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Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Review by Patch Nelson

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Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
Queen Mary 2 (QM2)
Member Name: Patch Nelson
Email: darren@goldthorpe.plus.com
Cruise Date: September 2005
Embarkation: Southampton
Destination: Transatlantic
Cabin Category: P2
Cabin Number: 10008
Booking Method: Local Travel Agency
See More About: Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Cruise Reviews | Transatlantic Cruise Reviews | Cunard Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5+ out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 5.0
Spa & Fitness Not Rated
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money Not Rated
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Queen Mary 2 (QM2) Deck Plans
Queen Mary 2 (QM2) - Trans-Atlantic
Transatlantic Review - September 2005

This is a somewhat belated review of the transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York that my wife and I took for our honeymoon in September of last year.

Some of the more regular visitors to this site may recall that we were having quite a few travel problems in the run up to the trip and quite a few people on this board had offered us some help and advice.

Thankfully, those problems were sorted out, without too much fuss and we got to Southampton in good time.

It is difficult to know where to begin, to give people an idea about QM2, as there are so many random that things pop into your mind every time you think back. I have tried to set out the journey day by day and it would probably be an idea to open this link (http://darren-goldthorpe.fotopic.net/) in another browser window as I will be referring to it quite a lot in the review, and there are quite a few decent photos there. Once you have opened the link, click on the section marked honeymoon but dont cheat by looking at the pictures first!

I suppose that things started well for this trip, seven or eight months before we even left. I had always fancied a cruise, although I think my wife would have just preferred a fortnight on a beach somewhere, I did manage to persuade her it would be a good idea.

With paying for the wedding, we werent sure that we would be able to afford the cruise as well, but we stumbled upon a travel agent at a Wedding Fair who operated a Honeymoon Voucher scheme. This allowed guests to contribute towards the cost of the holiday, by purchasing gift vouchers from the travel agent. Although we had some concerns about whether people would be put out by doing this, rather than buying more traditional gifts, it turned out to be unfounded. Our guests paid over two thirds of the cost of the trip, which meant we could extend our stay in New York from three days to seven days at the end of the cruise.

It got even better when we received notice from the travel agent that, completely free of charge, Cunard had upgraded us from the B6 Balcony room we had booked, to a Junior Suite, moving us into the Princess Grill, and giving us a whole lot more room. Hows that for an upgrade!

Like most people that I see posts on the website from time to time, the question of the dress code was at the back of both our minds. Neither of us have any problem with putting on a suit/tuxedo or evening dress, my wife loves the tuxedos and I love the dresses! I think any photos there are for a whole other website! The main thing we were concerned about was what to actually wear through the day. We got quite a bit of advice from this board, and I simply opted for a whole new wardrobe of beige, beige and more beige. As it was, we neednt have worried, as will become clear later.

We arrived in Southampton by train, at around 9.30 am, even though we werent required to board until mid day. Rather than dragging suitcases behind us through Southampton and taking in the sights and sounds of the city, we decided to simply get straight down to the Cunard terminal and just do the classic tourist thing, of staring at the ship for hours. We began to wonder if something was wrong when the taxi driver asked us if we were members of the crew, when we told him where we wanted to go. At that point, I began to think that we must have been terribly under-dressed, if he thought we were crew members.

At the risk of offending those who read this website, I think the real reason became clear later. At the time we sailed, my wife and I were both 29 years of age and, as I said, I really dont want to offend anybody, but we were, certainly as far as I can see, the youngest couple on board. I dont want to give the impression that the ship was full of geriatrics, or anything like that, but we did seem to be the youngest by quite some distance as well, although it really wasnt a problem, a) to us, or b) to anybody else, for that matter.

When we arrived at Southampton Docks we were greeted by the Queen Mary, towering over the Cunard building. Believe me, the building itself is no small thing, but to see the ship towering over it, like it did, was pretty impressive. The only slight problem at Southampton is that we couldnt get a view of the full ship, because the building got in the way. It took quite a walk to go from one end of the building to the other, and then to see the QM2 sticking out either end, with a bit to spare as well made us both stand there and wonder exactly how this thing stays afloat. I think for anybody boarding at New York it must be even more spectacular, as you get a fantastic view all the way down the side of the ship at New York, which really does look impressive. If you go to the photos page, the first five photos are all of the ship in dock, at both Southampton and New York. Even though we were there so early, there was still plenty of activity and a Cunard representative told us to wait in a small but comfortable lounge towards the bottom end of the building. She explained that we would be called to go through shortly.

We probably waited for perhaps an hour, again, no real problem, seeing as how we were so early, before we were asked for our luggage and we watched it taken by conveyor on board. By this time it had probably reached 11.00 am to 11.30 am and people started forming a queue outside the main departure area. We joined the queue where we got talking to a couple from Pittsburgh, who had come over on a previous crossing, spent some time touring England and Scotland and were now travelling back. I couldnt help but be a little jealous at that kind of itinerary.

My wife was quite fearful of motion sickness and this couple put her mind at rest, with lots of stories about their journey here and the rough seas!

As we entered the departure area, we began to see the full force of our upgrade. We were invited to join another line for Grills passengers, which had virtually nobody in it, and then within five minutes we were having our picture taken for the passenger cards. We were given a boarding card and sent through to the main gate area, to sit and wait for perhaps another 15/20 minutes at most.

The whole boarding procedure ran like clockwork, and before we had even set foot on the ship, we were impressed at how well organised things were. The only slight moan at this point was another Grills passenger who clearly took the view that as he had a gold boarding card, as opposed to a silver card, he really didnt have to queue up and would just walk past the queue and go straight into the boarding area. Clearly, he felt very important about himself, so nobody said anything, but it did start me wondering whether there would be an inherent on board snobbery with passengers from the Queens Grill. Again, thankfully, this was relatively an isolated incident and apologies to any Queens Grill travellers, it seems I branded you snobs unfairly.

As we boarded, we entered into the grand Lobby with the customary crew line up either side. Although you may have seen pictures of the grand Lobby on numerous websites, in the brochures and, if you are anything like me, on all the books you bought before sailing, you still cant help but get a tinge of excitement as you first walk in. There will be plenty of pictures of the grand Lobby later, but if you want to cheat a little, if you look at picture 12.1.2 you will see the area that greets you as you immediately walk in.

After nodding and saying hello to a few of the staff, we were then directed to the lift area where we caught the lift up to Deck 10.

We were staying in room 10.008 and retrieved our cases as we got out of the stairwell. As we were probably amongst the first 20 to get on board, I dont think the poor chap at the lift had had a chance to take them outside the room yet, but that really didnt matter, as he was very friendly and pointed us in exactly the right direction. As we turned away from the stairwell and into the corridor, we were again struck by how long the ship was. On Deck 10 there is virtually nothing other than rooms and if you look at photo 31 on page 3, you will see as good a picture as I could take of the long stretching corridor.

