You Have Been Cordially Invited to Ceilidh and Ryan's Wedding!
Alhambra (The spot where Ryan proposed!)
July 13 - July 20, 2018
Aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2
July 18, 11:00 a.m.
Dear Friends and Family,
We are excited to announce that our upcoming wedding will take place onboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in July 2018. This will be an unconventional experience which is why Ceilidh and Ryan have put together this web page in order to help you with the booking process.
We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to attend, however, we completely understand that not all of you will be able to. Our ultimate goal is for everyone who comes to have an enjoyable and memorable experience. The information you'll find on this page is intended to help you make a decision about coming and to plan your trip should you choose to join us.
Please do not hesitate to ask us if you have any questions or need help with something. Ceilidh has made the crossing three times and knows a great deal about how to get the most out of your time on the ship.
Lots of Love,
Ceilidh and Ryan
The Queen Mary 2 in St. Maarten
Where Are We Going?
Southampton, UK to New York City, NY
To get started on the booking process we recommend visiting the Cunard website to get an idea of the kind of cruise this will be. This isn't a booze cruise or a party boat. It's an ocean liner combining a taste of classic maritime traditions with an art deco decor. The food is amazing and you'll never go bored (contrary to the fact we will be in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean for seven days).
PRO TIP - Don't book on the Cunard Website. You will overpay. We recommend visiting Vacations To Go for the best deals.
Date: July 2018
FastDeal # (easiest way to find it): 13793
Region: Repositioning (this should be Transatlantic - an error on their part, I guess)
Cruise Line: Cunard
Cruise Ship: Queen Mary 2
Length of Cruise: 7 Nights
Cruise #: M826
St. George's, Grenada
So How Much Will This Cost?
Obviously, different people will prefer different cabin grades (more about this later) and some of you may wish to extend your vacation with time in either the UK or New York, which will affect the cost of the trip. With that said, you should guesstimate that a one-way flight, cruise with a balcony cabin, and gratuities (more about this later) will cost approximately $2000 per person. Alternatively, a one-way flight, cruise with an inside cabin, and gratuities will be about $1200.
Don't panic if the prices you see online are higher than this at the moment! As we've said, Ceilidh and her mum have done this many times before and can say with confidence that prices ALWAYS drop closer to embarkation.
Final payment is due 120 days before departure -- that is when the cruise line tries to sell off remaining cabins. Understandably, very few of your will wish to wait that long to book. What you can do is make a booking, pay the deposit, and monitor prices to see if/when they go down and change your cabin to a higher grade.
"Your Personal Oasis of Calm" (yuck)
There's nothing "yuck" about the staterooms. Ryan just isn't a big fan of the copywriting on Cunard's website.
There are many different shapes and sizes of staterooms to choose from. They range from inside cabins (the cheapest) all the way up to the Queen's Grill suites. If you can afford the penthouses or duplexes, Ceilidh said she'll marry you instead.
A WORD OF WARNING, if you choose to book a Queen's Grill suite, Princess Grill suite or a Britannia Club stateroom then you will be dining in a different restaurant from everyone else at night.
The majority of staterooms are intended for two travelers, however, there are a limited number of staterooms for single travelers.
Remember, every room enjoys 24-hour room service (you don't have to pay for most of the items offered) a cabin steward who visits twice a day to clean and tidy your room, and access to all of the ship's amenities.
Inside Cabin - Two twin beds or one king, shower, and no window.
Oceanview Cabin - Two twin beds or one king, shower, window, and living space.
Balcony Cabin - Two twin beds or one king, shower, living space, and balcony. Balcony options include all-glass, sheltered, or obstructed (there's a life boat in the way of your view).
Cambridge, United Kingdom
If you choose to book an inside, oceanview or balcony cabin, you will be dining in the BEAUTIFUL Britannia restaurant each night. This is where Ryan and Ceilidh and their immediate family will be, and where we hope you'll join us. If, however, you book a Britannia Club, Princess Grill or Queens Grill stateroom, then you will be assigned to their respective dining rooms.
You are able to dine in the Britannia restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Each night there are 2 seatings for dinner - 6:00pm or 8:30pm. Ryan and Ceilidh will be eating during the second sitting. But we want each person coming to feel free to dine when they wish. You are not obliged to eat late if that is not your personal preference.
In addition to the main restaurant, you can also choose to dine in the excellent King's Court Buffet, the Carinthia lounge (lunch/afternoon snacks), The Golden Lion Pub (English pub fare for lunch) and Sir Samuel's (for something sweet) and the Queens Room (afternoon tea).
As for drinks, there are many options for bars and lounges on the ship - The Commodore Club, The Champagne Bar, the Pub, Sir Samuel's, Carinthia Lounge. However, it is important to note that, as with all cruise lines, sodas, beer, wine and cocktails are quite expensive. Water, juices, teas and basic coffee are available for free at all times from the buffet, but anything else will be charged to your onboard account, plus a 15% service fee/tip automatically added.
PRO TIP: You can bring sodas, wine and spirits on board without penalty. (Cunard is the only cruise line that still allows you to bring your own spirits on board.) However, you are supposed to consume this alcohol in your room, or if you want to bring the bottles of wine to dinner, then you pay a $20 corkage fee. (Still better than buying a bottle - the cheapest is $35!)
Drinks packages are available, where you pay a lump sum each day and have unlimited drinks (from a limited selection). You can also find these drinks packages available as incentives for booking. As a guideline, you are looking at $10 per spirit and mixer, glass of wine, about $7 for a beer (Budweiser/ Heineken/Corona, etc.), $4 for a soda, and $4-5 for a cappuccino or espresso. Here's a drinks menu to look at.
