Shopping, Pets, Safety, Spa and Medical Matters



Shopping is Hopping on the High Seas on Queen Mary 2On April 4, 2011, we received this communication from Queen Mary 2 Shops: Perfume Offer: Buy 200 ml of Fragrance and receive 10% off your total purchase while stocks last (Excludes Channel). This is just an example of the many communications we received from the shops onboard.

The notice on the Diamond Presentation “The Story” Come and learn about this magical and beautiful gemstone in a short but informative presentation, from the mining and cutting to the polishing and the grading came on the same day. Learn how to shop for diamonds Presented by the Onboard Jewellers Tuesday, April 5th, The Chart Room, Deck 3 10:15 am.

The above are only samples of what you can shop for on Queen Mary 2. But first let’s have some historical background on this type of shopping first, shall we? We will have a glimpse of how it evolved and what it was like for our predecessors.

Bouquets and HaircutThe first groups of Cunard passengers, the very first generation that is, had to pack everything that they needed for the whole voyage so if it is a world cruise, it would be quite a pile of luggage. The piles grew so large that some had to be labelled they were not wanted on voyage and had to be dispatched to the hold.

The first shop onboard was the barber’s which was introduced by the Collins line in 1850. The Collins line is Samuel Cunard’s competitor and the barber‘s became a fixture on the ship where men could gather to gossip. The women had to wait longer for their beauty parlour.

The men could lie back and relax for the Mauritania (recorded as having been completed by May, 1939) was the world’s first liner to offer a hydrologically operated barber’s chair for the customers. The men could choose while being shaved to be horizontally watching the ceiling.

Thus began the transformation of the main hall in the ships making it look more like London’s Burlington Arcade. This is in line with what the Cunard’s publicity materials promised in terms of pleasures on the Queen Mary. “There will be no monotony such at once characterized a journey at sea.” So now there are separate beauty and barber’s shops on board.

With the growth of leisure travel, shopping became an important part of the Cunard experience growing along with the increase of leisure travel. With the world voyage having more ports to visit and the shopping arcade on board, passengers found it necessary to shop for more luggage to pack in their purchases before disembarkation day.

Regent Street at SeaAs early as the first Queen Mary, there already existed a “chic shopping centre” located on the Promenade Deck. It was situated between the first and second funnel hatches. It got so that the shopping centre was named as Regent Street by both crew and passengers alike after the celebrated London luxury shopping location.

Onboard, the stylish surroundings harmonized the gifts on display. In the early days, there was a huge fountain and fresh flowers to help put passengers in the right frame of mind to spend. They even had deep leather sofas to sit on when the shopping became tiring. And the adjacent bar is there where one could order a drink.

It is just as well that they have shops on board because with a long world voyage, one could run out of necessities like scented soaps and cigars. The passengers could order flowers for loved ones or to advance a romance on board. Speaking of which, there is a flower shop in Queen Mary 2 which offers the following:

FLORAL DELIGHTS

We were encouraged to say it with flowers for they are the best gift bringing joy to the heart and laughter to the soul.

Tropical Exotica comes in $75, $100, $150Elegant European Vase comes in $55, $85, $100 Roses come in $65 for a dozen, $35 for halfGarden Bouquet comes in $25, $40, $60Cheers Basket comes in $35, $45, $55Sail Away Bouquet comes in $40, $45, $55

Please indicate your selection. This order form can be given to your Stateroom Steward/ess or the Pursers Office or call the Florist on ext. 20657. Minimum 24 hour for delivery.

One could look through the best sellers in W. H. Smith’s. One could even try an elegant menswear at Austin Reed’s or if not in the mood to buy clothes, there are all kinds of souvenirs. In the olden days, a large plaque of Queen Mary seemed to oversee these purchases. It was appropriate for after all the ship was named after her.

He Liked the Print so Much He Bought the OriginalCalifornian railroad magnate, H. E. Huntington and his wife Arabella reserved the Aquitania’s Gainsborough Suite on a trip to Europe. The private dining room of this suite had a reproduction of the most renowned painting by Thomas Gainsborough, a British artist. It was the ’Blue Boy’ (said to be an angry reply to Reynold’s rule to use blue only as an accent in paintings).

Huntington wanted to buy the original so when he was entertaining Lord Duveen, the British art dealer to dinner, he mentioned his interest to buy the original. Duveen valued the painting at $600,000.00. When Huntington said he might pay that much, Lord Duveen approached the Duke of Westminster, the painting’s owner, who agreed to sell it.

