Cunard by no means disappoints; their ships are unfailingly lovely, luxurious and full with facilities, but they seize a glamour of days passed by. I’ve been fortunate sufficient to sail on this line a number of occasions, and am posting a journey diary I wrote throughout one in every of my voyages- a six-day crusing on the QM2. I hope you take pleasure in my notes of a ship with the aptitude of a bygone period.- Heidi
Wednesday – A Stroll in Olde Londontowne
We departed for London on British Airways (attempt the bed-seats in Enterprise Class – undoubtedly the best way to go!) and arrived about six hours later. Examine-in on the 4 Seasons Lodge was surprisingly fast (as an alternative of going to the entrance desk to register, the entrance desk got here to us – a consultant confirmed us to our room and checked us in there on the spot.) The lodge exhibited an Previous World European allure, that includes ornate all-wood hallways, giant visitor rooms with soaking bathtubs and bidets, and home windows that opened to an exquisite park under. We might see Buckingham Palace (and Her Majesty the Queen was residence, no much less.)
After a quick nap on a really cozy mattress, we determined to discover the town. London is likely one of the most wondrous melting pots of nationalities and cultures discovered anyplace on the planet. At Buckingham Palace, we noticed the Queen swept away in her limousine with a military of guards. Her Majesty waved to us as they handed by. A quaint customized: when the Queen is residing in Buckingham Palace, they fly a flag totally different than the standard “Union Jack.” When Her Majesty isn’t staying at Buckingham Palace, she’s often at certainly one of her two different residences, within the English countryside and in Scotland.
We additionally needed to see Princess Diana’s former residence, Kensington Palace. It’s largely hidden in a residential space, with gates locked, alongside what’s often known as “billionaire’s row.” We have been capable of see the driveway with a Rolls Royce sitting there in wait. The Palace was just like a big mansion within the U.S. and nothing too elaborate from what we might see from the residential road. Later, we visited the Nationwide Museum of Historical past in London. It left fairly an impression and the worth was proper, as there’s no cost to go to any museum in London. “Jolly good present” as they’d say in Londontowne!
We did some buying and have been intrigued by a quaint little store referred to as “Taylor’s on Previous Bond Road.” They provided my husband an old style shave utilizing a straight razor (full with scorching towels and face therapeutic massage) for USD $30. Then off to different shops, and loads of different good “buys” that caught my fancy, together with beautiful little fragrance bottles and cashmere gloves. (My husband thought-about a kilt with a tuxedo prime, though he already has two kilts.) Splendid little eating places have been all over the place, and we had “excessive tea” and scones that afternoon in certainly one of them. The quaint formality of the expertise was a pleasure – we virtually anticipated “Prince Charlie,” because the cabbies name him, to walk into our restaurant at any second.
On our method to these outlets, we handed the 5-star “Mandarin Lodge” full of reporters and paparazzi clearly awaiting the arrival of somebody very well-known. Was it Her Majesty?
The QM2, picture courtesy of Cunard
Thursday – Getting into a Bygone Period
Our cruise ship departed from Southampton, about 90 minutes south of London. We have been advised to permit two and a half hours for the drive, however mild visitors and our rented BMW made brief work of the journey. This allowed us additional time to digress via the suburban countryside of Southampton earlier than heading to the port. The nation houses had the identical appeal harking back to these in London, however extra spacious measurement and much.
Getting into the port, our gaze was irresistibly drawn to the Queen Mary 2. It’s merely awe-inspiring, even for the veteran cruiser. The QM2 is the most important, longest, tallest, widest and costliest cruise ship afloat at this time – a blessing provided that the excessive Atlantic seas could be a little uneven this time of yr! At 14 tales tall, the ship sports activities a black hull, a vibrant red-and-black smokestack, with every little thing else painted white. We made our approach on board and located our cheerful, immaculate cabin with our baggage already delivered. It was technically a B3 class cabin (a stunning room) that included a really personal hull balcony. Midway via the cruise we upgraded to a This fall cabin, how might we promote this cabin with out expertise? This spectacular suite had facilities corresponding to a deep, outsized whirlpool tub, a personal butler and a personal eating room. So that is what it feels wish to be a part of the Royal Household¦.
Our first dinner on board was on the Todd English restaurant, named after a well-known chef recognized for Mediterranean delicacies. A small surcharge as a part of this private-dining expertise was greater than offset by the distinctive delicacies and presentation of our meals. (We heartily advocate the meat tenderloin, and our sommelier confirmed good instincts with a superb Chateau Segur Bedoc, 1999 classic.) The piece de resistance of our meal was a heat chocolate torte, the within of which flowed out the second our forks touched the desert – chocolate paradise! A champagne social gathering was additionally happening outdoors the restaurant and we sauntered out for a couple of moments between programs to view the stunning skyline we have been abandoning in Southampton.
