Arrived in Southampton early Saturday morning for embarkation at 14.30 hrs, this went fairly smoothly,what a magnificent ship!We decided to give flying a miss, and indulged in sheer luxury on the Queen Mary 2 to New York,spend 2 nights in New York, and fly back to Heathrow airport.
The embarkation at Southampton was efficient and speedy. We left the car at the port which was totally hassle free! After unpacking we decided to explore the ship before dinner. What can we say about the ship - absolutely fabulous. The cabin was spacious and well equipped and the Steward service - second to none.
The food - superb in both the Britannia Restaurant and the Kings Court, Fantastic choice ... We chose the later sitting for our dinner, ie 20.30hrs, we thought the earlier sitting of 18.00hrs was a bit early, as we intended having afternoon tea in the Queens room everyday at 15.30hrs. Afternoon tea was one of the many highlights of the day, this was available in many places, but we always chose the Queens Room. A wide variety of cakes and scones were served by waiters, was accompanied by soothing music, either a harpist or a string quartet, both were exceptional.
The entertainment on board the ship was good, but not exceptional, we watched the show every night in the Royal Court Theatre, which mainly consisted of acts who have appeared in the West End in shows such as the Phantom of the Opera,very good singers,these shows tended to last about 50 minutes, during our trip there was an exceptional male pianist and a virtuoso female violinist. During the day there are various lectures suiting all tastes, from a cooking demonstration to one given by a maritime historian.
The meals were excellent wherever you chose to eat, we ate in the Britannia restaurant every night,we never got round to trying the Kings Court-Chefs Galley, where your dinner is prepared by the chef in front of you. We tried the Golden Lion Pub a few times for lunch, where traditional British meals were available, such as fish and chips and steak and kidney pie, all cooked to a very high standard.
Our itinerary was to arrive in New York early morning, transfer to the Grand Hyatt Hotel, next to Grand Central station, and then transfer two days later to JFK airport for our flight home. We were up last morning at 04.15hrs to experience viewing the Verrazano Bridge, Statue of Liberty etc,even though it was dark, it was worth getting up early, transfer to Grand Hyatt about 09.45am arriving 10.30am.
On the last day on board the ship, breakfast can be taken from 5.00am-9.00am in the Kings Court, and at some point you are instructed to make your way to a room, which room is dependant on a colour you are allocated the previous night, the occupants of the Kings and Queens grill were the first to leave, and the Britannia guests were the last to leave. On leaving the ship, the next task was to find a taxi to take you into Manhattan, the ques were long, to alleviate this problem we decided to take a "better class" of taxi, which cost 51USD as opposed to 35USD, we felt this was well worth it.
This was our first cruise, and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and cannot wait to cruise again, we are planning to cruise the Med next September on the Queen Victoria.