Huntington ended up buying the “Blue Boy” in 1921 for $728,000.00 which broke the records for the price of a painting. It was heartbreaking for the Britons to see the painting go across the Atlantic Ocean. When the railway mogul checked out his purchase, he was concerned that it was a lot greener than the one on the Aquitania but after it was cleaned, he was satisfied. It now hangs as star piece in the Huntington’s Library collection at San Marino, California.

Dream Shopping ListWhen F. Scott Fitzgerald won fortune and fame for ’The Great Gatsby’, his novel in 1925, he dreamed up his shopping list with Zelda, his wife. And what did they have in their dream shopping list? A second-hand luxury touring car, a Picasso picture, dress “as green as wet fresh paint” and two first class tickets on the Aquitania.

By Royal AppointmentCunard chose In 1929, Austin Reed, the men’s outfitters in London to open a shop on the Aquitania (launched on April 21, 1913 was so attractive it was nicknamed Ship Beautiful). This was followed by concessions on the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. No wonder the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were regular shoppers on board. Ray Milland was also photographed inspecting the cloth for a new tweed jacket.

Shop Till You DropYou can literally shop till you drop because the promenade is full of shops. In 1998, a passenger on QE2, Colin Cameron, said’ “The Royal Promenade is shops, shops, and more shops. I’ve never seen so many shops aboard a ship.”

Queen Mary 2 Onboard BoutiquesAssistant Shop Manager, Jason Dias, kindly supplied us with information on the shopping offerings onboard. The shops are located on Deck 3 of the Grand Lobby. There you can find the jewellery and watch store, Chopard, Swarovski, Fashion, Fragrance, Logo, Ladies Casual and European Stores.

They sell a wide range of goods onboard including perfumes, high fashion, fine jewellery, duty free, and a small range of toiletries. They have something for everyone onboard from Queen Mary fridge magnets to the exclusive Chopard watch that was made especially for the Queen Mary 2 by Chopard.

Chopard is delighted to announce this creation of that watch for Queen Mary 2. The watch case is crafted in stainless steel design that incorporates a moving representation of the ship set with black and white diamonds on the hull and with red enamel for her funnel. It is only available in the ship from the Chopard Boutique in the Grand Lobby.

They have quite a collection of the Essence of Beauty by the Diamonds of Russia and are pleased to share with the guests the magnificent splendour of their diamond jewellery and years of experience from the country which is considered the world’s authority on diamond mining, selecting and polishing.

Onofrio D’Oro, creator of custom design award winning jewellery and hand carved one-of-a-kind masterpieces all inspired by nature, had a Trunk Show Event during our World Voyage. He honed his art at Tiffany and Co. where he worked with Paloma Picasso and as well completed a period at Cartier as one of their artisan goldsmiths.

Dyach Tanzanite is also available at onboard jewellery store. Tanzanite’s colour is a kaleidoscope of blue and violet infused with the mystery of Africa. Dyach Tanzanite discovered the finest quality tanzanite rough in African soil then expertly cut it to bring out the mystical beauty and radiance that captivated the hearts of millions.

There is a Hermes Paris store aboard Queen Mary 2 that is proud to say they have one thousand and one mysteries of silk, lace, leather and metal showing enigmas of form and miracles of colour. These are created by talent and craftsmanship that grew together to harness a material and master a technique.

They have a team of experienced staff who are hired for their knowledge. In the jewellery store, for instance, they have two jewelers and a watch specialist. We talked to the specialist and we knew right away his credential is up to par because he recognized our watches that are not really common.

They did have designer watches by Guess, Fossil, and Rotary which are at great tax and duty free prices. They also have premier designer watches including Gucci. Michele, Hermes, Tag Heuer, Raymund Weil, and Baume & Mercier all discounted at 30%.

On sea days, the boutiques are open from 10 am to 10 pm while on port days they are open after we set sail until 11 pm. The assistant manager said that working in the boutiques involves a lot of interaction with the guests. All get to pass through the stores and every time, the employees make sure they uphold Cunard’s White Star service standards at all times.

In one of our visits at the shops, we saw people looking around, checking out the specials. In the nearby casino, some were trying out their luck while the elevators hum quietly spitting people out and gathering some in to take them to different decks of their choice.

There are presentations on what to look for when buying jewellery like the one on ’The Art of Buying Colour Gemstones’ which was hosted by guest Jeweller on board, Ivana Slobodnik who gave us more insights on the key points to look for when buying color gemstones.

There was a presentation on Tanzanite Seminar at the Chart Room where we learned about the magical and beautiful gemstone with the resident jeweller Samantha Wardle. Then the guests were invited to view the sparkling range on board.

The Tanzanite Seminar was shown again on April 11 by the resident jeweller Jenny Goodall but this time, the unveiling of the range was accompanied by a glass of champagne. This was followed by a Tantalizing Tanzanite Sale on hundreds of pieces at 25% discount.

