So here’s an “Interiors” post that comes from my own life, and my own photos–which explains why they aren’t as panoramic or comprehensive as I like for this series. This is the Commodore Club, a bar aboard the Cunard ocean liner Queen Mary 2, a magnificent ship I sailed the Atlantic on in the summer of 2008. Though it may look just like a swank watering hole, in fact there’s an interesting amount of history, tradition and even a little bit of pop culture in the design, look and function of the Commodore Club. As you can see probably more completely from the photos below than the header image, the club is decorated in sort of a neo-Art Deco style reminiscent of the 1930s. Because the Queen Mary 2, which was launched in 2004, was built to be deliberately evocative of the original Queen Mary liner, which went on its maiden voyage in 1936, the physical and stylistic resemblance is very much intentional.
The Commodore Club occupies a unique space on the very large ocean liner: it’s at the very front of the superstructure, with its curved windows looking out onto the ship’s bow (which is off limits to passengers, probably to avoid people falling overboard while recreating Leonardo DiCaprio’s famous “I’m the king of the world!” schtick from Titanic). Thus one can sit in one of the comfortable chairs in the Commodore Club sipping a martini, which is what the club’s bartenders are known for, and look out onto the ocean with a relatively unobstructed view. My friend Magnus and I did exactly this just about every night we were aboard the QM2, while waiting for dinner to be served. Although that may not make it sound like much, if you’ve never been to sea aboard a big ship before, you’ll be amazed at how looking out at the ocean with no land in sight anywhere changes your perspective.
I think it’s also significant that the Commodore Club is at the very front of the ship. This is also where a lounge is located aboard the fictional starship Enterprise in the TV show and movie series Star Trek: The Next Generation. In that show the lounge was famously known as “Ten-Forward.” It’s very curious, isn’t it, that the real Commodore Club is not only in the same part of the QM2 as Ten-Forward is on the Enterprise, but they even look very similar. I’m convinced this is intentional. While on the ship Magnus and I even got to calling the bar “Ten-Forward” because of this resemblance.
The lounge aboard the fictional USS Enterprise was shown often in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which ran between 1987 and 1994.
The Commodore Club is located at the very front of the QM2. I think it is the row of individual windows at the very top of the curved white portion of the superstructure (the bank of continuous dark windows above that is the ship’s bridge).
Visiting the Commodore Club was truly one of the highlights of my voyage on the QM2, which was itself an amazing and fulfilling experience given my long fascination with ocean liners and the history of transatlantic ship travel. As it’s an amazing room in its own right, I thought it deserved an entry in this series. If you’re ever lucky enough to sail on the Queen Mary 2, pay the place a visit!