Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dinner on Queen Mary 2 in Cape Town harbour

Last year, we were absolutely delighted to be invited on board by Cunard for lunch. This year, we were invited to have dinner in the celebrity Chef Todd English’s restaurant. We joined a small group of people and had a drink in the pub after which we were taken on a tour of the ship, which is huge and very luxurious. Then it was time for drinks on the deck, to watch the sunset and, finally, to enjoy a really good silver service dinner
Queen Mary 2 in all her glory in Cape Town harbour beneath our beautiful mountain
This very glamorous group of drum majorettes was part of the local entertainment provided for the passengers that evening
It’s a long walk to the gangway, we really do need to build a reception centre for cruise liners, quickly
All of these supplies were being loaded on board for the 16 day trip to Southampton
Lots of wine going on board and, sadly, we couldn’t spot one South African wine. It seems the sommelier prefers wines from Europe. The starting price for a bottle of wine is about $40 US, we were told by some Australian passengers we met in the bar
Going on board, there is very strict security
Charles Canning, Pipe major of the Cape Town Highlanders, was supervising the show of local performers in the theatre. Here they are rehearsing
A view of the city and the harbour from an upper deck just below the bridge
One of the smaller lounges, a good place for bridge players
We met a man who, when asked where he was travelling, said New York to New York. The journey round the world takes about 3½ months. This private lounge is for him and other passengers doing the round trip
The Atlantic Lounge
from another angle
One of the many bars on board
This one has a detailed scale model of the Queen Mary 2 behind glass
Cocktails anyone?
One of our favourite places is the library. If we ever went on a cruise, we would spend a lot of time here. It has a huge collection of books, and other media. And, as it is at the front of the ship’s superstructure, it has great views from its windows
Great perspective. One of the very long corridors
Sunset on the promenade deck. Four times around is a mile
The crew call these the Commodores’ Cuff links. Spare propeller blades should they ever be needed
Sunbeds at the ready
Our guide around the ship was the Entertainment director, who was full of information
The Winter Garden
You find your way around by boards outside the lifts. We visited most of these decks, starting with Deck 1, where we came aboard
The dinner menu for the main restaurant. There are two sittings. We like the dishes with the calorie counts!
The second page. There certainly is lots of choice for everyone. As we were told, you will never, ever starve on a Cunard ship. We would have a hard time choosing, as there are so many enticing dishes. And the menu changes every meal
Another lounge with a bar and a view
This is where they hold the dances, some shows, balls and other entertainments
All set up for the live band, ready for dancing later that evening, watched over by King George V
and Queen Mary herself
The entrance to the Todd English restaurant
But first, a sunset drink on the deck with a great view of the mountain and the centre of the city
The large windows above the bar are those of the private suites on board
Veuve Clicquot Champagne will help passengers celebrate departure the next day
Lynne taking a photo in quite a strong wind. This deck is reserved for over 18’s. No children allowed. There are other pool areas for them
Our menu for the evening
We had not heard of Todd English and could read all about this American chef
Our table studying the menu
We started with a Chablis from the Côte du Loire
Delicious pink fresh tuna crudo with minted avocado
Or you could have Todd’s Truffled Potato Love Letters. Very good pasta, very good truffle flavours but filled, strangely, with plain mashed potato in a butter and parmesan sauce. John and Lynne shared both dishes
Main course was served with Chamuyo, a dark and moody Malbec from Argentina. Good fruit
Our hosts for the evening were Carol and Shaun McCarthy, owners of White Star Cruise and Travel, Shaun on the left with Michael Barker from Johannesburg
John’s choice of main course, Grilled Beef tenderloin with Braised oxtail ragu, tempura green beans, whipped truffled potatoes & glazed carrots. Very tender, very rich
Lynne’s choice was the Pan roasted Sea Bass, a meaty fish with large flakes, coated in salsa verde, served with an almond romesco sauce, a bean salad and rather chewy octopus tentacles. It was a large portion
The Malbec went very well with the beef, Lynne had a small glass but stayed with the Chablis for the fish
Dessert was hard to share, but we ate half and then swapped. This was a perfectly cooked hot chocolate fondant, so correctly cooked, oozing melted dark chocolate. It came with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. Fallen was the eater, not the cake
The other dessert was a Wild Maine Blueberry cobbler (crumble). Very good sharp blueberries and more good vanilla ice cream
Time for a farewell drink on deck before disembarking
All lit up and everyone seemed to be in bed
No they weren't, they were in the second sitting in the Britannia dining room
Off home to Southampton in the morning
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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