June 2018

My phone rang as I was getting ready to go down for the early dinner seating in Britannia dining room. It was the Captain’s secretary inviting me to join the Captain's table for dinner at 8:30. Another new experience.  I thanked  her for the invitation and said I would be there.

Between unpacking and waiting for the Emergency Drill on embarkation day, I took a quick walk from D at the aft of the ship (my preferred location actually) to the A stairs. The Queen Mary is so long it is almost 300 steps. My fit-bit loves this life on board. She sends me congratulatory messages when I reach 10,000 steps and then tells me I am an overachiever when I am 6,000 steps over that. Guess I should re-define my goals.

This transatlantic leg of my Southampton-Baltics-New York dance cruise is the first time I am cruising as a solo traveller. All my previous dance cruises have been part of a group of dancers or with a dance partner. So when readers of my travelblogues have emailed me to ask how the onboard dancing is for people traveling alone, I have not really been able to answer from personal experience.

Intermingled sequence dance with ballroom to recorded music, and dancing to the big band sound of the Queens Room  orchestra

This post is specially for all my friends at Dale Neale Dance in  White Rock where we are getting sequence dance going to complement the American smooth, rhythm, ballroom, Latin and club dances that Dale teaches.

What makes the three Cunard Queen ships so especially  enticing to dancers, is the combination  of excellent venues for dancing, great dance music every night, and the fact that, unlike some other cruise lines,  the entertainment stuff  don’t waste the dance spaces by hosting activities like bingo and trivia games in the dance locations. 
With two nights in Southampton, prior to boarding the MS Queen Elizabeth, I wondered if there was anywhere to go dancing on the Saturday night before embarkation. A little bit of detective work (thank you Google), led me to a website listing dances in various areas in the UK. By sheer luck, on that Saturday night  there was a dance party in Eastleigh, about a 20 minute cab ride away from our Southampton hotel.
This was my first time flying into Gatwick Airport, though I vividly remember in 2006, spending an uncomfortable time kneeling with my suitcase open on the floor  at the check-in counter, trying to lighten my carry-on. It was  just after one of those crazies had done something to put the skies on alert, and there were new restrictions on carry-on size introduced after I had already left on my travels.

It’s been two years since I sat with the Future Cruise agent on Cunard’s fabulous Queen Mary 2, figuring out that I could follow a Baltic Cruise on the Queen Elizabeth with a westbound Transatlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2, would get me back to New York. And today we’re off to the UK to board the ship.