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rsquare

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  1. Stated this way, it may be a bit misleading. While I normally fly EWR-LHR for a westbound TA (although in fact I live closer to PHL), I have also used Cunard Air to fly to Paris, to Nice (which involved a connection at CDG) and once to Brussels; all of these trips involved returning to London on Eurostar which is quite reasonable if booked far enough in advance. Also be aware that there can be some choice of carrier; for EWR-LHR I typically request, and get, Virgin Atlantic rather than BA.
  2. Several people who have posted on this thread have referred to the assumption that passengers will need to have been vaccinated. Unfortunately, in the US at least, there is no way to confirm that. People who have been vaccinated receive a small cardboard card; people who have not been vaccinated can buy the same card on EBay for $20 or so. Although many states maintain an electronic database of state residents who have been vaccinated, there is no comparable national database. Perhaps someone with a medical background on this forum can tell us if there is a quick and simple anti
  3. Another two cents on the eastbound vs westbound question. I'm firmly in the 25-hour day camp, but part of the attraction of that westbound trip, to me, is the dawn arrival in New York Harbor. Around 5am, there is always a small crowd of crazies around the upper decks to watch the ship pass under the Verrazano Bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn. That bridge was a major design constraint on QM2; she had to be able to clear the bridge by 3 meters at high tide. When you are' out on deck looking at the funnel approaching the underside the bridge, you can't see those 3 meters, and
  4. I have been invited to join a Cunard market research panel called "On Deck," run by an agency called ResearchBods in Leeds. I'm always happy to share my opinions (isn't that part of why we're all here?), and having spent decades as a market researcher myself, I feel a kind of moral obligation to participate. However, this opportunity comes with some interesting twists. There is a T&C page that makes it clear that participants are taking on some unknown level of liability for participating. The relevant sections are: “You agree to compensate us and/or our Research Partne
  5. I haven't heard much, either here or elsewhere, about pandemic-inspired changes to the physical plant of the ships, as opposed to policies and procedures. There is an interesting article in this morning's NY Times about the modifications that some hotels and cruise ships are making to their HVAC systems. Richard Branson's new ship, Scarlet Lady, has an air ionization system for cabins and public spaces which has been shown to remove 99% of virus particles after 30 minutes, according to the article. I haven't seen anything in Cunard publicity about infrastructure change
  6. My two cents: it kind of depends on how you plan to use a balcony and that to some extent depends on when you cross. I normally do a westbound TA in November, so I have no real expectation of spending time on the balcony. I typically take a deck 8 obstructed balcony forward because I like the fact that the cabin fills with light from the sky, which is of course not blocked by anything. One wall of the cabin is effectively all glass. If it's a nice day and I want to look at the ocean, I'm one deck away from the Promenade deck. Being on 8 puts me near the Library and
  7. Yes, it is called Solent Sky, and typically shows up on a Google map. Not far from a bunch of good restaurants on Oxford Street. Incidentally, not just Spits; many of the old Imperial Airways flying boats were built in or near Soton, and they have one or two on display.
  8. Another option in Soton (which is how it's usually abbreviated) is a ferry over to the Isle of Wight. Ferries leave from Town Quay, quite near where QM2 usually docks, and not far from the Mayflower cruise terminal. I suggest the Red Funnel line to East Cowes, and then a short bus ride to Osborne House, Queen Victoria's summer palace. Nice pub just across the road from the castle gates. There is also a fast ferry to Cowes, across the river from East Cowes.
  9. No one has mentioned the one thing which is truly unique on Cunard, and that is fixed seating in the main dining room. As much as anything else, that is what brings me back. I have travelled on Azamara, Oceana and Crystal. The latter was wonderful, but after my last Crystal voyage they went over to dine-as-you-please, so they are out of the consideration set. On Oceana, going to dinner was rather like showing up at a downtown restaurant on a Saturday night without reservations. Either stand on line, or wait on some lounge chairs; neither appeals, so they're out of the considera
  10. Some very nice Christmas markets in the UK as well. We wandered around the one at Winchester Cathedral before doing a westbound December TA. Only problem is that so close to Christmas, restaurants are frequently booked for Christmas parties. With no reservations, we wound up having dinner at a Cote Brasserie a few blocks away from the Cathedral area; not the worst thing, but still not The Old Vine or the Wykeham Arms.
  11. Just my impression from talking to people, nothing scientific. What I heard a few times was UK people flying to NY for the shopping (I guess when the dollar was softer against sterling) and coming back with loads of goodies they'd bought.
  12. I suspect, but have no facts to back it up, that the difference between an eastbound crossing and westbound crossing will be greater than the difference between a December crossing and an October or November crossing in either direction. Eastbounds, I suspect, will have more UK residents returning home, while westbounds will have more north Americans doing the same. I've really only done westbounds, and haven't seen much difference between November and December crossings in terms of passenger demographics; I've never done an October crossing. Other than that, the Decem
  13. Princeton 123211 said " QM2 is a very indoor ship on crossings this time of year. Any outside time is a bonus, but don't count on it and you won't be disappointed. " Generally true, but there are some workarounds. Even when the promenade deck is roped off, it is usually possible to get outside on one of the rear decks, reachable from the aft end of the main corridors on decks 5 and 6 and through the Verandah bar on deck 8. This can be quite nice, since the ship often blocks some of the unpleasant weather that you would be facing on the promenade deck. Also, sometimes
  14. QM2 is scheduled for refit from 6 to 28 November 2020 (it is shown on the Cunard website as voyage M037). Given that the ship just went through refit three years ago, I'm wondering what this one will cover. Only thing that I've seen mentioned is a new spa; hard to believe that alone is a three-week job.
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