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The Best of Britain: Celebrate Road Scholar’s 40th Anniversary Aboard the QM2

Program Number: 21748RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/18/2015 - 8/29/2015;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: United States/England
Price starting at: $3,799.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Voyages
Meals: 28; 11 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 10 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Espionage. The British monarchy. International diplomacy. It’s hard to think of a more “royal” way to celebrate Road Scholar’s 40th anniversary than by joining some of our top instructors for an iconic voyage aboard the QM2. With intelligence expert Nigel West, Royal Editor Robert Jobson, former Royal Protection Officer Ken Wharfe and diplomat Charles Anson, get the insider’s perspective on the British government, culture and much more on this fascinating journey from New York City to London!

Activity Particulars

Minimal walking.

This date is a special Road Scholar 40th anniversary celebration

Itinerary At-a-Glance

New York City, 1 night; aboard Queen Mary 2, 8 nights; London (England), 2 nights.

Days 1-9: Arrival New York City / embark Queen Mary 2 / at sea:

Become an expert on all things British during this transatlantic journey that is filled with lectures, discussion and presentations on hot topics ranging from the royal family to espionage. Join Nigel West, an intelligence expert and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award by U.S. former Intelligence Officers, as he offers an insider’s look at MI5, as well as the organization’s response to the death of Princess Diana. Then, meet Ken Wharfe, the former Royal Protection Officer to Princess Diana, who recounts his time with the Princess and her sons, Princes William and Harry. Consider the role of the royal family during the 21st century with Royal Editor Robert Jobson, and discuss how the responsibilities of the monarchy have changed through England’s history. You’ll also have a chance to meet diplomat Charles Anson, the former Press Secretary to Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher, and hear accounts of his career as well as of his harrowing experience as a hostage at the Iran Embassy in 1978. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Days 10-11: Disembark Southampton / coach to London / departure:

Using suggestions from your group leader, enjoy free time to explore the history and culture of London on your own. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Queen Mary 2

At 1,132 feet long and 131 feet wide and cruising at 28.5 knots, the Queen Mary 2 can carry 2,592 passengers. Public areas linked by elevators include restaurants, bars, library, theater, casino, gym, pool and more. Dining in the Britannia Restaurant.

