We started our holiday with an overnight stay in New York. As usual one night wasn't really long enough but we had visited this wonderful city many times before so we just had time to visit the Memorial at Ground Zero and do some shopping, before it was time to make our way to Brooklyn to board the Queen Mary 2.
This was not as easy as we expected it to be as none of the Taxis called over by our hotel Concierge were prepared to drive over the Brooklyn Bridge due to the threatened protest by the Occupy New York group. Fortunately he was able to contact a friend, a licensed driver, who was willing to take us, in fact he had not heard anything about the protest. We had allowed plenty of time to make this journey unlike an elderly couple.
Just before the ship's sailing time at 5pm an anouncement was made asking for a Mr & Mrs Jones to contact the office.
They were obviously not on board and as I looked over our balcony I saw an elderly couple arrive by car, they were immediately escorted on board by the ship's crew via the gangway, not through the walkway that we used and as soon as they were on board the ropes were released for us to leave. I can only imagine what a stressful journey they must have had, not a great start to a holiday. I always allow plenty of time and ideally have a pre cruise overnight stay to allow time for any unforseen delays.
Our embarkation at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal was very smooth, no waiting in line, we arrived and were on board to be greeted by a line of uniformed staff within 15 minutes of arrival.
We went to the Kings Court buffet restaurant for a very chaotic lunch. This was the only restaurant available so finding a table and moving between the different serving areas locating the food was not easy. I will hopefully form a different opinion on another visit.
After lunch we went to our stateroom and I was very impressed with the space which contained plenty of storage areas. The bathroom though was very small but functional. We did have a large sheltered balcony, this was cut out of the hull on the side of the ship, but as were were on a transatlantic crossing it did offer protection from the breeze and allowed for plenty of fresh sea air into the cabin.
A summons to the safety drill was made an hour before sailing and we then returned to unpack three of our four bags which had been delivered.
We took two glasses of sparkling wine up onto the promenade deck to watch our sailaway from Manhattan. It was bitterly cold but we had a spectacular view of the night-time Manhattan skyline as we moved away and also passed the Statue of Liberty. We then moved up onto the highest observation deck to watch as we sailed under the Verazano bridge. For those in the know this was the place to stand as the space between the highest point of the ship and the lowest part of the bridge was just a few inches and the gasps from us all confirmed that we thought there would be a collision!
Back to our room to find that one bag was still missing. We then remembered that the bag contained all our shoes, electrical chargers and medication, not a good bag to lose!
A call to the Purser resulted in a request to go to the desk as they had no bag of this description. A quick look at the remaining bags and there it was, phew!
Once we were ready for dinner we made our way to the Commodore Club for a pre dinner aperitif before moving onto the Britannia Restaurant for our second sitting meal at 8.30.
At time of booking I had requested a round table for 8, but we were shown to a table for 6 with one other couple waiting. Apparently the the other two had decided that they would prefer a table for two so our 8 was now 4!
Fortunately we immediately made friends with this couple and had a very interesting meal, in fact we were among the last to leave the restaurant, always a good sign for me but maybe not for the waiting staff!
I have to say that the food was very disappointing on our first night, we were rushed with our order and the Sommellier did not appear until we were eating our main course. Not a good start.
The ship was quite quiet when we left the restaurant but we gravitated towards the Casino for a nightcap and then to bed.