June 28, 2013
Posted in: Personal Cruise Specialist Team
To celebrate Queen Mary 2′s 200th Transatlantic Crossing on 6 July 2013, Paula Cooper in the Personal Cruise Specialist team relives her time on board our flagship Queen crossing the Atlantic from Southampton to New York…
It all begins with a pink champagne sail away. Typically, it’s raining in Southampton, but that doesn’t matter – we are indoors getting ready to wave goodbye. This is my first taste of how people really voyage. Gentleman hosts, looking suave and sophisticated, are gently taking ladies by the hand and leading them to the dance floor in front of the band. I have a feeling this is going to be an experience I will never forget. The gentle pull of the ship and raising of flutes can only mean one thing – we have set sail on our Transatlantic Crossing to New York.
As Queen Mary 2 sails out of Southampton, making her way to the Atlantic Ocean, it’s time to dress for dinner. Tonight is a casual night, so I put on a smart pair of trousers and a nice top and head down to the Britannia Restaurant. When we get there we are greeted by our waiter who shows us to our table. We are sat with four other people and I am looking forward to getting to know them. Our wine waiter comes over and introduces himself to us and offers us a glass of red – this is something I could easily get used to. I open up my menu and am shocked at the variety there is – fish, meat, vegetarian – nothing is too much trouble. Every diet, taste and pallet is catered for. I opt for the classic Beef Wellington and it’s delicious – perfectly cooked meat wrapped tenderly in soft pastry and served with vegetables and perfectly cooked potatoes.
The next morning I discover I’ve forgotten to pack an essential item – my “sea legs”. I’m sure they are here somewhere. I decide to rest in my stateroom, after all its so spacious and plush it would be a shame not to spend some time in it! After a little while, my “sea legs” are still nowhere to be seen. My travel companion encourages me to get up and go for some breakfast. I am greeted by the waiters like I’m a long lost friend, and they know exactly what I should do about my “sea legs”. They tell me to eat something to calm my stomach and sip a nice cold glass of water.
They assure me that taking a walk around the deck, breathing in the fresh sea air and looking out to the horizon will make me feel better. I’m dubious but after all they are the experts – and they’re right. What sea sickness? Finally I’ve found them! My “sea legs” have arrived and I’m soon bouncing around the ship like I was a seafarer in a former life.
It’s time to discover what this wonderful ship has to offer. Where to start? She really does offer something for everyone. I take a look at the ship’s daily newspaper – it’s brilliant that you get one delivered to your stateroom every day – I wouldn’t want to miss out on anything but how I will fit everything in I don’t know!
We start with a visit to the Sun Deck where we sunbathe next to the pool and enjoy our first cocktail of the holiday – well it would be rude not too wouldn’t it!? The pool is covered so even if it does rain we can still enjoy the deck space.
I now feel completely relaxed. We take a trip to the buffet to grab a bite to eat – there is so much on offer: salads, jacket potatoes, you could even have a roast! I choose a salad, then to finish off a handmade, totally delicious profiterole.
After lunch I head back to my stateroom to change into more suitable attire. I’m off to a champagne reception at the art gallery. The art on board is fantastic, the variety of different artists they have is superb. I want them all!
I am so proud to work for Cunard. They really do treat you to a phenomenal holiday. They have also invented the 25 hour day! Every morning on a westbound crossing, you put your watch back an hour because of the time difference which means we have an extra hour a day to experience everything the ship has to offer, which is just as well as there is so much to do.
Shopping is a must! Today they have stalls in the atrium for you to purchase some beautiful gifts for everyone at home and maybe a cheeky bottle of perfume for me! It’s duty free, so again, it would be rude not to wouldn’t it? They have such an extensive range of perfume on board, all the latest designers, the hard part is deciding which one I want.
My voyage is filled with enrichment programmes and talks, sports up on deck, dance classes and tours of the ship. In fact, the list goes on and on! I have to admit though, the most interesting discovery was the fellow passengers. Absolutely everyone talks to you; everyone is brimming with excitement ready to share their memories and experiences with you. You really do get the feeling you are a part of something really special, part of a ‘family at sea’.
Sunday comes and I wake up early, too excited to carry on sleeping. I have been waiting for this day for so long! We have tickets to the Planetarium this morning and Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room later on. I have heard so much about both of these that I literally can’t wait any longer.
The Planetarium does not disappoint, not that I expected it to. It’s a truly magical experience not to be missed. Adrenaline builds as you sit back in your soft comfy chair and the dome closes around you. Suddenly the sky lights up and I forget for a moment that I am not actually outside. It’s so fascinating, I am completely mesmerised. I enjoy spotting the constellations and learning about the stars. By the end I feel like I could fall asleep, simply because it’s a relaxing experience. But its time to go, Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room awaits.
I dash back to my stateroom to change into something a little more fancy; this is going to be fantastic.
I walk into the dazzling Queens Room full of people dressed smartly, smiling and chatting away, sharing their stories of the day, and I can’t help but think it really is as beautiful as I’d imagined.
I take a seat and out come the white gloved waiters, almost dancing around me – it feels like something out of a movie. Hot tea in china pots, perfectly made finger sandwiches, scrumptious pastries and cakes tempt me – and that’s before you even get to the scones. Out they come like little clouds sent from heaven. They really are out of this world and just as delicious and well presented as everybody told me they would be. As I sit and take in my surroundings I wish that everyone I loved was here to witness this beautiful sight with me. I will never forget it, the dance floor is awash with couples moving gracefully around now, it’s a shame my husband isn’t here to dance. However, with that thought, a man dressed in his finest suit holds out his hand and asks me to dance. This is perfect.
A Transatlantic Crossing truly is special. What better way to cross the Atlantic in style than on board the greatest ocean liner in the world. And with the magnificent sight of the Statue of Liberty welcoming us as we sail into the Big Apple, I cannot recommend it enough…
Thank you to Paula Cooper in the Personal Cruise Specialist team for sharing her experience on board Queen Mary 2 with us. You can find out more about our Transatlantic Crossings by clicking here.