New York and QM2 Cruise 2023

New York - December 19th to 21st

We flew to New York, for a three night stay at The Pearl Hotel on 49th Street before leaving on our cruise. After leaving sunny Orlando the freezing cold weather in New York was a bit of a shock so we had to wrap up warmly. 

On our first evening after a yummy dinner at a French restaurant we went to see "Chicago" which was playing in the theatre next to our hotel.

The next day,our first full day, we went to Radio City Music Hall and the Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Ice Rink and Christmas Tree

The Dior outdoor display

We took the elevator to the "Top of the Rock" for some spectacular views of the city.

Looking north

Looking South towards the Empire State Building

In the afternoon, we went to the musical "Shucked" 

The set of "Shucked" and the Playbill

The show was "corny" (pun intended) with lots of silly jokes and double entendres (most of which Kristine missed), but it was very light and fun, which was exactly what we had expected.

"If I had a crystal ball, I would probably walk different" 

"Your grandma died doin’ what she loved…makin’ toast in the bathtub"

"I think people in China must wonder what to call their good plates"

As we walked back to the hotel, Times Square was ablaze with lights.

Times Square looking South

That evening, we had dinner at the Glass House Tavern

On Thursday, the next day, we headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was busy all day and there were lines to get in all the time. We spent most of our time in a special exhibition comparing the works of Manet and Degas, who were contemporaries and apparently friends as well.

The interior of the Metropolitan Museum

A classic Degas painting of ballet dancers

Another famous painting by Degas - The Absinthe Drinker

In the evening, we went to Radio City Music Hall, to see their Christmas show.

Radio City Music Hall from the street

The lobby of Radio City Music Hall

The stage at Radio City Music Hall, before the show began.

The Rockettes (courtesy of Associated Press)

The show was spectacular - a literal "wow" and we thoroughly enjoyed it. When we emerged outside into the cold, the lights were also very pretty.

Christmas in New York

Next morning, we visited the Frick Collection , housed in temporary quarters, as the main Frick building is undergoing renovation.

The Frick at The Madison.

We enjoyed looking round the museum, but some of our favorite paintings were missing and the building wasn't as pretty as the Frick Mansion. Still, a pleasant way to spend the morning.

QM2 Cruise - Dec 22nd to Jan 3rd

We took a Uber from the hotel to the QM2 at the Brooklyn Cruise Port. The boarding process was quieter than we expected and we were on board very quickly.

The QM2 - photograph was taken in Barbados

Sea Days - December 22- 25

The first three days and four nights were sea days, so we had plenty of time to look around the ship, although this was our third time on the QM2, so there were no great surprises.

The Britannia Restaurant - the main dining room on the ship. We had dinner here almost every night.

The upper floor of the Britannia Restaurant

The ship was decorated for Christmas

We even had a tiny tree in our stateroom

The main theatre - this was an afternoon performance 

It was cold leaving New York, but by the third day, it was warm enough to get people out by the pool.

One evening was a formal "Roaring Twenties" so we both had to dress up.

St Kitts - December 26

Our first island stop was St Kitts. Unexpectedly, the Travel Agent we had used to book the cruise, offered us a complimentary  bus tour of the island. Our first stop was Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park

The view from Brimstone Hill

The fortress was built by the British in the 17th and 18th century, to protect the island from other European countries, especially the French.

The fortress was manned and maintained until1853, when it was abandoned

We then moved on to Romney Manor, which was a plantation house dating from the 1600s. In it's day, it would have been the heart of the sugar plantations which grew all around the estate. Now, the house makes and sells batiks

Batiks drying in the sun

After lunch, we headed back to the ship, stopping for a picture of the beaches, which were very quiet.

Bridgetown, Barbados - December 27

In Bridgetown, we hired a taxi to take us around the island. The beaches didn't seem to be very busy !

We stopped at St James Church, the oldest church on the island, which dates back to 1628, although the present building dates to 1874.

St. James Church

Our next stop was for lunch at the "Fisherman's Pub" in Speightstown. 

The Fisherman's Pub.  Not a great meal, but a nice break from driving.

After lunch, we continued our tour, passing through Sandy Lane, an exclusive golf club neighborhood. Before heading back to the ship.

Castries, St Lucia - December 28

The ship couldn't dock, so we were tendered ashore. When we boarded the shuttle, it started to rain, so when we got to shore we just stayed on the tender and went back to the ship until the rain stopped.

We didn't take a tour in St Lucia, but we did walk around the town. 

Unfortunately, the Cathedral was closed, so we didn't get to see inside. Looks very colorful, though.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the largest church in the Caribbean.

We were amused by the visual presentation of the dress code for the infant school, which was adjacent to the cathedral.

Roseau, Domenica - December 29

In Roseau, we were moored very close to the town.

Roseau, Dominica

We took a trolley tour of the island. Our main impression was how green the island is - very lush with high mountains in the middle of the island.

The island is famous for it's waterfalls and we did get to see a couple in the distance

After touring the island, we stopped at the Botanical Gardens, which had a good view of the town and the ship.

Philipsburg, St Maarten - December 30

Our last stop on the cruise was Philipsburg, St Maarten. 

We hired a taxi and he took us on a tour of the island. Our first stop was Orient Beach, which is at the end of the runway at the airport. It's famous (or infamous) because people hang out there to watch the planes land right over their heads.

Orient Beach. The airport is on the right

We waited for a big aircraft to land but all we saw was a small plane landing. Disappointing !

We then crossed over from the Dutch to the French side and stopped in Marigot, the main French town. Clearly parking was a big problem, so our driver stopped a little outside town at a taxi rank and we took a quick tour of the marina, but there wasn't a lot to see. 

We then drove on to Orient Bay, which is a heavily developed nude / non-nude beach,

Quite correctly, photographs at the nude end of the beach aren't allowed, but the clothed area of the beach is very similar and very busy.

The clothed end of Orient Beach

After a brief stop at Orient Beach, we headed back to the ship.

At sea - December 31 to January 3rd

Once we left St. Maarten, we had three days at sea, heading back to New York. The highlight was New Years Eve, which gave us another opportunity to dress up for dinner and (of course) to celebrate at midnight.

Happy New Year 2024

By now, we knew we both had Covid, so we spent most of the next two days in our cabin (although we still went out for our meals) until we arrived back in New York and caught our flight back to Orlando.