What’s this, I thought pulling the envelope from the mailbox. It was so big, it was, well. . . regal.
“Pamela Conover, President of Cunard Line Limited requests the pleasure of your company on board Queen Mary 2—The greatest Ocean Liner of Our time.”
The Queen, the newest ship from Cunard, a company in the business of transatlantic crossings since the early 1840s. Would I like to join them for a pre-inaugural cruise? Is the Pope a Catholic?
I told my daughter Anastasia. “That’s terrific, are you going?”
“Yes, I’m excited about it.”
“All the publicity on the Queen Mary 2 reminds me of the movie Titanic,” Annie said.
“Thanks, “I replied dryly. “Besides I don’t think we’ll run into any icebergs off of Florida.
A month later, I’m standing on a Port Everglades dock looking up, my neck bent back as far as it will go as I stare at a ship as tall as a 23-story building. The Grand Lobby, a two-story affair topped by a six story open atrium has a huge metal wall piece depicting the Queen at sea. QM2 has it all, and some—Canyon Ranch spa, a casino, Royal Court Theater, outdoor pools, indoor pool, even a planetarium. And, it offers a first at sea, a college-at-sea called Cunard ConneXions managed by Oxford University.
We leave port and the giant ship, 1,132 feet long with 17 decks, cuts through the water effortlessly. Suddenly, the night sky is afire with fireworks and music against a fading Miami skyline.
The following day, I wander into a news conference. Commodore Ronald Warwick, the distinguished looking master of the ship, dressed in white from head to toe with a finely trimmed full beard says something that catches my ear.
“There’s an infinity in the sprit of the crew that comprise us,” he said.
Hmm, I thought, greatness of spirit that goes into making a complete whole. Is it possible that a thing, like a ship, could have a soul? We know spirit makes up the soul. So, does the spirit of 1250 crewmembers bring about the realization that humility and good intentions of the heart does indeed bring about a power greater than each?
Is the Queen Mary 2 destined to become a community of goodness and well-beings?
Pam Conover, a lovely woman, told me later that day that, yes, she does indeed believe the spirit makes up the soul of the ship. Strange to hear a corporate president talking like this, I thought, but refreshing, especially for those of you who look forward to enjoying a journey on the Queen.
Later, watching a planetarium presentation, the announcer tells of how the andromeda, and earth universes, are headed on a collision coarse that will lead to them slamming into each other in a billion years or so. Maybe, maybe not, I mull as these two universes whirl like seductive dancers on the screen above my head. It’s reassuring, I feel, that there is a force holding it all together. Not just our universe, but throughout the entire dance of a zillion stars and planets as they wildly weave their way through space and time.
Out there, beyond the stars, in deep, deep darkness, I know, is a power greater than any phenomenon we can imagine or understand. A power that reassuringly keeps the harmony and rhythmic melody of all, in perfect tune.
Thank you Pamela, for your kind invitation to more than just a new ship.