Ah, the fresh sea air, the towering waves, the endless cocktails. How I miss it so. There is something else I miss greatly…the shopping on the QM2. In all honestly, before we set sail, I was already trying to find out just what kind of retail offerings were on the ship. This actually proved to be a difficult topic to sleuth out on the web! So I turned to the message boards. Would I be able to buy magazines? Bonine? Dental Floss? A dress for the ball? Nobody seemed too interested in any of these questions. So here it is everyone: your guide to Shopping on the QM2.
We shall start with the Mayfair Shops. Located just off the grand lobby in the center of the ship, they offer a wonderful array of cosmetic brands, including Chanel, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Clarins, La Prarie and more. While you can shop for wonderful perfumes and single items needed for your beauty regimen, what dazzled me were the travel gift sets. Estee Lauder and Clarins had beautiful packaged skincare sets and Lancome’s cosmetics case had everything you could need to keep your nose powdered at dinner. You could go nuts in here, as everything is tax free when the ship is out on the seas (but not in port, so be mindful of that). Actually, I think I did. I now have enough makeup to get us through 2020.
Attached to the duty free cosmetics store, they also have a small shop for sunglasses and sport watches.
But what to do if you packed in a hurry and forgot your clothing? Never fear! The shops on QM2 stock a variety of dresses, tops, cardigans (that’s jumpers to the Brits), pants, and skirts. Some of it was a bit artsy for my taste. Actually, Stevie Nicks might have a field day in there. But other pieces were quite nice. I added a sleek black top with zippered shoulders and a white sweater with lace cutouts to my wardrobe from the shop. If you just need something informal to keep you warm in the wind as you do laps around deck 7, or want to show off at the gym when you get home, you can also purchase QM2 sweatshirts and windbreakers in the shops.
Black always looks sleek when you are touring around at port.
Or throw a little pattern into the mix.
Just in case you gents thought I forgot about you, there is a small niche of the shop that applies to you too (we gave you a corner). This corner stocks bow ties, cummerbunds, pocket squares, suspenders, cuff links, and several sports coats and dinner jackets.
The room next door holds a great collection of pocketbooks, wallets, and costume jewelry. It’s pretty tempting. Maybe you do need that purse that looks like a poodle after all.
One of the more odd sights you will see on the Queen Mary 2 (and dare I say it, distasteful) are the “discount” stands that pop up in the lobby outside of the Mayfair shops. There is something unsettling about seeing the doyenne who glared at you on the dance floor at last night’s masquerade ball haggling over a $12 t-shirt and silver-plated bracelets “by the inch” the next morning.
Maybe I would feel very differently if this was a J.Crew Factory Outlet discount stand on the QM2. Yes, I’m sure I would! But I thought this regular scene of odd tops and marked down costume watches brought me down from the rush of the tax-free cosmetics bargains I had just scored in the proper shops.
Bargain hunting never seemed like such a rip-off.
If you are in the mood for bags of Cadbury chocolates or Malteesers by the gallon, you can head to the duty free general store located next door to the cosmetics counter. In there you will find alcohol, cigarettes, and chocolate (a chain-smoking hypoglycemic’s dream) as well as assorted useful sundries like toothpaste and bandaids. I would not, however, rely on this for any of your essentials, as the variety of sundries was in a word: slim. So pack that steamer trunk full of what you need before you get onboard the ship. That means shoelaces, manicure scissors, and mouthwash to you folks!
There’s also some seriously high end stuff to be bought on the QM2. Jewelry, both fashion and fine, as well as offerings from Chopard. Disclaimer: I did not go in the Chopard store because I had spend all my money on makeup! Just kidding. Ok truthfully, I found the empty shop intimidating.
There is also a cool little nook that features a gallery of photo accessories behind glass. I would not, however, depend on this photo shop to buy basics like SD Cards or batteries, because as far as I could tell, it was not open during our entire 14 day trip on the QM2. If I am wrong, and it was open, then it’s pretty bad marketing if the consumer can’t even tell that it’s open!
I have saved the best for last.
The BEST shop on the Queen Mary 2 is its bookshop, located just off of the library on Deck 8. There you will find paperback thrillers, gift books on how to mix cocktails, travel guides of New York City, Children’s books and even a sketchbook if you want to record your travels in paint.
For nautical history buffs, there is a nice section of books, particularly regarding the Cunard ships, but also other inspiring offerings. They also stock maps on which you can chart the course of your trip based on the noon announcements.
I was particularly delighted by the assortment of stationary items! Everything from pens to cute cards to beautiful decks of playing cards and fun bookmarks is stocked in this terrific shop on the QM2.
If you are in the mood for paperback bestsellers to read by the pool you are in luck in this bookshop! However, if you are looking for specialized subject reading or magazines, alas, there are none to be found on the QM2. Make sure to stock up on your own reading materials or visit the library onboard on the first day. For magazines, download any to your e-reader or tablet as the internet connection is slow or bring your own hard copies in your luggage.
For one last look around you can go back downstairs to the main shopping area.
If you are looking for small gifts for the folks back home, the Mayfair shops carry small confectionary items from Harrods, dishtowels, potholders, key chains, baseball caps, and purses.
There’s a little something for everyone to be found in the delightful shops on the QM2!