It’s been almost two years since we stepped aboard a Cunard liner. That changes when we board the Queen Mary 2 on Monday, January 3rd, to cross the Atlantic in the eastbound direction, enroute to Southampton.
We have done this many times. We think the transatlantic crossing is Cunard’s signature voyage. We try to board as early as possible and have developed a routine for our first day on board. In no particular order, they are:
- Arrive at our stateroom. Sometimes our luggage is there, other times we must wait.
- Heavy coats are hung up. We are now in the huge world of the ship, our home for the next seven days. We store away the coats, hats, gloves, etc.
- Open the safe. We pack away the passports, wallets, credit cards, car keys, house keys and everything else we won’t need for the next seven days. This includes the sheet with computer passwords. Cash for tipping and the UK currency are stored away too. Later, the jewelry goes in.
- Up to the Lido deck. They are usually setup for lunch in the early afternoon. Experience has taught us they often have prime rib or a steamship round of beef. The pizza is good too.
- Flowers. I find a way to disappear, visiting the Purser’s office to order flowers. Jane knows what I’m doing, because I do it every voyage. She still acts surprised.
- Pack away everything. The luggage has arrived. We choose who gets which drawers and unpack every dingle item. The safe is reopened. In goes the dress watch and cufflinks, the formal night necessities. We aren’t fans of living out of suitcases.
- Meet our steward. They have usually come around and introduced themselves. They ask if everything is OK. We ask important questions like “Where’s the laundry?”
- Visit the main dining room. Experience has shown us that it’s easier to find your table on the first night if you check the location during the afternoon. We always ask for a large table. We prefer the lower level, towards the entrance. Usually we are seated where we expected.
- Review the program. This tells us things like “When’s the lifeboat drill?” It’s been two years! The procedures might have changed. We also look to see if there are some interesting activities on our first night.
- Explore the ship. We’ve sailed on the QM2 many times, yet we still like wandering and exploring.
- The Commodore’s Lounge. One of our favorite bars in the one directly above the bridge. It usually offers great views when the ship sets sail. Unfortunately, it will be pretty dark, since it will be January. Maybe we will get lucky.
When you find a ship that becomes your favorite, it feels like home. It’s like getting together with a longtime friend after a long absence.