Updated July 2019
I enjoyed my first Transatlantic crossing onboard Queen Mary 2, but before boarding I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Would I get bored? What was there to do? Would it be claustrophobic? On previous cruises, I've always preferred the port days over the sea days, so this was going to be a real test.
I stayed in an extremely hot and humid New York City for five days of shopping, exploring, and sight seeing (I also got to see the Independence Day fireworks!) So it was superb to not have to waste a day transferring to the airport, then lugging cases around before flying overnight and coming back tired and jet lagged. Instead, I took a taxi from the hotel direct to Manhattan Pier in 55th street, and was in my cabin within the hour sipping on champagne! (Note: Usually the ship sails from Brooklyn but we sailed from Manhattan as a Princess Cruises ship was in port).
Spectacular Sail Away
Queen Mary 2 felt like an oasis right next to the hubbub of the city. We sailed away in the sunshine at 5 o'clock after a relaxed lunch. I'll never forget it — the most spectacular sailaway ever. We passed the towering skyscrapers of midtown and lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey on the other shores, and then right past the Statue of Liberty before squeezing under the low Verrazano bridge and out to sea. Then we were en route to Southampton, with no land to be seen for the duration of seven days.
What to do
There's so much to do on a Transatlantic cruise - there's something for everyone.
For me it was a big learning exercise as I decided to attend all the lectures in the Illuminations Theatre, of which there were two or three every day! I became an expert in espionage and counter-surveillance, cracking the Enigma Code, Beatrix Potter, and the Solar System. I also found time to attend talks from the celebrity speaker and broadcaster Nicholas Owen — and attend two Planetarium shows*. Not only this, but I enjoyed two RADA productions - Hamlet and the Canterbury Tales - and then spent time in the gym and went jogging on the Promenade deck (3 laps = 1 mile). We had some glorious sunshine on a couple of days, so we relaxed on deck and on our private balcony. We also had a very enjoyable afternoon tea one day.
In addition to all this daytime entertainment, there are daily bridge classes and tournaments, dance classes, RADA workshops, computer classes, various gym classes and spa treatments for you to enjoy. I just didn't have the time to fit it all in! You could also spend time in the largest at-sea library, which not only has a fantastic selection of books, but is also decorated in a beautiful, warm, and lavish style. There is also an art gallery onboard, featuring some commanding pieces. Evenings are packed with 3D films in the cinema, live music, brilliant theatre productions, and of course traditional ballroom dancing in the Queen's room. There is also a night club style venue where you can dance the night away should you wish to.
All in all I came back thoroughly relaxed, and couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed. I can honestly say that if I had the time, I would always travel Transatlantic this way. Slower definitely is better in this case.
Take a look at Cunard's transatlantic cruises, and find out what adventures you could go on.
*Lecture programming, speakers, and shows are subject to change.