By Genevieve Frew
Last year, my way of boosting the world’s ailing economy was to make the Trans Atlantic crossing aboard Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2.
Sadly, there were no streamers or teary farewells at the dock as, due to strict security regulations these days, Cunard does not allow anyone other than passengers on board.
However, once we had dealt with the bureaucracy of boarding, we were greeted with such enthusiasm by a crowd of staff, we put all thoughts of shore behind us and geared ourselves for the trip of a lifetime.
The complimentary bottle of champagne in our cabin put a buzz back in our step and made unpacking our bags almost fun.
Then it was up on to the deck to listen to the band play whilst we waved goodbye to England, took photos, and sipped on Veuve Clicquot.
One of the joys of cruising is that money is not used on board so any purchases made, including alcohol, salon services and gifts, etc., are charged to a plastic card. This card also serves as passenger identification and cabin key so spending seems painless – until you get home and check your credit card statement, that is.
There are so many things to do that you can wear yourself out trying to see, hear, learn and play them all – it helps to be discerning as you check through the daily list of activities.
As Australians, we felt obliged to choose activities devoted to the consumption of alcohol, but not without learning about some vital processes first. There was a ‘Martini Mixology’ class that highlighted the benefits of vodka versus gin and educated us on shaken versus stirred. There was also a wine tasting seminar that compared the attributes of old world wines with new world wines.
We were happy to taste them all before making any hasty judgements. Naturally, all this alcohol needed to be soaked up with food, and the food on board could not be faulted. And we had plenty to choose from.
Each night, one of the various food venues stays open throughout the small hours, when the entertainment has finished for the day and weary passengers amble about, lost or hungover, or both.
For those tired passengers who sleep through the daylight hours, missing the activities, and awake dazed and hungry in the afternoon, they may find solace in the scones and sandwiches served at high tea, daily at 3.30pm.
Then it’s off to the gym and spa before dressing up to catch the early show, followed by dinner at any of the many dining venues.
To end the perfect day at sea, there is stargazing in the planetarium, (or see the real thing up on deck), then meet new friends over drinks in the Commodore Club, before heading to the casino, and finally dancing the night away in the nightclub.
We can’t wait to do it all again and have already booked next year’s cruise.
Genevieve is a trained actor with a BA in Theatre and English from UNSW. She now lives in Melbourne but misses her friends and family in Sydney. At an early age, she told her father she wanted to travel the world and write about it. He responded, “What on earth for?” It has taken her several decades to get over his response, but now there’s simply no stopping her. She hopes he’d be proud.