This is a long overdue post, but it’s promised to be a good one.
The other travel bunnie and I got married on Saint Valentine’s Day more than two years ago. So a few months back on our wedding anniversary, I woke up to find a black booklet with CUNARD written in red placed next to my pillow. Inside was a booking confirmation for a cruise on board the Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s flagship and arguable the most magnificent ocean liner ever built. I had mentioned to the other travel bunnie that it would be a dream to take a cruise onboard the magnificently legendary QM2 during its 175 year celebration, but never had I thought that we could actually do it given that we had already booked an international holiday. I was ecstatic when I saw the anniversary present.
I looked at the Cunard’s website every day in the lead up to the embarkation date, and when that day finally came, I grabbed my Panama hat and luggage, and I turned on my cruising-mode switch.
The ship, itself, is nothing short of impressive. It was docked at the Port of Brisbane (which unfortunately isn’t the prettiest port on earth) where it stood tall and imposingly like a proud icon of all things British, and once we hopped on board we were greeted by the bellboys dressed in their iconic red uniforms. The check-in procedure was fairly easy, but I wasn’t willing to wait a second more than I had to, as I was eager to check out our stateroom.
Our stateroom was on Deck 10, which also happens to be the deck where the penthouse suites are located. Cunard has proudly claimed that their inside staterooms are like no other, and they are not wrong. A chilled bottle of sparkling wine awaited us in an iced bucket on the table and dispute being an inside cabin, our stateroom was airy and attractive. Fluffy white robes with “Cunard” embossed in gold hung neatly in the wardrobe, which provides ample closet space. A thick curtain divides the shower and vanity in the reasonably sized bathroom. The highlight for me was the amenities by Penhaligon's. Penhaligon’s, people!!! Bottles of Penhaligon’s in the scent of Quercus were neatly stacked on the rack, and so every shower on board was an absolute treat as the elegant and intimate smell of citrus, basil, jasmine would fill the entire the bathroom.
I had heard about the strict dress code on board the QM2 before, especially after 6pm, but as it turned out, the code is reasonably relaxed.
One thing I love about cruising is the ample food options that you can get onboard. The food was never boring and throughout the entire trip, the other travel bunnie and I hopped around the ship eating; from fine dining at the Britannia Restaurant, to traditional British pub food at the Golden Lion Pub, of course the self-serve buffet at Kings Court and traditional High Tea in the Queens Room as well as late night drinks at the Commodore Club, and let’s not forget those midnight room service orders. You get the drift.
We sunbaked and swam at the numerous pool options (well, the other travel bunnie swam and I sort of just played in the water as I don’t know how to swim) in between our feasts, and at night, we would catch a show at the theatre. Some of the other unique features of this magnificent boat that really set it apart include its stunning mahogany and glass laden library elegantly taking up a large section of the front of deck 8, the impressive planetarium theatre and endless outdoor upper deck space from which you can grab a lounge chair and simply take in the scenery in complete solitude (other than the occasional welcome request by one of the boats desk staff as to whether a drink is needed).
When the ship finally pulled up at Sydney Harbour just before sunrise after two nights of cruising, I felt slightly sad that the experience was almost over. I stood on the deck watching the sun coming up before heading back to he stateroom to pack up for disembarkation, which was as quick and efficient as the embarkation process.
Until next time, QM2.