Friday – Eating in a Bygone Period
QM2 Grand Foyer, picture courtesy of Cunard
Cruises are recognized for his or her world-class eating alternatives and the QM2 lifts this fame to a very new degree with stellar delicacies for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus tea time on the British ship. My husband loved caviar with almost each meal – he appeared to assume he might get used to it on an ongoing foundation. We found there are three principal widespread eating areas on the ship. The place you dine depends upon your standing, i.e., worth of your cabin. Due to our cabin change, we acquired a particular invitation to the Queen’s Grille, sometimes designated for these staying in suites and the premium-class flats. Visitors in junior suites sometimes dine within the Princess Grille, whereas balcony-class and stateroom friends eat within the Britannia Room, that includes a wide ranging three-story grand staircase. This space appeared particularly “alive” with individuals who actually appeared to be having fun with themselves and their companions. We dined in all three of the widespread eating areas and may report that the meals is comparable in every. To make certain, there have been delicate variations within the facilities provided by every, however diners will probably be greater than happy with their experiences wherever they dine on board. The ornate settings, lamps and strategically positioned artwork featured within the eating areas and all through the ship contributed to the aura of being part of a bygone period.
Saturday – Complete Rest (or, Chilling Out within the Spa, Not the North Atlantic)
The spa choices on the QM2 appear almost infinite and may meet the wants of probably the most discerning cruise vacationers. Immediately’s objective: to be pampered, and the acclaimed Canyon Ranch SpaClub didn’t disappoint us. This 20,000 square-foot facility encompasses a vary of spa choices from conventional massages and facials to extra unique acupuncture and seaweed-wrap remedies. Visitors also can take pleasure in particular remedies for stress aid, anti-aging, and illness prevention.
I opted for a therapeutic massage and fell right into a blissful sleep midway by way of the expertise. After that, it was time for the thalassotherapy pool – in essence, an enormous whirlpool tub full with “deluge” waterfall (identical to it sounds) and scorching tub. We visited the thermal suite with natural and Finnish saunas and decompressed additional within the fragrant steam room. Ah, the relief: was I dozing, or was that basically Prime Minister Tony Blair sitting subsequent to me?
Sunday – World-Class Purchasing at Sea
By no means ones to overlook a chance to buy, we hung out at present perusing the QM2 buying district. The combination of boutiques was assured to accommodate each elegant style, whether or not you’re out there for jewellery, high quality clothes and the like from luxurious retailers reminiscent of Hermes. We have been thrilled to get a “deal” on a pair of pink diamond earrings and a silver-and-gold bracelet. All gadgets are duty-free (no taxes) and Cunard can pay any delivery/taxes anyplace on the earth for purchases you’d favor to not carry.
QM2 Britannia Balcony, picture courtesy of Cunard
Monday – Again to Faculty on the QM2
We determined to take a break from luxurious dwelling as we speak and expertise the QM2 enrichment and lecture packages. It doesn’t matter what your ardour, there certainly is one thing for everybody to broaden instructional horizons throughout this cruise. We began with a “Cooks at Sea” demonstration full of culinary ideas – have you learnt the best way to make Crepes Suzette? I didn’t. Later, we loved a lecture a part of the Cunard ConneXions program. ConneXions supplies visitors with the prospect to satisfy quite a lot of eminent personalities from all over the world invited on board to share their literary and educational experiences. Different enrichment alternatives embrace Oxford Discovery, Cunard’s distinctive “academy at sea” seminar collection hosted by professors from the distinguished College of Oxford. Particular readings and architectural design and horticultural workshops are hosted by editors of The New Yorker, Architectural Digest and Home & Backyard magazines, amongst others.
(Word: I needed to take the appearing class hosted by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Artwork, however alas, there actually was not time for every part I needed to do on this fabulous transatlantic cruise.)
Tuesday – “Illuminating” Leisure (or, From the Ocean to the Stars)
Our out-of-this-world expertise on board the QM2 was taken to a different degree this afternoon with a go to to Illuminations, the ship’s full-scale planetarium. Right here we loved a digital tour of the celebs and different visible spectacles in outer area throughout a crash course in celestial navigation narrated by actor Harrison Ford. I discovered how the QM2 crew’s predecessors used the celebs of the night time sky to navigate the seas way back. (A pleasant back-up, maybe, to the QM2’s navigational system besides that they haven’t one however TWO refined backup methods already in place, if required.) The planetarium additionally doubles because the ship’s grand cinema, 500-seat lecture corridor and broadcasting studio. A method or one other, you’ll doubtless spend a while in it throughout your cruise.
