Final thoughts

For starters, here are some pictures of the Queen Mary 2, very kindly forwarded to me by Jay, after my comment on the previous post that I hadn’t managed to get any photos of our home for the last week of the journey. I do have her permission to share.

A beautiful, comfortable ship – the stateroom was fab. Smooth as silk during the crossing. Jean wasn’t desperately keen on the colour scheme and we both agreed with Gary that it was hard to find your way around. It is his least favourite of the Cunard Queens, and he should know! We are hoping that the Queen Anne will be lighter and airier in its décor – much more like the Viking cruise ships.

It’s perfectly natural for people to ask questions such as “What was the highlight” or “What was your favourite bit”? However, these are impossible to answer, so I’ll try to answer some more straightforward questions. Except they aren’t often straightforward at all. I will concentrate on the positive.

Best hotel? That’s easy – Fox Harbour. Fabulous suite in a beautiful space, although there was very little to do unless you were a golfer.

Best city? Probably Boston. As my brother, Steve, observed, it is one of the few American cities with a sense of its own history. Montreal and Quebec were second and third respectively. We did enjoy Vancouver and Toronto as well. Oh, and Victoria. See? Told you this was difficult.

Best scenery? No contest. The Rockies. Absolutely fantastic. The Jasper-Lake Louise-Banff path is well-trodden, but there’s a really good reason why. The New England fall colours were also spectacular in places.

Best experience? Probably the time we spent at Knight Inlet Lodge. Maybe a little unlucky in that we didn’t see as much wildlife as we would have liked (bears, for example), but the people were absolutely wonderful.

Biggest surprise? Probably, for me, Portland, Maine. So much history here for a relatively small place, but we wouldn’t have known much about it until we went on the guided walk around the place. I also can’t help but mention New York. Not for the place itself, but for the people. Totally unlike the stereotype. Helpful, remarkably courteous, great service and the subway, although rather grubby, was a brilliant way of getting around. At no time ever did we feel threatened or uneasy.

Best bucket list item ticked? Again, for me, coming home on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southampton. As a kid, holidaying on the Isle of Wight, I saw the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary ships pass Seaview on the east coast of the island on their way to Southampton in the 1950s. Queen Elizabeth with two funnels, Queen Mary with three. Such a powerful memory inspired me to want to do that trip. Been there, done that now.

Biggest regret? I wish we could have spent more time in Québec. A beautiful city, but we only had one full day. Of course, you don’t realise that until you get there. Also, we didn’t manage to stay on Prince Edward Island, only managing two flying visits. It’s beautiful, and well worth a visit.

Best travel tip? If you can afford it and you don’t mind driving, hire a car. The roads are easy, the signage excellent, and you have this additional degree of freedom where you aren’t beholden to timetables. And you can leave stuff in it, which helps hugely when you’re on the move like we were.

That’s all I can think of for the moment, but will probably add some more as time goes by. A truly incredible experience, and this blog will help to jog our memories, hopefully for many years to come.

2 responses to “Final thoughts”

  1. Thanks for the blog, Chris. Gave us some useful insights for our own travels there.

    1. You’re both more than welcome, Steve. It was interesting to compare notes as well on some of the places we both visited, as your experiences so often differed from ours. That’s one of the reasons why we travel, I suppose. Thanks for your notes as well.

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