S.S. AMERICA, S.S. UNITED STATES sailing on the 'All American' team to Europe

Comparo 2 Big U v/s QM2

Queen Mary 2 vs the United States, a comparson

 

queen mary 2 profile

big U profile

 

One of my favorite Car Magazine, Car and Driver, features a comparison between two cars types from competing manufacturers, IE Mustang vs Camaro.  Called ‘Comparo’ the articles follows a predictable format, test drive, scoring, the verdict, and stats.

As a passenger on both the United States and the Queen Mary 2, I thought it would be interesting to compare the differences between the two ships. Granted its not exactly an apples to apples comparison, more like comparing a Cadillac Escalade SUV with a Ford Mustang GT. However, the purpose of this comparison is to demonstrate how transatlantic luxury liners have changed in the past 60 years while still delivering a traditional ‘crossing’ experience.

 

R.M.S. QUEEN MARY 2.

+ The British persona, stabilized ride, getting there is still half the fun. A floating maritime museum. The last alternative to the needless haste and indignities of air travel.

Its no ocean greyhound but who cares. No more bon voyage parties.  Attempts to look like a classic ocean liner cannot overcome a strong family resemblance to  the balcony laden, floating condominiums profile of a Carnival line cruise ship.

= Transportation for those who still believe that staggering round a transatlantic liner in a dinner jacket with a martini is the normal, rational, reasonable way to cross the Atlantic. A grand ocean liner that preserves In style and spirit the classic the rituals of the traditional transatlantic crossing.

S.S. UNITED STATES.

+  Speed and good looks, the ‘Concorde’ of the North Atlantic liners. Friendly personal service. The freedom of being ‘unplugged’ no cells, TV, internet. A technological marvel loaded with ‘Wow’ factor.

The roller coaster ride in heavy weather, Strict class division cut the ship up and limited social opportunities. A troop ship disguised as a luxury liner.

= An American original. To sail on her was to experience a superb sailing machine with dashing good looks and comfort of an ocean going yacht

Edit
COMPARO
 R.M.S Queen Mary 2S.S. United States
PurposeOcean liner – cruise shipOcean Liner – troopship
Gross Tonnage:151,40053,300
Length:1,132 ft990 ft
Beam:135 ft101 ft, 6 inches
Height: Keel to funnel top236.2 ft175 ft
Draught:33 ft (10.1 m)32.33
Decks:1712
Horse power:157,168240,000
Propulsion:Four electric propulsion pods:steam turbine-quadruple screw
Top Speed:29.6 knots42 knots
Service Speed26 knots30-31 knots
Crossing timeNewYork – Southampton 6 daysNew York – LeHavre 4 days 7 hours
Capacity: Passengers2,6202,008
Officers and crew:1,2531,093
Maiden voyage1-Dec-043-Jul-52

 

CategoryMax scoreQueen Mary 2United States
Personal comfort*1076
Amenities1088
Interior styling1087
Exterior Styling1069
Power train10610
Ride1085
Total604345
Rank21
* Relative to its time 1952 v/s the 1990's

At 53,300 gross registered tons and 280,000 horsepower, the United States is the Ferrari of the two. Her design follows the universal formula for speed; pack the maximum horsepower in the light long hull. The end result was a superb racing machine that delivered a maiden voyage crossing in three days, ten hours, and forty minutes. She is the product of a time when speed and comfort were found at sea, when big fast ships were objects of national pride and, if needed, quickly turned into troops ships ready to speed to an engagement.

At 151,400 gross registered tons and 157,169 horsepower, the Queen Mary 2 provides a crossing in just under 7 days. The ship follows the Carnival Corporation formula for maximizing profits. Maximum revenue =  volume to provide an exceptional high ratio of balcony cabins at a premium charge, + slow speed to lower fuel cost + each day at sea generates more cash register revenue. The end result is a cruise ship built to withstand the rigors of regular North Atlantic crossings and make a profit. It’s a winning formula that appeals to Carnival stockholders and passengers who seek a relaxing, civilized crossing. 

