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DanielleFaye

When to do QM2 - Hurricanes and Seasickness?

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Hi, my husband and I wanted to do a Trans-Atlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2 next year for our 20th anniversary which is on Sept 1st.

 

But that is in hurricane season, and getting hit by Hurricane Irma in Florida makes me not trust my luck.  

 

Has anyone taken the trip in hurricane season?  Is it easy for the ship to get the forecast and dodge storms?  Otherwise winter prices seemed affordable and safe from hurricanes, but I've heard that the seas can be rough in the winter, is that true in your experience?  I am prone to seasickness/vertigo though it is helped by medicine and I know it's impossible to guarantee I'd like to pick a time that's the best gamble.

 

I guess any advice for good times to travel.  We were going to stay in Queen's Grill so that if I must be sick I can be sick in luxury.  

 

Thanks!

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QM2 has some flexibility in the route across the Atlantic aside from the endpoints so the worst storms can be avoided to a good degree (although it will often sail through weather that makes other ships turn back, and some welcome weather that makes one know that they're on a ship).

 

On an eastbound crossing you tend to travel slightly slower than the weather so whatever weather you start with is sometimes the weather for the crossing. A westbound crossing will often have more varied weather since you're traveling into the weather that's coming your way.

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I’ve done a September crossing westbound and the annual January 3rd crossing eastbound.  I found the seas rougher in September though it was obviously colder in January.  Of course the Atlantic is pretty unpredictable and no crossing is exactly like the one before it. I’ve actually booked the January crossing again for 2021 as it was a wonderful experience crossing at that time of year. The ship was filled with people who really had a passion for transatlantics and there were also a great number of UK citizens sailing home after the QM2’s Caribbean cruise. 
 

That said, whilst September is certainly hurricane season, it is not as common to have debilitating storms in the northeast of the US as it is on Florida (though of course there are always exceptions). Chances are, crossing then would be affected by a hurricane unless it was an abnormally unusual storm. 

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The three QM2 transatlantics I've been on were in June, July, and September in three different years, with one eastbound and two westbound.  All three crossings were flat calms from beginning to end.  On the eastbound, I think the biggest sea we encountered was the wake from the Staten Island ferry on the way out of NY harbour.   (I exaggerate slightly, but really only slightly).  I'm still awaiting the North Atlantic that QM2 was designed to deal with.   Guess I'll just have to keep on trying!

 

 

Edited by sfred

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This photo of the in-room TV screen on QM2 from November 25, 2019 may be of interest to this discussion. This was during a westbound crossing on the final sea day before reaching New York. It goes to show that hurricane force winds are possible during a crossing even in late November. The captain mentioned during his noon announcement that winds had been gusting above 70 knots during the early hours that morning. I wasn't really aware of any particularly unusual movement of the ship that morning although most access points to the open decks were closed as a precaution.

 

image.thumb.png.b8aa0306a3d8114c94f56beac594627e.png

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As Bostonjet wrote, weather on the North Atlantic is notoriously unpredictable. We've never been on a winter crossing. By all accounts winter crossings can be a bit boisterous, but some people enjoy surprisingly smooth seas. All of our crossings have been in July and August when the ocean is usually at its calmest. But although we've never encountered an outright hurricane, we have experienced a few days of very rough seas. And yet, I hasten to add, even on the stormiest of days we were none the worse for the wear.

 

So as you make your plans, keep three things in mind. First, as Bostonjet pointed out, it's very unlikely that you'll encounter a hurricane. Second, as Underwatr wrote, QM2 an alter its course if necessary. And third, as bluemarble observed, QM2 is remarkably stable even in the midst of hurricane force winds. I am very sensitive to motion, so this is something to which I can enthusiastically testify.

 

Have a wonderful 20th anniversary crossing!

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Just to add one more reassurance, we traveled westbound in mid-December 2018.  Some days, seas were high -- 30 feet and more. Outside decks were closed for much or most of the voyage.  But QM2 was unbelievably stable. One night, in the Royal Court theatre, we noticed the potted pine trees at either end of the stage were swaying (and not in time to the music).  But at no point did we feel any rolling or pitching.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

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7 hours ago, DanielleFaye said:

Has anyone taken the trip in hurricane season?  Is it easy for the ship to get the forecast and dodge storms? 

I'll echo what others have said above. We sailed through a hurricane years ago-- the ship is extremely stable. It also has the speed to avoid most of it or get through it faster than other ships if there is no choice but to sail through it. It is one of the few things that QM2 does better than QE2-- QE2 had a habit of rolling in bad weather. QM2 sails right through heavy seas. 

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Yes, the QM2 is stable, with the computer controlled stabiliser fins coping well eliminating most of the side to side movement.  You will get Forward-Aft pitching which can be noticeable when it is particularly rough.  Cabins in the middle of the ship suffer this less, and aft is better than bow.  Worth noting that the QM2 was specifically designed to cope with Atlantic weather and, unlike the floating hotels, doesn’t need to steer a wide berth from storm systems.  They have some slack in their timings to vary the track if they can, but you won’t find the QM2 sailing hundreds of miles off route to avoid a storm, as do the cruise ships.