Here’s another presentation, a Jewellery Double Bill. One is on birthstones where the guests were encouraged to view the collection at the Jewellery Store. The other one is on ‘Gemstones of the Sea’ with Gemologist Pamela Regan-Fox, from GogoAnna. She presented the treasures of the sea from colourful coral to stunning South Sea pearls.

There was another Jewellery Double Bill the first one of which was presented by the resident jeweller Jitender Bhatia on the ‘The Gemstone of Eternal Fire’ and another one on ‘Gemstones Around the World‘. We learned the mystery of rubies and how to take care of them. Master goldsmith Onofrio (awarded Buyers Choice two years in a row) presented how jewellery is made from a design to a finished product. We checked out his collections including the antique watches.

They had a perfume party in one of the Mayfair Shops. They have exclusive perfume sets. The guests were encouraged to see the Top 10 ranges for men and women and to have a spray and a sniff and to pick up a brand new fragrance.

They did have a dazzling jewellery sale and black and white diamonds offered on the tables just outside the shops. They had a spectacular range of sterling silver and Baltic Amber from all over the world. There were designer bags straight from the catwalk and designer glasses galore including Gucci, Prada, Dior and Ray Ban.

Mayfair Shops also had an exclusive on Chopard ‘The Story’ presented by Chopard expert Rosana Davies. The guests learned the origin of the brands and how their watches and fine jewellery now adorn world wide celebrities. They announced an End of the World Voyage Sale with all the perfumes, high end watches and logo clothing at amazing prices.

A Watch Seminar was held where Raj the resident watch specialist talked on the history of watches, how they have evolved through time from the basic pocket watch to the modern day radio-controlled watch. This was followed by a Tanzanite Presentation accompanied by a cheeky glass of champagne.

The Mayfair Shops had a Stirling Silver Bonanza featuring sterling silver jewellery at its best. The spectacular range from around the world was offered at up to 50% discount. The Baltic Amber Bazaar was on at the same time where they had some beautiful Valerio necklaces, bracelets and rings.

Towards the end, Mayfair Shops had a buy-one-get-one free on the Queen Mary 2 branded merchandise.

There was an H. Stern Store onboard. H. Stern is the largest Brazilian producer and seller of emeralds, topazes, amethysts, aquamarines, and tourmalines and is one of the top five rated jewellery houses in the world. They select the gemstones using the highest international standard and further enhance them through exclusive, modern and innovative designs.

H. Stern had a fashion show where they show cased their Sapphire Watch Collection which are hand-polished, exclusive and essential, but thanks, no thanks. We think we will stick with our Patek Phillips. What interested us more was their Stars Collection (rich in diamonds and brings the stars from the sky) to celebrate the company’s 60th birthday.

The Fireworks Collection of 18k gold set with champagne, cognac and white diamonds is just as captivating. Then they have their Drop Collection where nature is recreated in drops of diamonds, a delicate and feminine design that is distinguished by its natural form.

H. Stern also featured their Zephyr Collection. There were three inspirations for this collection which makes the pieces unforgettable. What are they? Sailing boats, women in contact with nature and hair blown by the wind. They also had a Rainbow Collection featuring the most alluring coloured gemstones that are always stylish, versatile and timeless.

They also have a collection of Brazilian flowers. Like a floral spring, this collection brings one the best colours of Brazilian gemstones. They also showcased their Snowflake Collection that includes white, champagne, and cognac diamonds inspired by nature’s beauty.

H. Stern's Paola Collection features geometric shapes suggesting movement, dynamism, energy, set in polished white gold with pave set of diamonds. The Feathers Collection has thousands of feathers in yellow gold reproduced in magical precision. This collection is not only to be seen but also touched.

H. Sterns’ Filament collection features bars of yellow or white gold that run loose on gold chains. They think of this as the second skin of the woman. The Guliana Collection is set with pave diamonds, a style to suit a modern woman. Their Moonlight Collection is inspired by the glow of the moon. The moonlight jewels feature antique cut gems set in 18 K noble gold.

The Drops Collection is nature recreated in drops of diamonds, a delicate and feminine design that is distinguished by its natural form. They also have the fluid gold collection that features versatile three-meter strand that can be worn as a necklace, choker or several graduated bracelets.

There was a scrapbook challenge where the guests were asked to come along with their memories of the World Voyage. Freddie from the Entertainment Staff assisted and this session would continue throughout the voyage. For help, there are kits and journals from $8.50 that will make this keepsake a treasure to take home.

The big promotion countdown is still on. Designer bags were on sale on March 14 while at H. Stern, they featured their Sun and Moon Collection. It comes in a design of rays where one-half is set with diamonds while the other is polished gold.

