30 November 2006


Life has been rather hectic recently and I am rather behind updating this Blog so I thought that a quick update would be appropriate. On 17 November, we set off for a night’s stay in Southampton with friends Lesley and Pete (don’t mention the Sat Nav sending us down a “No Through Road” within 100 yards of the hotel). We had arranged to leave the cars at the hotel for the week.

On Saturday we boarded the Queen Mary 2 after standing in a very long queue. We had cabin 4015, which is towards the front on the starboard side, with a window to watch the sea go by, or up and down! For us, on our first cruise, it seemed like a palace and, compared to our friends’ inside berth, it was large. Here are a couple of photos of Glamorous Gran. I am in trouble for showing the cabin in a disgustingly untidy state but it is the only photo I have of the cabin from the bed.

Maria as Glamorous Gran

Cabin from the bed

The whole experience of our first cruise (more strictly an Atlantic Crossing) was absolutely superb. The ship is magnificent, the staff were first class, the food was endless, varied and very good, the entertainment was excellent and the weather was - well variable at best. We sailed out into a Force 9 on the Sunday and both of us were a little queasy by the time Dinner came around, however, with a little help from a patch behind the ear, nothing came up that should have stayed down. The weather was windy for most of the way to Fort Lauderdale and it wasn’t until the last day that we could get up to the top deck to see the complete view of the ship.

Maria & John - Top Deck

At times it was difficult to believe that we were on the ocean because the sizes of the Dining Room, Theatre, Cinema and Ballroom could lead you to believe that you were in their shore-side equivalents and, in truth, the ship is fairly well stabilised. My photographs just do not do the ship justice.

On the down side, the voyage came to an end and we had to get home. Another long queue to get through US Immigration finally saw us on board a coach to the Hilton Hotel at Miami Airport. Here we were fed a buffet lunch, which was OK but nothing special. A delayed (whilst people who had been shopping finally turned up) journey to the airport left us at the back of yet another long queue for the BA flight back to Heathrow. (the couple who delayed the coach walked straight through to First Class!!) We finally boarded and spent the next 7 hours in the two centre seats of a block of four - not good if you want to stretch your legs! The flight was OK with only a few bumpy clouds en-route. We landed at Heathrow about 06:30, picked up our luggage fairly quickly, then negotiated the long walk to the National Express Coach Station, caught the 08:00 coach to Southampton, a taxi to the cars and left the Hotel to drive home, arriving who knows when. Tiredness and jet lag finally caught up with me and I had to stop for a couple of Power Naps on the way.

Overall - great holiday.

Would we do it again? I think the answer is yes and maybe around the Caribbean, The main problem is that horrible flight back from the States or Caribbean.
I would like another go on the Queen Mary, but if it were a trip across “the pond” then preferably from West to East despite the 23 instead of 25 hour days.