Meals and Lodgings
   Millenium Hilton
  New York City, USA 1 night
   Queen Mary II.
  At Sea, USA 8 nights
   The May Fair Hotel
  London, England, UK:England 2 nights
 Millenium Hilton
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Millenium Hilton hotel is conveniently located in Lower Manhattan right in the heart of New York City’s bustling financial district within easy reach of Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty. The hotel is located just a few steps from the National 9/11 Memorial and is surrounded by the renowned New York neighborhoods of SoHo, Tribeca and Greenwich Village.
  Contact info: 55 Church Street
New York, NY 10007 USA
phone: 212-693-2001
  Room amenities: Relax in a contemporary guest room offering a king-sized bed, 42-inch plasma screen TV and cordless telephones, AM/FM radio, hair dryer, coffee maker and "The Bed" by Hilton.
  Facility amenities: Liquid Assets cocktail bar. 24-hour fitness center and heated, glass-enclosed indoor pool overlooking Ground Zero. Automated Teller (ATM), Baggage Storage , Complimentary WiFi in Lobby , Concierge Desk, Foreign Currency Exchange , Gift Shop, Laundry/Valet Service , Lounge , Multi-Lingual Staff,News Stand, Room Service, Safety Deposit Box, WiFi - $12.95/day in Guestroom (2014 price), 24 hour business center.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBC. For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Queen Mary II.
Type: Cruise Ship
  Ship Information: Having made her debut in January of 2004, the stylish and grand 12-deck, transatlantic liner Queen Mary 2, built by Cunard and under British Registry, represents the pinnacle of maritime achievement. At 1,132' long and 131' wide (150,000 tons) and cruising at 28.5 knots she can carry 3,090 passengers (). Group dining in the Britannia Restaurant at 6:00pm.
  Contact info: N/A.
New York, NY 00000 USA
phone: 800-576-1172
  Room amenities: Direct-Dial telephone & data port outlet. Refrigerator, safe, hair dryer . Interactive TV with multi-language film and music channels. 220V British 3-pin and 110V 2-pin sockets. Mini-refrigerator, bathrobe and slippers, 24-hour room service.
  Facility amenities: Public areas linked by elevators include restaurants, bars, library, lounges, theater, casino, spa club, gym, sun decks and pool.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 The May Fair Hotel
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: Set in exclusive Mayfair in the heart of London, the May Fair hotel since its historic opening in 1927 by His Majesty King George V continues to play host to the rich and famous. Within a short distance of the chic areas of Bond Street and Knightsbridge, it is close to Green Park and Buckingham Palace.
  Ship Information: N/A.
  Contact info: Stratton Street
London,  WIJ 8LT UK:England
phone: +44 20 7769 8202
  Room amenities: Direct dial telephone. Samsung digital systems with over 400 complimentary TV channels. International sockets.
  Facility amenities: The Ambra Bar and Grill. May Fair Bar. May Fair Kitchen. Complmentary WiFi throughout. Cigar Room. London Casino. The May Fair Spa and Gym.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBC. For additional pre and post program accommodations, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The programme commences with a welcome meeting and introductions in the hotel at 6:00pm followed by dinner. You will be staying at Millenium Hilton that night.
  End of Program:
The programme ends after breakfast which ends at 10:00am. Check-out is by 11:00am. You will be staying at The May Fair Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. **PLEASE NOTE: Cunard requires that you register online in order to receive your E-ticket(s) and cruise documents. You should do this when you receive your final program materials about 5 weeks prior to departure, your booking number and cabin assignment will be included with these materials. Please go to to register. 1. At the bottom right of Cunard's home page, click VOYAGE PERSONALISER. 2. You will need to Log In with your First and Last Name, Date of Birth and Booking Reference. 3. Once logged in you will need to accept Cunard’s Terms & Conditions. 4. You are now in your Voyage Personaliser. To enter the necessary information, on the left hand side, click on PERSONAL DETAILS (under Your Details) and enter the required information 5. Repeat for Address, Passport and Emergency Contacts 6. Once completed, you are able to view your Travel Summary and e-Ticket (once you are paid in full) **You must print your own Queen Mary II Luggage Tags, they are required by the ship porters so your bags can make their way safely to your ship cabin.**
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Trains and buses are available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  New York City
  Nearest airport:  JFK, Newark, LaGuardia
  Transportation to site: No transfers to this site are provided by Road Scholar and so you will need to make your own arrangements on arrival. You will be staying at the Millennium Hilton Lower Manhattan, adjacent to the WTC. Taxis are generally available and reliable. Or take public transport. In Lower Manhattan, just blocks from subway stations A, C, E, J, M, Z, 4, 5, 1, 2, R and the New Jersey Path train
  From End of Program
  Location:  London, England
  Nearest city or town:  London.
  Nearest airport:  London Heathrow
