Grand Days aboard Queen Mary 2

Every day is a grand one when you’re crossing the Atlantic aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Friday, May 19, 2017

Position as of this writing: 47° 30.9’ N, 30° 50.6’ W

Speed: 20.6 knots

Wind: Force 5 / Temperature: 16°C / Seas: Slight

What do you do on a voyage with no ports of call? It’s a common question that most people ask whenever I tell them about crossing the Atlantic aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2. Truth be told, you are going to wonder what to do – but not because of lack of activities. No. You’re going to wonder what to do every day simply because there are so many different things happening around this 1,130-foot long ship.

Halfway across the Atlantic, the fifth day of my Queen Mary 2 crossing started out misty and grey. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

The Cunard Daily Programme outlines them all. We’re halfway across the Atlantic today, steaming for Southampton at a comfortable 20.6 knots. For the first time this crossing, it’s grey, misty, windy, and rainy outside. A few hearty souls are doing laps on the Promenade Deck on Deck 7, and a handful of people – mostly die-hard smokers – are clustered around the teak tables and chairs at the after end of the deck, utilising one of the ship’s only designated smoking areas. Other than that, most guests, including yours truly, are inside Queen Mary 2’s nice, cozy interior.

It may be cold outside, but it’s warm here onboard Queen Mary 2! Shown here is the games hall, Deck 2 forward, port side. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Fancy a game of Scrabble? Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Here’s a look at what’s happening between 9am and 5pm today. I’m leaving out things like spa seminars and art lectures, of which there are many, for the sake of space:

  • 9:00am: Fencing. Limited to 16 people, first come first served. With your sports host, Dave. Queen’s Room, Deck 3, D Stairway.
  • 9:30am: Baggo Competition. Pavilion Pool, Deck 12, B Stairway (over 18s only).
  • 9:30am: iStudy Seminar. Apple Computers. ConneXions Room 6, Deck 2, A Stairway.
  • 10:00am: Zumba. With your Entertainment Host Jade. Queen’s Room, Deck 3, D Stairway.
  • 10:00am: Cunard Insights: John Penycate. The Fall of the Romanovs, Part III. Illuminations, Deck 3, B Stairway
  • 10:00am: Watercolour Art Class. Britannia Restaurant, Deck 3, C Stairway, Port side.
  • 10:30am: Morning Trivia. Golden Lion Pub, Deck 2, C Stairway.
  • 10:30am: Intermediate Bridge Jon CourClass. Atlantic Room, Deck 11, A Stairway.
  • 11:00am: Jon Courtney Presents, ‘The Other Funny Guys with Pianos.’ Royal Court Theatre, Decks 2 & 3, B Stairway.
  • 11:00am: Cunard Insights: Michael Lister. “Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood.” Illuminations, Deck 3, B Stairway
  • 11:00am: Line Dance Class. Queen’s Room, Deck 3, D Stairway.
  • 11:15am: Killer Darts Competition. Golden Lion Pub, Deck 2, C Stairway.
  • 11:30am: Shuffleboard Tournament. Deck 13, B Stairway.
  • 12:00pm: Eight Bells. Grand Lobby, Deck 3, B Stairwell.
  • 12:00pm: Navigational Announcement. Public Address System.
  • 12:00pm: Time Change. Today at midday, the ships clocks will be SET FORWARD BY ONE HOUR. Please adjust your watches FORWARD at 12 Noon today.
  • 1:00pm: Low Limit Afternoon Sea Days. Empire Casino, Deck 2, B Stairway.
  • 1:15pm: Pub Melodies. With pianist Miklos Szabo. Golden Lion Pub, Deck 2, C Stairway (until 2:00pm).
  • 1:15pm: Ballroom Dance Class. Queen’s Room, Deck 3, D Stairway.
  • 1:30pm: Poolside Music. With Purple Haze. Pavilion Pool, Deck 12, B Stairway (until 2:30pm).
  • 1:30pm: Lunchtime Melodies. With harpist Fiona McGee. Carinthia Lounge, Deck 7, B Stairway (until 2: 15pm).
  • 1:30pm: Planetarium: To Space and Back. Illuminations, Deck 3, B Stairway.
  • 2:00pm: Planetarium: To Space and Back. Illuminations, Deck 3, B Stairway.
  • 2:00pm: Wipeout Trivia. Chart Room, Deck 3, C Stairway.
  • 2:30pm: Afternoon Classical Concert: Junko Ichikawa. Royal Court Theatre, Decks 2 & 3, B Stairway.
  • 2:30pm: Duplicate Bridge Tournament. Atlantic Room, Deck 11, A Stairway.
  • 2:30pm: Transatlantic Games. Pavilion Pool, Deck 12, B Stairway (over 18s only).
  • 2:30pm: Wine Tasting. Great white wine tasting sensations from France. A nominal fee of $120.00 per person applies. Tasting Room, Deck 3, C Stairway, Port side.
  • 2:30pm: Planetarium: To Space and Back. Illuminations, Deck 3, B Stairway.
  • 3:00pm: iStudy iPad Workshop. A $15 fee applies. ConneXions Room 6, Deck 2, A Stairway.
  • 3:00pm: Snowball Jackpot Bingo. Golden Lion Pub, Deck 2, C Stairway.
  • 3:30pm: Cunard Insights: Giancarlo Impaglia. “The Birth of Modern Art.” Illuminations, Deck 3, B Stairway.
  • 3:30pm: Complimentary Golf Competition. The Fairways, Deck 12, B Stairway.
  • 4:00pm: Afternoon Trivia. Golden Lion Pub, Deck 2, C Stairway.
  • 5:00pm: Film: “Inferno”. Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones. 121 Minutes. PG-13. Illuminations, Deck 3, B Stairway

