Having only traveled in the past by air, automobile, or train, it was high time I tried a cruise, and a transatlantic cruise to me, seemed most adventurous.
Seven days alone, afloat on the temperamental Atlantic, inside a large ship filled with strangers, filled me with mild anticipation and intrepid fearfulness of what lay ahead on my crossing. Was I to perhaps be cut off from the outside world completely, and at the mercy of mother-nature and her sudden outbursts? Was I to go overboard on some stormy night? Was the ship sturdy enough to endure the perilous high seas, and was the Queen Mary II as majestic and elegant as all the legends had told?
I embarked at Southampton on November 3, 2019, and there were no lines or delays. It was a very simple affair and within 10 minutes I found my way to my stateroom which was on deck 4. I had an inside room with no views or balcony.
The room was clean, tidy, and smelled good. The bathroom was small but sufficient and again, clean and smelled like it had been just been serviced.
I put away my clothes and had a look around the room. The television was already on and tuned to the information channel explaining to me that later that day I would have to attend an emergency drill along with all the passengers and crew. This was a matter of great importance and mandatory. However, that was not until around 5 pm which gave me a couple of hours to explore the ship.
I took my Daily Programme with me, which was provided to me every day and left outside my room in a small mail slot. It contained a detailed explanation of each day’s events, details of special events, and the opening closing times of the bars and lounges.
I went down to the lobby and was wowed; the lobby was magnificent and elegant. The lighting and colors were well placed and very pleasant and the ambiance was much becoming of such a legendary ship which surpassed her grandeur.
There are many places to eat on the QM2. I mainly frequented the buffet which was open most of the time day and evening and also late at night. The food was good for a buffet and if traveling alone it was more than sufficient to meet my basic appetite and dietary needs. Of course if one wished to dress up in a jacket or suite then the stateroom assigned dinning at the Britannia Restaurant was always there if you felt the need to dress formally and take part in the quintessence of fine dining on the QM2.
Really though, I never felt like a lower class passenger because I did not like to dress formally. I knew the rules and abided by the ones that suited my whims. I found that attending formal afternoon tea at 3:30 pm everyday satisfied my desire to be a part of the upper crust (or in this case, scones). If you can’t stomach being asked 25 times in 15 minutes by numerous waiters if you wanted more tea or would like more cucumber sandwiches, then this would not be for you. However, each time I went to tea, I met a different solo passenger who I would pressgang and join for afternoon tea. I really enjoyed meeting many unique people with so many stories. I met an established author, a dancer, and an elderly old couple on their 20th cruise to name a few.
In the evenings I would frequent the pub and then go to a show or movie. There was so much to do all the time that the days passed too quickly. Next time I go on the QM2 I will spend more time reading or relaxing as I always felt the need to attend the RADA workshop, or a lecture, or the planetarium, or the Royal Court Theatre, or the solo traveler’s coffee meet-up, or go to the internet lounge and connect to the outside world.
There was also the night club which was usually quite sparsely packed. It was a fun place to mingle with like minded fellow passengers and it was definitely not a place to hook up. Most solo passengers were attached or married and were just there to let loose a little, have a few drinks and pretend they were 25 once again (without all the drama).
The future of the QM2 cruises will more than likely change a little bit with the times, and a new younger crowd will eventually meld into the aging culture of the aristocratic idioms of a traditional crossing. I imagine that with more health conscious activities, a better gym, a faster internet, a more hip and younger crowd will slowly change the old stuffiness that still prevails somewhat.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed that old stuffiness; and that is why it will not entirely die out! It will change slowly and perhaps morph into something that appeals to the younger generation who don’t necessarily want to go on a Carnival Cruise and who may want something that has some class, allure, elegance and sophistication, not found elsewhere, especially on a cruise ship.
To take cruise alone definitely does feel a little daunting at times. The reputation of the Cunard business model can seem a little off-putting and stuck in its ways. But I never really felt alone on the ship. I ended up feeling at one with my entire fellow passengers and crew. After all, we all had a combined experience and had survived the transatlantic crossing, all on board the beautiful Queen Mary 2.
Clean, sufficient, stocked fridge/bar, room service, breakfast in bed, phone, shower, hangers, safe, soft sheets, comfortable bed
Southampton is busy at the weekends especially when many cruise ships are arriving or departing. I arrived 4 hours early and would recommend doing so for comfort and less rushing around a busy port town
Be sure to awake at 4.30 am to welcome NY