well, as a first time cruiser i thought i bit off a bit much when a booked a ten day new england/canada "french canadian breezes" with the cunard line. coming to the pier on a taxi, you get breathless at seeing how huge the queen elizabeth 2 is. embarkation was painless and getting to midships lobby with a harpist playing takes you to an era so elegant and far away. the staff is always helpful and ready to please you at your every whim.
we were over dressed at all times. everybody looked like they were shopping at their local walmart. whatever happened to cruisewear? even at formal nights, requiring evening gown or other formal attire, the ladies wore their sundresses with casual sandals and a shawl. hey grandma, put that back on the piano! the men were no better. as a cruising tip guide sent with your passage ticketing detailed, formal nights required either a tuxedo or a dark suit. loud patterned sports jackets must have been on sale because a good number of grandpas didn't take heed of above mentioned fashion advice/dress code. and i was anxious that i didn't bring a tux?
not to be an ageist, my wife is in her late thirties and i'm in my early forties, but when you go to the grand lounge or the queens' room and see a sea of grey or blue hair, i just felt out of place. the bathroom had vertical towel bar by the commode. '' silly, that's a grab bar to get you up." my wife had to explain to me.
we only socially drink a wine or dessert liquor or specialty coffee, therefore hanging out at the pub or disco was out of the question. there were some heavy drinkers there. the chart room bar was the most comfortable for us as the harpist alternated with the piano player to to make for a subdued environment.
the ballroom dancing was a hoot and a half. i love that kind of entertainment with a big band sound of the qe2 orchestra and a featured singer. a couple that were professional dancers always started off the night to the music of the 30's,40's, and 50's. it was a delight to watch and participate in this gathering nightly. i was impressed by a couple most likely in their 70's that danced eight out of ten dance numbers.
during the day if you're at sea you will see some atrocious public behaviour.
people propping their bare and shod feet all over the furniture. eating everything in site as if they were never to eat again. and the ever present smoker flicking their ashes all over the place. never mind people wearing bathing suits that never fit them in their lives.
most distressing the fact of not acknowledging your dining room companions even if you bump into them on the decks. rude, rude, rude. the worst experience was at the dining room when after a bit too much wine, a table of six in the center of the caronia would discuss just a bit too loud enough for all, the sad state of the east indians, the irish, the help, and the awful americans. in a class structure like the qe2, they obviously had picked the wrong dining room. pay more and get away from the riff raff you cheap coots. ah, the curse of the middle class. can someone tell these "people" the british empire will never rise again. i don't think they would be welcomed in any dining room however.
days at sea again proved quite a bore with the lecturer picked to discuss the topic of the media influencing society. lighten up please, we're on vacation. however, they had a wonderful guided tour through the ship pointing out paintings and memorabilia of the cunard history called the heritage trail that the social directors led. the social directors were very helpful and accommadating at every turn. again the staff and food servicing could never be faulted and maybe because the qe2 is such a beautiful ship the small problems i encountered marred my full appreciation of a wonderful tradition of seeing other parts of the world on a ship.
my advice, pick your cruise carefully according to the demographics you think you'd be comfortable in. research your ports and weather conditions so there are no surprises if they cancel a few calls. and if on the qe2 find out the possible lecture series and entertainment that will be featured. make the most of your time and money.