What is the Difference Between the Last Ocean Liner in the World and a Regular Cruise Ship?

Planetarium theater


What makes the Queen Mary 2 unique

Launched in 2003 and named by the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mary 2 is featured at the top of many lists. As well as the last ocean liner, it’s also the most expensive one ever built ($900 million) and the largest of its kind, sitting at 1100 feet long and 200 feet above the water. For scale, that’s roughly the length of three football fields. It’s also the only ship in the world with regular transatlantic crossings from New York to Southampton, carrying 2,691 guests in seven days across the North Atlantic, says the Cunard website.

But there’s more. The Queen Mary 2 also houses the world’s largest planetarium at sea, along with the largest library of more than 10,000 books. It’s also the only transatlantic crossing with kennels, so you can bring your pets with you. The New York departure is so popular with pet parents that there’s often a waitlist to snag one of the kennels, so be sure to book early. And, of course, no pet area would be complete without a fire hydrant from New York and a lamppost from Liverpool. Dogs will be dogs, after all.

What to know before you go

Having afternoon tea

The Queen Mary 2 is known for its opulence. The bellmen wear red uniforms in white gloves, the cellar boasts 450 varieties of wine, and there’s traditional afternoon tea served on fine china, complete with a pianist or harpist nearby. If you’ve been saving an outfit for a special occasion, add it to your packing list, as Cunard has a dress code that encourages guests to wear cocktail attire in the evenings. The Queen Mary 2 has all the hallmarks of luxury without being stuffy as if you’re living in a classic black-and-white photo that has suddenly sprung to life.

The transatlantic crossing starts at $699 to $1,139 for an inside stateroom, depending on the dates of your journey. A room with a balcony ranges from $899 to $1,799, though prices are subject to change. Your ticket includes access to onboard restaurants, open-air pools, gym facilities, theater performances, guest speaker events, deck games, dance classes, and gala evenings — think tuxedos and ball gowns. And with that sturdy ocean liner construction, you won’t even spill a drop of champagne. Cheers to that.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.