First off.......I would like to introduce you to our newest granddaughter who made her arrival into the world on October 11th. We received news of her birth while we were on board the QM2 and we are just thrilled and looking forward to meeting her in person. Our son and his family live about 2 1/2 hours away from us so we will make the trip up to visit soon. Right now my DIL's mother is there with them so we will give them time with the baby before we start pounding on the door.
Our fabulous vacation started off with a business meeting in Orlando, Florida. Despite the fact that we once lived in Florida, I am still amazed at how totally flat the landscape is there. We have hills and mountains here wherever you look and there you are able to see forever. I must say that I do love the Florida skies with the wonderful clouds. The temperatures were setting record highs while we were there and the humidity only added to the heat. It is amazing the difference the humidity has on the "feel" of the temperatures.
From Orlando, we caught a plane to Newark and headed for New York before boarding the ship. Would you be nervous about signing in at this gate? After hearing about a flight that overshot an airport by 150 miles, I might give more serious thought to it.
We able to spend the afternoon and night in New York city and enjoyed a few brisk walks and taking in the sights. I love N.Y. for the vitality one experiences, but I would not want to live there. The traffic is a nightmare and that is coming from someone who drives in L.A.
We enjoyed Rockefeller Center where they had just frozen the skating rink for the winter......
and Times Square......................
and......the jewelry district. Don't you love the street lights made to look like giant diamonds?
Friday afternoon we were picked up by the Cunard bus to take us to the Brooklyn terminal to board the Queen Mary 2. Our excitement on the bus was a minor traffic collision with the bus of the Minnesota Twins baseball team in N.Y. to play the Yankees in the playoffs. May I repeat, the traffic is a nightmare there?
After passing through heavy security, we were shown to our staterooms. What an incredible experience that was. The staff is simply amazing and the vessel itself is indescribable. Here we are up on the top deck with fabulous views of the cities of New York and New Jersey, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Sailing occurs just at sunset. We were escorted from the harbor by armed Coast Guard boats.
Departure time is determined by the tides as there is a narrow window of time for the huge ocean liner to pass under the bridge without hitting it. It truly is just a matter of a few feet when it goes under it.
This is the entrance that one walks into when one steps on board. It is the grand lobby and soars several stories high. There are all sort of comfortable chairs, a grand piano and fresh flowers everywhere.
The picture does not do this metal sculpture justice, but it was spectacular - as though the ship was coming right out of the wall.
There was so much to do on board with live theatre, a planetarium, eating, lectures, eating, computer and photography classes or simple relaxing. Did I mention eating too???? The seventh floor is the walking/jogging deck and that was busy all of the time. The crossing follows the Gulf stream so the weather and the water are at a pretty constant 70* for the whole trip. We passed within 50 miles of where the Titanic went down so many years ago.
Here we are out walking on the deck on the coolest day with gale force winds.
There are numerous restaurants on the ship and each one is fabulous. The food in the main room is always served in the most elegant of ways, much like a fine restaurant. Four of our nights were formal wear with tuxedos and formals. It is so nice to get dressed up like that and to see everyone else dressed so elegantly as well.
We arrived in Southampton, England around 6 a.m. and it was still dark. We were both awake at 4 a.m. when we first noticed the appearance of lights on the shore. We got dressed and went out and sat on our deck while the pilot captain boarded the ship to bring it into port.
The sun had started to come up in Southampton and cast a stunning reddish color to the town when we disembarked. We both hated to leave the elegance that we had so enjoyed over the last six days. The first few days on solid ground was an unusual sensation after so many days at sea. This was such an easy way to adjust to the time difference as you set your clocks ahead one hour each day. That was much easier than flying home and being eight hours ahead all at once. I'm still awakening at 2 a.m. each day.
England to follow. Stay tuned.