“We have all the time in the world….” Louis ‘Satchmo’ ArmstrongTruer words were seldom said. Here in the surreal, floating fantasy world that is Queen Mary 2 on the Atlantic, time is not at a premium.
We have embarked on a crossing, rather than a cruise. Stripped of the need to go ashore every day or so, our attentions have turned inwards, towards our fellow ship mates and our own, often suppressed sense of personal indulgence.
Here, each day on the Atlantic is like a blank canvas, and each is yours to fill- or leave blank- as you desire. There is a mind boggling programme of scintillating lectures, a huge, expansive library, and a spa so big and all embracing that it makes relaxation a pure art form.
There is a high rolling casino, an entire arcade of luxury shops, and more bars, lounges and restaurants than you can possibly take in. You can do all of it, or absolutely none.
For here, time becomes your own once more. There is time for a lie in, time to take an hour over breakfast. Time to have breakfast in bed, even.
There is time for a brief, snatched conversation with a stranger in a lift to blossom into a blooming, beautiful friendship. Time to spend with friends, to make new ones. To rediscover the virtues of old ones.
Our days on QM2 have a strange dual quality. They seem to unravel so slowly, yet they are, in fact, actually passing at a steady rate of knots. We are already more than half way across the Atlantic, yet it seems like only five minutes since our delayed departure from Southampton.
And people seem kinder, more relaxed. People show each other courtesy and respect. Smiles are everywhere. Even the kids seem extraordinarily well behaved.
For sure, we are cocooned in what can only be described as a kind of pampered stupor. And, lord knows, this pretty balloon will burst with one almighty bang when we reconnect with reality- that strange, absurd concept- when we dock on Monday.
I know it is coming, and I eye its approach with a kind of uneasy dread. But for now, the carnival that is Queen Mary 2 is whirling and pirouetting at a magical rate of knots. There is still no shortage of indulgence on offer.
And that is a truism for every soul on board; you can be as sociable or solitary as you wish, day in and out, and no one will chide you for it. You can splash out, just chill out, or go somewhere down the middle.
As usual, Satchmo had it right. Love to all.