Meeting the Queen

Trip Start Dec 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 12, 2007

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Monday, December 10, 2007

Today can be described as long, exciting, tiring and overall incredible. Our flight on British Airways was wonderful. I didn't know you could still enjoy a flight so much. In fact, I was so busy enjoying the in flight entertainment, meals and snacks that I didn't get much sleep. However, getting served "breakfast in bed" was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and a great wake me up. It was still dark when we arrived and as we circled London waiting for an opening in the flight pattern we were greeted by a tapestry of glittering lights. It was awe inspiring. As we slowly descended we quickly picked out the London Eye awash in blue lights, Tower Bridges and Buckingham Palace. Places like Hyde Park were also easily recognized by a large track of dark in a city of lights. It was dazzling to say the least. Almost as beautiful as the millions of bright stars I feel asleep looking at on the plane.
Today, James and I were like hobbits. We had a light breakfast on the plane and then a second breakfast in BA's arrivals lounge. We would have also gotten a complimentary 15 min massage had we signed up as soon as we had arrived. However, the schedule was full before we had finished breakfast. Note to self, schedule an appointment as soon as I arrive. After a quick breakfast we were met by Cunard staff and taken to the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel to await a few more guests before being bused to Southampton. The hour & 15 minute drive over went by quickly  enough and although I wanted to see as much as possible I found myself nodding off. Besides, most of the views were blocked by high fences or trees anyway.  Once we came close to the Port of Southampton we were greeted by the Queen Herself. Almost larger than life she posed proudly before us long before we reached her. Sleek and elegant the excitement was almost to much to bare. Security and check in took only 25. (It helped that we were among the minority of US visitors and had a separate check in. Our British friends did not fare so well!)
Now, the moment you all have been waiting for, our comments on the ship, in one word,  AMAZING! The entire ship is extremely well done, from the wide spaces by the elevators, the décor which is elegant yet understated. Nearly all the restaurants and lounges (The Commodore club is just grand!) are tastefully done and nothing stood out to me as being odd or out of place. The staterooms are well appointed, efficient, comfortable and spacious even in the lowest grades. We are in an A2 category balcony and could easily stay here for several weeks.
We dined in the Queens Grill for an exceptional dinner with flawless service. Those who are familiar with QE2 will be happy to know that Kevin the sommelier, a 14 year veteran of Cunard, has joined the QV to get things off on the right foot. A few from the QM2 were also present.The Grills area is truly exclusive and is really just grand. Had it been warm we would have stayed out in the Terrace Courtyard and relaxed. The Spa is very large, easy to navigate and more than welcoming.

Gripes and groans....very few actually. Again the Lido restaurant is not the most efficient; the décor in that particular dining establishment is less than inspiring and could use richer colors to stay with the tone of the rest of the ship. The light green carpet in some areas needs to go and the winter garden needs more live plants and perhaps warmer toned furniture before it is a real favorite. However, the location is great and the retractable roof is going to be terrific in nice weather.

Overall our first impressions were great. Tomorrow we will see more of the ship and comment.
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