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Bon Voyage Luncheon for
E. L. Doctorow
Queen Mary II
May 31, 2009


Written by Wendy R. williams

Opposite Photo:
E. L. Doctorow and Helen Doctorow

Oh the wonder of the grand ladies of the sea, those great ships of the Cunard Line, the Queen Mary II and the newly christened Queen Victoria (the Queen Elizabeth 2 is now docked in Dubai). In a day when the word cruising has lost any hint of sophistication and cruises have left the Bergdorf glamour of half a century ago and joined the Carnivalized world of the Walmart shopper, the Cunard grand ladies still "cross" the Atlantic in style (please don't use the word cruise while in the presence of the Captain of the QM2) . These old-world-style crossing appeal to a cosmopolitan group of travelers, travelers who love to pack heaps of Louis Vuitton valises and embark on a ship where they can dine under the portraited gaze of the British royal family.

In their quest to create an even more memorable crossing experience, Cunard has invited a group of literary giants to accompany their guests as they traverse the Atlantic. E.L. Doctorow, author of the critically acclaimed novels Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, Homer and Langley, and The March was Cunard's first such honoree in their new literary series.

Here is a quote from the press release about Cunard's new literary program (they have had many other such programs, it is Cunard after all): "While on board Doctorow participated in Cunard’s Literature and Liners Series, where he was able to share his work with literature enthusiasts from around the world. During his six day transatlantic voyage (May 31-June 5) Doctorow provided travelers with selected reading from The March, his award winning novel with an emphasis on the dramatic effect of the Civil War on its victims and its victors. He also led a workshop on How Writers Write, where he discussed the creative writing process."

Doctorow's pending voyage was celebrated with a luncheon in his honor on the Queen Mary 2 on Sunday May 31, 2009 while the ship was docked in Red Hook and loading passengers for its voyage to England. Doctorow was joined by his friends and family for lunch and a tour of the Queen Mary 2. The guests included his charming wife Helen, their daughter and her husband and their three lovely granddaughters. Also on board for the luncheon was the Doctorow' friend, the acclaimed essayist, journalist, and author Calvin Trillin.

Cunard's literary cruises are the perfect vacation for sophisticated travelers who wish to visit a world where glamour reigns and there is not one Juicy-Coutured behind in sight.

Queen Mary II Queen Mary II

Click here for the's listing of E. L. Doctorow's books.

Click here for more information about the Queen Mary II.


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