ABOVE: For a full-size version of Cunard's Queen Mary 2 infographic, click here. INSET BELOW: A pet wrangler pampers a Shih Tzu in Queen Mary 2's onboard kennel.
The word "shuttle" may seem inappropriate for Cunard's deluxe transatlantic service between New York and Europe, but the numbers say otherwise:
- Cunard has been transporting passengers back and forth across the North Atlantic since 1840, starting with the paddle steamer Unicorn and progressing through such famous liners as the Queen Mary, the first Queen Elizabeth, and the Queen Elizabeth 2.
- The Cunard fleet's current flagship, Queen Mary 2, will sail the equivalent of 12 times to the moon and back during the vessel's expected 40-year lifetime.
- Although many cruise lines schedule a handful of transatlantic "repositioning cruises" each year, Cunard is the only line with regularly-scheduled service for passengers who want to travel from North America to Europe (or vice versa) by ship.
In 2012, Queen Mary 2 will offer 25 transatlantic crossings: 19 seven-day crossings between New York and Southampton, plus another six nine-day extended voyages between New York and Hamburg. (This year's season begins in May on May 4 with a New York departure; the last crossing of the year will be a December 15 sailing from Southampton.)
If you're already looking ahead to 2013, you'll find that Queen Mary 2's first scheduled transatlantic crossing next year is on January 3, from New York to Southampton.
Not all of Queen Mary's 2 voyages are transatlantic crossings: The ship will also cruise in Europe during 2012, with sailings to the Baltic, Norway, the North Cape, Iberia and Spain. Cruises can be combined with transatlantic crossings at either end to create "Grand Voyages" that let passengers "revel in glamorous on board experiences with an extended roundtrip luxury cruise vacation."
For more information on Queen Mary 2's transatlantic crossings and other voyages, visit www.cunard.com.
BELOW: Queen Mary 2 leaves New York Harbour for Southampton, England.