It was Christmas of 2005. My parents presented to my brother and me the most exciting present ever. All four of us were going on a cruise on the extravagant Queen Mary 2. My parents had already sailed on the Queen Mary 2 twice. Our sailing day finally arrived. It was Saturday, July 3rd, 2006. Our cruise started in Brooklyn. It was the Fourth of July cruise to Boston, Bar Harbor, and Halifax. It was going to be the most awesome trip ever. I had heard so much about the Queen Mary 2, on how incredible of a vessel she was. We checked in 1-2-3, and we were on board in no time. Lunch on board was absolutely fabulous. Anything you could ask for, was available at the buffet. If you could name it, it was there. Shortly later, it was time for the lifeboat drill. Once the drill was over, we headed back to our cabins to finish unpacking. At five o’clock, we watched the lines get pulled in. We were officially on our way. Twenty minutes later, we were about to pass underneath the Verrazano Bridge. This was the critical point. Will she make it? YES! We made it! We were in open ocean at last. Off to Boston!
Dinner on board the Queen Mary 2 was nothing like I had expected.. The food on board was fantastic. I had never sailed on an ocean liner before. Cunard sure put on a great show. The dining staff was wonderful. They were sure helpful when it came to interpreting a classy menu. Cunard served the finest wines anyone could think of. Any wine with a well-renowned name was available. Who doesn’t enjoy a good wine with their dinner? Later in the evening was the “Welcome Aboard” show. The cruise director was wonderful. Anytime anyone ran into him, he was the utmost conversational and personable. If anyone had any questions, he was able to answer them. There was definitely a lot to look forward to. The cruise was off to a superb start.
The morning of July 4th, we arrived at Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. While docked in Boston, I could not get over how many recreational boats were passing us. Sailboats, powerboats, and party boats were all passing us, taking pictures of the ship. They were all passing us, blowing their horns. The ship even answered back with her horn. Queen Mary 2’s horn is a loud one. Her horn can be heard from nearly five miles away. Speaking of famous ships, the USS Constitution or “Old Ironsides”, made her way out to the Boston Harbor channel. Her crew performed a twenty-one gun salute. The scene was very moving. There were more than a thousand passengers with their cameras lining the edge of the Queen Mary 2’s stern, capturing the moment. Oh, did I mention those recreational boats passing us? Girls were screaming and cheering as they cruised by. Those Boston girls are something special, aren’t they?? Once the USS Constitution finished her show, we headed back to our cabins. My brother and I boarded our tour bus for the Boston Ducks and city highlights tour. At 10pm, we pulled out of port. As we sailed away, the fireworks were going off in the distance. There was nothing more incredible than watching fireworks from the stern of a ship. What a day to remember!
The following morning was highly unusual. Bar Harbor, Maine was our second port-of-all. I got up in the morning, opened our balcony door, and looked outside. I couldn’t see anything at all. The fog bank was nothing like I had seen anywhere. It was as thick as peas soup. We got ready for breakfast and went upstairs. From the window upstairs, we couldn’t see anything. The fog was drifting over the banisters of the lifeboat deck. The fog was plainly unreal. When we boarded the tender, it was an even eerier feeling. As we pulled away from the ship, she just vanished. Just as we were ten feet from the ship, all we saw was a faint trace of her bow. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. The ship was nowhere to be seen. The tender driver even had trouble navigating through the fog. The harbor area was littered with lobster trap lines. The driver didn’t want to glide over them, or the tender’s propeller would get caught. It took us a whole hour to get from the ship to shore. If anyone wants to know how I felt during that tender ride, let me tell you how I felt. It felt like I was starring in an episode of “Lost”.
Finally, we reached the dock. We had shore excursion tickets for a sailing ship tour around Acadia National Park. With the fog as thick it was, the park ranger told us to use our imagination. Oh, did we have to! The fog was plainly blinding. The fog was touching the water’s surface. By late morning, the fog began to lift. We could just make out the Queen Mary 2 from the boat. After an hour trip aboard this sailing ship, it was good to be back on shore. My brother and I began walking around, taking pictures. Finally, the fog burned off. The ship came into full view. What a gorgeous sight it was to see her out in the channel. I had never seen the water so calm, glistening in the sunlight. Seagulls were flying around everywhere, swooping down to make their catch. After taking pictures, we did some shopping in town. We went for ice cream, shopped in the music store, and visited some of the souvenir stores. When done, we headed back to the tender. Early evening, we sailed out of Bar Harbor. It was a beautiful sunset. I would most definitely want to return there again, hopefully fog-free.
The following morning, we tied up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. What a dreary and misty day! It was cloudy as can be outside. While I was asleep, I heard music playing from outside the ship. I got up, put on my eyeglasses, and looked out our balcony window. There was the source of the music. Theodore the Tugboat was cruising around in the harbor with the show’s theme song playing. “What in the world is that?”, I mumbled to myself. Then I was thinking, “Oh my God, am I drunk?”. I called my parents’ cabin. My mom picked up. I said “Mom, look out the window and tell me what you see.” My mom put the phone down and took a look out her window. She replied, “Oh, how cute! A singing tugboat!”. I answered “Oh God, so I was drinking last night!” Before hanging up, I said “I am so not drinking Bass Ale again.”
We did some fun things in Halifax, despite the weather. My brother and I went on a sailing ship excursion around Halifax Harbor. We then went on the Cunard-White Star Line Connections tour. We visited the Fairlawn Cemetery where the Titanic’s victims are buried. Later on in the tour, we were taken to the church where Samuel Cunard was baptized. When done, our motorcoach took us back to the ship. Shortly later, my parents, my brother, and I had drinks on the stern. Minutes later, the lines were pulled in and we were off. A bagpiper was playing as we pulled away from the Halifax pier. The trip was nearing its end. We were headed back to Brooklyn.
Our sea day back to New York was a fun one. Around mid-day, I heard the announcement that guests were signing up for the passengers’ talent show. I charged my way downstairs to the Chart Room. I told the cruise staff member what I was going to be doing. I signed up to do a stand-up comedy routine. Five o’clock came around, and it was show time. One of the passengers did this one performance playing his clarinet, removing one piece at a time. It was original and hysterically funny. My act was right after his. My comedy performance focused on annoying wedding traditions. That has always been my favorite topic. How did it go? I rocked the Queens Room! It was a feeling like no other. For the first time in eight years, I never heard such an applause. One evening in college, I had an audience of ninety-one people. In the Queens Room, there were more than two hundred and fifty in attendance. The room was without a doubt, ALIVE.
The next morning, we tied up in Brooklyn. At breakfast, I got my half hour of fame. For a whole half an hour at breakfast, I was signing autographs left and right. As my family and I were walking out of the buffet area, one elderly lady recognized me and approached me. She said “You were quite popular last night!”. I cannot seem to remember how I answered her. All I do remember was how fast I put my skit together. It only took me ten minutes. A five minute performance bought me one huge dose of popularity in one single morning. I cannot describe my feelings that morning. It must have been the luck of the Queen. I wish all cruises would end like that. Sailing on the Queen Mary 2 gave me the golden opportunity of a lifetime. It wasn’t just the opportunity to sail on an elegant liner, but the chance to realize that I still had my funny touch. It just makes me feel happy to be an avid cruiser. Every cruiser has that touch of humor to share with whomever they meet at sea.