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m/s Queen Elizabeth 2: Bermuda
Taking Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) from New York to Bermuda is a great early summer getaway. Over five days, the trip is a perfect blend of days at sea (2.5) and days ashore (2.5). While everything aboard QE2 is considered first class, and all passengers have access to most rooms and facilities, high-end accommodations are noticeably superior. For the ultimate in elegance book a stateroom associated with either of the Grill dining rooms (Queen's Grill, Princess Grill or Britannia Grill). Our favorite is the Princess Grill which seats only 65 passengers.
QE2 typically takes one or two Bermuda trips a year and they usually happen at the beginning or end of the summer. Our trip was over the Memorial Day weekend (late May) and the weather was perfect. For this trip she departs from
New York City and since this is only a five day trip, we strongly recommend arriving a day or two early and seeing the city. If you don't mind getting up early, a great way to see a different side of New York is to take a taxi down to the pier to see QE2 arrive. She normally arrives between 7:00 am and 8:00 am (see the brochure or visit Cunard's Web Site for the scheduled times) and you can get great pictures of the city and her arrival from the parking garage on top of the terminal.
If you arrive the day of the sailing the easiest way to get to the pier is via taxi from LaGuardia, Newark or JFK. If you arrive by train, you can even walk from Penn Station, but with luggage you are probably better off taking a cab.
QE2 is over 900 feet long and carries more than 1,500 passengers. She is the last of the great transatlantic liners and is often referred to as a destination herself. During her most recent refit, a historical walking tour, the Heritage Trail, was added and she is now full of all sorts of memorabilia from the great days of ocean travel.
During the trip you have 2.5 days at sea which can be as relaxing or as exciting as you want. You leave New York late in the afternoon, which is a great time to take pictures of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Make sure you stay on deck until after you pass beneath the Verazanno bridge because from the ship, you won't believe that QE2's massive funnel will fit under the bridge.
During the day, catch a tan by the pool, or just relax in a deck chair with a good book and watch the Atlantic glide by. There is always some type of organized activity going on so you can be as active or sedate as you choose. Since evenings at sea are usually formal, during the late afternoon you will notice more and more people drifting back to their staterooms to prepare for the events of the evening which may include the captains reception.
When you get to Bermuda, you will either anchor outside the harbor at Hamilton, Bermuda's capital, or at the West End of the island at the old Royal Naval dockyard. Each location has its advantages and disadvantages. If you are at the dockyard, you are a long way from Hamilton and the beaches (long way is relative in that the entire island is only 15 miles long). On the other hand you can get on and off the ship as you please and if you rent motor scooter, you can lock them up next to the ship and be on them and on your way to the beaches in minutes. If you anchor off Hamilton, you have to take QE2's tenders ashore, which means it takes longer to get to a scooter or taxi, and you have to be schedule conscious.
In either case, once you get ashore, we strongly recommend you rent a scooter for the two days you are there. If you are there with someone, you're better off renting a scooter for two, so that one person can sit on the back seat and remind you to "STAY ON THE LEFT!!!!!". It's a lot less expensive than taking a taxi, and you can explore the island to your heart's content. On your first day, we suggest you do just that, get an early start and just start exploring. Stop by the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse for a great view of the entire island and then visit one of the many beaches. Our favorite is Horseshoe Bay and if you go there, and want to avoid the crowds, walk to the right and you'll find a smaller, less crowded beach behind the large rocks. Before or after the beach, you should visit Hamilton where you can grab a bite to eat or shop for sweaters, shorts and other things Bermudian. If you anchor off Hamilton (or don't mind an all day scooter ride), head for St. Georges at the East End of the island. There you will find a colonial village rich with Bermuda's history.
After a day of exploration, return to the ship for dinner since it will probably be as good as anything you would find ashore, and it won't cost you an additional dime. After dinner you can take a taxi into town (avoid the scooters after dark)or to one of the large hotels to take in a show. If you're not hung up on political correctness, you should check out Jimmy Key at the Southampton Princess 101 South Shore Road, Southampton SN04, Bermuda, Tel: (441) 238-8000). He's been playing there for over 16 years and he continues to pack them in every night. Contact the hotel to make sure of the times and whether you need reservations.
Day 2 in Bermuda will let you go back to spend time at all the neat places you discovered on day 1. For more information about Bermuda visit
this site or
Dinner in the Grill rooms is formal (except for the first and last night), and there is only a single seating. There are a number of bars and lounges on board, including the Chart Room (one of our favorites) and the Queens Grill Lounge, which is exclusively for Queen's Grill passengers. The quality of meals on board is excellent and if you decide you want something that's not on the menu, feel free to ask your waiter and chances are he will be able have it prepared for you. After dinner, there is usually a show to watch and music to listen to or dance to. While the rooms and service associated with the Caronia and Mauritania restaurants are above average, if you can afford it, we urge you to book a Grill class room. Recommended tipping for the Grill room passengers is $5.00 per passenger per waiter and steward per day. A service charge is added to all bar bills.
The QE2 Spa offers a wide variety of services including personal training and massages. There is also a nice fitness center with a fairly good variety of weight machines. If you like to jog or run, it's 3.5 laps around the Boat deck to the mile ( which can get quite interesting when QE2 is up to speed and the wind is blowing). There are also two swimming pools both of which you can actually swim laps in (short laps).
There is a fully staffed Children's playroom and an early dinner especially for children. Baby sitting can be arranged with off-duty staff for the evenings.
There are 5 restaurants, 5 bars and lounges, a theater, library, fitness center and two pools (one indoor) aboard. Visit this page for more details about QE2.
Stateroom prices range from $1,136 per person to $2,900 per person for the 5 day trip depending on season. These are brochure prices and you can always get some type of discount off these numbers. Booking early is only one way to save money. Contact us or speak to your travel agent about other ways to save money.
For additional information contact the TravelPage.com Cruise Desk at 888.700.TRIP
or make a request online using Cruise Quote .
Cunard's address is:Cunard Line
56100 Blue Lagoon Drive
Miami, FL 33126
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