Our member Kolo recently cruised across the Atlantic to New York as part of a trip to the UK and North America, in what was undoubtedly a memorable experience.

The trip began flying in Business class to Edinburgh on Virgin and Etihad. All seems to have gone off to a great start in Virgin’s Business class.

Managed to score the rockstar row 5 this time; I’m presuming it will disappear when the new seating layout is installed. It is a great location and very private when the curtain closes over. The meal was excellent with the beef, although a little plainly presented, being the most tender and melt in the mouth meat I’ve ever had, let alone on an aircraft.

After spending some time in the UK, our member embarked on the Queen Mary 2, Cunard Cruise Line’s flagship ocean liner. The cruise is luxurious in many ways. Our member opted for a “Princess Grill” Suite, which is essentially Cunard’s equivalent of second class, and by all accounts it was a great choice with a spacious room, priority boarding and a dedicated restaurant among other benefits.

With the cruise across the Atlantic to New York taking 8 days, there were plenty of activities on board to pass the time. Unique to this cruise line was its “guest speaker” program. The line-up included the former US Secretary of Defence, an astronaut and a musical theatre historian, who were on hand to give interesting talks and lectures on a range of subjects. Of course, the usual entertainment options were also available.

All the other usual cruise ship entertainment is on offer, including cabaret shows in the theatre, a string trio, a harpist, a jazz trio and various pianists. Plus there is a pop/rock band and a big band on board, the latter of which plays in the large dance hall each night.

Despite an unfortunate delay resulting from a lost member of the crew, the cruise sailed majestically into New York just in time for sunrise on the final day.

The arrival entails sailing under the bridge over The Narrows, which links Staten and Long Islands. This has to be done at the right time for tides, and the funnel will clear the bridge by just a few metres. So it’s up at 4am with a few hundred others to stand on the top deck and hold our breath as we sail under. Then onward to see the sun rise on the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan.

The time spent in New York was thoroughly enjoyed. A number of “must-sees” are recommended for first-time visitors including Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Greenwich Village and Broadway, among many other highlights.

Our member returned to Australia the long way around, flying via Abu Dhabi. The flight from New York to the Middle East was actually operated by Indian airline and Etihad partner Jet Airways, and the service was an interesting mix of Jet Airways and Etihad. Regardless, it was a very comfortable flight in the pointy end.

The flight from JFK to AUH is on a Jet Airways configured plane. It’s a bit odd – its not a code share; its livery is Jet Airways, although written on the side of the fuselage, under the cockpit, it states “operated by Etihad”; the crew are from Jet Airways; the IFE and amenity kits are from EY; the menu and the PJs are from Jet. Anyway, it’s a winner. The J seating is herringbone, like NZ, VS, DL etc., and a quilt is provided as a mattress, which provides a good night’s sleep. The staff are terrific, and the menu, with its Indian influences, is great.

Follow the full trip report and enjoy the many photos HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]