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Envoy Travelogue:
Making a Crossing on the QE2

Making a crossing is significantly different from taking a cruise. Making a crossing conjures up images of a less harried and more elegant past, when getting there really was half the fun. Packing steamer trunks, waving good-bye from the pier, loud whistles blowing, the Statue of Liberty passing by the funnels of the ship as it headed out into the North Atlantic, bound for the romantic capitals of Europe.

We made a crossing on the QE2, Cunard’s magnificent flagship. We sailed from New York on a fine, sunny, August day. As we passed under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Concord roared overhead. A QE2/Concorde voyage once was quite the thing to do. Alas, the Concorde seems a thing of the past.

On deck, we saw several well-heeled Englishmen in blue blazers and white linen trousers adding an air of civility to the whole outing. We also noted that one could reserve a deck chair for sunning during the voyage.

Fortunately, we did not indulge in making a deck-chair reservation. The first day at sea was quite pleasant. But the next morning we woke to find ourselves swathed in chilly fog somewhere in the North Atlantic. Everyone rushed to the ship’s shops to buy sweatshirts. The rest of the journey was spent inside the ship

And there were plenty of things to amuse ourselves with. The ship’s library, for instance, was a marvelous place to spend a morning browsing through the book shelves, reading in comfortable chairs, or poking around in the shop. We bought several lovely posters, including, of course, one advertising HMS Titanic’s maiden voyage.

The QE2 is a ship’s ship. It doesn’t pretend to be a floating casino or resort hotel. Everywhere there are models of ships and plaques telling about the history of ships that crossed the Atlantic. Even the crew reminded one that we were aboard a ship. At certain times during the day a formal announcement would be made about the ship’s speed and position.

Pampering pleasures

Being aboard a ship, in the QE2 tradition, however, also means that luxuries abound. The ship’s spa is a wonderful example of luxury. Stations of underwater sprays bring relaxation to every muscle you own. You enter a large pool and lay down on a metal bed that is underwater, allowing sprays to massage your body. Then you go from station to station of spays at different levels to massage you from our legs o your neck.

Afterward, we tried an aroma therapy experience. You lay down in what looks like a big egg. They close the top and pipe in music and scents to soothe your soul.

An evening aboard ship

Dining is a wonderful experience. There are three levels of dining. (Cunard denies there is such a thing as the old first, second, and third class.) However, the dining room you are assigned to depends on the level of cabin you book. The top dining experience is Grill Class, and the top of that class is the Queen’s Grill. This is a black-tie experience. The menu is superb. Forget whatever you heard about the quality of English cuisine. And if you don’t see what you like on the menu, just ask to have I prepared especially for you.

Even in the lesser dining rooms, the food is excellent. But the best is left for last. Your waiter comes around with a tray of chocolates made right on board the QE2 and available nowhere else in the world.

Entertainment abounds. It ranges from fist-run films to classical concerts to lectures to shows. And, of course, there is always the casino.

Our voyage ended in Southampton. There was a yacht race in progress as we approached the port. We all watched from the deck in fascination as the little sail boats (from our gigantic perspective) scattered at the last minute as the magnificent bow of the QE2 cut through the water toward her berth in her home on the British Isles.

The QE2 also offers a world cruis and cruises to various destinations, including the Panama Canal. She stops in ports as diverse as Australia, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean.

Learn more about the QE2 by visiting the QE2 Home Page. Use the back button on your browser to return to this page. Click here.

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