Saturday, 6 July 2013

So Much to See and Do

The Apassionata show was energetic, fun and visually appealing
This is day 5 of our cruise, which comes to the end tomorrow morning. On the whole Queen Mary 2 has been a good experience. It's an extremely large ship, accommodating 2,618 guests and 1,240 crew on board. Its first voyage was in 2004 and a few years ago underwent a refurbishment so the staterooms and public venue areas are in good condition.

An array of desserts to choose from for afternoon tea
The staff are very friendly, always saying "Good Morning", "Good Evening" and are helpful when you're lost. A good tip when on the cruise is to establish a good relationship with the room attendant and your waiter from the beginning, which means slipping them a good tip on the first day.

There's no need to worry about what to do on a cruise ship – the entertainment director makes sure you're occupied – practically every minute. The night before a Daily Programme is distributed in every room and there is a list of activities of things to do from 6am to past midnight. Some cruisers get so busy with the lectures, workshops and seminars they barely have enough time to squeeze in meals.

Food is not an issue here – it's available almost all day and night in a buffet at Kings Court and for fine dining head to Britannia where guests can eat as many dishes on the daily menu as they wish. There are healthy options too, but you're on holiday!

The highly-prized scone perfect with clotted cream and jam
On the Queen Mary 2 there's also afternoon tea served at 3.30pm in the Queens Room where waiters dressed in white suits and gloves serve tea in silver pots and guests. There's finger sandwiches and desserts, but come here for the scones, that arrive fresh from the oven, and taste moist and light.

Cruisers can have a choice of entertainment. At sea there's the casino, some boutiques to meander through and every night there's a showcase act. Queen Mary 2's signature show is called Apassionata and it's a medley of singing mostly Broadway and well-known numbers, energetic dancing showcasing everything from the waltz to salsa, Russian dance and tango. Most of the dancers are Russian or Eastern European and English.

A Motown group called Horizon was fun. The trio sang a number of hit songs by people like Marvin Gaye and the Four Tops, dancing and singing together. They also had some fun humour. One looked around in the audience and said to his fellow performers that he saw someone he recognized. When he got to an elderly Caucasian woman, he asked her to stand up and announced to everyone she was his ex-wife...

The Motown group Horizon
One of the headlining acts was Lance Ringald, two-time Olympic gymnast who has created his own unique show. Not only does he demonstrate his strength and finesse, but also his humour, and gives commentary to give the audience more insight into the world of gymnastics.

Now 43 years old, Ringald performed on the silks, wrapping around in them and suspending himself from them in various poses with ease. He also showed off his juggling skills as well as musicianship on the piano and composing. Nothing seems to stop this man who is compulsive about constantly challenging himself.

His self-promotion borders on egotism, but in a way he's earned it. With the short careers of Olympic gymnasts, he's been able to parlay his skills into an act on cruises, which he has done for the past nine years.

Lance Ringald striking a pose
What was also interesting was that whether it was a string quartet, Russian ballroom dancers or even lecturers on the ship, they all said at the end of their performances that they had a CD or DVD for sale in the gift shop. One wonders how many bought them, or if they made any money from them..

Nevertheless, the caliber of the entertainment on the cruise was pretty impressive.

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