When we went into the room, we were both very impressed. We had seen enough of them in the brochures to know exactly what to expect, but everything looked clean and sparkling. Considering the housekeeping staff cant have had too much time since the last guests had left, they had done an amazing job. As we were on honeymoon, a complimentary bottle of champagne was waiting for us, although we resisted the temptation to crack it open straight away, because we both wanted to set off and explore. Photos of the room can be seen at photograph 7 and 7.1.

We made a few quick phone calls whilst we were still in port, excitedly telling friends and family about our room and what we had seen so far, before setting off on our own tour of the ship.

The first visit for us .. well, we are Brits, so it was the pub of course. We found the Golden Lion and were quite impressed by the size of it. We had expected it to be a little more claustrophobic, but Cunard certainly hadnt skimped on square footage, which really, we should have known before we even went in there. The Golden Lion can be seen at photos 3 and 3.1. We had a bit of wander around the ship with no real direction, simply looking at whatever was nearest to us from the map we had that we were interested in and then heading in that way. We found out early doors that although you may take plenty of wrong turns, it is never difficult to correct yourself, and there has clearly been a lot of thought gone into how passengers will navigate around the ship.

We went out on to the Propeller Deck as we called it, and I am sure that those of you who have been on the ship before will know exactly what we are talking about. If you have a look at photo number 4 you will see my wife and I standing in front of one of the propeller sections. To give you some idea of exactly how big they are, take a look at photograph 4.1, which is a view of the Propeller Deck from the Observation Deck.

We popped quickly into the Gym, which frankly, I certainly wasnt going to use whilst I was at sea, although my wife had some misguided notion that shed have the time to exercise whilst we were on board. Photo number 5 doesnt really do justice to the Gym which is lot more expansive than shown. I dont have a wide angle camera, and didnt want to waste too many pictures of a room that I certainly wouldnt be seeing much. From the occasions that we walked past the Gym, it certainly seemed well used, by a good few people.

We walked up into the Library, which can be seen on photo 6 and were both very impressed with the finish of the room. Not just the fixtures and the fittings, but the floors and ceilings themselves, all seemed in good condition and everything seemed to fit.

I ought to break off here and say that this was one of the things I have never understood when I read this site, prior to joining the ship. I had read that a lot of people complained that the carpets looked worn, I even read one rather ridiculous review when somebody complained about sea spray on their balcony! The carpets didnt look particularly worn to me, although there are, naturally, areas where the pile has been trodden down, but bearing in mind that this ship has around 2,000 passengers per journey, I am not certain that there is whole lot that can be done about that.

My wife made immediate use of the library, checking out a book for the journey and we carried on with our exploration before returning to the room. We made a few more excited phone calls before sitting out on the balcony to watch all the loading going on. Photograph 8 is a shot from our balcony, looking down the ship, and photograph 8.1 is exactly the same shot albeit when we were at sea.

At this point, we were met by Roy, our Cabin Steward, who I imagine had seen us return and knocked on the door to introduce himself and tell us what we needed to do if ever we needed any help from him. He seemed a pleasant enough chap, although I think we were a source of constant frustration for him, throughout the journey, for reasons I will explain later.

We were both feeling a bit peckish at this point, and decided that we just wanted something simple for the time being and opted to go for the culinary delight that is burger and chips from the Chefs Galley.

As there werent many people on board at this stage, we had our food on a plate within probably 2/3 minutes and whilst you are never going to write a review about the gastronomic pleasures of a hamburger and chips, we certainly had no complaints.

We went back to the Golden Lion and we were offered a soft drinks package. For $30 each, it was explained that a sticker would be put on to our guest card that would enable us to have all the soft drinks we wanted at no extra cost. As a general rule, my wife and I only tend to drink alcohol in the evening, rather than through the day, so that seemed a perfectly good option to us, which we took up.

My first little moan about the trip probably starts here. Having said I dont like to drink during the day, I have to confess my first order at the Golden Lion was a pint of Lager. Well, after all, I was celebrating! We had opted to pay for the prepaid tips/gratuities, and when the bill/receipt arrived for our drinks a tip had been added. We queried this and were told that tips were still added to drinks and such. At the end of the day, we are not talking a huge amount of money, but I was a little perturbed that I had already chosen to pay for tips and yet, here they were, being added again. Having said that, we soon got used to it and other than one small complaint that I will refer to later about the final account, we were pleasantly surprised with how affordable everything was on board.

We spent some time reading the daily programme, and decided that we would go to the Sail Away party later that evening, after the lifeboat drill. The daily programme listed quite a few events that evening, which included a Welcome Aboard show, a string quartet in the Grand Lobby, Ballroom and Latin dancing in the Queens Room, a harpist in the Chart Room, a Pianist in the Commodore Club and Golden Lion, and various events in the G32 nightclub. We opted to simply go to the Welcome Aboard show after dinner and then have an early night.

The Sail Away party was held on the Main Deck areas to the rear of the ship. Music was provided by Xtasea, the on board band, who were very good and did their best to get people going. We were given a complimentary glass of champagne and we were accosted by some chap with a video camera as we were drinking. It turns out hes a feature of most things on board.

There were a few small boats and such, coming past us as we sailed out of Southampton, who cast us a wave as we set off, but it wasnt too long before Southampton was completely out of view and we were well on our way.

We had dinner that evening in the Princess Grill and met our Head Waiter, John, amongst a host of others who ran the whole dining area with almost military precision. I think throughout the whole journey, we never waited more than five minutes to be served, or to have plates cleared. If we were low on water, we were topped up without really having to ask, and amongst all this they found the time to have a bit of a laugh and a joke with us also.

The wine waiter, Mildrad, turned out to be a real character, having quite a few tales to share. On the first night, neither of us fancied any wine with our meal, it was probably the thought of the champagne waiting in our room that did it, and when we declined the wine, there was no pushiness or anything like that to try and get a sale.

The meal was very filling and I think my wife and I probably rolled rather than walked to the theatre for the Welcome Aboard show. We got a few of the, what I would call bucket seats in the first few rows of the theatre and sat back for the show. That was the first and last time we sat in those seats, which we both found very uncomfortable. The Welcome Aboard show wasnt really that much of a show, as the majority of it was spent introducing various staff members and such. On reflection, I dont think I would bother with the Welcome Aboard show again, but after that big meal, we werent really in the mood for much other than sleeping.

When we returned to our room, we found the pillow mints, eagerly left by Roy and argued over who got the mint one and who got the orange one. It was actually a nice surprise after we walked up to the room, seeing a shaft of light coming under the door and wondering who was in there, we discovered that Roy had turned on the bedside lighting, giving quite a warm and cosy atmosphere to walk back into.

