Crossing the Atlantic on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (Day 2)

Monday, March 21st: – Day two of our Atlantic crossing

The clocks were set back an hour early Monday morning. This is the first of our five 25 hours days.

Breakfast

We started the day with rolls, juice and coffee delivered by our cabin steward. It’s much better than using an alarm or getting a wake up call. Knowing the time was challenging. The iPhone didn’t know where it is, so it still thinks it’s on UK time.

About 8:15 AM we headed to the Britannia dining room for a proper breakfast. We joined up with our traveling companion and got a table for three. Breakfast and lunch are open seating, dinner is assigned seating. I had coffee, a smoothie and fresh fruit because I obviously had a good breakfast in the cabin.

Mid morning activities

This will sound hard to believe, but the day fills up very quickly!  We skipped the 10:00 AM lecture in favor of visiting the library. I secured two comfy chairs facing the bow while Jane found a book. Then I disappeared to find a couple of mysteries for myself. We completed the daily crossword puzzle for the first time ever. This is a good omen.

Shortly before 10:30 I headed to the Carpathia Lounge for the 10:30 quiz. A nice couple let me join up with them. Once again, I learned trivial facts I will remember for decades, like Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus. There are subtle Covid changes:  you grade your own paper. Pencils are not reused.

The weather is warmer than I anticipated. Put another way, there are people walking the outside deck wearing light jackets.

Lunch

At noon we met up with our traveling companion for lunch. We dined in the Britannia dining room. Lunch is open seating and they gave us a window table. I started with the calamari appetizer. Here’s my tip:  Don’t eat the tiny pieces of seeded red pepper!  They are hot!  The accompanying aioli was good. My entree was minute steak with fries, aka Steak Frites. It was good. My dessert was mango fool, which is a light custard with small chunks of mango. We weren’t rushed, able to take all the time we wanted.

Afternoon activities

Lunch was followed by the fourth Cunard Insights lecture of the day, which was the first we attended. At 1:30 PM a speaker talked about the design and installation of a garden display at the Chelsea Flower Show. I attended for a while, then headed back to our cabin to see the rest. After lunch, it’s nap time.

At 3:30 we went to Afternoon Tea in the Queens Room. This is another included daily activity. Lots of tables for two are attended by waiters serving tea, scones with clotted cream, finger sandwiches and pastries.

Now it’s almost 4:30. Time for a return to the Carpathia Lounge for afternoon trivia. The room was filled with teams. Eight got perfect scores, 20 out of 20. The tie breaker question was the height of Mount Everest in meters. We didn’t win.

At 5:00 I headed back to the cabin to dress for our first formal night. The three of us are meeting at 5:30 for champagne and canapés in the cabin before dinner.

Monday’s formal dinner

The three of us got dressed and met in our cabin for canapés and champagne. The champagne was our friend’s gift. We ordered the canapés from room service. $25 plus service charge buys you ten canapés. Two had smoked salmon and four included caviar.

Afterwards we headed to dinner. Monday is the first formal night. It’s also the night of the Black and White ball. Not only was everyone wearing masks, virtually everyone was wearing black tie, dark suits and evening gowns themed to black and white. The dining room continued the theme with a welcome invitation announcing a complimentary toast, which was a glass of sparkling wine.

I started with the duck terrine followed by the asparagus salad, then surf and turf. We ordered a bottle of a white Burgundy, a Macon Verze from Domaine Leflaive. It was about $69 before the service charge. The price is about the same as buying it in a retail store in the US. For dessert I had not one but two soufflés!

Next, we went to the 8:00 PM welcome show. The captain introduced the senior staff and told us about the composition of the passenger manifest. The British are the major nationality.

The show was of Broadway quality, but it had no plot. It was singing and dancing.

About 9:00 we headed to the Queens Room for the Black and White ball. There is a live band. We stayed for drinks and watched other passengers dancing, all dressed in black and white. When people travel with Cunard, they generally follow the dress code.

It’s about 11:00. Time for bed. I’m having difficulty getting to terms with my not being able to fit everything in. I haven’t gotten to the gym yet.

What’s different:

  • at the quizzes, you grade your own answer sheet and pencils are not collected and reused.
  • On Wednesday everyone gets the Covid lateral flow test. It’s possible there will be another test before arriving in New York.
  • Internet access is handled differently. They upgraded their system. Previously you bought a package with a set number of minutes, signing on and off and gradually working the number down. Now you buy access by the day or for the voyage. No need to sign on and off.
  • Canapés are now listed on the room service menu. Ten canapés are $25 plus service charge.

    Cunard voyages

    Queen Mary 2

    Queen Elizabeth

    Queen Victoria

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