My wife and I spotted this cruise (July 2nd -14th 2015 ) to celebrate Cunard’s 175th Anniversary from Liverpool to Halifax, Boston and New York back in early 2014.
My travel agent , as we live on Vancouver Island was up in the wee early hours to Cunard Southampton to get a stateroom for us as they were selling fast.
As a child I had left Liverpool to immigrate to Canada via Halifax Pier 21 , so being now retired it became my dream to recreate this trip but now in comfort and able to truly enjoy a Cunard voyage, our first Cunard experience and on its flagship QM2 across the Atlantic.
We have travelled on various cruise lines over time and destinations and once I retired, the work part of me (someone might say Nerd) being systems and computers caused me to join cruise forums and create my personal cruise blog.
This trip would see me meet for the first time in person a good friend and other folks from the ‘Facebook – We are Cunard Fanzine Group’ those who love Cunard and share travel information.
Many have shared on this trip at Cruise.co.uk and other forums so I will leave out some of the same info.
We were able to arrange business class on points a year ago to Southampton and from New York. We arranged for Imperial Cars, Southampton Ltd to transport us from Heathrow, to NovoTel hotel then to ship. We spent 4 days in Southampton , 12 days on QM2 and 4 days in new York.
On July 2nd I boarded the ship with my wife at the City Terminal and after a bit of a wait we were processed very fast and onboard by around noon. It was so exciting to go on deck and see and hear the Irish Guards performing for us on deck then with my friend watching them on the quay playing for the sail away.
Was I excited , of course. It turned out that we were all together at the same table for second seating , what better way to get to know cyber friends in real life. As my friend said, we were able to cement our friendship in laughter and bubbly.
For us from the West Coast , it was lovely to dress up for Formal and informal nights which of course on Cunard means the men have jackets on in the evening regardless while the woman have cocktail dresses and such on.
The staff treated us wonderfully and one could not find fault with the food, so many choices.
Yes, many talks were presented each day or one could find a quiet spot to read and relax, people watch is my favourite pastime.
Liverpool was after a sea day and we were treated to a fantastic concert at the Liverpool Cathedral, it was about 2 1/2 hours long and well worth it.
For me, my highest emotional point was saying to myself,, wow , back in my country of birth and singing ‘Rule Britannia’ in this church. What more do I need.
Cunard pulled out all the stops with special meals and menus including an Anniversary hardcover book given to each passenger and lapel pins.
We made our way across the North Atlantic and though we sometimes had Force Gales where the decks were closed, we could not feel a thing, look out the port hole and see swells and waves but this Ocean Liner just moved through at 21 knots average speed.
We were in an Outside stateroom on deck 5- section A (#5003) near the bow and did not notice any true movement. We used the buffet at times (Kings Court) but mainly had cabin service for breakfast. We took all our evening meals in the Britannia Restaurant, lower level. The service was excellent including the wine / bar service. The first night the wine menu was presented to my wife and the first page opened show wines starting at $120 US+, we both went wow then I said to her try some of those other pages, surprise we were now in the more affordable area, not inexpensive but what a quality restaurant would offer.
Our cabin service was spot on, lots of space for four pieces of luggage and gifts. We kept the chocolates for our grandchildren.
We got to Halifax after enjoyable days at sea including lovely lunches at the Golden Lion. just pay for your drinks. In Halifax we went back to see Pier 21 and I even got a returning immigrant sticker.. We then went on a lovely walk of the Harbour and took a trip on the Theodor Too Tug boat. That night we had a 21 gun salute at sail away and escort by Mr Tugboat and the Royal Canadian Navy.
Another sea day and into Boston where we went to the JFK Museum, only hitch was it took awhile for us to be processed by USA Immigration on the ship but considering the QM2 had about 2,315 passengers , our tour was delayed about 30 minutes only , left at 10:30 instead of 10am.
Next sea day and arrival to New York
Reading some of the boards as we were to go to a hotel (Sanctuary Hotel) near Times Square I asked for a porter to get me a Black Cab, these are fixed rates based on area in town, black newer SUV’s or large cabs. In essence one pay s a flat rate plus tip also I tipped the luggage porter. We were off the ship at 10:30am and into a Black Cab by 11am, into our hotel by 12:30pm as traffic was thick and the hotel offered coffee or tea and a couch plus amenities while we waited for our room to be available as check-in time is normally 3pm , we were in our room by about 2pm
QM2 and Cunard, 6 stars service.
I am now looking to book QM2 again next year, either to Australia form NA or around Canada / New England as I have a brand new tux to wear.
I hope this helps. I also have a cruise blog “robbarcruises.com”:http://robbarcruises.com/ that I will be updating soon.
Cheers / Rob (aka Robbar).