I’m cruising the Atlantic on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 right now. I can’t think of a safer way to travel

Jun 11, 2022

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Editor’s note: TPG’s Ashley Kosciolek was hosted by Cunard Line to experience a transatlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2. The opinions expressed below are entirely hers and weren’t subject to review by the line.

Although the worst parts of the COVID-19 pandemic seem to be behind us, it’s understandable if you’re still hesitant to cruise right now. Apart from the usual logistics involved with cruising, you now must deal with new vaccination requirements, pre-cruise testing requirements and a slew of other mandates imposed by lines and the countries that cruise ships visit.

You also may still be worried about the risk of getting COVID-19 on a cruise. If that describes you, I have a recommendation for a type of cruise that might just be the best there is for keeping you in a COVID-19-free bubble: A transatlantic voyage on Cunard Line‘s iconic Queen Mary 2.

I’m currently sailing on the ship, a classic ocean liner that does weekly cruises between New York’s Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn and Southampton in the United Kingdom. Due to the nature of the voyage and the requirements for boarding, this could be not only one of the safest cruises right now but also one of the safest ways to travel, period.

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From extra precautions to limited interactions, here’s how an ocean crossing could help to keep you safer.

Boosters required

the close-up image of the COVID-19 bottle and vaccinated QR code on smartphone with the black backdrop
Booster shots are required to sail on Cunard’s vessels. (Photo by Narumon Bowonkitwanchai/Getty Images)

Cunard is the first major cruise line to mandate that passengers on all of its ships’ itineraries — not just transatlantics — be up to date on their vaccines, rather than simply full vaccinated.

What’s the difference? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “fully vaccinated” means you’ve had your full course of initial shots, whether that’s two shots of Pfizer or Moderna or a single shot of Johnson & Johnson.

“Up to date” means that you’ve had a booster (or more than one) if you’re eligible, per whichever guidelines apply to you based on your age, your health and how recently you’ve been fully vaccinated.

Related: The ultimate guide to picking a cruise line

It makes sense that Cunard would require cruisers to be up to date as a precaution. Because Queen Mary 2’s voyages sail for seven straight days with no port stops, that means anyone who tests positive on board after sailaway is stuck on board until the vessel reaches its destination, no matter how sick they might be.

Cunard’s demographics also skew slightly older, and inoculation is key to protecting older passengers.

No port calls

Queen Mary 2’s transatlantic voyages sail for seven nights between Brooklyn and Southampton or vice-versa. There are no port stops along the way. That means the crew and passengers on board remain in a bubble throughout the sailing.

With no new players introduced and no interaction with locals in ports of call, there is no potential for “outsiders” to create additional exposure.

Because the ship has dedicated testing, isolation and quarantine facilities set up on board, any cases that are detected are able to be dealt with accordingly in order to contain the spread.

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Featured photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy.

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