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We were on the same crossing as Bluemarble and although Jane normally gets very seasick on the Bay of Biscay missing several dinners on various cruises, she was fine on QM2, so much so, we sat and watched the waves crashing against the windows down by the Sales Office in the deck 2 games corridor

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Thank you, all this information is incredibly helpful!  I really appreciate everyone taking the time to share their experiences.    I was just so anxious about it, I think we've decided to try going as close to our anniversary as possible then, more romantic that way.  🥰

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On 1/10/2020 at 2:38 PM, bluemarble said:

This photo of the in-room TV screen on QM2 from November 25, 2019 may be of interest to this discussion. This was during a westbound crossing on the final sea day before reaching New York. It goes to show that hurricane force winds are possible during a crossing even in late November. The captain mentioned during his noon announcement that winds had been gusting above 70 knots during the early hours that morning. I wasn't really aware of any particularly unusual movement of the ship that morning although most access points to the open decks were closed as a precaution.

 

image.thumb.png.b8aa0306a3d8114c94f56beac594627e.png

 

I was on this crossing too!  And it was my birthday, and of course the final day.  The weather the other days was cold and gray but the motion of the ocean, mainly pitching, was tolerable.  This day though, the rolling was getting to me although IIRC things improved greatly around lunch time.  That said, aside from not being able to pack early in the day, I was fine and QM2 really does handle the seas very well.  Walking was a bit of a challenge though for several hours, nothing that a few G & Ts didn't handle!  😄  I've been in higher, rougher seas on Caribbean sailings from Cape Liberty, on ships that aren't built to deal with the seas as well. (I will admit though that I did hit my stash of ginger chews on the above referenced date...as a precaution, and I fared very well.)

 

Stock up on your favorite seasickness remedies just in case!  Happy anniversary and enjoy your voyage!

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We love the November / December TAs. That being said, we have had crossings that were as flat as a mill pond, but also crossings with 112 MPH wind across the decks and 38 foot seas!! The vast majority of crossings are toward the calmer side of this weather and seas spectrum.

If you are very concerned  and susceptable to motion sickness, the most stable location on the ship is low and in the middle of the ship. The grills being high and at the bow and stern end up being by far the roughest location. Maybe consider saving your money and ride down low with the rest of us in "steerage" and feel less motion???

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We also went through a hurricane coming back from a New England, Canada cruise.

The Captain made his 12 o’clock announcement stating we would be going through the storm., but it was nothing she couldn’t handle!   He advised the women to wear flats that evening.   We were not at all uncomfortable but the outside was closed off and we did not venture on our balcony.   We were on a higher deck and we had to go down to Deck 2 to appreciate the waves breaking against the windows.   You will enjoy the QG experience whatever the weather.   

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A September trans-Atlantic will give you the Atlantic at its warmest.  While it is hurricane season, the fact is that most of the time most of the Atlantic is not experiencing one.  We have done several westbound TA’s in September - two on QM2, one on a Celebrity ship out of Harwich to Miami. Only one gave us noticeably rough seas - and just for two days.

 

Assuming you are talking westbound - and booking a balcony, go for the port side - it will give you sun (as much as there is) all day every day - it makes a huge difference.

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We did a trans-Atlantic in May, last year. There were two days when the wind and sea was challenging. The first day we had 8m waves and a lot of wind, the following day the sea was 10m and the wind higher. The difference between the two days was actually down to the direction of the sea in relation to the ship. The first day was far more sporting, with the ship making way into the waves - so plenty of motion forward and aft. The second day, the outside areas were closed because of the wind, but because the ship was travelling along the waves and not into them the stabilisers were alble to correct pretty much all of the motion, so very little lateral roll was felt.

 

I was talking with a couple of grills passengers and they said that they had had virtually no sleep on that first day - the motion was just to great where their cabin was located. Our sheltered balcony on deck 6 gave us no problem. The more you pay the more you sway.

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A couple years ago when Lionel Richie was on board, In July we were out in the middle of the North Atlantic heading to New York and in high winds, around 3AM the QM2 pitched to one side and stayed that way until the ballast was realligned for what seemed like an eternity but likely a minute of less.  Books and glasses flew off shelves, the stores suffered damage and a few people had minor injuries from glass.  Crew told me on one side water came up over their portholes. But aside from that event, the QM2 is rock solid in storms.

Edited by resistk

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Some years ago one a Fourth of July as we left NY a Hurricane blew up behind us. Because we were traveling with the wind and there was noticeable pitching up and down for a few hours. It made walking the passageways interesting, and prevented us from using the balcony, but by the next morning the seas were calm. No Seasickness, and no trouble sleeping 

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On 1/11/2020 at 3:45 PM, DanielleFaye said:

...we've decided to try going as close to our anniversary as possible then, more romantic that way.  🥰

 

DanielleFaye,

Glad to hear that you have decided to sail near your September 1st anniversary date. Our last crossing was in September and we especially enjoyed it. The QM2 has an amazing Promenade Deck and the September warm-cool weather allowed us to use it every morning for a brisk walk and every afternoon, relaxing in deck chairs and watching the ocean go by (and a whale!). We strongly recommend an east to west crossing since you will gain an hour's sleep on 5 nights rather than lose an hour on 5 afternoons due to passing through 5 time zones. Also, try to secure a room on the port side in order to have a view of the Statue of Liberty when entering NY harbor. Of course you will still want to get up at 0' dark thirty and head to the top of deck 13 to watch the QM2 just clear under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge but then you can retire back to your cabin and watch the Statue of Liberty pass by while enjoying a cup of coffee/tea on your own balcony. 

 

Jack

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