There was also a GogoAnna Guest Fashion Show where fellow guests strut their stuff . They were adorned by the stunning and elegant jewellery brought on board by the guest jewellers on board. Afterwards one could go to the jewellery store to catch a closer look at these treasures.

There was a Jewellery Double Bill one of which was a diamond presentation on “The Story” by resident jeweller Jennifer Goodall. The second was headed by H. Stern Manager where the audience found out why a jewellery adorns top celebrities in events like the Oscars.

The shops at Queen Mary 2 are duty free and our research shows their prices are competitive. They are closed though while in port due to international regulations. But one can wait till the last days. That’s when you get worthwhile discounts.

Book Shop and LibraryThis library and bookshop is the largest floating bookshop in the world with 9,000 hardbacks and counting, 500 paperbacks, 200 audio books and 100 CD ROMs. There are two full-time librarians from Ocean Books. Gaynor Van Deventer is the Bookshop Manager. She’s an amazing person who is a qualified full time librarian and dedicated to the credo QM2 expected of her employees. When we wanted to purchase a book that they did not have in the Book Shop and Library, she went out of her way to find it for us and we were in the middle of the sea!

Well anyway her persistence paid off for when we were docked near Queen Elizabeth somewhere in one of the ports. She went over there to check out their supply of books and she found what we were looking for. We bought it of course!

We were amazed at the superb display of 8000 books in this floating library. And they come in different languages. They also have a large selection of magazines and you can read them there while sitting on comfortable leather sofas and armchairs.

The library had some timely offerings like ‘Learn All About Wine’. Since we’ve just been to Australian Vineyards, now the library just had to tell us about the beautifully illustrated book “Wines of the World” which is packed with information on its region.

We were reminded to return library books before disembarking and not to take any books out of the ship (Duh, that’s an unwritten law, isn’t it?) We guess some people don’t return books and for this we were reminded of someone saying, “Thieves don’t go on vacation.”

It also reminded us of a library who threatened a borrower of jail time after exasperating effort of trying to get the books back! Now we’re glad the library is instituting a new rule that the cost of book not returned will be added to the borrower’s board account.

We tried to borrow a book that was available in the QM2 library but is nowhere to be found so when we got to Auckland, we bought such a small book for over $30. We didn’t know at that time that books are more expensive in New Zealand.

There’s a Queen Mary 2 Book Club where once in a while, fellow guests meet to have a lively discussion of the book they just read. One such book was Cath Staincliffe’s ‘The Kindest Thing’. It is a moving story of a woman’s choice to help end her beloved husband’s life. Is this murder?

The library is also a great place to learn a new language. They have a selection of learning aids in Italian, German, Spanish and French. They even have a digital phrase book for the iPod for Mandarin Chinese. That’s great because while we already have the Spanish and French aids at home, we really have to learn to speak Mandarin Chinese now that we live in the Toronto area where the many Chinese residents speak to us in Mandarin! It’s embarrassing because all we know is zǎo shàng hǎo. So that’s the next project on queue.

The library recommended something easy and light to carry souvenir of the ship with lots of photographs of both the interior and exterior with full explanation. It is in the form of a CD, a book on disk, with 248 pages of full colour photos.

‘Flags of the World’ is a reference book recommended by the Book Shop & Library. This guide provides a concise, up-to-date coverage of every country in the world, giving the history, meaning and symbolism of national flags.

There is a Berlitz pocket guide packed with all the information we need while in Japan, one of the most intriguing countries in the world. It is a country of astonishing contrasts from the rice farmers to subway millions and Zen Buddhist monks.

There are also useful tips and guidelines in the Berlitz Nile Cruising pocket guide which is available at the Book Shop. Visitors have cruised the Nile since the Roman times, intrigued by the dusty remains of an ancient civilization. Here’s the chance to get the perfect combination of history, culture and adventure.

There is a fascinating Book of Comparisons available in the library. Here are samples: QM2 is longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall; as powerful as three Boeing 747s and in her lifetime will travel the equivalent of twelve times to the moon and back!

For a souvenir or a gift for someone, the Book Shop has playing cards showing Queen Mary 2, Cunard’s distinctive funnel, the Bow or the Crest, as well as Art Deco Image of the Three Queens. Bridge sets were also available and guests were reminded that these are light and easy to carry.

World Voyage Memorabilia 2011 including World Voyage Poster, bookmarks, postcards, greeting cards with the three Queens in New York and pens and pencils are offered for sale. You can even wrap your purchase in Queen Mary 2 wrapping paper.

