13 July 2012
A Typical Day Aboard the QM2
I don't know if there is really such a thing as a "typical" day on the Queen Mary 2, but for me, this is how my days went. Waking in the lovely stateroom, I usually started my day by standing on the protected balcony, breathing the clear moist air and watching the water or fog. I found it such a calming start to the day! The line from the old celtic prayer came back to me time and again ~ "Deep peace of the running wave to you" and for the first time, understood what that really meant. The waves and the rocking of the boat, the consistency of it, the immensity of it were surprisingly reassuring to me.
When the weather was reasonable, a few laps around the deck were lovely! I loved being out early when few people were about and the sun just over the horizon. We had mostly foggy damp mornings though, which I understand were somewhat unusual for this time of year.
Then came breakfast. I did a mix of eating in the dining room, having it delivered to my room or eating at one of the breakfast buffets on board. Then it was on to the first activity of the day, which for me was Watercolor Class!
This is the work of Dan Rountree, the instructor for our class. He paints with a dry-brush watercolor technique similar to mine ~ which was wonderful as I've met few people who really work in that technique! I was able to gain some great pointers from him that I'll most certainly use in my sketches!
While I much prefer to paint from life that from imagination, copying or painting along with someone as they guide can be a good learning technique. Here is Dan's painting above with mine below. The class lasts two hours and then it's time for lunch!
Most days, I had lunch in the main dining room. At each lunch and dinner, they have starters, soup and/or salad, a main entree and dessert! Oh my! It's a lot of food for someone who can't eat very much! But by the end of the week, I'd learned that I could order only what I wanted and that they would make a smaller portion for me if I asked. Dining, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, in the dining room takes an hour and a half, so much of the day is spent eating! And there was always the choice of eating alone or sitting at a table with others, which is what I most often did! It was a great way to meet people and I sat next to so many interesting folks!
Afternoons were spent in a variety of ways. Sometimes I went to the afternoon watercolor class. Other times I found a quiet spot to read, such as in this lovely room known as the Winter Garden.
A couple of afternoons, I did the Afternoon Tea! Dainty little sandwiches; cucumber sliced ever so thin, thin sliced tomato, smoked salmon or egg salad. Followed of course by lovely dainty bites of pastry! Delightful little fruit tarts, Madeline's, tiny checkerboard cakes and especially the wonderful scones! Why they can't seem to make scones like that in the USA, I'll never know, but they were SO yummy! And the whipped butter! Oh, and the clotted cream! I think I've fallen in love with clotted cream! For those who haven't had clotted cream, it's hard to describe. Sort of a rich, buttery, not as sweet, thicker, whipped cream. It has real substance to it, not so ephemeral as whipped cream in the U.S.
Spread that halved scone with a bit of whipped butter, a small spoon of strawberry jam and top it with clotted cream ~ heaven! And then it's gone! Yum!
After the afternoon's activity, I'd head back to the room and dress for dinner. Most dinners require either formal or semi-formal dress. Then I'd head to the Chart Room, where I'd listen to the Sunrise String Quartet before Dinner and maybe have a glass of wine. Then on to the dining room. This is the view of the dining room from the balcony where our table was. I was so blessed to sit at a table with 5 other delightful people, who made conversation easy and who loved to laugh and enjoy themselves. We had such delightful evenings and most nights, our table was the last to vacate the dining room! And a nice mix of ages, from my age (mid 50's) all the way up to those in their late 70's (though all still young at heart!)
The food was always fabulous! And if a plate arrived and it wasn't quite what expected, it was changed out for something different with no questions asked. I loved what I had each evening, but my favorite meal was this one, which started with delectable escargot! It was followed with Lobster Tail and shrimp and dessert was Baked Alaska with Cherry Sauce. Oh my!
After dinner, two of my table mates, Rose and Hilda, and I attended the evening's performance in the Crown Theater each night. Sometimes it was vocal music, other's such as this particular night was the Royal Cunard Dancers and Vocalists. They were wonderful!
There were instrumentalists as well, including this fine violinist (here playing a Swarovski crystal encrusted electric violin). He played the theme from Ladies in Lavender, which I love! Another night there was a musician who played the vibraphone (electronic xylophone) and a strange instrument known as a theraphone. Each evening was a wonderful cap to a full and lovely day!
On my last night on board, after dinner and the theater, I headed for the upper decks to see the lights of the ship at night. What I found was a wide open deck, with no one in sight.
For me, this was the crowning moment of a wonderful week at sea. An open deck, the seemingly endless ocean surrounding the ship, the deep quiet and peace. In my heart, I danced across that deck to the sound of an imaginary orchestra playing.