You might wonder what you would do if you were on a seven-day transatlantic cruise from New York to Southampton. After all, there are no port stops on the way. Surprisingly enough, days speed by as there is plenty to do on the Queen Mary 2 including films in the Planetarium; the Cunard Insights Lecture Enrichment Program; Bridge classes; performances by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; the Canyon Ranch Spa & Fitness Center; computer classes; afternoon tea; dancing classes; wine tastings; and darts competitions.
I particularly enjoyed the two presentations in the planetarium: Passport to the Universe and Cosmic Collisions. I used to go to the planetarium in San Francisco frequently as a child and didn’t realize how much I had missed it until I went to the presentations on board the Queen Mary 2. After watching galaxies collide, the problems I’ve been wrestling with seem small in comparison. We humans are but a small part of an enormous universe. I think it’s important to cherish what we have but let’s not take ourselves too seriously in the process.
I also heard an interesting art talk about artistic inspiration in the Clarendon Fine Art Gallery. I didn’t realize that Vincent Van Gogh wanted to be a preacher but was expelled from preacher school because he was too enthusiastic. Van Gogh apparently had incredible mood swings that were over the top and repelled people, including his dear friend Paul Gauguin. After living with Van Gogh in the south of France for a period of time, Gauguin left because he could no longer take Van Gogh’s intensity. Van Gogh cut off his ear in the hope that Gauguin would come back.
The biggest surprise for me was how much I enjoyed Carmen in 3D. I’ve never been an opera fan but watching a performance in London’s Royal Opera House on screen at the Illuminations Theatre on the Queen Mary 2 while wearing 3D glasses was entertaining. It was nice to have the opera, which was sung in French, translated at the bottom of the screen.
More photos of the Queen Mary 2.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Before getting on this cruise, I had made it a point to upgrade my wardrobe because I had heard that the Queen Mary 2 was very dressy compared to most other cruise ships. On this seven day cruise, there are four formal nights. Although ladies need to wear a dress on these evenings, it isn’t necessary to invest in an expensive beaded gown that would feel like an anchor in your suitcase. And the vast majority of people were dressed very casually in the morning and afternoon. If you don’t feel like dressing up for dinner, you can always go to the King’s Court, the Queen Mary 2’s rendition of the Lido Deck. I’m going to have to convince my fellow Northwesterners, most of whom don’t like to dress up, that this cruise isn’t as stuffy as they might think. It is a distinctively British experience but it isn’t outrageously stiff and formal.
Half of the passengers on the ship are British, and although I haven’t met all 1,200 of them, the ones who I have met are warm, friendly and witty. Most are retired but I’ve met some traveling with children. Many have done the transatlantic crossing more than once.
Friday, October 21, 2011
In Interlaken, we stayed at the Hotel du Lac, a charming hotel located between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun that has been run by the same family for generations. Our corner room had a gorgeous view of Lake Brienz. The cream of asparagus soup I had at the hotel restaurant was very tasty.
From Interlaken, we took the GoldenPass Line to Lucerne, where we spent two wonderful days. In Lucerne, we particularly enjoyed strolling across the Chapel Bridge, the oldest wooden covered bridge in Europe and walking on the walls of Old Town Lucerne where we savored some beautiful views of the city. The highlights of our visit, however, were the trip to Mt. Rigi (its name stems from the Latin “Regina Montium” or “Queen of Mountains”) and a boat ride around Lake Lucerne.