HOME PAGE SS UNITED STATES

SAVING THE UNITED STATES

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS  
Column1R.M.S Queen Mary 2S.S. United States
PurposeOcean liner - cruise shipOcean Liner - troopship
Gross Tonnage:15140053300
Length:1,132 ft990 ft
Beam:135 ft101 ft, 6 inches
Height: Keel to funnel top236.2 ft175 ft
Draught:33 ft (10.1 m)32.33
Decks:1712
Horse power:157168240000
Propulsion:Four electric propulsion pods:steam turbine-quadruple screw
Top Speed:29.6 knots42 knots
Service Speed26 knots30-31 knots
Crossing timeNewYork - Southampton 6 daysNew York - LeHavre 4 days 7 hours
Capacity: Passengers26202008
Officers and crew:12531093
Maiden voyage3832219178

3 thoughts on “Comparo 2 Big U v/s QM2

  1. Edmund Squire

    I have to agree with this comparison, even though as “United States” was from an earlier time period of the 1950’s. I thought of her a giant sized U.S. Navy destroyer in rough weather and size of the “Big U” aluminum stacks was taken into consideration, as to navigating in rough North Atlantic seas. The on board passenger facilities and public spaces were for first and cabin class were very good and tourist class accommodations were good also. The food and service was also very good. Remember the “United States was completely fireproof with no wood material used in her construction, only the grand piano and butcher’s blocks in the ships galley were the only non flamable materials. The “QM2” being built almost sixty years later much bigger, had maxmium in port manovering abilities with no tugs and much larger than the “United States”. The “QM2” has two sets of large rough weather stabilizors. Her accomodations are the best, being this great liner was also meant for cruising in warm waters too. The “Big U” could do over 30 knots+ and keep a good schedule, despite any rough seas. The “United States” had eight super heated boilers in two separate boiler room spaces and four large steam turbine engines. The “QM2” has large diesel electric and gas turbine to maitain this ship(Built 2004) to maintain a good schedule, originally 6 days and then reduced to 7 days Transatlantic crossing at her highest speed of 29 knots. As we all know the “United States” was designed as a troop carrier for the U.S, Navy in time of war. I traveled o both ships, on the “United States” and with her while in Newport News Shipyard, Newport News Virginia, her birthplace in 1952 and on the new “QM2” on her maiden voyage in 2004. It’s quite a comparison of two great ships from two generations of true ocean liners.

  2. Mark Dietz

    Sailed on the SS United States westbound in Dec. 1967 with my Mother. We were meeting my Dad who was just returning from a year in Vietnam. Very rough winter crossing but the Big U plowed through the ocean maintaining it’s service speed. What a thrill it was. I was usually somewhere on the deck during the day. Between the ship’s high speed and the prevailing winds, it was difficult to actually stand on the open deck without holding on for dear life! Incredible ship, impeccably maintained. Everything sparkled as if the ship was brand new!
    Then in 2009, I took my family on the QM 2 eastbound. Although a different experience in many ways, there were a lot of similarities. In those days the QM 2 crossed in 6 days instead of it’s current 7, so you could really appreciate the speed. The daily shipboard routine was also similar. However, there was much more to do on the QM2 in terms of organized activities than on the Big U. My boys did exactly what I did as a boy, constantly exploring the ship, being on deck and watching the distinctive propwash that can only come from quadruple screw propulsion.
    I found that the QM2’s design to be an excellent compromise. One which provides an excellent opportunity to experience an authentic crossing but also catering to modern requirements and commercial success. It’s great to know that Cunard still provides that service.
    Great website, Thanks.

  3. James B. Jarratt

    There is no contest, in my opinion, as to which of these ships has the best looks. However, I do think the Queen Mary 2 is the most appealing of modern passenger ships. In general, I detest the top heavy apartment block design which is so common now.

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S.S. AMERICA, S.S. UNITED STATES sailing on the 'All American' team to Europe