Cape Town - One of the world's finest ocean liners is in Cape Town and she has just undergone a major remastering.
With a maximum capacity of 3 090 passengers and 1 238 crew, the boat which is about the length of four football fields at 345m is said to be running at about 90% occupancy.
And the stopover in Cape Town is the first for this majestic boat on her world cruise, following the £100-million refurbishment, which involved QM2’s public areas being restyled, including renowned Queens and Princess Grill suites and restaurants being given extensive enhancement.
She will depart Cape Town on Friday at midnight, with a one-day stop in Port Elizabeth, before continuing to Reunion Island.
'A year-around world-class facility'
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde officially welcomed the Queen Mary 2 as it docked in Cape Town on Thursday, saying “There has been significant investment into Cape Town’s Cruise Terminal. Initial upgrades, including baggage handling services, and reception and waiting areas, have dramatically improved our capacity to process cruise liner passengers.
In the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 cruise season, over 100 000 tourists travelled via ship to Cape Town.
At the end of 2015, Transnet National Ports Authority announced the V&A Waterfront as the preferred bidder of the Terminal Operator agreement, which is a 20-year agreement.
SEE: New Cape Town luxury cruise terminal finally gets the go ahead
“The V&A Waterfront have committed R50 million in the first two phases of its upgrades to the terminal, and they are ensuring this is a year-around world-class facility. Through our Project Khulisa growth strategy, we have prioritised growing the size of our tourism sector. Cruise tourism delivers significant economic benefits to our province,” says Winde.
Traveller24 was on board on Thursday to find out a bit more about what guests can expect, after she spent 25 days in the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg. Her keel rested a mere 850mm from the ground once the water had been drained as thousands of people, working in shifts around the clock, to ensure that work progressed rapidly for the lavish remastering.
According Peter Stratton, part of the QM2 entertainment team, all 172 Grills suites have received a comprehensive restyling and have been reconfigured to maximise space for the guests.
"The Grills dining experience has been elevated and the two Grill restaurants have been redesigned to offer more table size options and space. The King’s Court buffet has been redesigned to create a more open and central buffet area.
"The Carinthia Lounge – QM2’s Winter Garden – is now unrecognisable as it has been reconfigured into a refined, airy and versatile new venue."
The Verandah replaces the Todd English restaurant, the previous signature restaurant on board the ship.
Exactly 80 years after the first Cunard Verandah Grill went to sea on Queen Mary, the latest incarnation of The Verandah concept is now available on board Queen Mary 2 and offers contemporary premium French cuisine.
SEE: The Queen Mary 2 in monochrome
And they're pretty strict when it comes to their green policies too, with nothing being thrown overboard or expelled, not even the ships grey water.
The Queen Mary 2 will complete her World Voyage in April 2017, after which she will commence with her Transatlantic and North America programme.
ALSO SEE: Cruise season 2017: SA's ports to host magnificent cruise liners!
For those wanting to make the most of the upcoming cruise season - the following cruise liner are scheduled:
- Queen Mary 2 - 26 - 27 Jan
- Silver Cloud - 28 Jan
- Amadea - 29 Jan - 1 Feb
- Sun Princess - 2 - 4 Feb
- Silver Cloud - 7 Feb
- Silver Cloud - 17 Feb
- Silver Cloud - 27 Feb
- World Odyssey - 19 - 24 Mar
- Le Lyrial - 24 - 26 Mar
- Silver Explorer - 29 - 30 Mar
- Astor - 1 Apr
- Queen Elizabeth - 19 - 20 Apr
- MSC Sinfonia - 20 Apr
- MSC Sinfonia - 24 Apr
- MSC Sinfonia - 28 Apr
- MSC Sinfonia - 30 Apr
- MSC Sinfonia - 5 May
What to read next on Traveller24:
- PICS: MSC Sinfonia casts off SA’s Cruise Season
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- WATCH: Cruise through the arctic waters of Alaska and Antarctica in six-star luxury