Our penultimate day in New York began at Barney Greengrass’ authentic Jewish deli, an Upper West Side institution famous for its Sturgeon and Bagels. I had the meat without feet; Salmon and scrambled eggs. We follow breakfast with another rambling walk through Central Park where we were extras in at least three weddings.
After our previous experiences of flying with our bicycles we searched for possible alternatives. Research, good fortune and circumstance converged to provide us with an exciting alternative. A berth on an cruise ship!
On a sultry, sunny Mother’s Day Sunday afternoon The Queen Mary 2 slipped anchor from pier 12 in Brooklyn, with us on board. Passengers drank Champagne on the open decks and waved little plastic American flags to those left on shore. There’s something equally melancholy and romantic about an ocean liner leaving port.
With the bikes boxed up in our cabin, we aquatinted ourselves with the onboard gym and their bank of stationary bicycles where passengers furiously worked themselves up into a sweat hoping to ward off the excesses of the continuous buffet. Walking the various promenades we stop occasionally for shipboard games of shuffle board and quoits all very age appropriate.
The cruise demographic is mostly old white and middle class. Some are celebrating milestones such as wedding anniversaries, divorces and cancer survival for others it’s a tick off on the bucket list. Shipboard life mixes nostalgia and formality: A formal black tie Captains dinner (no we didn’t go), daily meetings of groups such as Friends of Dorothy (LGBT) or Friends of Bill (AA), along with topical speakers, bars, discos etc
It’s wonderful to have had a holiday in New York and now be sailing to England on a 5 star floating hotel. Such a contrast to life on the road, however, we are itching to get back on our bikes for real.
The Atlantic crossing from New York to Southhampton takes seven days, provided the fog clears and we don’t run into an iceberg.