And that doesn’t even include the jam-packed nights onboard Queen Mary 2!

Today though, I didn’t do any of those activities. I created my own relaxing day aboard Queen Mary 2, starting with my daily caffe latte in the Carinthia Lounge on Deck 7.

Queen Mary 2’s Library is one of the largest at sea…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…with plenty of relaxing seating areas overlooking the bow…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…and over 10,000 titles onboard. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Of particular note: the excellent Maritime section! Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

This was followed by a trip to the ship’s Library on Deck 8 forward. The largest library at sea, it is stocked with over 10,000 titles, including a very decent section on maritime history, including the history of the Cunard Line, great ocean liners, modern cruise ships, the design and construction of Queen Mary 2, and plenty of books on the RMS Titanic.

Another guest stopped and asked why I was looking at a book on Titanic. She seemed horrified that I was doing so; I guess she hasn’t seen the enormous placards and informational panels on the ship that adorn the B Stairway. Cunard offers books and information on Titanic because the ship is so anchored in the minds of the public, thanks in part to James Cameron’s 1997 film. But more importantly, it does so because a Cunard Line ship (the Carpathia) came to the aid of survivors, and would eventually bring them to New York.

Then, it was off to The Veranda for lunch. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Formerly known as Todd English, The Veranda is an all-new specialty dining venue added during Queen Mary 2’s 2016 Remastering. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Book-in-hand, I took lunch at The Veranda, Queen Mary 2’s specialty restaurant located on Deck 8 aft. This new dining venue replaces the former Todd English restaurant that was here from 2004 to early 2016, and as such has been given a more toned-down décor scheme that makes the room look much warmer than its previous incarnation.

Lunch here goes for $20 per person, while dinner can be enjoyed for $50 per person. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Lunch here goes for $20 per person, while dinner can be enjoyed for $50 per guest. Cuisine is predominantly French, and the Beef Bourgignon that I had for my entrée was well worth the price of admission. It was also delivered with a bit of flair: potatoes shaped vertically in an almost beehive-like arrangement, garnished with a single (also vertical) strip of bacon.

Overall, I felt I got good value for my $20, and if you like French cuisine, it might be worth it for you, too. If you’d rather have a burger down in the King’s Court instead, no judgement.

