Slower crossings ahead

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queenmary2ny.jpgGene Sloan’s report on his USA Today Cruise Log about Cunard extending the length of its transatlantic crossings to seven days has been exciting lots of comment.
Micky Arison, boss of Carnival Corporation which has owned Cunard since 1998, recently confirmed the longer crossings were being introduced in order to save fuel. Queen Mary 2 is the only ship sailing regularly scheduled services between Southampton and New York, and in 2011 only one of those voyages will be of six days.
When I travelled to New York on QM2 in 2006 the crossing took six days. In the 1930s, the glory days of the ocean liner, Normandie and Queen Mary frequently crossed in less than four days, and in 1952 the SS United States took the Blue Riband by travelling from Bishop Rock to the Ambrose Light in three days, 12 hours and 12 minutes, at an average of speed of 34.51 knots (63.91 kph).
Gene’s American readers are split. One says: “I hate it! Six days is plenty of time to enjoy the ship – the seventh day just adds additional cost and takes away a day from my European holiday. Now it makes less sense to use the Queen Mary 2 and to fly back home instead. Not a change for the better.”
Another writes: “Adding an extra day is a fine idea. There is no rush.” He adds, not altogether seriously perhaps: “Remember what happened to Titanic when they decided to speed up and save a day.”
A third says: “Complaining about an added day aboard a luxurious ship seems a bit silly and trivial.”
What do you think? Gene would like to know what British passengers feel. And so would I.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:30+00:00 19 March 2010|Cruise News, Cruise Ships|4 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Carl 20 March 2010 at 3:37 pm - Reply

    Anyone interested in learning about the great SS United States and follow developments as preservationists continue to work to secure her from NCL – please join us on The SS United States Group on Yahoo:

  2. Pete Marlow 20 March 2010 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Who wants to rush to get to America? Take it slow, take it gentle on the way, and then get the hell out of there as quick as you can. Seriously though it makes sense to reduce speed to save fuel and money

  3. Rob Lightbody 20 March 2010 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    For DECADES, QE2 maintained a high speed crossing of 5 days. Only when she was getting rather old, did they reduce this to 6 days to reduce the stressed and strains on the old girl’s aluminium superstructure.
    QE2’s predecessors (Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth) also maintained this 5 night crossing time, as did their rivals such as the Normandie,France and the United States.
    QM2 was designed, at great expense, to be capable of an ‘express’ crossing of 6 days, or faster, and it seems a terrible shame to not use the ship in the way she was intended. She is the ONLY fast cruise ship – she is utterly unique (now that QE2 has left service) in being able to achieve nearly 30 knots.
    Many of us are absolutely enthralled at being on board a magnificent liner while she travels at speed. Many people also still prefer to the crossing to flying.
    7 Days is purely and simply to make more money, saying anything else is spin.
    At the very least, they should make more 6 night crossings, and simply advertise and price them appropriately “the last express transatlantic liner”.

  4. Slow Jean 20 March 2010 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    You get an extra hour every day sailing from Southampton to New York so I think six days is quite enouth. Coming the other day you lose an hour each day becaus eof the clock change so they should make it seven days that way and we can get more sleep

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