Skip to content

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

June 11, 2022
4 min read
I'm cruising the Atlantic on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 right now. I can't think of a safer way to travel
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter.

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

Boosters required

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.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

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.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by Cunard's Queen Mary 2 docked at the Red Hook cruise terminal in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more