Gypsy Ways Update 2 – Transatlantic Crossing

Gypsy Ways Update 2 starts in Brooklyn, New York, where we arrived after our coast-to-coast drive (more trip info here). From the Brookyn Cruise Terminal, we boarded the Queen Mary 2 ocean liner for our Transatlantic crossing to Southampton, UK!Queen Mary 2

 [The Queen Mary 2 by Deepak A.B via Flickr]

The QM2 is a truly magnificent ship. And everyone is quick to remind you that this is an “ocean going liner” and certainly not a “cruise ship.”

The main reason we take the QM2 is because they offer kennel service, and if we’re doing some extensive traveling, we like to bring our dog. Transportation by water is not my favorite as I get terribly seasick (even on a lake), but as a way to get across the Atlantic with the dog and all of our luggage (as much as you can fit in your cabin is allowed), it’s a great way to go.

The dogs are restricted to a small area on the ship (deck 12, starboard aft), and they have to learn to do their “business” on the teak decking, which can be challenging for our four-legged friends. There is a full time kennel master who takes outstanding care of the dogs and keeps the kennels very clean and comfy, and we’re allowed to spend time with the dogs for various stretches totaling 7 to 8 hours a day. All the dog people get to know each other and the other dogs as we spend most of our days together in the kennels. On this crossing there were 12 dogs and everyone got along so well we had a little champagne party in the kennels on the last day before our arrival in Southampton!IMG_2943

[The kennel deck run by Bill G. Johnson via Flickr]

Unfortunately, I didn’t take many photos as I had a double whammy of a nasty cold and the side effects of the anti-seasickness drug scopolamine going on. The scopolamine patches work perfectly – I don’t get remotely seasick – but the side effects of blurred vision, drowsiness, and dry mouth were considerable in combination with the cold. I promise to share some of my own photos from our way back…

Once we have our last visits with the dogs in the evenings, then we get changed for dinner, and it’s fun to dress elegantly for a few nights! There are three formal nights, with men in tuxedo or formal suit, ladies in formal or cocktail dress, and four semi-formal nights with men in jackets and women in cocktail dress or what Cunard terms “stylish separates.” The first formal night was for the “Black and White Ball” and the last formal night was for the “Royal Ascot Ball” where many of the ladies had hats and fascinators.IMG_1033_Y

[Royal Ascot Ball Hat Review by Wolfgang Hammer via Flickr] 

After seven nights of outstanding food, wine, and service, we wake up already docked in Southampton. We eat breakfast, and then at 8:30 A.M., the kennel crew get a priority escort off the ship (it’s quite a parade really, as the dogs are great celebrities on board) and then we begin the European part of our adventure…

(Here’s a link to the previous Update 1. And here’s the link to the next episode, Update 3)