  Transportation from site: Trains and underground available. Transportation will be provided to Heathrow at the end of the program for participants who are departing on group departure day. Complete the Participant Information Form on-line, or in the preparatory materials and return to Road Scholar in the UK.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome Meeting in New York
(Tuesday, August 18)
 Afternoon: After making your own way to the New York hotel meet your Group Leader. There will be a welcome meeting and introductions in the hotel at 6:00pm. Meet speakers Nigel West, Robert Jobson, Ken Wharfe and Charles Anson.
 Dinner: In New York.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Millenium Hilton
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Embarkation on The Queen Mary II
(Wednesday, August 19)
 Breakfast: Your Group Leader will give you vouchers for breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: At leisure.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: The mandatory shipboard passenger safety drill will take place in the afternoon, after which you will have time to explore the many entertainment and activity venues aboard Queen Mary 2. This afternoon is an excellent opportunity to get to know your shipboard home for the next eight days. The ship is scheduled to depart from New York in the late afternoon.
 Dinner: Participants will assemble for dinner in the Britannia Restaurant at 6.00 pm. Revel in the splendid nightly occasion of dining in the magnificent two-tiered Britannia Restaurant which pays glorious homage to the opulent dining salons from ocean travel’s golden heyday. Pillars and art deco arches add decorative flourishes to a rich culinary experience, complemented by fine wines and attentive service. BRITANNIA RESTAURANT ENTRÉES Pesto Ravioli with Gorgonzola Sauce (V) Broiled Lobster Tail, Drawn Butter & Garden Risotto Roast Duck à l’Orange, Hazelnut Croquettes & Grand Marnier Sauce Châteaubriand Béarnaise, Young Vegetables, Périgourdine Sauce Forest Mushrooms, Parmesan Polenta & Garlic Spinach DESSERTS Seven Layer Washington Apple & Molasses Gâteaux Red Berries Shortcake with Vanilla Sauce Baked Alaska with Morello Cherries Sugar Free - Strawberry Mousse with Fresh Berry Salad Lime Sorbet & Chocolate Ice Cream with Vanilla Frozen Yoghurt, Peach Sauce Cheese Selection with Stilton, Saint Paulin, Gruyère, Pepper Boursin
 Evening: You are free to enjoy the many alternative activities, entertainment choices and meal venues described in your Daily Programme.
Accommodations: Queen Mary II.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Nigel West on MI5 during the Abdication Crisis
(Thursday, August 20)
 Breakfast: BRITANNIA RESTAURANT Breakfast CHILLED JUICES Choice of Orange, Grapefruit, Cranberry, Apple, Prune, Pineapple, Tomato, V8 FRESH FRUIT & COMPOTE Half Sectioned Grapefruit Fresh Melon Platter, Fresh Fruit Salad Tropical Fruit with Low-Fat Yoghurt or Cottage Cheese Compote of Stewed Prunes, Grapefruit Segments & Kadota Figs HOT & COLD CEREALS Choice of Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat , Choice of Corn Flakes, All Bran, Raisin Bran, Special K, Rice Crispies, Total, Shredded Wheat, Swiss Muesli, Alpen, Weetabix YOGHURTS Choice of Plain or Mixed Fruit Available as Regular, Low-Fat or Non-Fat FRESH FROM THE BAKERY Croissants, Brioche, Assorted Danish Pastries, French Bread, All Bran & Blueberry Muffins, Toasted English Muffins, Toasted Bagels, White & Whole Wheat Toast, Rye Bread, Pumpernickel, White Rolls, Banana Bread Fruit Crisp PRESERVES & SPREADS Orange Marmalade, Strawberry, Blackberry, Apricot, Cherry, Honey, Peanut Butter PANCAKES & WAFFLES Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup Buttermilk Pancakes with American Bacon, Link Sausages & Maple Syrup Golden Waffles with Fresh Fruit French Toast with Whipped Butter & Maple Syrup or Honey BREAKFAST ENTREES Fried Eggs, English Bacon, Mushrooms, Wiltshire Sausage, Baked Beans, Grilled Tomato, Sauteed Potatoes Scrambled Eggs, American Bacon, Corned Beef Hash, Link Sausages, Hash Brown Potatoes Omelette with Ham, Cheese & Mushrooms Egg White Omelette with Onions, Peppers, Tomato & Cheese Eggs Benedict on English Muffin & Canadian Bacon with Holl&aise Sauce Toasted Bagel with Smoked Salmon, Crème Cheese, Red Onion & Capers Grilled Scottish Kippers with Sauteed Potatoes Smoked Finnian Haddock with Melted Butter (Please ask your server for low cholesterol egg alternatives) ASSORTED COLD CUTS & CHEESE Black Forest Ham, Smoked Turkey, Roast Beef, Italian Salami, Liver Pâté, Cheese – Emmentaler, Camembert, Cottage, Cream, Blue
 Morning: Nigel West begins the lecture series with a consideration of King Edward VIII, Wallace Simpson, her lover Guy Trundle, Prime Minister Oliver Baldwin and MI5 surveillance during the Abdication crisis.
 Lunch: On board ship. Sample lunch: BRITANNIA RESTAURANT Lunch CANYON RANCH SPA SELECTIONS Appetizer — Roasted Corn Chowder(V) Entrée — Baked Kohlrabi Tart Dessert — Freshly Sliced Cantaloupe Melon APPETIZERS & SOUPS Duck Rolls & Mint Confit, Raspberry Gastric Baby Shrimp Cocktail, Marie Rose & Pumpkin Seed Biscuit Roasted Corn Chowder(V) Chilled Tomato Soup with Gin & Basil SALAD & SANDWICH Butter Lettuce, Romaine, Choice of Dressings & CR Signature Dressing (V) A Selection of Cold Meats is Always Available Croque Monsieur - Warm Ham & Cheese Sandwich BRITANNIA RESTAURANT ENTRÉES Spaghetti Carbonara, Creamy Egg Yolk & Parmesan Sauce, Crispy Smoked Bacon Grilled Swordfish Steak, Lemon & Oregano Oil, Niçoise Olive Relish Navarin Of Lamb, Root Vegetables, Saffron Rice, Spanish Omelette Grilled Minute Steak, Herb Butter & French Fries DESSERTS Panna Cotta with Apricot Compote Warm Treacle Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream Sugar Free – Ice Coffee Strasbourg Lime Sorbet & Chocolate Ice Cream with Vanilla Frozen Yoghurt, Peach Sauce