The Bookshop and Library has small story books. One who has a special interest on a subject, could go and indulge himself in one of the small story books. Examples of what are available are The Hercules Story, The Tornado Story, The Shuttle Story as well as The Concorde Story.

Commodore Bernard Warner was on hand in the Bookshop to sign any memorabilia bought plus one could find out the Commodore’s “My Favourite Place on Earth”. He had another signing for Queen Mary 2 books. This is one thing we feel so bad to have missed. Oh well, there would be another world cruise on the horizon for us.

There are interesting puzzles for sale here. Among them is the 1000 piece Ocean Greats and the take home statistics of the nine most famous ships shown on the box. One can also choose from the various ship’s images and of course the children’s puzzles are available as well.

The Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruise Ships and Cruising 2011 was made available at the Bookshop. It is the 26th Anniversary Edition of the Berlitz Guide. The book is an independent hard-hitting review based on experience and not just hearsay.

Just before Barcelona. The Book Shop and Library had the handy-to-use maps with choices of either a durable flexi-map or the Berlitz pop-up pocket map guide that one can open, unfold and explore. This way, we can make most of what Barcelona can offer.

Part III - Life on the Ocean Wave

A. Food, Glorious Food - For People Who Love to Eat

B. Exercise - Be Kind to Your Heart

C. Drinking the Bubbly on QM2

D. Entertainment

E. Children on Board

F. Lecture Enrichment Programs

G. Shopping is Hopping on the High Seas

H. Pets Onboard - Man’s Best Friends

G. Pets Onboard - Man’s Best Friends

Having the pet on board is not a surprise judging from what one sees around. The national obsession to look after one’s pets has grown through the recession and no wonder for the pet grooming industry has mirrored that of the people grooming industry.

We walked around the ship and saw the dogs as they were taken for a walk on Deck 12. They were so cute they reminded us of our grandchildren Mikey and Sarah’ dogs, Abby and Sophie. So looking at those dogs brought back memories and it was puppy love all over again.

Q: Are there any pet-friendly cruises? Cunard Line is the only cruise line that allows you to take your dog or cat with you.

A: Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is the only ship that allows pets (other than service dogs) onboard, but only on transatlantic sailings between Southampton and New York. (There were pets on board though in this world cruise.) The "Pets on Deck" package provides first-class kennel accommodations and services to dogs and cats.

A kennel master oversees the 12 kennels along with the care, feeding and walking of pets. Pet owners are encouraged to visit as often as they like and have access to the kennels and designated indoor and outdoor walking areas. Pets are not allowed in passenger staterooms.

Cats and dogs receive a gift pack which has a QM2 logo: coat, a name tag, Frisbee, food dish and scoop. They also get a portrait with the pet owners, a personalized cruise card and a cruising certificate. Also they get all kinds of toys and premium pet foods. The cats get cat posts and scratchers.

Pet passage is not cheap. Reservations for the kennel are made at the time of booking and range from $300 to $500 per pet.

There are requirements to have the pets on board. Here are the eastbound requirements: The cat or dog must have been (in the order of the list)

1. fitted with a microchip

2. vaccinated against rabies

3. satisfactorily blood tested (will not become valid for entry to the UK for six calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken in Section V)

4. issued with an official Veterinary Certificate (Regulation (EC) No 998/2003) or official PET PASSPORT

5. treated against ticks and tapeworm not less than 24 hours or more than 48 hours before check-in and issued with an official certificate of treatment

Failure to complete the above requirements in order will result in your pet being denied boarding.

The westbound requirements are that the cat or dog must have been:1. issued a current Health Certificate (The health certificate shall show that the dog or cat was examined by a veterinarian within 30 days of entry of the dog or cat into the State of New York.)

2. rabies vaccinated within 12 months to 14 days prior to entry into the State of New York

Please be advised if you plan on re-entering the UK, you must adhere to the pet Travel Scheme and a 6-month probation period is required.

General Information:Animals Accepted - Dogs and Cats only - no birdsAnimals are not permitted in guest staterooms nor public areasThere is no veterinarian onboard.The Kennel is located on Deck 12, Aft.

Visiting Hours may vary but are usually as follows:The Kennel man is off between 11:30 am and 3 pm11:00 am to 12:00 pm3:00 pm to 5:00 pmYou can beep him on his working hours on #488.Phone number: 29627

Kennel Measurements:6 upper Kennels (27” H, 30” , 35.5” D) $300 USD for Each KennelWeight Restriction 25 lbs or less

6 lower Kennels (36” H, 30”, 35.5” D) $500 USD for Each KennelWeight Restriction 26 lbs or more

2 kennels may be opened up to accommodate larger animals. Guests will be charged per kennel.

