Many of the crossings on the QM2 have a special theme. For our crossing, they will be holding a QM2 version of Fashion Week which will end when we arrive in New York which happens to coincide with the start of The New York City Fashion Week. There are four special guests from the fashion industry onboard: Colin McDowell, Zandra Rhodes, Fern Mallis, and Gail Sackloff. They will be presenting various lectures, workshops and fashion shows throughout the crossing.
Our morning started with the QM2 morning show hosted by the Entertainment Director, Joanna. She interviewed two of the special guests for Fashion Week: Fashion Historian Colin McDowell and Gail Sackloff. They both discussed more of their background and gave a preview of some of the events they will be involved in this week. As part of the morning show, Joanna recognizes the names of every guest and crew member with a birthday on that day. Passengers also receive a birthday card from the Captain.
Earlier in the voyage, I mentioned I would try ordering something via the breakfast room service hang tag that wasn’t one of the pre-printed options. I decided to give it a try last night and I wrote in “Eggs Benedict” on my room service breakfast hangtag and sure enough, they delivered “Eggs Benedict” this morning and they were delicious. So two thumbs up for the Queen Mary 2 breakfast room service.
The QM2 is the only ship with a planetarium and they will present several shows throughout the crossing. The planetarium is embedded into their movie theater called Illuminations and holds 150 people in the center part the theater. The planetarium seats are red and have much more recline than the rest of the seats. The entire theater holds about 500 people. The planetarium itself is a dome that is positioned over the seats where 6 cameras can project various images onto the dome. While the planetarium may be capable of projecting constellations and stars on this dome to allow an astronomer to point out various stars and other objects in space, it is not used for that purpose, but instead is used to show various movies on this dome screen that are narrated by Robert Redford, Morgan Fairchild and others. So while it is technically a planetarium it is used instead as a domed movie screen instead.
Due to the planetarium’s popularity and the limited seating, you have to get tickets in advance. The tickets are free and are made available starting at 9:00 in ConneXions on Deck 2 forward. Note: ConneXions is the lobby for the various classrooms and internet center that are in this area. There is a coffee machine, hot water for tea, as well as a machine serving other soft drinks similar to what you find in the Kings Court. You may also find a variety of pastries here at various times throughout the day.
I dropped by ConneXions about 9:15 to get tickets and discovered that the tickets are sitting in a rack with different times on different racks. There isn’t anyone handing them out, so you can take as many as you would like. I have been told that the tickets for any particular day are gone by 10:00. As you may expect when the tickets are there for the taking, there is a significant no show rate – so if you can’t get tickets, stop by the theatre about 10 minutes early and standby. They will let in standbys if there are no shows from the people who had picked up tickets.
On the first sea day of a new segment, they offer a guided tour of the public areas on Decks 2 and 3 at 9:30. About 70 of us met our guide outside the Golden Lion Pub where we would start the 45 minute to 1 hour tour. I found the tour useful and picked up a few tidbits that I otherwise may have missed. For example, I learned that there are inside cabins that have windows that face into the Grand Lobby and that at one time they put glass into the ceiling of the Grand Lobby but had to paint it over when they realized that the people below would be looking up and seeing the people in Kings Court walking about. We also learned a few fun facts about the ship and what makes an ocean liner different from a cruise ship, for example, the QM2 has 4 stabilizers instead of 2 found on most cruise ships, is constructed entirely of steel, can sail much faster – around 30 knots, and has a hull designed for speed and better sea keeping. I haven’t verified the accuracy of these claims, but the crew of the QM2 makes frequent references that this is an ocean liner and not a cruise ship.
Toward the end of our tour, we walked thru the Art Gallery, which presents their paintings as if they were in a museum instead of being crammed into a space with little thought. We learned that they don’t hold art auctions but are open all day for viewing and they host special shows from time to time. They claim the special shows are by invitation only and you must sign up in advance although I suspect that if you showed up you would probably still be admitted. Unlike many cruise lines, you get very little, if any, advertisements in your stateroom mailbox.
The first of the QM2 Fashion Week lectures was by Colin McDowell at 11 am in the Royal Court Theatre. He discussed the state of fashion and its influence over time is a wide ranging talk. His talk was excellent and he provided an interesting insight into an industry I was not very familiar with.
