Posted March 13th, 2018, 05:20 PM
Inperusing the various threads, I have noted your posts with interest. I too was a newbie 5 years ago (I am now an enthusistic Crosser,preparing for #6). A Cunard transatlantic was also on my bucketlist, and it marked our 40th anniversary. I believe that,as was the case for me, you want to be prepared, to enjoy yourself,and to fit in. With that in mind, I drew up the following:
- Getting from where you are to your cabin after 6:00 pm but before you have a chance to change. As many have told you, it is not a problem. I have never seen it happen, but if someone did throw a hissy fit, that would be their problem, not yours.
- Dress. You will have noted the heated exchanges and divergent opinions on this topic. I came up with this little test for myself. It is not meant to tell anyone what to do, rather it is meant to give a bit of ease to those who just want to fit in and not feel like a sore thumb. I think that it works for both women and men.
Formal: Imagine that you are chatting to two gentlemen, one in a traditional conservative tuxedo/dinner suit, the other in a dark suit and tie. Would a passerby assume that you were all going to the same event?
Informal: Imagine that you are chatting to two gentlemen, one in a suit and tie, one in a jacket, dress shirt and dress trousers. Would a passerby assume that you are going to the same event?
- Gala Evenings. Just because a Formal evening has a theme, you don't have to follow it. I carted masks from home for a Masked Ball and we never wore them. I wore a subdued green on the night of the Black and White, and I didn't hear a single gasp! If you want to participate, by all means, enjoy yourself! It is an opportunity, not an obligation.
- Check-in on Embarkation. A disproportionate number of people are there as embarkation opens. Some have been assigned or allowed that time, some having arrived from flights or whatever have nowhere else to go, some are just anxious to be underway. That first hour can be chaotic. After that however, it generally quiets down. Personally, my two departures from Brooklyn were much easier than my three from Southampton. None were especially bothersome. On our first from Brooklyn, we were scheduled for 3:00 pm, showed up at 1:30, and just breezed aboard. So, you can go early, but I would avoid that first hour.
- Seasickness. The QM2 is amazingly stable. She was designed to handle the unpredictible North Atlantic; that is part of what makes her so special. That being said, the lower you are and the closer to the centre, the less motion you will percieve. We prefer deck 5 midships-aft. We have encountered converging storms (Force 10) and one hurricane, to no ill effect. I always take seasickness pills, but have never needed to use them.
- Useful things that you may wish that you had brought with you.
As one wise correspondent noted already, take a highlighter. You will receive a two page list of events daily; the highlighter lets you make the ones that interest you standout.
Take some small magnets. You will receive notices and invitations. The magnets allow you to post the ones you want where you can see them (the core of the walls is metal).
Take some means of providing gentle light in the bathroom if you might visit in the night. First, I took a conventional nightlight. I quickly learned that, with the (very bright) bathroom light out, there was no power in the bathroom. I now take a flashlight with a pull out end that provides a gentle diffuse light (from Eddie Bauers).
Take a sweater, a waterproof jacket, and perhaps a down vest. This combo allows you to layer as needed and still go for a walk on deck comfortably. The North Atlantic is very changable.
- The behind the scenes tour. Another writer has already recommended this to you and I heartily second that suggestion. You have said that you do not like having to line up, but this is so good! It does take a lot of climbing stairs, up and down, and sensible covered toe footware is a must, but we enjoyed it thoroughly.
- The first morning's newbies tour. I swallowed my pride and took it. Its a big ship and a guided tour really helped me.
- Which seating for dinner. We enjoy dinner in the Main Dining Room, and have done both 6:00 pm and 8:30. On the two eastbounds that we did however, the five hours that you loose over the trip occured one hour at a time near midday. One pm became two pm, 5 days out of 7. While this did allow you a full nights sleep, come 6:00 pm my body thought that it was 5:00 and was not ready for dinner. The 8:30 seating was more comfortable. If peckish beforehand, (that presumes that you haven't done afternoon tea) you can always grab a snack in the Kings Court, or better yet, a sherry and nibbles in the lovely Carinthia Lounge. (note, on a westbound, you gain an hour of sleep 5 nights out of 7).
I hope that this is of use to you. Cunard is of course, not perfect, but we enjoy it. And theAtlantic.....oh, the Atlantic is captivating, mesmerizing, and alwayschanging. Bon Voyage!