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Queen Mary 2
Cruise Diva's Cruise Diary
Crossing the Atlantic in Royal Style

Southampton to New York
Any woman who craves being treated like royalty is a woman after my own heart and, after a seemingly endless flight from Atlanta to London, I was so ready to step on board Queen Mary 2 and let the pampering begin. 

First, though, there was the coach ride from London to Southampton and, I'll admit, I slept off a lot of jet lag during that two-hour drive through the English countryside. What I saw was charming, but, as I was soon to discover, there's a much better--and far less stressful--way to cross the Atlantic.

Embarkation
As we alighted from our bus, my friends and I were delighted to see British ladies carrying hats to wear at one of the traditional fancy-dress balls during the crossing. Instead of hats, we all-American gals were schlepping our rollaboards and, once inside, were directed to a rather long line snaking alongside the embarkation hall. Other than the terminal's name, Queen Elizabeth II, the sights inside could have been anywhere in the world--typical passengers anxious to be aboard. Let the journey begin. 

Now, wait a minute, we're princesses! For this crossing we were junior royalty. Our mini-suites entitled us to Princess Grill dining and, it turned out, there was a special check-in line for Grill-class passengers. It wasn't well marked, but one of my enterprising companions found it and led the way. One detail about the boarding cards that I'd never seen before was the photo, taken at the check-in desk and printed on the spot. 

Aboard at Last
Anxious to settle in, I hurried through Queen Mary 2's breathtaking grand lobby and headed for Deck 10 and my home for the next six nights. This was more like it--the princess treatment had begun. 

Mini-suite 10057 was beautiful, bright, and above all spacious. When entering I noticed the bank of closet doors to my left and was surprised to see a walk-in closet to my right. Maybe I hadn't packed enough?

Light woods, heavy, rich fabrics and enough storage space for a world cruise. What more could I ask for except champagne and strawberries... and those necessities were awaiting on the cocktail table.

Within minutes my checked luggage arrived and I dove into unpacking in order to finish before the boat drill. There was so much closet space that I stowed suitcases in one of them instead of wrestling to hide it beneath the bed. 

I admit to opening the champagne and resting with the Daily Programme for a few minutes on my balcony before heading to the muster station.

The Daily Programme
It may seem odd to place emphasis on what is typically a simple schedule of events, but the Daily Programme on Queen Mary 2 isn't typical. For one thing, it contains details that first time passengers might not even think to ask about. And there's nothing more frustrating than discovering until too late that you could have purchased a soda package or taken advantage of some other amenity. The Daily Programme contained that sort of information and more.

On a lighter vein, I was told before leaving home about a couple who booked a crossing for their honeymoon. The hapless husband apparently grew bored and in mid-ocean decided he would have been happier if a pile of dirt had been provided on the ship's bow, along with a wheelbarrow and instructions to move the dirt to the stern.

What's an ocean liner crossing REALLY like? Keep reading...


Queen Mary 2 Crossing Diary --> Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

Related:

Crossing or Cruising? What's the difference? Cruise Diva looks at conventional cruises, repositioning cruises, and a traditional Transatlantic Crossing on the largest ocean liner ever to sail the Atlantic, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2

Learn about the building of the Queen Mary 2 --> The 12-Part Series

Queen Mary 2, Relive the maiden crossing by Dr. John M. Clearwater

Photographs Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com


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