We flew from Monroe, LA to Newark the evening before the cruise, arriving about midnight. We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson in Elizabeth, NJ. It was an OK place to stay. The room was small. The staff was friendly. We had booked a King room and instead had 2 double beds. It was fine. They served breakfast in the morning, called us a cab and we headed to the ship.
We had a fantastic cruise! We arrived at the terminal at about 11:45. We were the 3rd group called to board and were on by about 12:30. We walked through the welcoming staff and I felt like royalty! We went to our room first. It was very nice. Pretty small but then most ship cabins are. The balcony was great! Our luggage had not arrived, but our champagne had. We were in an AA cabin so we had a full bottle. I must say Pol Acker is not the greatest champagne but after a glass, it's bearable. We shared our bottle, called home, and then decided to investigate the ship.
We started at the top. It felt like we were the only people on the ship. We seldom encountered anyone while we looked around. The QM2 is quite beautiful. Everything is decorated very tastefully. The library is amazing. The book cabinets are gorgeous. I must say I don't read very much when I'm on a cruise (too much other stuff to do), but if I did, I would have been in heaven. We worked our way down to the spa, where we booked our appointments, then went to the King's Court for lunch. We ate in the Lotus section. The KC is pretty confusing. We decided not to go all over looking for different foods but to decide on a certain type and eat there. This was the only time we ate a meal here. We did do tea one day here. It was quite nice. We never had trouble finding a table near a window. The staff cleaning the tables was very friendly and efficient.
After lunch, we went to the spa for our first appointment. Since we were going to the beach, we booked the spray-on tan. It was interesting. A girl sprayed color on you while you stood virtually naked. The spray was freezing. Then you have to wait 4-6 hours before you shower. I think it basically just dyes your skin. But it does give you a tan color after you shower off the dye.
When we returned to our room, the luggage was there. We unpacked and got ready for muster. After muster, we went to our CC meet. It was in the boardroom and was well attended. I enjoyed meeting everyone that I had talked to for months. The cavalcade of classes was scheduled for 2:00 the next day. We had spa appointments at 1:00 so we had to miss it. We had a few drinks with Scott & Jeanne in the Commodore Club then went up to the Lookout for the passage under the Verrazano Straights Bridge. That was really fun. We got some good pics of the ship passing under. We had a few more drinks in the Club then went to our room to get ready for dinner.
Because we have a AA Club room, we have open dining time. We could go anywhere from 6-9:30. We usually went to dinner around 8:00 most nights. We had requested a table for 2 but were put at a table for 6. We were actually glad we were. One of the couples usually ate earlier than us so we didn't see them much. The other couple ate about when we did. They were great. They were about our age and we usually stayed at the table talking till 11:00 or so on most nights. Great table companions.
On our first sea day, we walked on the Promenade, looked around the ship some more and finally, had lunch in the Golden Lion Pub. We had fish & chips, which were very good. We arrived around 11:35 and they were getting ready to play trivia. We played while we waited on our lunch. They don't start serving until 12:00. We had lunch then went to the spa. I had a facial and DH had a massage. Very nice. We stayed in the Thermal area for a few hours swimming, hot tubing, and steam rooming. It was very relaxing. After dressing, we went to the Planetarium. The show was pretty good. Not the most exciting one I've ever seen but it was pretty cool being on a ship and being in a planetarium. By now, it's about 4:30. We went to the shops and bought everyone back home a shirt or souvenir. The main gift shop was pretty crowded. There are 3 checkout counters so we didn't have to wait in a line, which was good.
The first night was formal night. Everyone dressed up! The men were wearing tux's or suits and the ladies were wearing cocktail or evening gowns. Very elegant. We took some formal pictures with the photographers set up around the ship. We went to the early captain's cocktail party since we had our choice because of open dining times. We arrived a little early and stood outside with others. They opened the door and the Commodore was inside shaking hands with everyone. We chose a small table near the rear of the Queen's Room. The Queen's Room is BIG. It is tastefully decorated and there is plenty of room for a lot of people. The waiters brought drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Very good service. Everyone was very friendly and smiling.
We went to dinner. The Club is in a rear corner of the Britannia Dining Room. By the second night, the waiters knew who we were. As soon as we were seated, every night, they brought bread and our sommelier arrived to inquire about drinks. We had a bottle of wine every night. Our waiter was right there with menus and came back shortly to take our orders. The food was very good. We received everything we ordered and it was all at the right temperature. We never waited long between courses, either. We really enjoyed the dining on the QM2.
We didn't make it to any shows. It was usually too late when we left the dining room. We also didn't go to the G32. It was the one place we missed seeing on the ship. I guess since it's located behind the Queen's Room, we never went back there.
Princess Cays was beautiful. The weather had climbed to about the low 80s so it was perfect. We had rented a beach bungalow. These are the little beach houses. There was a lot of debate about the extras that come with it since it is pricey. There are no extras. Basically, you get the bungalow, which has a table, four chairs, air conditioner, fan, and 4 beach chairs. We loved it! We had the pink one called Oleander. We had beach service all day from Kate. She took very good care of us. We lounged in the chairs and walked around P.C. looking at everything. At lunch, we stood in line, got a plate and ate inside our air conditioned bungalow since it had become pretty hot outside. We only waded in the water because it was cold! After lunch, we walked about 2 miles down the beach and back. It is very rocky (coral) so bring flip-flops or water shoes. My DH walked barefoot but there was no way I could have. When we got back, it was about 3:30 and almost everyone was gone. The bars close fairly early and the crew has to be back onboard by 3:30. I guess this is to encourage people to get back and not be late. We went on back to the ship, swam & hot tubbed at the indoor pool, drank a bottle of champagne and relaxed on our balcony watching the sun set while we sailed away.
The last sea day was stormy. We had watched the two lecturers on TV the first day and decided to go to their lectures on the last day. We got up and went to breakfast in the Britannia Club. Then we went down to get tickets for the planetarium and went to the first lecture. It was a very interesting lecture about global warming. Then we had lunch in the Britannia Club. Same great service and food. We went to the afternoon lecture about ocean currents and the weather which was very interesting also. After that we went to the Planetarium Show at 1:00. It was much better than the first one. I think because the pace was faster. By this time, the day had become stormy. We walked on the Promenade Deck in the rain and wind for about an hour. It was invigorating. We enjoyed watching the waves and weather. We went back to our cabin and watched a movie on TV and relaxed until dinner. This was our last night. I call this the sad day even though we had a really good time. We had dinner with our dining companions, exchanged emails and addresses and wished them goodbye.
We chose to self-disembark. If you choose this, go to the Excursion Desk, register for it, and get a ticket. We had to be at Newark for an 11:30 flight so we couldn't wait around. We were off the ship by 8:00. This was so easy. I will definitely do it this way from now on. When we came out of the terminal, there was a line for taxis and a line for a Town Car Service. There was only a couple of taxis but a line of Town Cars. It was cheaper to take the car service than a taxi. We paid $120 to get to the ship from Newark but the service only charges $95. We were at the airport by 9:30, had breakfast and wished NYC adieu.