounges, multiple computers in multiple rooms for passengers, and a variety of restaurants, etc. Passengers can also bring their own computers. There is also a CanyonRanch SpaClub on board.


Accompanied by a friend and a lot of luggage (evening wear included which is part of the fun of sailing!), we went out to Red Hook, Brooklyn. In the past I had sailed from the West 50's in Manhattan near my home, but the QM2 has a new pier in Brooklyn.


My friend said "farewell" and off I went up the gangway. Up I went to 6 deck. My cabin was beautiful and airy with a large porthole, blond wood, beige fabric, paintings on the walls, loads of closet space and drawers, a desk, couch, easy chair, coffee table and a large bathroom and a very comfortable bed. My wonderful stewardess introduced herself and throughout the trip was very helpful. There was a robe and toiletries and shower caps and large fluffy towels.


As soon as my luggage arrived, I headed up to a buffet lunch in the King's Court and then back to unpack. After dressing for dinner I went downstairs to hear some music in the Golden Lion Pub before going into dinner in the Britannia Restaurant. It is beautiful, with a grand staircase, two levels, and in the Art Deco style. Two friends were sailing and we were put at the same table along with some other former QE2ers. We were ten in all and very quickly were talking like old friends.


The first night I had the best grilled chicken with emerald green asparagus and broccoli and potatoes and delicious cake. The food is excellent with a large variety of choices for multiple courses. There is even a Canyon Ranch Spa menu. The service is top notch. One gets completely spoiled by the food and service.


The conversation flowed easily. I discovered that two of the people at my table had gone to the same university (that is where they met) and we all compared notes on past trips.  Before I knew it, it was after 10:30 so it was off with friends to the Chart Room for some music. Then to bed after a long day. The Chart Room is decorated with sea charts from times past and there is live music every evening.


At breakfast and lunch we were assigned to different tables and so I met a lot of people, mainly from all over the U.S. and England. It always amazes me how quickly the conversation gets going and the topics covered. I love the English breakfasts and the oatmeal is the best on Cunard ships.


We headed up to Nova Scotia the next day wrapped part of the time in fog. The fog horn, which has a plaintive sound, blew off and on. But there was much to do. I went to two lectures after breakfast, one on the theater and another on ships. After lunch there was a marvelous piano concert. I paid a visit to the extensive library and borrowed two books.


Then, of course, afternoon tea in the beautiful Queen’s Room which is filled, as are other parts of the ship, with historic portraits, photographs and documents – an historian’s dream! Met some lovely people and we met twice more for tea.


That evening was the Captain’s cocktail party which made it a formal night. There were two formal nights, one semi-formal and an “elegant” casual night. I love dressing up so it was a real treat. After a delicious dinner with the best beef in the world and with flowing conversation, it was off to the Chart Room again.


The next day I stayed on board while the ship was docked in Nova Scotia which I had visited several times before. I just relaxed, sat in a glass enclosed Pavilion as it was raining, and also checked and sent e-mail.  And, of course, I ate and ate and ate very happily, including an incredible cheese soufflé all the while having interesting conversations.


We arrived in Boston for the 4th of July. After going through the most organized immigration I have ever been through, I had an early lunch and went to visit Paul Revere’s House which I had first visited when I was five and last in 1992. The helpful taxi driver pointed out all the changes in Boston since I was there in 1992 and came back to get me, pointing out more sights as we returned to the pier. It is hard to believe that in his tiny house, Revere raised a family – he had two wives and 16 children.


The Queen’s Room, where we had tea and evening dancing and entertainment, was decorated in red, white and blue and stars and stripes. The English captain, wished the Americans a happy July 4th!


I returned, sat out on deck, and then had tea – I am always amazed at how much I can eat on board –  then ablutions, Pub and dinner. While we ate, we watched the fireworks which were beautiful and then off to the Chart Room, the best possible way to see them.


Sunday meant packing, shopping (there are a variety of shops including Hermes, H. Stern and the Cunard shop), seeing crew friends, and eating again and again. There was a wonderful jazz group in the Pub too. Then, after dinner, goodbyes which are always hard. We exchanged e-mails addresses and off to finish packing so bags could be put outside by midnight.


At that point, I watched some news on the large TV and went to sleep for a few hours. When I first traveled in 1964, there wasn’t even a radio in cabins. Now there is TV and computers and e-mails. Some of the young people found my tales of the “olden” days amazing!


Then Monday we arrived back in Red Hook at the crack of dawn. Had a 6:00am breakfast and then got ready to leave. Debarkation was quick and easy. I was home in midtown Manhattan by 9:30am – way to soon.


How do I compare it to the QE2? I must admit I loved the QE2. It is smaller and cozier and a place I was used to, but the QM2 grew on me as I learned my way around and when I got back, I felt homesick for it as I used to for QE2. By the way, the service and food on QE2 were also excellent and I spent many happy days on it over many years. Happily some of her crew is on QM2 and there is a feeling of continuity. The QE2 is now in the port of Dubai, having been bought by their government. At some point it will be an hotel and museum.


One more thing, my grandparents came to America in 1907 on two different Cunard ships in steerage. I always think of them when I am on a ship and of my late mother too who took me on my first ship trip on the first QE.  We had bunk beds in a tiny cabin. I wonder what my grandparents would think about my voyage which is so different from theirs. They were so brave as are all immigrants. I think they would all be pleased at how things turned out


Check out:


and which is well worth a visit. It is near the Old North Church and other historic sites.












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