The daily programme for the following day was also waiting at the foot of the bed and we had a quick flick through to see if anything in particular took our fancy. Despite the fact that we had only got married 11 days earlier, my wife quite fancied the Wedding Vow renewals at Sir Samuels Wine Bar at 9.30 am, until I pointed out to her that there wasnt a prayer of either of us being awake at that time. We were quite surprised at how early everything starts going on board, as we certainly had no plans to be up and around before 10.30. We decided we would leave any decisions to the morning and left it at that.




Wednesday

We woke up to find a small card behind the room number plate, and were both quite excited to open and see that we had been invited to the Queens Room for cocktails at 6.45 pm for the Captains Cocktail Party. There were instructions on which entrance to use if we wanted to meet Commodore Warwick and we felt quite giddy and excited about being invited. Of course, what we didnt realise at the time was that everybody on board got one of these invitations!

We couldnt face the prospect of a three course breakfast in the Princess Grill, both of us still being full from the night before, so we decided that we would have a much more informal breakfast and go for the buffet style option at the Kings Court.

It was the first and only time we opted for the Kings Court for breakfast. Without wanting to sound too critical, it was like a cattle market, with the queues and there were quite a lot of people pushing past and jostling to get to food before others, and the food we did have was a little cold. I dont know if that is a regular feature of the Kings Court, but it certainly wasnt what we were expecting and it was enough to put us off that area for the rest of the trip.

We decided to do the 10.30 tour of the ship and as we made our way down to the Golden Lion my wife revealed that she was starting to feel a little sick. My theory was that it was more likely to be the sausage from the Kings Court than motion sickness, as I couldnt really feel the ship moving at all, although my wife insisted it was.

The tour was certainly very interesting and a good way to get acquainted with the ship. As it happens, we had seen a lot of what was on the tour the day before, when we carried out our own unofficial tour.

The tour guide, a Canadian chap, whose name I cannot remember, explained quite a bit about the finer detail of the ship and one amusing thing in particular appears at photograph 12.02. There are a number of mosaics and carvings around the Grand Lobby area. It was explained that there is a colourful metallic type, one for each season, (photograph 12.1 is of course Summer) and on the wooden faced carvings there is a carving for each continent. In the North American continent we were asked to look to see if we could see anything unusual. Apparently the carving contains a true American icon, and after no one could find this hidden icon, it was pointed out that the artist had etched Homer Simpson into the base of the space shuttle. This is ringed on photo 12.2, although you will probably need to click the full view to make him out. We all thought it was a bit of wind up at first, but it is official that Homer Simpson is part of the fixtures and fittings on board the Queen Mary II!

After the tour was complete I had agreed to go along to the dance lessons.

I should explain at this point that two left feet really doesnt do justice to my abysmal dancing skills and the only concession my wife had managed to get out of me was that I would go and watch the lessons before deciding whether or not to take part.

I was quite relieved to find that most of the people attending the dance lessons had abilities that could rival even my own, and I agreed that the following day I would take part. The lessons were run by Jacek, a dancing champion from Poland and Nicola from Liverpool. Jacek took the most control of the lessons, but both were very friendly, not to mention patient, and made the whole lesson in to a very entertaining and enjoyable spectacle, as well as something in which to participate.

The waters were quite choppy by this point, and I must admit I had begun to feel a bit of a motion as the ship pitched, but nothing that I found uncomfortable. I took picture 18.1 later that day in the Golden Lion when one of the waves covered the window, and put the pub in darkness for a brief moment. We opted for a simple lunch in the Golden Lion before spending the rest of the day generally wandering around and getting a better look at parts of the ship we had so far not had the chance to see, and have a good amble round at our own pace.

We returned to the room later for my wife to have a bit of a lay down, as she really wasnt feeling too good at this point, although what we found waiting for us at the room certainly perked her up a bit.

Following on from the invitation wed had earlier in the day to the cocktail party, we now had an invitation waiting for us to join Commodore Warwick and his wife at their table. It was a good job that we had come back to the room, as the invitation was RSVP by 3.00 pm.

We were both extremely excited at the prospect of dining at the Captains table. My wife decided to have a lie down and see if she could shake off the feeling of sickness and I immediately got to work on the email telling people back home about our first day on board.

We got ready nice and early for the cocktail party in the Queens Room and opted to queue for the entrance that took us past Commodore Warwick.

As we were introduced to the Commodore, we were both pleasantly surprised that he knew who we were, knew we there on honeymoon and commented that he looked forward to seeing us later that evening.

As we walked off, we discussed between ourselves how he knew of us and determined that perhaps there werent actually many honeymooners on board, so it wasnt too difficult a thing. We were nonetheless impressed that someone of his position had taken the time to find out that information.

The Queens Room is extremely impressive, to say the least. It is actually best appreciated when it is empty. Photos 16 through to 16.4 show the Queens Room at its best. The large dance floor, (16.4) is overlooked by two huge chandeliers, (16.3) with ample seating areas (16.1 and 16.2) running around the dance floor. Photograph 16.1 is the smoking area of the Queens Room and a place with which my wife became particularly acquainted.

There were quite a few drinks flowing and plenty of dancing, although my one hour spent watching others do it didnt give me anywhere near the confidence needed to get up and take part. We had a few drinks and simply relaxed and soaked up the atmosphere of the event, before we were again met by our old friend with the video camera who wanted to film us clinking our glasses together. There were quite a few people who waved him away and again there was no pushiness, when told that people did not want to be filmed, away he went on to the next couple. We were quite happy to oblige and spent maybe an hour in total in the Queens Room before deciding to freshen up prior to going to the Captains table.

It was quite interesting to see the Britannia Restaurant at its busiest. We entered as the second sitting was commencing and whilst the Princess Grill is very quiet and laid back, the Britannia is a hive of activity. That isnt to suggest that it has any kind of canteen feel, or anything along those lines. Everything still looks fantastic and certainly, the dome in the Britannia Restaurant is one of the most striking features on board, in my view. Photographs 23, 23.1 and 23.2 show the Britannia from that evening, photograph 23 is the Captains table, viewed from the second floor, 23.1 the large dome, and 23.2 is our picture at the Captains table.

I could probably write a whole review, purely on that night. We were extremely pleased to be invited to the Captains table, and my wife in particular almost in awe when she realised that not only were we simply sitting at his table, but she had the seat next to Kim, his wife.

We didnt know what to expect, either from Commodore Warwick, or Kim, but as it happens, they were two of the most down to earth people you could ever wish to meet. I am sure that when occasion requires, they can conduct themselves in a very formal and very appropriate way, but throughout the meal they were laughing, joking and friendly, not only with us, but with the members of the crew who shared the table, and the waiters serving us.

