Queen Mary 2 – Embarkation Day with Kids
Day 1: Embarkation Day
Well done Cunard! I applaud the speed and efficiency of your embarkation procedures.
We are in no way cruise experts. Jeff and I have been on a few cruises together before we had kids: Western Caribbean on Carnival, Alaska & Baja Mexico on Princess Cruises. I also cruised in the Caribbean with Costa Cruises with my girlfriends in college.
Prior to our departure we received luggage tags and a 2:30pm boarding time. Everything that we were not going to carry onto the boat had to be tagged. When we pulled up in front of the dock just before 2:30pm the bags were unloaded and taken straight to the ship by a porter. We did not have to haul our bags anywhere. What a relief!
We went through the terminal doors and were asked to present our boarding tickets (e-mailed to you by Cunard) and passports. At this point we had to say goodbye to my dad who was not traveling with us. We proceeded through security (metal detectors) quickly and easily. We were given health forms (to keep contagious diseases off the ship) to fill out for the whole family. Then we were off to passenger services where we received our shipboard cards (they take your picture here). After that, we walked onto the boat.
The process was so quick. We never waited. I have no idea if this is the norm, or if our late boarding time afforded us this luxury. We walked right to our room and started to get settled.
On Embarkation Day there is not much to do. There is food available in the Kings Court Buffet. Muster Drill is at 5pm and the ship leaves port around 6pm. We spent some time walking around the ship and enjoying the beautiful views of the NYC skyline.
We had to register the children for the Kids Club by 3:30pm. They have a second registration later in the evening. We saved ourselves some time by filling out the registration forms before we arrived. They can be printed from your online portal on the Cunard webpage. Everyone who will be picking up or dropping kids off needs to be present to sign forms and get a sticker on their shipboard card. Only people with stickers on their cards are allowed into the room.
All our bags arrived at our room by the time we were done registering the kids. I was able to unpack and get everything stored. There was plenty of space in the room, although I did ask for some of the furniture to be removed. The car seats tucked into the closets easily. Empty bags fit under the beds. We had six bags of luggage because we were moving abroad, so if all of our luggage fit in our inside stateroom, most folks should be fine.
I used the travel crib for little O, but the QM2 does have cots available. You should request one before you sail.
We headed up to our Muster Station a bit before 5, as everything starts promptly. The kids will be expected to put their life jackets on and sit quietly during the announcements. We brought along a few little cars so the kids could play on the floor and keep quiet.
We opted for the early dinner seating, thinking it would be better for the kids. We planned to try the night nursery the next few nights, but for our first night we brought both kids to dinner. The staff was incredibly kind and fun with the kids.
At 6pm we headed down to dinner. I really did not want to miss the boat going under the Verrazano Narrows bridge. A staff member told us that happened around 7pm. At 6:30, after we had ordered dinner, my sister and I headed up to the top deck. We were just in time to watch the bridge get close and then slip under the bridge with just enough space. The Captain of the ship told us that the clearance between the bridge and the ship’s smokestacks is 2.5 meters. I am so glad we were up on deck to see it!
We finished our dinner and headed back to put the kids down to bed. Jeff stayed in the room with the kids while I explored the boat a bit more, finding the library and a few of the lounges. I was tired though and back in my room by 9pm ready for bed.
There was a storm brewing so the boat swayed as we tried to go to sleep. The first night was rough with everyone getting used to the boat and sleeping arrangements. My mom and sister were awoken by the lightning lighting up the sky. Our interior room remained dark and quiet at all hours. It was a magnificent first day onboard.
Here are some amazing photos of us heading under the Verrazano bridge: