Arrival/Check-In: The Queen Mary 2’s New York home port is the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. I drove to the terminal and upon arrival found a scene of what looked to be pure chaos — private cars, limos and taxis arriving with outbound passengers and picking up folks who just disembarked from a ship that arrived that morning. I eventually got to where I could deposit my luggage with redcaps who made sure it got to where it should be. I then parked my car and proceeded to check-in. I was impressed at how friendly and efficient the check-in process was. I received a QM2 credit card to be used on board and a group boarding number. Cunard has the boarding procedure down to a science, and I was soon on my way to my room, No. 4134 on Deck 4. My luggage arrived shortly thereafter, so I was ready to explore the ship.
Guest Quarters: My room included a king-sized bed, a love seat, a desk with desktop outlets and American and European plugs, a desk chair, a coffee table and a fridge. The bathroom was compact and included a shower with a handheld showerhead. The toiletries were Gilchrist & Soames. A cutout balcony featured two recliners and a coffee table.
Services/Amenities: The ship is classless except for the three Grill rooms and Grill lounges. Having a room on Deck 4 meant I dined in the Britannia Grill. (Queens Grill and Princess Grill are more exclusive.) Decks 2 and 3 are the main public areas/lobbies, which include the purser’s desk, Cunard’s travel agents for booking future cruises, duty-free shops, a casino, several restaurants/bars, the planetarium, the Royal Court Theatre, an art gallery, the Queens Room ballroom and the disco, G32.
The ship offers a plethora of restaurants/bars/cafés throughout. Two of my favorites were the Commodore Club in the bow on Deck 9, where you can have a drink and enjoy a fantastic view of the ocean as the ship plows through the seas; and the Chart Room on Deck 3, a watering hole which hosts a great jazz band every night. I love jazz, so I was in heaven! The gym and Canyon Ranch Spa are on Deck 7, which also offers several dining venues such as the Winter Garden (perfect for tea/coffee and nosh).
I spent a part of each morning in the Library in the bow on Deck 8, where you will also find the Bookshop. The Library stocks more than 8,000 volumes and offers a serene spot to while away an hour or two with your nose in a book or staring at the sea.
One thing, or should I say several things, I was not expecting to find on the QM2: dogs. Several times a day I met several companion dogs being walked on the Promenade Deck (Deck 7). In fact, there is a 12-dog kennel (Deck 12) always fully booked. I visited it and found a facility that any vet would approve of. The dogs I met were a happy, tail-wagging bunch, and each had its own life vest.
The Experience: When I was on board, Cunard was still celebrating the QM2’s 10th anniversary, so there were several notable individuals about who were instrumental in making the ship a reality. They were present at several receptions and approachable for a private chat. Every other evening was formal, so the ladies were in ball gowns and the gents in tuxes, which made the whole experience special.
There is so much to do on board that one review does not do the voyage justice. The nice thing is you can immerse yourself in all that is available, or you can sit and relax with a book or stare at the ocean. Experts in their fields conduct the lecture series and enrichment programs. If you love theater, a company of actors from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art is there to entertain you. The food at all levels is excellent, from the grillrooms to the Todd English restaurant on Deck 8.
My brothers and several friends decided to take a trans-Atlantic crossing after hearing me rave about it. I sailed the eastbound New York-to-Southampton crossing. Now I want to experience the westbound.
[item check=yes]Less than 10 minutes for check-in[/item]
[item]Separate tub and shower[/item]
[item check=yes]High-quality towels[/item]
[item]Powerful, unattached hair dryer[/item]
[item check=yes]High-quality bed linens[/item]
[item check=yes]Large, flat-screen television[/item]
[item check=yes]Large desk with convenient outlets[/item]
[item check=yes]Large, complimentary laptop safe[/item]
[item]Complimentary in-room WiFi[/item]
[item check=yes]Complimentary bottled water[/item]
[item check=yes]Ample lighting[/item]
[item check=yes]In-room coffeemaker[/item]
[item check=yes]Iron and ironing board[/item]
[item check=yes]On-site restaurant[/item]
[item check=yes]24-hour room service[/item]
[item check=yes]24-hour state-of-the-art fitness center[/item]
[item check=yes]Turn-down service[/item]
Queen Mary 2
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
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I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
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GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.