Kim in particular was an absolute delight to talk to, with so many stories. I could barely get a word in edgeways, as she and my wife set about on almost any and every topic imaginable.

Before things got going in earnest, we were a little bemused by Commodore Warwick who asked if we had sorted out our travel problems. We couldnt for the life of us understand how the Commodore even knew we had travel problems, and when we asked him he simply winked and said something along the lines of: We like to do our research on board.

After scratching our heads with that one, we were even more puzzled when later in the conversation the Commodore commented how nice he thought the church that we married in was.

We were at the table with two other honeymoon couples and Commodore and Mrs Warwick were both quite keen to hear tales of how each of us proposed and how the weddings went, and so on. After puzzling how the Commodore would know that we had experienced travel problems and how he would have any idea about the church where we were married, the penny finally dropped & This website. A few of the people who had given us advice on this site before our wedding had asked us to put some pictures of the wedding for them to look at, so they could keep an eye out for us on board. It turns out that both Commodore and his wife are quite regular readers of this message board and we had a bit of chat about it. Commodore Warwick explained that on more than a few occasions it took all his composure to avoid replying to some of the more critical articles written. He pointed out one in particular that had a go at both his wife and himself for never being at the Captains table. He pointed out of course that the Britannia Restaurant does have two sittings and they always dine at the second sitting. It is likely that whoever made that post was probably in for the first sitting and I think I do have agree with the Commodore that to expect them to eat twice a night is probably a little unreasonable!

The whole night was fantastic and a real highlight for both of us.

Kim explained to us that she is originally from Hawaii, somewhere my wife visited many years ago, with some fond memories of the place. One local delicacy in particular sticks out in her mind, when she told Kim about this one, she was extremely excited, as that is apparently her mothers speciality dish. I think the two of them spent the next 20 minutes waxing lyrical about how wonderful it was, as everyone else sat and listened to these two grown women talking themselves into raptures about food. I was made to tell the story of how I proposed, twice, by Kim; once to her and then again to the whole table. Apparently Commodore Warwick met Kim some years back when she was working for an airline and their respective flights were delayed. She explained that until she had met the Commodore, she had never ever even set foot on a ship of any kind.

After the conversations about Hawaii had finished, Kim indicated that next year the Queen Mary was going to Hawaii for the first time. She asked us to send her a note if we managed to book, because she was having a number of private parties on board and would invite us along.

We were both absolutely gutted, as we knew we had no prospect of affording to go on board again, so soon and the honeymoon had exhausted our holiday entitlement. Still, it was nice to be asked.

At the end of the evening we were both elated and shattered, my wife still wasnt feeling too great, so rather than going to see any shows or staying up late drinking, we again decided on an early night.

It was probably around this time that I spent the first long period trying to figure out the television in the room. I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only could we order films and music through the television, we could also place an order for Room Service and we both decided that we would have a bit of lazy morning and just have breakfast delivered.

Thursday

Thursday was a bit of an unusual day, compared with the previous two. My wife had woken up feeling even worse with sea sickness than she had the night before and she reliably informed me that the ship had been pitching quite a lot during the night, which of course I had slept through completely. We had a look on the television and apparently the previous day had been seastate 8. I am not quite sure how that managed to escape me, but clearly the meal the night before had done the trick for me.

The room service we had ordered for 9.00 am turned up at exactly 9.00 am. One thing that took us both by surprise was the sheer volume of what we ordered. When ordering Room Service through the television you have quite a list of a lot of different foods. I didnt fancy anything too fussy, so I had ordered toast and planned on polishing it off with some sausages, bacon and hash browns. Not the greatest of combinations, granted, but once I saw them on the menu the night before, I decided I had to sample them.

I had seen on the menu that there was both English bacon and American bacon available, regular sausage and Cumberland sausage, and one or two different varieties as well. I decided that I would sample both American and English bacon and both varieties of sausage also. I thought that I would simply get one of each as opposed to the two that were detailed on the menu. In actual fact, Room Service turned up with two of everything, effectively giving me two breakfasts to get through. I am sure you will all be pleased to hear that I loosened my belt accordingly and managed to do a cracking job of finishing it off.

The weather was much calmer outside than it had been for the first two days, when the wind had been really strong out at sea and going out on to the balcony for anything more than a couple of minutes at a time really wasnt possible. It is a shame, as the glass fronted, wide spaced balcony really was a great area. We talked about them and decided that we would probably be better off with one of the sheltered balconies on the lower rooms on the transatlantic crossings and having a big wide balcony like this on something like a Caribbean cruise. It was all pretty much fantasy as we knew we wouldnt be able to afford a Princess Grill room again, but nonetheless, it was nice to plan this Caribbean jaunt.

We looked on the daily programme and saw that Jacek and Nicola were teaching the Tango today and decided to have a lazy day up until around mid day and then take a walk down to the Queens Room.

I could tell my wife wasnt well at all when we got down to the Queens Room and she suggested that we just watch, rather than take part. After about 30 minutes of watching, she said she was going to go back to our room to have a lie down and I suggested that we just go straight to the Medical Bay and get her the injection, which she agreed to, all too readily.

I certainly didnt imagine that I would spend some time commenting on the medical facilities of QM2, but the staff there were very, very friendly, despite being clearly busy. The day before, there had been an announcement over the public address system that had gone into all cabins as well as public areas. Commodore Warwick apparently had a passenger who was seriously ill, and they urgently needed B-Negative type blood. My wife and I are both blood donors, but neither of us have that group. We were told later on in the voyage however, that the blood had been located and the passenger was doing well.

When we arrived the medical area, one of the nurses did seem to be getting a little irate with one of the passengers and understandably so. He was a doctor from Sweden, and from what I could see, was pretty much demanding that he toured the facilities, because he was interested in seeing what was available. The nurse was very politely pointing out to him that this is still a working hospital area, not a public part of the ship, although that seemed to fall on deaf ears. Thankfully, he did leave her alone eventually, when he saw that there were quite a few people waiting.

We hadnt phoned ahead for an appointment, which we found out afterwards is the suggested way of dealing with things, but nonetheless, the staff were very helpful and inside half an hour my wife had been given the sea sickness injection. She was warned by the nursing staff that it would make her very drowsy, but considering the lack of sleep she had suffered the night before, I think this was probably welcomed by her!

We went to get something else to eat, again we just didnt fancy the full lunch at the Princess Grill and decided on some simple pub grub in the Golden Lion again. After lunch, my wife was absolutely shattered and we went back to our room for her to have a lie down.

