When my Darling and I got married, we had planned a honeymoon cruise. Unfortunately life has a habit of throwing curve balls every so often and we ended up postponing our honeymoon until sometime in the future. Today we finally set off on a belated, but oh so much better, honeymoon cruise to the Mexican Riviera.
We started our adventure off with a night aboard the Queen Mary, which is conveniently situated right next door to the cruise terminal. This way we wouldn’t be rushed the next morning and/or risk missing the ship due to traffic or delayed flights. My Darling, having stayed on the Queen Mary before, reserved us a suite. He said a regular stateroom would be small and cramped. While I didn’t see the inside of a regular stateroom, the suite was fairly small by today’s standards. But it was quite comfortable.
Our dear friend Rora picked us up from Long Beach Airport, armed with bottled water (everyone knows that plane trips are dehydrating), sunscreen (two full bottles because she knows her pale friends from Oregon will get scorched by the tropical sun) and an order of double-doubles from In-N-Out (My Darling’s special request). My Darling inhaled the first burger before we had left the curb (did I mention how much he loves In-N-Out?) and I caught up with my old friend while we made our way to our first destination.
The Queen Mary first set sail in 1936, and everything is designed in that post-twenties Art Deco style. Lots of bird’s-eye maple and highly polished wood accent the main lobby areas, while the suites are similarly appointed in rich wood accents and period decor. You almost expect to see Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing away in the main ballroom. At the same time, it’s pretty evident that this is an old retired lady that hasn’t hosting society’s crème de la crème for a very long time – the flooring is worn and patched in places and there is a lot of rust and peeling paint on the outside. We enjoyed wandering around looking at the various displays – original china, photographs of famous (and not-so-famous) guests, models of ships and other memorabilia.
Once we were settled and shaken off the traveling dust, we put in our order for room service for the following morning. Rora, who has stayed at the Queen Mary several times in the past, warned us that room service wasn’t known for their reliability, particularly with last minute orders. So we made sure to get the order in before we left for dinner at Sir Winston’s, the premiere restaurant on the Queen Mary. My Darling explained to us that he chose the restaurant because of its Michelin rating (2 stars). We were not disappointed.
We got there a few minutes early so we started with cocktails in the bar lounge. Rora chose an interesting drink called a”drop of lavender,” which had homemade lavender-infused simple syrup as well as a lavender liquor and vodka. Served in a shaker, and accompanied by a sugar rimmed martini glass with a lavender ice cube, the presentation was almost as interesting as the drink. I personally cannot drink vodka, so I had to pass and settle for a glass of sparkling wine. However, my Darling thought the drink so intriguing that he joined Rora in a second round.
Appetizers were oysters on the half shell and escargot. If you have read some of the previous posts on this site, you may be familiar with the story of my first encounter with escargot. I had not had them since that fateful day, so this was a treat. Most of the time, escargot comes either served in a puff pastry or sprinkled with bread crumbs, both of which are poison to this gluten-intolerant foodie, so usually I have to sit back and watch my Darling enjoy. Today, however, the waiter assured me that there was nothing I couldn’t have in this dish. The snails were tender, not at all like the garlic-butter-flavored rubbery things I remembered from my youth. The garlic was definitely there, but not overpowering. All in all it was delicious.
For dinner, my Darling and Rora both ordered Beef Wellington, while I chose the Chilean Sea Bass. The fish was cooked perfectly, flaky while tender and juicy. It was served with broccolini, which is a nice alternative to broccoli (which I’m not a big fan of). The Beef Wellington looked delicious (and I’ve been assured it was. The puff pastry was flaky and the meat cooked exactly to order (medium-rare). We ordered a bottle of 2012 Kenwood “Jack London” Syrah to go with the meal. It’s a nice fruity wine with notes of cherry and raspberry with a nice balance of tannins. It paired well with both the fish and beef dishes.
For dessert, the three of us shared a flight of Maclaughlin single malts (10, 12, 14, 19 years) and two soufflés (chocolate and Grand Marnier). We all agreed that the 14 year old scotch was the clear winner when paired with desserts, and the Grand Marnier soufflé paired best with the scotch. After dinner, we bid our dear friend adieu and went to bed.
The next morning, we got up a little earlier than we planned and spent the next hour waiting for room service to bring our coffee. Our allotted time came and went… still no room service. My Darling tried the room service number and got nothing but a busy signal each time he tried. Rora’s warning came back to haunt me, but I shrugged it off, thinking I was being silly. Another hour passed and my Darling finally retried the front desk… and was routed to voice mail. So we walked up to the front desk (a little grumpy and suffering from caffeine withdrawal at this point) and were told that we neglected to put the time on the room service order.
I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the case, but… okay, sure…whatever…
We declined the offer for room service to bring our order and instead opted for breakfast in the dining room. My darling ordered eggs Benedict and I had a lovely omelet…. As well as several cups of much-needed coffee. Afterwards, we explored the ship further to kill some time before we had to check out and walk across the parking lot to board our cruise ship. All in all it was a very nice start to our honeymoon adventure (with the exception of room service).
For more information about the Queen Mary, visit their website: https://www.queenmary.com/