Cunard QM2 Westbound Transatlantic Crossing 31st May 2019
7 nights at sea and 1 night New York by Jackie Rees, Travelworld Exmouth
This was my first cruise with Cunard and what a fantastic experience I had on this iconic journey sailing transatlantic to New York. I was apprehensive to know if I would a) feel seasick and b) get bored and I had no need to worry about either. Although we had mixed weather throughout the week the ship is built to sail transatlantic and cut through the waves with ease even when reaching speeds of 27 knots and with strong winds I actually found the slight rocking quite relaxing.
As for worrying about being bored I realised pretty quickly that was not going to be a problem. The daily programme left in your cabin the previous evening by your cabin steward was full of events and activities from dawn til late and I found activities every day that I wanted to join in with or try for the first time.
So, starting with exercise and themed activities before I tell you about the plentiful food!
I learned to slow waltz and to line dance, I joined in with Zumba and yoga, I went to the gym and I played table tennis! On the less strenuous side I spent an afternoon in the Canyon Ranch Spa including some mini treatments, used the hot tub inside and out on deck, went to the Planetarium to see the Illuminations Dark Universe 4d experience and to watch a movie in the evening. I also joined a Galley Tour and watched the talented chefs showing there skills with fruit and vegetable carving and attended a wine tasting afternoon with the sommeliers, had a bit of retail therapy taking advantage of the different shopping offers onboard, wondered through the Art Gallery with daily changing artists work on display or just sat on deck watching the waves.
Onto the food and drinks – there are so many experiences and choices of where, when and what you can eat onboard and of course I tried them all! From the buffet with the Chef’s Galley healthy options to the formal dining in the main restaurant. The Steakhouse the Verandah specialist restaurant has the most amazing steaks and the Golden Lion has traditional British lunch pub classics on the menu and has quizzes and bingo during the afternoons. The comfortable Corinthia Lounge has a choice of tapas style dishes with musicians playing and last of all the fantastic traditional cream tea is served every day in the Queens ballroom or the alternative Godiva Chocolate cream tea in Sir Samuel’s.
Cunard is of course all about occasion and tradition and with this comes the glamour if the formal evenings if you wish to take part. The themed balls are extremely popular with guests and for our cruise we experienced the Black & White Ball, Gala night and Masquerade ball as well as being invited to the Captain’s Cocktail party! There are professional photographers in various locations around the ship who take and sell fantastic photos of guests, ballroom dancing and afternoon teas and these are all wonderful opportunities to experience feeling special without it being at all forced or stuffy.
The evening entertainment was very varied with shows and comedians in the theatre, singers and musicians in the Golden Lion bar or Corinthia Lounge, Movies in the Planetarium and the G32 nightclub with a live band followed by a resident DJ taking requests for favourite dance tunes.
My overall experience was one of true enjoyment, happy to have had the chance to try new activities, relaxed from the time I had to just sit and watch the waves or people watch, and excited to be arriving into New York on this iconic journey. Sailing into New York is so worth the early morning alarm that’s needed to get up to the top deck on ship and sail under the Verrazano Bridge towards The skyline of Manhattan passes the Statue of Liberty- it’s a fantastic experience!
For my day and a half flying visit to New York I am lucky enough to have family close by and we met up to do a bit of sightseeing together. We stayed in the fab New Yorker a Wyndham Hotel and took a walk on the High Line taking in the views of Manhattan from the old rail track which has now been constructed into lovely walking and garden areas, we took in the show Book of Mormon – very interesting and possible not for anyone easily offended! On my second and last day in New York we booked a walking tour of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge which was really good, very interesting to learn from a local the history of the bridge and Brooklyn itself is so different to what I had expected, beautiful tree lined streets, interesting buildings with memories of famous icons who have lived there, most famously Marilyn Monroe. The waterfront area of Brooklyn has been completely redeveloped and is now a busy restaurant and bar hub – a great place to have lunch and take in the views of Manhattan and the busy waterway beneath the bridge.