I think it is safe to say that within seconds of her head hitting the pillow, she was fast on, and believe it or not, that was the last I heard from her until about 7.30 that evening. I filled in my time by writing a long email to everybody back home, recounting the story of the dinner at the Captains table, not to mention Andreas marathon sleep. The email system in the room really is very useful. We were given a small keyboard, about the size of a laptop, which can be tricky if you are a clumsy typist like me, but passengers are only charged for the cost of sending an email. It would therefore make much more sense to type an email in the cabin, email it to a web based address, and then copy and paste it to the web if anyone tries to post on this board from the ship. The internet access in the library was very good and very reliable, there werent any times when I was on board when it wasnt working, although every time I used it to check the football scores back home, I was bitterly disappointed with the result, but can hardly blame that on the QM2 and the internet service.

I spent the rest of the day looking around some of the facilities on the top deck where the Boardwalk Cafe would be, according to the deck plan. It was never opened throughout the journey because of high winds, which was a real shame. However, walking round the upper decks and simply leaning on the rails and watching the ships wake disappear over the horizon was absolutely exhilarating, even if it was still a little blustery up there. Again, as I stood there looking backwards, I couldnt help but think how absolutely wonderful it would be to gaze out over a blue Caribbean sea and having the constant breeze from the ships movement to cool me down. I spent the rest of the day watching a film in Illuminations and touring the Maritime History section of the ship, something which interests me very much, but my wife has no great passion for it, so it seemed the ideal time to investigate.

Illuminations, the on board planetarium, really is an impressive looking area of the ship. It was explained to us at an OxfordUniversity lecture we attended later in the voyage that the whole design feature of the Planetarium was intended to look like a 1920s film house from New York. It certainly looked very grand and the seats were extremely comfortable. I do however, have a little confession and I will apologise now to anybody who shared the Planetarium with me on the day. As you sit in the red seats, which fully recline, when the dome is brought over you, I twice fell asleep in that position as I was looking up at the stars. If anybody was snoring, I have to assume that was me, and apologise now.

When I got back to the room, my wife was still fast asleep and she woke up as I took a shower to get ready for dinner. It was a formal night again, which meant the tuxedo was dusted off my wife had another chance to dress up in one of the numerous evening gowns she had persuaded me to buy before the trip.

The final amusing part of the day was that when we arrived in the Princess Grill, our waiters seemed almost surprised to see us. It hadnt occurred to us, but we were already in the third day of the crossing and we had only actually eaten one meal in the Princess Grill. The staff seemed very concerned about this, and genuinely so, asking if there had been anything wrong with our meal the first day, or if we were upset with their service at all. They were quite understanding about the Captains table of course, but did seem to take a little bit of a dent to their pride when we told them we had taken breakfast in the Kings Court and lunch at the Golden Lion. We assured them that neither of us were big eaters and one large meal a day was more than enough for us. I have to say that did both feel a little guilty seeing the looks on their faces, so decided that we would choose a reasonably expensive bottle of wine that evening, much to the delight of Mildrad.

We were rather late in finishing our meal, which is I suppose is one of the advantages of single seating dining as opposed to the two seating system operating in the Britannia. We had planned on watching the show in the theatre and missed the opening by about 15 or 20 minutes. We took up a large seat at the far corner, which was left pretty much unpopulated, because of the distance from the stage; it was however fantastically more comfortable than the bucket seats we had been in the first time, and we decided that for any future shows we would tolerate the distance in exchange for the bench seating and the extra leg room.

Despite only being awake for the best part of 3 or 4 hours, my wife was again feeling quite drowsy. Nicola and Jacek were due to do a couple of dances themselves as a demonstration in the Queens Room, and we went along to watch. I dont know why we did, because frankly, the sight of seeing these two glide effortlessly around a dance floor, compared with my own clumpy and decidedly less coordinated movements, made me sick. It really was impressive to watch two professionals, but after that we decided that yet again we would have an early night. Unsurprisingly, my wife was again the first one to drop of to sleep.

After the quality of the breakfast we had had this morning, I decided to book breakfast through the television for room service, before dropping off for the night.

Friday

I mentioned earlier that I thought my wife and became a constant thorn in the side for Roy, our Cabin Steward. It seemed that we made a start to our days much later than the majority of other passengers. As 10.008 is quite close to the front of the ship, we seemed to disturb the rhythm of making up the rooms for the day, and Roy often shared a joke with us as he knocked on the door and we told him we werent ready to leave just yet. On one or two occasions as we came back during the day to check out the daily programme, we arrived as he was making his changes, but assured him he was all right to get on with things and just ignore us.

Room Service was fantastic again, and we decided there and then that for the rest of the crossing we were going to be lazy and have breakfast in bed every morning.

The injection that my wife had had the night before had worked an absolute treat and when she had finally slept off the after effects, she was startled at the effect that it had had. She didnt feel in the slightest bit sickly and was raring and ready to go. Sadly for me, that meant attendance at the Swing Dance class with Nicola and Jacek at 12.15 that afternoon.

If the day before had taught me anything that you really dont have to take part in the activities, to still fill your time on board. In the first couple of days we had tried to do as much of the daily programme as we possibly could, but I had such a good time simply wandering around the ship and looking at things I hadnt had the chance to see, that we decided that there would only be two things from the daily programme that we would actually do. The first was of course the dancing and secondly a QM2 Scavenger Hunt that was arranged for 2.00 pm that afternoon.

A curious thing happened in the dance class when it appeared that I discovered I did have a right foot as well as a left one, and even if I say so myself, I didnt do too badly at all with Swing. I even found myself enjoying it and looking over at others who werent picking it up as quickly as me and feeling quite superior to them! If it is any consolation to anybody who struggled with the Swing Class, I was found woefully lacking the following day when it came to the Waltz.

We had a bite to eat between the dance class and the scavenger hunt and walked up to Sir Samuels, expecting to find the scavenger hunt was in fact populated by dozens of children, however, we again found that we were the closest thing to children there!

There were about 20 people or so waiting to take part, and we were divided into teams and the rules explained. I am sure you will all probably have guessed what is involved, but basically we were all given a series of clues that led to one area of the ship, where a further clue was waiting. The whole idea is that it helps you to get better acquainted with the ship and I was feeling quietly confident after my roaming the previous day that we were in with a real chance of winning.

Before I say anything else about the scavenger hunt, can I just here and now that we were cheated. Whilst I dont mean this disrespectfully, we were by far and away the youngest people in the scavenger hunt and I was pretty confident that we could get around the ship better than a lot of our opponents. Sadly, I can only assume that all our opponents were QM2 veterans and must have known the place inside out, because somehow we managed to finish absolute last. There was a couple from America who finished second from last, albeit a good thirty minutes earlier than us, who also said that they had found some of the clues had been moved, or hidden further away than they ought to have been. I am not really sure if it is true or not, but I would really like to think that nobody taking part in a bit of fun like a scavenger hunt would possibly have done something like that. Although it sounds very childish, we had a brilliant laugh, particularly watching the faces of the crew members that we accosted in our vain attempt to win it all.

