The Queen Mary 2 was a beautiful ship. Right now she is the third largest ocean liner on the high seas. Overall I took about 2300 photos so there will plenty of photos of the ship and her interior. Christmas decorations were very nice, more plentiful than other ships we have sailed in the past and tastefully done.
Cunard is really just another mass market cruiseline. At one time they may have been considered luxury, but unless you are a passenger staying in a suite, this was like any other cruise. Service in the dining room was spotty for breakfast but our Hungarian waiter at dinner, along with his Indian assistant was fabulous. We usually hit the buffet for lunch, food was okay, but the layout was maddening with food being set out in 4 separate locations with 4 different closing times and some duplication.
Clientele was MUCH more "mature" than other cruiselines we have been on, Carnival, RCCL, Princess, Celebrity, NCL, with the exception of HAL. New Years Eve was spent in the ballroom listening to "big band music" while watching a very packed dance floor of ball room dancing couples.
Understandbly, children under 18 were not allowed in the disco, but for dh and I the disco would have been a much more fun venue for celebration. Our previous cruise had a midnight celebration out on deck poolside which was let's just say, a bit more "lively".
With the size of the ship, tons of walking and using the stairs helped to curtail the weight gain. Not to mention pushing my grandmother's wheelchair. She normally uses only a walker, but decided that since she had her chair she would take advantage of it/us. Our cabin was toward the stern and luckily so were two of the swimming pools, one, one deck down and the other three decks above. Dh added a pound and I added 4. Not bad and easily remedied. Dd was NOT as fortunate. We warned her to be careful, but alas she has learned a very hard lesson and gained 11 pounds! On an originally 90 pound frame, this is not a good thing. We gave her some "freedom" on the ship and she certainly made use of it by eating her way through the buffet at lunch and breakfast.
Our port days with the exception of Panama, Bonaire, Dominica and St. Kitts were all spent poolside. Dh has come home relaxed and enjoyed his break from his two jobs. You all know my first love is Aruba, but he still believes both cruising and Aruba have each of their own advantages.
Panama was pretty dirty, in all fairness they were in the midst of a garbage strike. Saw one of the locks of the canal and then toured a small village with a beautiful church and a couple of old forts. Interesting to see the canal from the opposite view. Last time we went through it, so felt the rising in the locks, this time we got to see it. Other than that, when you see guards with automatic machine guns standing outside the banks and the ship's personnel tell you don't stray far from the ship and do not carry jewelry or cash, need I say more? We did our shopping inside the cruise terminal. Hand made appliqué t-shirts for $10. Cannot beat it.
St. Kitts in my mind was just "okay". More poverty than most other islands I have visited (exception Dominican Republic). Some picturesque views, but no nice beaches.
We did have two great days in port. One in Bonaire and the other in Dominica. We did a private snorkel with just the three of us and a guide in Bonaire at 8:30 a.m. She took us to two spots. Absolutely the best snorkeling ever and close in our minds to best dives dh and I have done. Many many fish we have never seen before. Upon finishing dd said she was "tired". Later on said it was pretty neat. Got back to the ship, showered, grabbed my mother (parents and grandmother had been to the island previously) and the four of us headed off on a two hour taxi tour to see some of the sights. I can see how people say it is like Aruba "used to be". I could see a lot of similarities, but of course not as built up. If they had a nice beach or two , I could convince dh to go back on a land vacation.
Dominica was again the the four of us on a private tour. I had loved Grenada two years ago for a beautiful lush tropical island, but boy, I think Dominica has it beat. You could spend a week or two here just hiking. We hiked (sore afterwards for sure) to two waterfalls (Mom stayed with the driver) and they were just gorgeous.
Even walking around in downtown Roseau later in the day, dh and I felt very comfortable. We could not say the same about Bassterre in St. Kitts. The locals in Dominica were extremely friendly. My Dad had a head cold so dh headed off from the ship searched for some decongestant. Entering one shop, the shop owner said she did not carry it, but took us out on the sidewalk and pointed us in the right direction a couple of blocks away. The pharmacy was neat. OTC cold remedies were across from the prescription desk and in the background the pharmacists were banging away on their TYPEWRITERS typing the prescriptions to label the bottles! We get to the front of the store to pay for the cold med. and would you believe the cash registers up front were computers??? Strangest thing you have ever seen! Again, would return to Dominca in a heartbeat, but there are no spectacular beaches.
So now off to washing 2 weeks+ of dirty clothing. Rainy and dreary here in Georgia but temperatures are thankfully mild. I will post a link to some photos when I get settled and they are culled and edited.