Here I am boarding the QM2 to Southampton-a grin of anticipation on my face. Our first cruise together, my wife Suzanne and me, and I must say, We started at the top. Seven days aboard a floating luxury hotel; Suzanne, just in the process of switching from PC to MAC, was thrilled to find MAC classes among the activities. She even attracted an admirer who thought he might get lucky -imagine his displeasure when I was introduced. He masked it beautifully. CABIN: spacious enough that we weren’t cramped -and with a balcony that allowed a view of the ocean. FOOD: I’d call it BPlus -we paid a premium for Asian dining and it was the best meal we had onboard. All in all, a very well-run ship, with lovely personnel.  THE EURODAM                                                                                                   was also a lovely ship -top of the Holland-America line. Took us to the Baltic, with stops at Copenhagen, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Berlin (actually Waarnemunde). I’ve posted elsewhere about these ports, but in describing the HA experience, it suffers by comparison to the Cunard ship. CABIN: was roughly equivalent. But…..FOOD: was erratic, though we stayed free of any premium options. Breakfast buffet was our favorite, with a large, boiling cauldron for poached eggs and an omlet station and a large array of cereals, waffles, pancakes etc. Service however, by a predominantly Indonesian crew was so smilingly obsequious and eager to practice their English, that it soon palled. One charming touch: our cabin steward fashioned little towel animals and left them on the bedspread. Here’s one:

Unfortunately, I spent all my energy in our first port, Tallinn, and was unable to attack the other stops with the same enthusiasm -a pity, as both Petersburg and Stockholm could’ve used more time.  TO BE CONTINUED