As a reward for retiring from one career and in order to start another I proposed to Candy that we take a long summer retreat. One where I don’t have to drive.


Her response was when do we leave and how do I pack. I told her we were going to cruise to Europe and back again.


I love cruising . Especially transatlantic. Aboard the Queen Mary 2. What a ship! The Cunard cruising experience is not for everyone. If you are looking for rock climbing walls, look elsewhere. If you are looking for elegance and a sense of days gone by then welcome aboard and join us.


We enjoy simple elegance and charm. As children of the Greatest Generation we grew up with glamour movies, the tail end of the big band era and the golden oldies of the sixties. The three Queens of Cunard harken back to that time. Formal attire for dinner in the dining rooms. Ballroom dancing to wonderful orchestras and good singers.


Of course if you are not into formal you can still enjoy dinner at the Deck 7 buffets.


We however enjoy the glitz and glam of the formal.To the point I even gave my wife ballroom dance lessons for me as a Christmas present. I have no rhythm. None. Zip, zero….but through practice and patience I am slowly getting better. Candy is very musically talented and has a natural ability to dance.


Our evenings start with the early seating for dinner, followed by the show, followed by the dancing. As you can tell, this won’t be our first trip aboard the Queen Mary 2. Let us start planning the trip.


Where to start…… Well the start was made much easier when Cunard sent an attractive offer for a Three-Queens package. Wow what an opportunity and what a blessing. Thirty five days of cruising plus England.


Now, how do we and when do we return state side? We could bring the Queen Mary 2 back or do we spend a little more time in England and Europe and catch another cruise home. Candy’s opinion was instant, stay a while come home in a different ship. Why not? I start researching transatlantic crossings.


Found one. A Holland American cruise from Rotterdam to Boston, 21 days leaving the Netherlands August 6.That would give us sixteen days between arriving back to Southhampton from the Baltic and leaving Rotterdam aboard the Rotterdam. Love it.


When I told Candy what I found and thought this is what I want to do she started her countdown clock. Not that she is in a hurry mind you; she just needs to know how many days she has to decide what to pack.


I booked all five cruises, fifty-six days aboard ships and twenty-one days on land. Plus a couple of days in New York City before we leave and four or five days in Boston on our return.


Now I turn the trip planning over to Candy for research on our port stops and where we will spend our shore days.