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Queen Mary 2 for a complete and total cruise newbie

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Oh wise board dwellers:

My fiance and I are traveling on the Queen Mary 2, departing from Southampton on 9 August. We just got our tickets today! We have a room with an obstructed view balcony on the 8th deck.

We are getting married in Princeton, NJ on August 18th and are using the Queen Mary 2 to transport ourselves and also my wedding dress from London (where we live) to the wedding.

Neither one of us have ever been on a cruise before, and it really is a fluke that we're going on the Queen Mary 2... This is mostly because it seemed like the easiest way to get the dress across the Atlantic and having a pre-wedding honeymoon seemed like the perfect way to combat wedding planning stress. We are very, very excited.

I do have a couple of questions, and I hope that you can help.

What can I do to make the trip very special for us? Are there things that I should/could sign up for ahead of time? And most importantly: what is the best way of dealing with my dress? Do I carry it on, much like in boarding a plane?

I've read here that the food is passable -- which worries me. I used to review restaurants for a living etc and really appreciate food with intention. I recognize that it's a very big boat with lots of people, but I had been convinced by a couple of family members that it would amazing regardless of the volume. (I am also allergic to cilantro, so worry about anyone attempting "fusion" food. Though my impression is that this should be a very old school experience.) Can you give me an idea of what to expect with the food and the wine? (How marked up is wine? How much a wine list is there with dinner? Is it all by the bottle or is there a selection by the glass?)

We've decided to embrace the dressy thing. My fiance is renting a tux and I've had my mom post me a couple of my old formal gowns. The thing is: will we feel ridiculous? We're not even 30, so if the only people who get dressed up are 80, it would be nice to know ahead of time. Any insights?

Thanks so much for making it to the bottom of this rambling post. I am very excited, and a bit overwhelmed. Mostly, I can't wait! (Of course, I have to get the seating chart and every wedding thing done before we get onboard, so the stress level is a bit high at the moment. ;))

-Emily

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