A few of you have written me in confusion. How can I have entries dedicated to Wales and London, when this is a blog dedicated to travel without flying? My answer is you can sail across the sea and travel anywhere you’d like, as long as you have saved up enough pennies in your piggy bank.
Sailing transatlantic does involve bravery of a different kind. When you are sailing across the Atlantic you will go where none of your friends have gone before…the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The captain may speak of “fathoms” and “quartering seas.” And when you muster during the drill, it might give you pause about embarking on a journey across the wide open sea as you strap on your life preserver next to a steaming tray of chicken pot pies. Try not let any of this make you jittery.
That would cause you to spill your cocktail.
Traveling Transatlantic on the QM2 is a fab-u-lous alternative to flying. If you are nervous, be sure to travel in the mellow months of June and July. If you are up for a thrill, you can choose October, November, or December and see what mother nature can throw at you.
The ship is built for “crossing” the Atlantic. In fact you should refer to your trip as a crossing and not a cruise. The hull of the ship has a specially designed higher profile prow to cut through the waves as well as six stabilizers. When deployed, these stabilizers make for the smoothest sailing you will find on the high seas.
The rooms are comfortably appointed. There is a very clever system of closets and drawers on one side of the room and a very comfy bed in the center. The bathroom is small but tidy and elevated one step above the bedroom.
Our cabin was a “sheltered balcony cabin” in the center of the ship on level 5. I chose this to avoid seasickness, and it worked. If this is something you are concerned about, be certain to request “no upgrades” when you make your reservation. We were visited by the kind Cunard “upgrade fairy” and switched to a full balcony room on level 11 in the front of the ship. Only through the mercy of the reservation specialist was I able to get our original room back after 24 hours of e-mails between the U.S. and England. I am glad I did, because there was quite a bit of sway up there when we visited that floor during our trip. The more intrepid of you might enjoy this!
Although there is not a lot of sunbathing potential in the middle of the Atlantic, even in the summer, we enjoyed going over to the window cut in the hull of the ship and watching the waves. We also enjoyed the sea air and mist that swept in at night.
I know some of you are asking yourselves right about now, that’s all well and good but let’s get to what matters most: how is the food? It is in one word, AMAZING. Before embarking, I was concerned about the gluttony of cruising. Would we be out at sea for days, bored and listless with nothing to turn our attention to but midnight carving stations and vats of chocolate mousse?
The Queen Mary 2 would not allow for such nonsense. The food is excellent, but delightfully sensibly portioned so that each bite is delicious and enjoyable, but you are never stuffed to the gills.
There are many dining options on the ship included in your reservation. For the majority of passengers, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are several course meals offered in the beautiful Brittania Dining Room. You will have a specific numbered table there for dinner each night where you will sit with the same people. For breakfast and lunch, you will be seated in different locations in the dining room.
We enjoyed dressing up for festive and formal nights in the Brittania each evening. For breakfast and lunch, however, we preferred dashing into the King’s Court buffet for a very quick bite. Meals in the Brittania can take about an hour for breakfast and lunch and we found this interfered with our hectic daily schedule.
No, I’m serious.
Between scheduled lectures on architecture & astronomy, walking laps on deck 7, swimming in the aqua therapy center, reading all the books we brought, bingo, dance lessons, trivia, musical performances, and tea we often did not have time for lunch.
But when we did…we went to the King’s Court Buffet. This place gets a bad rap for its layout and casual quality. I did not have a problem with it because there was always a giant wheel of Stilton (sometimes white, sometimes orange) in each section with water crackers and smoked salmon and that, my friend, is nothing to sniff at. We thought the food offerings from the hot buffet were very good as well. Daily they offered different special “stations” for lunch in addition to the salad station and hot buffet. To my delight, one day it was a “Tonkatsu” station with Japanese dipping sauces.
If you are still hungry after lunch, there is always English Tea served in the Queen’s Room every day at 3:30 PM. They have the best scones ever!
By now, I think I have you convinced to spend 7 days crossing the Atlantic. Do not be fearful. Instead, think about your destination and getting pampered on your way there!
If you are wondering what you will do to pass the time, stay tuned for my next article: the 10 best things to do on the QM2.
For now you can simply dream about the sunsets.