Up on deck 12, forward, between 9 am and 4 pm, there is a door leading to a viewing area where you can stand behind a thick glass window and observe the watch standers on the Bridge. Taking photographs is prohibited as is trying to get the attention of the people working on the bridge – no tapping on the glass!
We had lunch in the Kings Court which is very open and covers a large area. There is a central area where you find the various serving lines which have a wide selection of hot foods, sushi, salads, breads and soup. There is also an area where you can find desserts and there are self-serve soft ice cream machines available in each corner. Along the hallways leading to the seating areas are 4 beverage stations where you can find machines serving various juices and soft drinks, water, coffee and ice. Three of the stations serve lemonade and one service ice tea. When we stopped by around noon, the Kings Court was busy, but we didn’t have any trouble finding a place to sit. An area forward of the Kings Court called the Chefs Table serves hamburgers, hot dogs, paninis, pizza and pastas. This is the area that is open late from 11 pm till 2 am.
We had tickets to see the Planetarium show at 1:30 pm called Cosmic Collisions. Narrated by Robert Redford, the movie discusses how collisions between celestial bodies over the years has shaped the nature of today’s galaxies and the planet earth.
While the tickets for this show were all gone by 10 am, the show started with at least 20% of the seats empty, so while I can’t speak for how this will work out for every show, it would probably be worth it to stop by the Planetarium for a show you would like to see but for which you didn’t get tickets. As I mentioned earlier, the planetarium show is not what I would call a planetarium show, but instead was a movie shown on a planetarium dome. Apparently, per our guide, they had intended to show depictions of the actual night sky, but for whatever reason, it is not being used for that purpose. The show lasted 20 minutes and it was an interesting diversion and they will repeat this show for several days before showing something different. Apparently they have 3 or 4 different shows that they rotate thru over time.
At 4pm in the shops Zandra Rhodes unveiled some of her new clothing line. Judy stopped by and while there wasn’t any formal ceremony, Zandra was on hand to meet customers.
Tonight was our first formal night with a Black and White theme and it was amazing! While other lines like HAL have eliminated formal nights in favor of Gala Nights – the QM2 is one of the few ships where a tuxedo for men is required with a dark suit optional. I would guess that during late seating over 95% of the men were wearing tuxedos with the rest in dark suits. The dress code extends throughout the ship (Except for the Kings Court and adjacent lounge) after 6pm and I didn’t spot anyone not in compliance anywhere I went, including the shows and the casino. The women were all appropriately dressed with far more gowns than you would see on any other cruise ship. I was equally amazed that over 95% of the women were wearing black and white gowns, cocktail dresses or similar. When everyone is dressed for formal night there is a special ambience that is very nice. Alas, the days of true formal nights are forever gone everywhere else, but I was quite pleased to discover that true formal nights are alive and well on the QM2. As an aside, tuxedos were easy to rent onboard, and if you preferred to own your own, you could buy a compete set up in the shops for less than $400. They also have various women’s gown available for rent, but I didn’t investigate what they look like or how much they cost.
Stephani Parker is an “international vocalist, songwriter, pianist and guitarist” and she was the headliner in the Royal Court Theater at 8:45 and 10:30 this evening. We enjoyed her powerful performance very much and she was cheerful with a wonderful presence. She has been a headliner for about 18 months after working previously as a cast singer on another cruise line’s production shows. This was her first performance on a Cunard ship and I’m sure it won’t be the last as the crowd gave her an enthusiastic standing ovation.
After the show we went back to the Queens Room to check out the Black and White Ball. The room was about 75 % full and everyone was having a wonderful time. The dance floor was busy, but not totally jammed and everyone there was wearing appropriate formal attire. The dance floor in the Queens Room is the largest one on any ship afloat – per the Entertainment Director, Joanna. It was fun to be on a ship that is still alive after midnight and many of the lounges still had plenty of guests enjoying themselves after midnight. Their closing hours are typically listed as “late”.
The next day Colin McDowell would be conducting a workshop on Fashion Illustrating. There were only 20 seats available with sign-ups starting at Midnight. I was the fourth person in line and ended up taking the 7th and 8th slots. I found out later that all the slots were filled by 7am the next morning.
We are enjoying the crossing very much so far and are looking forward to the rest of the sea days and Fashion Week very much.This entry was posted in Uncategorized