Age: 31 to 40
Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Cunard
Ship: Queen Elizabeth 2
Sailing Date: n/a
Itinerary: Westbound Crossing Southampton/NY
In this Day and Single Accommodation, so there were lots of singles, simply travelling home or to holiday in a relaxed, jet lag free environment - A Big Plus For Single Travellers! Families, Couples, Singles from all over the globe - We had 1400 passengers from 15 different countries, 2/3 being British or American.
I dined in the newly renovated Caronia Restaurant, an elegant room with dark wood paneling and very comfortable arm chairs, large picture windows looking out to the sea. Service and Food was excellent, Five courses were served from platters presented by white gloved waiters. Single Seating Dining allows you to sit for dinner whenever you like in a two hour window for all meals. Our table sat for tea and coffee well after the restaurant closed in the evening, and the staff still buzzed all around us, replenishing coffee and telling us marvelous tales of past voyages. They were all Irish so I could have listened to them talk on forever!
The last time I sailed on QE2 I was in the Mauretania Accommodation and Restaurant which has the ghastly Main and Late Seatings - Caronia was a whole different world and well worth the extra $$ if you want to sail on this ship. I'll never go back to Mauretania!
I sat in the Lido to read and have mid morning coffee, but always prefer to take all meals in the Restaurant.
Days were filled with walking the expansive boat decks, they finally replaced the horrendous aluminum deck chairs with classic teak ones, being tucked in with a warm steamer rug by a Steward, then presented with a tray of bullion, coffee or tea. Sitting on deck, bundled up because of the frigid weather, breathing in the clear crisp ocean air --- I almost felt like we were on the Mauretania or Aquitania in the 30's, headed back to the pre-war days of America. Truly Romantic and Glorious!
The public rooms are thoughtfully designed for comfort and socializing, with two full decks of rooms, a wonderful library, great bookstore, Queen's Room for tea and reading, Bars, which don't open till 11AM and 12Noon on Sundays as a classic rule on a British Ship. The best part of the public decks are two cozy promenades that run the length of each deck on both side of the ship, with tables, comfortable club chairs and magnificent views of the ocean. Each section has beautiful arched passageways in warm oakwoods that open the promenades into the public rooms in the center of the ship.
Then came the roller coaster ride! At anytime of the year, the North Atlantic is an unfriendly stretch of highway between the continents, but no more than in the tumultuous winter months. NOTE: Travel 30 miles due south of Titanic's final resting place. As a member of the Titanic Historical Society, this was indeed the culmination of over 30 years of study and research into the ship and the other Leviathan's the crossed the ocean over the last century. It was truly a moment that I will always remember.
Entrance into New York Harbour gave us all the once in a lifetime chance to experience what so many of our ancestors witnessed as they emmigrated to America, our beloved Statue of Liberty, greeting us like the old friend that she is.
Disembarking was the usual frenzy on any cruise, but orderly and we were off in about two hours after docking. I stayed in New York overnight to take in the Glory of the City at Christmas. I went to the top of the Empire State Building that afternoon and had the luck of seeing the great ship headed back out to open sea, with many more destinations in her path.
In conclusion, The crossing was everything I ever hoped it would be, departing from the ancient seaport of Southampton, high seas, a stateroom that bordered on luxurious, a solemn moment on deck at the final resting place of the Titanic, elegant dining and quiet evenings with the camaraderie of new found friends that exist only on a transatlantic journey between continents - and NO JET LAG for once!
Well there you go! My take on a fabulous ship, a graceful elegant lady - There still is A Ship Of Dreams on the Ocean even today.
Definitely not for those who prefer the circus-like theme park atmosphere of the ships that ply the Caribbean trade. But if you love the sea and appreciate comfort, style and elegance - GO CUNARD! Getting There Is Half The Fun!