Queen Mary 2 vs the United States, a comparson

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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.



+ 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.


+  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

  R.M.S Queen Mary 2 S.S. United States
Purpose Ocean liner - cruise ship Ocean Liner - troopship
Gross Tonnage: 151,400 53,300
Length: 1,132 ft 990 ft
Beam: 135 ft 101 ft, 6 inches
Height: Keel to funnel top 236.2 ft 175 ft
Draught: 33 ft (10.1 m) 32.33
Decks: 17 12
Horse power: 157,168 240,000
Propulsion: Four electric propulsion pods: steam turbine-quadruple screw
Top Speed: 29.6 knots 42 knots
Service Speed 26 knots 30-31 knots
Crossing time NewYork - Southampton 6 days New York - LeHavre 4 days 7 hours
Capacity: Passengers 2,620 2,008
Officers and crew: 1,253 1,093
Maiden voyage 1-Dec-04 3-Jul-52

CategoryMax scoreQueen Mary 2United States
Personal comfort*1076
Interior styling1087
Exterior Styling1069
Power train10610
* 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. 


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
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