There are cruise ships and then there are ocean liners, and although, on the face of it, you may think they are the same, they are entirely different types of vessels, although their chief commonality is that they are ships which primarily carry passengers.
I know that sounds a little pedantic, but the fact is that the Cunard vessel Queen Mary 2 is the world’s largest ocean liner. It is true that Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas is the world’s largest cruise ship, but the roles of the two ships are entirely different as Queen Mary 2 was built to ply the North Atlantic between Southampton and New York in the fastest, and safest, time possible, whereas the main role of a cruise ship is to be a floating resort.
Cruise ships have certainly revolutionised sea travel and popularised a way of travel that has been dying out, and they have done that largely by copying land based resorts where the emphasis is on the provision of entertainment and activities. Queen Mary 2 was designed and decorated to evoke a bygone era of luxury travel, to pay homage to the great ships of the past when people travelled between ports with the distinct aim of reaching a destination rather than just to have fun at sea.
Because she is an ocean liner and not merely a cruise ship, Queen Mary 2 has about 40% more steel in her than your average cruise ship. This gives the ship the strength to cut through heavy seas, and allows her to travel up to 30% faster than a cruise ship.
Although she is certainly a greyhound, Queen Mary 2 does not want for luxury, and she is outfitted with much better fittings than you would normally expect on a cruise ship.
Unlike Allure of the Sea, Queen Mary 2 doesn’t have high diving shows, ice skating extravaganzas or ziplines, although it does have a large library and a planetarium. There is entertainment although it is perhaps a little more cerebral than you will get on some of the cruise ships. Also, she doesn’t host Elvis or any other themed cruises, she merely gets on with the job of sailing.
This ship is luxurious and she does have a class system, particularly when it comes to dining. For instance, Queen Mary 2’s most luxurious suites command their own reserved table in the elegant, single-seating Queens Grill restaurant. Passengers staying the in Princess Suites also have their own exclusive restaurant. There are other restaurants on board which are slightly less salubrious, but still offer an excellent dining experience.