Monday, September 3, 2012

We sail the ocean blue and our saucy ships's a beauty!

So - let me tell you all about our cruise on the Queen Mary 2. Apologies to you purist horticulturalists but this will be another off-topic blog - I promise the next post will be packed full of plants or gardens. We were cruise virgins, having previously done no more than sailed on the Isle of Wight Ferry but after seven days on a floating luxury hotel, we are totally converted - hallelujah! We were neither of us sure that we would like the experience. Would we be sea-sick, would it be claustrophobic, would we be bored and could we tolerate the formal dress-code? None of that - days were both relaxing and fun filled, from our full English breakfast through to the chocolates on the bed at night!

Sunrise one morning
Ian and Philip with Her Majesty Queen Mary - just to prove we were all on board!

There was so much to do. Each day we received a schedule of organised events. I went to art classes on most days and Philip went on various talks. We avoided the talk on Titanic survivors, although I'm told it was entertaining! We both enjoyed the relaxing spa and I worked out in the fully equipped gym or ran the jogging route round the ship. (3 laps to a mile!) There was music throughout the day in various locations from a classical harpist, through to Dixieland jazz and a wonderful pianist who played Gershwin. In the evening there were films and live shows, although the choreography was more Buzby Berkeley than Matthew Bourne! In order to accommodate the time change to the USA, the clocks went back an hour most days which meant the days felt long! One day was choppy and windy but otherwise it was a smooth crossing and on the last couple of days we were able to sunbathe on deck. Several people spoke of seeing whales and dolphins and on the last day we too clearly saw a pod of dolphins cavorting near the ship. Sadly no camera at the time!

The cinema

Fresh flowers in the atrium

One of the shows

The gym

Running on deck 7

And as for the food - don't ask me what I weigh! There was a choice of using the formal dining room allocated to our  booking or eating in the King's Court, a huge self-service restaurant serving food day and night. The English Pub, various bars and other locations also offered food, virtually all of which is included. For the evening meal, there is a strict dress code of formal, semi-formal or elegant casual. After our initial reservation we found the sense of occasion quite fun and the food, served by white jacketed servers excellent! One day there was a cup cake theme for afternoon tea and my favourite - gateaux afternoon! One morning there was a tour of the main galley and  we discovered that on a seven day crossing, 14 tons of meat and 55 tons of fruit and vegetables are consumed.  At a more mundane level 87,000 pieces of china and glassware are washed each day but fortunately the high temperature dishwasher cycle takes two minutes.

Just a corner of the huge galley - kitchen for you landlubbers!

Cup cake day

Carved vegetable decorations - I sadly missed the demonstration

The formal Britannia Dining room

Parade of the chefs on the last night

And before you all think that all this luxury puts us in the super rich category, I'll hasten to add that its very good value. We paid $800 (about £500) each for which we got our transport to the USA, six nights accommodation in a beautiful stateroom with sea balcony, all our food (room service if we had been too lazy to move) and most entertainment. The deal also gives $150 on board credit which pays for drinks. We paid extra for the spa and art classes. Now back in Palm Springs its back to the mundane, Philip off to work and me to keep home but I won't be serving dinner with white gloves!

1 comment:

  1. Non horticultural it maybe, this is just as helpful to us, to get an inside view and insight on what is it like to be in a cruise ship/trip. We are cruise virgins as well, and must say it's mainly because we are hesitant to go on one.

    Is it for us? Will we enjoy it?

    We had the same questions about all inclusive resort holidays so we tried it, and must say we had mixed feelings afterwards. It was great the first week, but by the second week it felt like we were in a tropical prison, nowhere else to go but stay within the confines of a large (the size of a small town even) and comfy resort as it was in a remote area.

    Well as they say, you'll never really know until you try it! And your photos and insights are very encouraging. Glad to know you guys had a fab time!