Final disembarkation

Well! I did it! 26 day cruise. Arrived in Hong Kong. Can’t tell you how happy I am to get off the ship! But it is a real mixture of emotions. The ship becomes your home for the time you are on it. You exist in this little bubble of life travelling between countries, climates and time zones on its own little adventure with little worry of anything else happening in the world.

It has by no means been a bad experience but it has definitely been very interesting from my own standing. Certainly the last two nights Onboard the ship were horrible as we were in particularly bad weather. A shame really to have ended it in that way. Wind howling, rain intermittent and large swell meant I didn’t sleep particularly well at all. In fact on both of the last nights I was woken by the weather at around 3am where I then got up and dressed and left our cabin to wander around the ship in order to feel some kind of sense of normality. It probably did the opposite though. There was no one around but all the lights were on. The huge vessel moving quite significantly from side to side. My only guess is that this older generation Onboard are so well weathered by life at sea (pardon the pun) that they have the amazing ability to just sleep right through it. This is certainly the case for mum anyway. So this weird ghost ship like existence of the ship at 3am fascinated me.

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The Big Apple

Day: Saturday June 1st 2013

 

Today has been a long day. But an amazing one too.

 

There is nothing quite like arriving into New York via ship.

 

I think last time I did it in 2008 I didn’t fully appreciate the significance of entering into New York via ship. The truth is, it’s a pretty epic experience, following in the steps of millions before you. Especially having been on the ocean for 7 days….

 

The ship itself arrived into New York waters sometime in the night. It was to be passing the Statue of Liberty at about 4.45am. This meant we had to set our alarms for around 4am in order to get a good spot where we could watch as the ship comes into port. So it was dark when we awoke and looked out of our balcony. But we were going right underneath a bridge that was all lit up and you could just see manhattan in the distance and the Statue of Liberty on the left. We quickly put some clothes on and quick marched our way down to the front of the ship. Here there were already swarms of people, but we still managed to get a decent spot to watch and take pictures. There was a strange silence out on deck. I think perhaps people were just in awe (or crazy tired) There had been a few lectures on board the ship about all the immigrants coming over to the states, and in particular a lecture about Ellis island where they all had to pass through. It is so hard to out yourself in the shoes of those people, the ancestors of those in America today. But to see the Statue of Liberty as they arrived into this new promised land of freedom having left behind goodness only knows; must have been an emotional roller coaster. The ocean entrance into America does indeed inspire hopes and dreams, nostalgia (for myself) and just genuine wonderment. I’m unsure of how much more I can express in words, and until you do it yourself I don’t even think pictures would really satisfy. But as a visual aid I thought I’d give you some anyway….

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to go to New York a number of times since 2004. However I never saw New York with the twin tower skyline. And it’s bizarre, because even though I never saw them standing in person, I did see them in movies, tv series etc and therefore even now, and with my lack of previous skyline experience (!) you really feel their absence. However, nicely enough, the skyline is still pretty epic, and as you can see they still haven’t quite finished the new world trade building. Last time I was here it was only a third of the way built. So it’s been nice to come in stages I guess!

Once we docked at around 6.30am we then had a pretty long wait until we could disembark. Obviously with thousands if people onboard they have to do it in stages.

However the weather was a bonus…

Sitting in 30 degree heat at the early hours of the morning was pretty surreal. And quite a shock to our British skinned selves! That mixed with general tiredness from being up so early, excitement, adrenaline etc meant that today really was going to be a long and exhausting one. Nevertheless we only have the best part of two days in New York so we need to make the most of it!

I sat with some new friends I had met onboard at the back of the ship overlooking Brooklyn and manhattan before saying my goodbyes.

We finally got off the ship and touched down on a American soil at about 10.30am. Fortunately they let me in the country this time. Last time I was here they claimed that I had been living illegally in the states for four years. I had initially thought it was funny, but in actual fact they could have just had me arrested and sent on the next flight back home.

Hopped into a taxi and made our way to our hotel we were staying in. W New York hotel on Lexington Avenue and 49th street. Quite a trendy young vibe of a hotel, and luckily we were able to check in so early which meant we could dump our bags before heading off out to explore the city.

With it being such a hot day, and already feeling tired, we decided to go to Central Park and maybe find somewhere to sit in the sunshine. However we didn’t really sit anywhere but ended up walking around pretty much half of the whole park, enjoying an ice cream and just generally soaking in the atmosphere. Everybody seemed to be in Central Park! People playing baseball, basketball, having picnics, sun bathing, jogging, running, at the fairground. Was cool, and nice to see some green after seven days of blue.

Goodbye to the ocean

Day: Friday 31st May 2013

 

Ships position: 41 degrees 42.44′ N, 065 degrees 52.28′ W

Ships time: 14.30

GMT: 18.30

Weather: sunny with a light breeze. Sea very calm

 

So! Final day onboard the Queen Mary 2. It feels like its been forever to get to this point but also that its gone really quickly. All the days on the ship seem to have merged into one, so much so that if I was on here for any longer I think I would lose sense of day and time entirely. It’s weird enough as it is trying to remember the ships time versus the land time in the UK and the states. Last night we had to set our clocks back an hour and we have to do that again tomorrow morning when we dock into Brooklyn docks in New York at about 6.30am.

 

Our last day onboard didn’t really consist of much more than doing laundry, eating, packing and sitting on deck reading and doing sudoku in the sunshine. I guess ultimately I was waiting excitedly for 4pm as mum had booked us in for a 80 minute stone massage….

 

As I’m sure it sounds, it was pretty incredible!! A great way to finish off the cruise.

 

It had been such a beautiful day and so I took a final opportunity to wonder around the ships decks at sunset. I am ridiculously excited to get into New York tomorrow morning. We have a pretty awesome road trip ahead of us that will get us into Chicago in just over a week.

 

To be honest I’m pretty excited about seeing some land. Don’t get me wrong, the ocean is awesome, and the experience is once in a lifetime stuff. I love water, sea, ocean etc in general, and so I have been somewhat in my element. I think just the anticipation of what’s next has overwhelmed me at this point. Tomorrow = New York City!