Wednesday morning – An Artwork Lover’s Masterpiece
From the second we stepped on board the QM2, one of many first issues we observed have been the various items of artwork on show within the public areas of the ship, in addition to its artwork gallery. It doesn’t matter what your inventive tastes, there appeared to be one thing for everybody. Our private butler advised us that greater than 300 worldwide artists have been commissioned to supply unique works for the ship, valued in extra of USD $5 million. My husband additionally snuck away for some time at present to take a look at the Maritime Quest Exhibit on board that takes one again to the golden period of ocean cruising. “To not be missed,” he assured me.
Wednesday afternoon – You, Too, Can Steer This Ship
We took a tour of the ship’s bridge, the place all steering and navigational selections are made. The knowledge we discovered was fascinating. Do you know, for instance?
The ship’s radar can decide up objects from 12 nautical miles away. Even so, particular person crew members are nonetheless used as “lookouts” since some objects – reminiscent of picket ships – won’t seem on radar.
The QM2 has the potential of being 100 % on autopilot. Because of this – no less than in principle – a “captain” isn’t wanted for steering and navigation until issues come up. (I emphasize “in concept” – the captain is ever-present and really a lot in control of his vessel.)
Within the occasion that hazard is noticed on the route forward (icebergs, and so on.) the ship can cease or change/reverse course in lower than one mile. For a ship this measurement, that’s the equal of “turning on a dime.”
Talking of icebergs, we “mirrored” the route of the Titanic virtually the whole transatlantic route. This was per “captain’s selection” – this (northerly) route is usually extra harmful late within the crusing season (i.e., close to yr’s finish) however is often not problematic in October. Within the occasion of any considerations, the ship can change to a “southerly” route, which takes it into hotter waters.
And lastly – should you have been to fall off the ship’s deck into the North Atlantic, would the ship flip round to get you? In all probability not, however don’t panic – a small jetty and the equal of a “SWAT” group can be shortly dispatched to select you up, then rendezvous again with the QM2. Nevertheless, the First Mate assured us that nobody had ever fallen off the deck into the ocean. (However simply to be protected, no multiple bottle of wine previous to that moonlight deck stroll, please.)
Thursday – Hakuna Matata (Swahili for “No Worries”)
We determined to spend an unstructured day, with nothing scheduled (or “winging it,” because it have been.) With the climate within the 70s (Fahrenheit) we determined to take pleasure in each the indoor and outside swimming pools located on three QM2 decks. I counted at the least seven scorching tubs (we will converse for having fun with 5 of them.) I completed the ebook I used to be studying and visited the ship’s well-stocked bookstore for an additional title to tide me over (no pun meant) on the best way house. In the event you’re disinclined to build up your studying materials out-of-pocket, notice that the QM2 additionally options the cruise business’s largest floating library.
Later within the afternoon, we loved the view from our balcony and performed a really spirited recreation of Monopoly earlier than packing our luggage for our upcoming arrival within the “Massive Apple.
Round 5 am we have been up on deck, (stunned so many have been up early) to view the breathtaking skyline because the ship entered the port of New York. The Statue of Liberty, really an awe inspiring sight, a view that has inspired the tens of millions who’ve come to the USA to make this their new house. Loads of cabs and drivers await these departing to take them to the town or airport. We opted for a fast journey to the town and this ends my little diary of a really glamorous and fantastic journey. What a sense to have been part of a history-making voyage aboard the Queen Mary 2.
Extra About This Fabulous Cruise
Little Essential Gadgets – We Observed
The Wedgwood China and Waterford Crystal are extraordinarily lovely. Cunard didn’t miss a factor in designing the eating rooms. Breathtaking heights, small lamps, items of artwork strategically positioned all through the eating areas – you do really feel a part of a bygone period when individuals had time to take a seat and watch life go by.
Extraordinarily good laundry rooms with cleaning soap offered – no cost for something in these cute launderettes.
What Will We Do for Six Days at Sea?
In case you are frightened about what you’ll do for six days at sea, fear not. I sat and watched the wave’s hit the ship from a hallway with window seats and little chairs scattered about. Virtually every night we have been late for dinner as there have been so many issues to do.
From lectures given by discovered Oxford Professors to completed physicians to artwork reveals from a few of the masters (the artwork on the ship is museum high quality) to Latin dancing, we couldn’t slot in every little thing we needed to do.
There have been definitely a couple of, but that is in all probability not the kind of cruise for little ones. However this might be a wonderful ship for a Caribbean cruise for all the household.
Our cruise was from London to New York. The friends record was numerous with individuals from all around the globe and all have been extraordinarily pleasant, as was the more-than competent crew.
The climate at sea modified drastically. The primary day it was fairly chilly after which the second day it was a minimum of 72 levels Fahrenheit.