As Christmas quickly approaches, I have been reminiscing about my Transatlantic crossing on board Curnard’s magnificent Queen Mary 2 this time last year. Thanks to a last minute deal with Iglu Cruise, I was bound for America to tick off a long time dream of mine – to spend Christmas in New York.
It wasn’t until after booking that I realised how elegant the Queen Mary 2 is and what a treat I was in for. She’s the largest, longest, widest, tallest and most expensive passenger liner in history. And she has an enforced dress code each evening – formal, semi-formal, or elegant casual – including a couple of theme nights which included a Black and White Ball and a Royal Ascot Ball this particular voyage.
Uh-oh. Wardrobes were quickly re-evaluated. Backpacking through South East Asia for three months en-route to London did not grant room for any luxury items, let alone clothing that would fit the required dress standards. Heels, an evening dress and even a tux (for Mike) were smartly purchased.
Arriving in Southampton at the QEII terminal on departure day, I stood and watched the concierge take luggage from passengers. As Louis Vuitton trunks and hatboxes piled high were loaded it felt like being transported back in time waiting to board the Titanic (which had also docked nearby in its time). There was definitely an excited buzz amongst passengers as we all waited to embark.
Opening the door to our beautiful balcony room, I knew I was going to be more than happy for the coming week. A bottle of champagne was even on ice to celebrate being on board and kick start the holiday.
Already a Christmas lover, being on the Queen Mary 2 during the festive season made the whole experience more magical with Christmas trees and decorations throughout the liner.
The fantastic thing about being on a cruise – everything is included (apart from drinks, tips and the casino), so you never need to carry cash. What isn’t included can easily be charged to your room, so it takes a lot of stress out of the holiday.
Between the several restaurants and room service, delicious food is available 24/7. The quality and selection is amazing and caters to everyone’s tastes and eating requirements. We ate A LOT including 3-course lunches.
Don’t try, or expect to go on a cruise and lose weight. Enjoy the cuisine.
When we wanted to have a break from eating, we were spoilt for choice with other activities, tournaments and things to do – the days usually weren’t long enough to fit everything in. There was also a gym, running track, movie theatre, planetarium, golf simulator, casino, library, indoor and outdoor pools, shops, galleries and tennis courts.
If that didn’t fill the day, there were fitness classes, lectures, workshops, evening shows, live music, cocktail hours with the Captain and 14 bars and lounges to choose from. No matter your age, or interests there is something for everyone on board. Boredom is never an issue.
Mike’s favourite – The Churchill’s Cigar Bar for pre-dinner cigars and whiskey. My favourite – spending several hours in the spa getting pampered with a massage and enjoying all the relaxing spa facilities.
There was also a nightclub, G32…
…Where I gave DJ-ing a go.
Another great thing being Westbound – clocks were wound back an hour on five of the seven nights so passengers were already adjusted to the time zone difference on arrival. This meant getting an extra hours sleep, or an extra hour of dancing in G32. The Captain also announced as we passed near the resting place of the Titanic.
Back to the food… Every day at 3.30pm there was a white glove afternoon tea service in the Queens Room where a selection of sandwiches, scones, cakes and tea were available. It was a very popular indulgence with passengers who queued some time before the doors were opened.
Arriving into New York by ocean liner was pretty special. Passengers were up on deck from 4.30am in the dark to watch the city’s famous skyline and Statue of Liberty come into view. Everyone held their breath as we passed under the Verrazano suspension bridge with only a few feet clearance above the funnel (guess the Captain has done it once or twice before though).
It was a bit cold…
The whole cruise experience was amazing – the staff were helpful and friendly, the service exceptional, food was top quality and delicious, plus the range of entertainment and activities was excellent. To top it off we met some wonderful people who we are still in contact with now.
After disembarking at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, I took one last look at the magnificent beauty and said goodbye just as it began to snow. Christmas cruising on Queen Mary 2. What a welcome to Christmas in New York!