The scavenger hunt had taken up a lot of the day, and we finished off by watching a Planetarium film before getting ready for dinner.

We ate fairly late and then made our way to the Queens Room where there was due to be another dance performance with Nicola and Jacek. The weather had got a little choppier by this time and even I could feel the ship pitching, although not unpleasantly so. There were a few occasions when people walking the corridors had to reach out and steady themselves on the handrails, but nothing too bad. If I am honest, I was actually disappointed about that, as I wanted to see how the ship coped in bad weather.

Because of the movement of the ship, the dance was cancelled. It was explained that neither Nicola nor Jacek wished to risk any injuries, which is of course entirely understandable.

Because the night had ended a little quicker than we had expected, we decided to venture into G32 where Xtasea were playing again and just to have a look at the place.

This is the one note of caution that I would give about reading reviews and actually paying any attention to them. You really should go along and do things and make your own mind up. Before we had set off on the trip I read a review on this site, which pretty much branded G32 as a complete waste of time. As a result of that, we hadnt bothered with it until circumstances dictated we might as well have a look. The atmosphere inside was very relaxed and party-like. Xtasea were playing very upbeat music but not so loud that conversation at the table was prevented, if that was what you wanted.

The music varied greatly, and both my wife and I thought back to the Friday night we had in Oistions in Barbados, two years earlier. Anybody who has been will know what it is like, but the locals basically turn up with sound systems on the back of their cars and trucks and turn what is usually the market place into one big dance floor. It is an amazing atmosphere and there were quite a few people getting up in the G32 and having a good dance. One chap, and I do apologise if you are reading this, in particular caught my eye. He was a grey haired fellow, almost certainly into his seventies, dancing away with a girl who looked to be early to mid-thirties. I just assumed that they were granddaughter and grandfather until she leant over and rather enthusiastically kissed him. All I can say to that is, those people who say that money doesnt buy happiness clearly didnt see the look on this chaps face & I think it certainly does!

My wife was busy singing along with some of the songs when Xtasea invited her up on the stage to sing along with them, which she politely declined. They wouldnt take no for an answer, and in the end she made a deal with them to get up and sing along the following night. I have a feeling that if she had many more of these Atlantic Breeze cocktails that she was drinking, (a mixture of vodka, cranberry and pineapple juice) then she would have been up there that night.

Friday had been set as an informal night and a jacket and tie isnt particularly great dancing attire, but I made as good an effort as I could before we decided to call it a night.

As I am sure you can guess, Room Service was ordered for the following morning, and for a change I think, I was asleep first.





Saturday

Room Service can pretty much go without comment. It was on time, the food was good. Perhaps the only interesting feature of the morning was that we awoke to the sound of the horn blowing. The ship was in quite a bit of fog and the horn sounded approximately every 10 minutes or so. It was quite surreal to look out through the balcony doors and be able to see absolutely nothing, other than fog. We couldnt even see the edge of the balcony, although this didnt last very long.

Saturday was a fairly big day on the daily programme. It included the final art auction, (we hadnt been to any) the Ascot Ball in the Queens Room and the Rock at the Opera in the RoyalCourtTheatre. Every member of staff with whom we had spoken on board had recommended the Rock at the Opera show to us as being the best show of the lot, so we were determined not to let our meal take too long and to watch the show in full.

We started off the day with the dance class as always before finding ourselves in two minds about the OxfordUniversity lectures that were on that day. I omitted to mention that the previous day we had attended a lecture given by Robin Neillands, about the cracking of the Enigma code. Mr Neillands was very knowledgeable and very passionate on the topic and the lecture was very interesting, although probably about 15 minutes too long. I could have wept at some of the questions asked of him, as they had been covered in his lecture only half an hour earlier, so it was quite obvious that some people really werent listening to a word he was saying.

We were surprised to see that the scavenger hunt was on again, but this clashed with a lecture on the Development of New Yorks Neighbourhoods and its MotionPicturePalaces. The lecture was actually very good and over the following week in New York, we spent quite a bit of time trying to spot some of the old buildings featured in the lecture and it made quite a change to actually have a bit of knowledge on the topic! Following the lecture, we stayed in Illuminations for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts 3.30 pm production. It was the first time that we had managed to attend anything that they had done through the week and although there was nothing at all wrong with what they did, I didnt really feel that we had missed out on anything. I would have perhaps preferred to have seen a full length play, as opposed to a lot of short features, but I suppose they have time constraints to work within.

The evenings entertainment was a bit of problem for us on this particular night. The Ascot Ball ran from 10.00 pm to 12.30 am and Rock at the Opera started at 8.45. If we wanted to catch both events, we were going to have to eat very early, which is exactly what we did. What we didnt realise is that one of the cast of the Rock at the Opera show had apparently taken ill and the show was cancelled. In order to put on entertainment for the final night, there was a bit of a switch around, and the Farewell Show was brought forward by a day, and Rock at the Opera put back for the final day. Luckily we found this out from the couple who sat next to us, so we stopped rushing our dinner and wandered about, thirty minutes late, to the Farewell Show, taking up our usual seat in the far corner.

Everything we saw in the theatre was all very professionally done. Watching the technical side of things can be every bit as interesting as the shows themselves. The theatre has a number of motors and such which move the stage around in various ways, and the lighting really has had no expense spared upon it. Generally speaking, the entertainment on the Farewell Show wasnt too bad. Quite a lot of it was done by a vocalist by the name of Greg Bonham. A fair number of people seemed to love what he did, but, whilst I wouldnt want to insult him, he really didnt sound much better than an average club singer to my wife and I.

We werent hugely impressed with the Farewell Show and left a little early to watch people arrive at the Ascot Ball.

A word of warning, if you attend this event. It gets extremely busy. In some areas there was standing room only and when the preparations were being put in place for the Champagne waterfall, almost everyone was up on their feet, trying to get a good look. In the end, my wife and I decided to give the rest of the ball a miss and made our way to G32 again, which, to our surprise, was reasonably well populated. I can only assume that quite a few other people got bored with the Farewell Show on the second showing and decided to make their way over to the nightclub instead. We took a seat towards the back of the club which I can only assume was done so my wife could renege on her promise of singalong with the band.

We didnt stay quite as long as the night before, but again kicked ourselves for not trying G32 earlier.