The food at The Veranda was delicious, served up in an atmosphere that was relaxing…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…and which caters to each guest’s needs. My nut-free dessert, to accommodate my nut allergies. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Over the past few days, I’ve been jotting down some notes about my onboard experiences that might be of interest to future cruisers aboard Queen Mary 2. Here they are:

Connecting Staterooms. My stateroom has an interconnecting door, which I’m not typically fond of, as sound bleed-through can sometimes be an issue. But except for the sounds of closet doors opening and closing and snippets of indistinct conversation coming from next door, I haven’t found it to be an issue at all. Truth be told, I hear more noise from the Kids Club down at the end of my corridor.

The elegant Britannia Dining Room. I switched from early to late seating…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…and wound up with a nice table for two all to myself! Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Early vs. Late Seating. I’m normally a Late Seating kind of guy on a cruise. On this crossing, I had Early Seating assigned. Since I’d never tried it, I kept it and arrived in the Britannia Restaurant at 6:00pm for the first two nights of the crossing. While most people prefer the 6:00pm Early Seating, I didn’t. It’s too close to lunch, and I found my afternoons were particularly rushed on this Eastbound crossing, where we’d change our clocks an hour ahead at Noon. That didn’t leave me with enough time to take my usual walk on deck, visit the Spa to make use of my SpaClub Pass, and change for dinner – let alone enjoy tea in the Queen’s Room at 3:30pm. I switched to the 8:30pm seating and have been happy ever since.

I also took the time this afternoon…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…to enjoy a cocktail in my favorite spot on Queen Mary 2…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…the Commodore Club, Deck 9, forward. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Live piano music is offered here nightly…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…and the bar is a great place for people-watching. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Internet. Three different packages are on offer, all of which are timed by the minute. Like most ships, when it works, it works, and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Curiously, I’ve found the signal sometimes works best on the outer Promenade Deck on Deck 7, or up on Deck 12, forward of the funnel. The signal in my stateroom is weak, but serviceable. Staff recommend opening your stateroom door an inch or two to improve the signal, but I’d rather take my laptop somewhere else.

Dress Code. Cunard’s ships are more formal, and that’s the way its World Club past guest members like it. For men, you’ll need to don jacket and slacks every evening, with an upgrade to a tie (or a tux) on Formal Night. Women can get by with a nice dress or pant suit on each evening. Formal night tends to be very formal, so expect to see plenty of flashy gowns and tuxedos. However, this is a lot of fun, because the whole ship participates.

Want to plan your next voyage? You can pick up brochures outside the Royal Court Theatre, Deck 2. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

There’s literally so much to do aboard Queen Mary 2 that you can work yourself into a frenzy trying to hop from lectures to performances to tea time in the Queen’s Lounge. But sitting back with a book and gazing out at the ocean, or enjoying a cocktail in a quiet lounge, are perfectly acceptable alternatives. Sleep in, stay up late, and don’t be afraid to make your own fun. This is, after all, your crossing – do with it as you wish.

Kick back and relax in the Pavilion Pool on Deck 12…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…as Queen Mary 2 continues her journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Our Voyage Report onboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 continues tomorrow, as we look at the elegant nights onboard Queen Mary 2! Follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog.

Across the Atlantic aboard Queen Mary 2

Monday, May 15, 2017 New York (Brooklyn), NY. Departure: 1700 Embarkation: The Crossing Begins
Tuesday, May 16 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Our First Day out on the Atlantic
Wednesday, May 17 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Remastering Queen Mary 2
Thursday, May 18 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Getting There is Half the Fun: Cunard’s Transatlantic Legacy
Friday, May 19 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Grand Days aboard QM2
Saturday, May 20 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Elegant Nights aboard QM2
Sunday, May 21 Crossing the Atlantic Ocean Recapping our Journey Across the Atlantic
Monday, May 22 Southampton, England
Arrive: 0700

The post Crossing the Atlantic aboard the Remastered Queen Mary 2 – Day 5 appeared first on From The Deck Chair.

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