Cruise Holidays of Lindsay

  lindsay@cruiseholidays.com 
 (705) 324-3110

 

Queen Mary 2 Inspection

New York City

August 21 - 24, 2009

 

New York City

 

Never having visited New York before, we were a little leary of what we were getting into but were very impressed with how friendly and helpful people were and soon learned not to be afraid to ask people for directions or restaurant recommendations.

 

The city was cleaner than Toronto, which also was impressive given the number of people on the streets at any one time. The main streets were truly like in the movies – a sea of people.  Also, there was an incredible police presence which made us feel safe even in Times Square later in the evening.

 

The subway system is huge but here again you need only ask someone for directions. The quirky thing about their public transit system is that the buses and subways run totally independent of each other. There are no transfers - you pay for the subway and you pay again when you get on a bus, but the buses only take exact coins – no bills. We found a really friendly bus driver who took one look at us and knew we were obviously tourists without enough coins & let us on without paying.

 

We were glad to have arranged a shuttle service from the airport instead of a taxi to our hotel - Traffic was crazy and wait times could have pushed the cost of the taxi up considerably – something to think about whenever you take a cab.

 

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn between 47th & 48th Street and 8th Avenue – just around the corner from Times Square. It was in a great location and was close to many attractions and the restaurant district plus the rooms had a refrigerator and microwave which came in handy.

 

The delis in New York are amazing, especially if you like sandwiches! We found a neat take-out food court on the next block to the hotel called the Food Emporium with an incredible assortment of hot food, sandwich fixings, snack food, salads, fruit trays and drinks. The hot food and deli portion of the store stayed open until 9:00 pm while the rest of the store stayed open until midnight, but there were premade sandwiches, food trays to heat up, etc.

 

The hop on hop off buses were great - a super way to get around and at the same time, get a tour with some interesting facts about the city.  Only a few tour buses offer a lower level, so be prepared for the weather although rain capes are provided.  Take advantage of the ‘multiple tour’ offers, particularly those that include a night tour and the water tour by the Statue of Liberty that offers great views of the Manhatten skyline.

 

The Brooklyn cruise terminal servicing Princess and Cunard can be reached by subway and bus although hauling your luggage with you will make it awkward. Arranging a shuttle or taxi would be our suggestion. The cab ride from the hotel to the terminal cost us approximately $30.  There is ample parking for those who drive, but navigating Manhattan would be challenging!  Be aware that some Manhattan cabbies are less familiar with the newer Brooklyn Terminal (known as Red Hook) and may require a specific address.

 

The Queen Mary 2

 

The ship was very impressive!  Classically elegant but not fancy.  Attention to detail and quality is evident throughout, particularly in the artwork and furnishings.  The open spaces and wide hallways immediately stand out in comparison to other cruise ships - she is a very large ship but carries far fewer passengers than other cruise lines’ comparable sized ships.  Their pride in their history is evident in their decor – hallways feature paintings and photographs of famous guests and important historical milestones.

 

 We were surprised just how many families were on this sailing, a Transatlantic back to England. There appeared to be just as many young families with small children as there were couples. The age range was anywhere from babies to the elderly. Guests are welcomed onboard by white gloved staff members keen to help passengers immediately feel special.

 

Cunard has devoted a great deal of space to their spa  on this ship (over 20,000 square feet), and there are so many services offered it requires a book to list them all.  The library is extensive, with a librarian available.  The planetarium serves as a lecture theatre as well. Cunard prides itself on the learning experiences with guest lectures, acting workshops, culinary and computer classes, etc.  Transatlantic crossings often offer something special, such as the auction of Barbara Streisand memorabilia on the sailing that week.  There are lots of entertainment venues including the largest ballroom dance floor at sea, a movie theatre, performing venues of various sizes, and numerous bars & lounges.

 

The main dining room is large but the multi levelled tables & frosted glass dividers provide privacy. There is an English pub which serves beer brewed especially for the QM2.  The champagne bar boasts an exclusive relationship with Veuve Clicquot, a premium French champagne.  The Todd English specialty restaurant is inviting, and the King’s Court collection of buffet dining is large, bright, and very casual.

 

Certain sailings even allow you to bring your four legged travellers on board but they must stay in the kennel area during the voyage.

 

We were pleasantly surprised by the whole New York City experience and wouldn’t hesitate to make a return visit or cruise out of the Brooklyn cruise terminal.  We were also pleasantly surprised by the Queen Mary 2 – although we had thought that a Cunard cruise would be too stuffy or pretentious for us personally, and that we would feel out of place, we are now looking forward to the day when we can sail on a "Queen".

 

For more information on New York City, or the Queen Mary 2, please call Brenda or Vivian at the office or contact them by email at either boconnor@cruiseholidays.com or vwarren@cruiseholidays.com

 

by  Brenda O'Connor, Accredited Cruise Counsellor

&    Vivian Warren, Master Cruise Counsellor  

Pictures not currently available.