Sailing with the Queen

Woke up feeling excited to be embarking Queen Mary 2 today! We had a bit of a lie-in and then went out to breakfast. Chose a place called Junior’s which was just off Times Square. It was heaving. Bob had eggs benedict which were quite humorous in appearance. I had a bacon and cheese omelette. Portions were enormous and I just managed my omelette but hardly any of the accompanying potatoes.
Went back to the hotel and got everything packed up and downstairs. There was a bit of a flap when we presented our 3 baggage checks for the bags we didn’t even take up to the room and which they put in store. Apparently you are not meant to leave them in the store overnight and they’d been taken away by security!!! They went and retrieved them but it was a bit annoying as we had said on check in that we wanted them stored till we checked out. Ah well….
Bob went outside and found a taxi with a large luggage space. We now have 5 suitcases ( 1 has the upholstery fabric in!) and the dead body (Bob’’s golf bag). The taxi took us out to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal where QM2 was moored up. It took about 40 minutes. Check in was orderly and took about an hour in all. By the time we got to our cabin, all our bags were there and some wit had piled them in front of the cabin door!!!!
Our first impression of QM2 is of a fabulously elegant ship, very understated but with a 1930s art deco elegance throughout. We were welcomed aboard by staff dressed in uniform, and bell boys in bright red uniforms with little hats, like in the film Grand Hotel. Our cabin, although an inside, has the same elegance with light wood and curved lines. A massive bathroom (double shower) not the usual rather small affair. We managed to get everything in the cabin, most of the cases going unopened under the bed. There was a bottle and a half of champagne as a welcome back present from Cunard, sitting in an ice bucket. Useful for the sailaway.
After we’d unpaxked we went for an explore. The ship is very large but has a long, sleek profile as befits an ocean liner, not a cruise ship. She has a tiered, scalloped stern which I love. The views from the top deck out towards Manhattan and Brooklyn were stunning. A lovely sunny day to depart, not as cold as it has been, but coats necessary.
We had a coffee in the casual restaurant, walked around the promenade deck and visited the theatre, the Queens Room (the ballroom and also venue for formal afternoon tea), the cinema and the Planetarium. QM2 is the only ship at sea with a planetarium. So much looking forward to the programme over the next week. I see that we have Ruthie Henshall on board as a performer and giving talks. There is also a research astronomer from the Royal Astronomical Society, a military speaker, an art historian, a film historian, an award winning international photographer. So a great programme of daytime talks and presentations. Of course there are the ships show group and excitingly a group from RADA giving performances each day. So wonderful to be on board. This is going to be totally different from our Caribbean experience on board Carnival. It actually makes me laugh to write that, even thinking about the contrast.
At 430 we had the obligatory lifeboat drill after which we hurried back to the cabin, grabbed our half bottle of champagne and went up to the top deck for the sailaway. It was pretty cold so we kept going inside to the indoor pool area where a band was playing – pretty good too. QM2 slipped away from her moorings at 515 with hooting of horns and lights on. The views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty were stunning. We sipped our champagne and bid farewell to NYC again. This visit was just too short for such a fantastic city. Absolutely love it there and next time we must stay much longer. This whole trip to the U.S.A. has been just fantastic. We’ve had a fantastic trip, one so much, spent time with people we love and made a lot of new memories to look back on. We will always return here so it is never too sad to leave. It’s never long till we’re back again.
We stayed up on deck as the ship edged toward the Verrazano Bridge and then passed under it. WOWOWOWOWOWWO the clearance was the smallest I have ever seen. The aerial at the bow literally cleared it by what looked like a foot! The radar ball was slightly lower but still very close.
After a short rest we went to the Royal Court theatre for the introductory show which was quite fun. The singers and dancers did quite a few varying numbers and a professional dance couple gave an amazing Argentinian tango.
Then into the restaurant for dinner at 830. Unlike Princess and P&O, Cunard do not offer Freedom or Anytime dining other than for the passengers in suites. You have to eat at either early or late sitting and you are allocated to a table which is fixed for the duration of the cruise. The tables are of different sizes and we have found its best to pick a large table ie 8 people because that way there is variety and less chance of being stuck with incompatible dinner guests. As it happens our fellow diners this time are 4 ladies plus another couple. Everyone was very jolly, no problems there. Dinner was excellent. I had a spa salad to start and then rack of lamb with cabbage.
Didn’t get up from dinner till 1030 we were chatting so much. Our main waiter is a lively chap, from Chennai. Turned right in after dinner as we were tired. The programme for tomorrow is so full we will have to make choices. Its great to have such a programme again after the relative dearth of activities on the American ships.