I‘m not usually one for cruises with their enforced activities, all you can eat buffets and constant threat of food poisoning. However, when I sailed across the Atlantic in 2005 on the Queen Mary 2 (the largest ocean liner in the world at the time), I became a cruise convert.
Though alarmingly Titanic-esque at first glance, the Queen Mary 2 is the epitome of maritime chic. With 17 decks, 15 restaurants, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a disco, a theater, a planetarium, a Canyon Ranch spa, a salon and a gym, the QM2 is less like an ocean liner and more like the chicest city you’ve ever visited–although one that requires black tie attire to even be allowed to eat dinner.
Late setting sail from New York Harbor because a shipment of live Maine lobsters was stuck in traffic, I knew before we even left port that the next seven days would be incredibly chic. Finally, the ship’s whistle blared, and passengers rushed to the outer decks to watch as we silently glided past the Statue of Liberty, aglow in the setting sun. Once we hit the open ocean, the cruise officially began.
And if I was going to experience everything the QM2 had to offer, I had to get started! My top priorities, a Thai massage, a show at the planetarium and listening to a talk given by author P.D. James. But there was scarcely time for anything with all the food and drinks being forced upon us. Breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas, hors d’oeuvres, cocktail hour, dinner, after dinner cocktail hour and a 24-hour snack bar. It was a never ending smorgasbord of culinary and liquid delights.
But the best part of cruising on the QM2? Simply ambling along the promenade deck, champagne in hand, watching the sun as it set dazzlingly below the shimmering Atlantic. Possibly one of my chicest adventures yet.
Photos courtesy of frillseekerdiary.com and djibnet.com