Pet Measurements should be as follows:Pet Height (from floor to shoulder)Pet Width (from tip of nose to base of tail)Pet Weight in poundsPet Age at time of sailing

Part III - Life on the Ocean Wave

A. Food, Glorious Food - For People Who Love to Eat

B. Exercise - Be Kind to Your Heart

C. Drinking the Bubbly on QM2

D. Entertainment

E. Children on Board

F. Lecture Enrichment Programs

G. Shopping is Hopping on QM2

H. Pets on Board, man’s Best Friends

I. Safety On Board

H. Safety On BoardSafety on board was very much on Queen Mary 2’s mind. From time to time, we think with every segment, they hold not only fire drill but also a marine safety open session. This is where they show the modern safety equipment up close and meet the ship’s Safety Team.

The business of security at QM2 is clear. It is readiness and an inflexible position when it comes to safety for all. So all are safe in any storm and crisis for readiness is the security’s top game. They thought ahead of any disaster and if it did happen, they have a plan. This provides flawless peace of mind for both passengers and crew alike.

Safety on board is so embedded with Queen Mary 2 that all just have to cooperate. The Safety Officer and the deck Petty Officers were on hand to explain and demonstrate the equipment. And best of all, they answered any questions we had on the Marine Safety.

As for the valuables, we had a small personal safe in the stateroom so we were able to keep some there. In addition to this some other stuff could be kept in the safety deposit box in the purser’s office. This service is available during the cruise.

On March 31, we noted one or two security crews looking out of verandas with binoculars. Security is more visible in the ship on those days. Safety Chief Officer James Griffiths, Bsc (Hons) MNI agreed to talk to us about safety procedures on board. He was so kind to send us the training manuals that detail the information on life saving appliances, emergency equipment and instructions on their use.

We were also able to learn about the muster list to ensure that the life-saving and fire appliances are in good working order as well as the emergency plan. It felt good to know that all on board would be accommodated in the 22 life boats that has room for 150 people each to a total of 3300 and the 60 life crafts with room for 37 people each to a total of 2220 lives.

The safety officers on Queen Mary 2 are really serious about the safety and security on board. They have clear-cut instructions on drills, watertight doors, raising the alarm, fire and fire fighting, emergency signals, life jackets, lifebuoys, thermal protective aids, immersion suits in the survival craft.

They have everything covered including how much water (3 liters per person) and food (1000kj carbohydrates per person) are in a lifeboat. There are complete instructions on the use of life rafts and their equipment (even what to do when the raft is punctured), electronic aids and pyrotechnics.

Boy, oh boy, one can’t help but feel safe here even in worst case scenario for Queen Mary 2 has thought of everything. All one has to do is listen and cooperate because they have everything covered. From survival questions on how much food and water to use (none, only to the sick or injured), how to eat the fish safely that you may catch (make sure there is enough water available to digest it) and everything else are all covered.

There are instructions on how to collect rainwater, not to allow people to swim despite the hot weather in some areas due to being weak from lack of food, the raft may drift away and there maybe dangerous marine life at sea, and what to do when a helicopter lowers a rescue harness to the lifeboats.

There are safety questions and answers that all members of the ship’s company should understand to increase the onboard Safety Organization from what to do upon the sounding of the alarm, the assembly stations, all the way to how to abandon the ship, the evacuation ladders and the correct way to enter the water.

Safety in the Tenders As for ship to shore launches, we preferred the ship to be along side instead of at anchor but sometimes there was no choice and we just had to live with it. Mostly the sea was calm and so the tender experience was uneventful. But we had to watch it when at one time, the sea was choppy and the transfer bordered on exciting and challenging to somewhat worrying. There was no need to worry however for we were in the capable hands of the staff.

Whenever we were taken ashore using the ship’s tenders, we were urged to . please read the tender safety notice at the head of the gangway and know the contents of the emergency instructions notice pasted on the cab of each tender. We were advised not to smoke whilst in the tenders and that, to avoid risk of injury, we must keep our hands and arms off the side of the tender as it comes alongside the ship or wharf.

It is important to follow the instructions given by crew members and that we remain seated while in the tenders. We are not to get in or out of the tenders until instructed to do so by the ship’s staff. For safety reasons, guests in wheelchairs need to be able to step out of their wheelchair in order to board the tender, but the crew can offer assistance to those guests.

Guests in wheelchairs should use the tender lounge at Stairway B, as this is the only tender lounge with accessibility to the tender via a lift. This is good because it levelled the playing field so that every guest felt he had a place.

Your Health and Safety Ashore

The following are just a few points to keep in mind regarding enhanced awareness of health and safety while ashore:

* Minimise outward signs of wealth by reducing the wearing of jewellery and watches.

