Eats, Shoots and Dances on QM2

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The sea has calmed a little; the north Atlantic is no millpond and in racing parlance the “going” is officially described as moderate, but waves are no longer licking at the over-sized porthole windows of the Golden Lion pub. Queen Mary 2, entering Day 3 of her 10th anniversary crossing, is bowling along at a steady 21.2 knots.
That’s still just a little over two-thirds of her design speed, but it’s enough to keep the forward decks closed to protect passengers from the 30-knot sou’westerly.
We are not, after all, on a leisurely cruise of the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, we are making a line voyage from Southampton to New York, just as this giant ship was designed to do.
Passengers are settling into a relaxed routine. The clock has been generous in giving us an extra hour each night and it is easy to become accustomed to the 25-hour days that a westbound crossing offers. They are a far more appealing prospect than the shortened 23-hour days on the eastbound journey.
I have to take care of my grammar and punctuation as I write this. Having been entertained by a talk in the Royal Court Theatre from Lynn Truss, author of the best-selling Eats, Shoots and Leaves, it wouldn’t do to be sloppy.
She will be giving a reading later in the week and I’ll be interested to see if she draws as big a crowd as Freeman of the City of London, Blue Peter badge holder, and designer of QM2, Dr. Stephen Payne OBE, attracted to his first talk.
The subject of the Titanic appears to hold endless fascination for Transatlantic passengers for reasons I can’t quite fathom. There are, of course, countless parallels.
Queen Mary 2 left from the same Southampton dock that the White Star liner occupied before setting out in 1912 to cross the Atlantic for the first and last time. On some crossings, QM2 passes close to Titanic’s final resting place, though I suspect we are travelling further south on this occasion.
Payne asserted that the way in which James Cameron’s film, starring Leonardo diCaprio and Kate Winslet, fired the public imagination was the inspiration for Carnival Corporation – the American owners of Cunard – to invest in the construction of QM2.
Quite why we all want to spend so much time contemplating the fate of the doomed ship and its passengers still remains a mystery. The only ice we want to see is in our cocktails, or carved into elaborate sculptures in the restaurants.
Maureen Ryan, a one-time hostess and purser for Cunard, spoke with breathless excitement and unabated enthusiasm for her lifelong career at sea. Later today, Commodore Ron Warwick, first captain of the QM2, will be sharing his memories.
As well as the talks, the other constant that divides our days is mealtimes. The extra hour’s sleep makes breakfast less of a chore, and lunch is followed all too soon by a leisurely afternoon tea, served by white-gloved waiters in the Queen’s Room and the Queens Grill Lounge.
After last night’s Gala Dinner – featuring a choice of roast turkey, salmon Wellington, and medallions of beef fillet – I made a quick tour of the ship to see how many of my fellow guests were still active at 11.00pm.
Some of them had made it to the G32 nightclub where Pharrell Williams’ Happy enticed a few onto the floor to dance with about as much animation as at a somewhat sober wedding.
The Queen’s Room, with its resident orchestra on stage, was much livelier; many of the dancers had clearly benefitted from ballroom classes, and Latin rhythms were raising the temperature.
Passengers whose mobility was impaired by another day of feasting crammed into the 1,094-seat Royal Court Theatre to watch the resident song and dance troupe run through Crazy In Love for the second time of the evening.
A pianist was keeping the party going in the Golden Lion, and the casino played host to the determined high rollers.
My stateroom and bed were beckoning … there are more busy days ahead before we reach New York on Friday.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:27+00:00 12 May 2014|Cruise News, Cruise Ships|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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