So many reviews, the good and the not so good, have been written about her that I doubt there is much of consequence I could impart. A while back I told Pepper that his review had set the bar very high for those of us who attempt to follow in his path and maybe that’s what has slowed me down in writing this. So I won’t dwell on the obvious and well documented, but instead invite you to join me as I fall in love with the QM2. Some of you who read my “Live From...” blog might recognize some of this as the blog that came from my journal.
With apologies to the original movie, long a favorite of mine, this truly was “An Affair To Remember”.
Embarkation day...could there be a more exciting morning...killing time, eating slowly, all the while itching to yell “let’s go!!” I am squirming like a 5 year old! How can the rest of them be so civilized about this. To kill time I call back to the kennel...yes, the dog has survived a night away from his parents. OK, one less worry.
Finally the pier and tiny glimpses of the ship...my excitement ratchets up...fast! Until I see THE LINE...I thought this ship only held 2500 people. There must be 3 times that number in this line. But finally, as all long lines must eventually do, this one moved forward....into the building. That’s progress although after an hour and a half in there I think it was cooler outdoors. After drinking way too much warm water and eating too many stale crackers we are finally directed to...(drum roll please) “the keeper of the computer”. In just seconds I am handed my reward for patience. It’s hard to suppress the giggles (women my age are not supposed to giggle after all) when I look at that small card in my hand. Queen Mary 2 Passengerit says, and right there is my picture. MY picture! OK, I’ve looked better, much better, but I’m recognizable so I’m sure they will let me on the ship when they look at it. Needless to say our embarkation photo does NOT grace our mantle! It’s kind of like that old passport joke...”if you look as bad as your passport photo you really need this vacation!”
As we’re directed to the walkway that will take us to the ship I see her up close for the first time. There it is...that bow, that evocative classic bow with the words “Queen Mary 2” proudly emblazoned on it. It was photos of that bow that took me back to my old liner past and cemented my determination to sail on her. She truly takes my breath away. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before. Probably my favorite picture of the entire trip is the one my husband quickly took of me as I met “my Queen” for the first time. My face is reflected in the dirty glass of the building. The bow with the words Queen Mary 2 directly across. And the awestruck look on my face is almost one of childlike wonder. For a brief moment I am once again the little girl whose Daddy would take her to Liner Row where she would gaze at the grandest of the grand and dream...probably with that same look on her face. I am tingling all over....the love affair has begun.
On the way to the gangway we pass the Todd English table with menus and a helpful staff member who cheerfully takes our reservation for our St Kitts night. Well then, that was easy. One less thing to do the first day.
It’s almost anticlimactic how quickly we find ourselves on the gangway. I pause briefly on that temporary connection to the world and for the first time see the length of this ship...WOW! The press of the line moves me forward and I am onboard the QM2. I am onboard the QM2!! I don’t think I ever really believed this day would come. For a year I fantasized about savoring this moment but instead it became a blur of activity. Uniformed staff smiling and welcoming us, checking cabin numbers and directing us accordingly. I must say here, that all the postings I’ve read of disappointment that a “white gloved staff member” didn’t physically take one to his cabin, really seems quite untenable. How on earth could it be expected that each passenger be escorted with so many coming at one time. I’m sure if one were infirm provisions would be made, but I’m still physically capable of toting my carry-ons (way too many of them I might add), so this was of no consequence to me at all.
For over a year I inhaled the deck plans, studied them relentlessly...at that moment I hadn’t a clue where I was....nor did I care. I was ON the QM2...no one could be more excited, wherever it was it was very attractive, and I followed the line to the elevators. The elevators were incredibly slow...and full. A tip should you find yourself in this predicament where everyone has loads of hand luggage and wants to get on first....press both up and down and take the one that comes first and is empty...at least if you go down it’s not far and you’ll be on when it goes back up. This tip works for disembarkation day too!! In no time we were at Deck 11 and the door to 11059. We peek inside....there’s that balcony....yup, this could be the real thing after all.
Part 2 follows...Cheers, Penny