* Carry minimal amounts of cash.

* Whenever possible, walk in groups.

* Be aware of tricks involving a stranger noticing a mark or spot on your clothing, or any other good Samaritan gesture, and trying to assist you in removing the mark.

* If you are in the unfortunate position of being targeted by a criminal, avoid any resistance.

* Be aware that pickpockets operate in all of the high volume tourist attractions, as well as at bus stops and other public places.

* Check purchases before leaving a shop.

* Protect your face and other exposed areas with the use of a sun screen.

In addition to the shipboard facilities on Queen Mary 2 that include Currency Exchange Bank, Beauty Salon, 22 lifts, dry cleaning, valet and a florist. best of all, it is our kind of ship, a green ship that is the most environmentally friendly ship in the world.

The ship is coated with TBT-free paint using the type of paint that is safe for the marine environment. Refrigeration-wise, it has exceeded international requirements with zero ozone depletion and almost zero global warning potential.

Queen Mary 2’s treatment of waste water exceeds most current surface water legislation in the US and Europe. The same is true with the bilge water and oily sludge treatment, wet food waste system, dry waste incineration and power generation plant.

Part III - Life on the Ocean Wave

A. Food, Glorious Food - For People Who Love to Eat

B. Exercise - Be Kind to Your Heart

C. Drinking the Bubbly on QM2

D. Entertainment

E. Children on Board

F. Lecture Enrichment Programs

G. Shopping is Hopping on QM2

H. Pets on Board, Man’s Best Friends

I. Safety On Board

J. Canyon Ranch Spa Club on QM2

J. Canyon Ranch Spa Club on QM2

Health Spa and Beauty Services are provided by the Canyon Ranch Spa which occupies 20,000 square feet organized in two decks. There are well-being treatments provided including skin treatments and many massages. It is a place of calmness and serenity.

A whirlpool, a 30 X 15 - foot mixed thalassotheraphy pool with airbed recliner lounges, neck fountains and a deluge waterfall and thermal suite featuring a herbal sauna with aromatic steam rooms, saunas and a Rasul treatment (a Canyon Ranch Signature treatment derived from an old cleansing ritual in the Middle East which is a medicinal mud and steam therapy that takes place in an ornately tiled steam chamber) are all available. There are 24 body and skincare treatment rooms. The daily charge is waived if one buys a treatment.

Canyon Ranch Spa has so much to offer. They have an array of beauty shops services and body-pampering treatments. No wonder for this is in keeping with the increase in the awareness of the importance of well-being and the body beautiful. The certified instructors conduct group and private yoga and tai chi classes.

The beauty salon offers a full menu of services for skin and hair using their own skin care products called Living Essentials which you can also buy. It is wise to book early though for they have only six chairs for hairdressing. The Canyon Ranch Spa is operated as a concession and has 51 employees in their staff.

This spa has a gym that appears to be more equipped than the ones on shore. They have exercise machines with state-of-the-art equipments that pump the muscles and strengthen the body. Of course they have treadmills (better than what we have at home), bicycles, rowing machines and free weights (50 pieces of cardio and weight training equipment better than the five-pounder we use at home, don’t laugh for it’s better than nothing).

One treatment is the Reiki which can help maintain health and well-being while enjoying the voyage. This is the ancient Japanese healing technique that affects the physical, mental and emotional health. The benefits of Reiki include:

Boosts the body’s immune systemReduces stress and increases vitalityRelaxes the body and calms the mindReleases and calms emotionsEffective in the treatment of chronic diseaseHalves healing time of illness, disease, injury and post-op

With the above we were tempted to get a complimentary consultation with Reiki Master on board by the name of Hayley Wills at the Canyon Ranch Spa Club on Deck 7. They even had a Reiki Lecture in the Bulgaria Tender Lounge. Sometimes all it takes is to give ourselves a break.

There are days when we get so busy taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves. That’s not good so we should go ahead and take a break before the world comes tumbling down. Enjoy our friends like we do at our Line Dancing Club and neighbours as well. We go out to lunches and we play scrabble with a 90-year old neighbour, Rose, who keeps her body and brain active. That’s what we want to be when we grow up.

That is why age is not such a big deal with us. We live in a gated community where the average age we were told was 85. No wonder our 90 year old friends, Bob and Rose, told us we were kids when we started living there. It is sometimes worrisome though to observe our middle getting thicker, but hey, no one is perfect. We still tell each other to age gracefully.

There is also a “Euphoria Treatment” at the Canyon Ranch Spa which is a bath, facial and scalp massage. This is followed by a body massage. The prices of the treatments are slightly down when we are at port. So if you are on a saving mood you can opt for this treatment while at port.

