Cunard Line is bringing its flagship Queen Mary 2 back to the UAE in 2024, with a 21-night cruise from Dubai to Southampton, with the option of extending it into a 28-night voyage that includes a trans-Atlantic crossing to New York.
Queen Mary 2 cruised from Dubai in 2023 on her eastward voyage to Singapore and Sydney, where she spent part of the summer before returning to Europe via Cape Town, for her annual season of trans-Atlantic cruises during 2023.
Now, after cruising east via Cape Town again, she’ll return to Europe via Dubai and the Mediterranean, cruising the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea and transiting the Suez Canal bound for the UK, like so many ocean liners before her would have done in centuries past.
Queen Mary 2 is the world’s last remaining ocean liner in service. Although she was only built in 2004, the ship is the last of her kind, specifically designed for trans-Atlantic passenger service, as well as warm weather cruising in Asia and the Mediterranean during the European winter.
Queen Mary 2 will depart Dubai on April 7th, 2024. The 21-night cruise from Dubai to Southampton starts at $2,819 per person sharing an inside stateroom, while the 28-night itinerary, which includes a crossing from Southampton to New York, starts at $3,679.
Cunard Line calls Dubai a city of fascinating contrasts, “with Eastern and Western influences, extraordinary extravagance, stunning man-made resorts, and a culture that intrigues.” The city is a unique blend of glamour, architecture, and natural beauty.
Prior to boarding the ship, passengers can explore the city and its many treasures, from the unique architecture of Jumeirah Mosque, the heritage of Al Fahidi Historical District, and the chic galleries of Dubai Design District, to the wetlands of Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, or lunch at an Arabian camp in the desert complete with camels.
After departing Dubai, Queen Mary 2 will spend a day and two nights at sea cruising through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Indian Ocean, bound for Salalah, Oman. The city is renowned for its beaches, wadis and greenery.
Al Mughsail Beach is a quiet and wild stretch of sand, full of caves and blowholes, while in the city itself the Museum of the Frankinscence Land provides insight into Salalah’s history. The museum is set within a complex of ruins, with 186 miles of walkways.
It was previously a key trading post for the ancient port of Zafar, which in 2,000 BC shipped frankinscence to India and brought back spices. The ruins reflect the maritime history of Oman, which at one time had its capital in Stone Town in Zanzibar in eastern Africa. The area is beautifully lit up with lights at night.
Departing Salalah, Queen Mary 2 spends five nights at sea cruising through the Bab al-Mandab Strait (the Gateway of Tears) into the Red Sea, at the top of which lies Aqaba, the only seaport in Jordan, and home to world-renowned dive sites and excellent beaches. The real draw here, however, is Petra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is carved into the mountains.
Entry to the red-rose city, famously described as “half as old as time” is via a mile-long winding gorge known as the Siq, and once inside, guests experience walking the carved sandstone buildings that were the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom 2000 years ago.
Wadi Rum is another of Aqaba’s treasures. The salmon-tinged desert was famously used by Lawrence of Arabia as a base for his Bedouin tribes during WWI, and is just 35 miles from the city, featuring Roman fortifications, a Patrol Post and countless temples.
Queen Mary 2 then spends two nights at sea making for the Mediterranean. A day is spend transiting the 120-mile long Suez Canal, one of the most geostrategic pieces of water in the world, and the source of countless conflicts. Indeed, the Suez Crisis in the 1950s, is generally regarded as the moment at which the British Empire ended.
The following day finds Queen Mary 2 in Piraeus, the gateway to Athens, the ancient capital of Greece and the ‘birthplace of modern democracy’. The city is dominated by the Parthenon, a former temple built atop the Acropolis almost 3000 years ago.
From here it’s a leisurely stroll to the Arch of Hadrian (built in 2nd century AD) and the Kallimarmaro Roman Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held.
After another day at sea, Queen Mary 2 docks in Barcelona, a city bursting with tourist attractions, museums, iconic landmarks, parks, and other attractions. Its 2000 years history is evident in its landmarks and architecture, from the Sagrada Familia holy cathedral to the Parc de Montjuïc and the Magic Fountain, Palau de la Música Catalana, and the Boqueria Market.
The Spanish city of Cadiz is the final port of call before Southampton. Founded in about 1100 BC, it is generally considered the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in modern Europe. Packed with historic sites, monuments and an excellent museum of art and archaeology, Cadiz is a complex warren of streets, bustling bars and pretty beaches.
Catedral de Cadiz is an elegant, baroque-neoclassical, yellow-domed cathedral built between 1722 and 1838, Campo del Sur is a serpentine seafront promenade following the path of the city’s southern breakwater, and just outside the cathedral lies the Casa del Obispo museum, with 1,640 square yards of excavated ruins that bring to life the colourful history of Cadiz.
Queen Mary 2 spends another two nights at sea cruising the Bay of Biscay for Southampton, where the cruise ends on April 28th. Southampton is a vibrant waterfront city with a long maritime history as one of the principle ports in the UK. It was from here that the ocean liners of old would depart for all corners of the world during the golden age of travel, and The Titanic Trail, the QE2 mile and the City Walls all evoke this history.
For those passengers who book the full 28-night Dubai to New York itinerary, Queen Mary 2 will depart the same evening for North America, following in the footsteps of historical ocean liners on a 7-night trans-Atlantic voyage, the itinerary for which this ship was purpose built.