Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Big Boat Bash: Crossing the Pond in Style

While Pope sailed south on our little boat, Echo II, I shipped myself to England on a big boat, Queen Mary II. As we pulled out of New York City on a Tuesday evening, I knew right away that I was going to like first-class travel a whole lot better than my usual third class.
I left Union Station at 7:22 am, breathless with anticipation. At Penn Station, hopped on the underground to Burroughs Hall to catch a quick lunch with my Brooklyn-based friend and fellow zydeco dancer, Leslie M.
Taxied to the Brooklyn Cruise Ship Terminal at Pier 12, ready to stand in endless lines for check-in.
Met up with my Queen Mary roommate, Becky P., and her friends Cindy and Dave M. The first and second nights were formal; dragged along my 18-year-old sparkly dress, purchased for the cruise out of Fort Lauderdale with other zydeco dancers, so very many years ago. Hadn't worn it in a while! Still fits! Must be all that dancing I've done over the years.
 Ah, the food. Endless quantities, and on the Cunard cruise line, excellent quality as well. Eating well, and frequently, and having someone to cook for me--such a luxury and the biggest reason I wanted to cruise in the first place!

The first few nights, the waves (up to 6 meters in height--about 18-20 feet) heaved outside the windows of the dining hall, accompanied by winds gusting up to 45 knots. I was REALLY happy not to be on a small vulnerable sailboat! Queen Mary rocked and sighed, re-centered, and carried on at speeds up to 20 knots.
In every corner of the ship I could find music, entertainment, activities, and dancing. Made a few friends, including these lovely ladies from Michigan and New Jersey. It was just as easy to find quiet corners for curling up with a good book.
On Halloween, we celebrated with pumpkins, a masquerade ball, and plenty of dancing. Each day, I worked out at the fitness center and participated in all the dance lessons and dances--trying to work off all those calories I was consuming!
Fortunately, the ship's company included six handsome gentlemen, known as dance hosts, provided specifically for the independent women who came without a partner and wanted to dance! I learned and practiced waltz, jive, cha cha, tango, rhumba, and line dances. Here, hamming it up with one of the dance hosts at the Halloween party. 
After a blissful week of luxuriating in the ship's spa--complete with sauna and a massage, hammering on the treadmill, dressing up for dinner, dancing the nights away, and, of course, eating heartily two or three times a day, we said farewell to our newfound friends and disembarked in Southhampton. Collected our bags from the big hall, and headed off to cool, foggy London for some craft brews and a few nights of catching up on sleep.


  1. you're actually on that damned echo II, aren't you--crying, bitten, frozen, dirty, seeing no-see'ums in your sleep, stranded;--photoshopping this dry dream of first class travel (which you can't afford) -- endless dancing with handsome men, good food, clothes, and company; security, slimness, and no sea-sickness. really sad.

  2. Replies
    1. how did you know I have been sitting in with a band back home lately? (the band belongs to Joel, the other fellow who posted a comment here...)