The final thing that I would advise anybody to do, and it is something that we took advantage of earlier in the day, is to take part in the express checkout service. Rather than queuing up at the Pursers Office on the morning of arrival in New York, the staff suggest that you register your credit card with the Pursers Office. Once your credit card is registered, the rooms account is charged to the card automatically and there is no need for you to queue up and get a final account. The account is sent up to your room for you to double check first, although more about that later.

Sunday

Sunday morning was probably tinged with a bit of sadness. We were both excited to be nearing New York and at the same time, I was looking forward to phoning home, just to check up on everything, as I had opted not to use the ship to shore phone whilst I was on board because of the expense. At the same time, the harsh reality of having to pack and the fact that this was our final day on board meant for a bit of a sombre start to the day. Having said that, I am sure you will all be pleased to know that I managed to finish off the Room Service breakfast with my usual vigour although I was horrified to learn that there would be no Room Service available the following morning. Oh well, I suppose one mornings breakfast in the Princess Grill wouldnt be too much of a trauma to overcome.

We also had a decision to make on the luggage, which could either be left outside the room at the end of the evening to be collected overnight and taken away, or alternatively could be taken off by the owner the following morning. Considering the lift was not particularly far from our room and that I would sooner pack everything in the suitcase rather than have another bag with me, we opted to simply take our own suitcases, which also meant we didnt need to be called by any card number and could leave the ship pretty much straight away the following morning.

Also, it was a little bit of disappointment, when we learned that we would be arriving in New York at about 4.00 am. Whilst getting up early wasnt too big of a problem for us, we had both envisaged sailing up the Hudson River and waving to the crowds on Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Oh well, it wasnt to be.

Even though it was the last day of the voyage, the daily planner was still packed full of activities. It seems that the final Art Auction was a bit of a red herring, from the previous day, as there was yet another final auction taking place today; this one labelled The Sequel.

We chose to simply have one final dance class, which was the Rumba and other than that decided to leave our schedule free until 5.00 pm when the Guests Talent Show took place in the Queens Room. For the record, I was hopeless at the Rumba, as well. At the end of the last class, we made a point of thanking Nicola and Jacek for the fun that we had enjoyed at their lessons throughout the cruise and also we bought an instructional DVD that they were selling. I have to say though, that your average living room really doesnt compare to the grandeur of the Queens Room, no matter how hard you try.

We took in a final show at Illuminations, before going back to our room for a bit more packing and venturing back to the Kings Court, or more specifically the Chefs Galley for a Hamburger and Chips. We felt it fitting to finish as we started!

The Guest Talent Show was a real highlight, too. One of the things that did surprise me about the ship was how laid back a lot of the passengers were. I suppose that before we departed, we expected a ship full of well off snobs, which couldnt be further from the truth. Having said that, there were one or two of them on board, but generally speaking the vast majority of the passengers were very friendly people.

My personal favourite on the Guest Talent Show was a fairly elderly woman, from Pennsylvania, who did her own stand up comedy routine. A few of her jokes were close to the bone and rather on the blue side, which was fine by me, although I do believe that one or two others complained directly to her, which left the poor lady a little upset, thinking she had offended people. I couldnt help but think at that point how welcome a feature some regular stand up comedy would be on board. I dont know if its everyones cup of tea, but personally, I would have loved to have gone to stand up comedy in the Illuminations, whilst some of the shows in the Royal Court were going on, that I wasnt all that interested in. I suppose it may not be to everybodys taste, but I would certainly like to see it at some point in the future.

We had a very relaxing dinner in the Princess Grill and everybody seemed to be excited at the prospect of seeing land in a few hours time. We splashed out on a bottle of champagne and, oddly, for the first time during our journey, had the chance to have a fairly long conversation with the couple next to us. Because we tended to eat at different times we very often arrived as they were leaving and vice versa; whereas today we had started our meal at the same time. They were a fascinating couple, originally from Germany, but able to speak flawless English, probably even better than mine, with my Barnsley accent. I couldnt help but feel a tinge of envy, when they told us that this was their third month in a six month tour of the world; that they were doing to celebrate their retirement.

After dinner, it was straight to the RoyalCourtTheatre for Rock at the Opera, which can only be described in the words of the daily programme, those being: spectacular. The costumes, music, lighting, choreography, everything about this particular show was absolutely fantastic. The last time we were in New York we went to watch a stage production of Chicago on Broadway and frankly, this blew it clean out of the water. It was one of those shows that as the performers moved from one routine to the next almost everybody was turning to each other and commenting upon how excellent the earlier performance had been. I could have very easily given it a standing ovation, if it hadnt been for the bottle of champagne and the three course meal I had put away earlier that night.

My wife and I both agreed that this show really ought to be the finale to the cruise as to watch that on day 5 and then the Farewell Show on Day 6 would leave the Farewell Show looking even more tame than it actually was. If anyone from Cunard does regularly read this board, I sincerely hope they think long and hard about moving the shows permanently.

Almost out of a sense of duty, we decided to go and have one last drink in the G32, although tonight it really did live up to the reviews I had read previously. I think almost everybody had gone for an early night, and there were probably only about 20 or so people in there. I can happily report that the old chap with the white hair was still dancing away with his considerably younger girlfriend, and still looking utterly delighted.

We were told that we would arrive in New York at around 4.00 am so I set my alarm clock for 3.30 and finished off the last of the packing, just leaving the clothes in which I intended to disembark.

Monday

I woke up feeling as though I had never gone to sleep at all, but made my way out on to the balcony to see if there was any sign of land yet. I was met by Tim and Fiona, our neighbours for the journey, who I havent really mentioned, but who were very interesting to talk to, and it turned out have relatives who live only two miles from us. It wasnt too long before we saw the glimmers of light in the distance, and I returned to the room to drag Andrea out of bed, kicking and screaming.

The ship was absolutely alive with activity, despite it still being very dark. Commodore Warwick was giving a history of New York over the tannoy as we approached and seeing the Manhattan skyline lit up as we sailed in was a spectacular sight, although the last time we were in New York, we did do a Harbour Lights cruise, so it was something we had seen previously. As enjoyable as it was, seeing it by night, I still couldnt shake the feeling that it would have been nicer to have arrived five hours later.

The Observation Deck was almost impossible to get on to, and instead, people tended to move from one side of the deck to the other, lifting their cameras over the glass screens to take a few pictures. It wasnt too long before we pulled into the dock at New York and I have to say that I am not all surprised that the decision has been taken to move away from the old dock. It is not particularly a welcoming sight, looking very old and very tired, but I suppose it did make for a good contrast of the old and the new.

