We recently returned from a trip on The Queen Mary 2 to celebrate our Daughters 16th birthday. Turning 16 is a special time, and with her illness for the past nearly 5 years she deserved a birthday to remember.
As many of you will know C has a chronic illness you can read about our journey here, This has resulted in her being bed bound and not able to go to school and losing all her friends. So a birthday party would not be something we could have done for her. Also since being ill she has not really celebrated her birthdays due to her illness. So this meant we wanted to do something really special.
Keeping The Secret
We booked the mini cruise in May, and C had no idea about it. We only told very close family and friends as we wanted it to be a surprise. As the date got nearer, I found it harder to not tell her. I did manage and on her 16th birthday she opened a box containing all the travel details, plus a hotel stay the night before to break the journey up.
We were all happy and excited as this would be the first time we have been away as a family since her illness. We all craved that bit of family time away from home.
The Big Day Arrived
We arrived at Southampton and to the docks where The Queen Mary 2 was, we paid for parking there. We pulled up where shown and unpacked the car and C sat in her wheelchair piled high with coats on top of her. Our cases were taken straight away and would be delivered to our cabin shortly. We handed over our car key and headed into the terminal.
As we had C in her wheelchair, we were shown to another queue and checked in and received our key cards for our cabin. Then once through security, it was time to board.
We stepped on board and all went wow, it really did take our breath away. We found the lift and headed to the 8th floor where our cabin was situated.
On entering our cabin, there was a bottle of fizz waiting for us with the compliments of the Captain. Although C does not like it, she did pose for a picture with me.
We decided to go to explore while waiting for our luggage. C wanted to rest up so we left her in the cabin and told her to message us if she needed us.
We had a quick explore both inside and on deck, while I was trying to take everything in knowing I would get lost at some stage. We then headed back to our cabin and our luggage had been delivered so unpacked and then headed to the meeting point for the safety demonstration.
Once this was over, we all went out on deck as we were due to set sail shortly after. Unfortunately it was getting a bit much for C, who had done amazingly well, so we headed back to our cabin. As it was getting near dinner and C was hungry, I took her down to the buffet while my husband got ready for the evening, he was not that hungry and could have something later, food is available from 5 am all the way through until 2 am.
We went into the buffet section, but there was nothing that C fancied, so we went to the pizza and pasta restaurant, where the food is cooked while you wait and had a bit of Mum and Daughter time, as we chatted and had dinner, before heading back to get ready for the evening.
While we had showers and got ready, my husband went for a wonder before coming back to meet us. C wanted to see the show so we headed towards there and found seats.
An Evening Of Fun
As C is noise and light-sensitive, I did worry if she would be able to cope with the noise and lights of the show. I did not have to worry as she loved it. After the show you could see she was tired and she asked if she could go to bed. As we wanted her to be comfortable my husband said he would sleep in the sofa bed and me and C could share the bed. We settled her down, she had her drink and medication and the tv and told her not to open the door to anyone and to message if she needed us.
We headed off to see what else was happening, and went to get a drink before me saying how about a walk outside to get some fresh air. As you can imagine, and me not thinking properly yes it was a bit windy on a November night in the middle of the sea.
We then decided to let our hair down and head to the nightclub. I did say I would not be staying long if they were playing the boom boom music I really do not like. This was my type of nightclub and they played a lot of 70’s and 80’s. We sat and chatted and danced and had a great time when just as we were about to head off, my song came on. As Dancing Queen started playing and so my poor husband waited while I sang along.
We then stumbled across the art gallery. My husband was over the moon to see prints and original paintings from his favourite artist there.
I then decided I was hungry, it was 1am so we headed to the buffet to see what they had. The place was packed as everyone had the same idea. I tried a couple of their cakes and some fresh pineapple, but you could honestly get a three course meal. Then it was time to call it a night.
To make things a little easier on C, we ordered breakfast in bed. It turned up on time, while we decided on what to do for the day.
We had planned on going into Bruges for mussels (C loves them) and chocolate. Unfortunately it was blowing a gale and heavily raining. So we decided to have a relaxed day on board. C was tired so was the best plan really.
We had a lazy morning and then my husband went to the pub. While me and C got ready and met him for lunch. Then we went for a walk and have a cocktail, although C did not fancy any of the mocktails. We could see she was struggling a bit. So asked if she wanted to go back to the cabin or do something else. She wanted to head back to the cabin, so my husband took her back while I sat and waited for him.
We had a lovely few hours, exploring what was going on. Then we headed back to the pub as there was going to be a quiz. We decided to eat together in the main dining area that night. So I went to get C so my husband could get ready before us. She had been asleep all afternoon but was looking forward to the evening ahead.
Are Evening Fun
As we sat down to dinner, we set sail and had been warned about the gales. While sitting there we could feel the boat rock. I was more worried about walking around with the boat swaying and heels on. Luckily I had the wheelchair to hold onto.
After dinner we headed to take our seats for that nights show. Just after the show started my husband said he was going for a walk as he was too hot. The show was great, C loved it and after the show we went to meet up with my husband who I had no idea where he was and luckily bumped into him.
C was tired so we went and got her a hot chocolate from Godivas which she wanted to take back to the cabin. We took her back and got her settled. While we headed for the nightclub again.
As we were leaving the ship the next morning, all luggage had to be put outside our cabins by 1am. Or you could arrange to take your own off-board which we opted for.
Neither my husband or myself had been on a cruise before so this was a first for us. C is a seasoned traveller and has been on cruises with my parents. We fell in love with The Queen Mary 2 it went beyond how we thought it would be. The staff were all so polite and nothing was too much bother. We came home wanting to book another cruise with them.
C had a great time, and it was perfect for her as she could do as much or little as she could manage. This also meant she could always go and rest up in the cabin. We all loved having that bit of family time and she has memories to look back on.
When travelling it is always worth making sure your your first aid kit is up to date and has everything you will need. Tilly’s Travelling Telegram has a great post full of what you will need when you go on your travels.