I’m very excited about my first transatlantic crossing on the QM2, a Cunard luxury ocean liner, departing Tuesday, August 28 and returning Tuesday, September 4. The legendary Cunard, which has been operating since 1840, boasts a small flotilla of ships fit for, well, a Queen: Its fleet also includes the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria.
I’ve been on a number of gay cruises with Atlantis Events and RSVP Vacations as well as a gay family cruse with R Family Vacations and even three straight cruises but never an ocean liner (see below*). I’ve also never crossed the Atlantic nor have I had such a quandary about packing! This cruise offers two elegant casual nights, two semi-formal nights and three formal nights, including the Royal Ascot Ball. And a strict dress code.
Say what? There is a ship full of straight men with ascots. I’m gay, and I don’t own this sartorial accessory. On a gay cruise, you pack your tightest, cutest short sleeve t-shirts and Polos, a few cool shorts, a pair of jeans, your best sunglasses and you’re pretty good to go. Sigh. For this trip, I’ve had to pack more ties than I’ve ever packed in my life.
Still, for all this formality and my clothing conundrum, this is a dream trip for many, and I’ve heard from a number of gay friends who’ve been on the QM2 and loved it. So, dear land-bound reader, I embark today for a seven-day cruise to Southampton, England. Is a transatlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2 for you? Be sure to follow my travels here and Twitter and find out.
*What’s the difference between ocean liners and cruise liners or ships? Turns out there’s a subtle but significant difference according to Cunard publicist Laurel Davis:
“A cruise liner/ship is made to do just that: cruise at lower speeds. An ocean liner such as Queen Mary 2 is made specifically to cut through major bodies of water such as the Atlantic at higher (read: non-cruise) speeds. This is why she, more than any other ship, is so well suited to regular Transatlantic service.