Rock of Gibraltar, Gibraltar
Getting to the Ship
How do I get to Southampton?
Stonehenge, United Kingdom
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Southampton is not far at all from London. We're talking a 2hr car drive. There are several airports - Heathrow for international flights (if you're coming straight from the US, you'll arrive here), Gatwick and London City handle more European flights.
The good news is you can get to Southampton easily by car if you feel like renting one, by coach (National Express - slow but super cheap!) or train.
The even better news is that if you're flying into Heathrow, Cunard runs a shuttle service for 50 pounds ($75) which will take you directly from the airport to the cruise terminal. Apparently, you give your bags to the driver and the next time you see them is in your stateroom!
There is a 5hr forward time change between the UK and the east coast of the US. While on the ship, the clock will go backwards 1hr for 5 days in order to adjust. That means an extra hour of sleep most nights! (Ceilidh is a big fan of this!)
Now, let's talk about flights.
For deals on flights, we recommend Kayak or Skyscanner. Alternatively, you can book your flight through Cunard when you book your stateroom.
The flight to England lasts about seven hours. Ryan has had great experiences on KLM leaving out of Dulles in Washington D.C. For family members in Hampton Roads, you can easily arrange a connection from the Richmond or Newport News airports to Dulles.
For our British family members, JFK-LHR will probably be your best bet.
What Should I Wear?
So I'm on a boat, crossing the North Atlantic...what do I bring? Well, remember the ship departs from England, and summer can sometimes be a bit hit or miss there (60-70 degrees Fahrenheit), so bear that in mind when you pack. Temperatures on the ship can also vary, depending on the weather at sea, so Ceilidh does recommend packing a sweater/jumper or two and some pants/trousers. It can get quite windy sometimes as well. That being said, the weather usually improves (hot and sunny) the closer the ship gets to New York. So in July you should be able to do some sunbathing while at sea (75-85 degrees Fahrenheit). Just remember, although this is a cruise, it's not a Caribbean cruise!
During the Day: Casual shirts, shorts, trousers and beachwear are ideal. The main restaurants require a casual wear dress code for breakfast and lunch, however you may wear shorts in the Kings Court buffet.
In the evening, the ship will have one of two dress codes - either informal or formal. These apply after 6:00pm. There will be a program delivered to your cabin every night that tells you what the dress code will be for the following evening.
Formal: Evening wear consists of an evening or cocktail dress or smart trouser suit for ladies. A tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit with appropriate neck wear for men or you may wear formal national dress and military uniform.
Informal (Jacket Required): Evenings would consist of a required jacket and optional tie for gentlemen, whilst ladies should wear cocktail dresses, stylish separates or equivalent. No jeans or shorts.
Please note that after 6:00pm, shorts and blue or worn denim (for men and women); sandals and sleeveless tops (for men) are not considered appropriate within the ship. On formal nights, any guests wishing to dress more casually are welcome to dine in the Kings Court restaurant and relax in the Carinthia Lounge, G32 or on the open decks.
On some Formal nights, there are theme balls (usually only 1 per cruise). Themes include Black & White Ball, Masquerade Ball, Roaring Twenties...we will know before we go exactly which one to expect, so those who want to pack something special can do so.
Radio City Music Hall, New York City
Mountain View Grand, New Hampshire
What Can I Do On Board?
Catch a show at night in the Royal Court Theatre - singing, dancing, comedy...
Treat yo'self to a massage or lounge in the Aquatherapy pool. The Spa is also equipped with steam room and sauna.
Enjoy afternoon tea in the Queens Ballroom - scones, cakes, sandwiches...
QM2 has both adult and child outdoor pools, located at the back of the ship, with a handy bar for yummy cocktails!
The Illuminations Theatre hosts movies, lectures by world renowned speakers and contains the only planetarium at sea!
There is also an indoor pool, in case of bad weather, or if you just want a break from the sun.
Yes, Ceilidh considers eating an activity. This is a candy/sweet buffet. Oh yes, my friend, no-one ever gets off a cruise ship hungry.
QM2 has the largest library at sea, with a really good selection, so you can catch up on your reading.
And should you feel so inclined after all that gorgeous food, there is a gym on the ship...somewhere. So I'm told.
This is more Ceilidh's speed when it comes to exercise. Sign up for some dance classes and show off your new moves to everyone in the evening!
Enjoy live music in the Chart Room each night. The Golden Lion Pub also hosts daily trivia contests.
And of course there's shops to visit - Cunard's gift shop, duty free, jewelry, etc.
How much should I tip?
To eliminate the need to tip after every transaction, a hotel and dining service charge (referred to as "gratuities") is added to your on board account each day. This goes directly to the crew members. Should you wish to individually reward any crew member beyond this, you are free to do so.
For all bar, wine, and salon services, a 15% charge is automatically added to your onboard account for each purchase.
So how much should you expect to pay? For a Britannia stateroom it's $11.50 per person per day. That works out to $80.50 USD.
Keep in mind, you can ask to have these charges removed from your account at the end of the cruise if you plan to reward the staff with cash instead. Just don't be cheap and stiff the crew. They work really hard, especially your stateroom attendant and restaurant waiter.
Caribbean Cruise, Christmas 2012
What If I Can't Come?
To help organize carpools, travel arrangements and give everyone an idea of who is coming, we've created a google sheet for everyone to put down their travel information. Be sure to add your information after booking your stateroom and flights.
If you decide to upgrade your cabin as the prices drop, please make sure you update the information on the sheet.
As we stated earlier, we totally understand if you are unable to join us. We plan to host a reception-type event in Virginia after we return. The date and time are TBD.
Please let us know if you have any questions!