Chima Travels: London
We love Cunard because of their elegant style, old-world appeal, and White Star Service. On October 31, 2019, Michelle and her mom touched down in London to prepare for their 7-night nonstop transatlantic Cunard cruise to New York City.
Continually one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, London is a city that speaks for itself and is definitely worth exploring. Arriving a few days before the cruise, they checked into the Dixon, an Autograph Collection hotel near Tower Bridge, then started exploring.
A walk along the River Thames took them to the London Eye where Michelle pre-booked a fabulous VIP champagne experience followed by a river cruise back to their hotel that dropped them off right in front of the Tower of London. Dinner that night was at an excellent Indian restaurant called Gunpowder that absolutely did not disappoint.
Their first full day in London was dedicated to a "London in 1 Day" tour. After driving around for a couple hours with their guide pointing out sights, they stopped at Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard. The next stop was St. Paul's Cathedral, where Prince Charles married Princess Diana. Lunch was at the nearby Café Below, a family-owned restaurant in the basement of a church, before the last stop at the Tower of London. They got to see the Crown Jewels, but sadly only had an hour to explore before closing time.
Pro tip: Give yourself more time at the Tower of London, as there is so much to see!
Michelle booked an "England in 1 Day" tour for their last full-day in London. Due to their early morning tour departure, the Dixon generously provided them with coffee and breakfast to go as they headed to the bus station. Unfortunately, it was pouring rain and very windy, but by the time they arrived at Stonehenge the rain cleared out for a bit. The next stop on the tour was the Cotswolds where they saw all the charming English thatched cottages. Lunch was in the town of Bath at a great restaurant called The Huntsman. The last stop was Stratford-upon-Avon where they got to see Shakespeare's childhood home and school, learn some Latin, and enjoy scones and sparkling wine.
After the tour they were dropped off near Harrods where they explored for about an hour.
Pro tip: Allow more time in Harrods.
Their final full day in London was wrapped up with an excellent dinner experience with an amazing view at The Ivy Tower Bridge, which was a perfect end to their time in London.
On November 3 it was time to head to Cunard's flagship, the Queen Mary 2. While Michelle arranged for a shared transfer, it was a pleasant surprise that it was only her and her mom in the taxi. The weather started out pretty good, but by the next morning the ship was really rocking and Michelle did end up having to use her seasickness prescription.
Life on Board
Overall, Michelle and her mom enjoyed their time on the Queen Mary 2. They took walks on the promenade deck in the mornings before breakfast. Next would be Zumba or swimming or relaxing in the hot tub. The cruise allowed for lots of time to read, cross-stitch, and relax. They saw all of the shows as well as the planetarium and movies. The English pub was great for lunch, and The Verandah (a specialty dining venue) is definitely worth the extra money.
Michelle describes her most memorable experience as coming into New York City at the end of the cruise: "We woke up at 4am to get up on deck and watch. It was such an amazing site. I can’t describe the way it made me feel but I think proud to be an American was at the forefront. We went right past the Statue of Liberty and it looked so small."
If London or a Cunard cruise is on your wish list, let Michelle know! No matter where you want to go in the world, we're excited to help you create the perfect custom vacation.