 Afternoon: During days at sea, there are a range of activities are available on board including celebrity speakers, family quizzes, dance lessons, game shows, fitness classes, sports tournaments, galley walk throughs, cinema screenings, spa seminars, digital living workshops and of course, sipping cocktails while soaking up the sun and much more!
 Dinner: At 6:00pm in the Britannia Restaurant.
 Evening: At leisure for the many forms of entertainment offered on board ship.
Accommodations: Queen Mary II.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Nigel West on MI5 and Princess Diana
(Friday, August 21)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Nigel West continues his look at the role of MI5 at times of crisis with a talk on MI5's Denial of the Assassination of Princess Diana.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities. 4:00pm Nigel West gives an informal talk on Spies, Novels and Politics.
 Dinner: On board ship.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Queen Mary II.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Ken Wharfe on Life With William and Harry
(Saturday, August 22)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Ken Wharfe talks about his time with Princes William and Harry - who called him "Uncle Ken" - and his travels with Princess Diana.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: Perhaps take in a show at the Royal Court Theatre.
Accommodations: Queen Mary II.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Ken Wharfe on The New Royal Family
(Sunday, August 23)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Ken Wharfe looks at the New Royal Family and Security and What Went Wrong in Paris.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Queen Mary II.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Robert Jobson on The New Monarcy
(Monday, August 24)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Robert Jobson lectures on the New Monarchy and Historical Examples.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities. Late afternoon, Robert Jobson's talk continues.
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Queen Mary II.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Charles Anson on Working With Royalty
(Tuesday, August 25)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Charles Anson talks on his professional life "Working with the Queen of Westminster (Margaret Thatcher) and the Queen of England".
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities.
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Queen Mary II.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Charles Anson on The Iranian Embassy Siege
(Wednesday, August 26)
 Breakfast: On board.
 Morning: Charles Anson talks about his life in the Diplomatic Service and his time as a hostage at the Embassy in Iran in 1978.
 Lunch: On board.
 Afternoon: Shipboard activities. Pre-dinner round up and Q&A with all our speakers.
 Dinner: On board.
 Evening: Shipboard activities.
Accommodations: Queen Mary II.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Disembarkation and Free Time in London
(Thursday, August 27)
 Breakfast: Taken early today to faciliate disembarkation.
 Morning: Transfer by coach to London.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Your time in London is free for independent exploration. Perhaps visit Kensington Palace after Ken Wharfe has given you insights into Diana's life there or maybe Buckingham Palace as it is open to the public in August. Alternatively Nigel West may have sparked an interest in the Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum. Your hotel is close to the British Museum and not far from Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery and National Portait Gallery. Your Group Leader will give you suggestions for activities.
 Dinner: Excluded.
Accommodations: The May Fair Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 11: Free time and Farewell Dinner
(Friday, August 28)
 Breakfast: Full English and continental breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Free day.
 Lunch: Excluded.
 Afternoon: Free afternoon.
 Dinner: Gather with your Group Leader for a farewell dinner.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: The May Fair Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 12:
(Saturday, August 29)
 Breakfast: In the hotel. Some departures may leave before breakfast.
 Morning: Transfers by private cars to London Heathrow Airport for the return flight home.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

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Diana: Closely Guarded Secret

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Description: Insprector Ken Wharfe, the first royalty protection officer to publish a memoir, was a crucial figure in Princess Diana's life. This account represents the most intimate portrait of Diana to date.

House of Cards

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To Play the King

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At Her Majesty's Secret Service: The Chiefs of Britain's Intelligence Agency, MI6

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Historical Dictionary of British Intelligence (Historical Dictionaries of Intelligence and Counterintelligence)

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