Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossing
On the boat there are a lot of different activities that you can do. There are lectures scheduled with a variety of speakers, films showing once or twice a day, a couple of planetarium shows a day and games available. There is also the deck areas outside but on our crossing it was too windy many most days and so you were not allowed out on deck. This at times made you feel a little claustrophobic or go a bit stir crazy, but trust me - on the days when they did allow you to go outside, it was so windy that at times you felt like you could get blown overboard, so I am absolutely fine with them keeping you inside for your own safety!
We ate lunch in a few different places - my favourite had to be the Golden Lion pub, the food was brilliant! However it was so very busy that we could only get seats on two occasions, the rest of the time we either went to the main restaurant, which also served gorgeous lunches or to the Kings Court café / buffet area upstairs which was nice but far less formal - more like a cafeteria, but everywhere we went the food was good.
Over the course of the week we went to a lot of the lectures - we attended one about Dr Harold Shipman which was fascinating and another about Near Death Experiences, both given by a fantastic pathologist. Other lectures were given by Astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman and adventurer Ted Scull. I'll be honest, I thought the pathologist's lectures (his name escapes me which I'm disappointed in as he was brilliant) were interesting and about fascinating subjects. We attended the NASA astronaut lecture which my husband enjoyed…I fell asleep!
We went to the cinema, the planetarium twice (bear in mind you have to get your tickets on the morning of the show - still free, but just to manage how busy it gets), went to afternoon tea and played chess and board games. We also read a lot in our room and - as sad as it sounds - slept a lot! Now I'm quite happy with this, but seriously, the gentle rocking of the boat is so relaxing, it's hard to stay awake when you're doing something sedentary like reading or in my case (much to my husband's embarrassment) in a lecture being given by a NASA astronaut!
The night before we arrived in New York, we set our alarm for 3am. We were desperate to see the lights appearing in the distance - especially as we hadn't seen a thing for 7 days! - and to capture the romance of arriving in New York. You pass under the Verrazano Bridge on approach and it is a very tight squeeze underneath, something else we were both keen to see. So up we got at 3am and went out to the balcony and looked…no lights on the horizon. Back to bed and up again 15 minutes later. This went on for about an hour and a half when we decided just to get up and go get a cup of tea and wait on deck. We wandered around and we were two of no more than two dozen people up and about.
We had our tea and came back out onto deck and it had got a little busier. We could see the Verrazano in the distance and went right up to the top of the ship to watch the Queen Mary 2 SQUEEZE underneath! By the time we passed under the bridge, it was really busy and we found ourselves being squashed by everyone else to get pictures of the fast approaching Statue of Liberty and Manhattan, still illuminated in the dark. Unfortunately, due to my diminutive stature, I found it hard to get any good shots or stand my ground when much taller and larger people wanted to push forwards. In the end my husband convinced me to go back to our room and gather our things for disembarking and not to worry too much about it.
We walked into the room and opened the curtains…you wouldn't believe it! We docked practically opposite the Statue of Liberty and could see that to the left of the balcony and the island of Manhattan with the still-under-construction One World Trade Center! We actually stood on our own balcony and had a far better view than we had upstairs, and absolutely no pushing or shoving! We sat on the balcony and soaked up that view for more than an hour before admitting defeat and sadly disembarking the Queen Mary 2, yet ready for the next part of our adventure - New York at Christmas!