We made our way to the Princess Grill for breakfast and were the butt of a few jokes from the waiters. I dont know if it was the shock of seeing us there for breakfast, or if they were still giddy from the tip we had given them the night before. The one breakfast I did have was very good but it convinced me that our decision to use Room Service throughout the cruise had been a good one, because I couldnt possibly have managed the dance class after polishing off one of the three course breakfasts in the Princess Grill.

Although the ship had docked some time before, it was still a hive of activity with people making their way to the Pursers Office to check out, and those like us, would had opted to take our own bags, wheeling suitcases behind them.

Unfortunately, my master plan to take advantage of the express checkout and avoid the queues failed dismally. Whilst we had been on board, we hadnt made many purchases, other than wine at the table and such, but we had purchased the photograph taken of us at the Captains table by the official photographer and we had also seen ourselves feature on the cruise DVD (our friend with the video camera) so decided to buy a copy of that. To my surprise, the soft drinks package that we had purchased the very first day had been charged to our account on four occasions, and we had been charged twice for the DVD and for the photograph. I had spoken with the Pursers Office the previous day, and been assured that a fresh account would be waiting under my door, but nothing had transpired. It took two further visits before this was finally sorted out, although the staff were very apologetic for the inconvenience.

Before disembarking, we were left with a bit of time to wander round, taking some last minute photos. In a twist of fate, Roy proved surprisingly elusive on this final day, although we did manage to track him down and give him a tip for all of his patience over previous week.

Closing the door to our room really was quite a poignant moment. We had spent the first week of our honeymoon in room 1008 and had had such a fantastic time; as we closed the door we both realised that we would both never see the ship or that room again, which did leave us feeling a little down.

Dragging our suitcases behind us, we said our goodbyes to members of the crew that we recognised and had spoken to at one time or another. It would have been nice to catch up with Commodore Warwick and Kim, but they were both of course, naturally, busy. As we walked off into the terminal building in New York, we seemed to walk from serenity into chaos, but I suppose thats always the best way look at New York.

Taking the chance to get a good view of the ship whilst she was still in dock, we took the pictures that I referred to earlier and debated whether or not to come back that evening to watch her sail away. We decided that we would probably only depress ourselves by doing that, so went to get on to our coach transfer.

I wont say too much about New York. It is difficult not to enjoy it, but the one area that was a real let down with the holiday was the whole transfer between the ship and the hotel.

We hadnt asked for, but had been given, a coach ticket, which allowed for a bus tour of New York, before arriving at the hotel. We had already done the tour before and really just wanted to get to the hotel, so had a word with the Cunard rep by the coaches, and they were quite happy for us to swap to the coach that had a direct transfer straight to the hotel as opposed to the tour and transfer.

Unfortunately we got a taste of things to come, as we sat on a bus for almost two hours before we finally got away. On more than one occasion we contemplated taking our luggage off and simply getting a taxi to the hotel, but every time we asked, we were assured by the driver that we would be leaving shortly. It did get very hot and uncomfortable on the coach though, certainly a contrast to the luxury we had enjoyed all week.

The only one thing I would mention about the hotel was the Cunard rep who helped when we got there. Her name was Molly and sadly, although I am sure she tried her best, she was very possibly the most inept person that I have ever encountered in my life. Despite telling her on three separate occasions that we were staying at the hotel, she continued to mix us up with those who were getting a flight immediately back to the UK. On the fourth occasion, she assured us that she had made a note of everything and if we left our cases with her, everything would be sorted out. This, after around another hour and a half in the hotel, queuing and then trying to explain things to her. One or two of the passengers were getting rather irate with her, which isnt our style, but I could well understand those who did. In the end, we decided that we had so little faith in her abilities that we unloaded our suitcases from the hotel trolley and decided to simply deal with check in ourselves. We had a word with the staff at the counter and were told we couldnt take the room until 2.30 pm, so checked our bags for storage and took a wander around New York.

The hotel actually managed to give us a twin room first of all, which was interesting considering this was the second week of our honeymoon, but sorted it out without any real fuss. We had a week of amazing weather and sitting in Central Park whilst the sun is beating down, certainly made for a great experience, amongst many others.

A few final points on the QM2. Firstly, the staff really are a jewel in the Queens crown. Even if they get things wrong, they do their best to put them right, and I dont think you can ask for more than that. There was one lady we got speaking with in the Queens Room who was blind and travelling alone with her guide dog. The staff made such a fuss of her and her dog, that she must have had a wonderful time and it was quite touching to see just how far they went out of their way to help them both.

The ship, as you would expect, and as you can see from the pictures anyway, is utterly spectacular and for those people who write reviews pulling it apart, I really must travel on some of the ships that you people must be comparing the Queen Mary to, because they really must be something.

One final comment, saved for Commodore Warwick and Kim. About the time of the propeller incident. I read a lot of angry messages on the message board, which is of course understandable. However, quite a lot of these messages were a personal attack on Commodore Warwick, accusing him of being very arrogant and of not caring. I really think that those people who write such personal attacks really ought to stop and think. Commodore Warwick was in the middle of a very stressful time and I am sure that if anybody had had the chance to speak to him as we did that night, they would see that he is anything but arrogant and that he cares deeply about what people think, more about the ship than they do about him. I know he used to read this board, and I do wonder what he must have thought, reading a lot of those personal attacks. Anyway, the point of this wasnt to have a go at people, but merely to share what was a fantastic experience, so I will say no more on that.

I am sure that some of you reading this may wonder why it took me so long to put a review together if we enjoyed it so much. Well, in my defence, we did move house after we got back and I was quite happy being selfish and keeping it all to myself anyway. The real motivation for doing the review is because I did say to a few of the people on this board that I would write up a report of what I thought and if I am honest, my main reason is that we are now lucky enough to be sailing on the QM2 again.

Despite thinking that our honeymoon would be our first and only time on board, we have managed to scrape enough together to afford one of the deals that Cunard are offering on the Sunshine Retreat cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, and will be back on board on 18th November this year.

Unfortunately, we havent got the fantastic upgrade to the Princess Grill again, but nonetheless I am sure that wont spoil our enjoyment any. I suppose if anything, a sheltered balcony might come in handy if the weather is anything like it was last year!

I am sure that as I read this back, I will think of plenty of things I forgot to mention, but I think you have probably had enough to be going along with. I really havent had the time to properly proof read it so I hope youll forgive any typing errors etc.

The only advice I would give anybody travelling is, dont listen to whatever anybody else says and try everything. Stop worrying about the dress code, getting dressed up in the evenings is part of the thrill, do you really love jeans so much that you cant forget them for a few days?

Probably the best piece of advice I can give you is enjoy every moment and it will give you a lifetime of memories from your time on board.

Hope youve enjoyed reading the re-cap as much as I enjoyed putting it together and if youre on board on the 18th November I may see you soon!

Publication Date: 07/05/06
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