Canyon Ranch Spa had a lecture on ‘New Year, New Look’ by Canyon Ranch hair stylist and make-up artist, Ruan le Roux. He presented Hourglass Cosmetics with cutting edge products, savvy application skill and a few quick tricks that will make you look as if you had a facelift, non-surgical of course.

Regarding the Canyon Ranch Gym, guests were reminded that for their own comfort and safety, correct attire must be worn at the gym at all times. Sandals or any footwear other than running shoes are not to be worn when using the equipment. Cooperation on this matter is appreciated.

There were other Canyon Ranch Spa lectures like the ‘Discover Your Best Hair Ever!’ with hairstylist, Ludivine Soulard and ‘Reiki - The Life Force Healing’ with Ruan le Roux and Hayley Wills, Reiki specialist. Both were held at the Bulgaria Room.

Canyon Ranch Spa Therapist, Tamara Meyer, presented ’Healthier Skin for a Lifetime’ where she gave expert tips and professional advice on skin care. Chiropractor Jason Scott discussed neck and back pain while skin care therapist Carla Van Niekerk presented the answer to the anti-aging and acne concerns.

Part III - Life on the Ocean Wave

A. Food, Glorious Food - For People Who Love to Eat

B. Exercise - Be Kind to Your Heart

C. Drinking the Bubbly on QM2

D. Entertainment

E. Children on Board

F. Lecture Enrichment Programs

G. Shopping is Hopping on QM2

H. Pets on Board, Man’s Best Friends

I. Safety On Board

J. Canyon Ranch Spa Club on QM2

K. Medical Matters

To remain healthy and strong, it is essential to maintain a lifestyle of eating right and moving more. In addition, thinking positively at all times is vital to achieve optimum health but it is practical and realistic to know what to expect in case of medical and emergency situations.

Thus we were satisfied to know that QM2 has what it takes to meet and cope with any situations pertaining to health. From the information we gathered, it is comforting to know that there are full-time qualified physicians and nurses on board.

The medical office is open daily and as well, they have 24-hour emergency coverage. Fees for the medical services are charged to the ship board account with an itemized statement to present to the insurance company. In this connection, make sure that the insurance company is acceptable outside the country of origin. If not, it is wise to obtain additional health coverage for the duration of the trip.

During the world cruise, Roger had the pleasure of meeting the physician-in-charge. He made it clear that the onboard medical network is not organized to give comprehensive and continuing intervention. As a whole though, they have standard and modern diagnostic capability and up-to-date laboratory equipments.

The surrounding at the QM2 Medical Centre is well organized, very clean with limited number of beds. Any patient who requires more specialized treatment will be referred to the nearest hospital although this medical centre is directly linked to a fully accredited hospital and can avail their services of the qualified surgical/medical staff, if needed, via telecommunication.

Principal Medical Officer: Dr. Martin CarrollAfter qualifying from Bristol, in the west of England, Dr. Carroll spent 16 years in the Royal Air Force doing anaesthetics and intensive care, followed by general practice and aviation medicine. He went to Falkland Islands just after the conflict in 1982 and spent several years working with British Special Forces, then finished by being in charge of the teams evacuating British casualties from front line field hospitals back to Cyprus and then on to UK during the Gulf War in 1991.

When he was leaving RAF, he saw an ad that QE2 needs a doctor, 151 days leave. Thinking that someone needs help in drinking the champagne and eating the caviar, he volunteered leaving the Air Force on Friday and joining QE2 the following Monday on a Norway Cruise in 1991. Since then he has been with Cunard’s Princess, Countess and Dynasty as well as Caronia, Seabourns’ Pride and Sun, along with Grand Coral, Sapphire and Sea Princesses not forgetting Oriana.

Most of his time has been spent on QE2 which was his second home, but he was fortunate to be on the start up team of Queen Mary 2 going to the shipyard in St. Nazaire for the final two months of the build. The maiden voyage was the highlight of his career at sea, but it was overtaken by the final voyage to Dubai of QE2 in November 2008.

He met his wife Ann on Cunard Countess and they live in rural Cambridgeshire where they spend a lot of time dog walking. His two older children have long left the nest; his younger sons Cameron and Archie are 13 and 9. Both are football, cricket and golf crazy, energetic and very frequent cruisers. Martin plays golf whenever he can which is irritatingly infrequently nowadays but by travelling the ship it does mean he plays on some of the nicest courses around the world.

He still enjoys the unpredictability of medicine at sea, as well as socializing with the guests. The motto of the doctor’s dinner table is “Stuff the arteries”. Relax when you are on board, your cardiologist is at home and can’t see you eating the dessert.