EVENT/NIGHTLIFE: QUEEN MARY’S DARK HARBOR 2017

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QUEEN MARY’S DARK HARBOR 2017

IMG_5460This was my third foray into Dark Harbor, the big Halloween event at the Queen Mary, and it just keeps getting better and better.  The VIP preview soiree had many similarities with last year’s rendition, but there were lots of new surprises, as well.  My friend Roz had accompanied me last year, and could not wait to return, if only to witness a “monster” scaring me again while I was eating, which made my plate of food land all over the floor. And all over my entire being, too!

But I was prepared this year, so the goblins were successful in their frightening of me only twice. (But that was two times too many for me!)  That’s because I brought along a bodyguard this year; Thomas really looked-out for me, which I appreciate.  (But the monsters were successful in scaring him a time or two, as well, so ha!)

The gathering in the RIP Lounge. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The gathering in the RIP Lounge. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Shortly after my trio arrived at the Dark Harbor location in front of the Queen Mary, we three headed up to the RIP Lounge for the evening’s dinner party.  It was once again an all-you-can-eat taco bar, presented right on the walkway above the ship.  (The attraction’s literature refers to it as a “taco bar,” but the people serving us asked me to refer to it as a “fajita bar.”  I think that’s because there were soft tortillas as opposed to hard shells, but it’s really all the same to me.”)  I think this one was perhaps even more delicious than last year; it featured not just the steak and chicken choices, but gorgeous grilled peppers and onions, as well.  Even though it’s unlimited, all three of us were stuffed from just one trip down the food line!  I was actually glad the line was so long that I had no patience to wait for seconds because the food was so good that I would have erroneously eaten more than I needed to!

The violin-playing monster. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The violin-playing monster. Photo by Karen Salkin.

As we ate and mingled with some of the other guests, monsters were everywhere! One was a female violinist who was serenading us beautifully, and Thomas said that that was the best part of the dining experience. I agreed, and stated, “That isn’t scary, it’s delightful!” No sooner were the words out of my mouth than she hit the worst most horrible notes ever, which seared my soul. But it made us laugh. And also reminded us that we were at Dark Harbor, and not some classical concert, for goodness’ sake!

One of the many aerialists. Photo by Karen Salkin.

One of the many aerialists. Photo by Karen Salkin.

After dinner, we spent a bit of time on the Queen Mary herself. What a vessel! But the body of the attractions is on land, in front of the ship, so this perusal was icing on the cake.

When we were done there, we walked around the grounds, looking at all the fun sights. There was tons of entertainment this year, which really added to the fun.  Everywhere we looked, there were stages that featured acrobats, or tap dancers, or musicians, or fire twirlers—you name it.  And all the performers still stayed in creepy costumes and make-up, even while dangling from on high in aerial silks!

A scary figure at the end of a maze. Photo by Karen Salkin.

A scary figure at the end of a maze. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Those were the acts I liked best, but Thomas mentioned two crazy ones that I missed. He said there was a guy who let people staple money onto him! Weird. Even weirder is one that I don’t even want to tell you about, but he was amazed by it, so here goes: He saw a guy who let people pull his bottom eyelids down with hooks, like the crazies they sometimes feature on America’s Got Talent. I was in a circus when I was younger, and even I never saw anything like that in person!

On a more normal note, he said the stage act he enjoyed seeing the most was one where several monsters slid around on their knees. He deemed it “amusing,” rather than scary, so I’m sorry I missed that one.

The official Dark Harbor photos that they take of each party, in front of a green screen, as they arrive. (L-R) Thomas Hazel, Karen Salkin, and Roz Wolf.

The official Dark Harbor photos that they take of each party, in front of a green screen, as they arrive. (L-R) Thomas Hazel, Karen Salkin, and Roz Wolf.

I’m glad we brought Thomas this year because Roz and I were not courageous enough to go into any of the many frightening and creative mazes, so Thom braved them alone. He said that Soulmate was “pretty crazy.” And he loved Feast, which is the new attraction this year, and it’s on the actual Queen Mary! He said it was “fun and scary at the same time,” and “kind-of creepy, in a good way.”

But, being the deep world traveler that he is, he was the most impressed with being on the ship itself, and learning the history of the Queen Mary. He told me he passed some old jail cells onboard, and, at first, he couldn’t tell if they were real or just part of the Dark Harbor experience! (I think he did ascertain that they were real, from way back in the day.)

The cabanas are the structures with the black and white pointy tops, in the middle of the pic. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The cabanas are the structures with the black and white pointy tops, in the middle of the pic. Photo by Karen Salkin.

I’m assuming that the main attraction for most of the visitors is the many mazes, but for us it was the private cabanas, which I believe can be rented for the evening.  This time around, instead of being almost all-enclosed as they were last year, they were open on the sides, so we could view all the goings-on while still being comfortable and even sort-of cozy. And all the while, we were being treated to fun desserts.  There was a buffet set up in each set of cabanas; on them were delicious hot beignets, crispy funnel cakes, movie containers of popcorn, and…chocolate-covered bacon!!!  I was the only one in my group brave enough to try that last one, and yes, I would have preferred my bacon and chocolate separately. But let me tell you–there’s nothing like sitting in private luxury with your pals, and being entertained on all sides, while chilling on couches, feasting on fun confections. That’s the life, even in the midst of Halloween craziness!

The refreshment table in the cabanas. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The refreshment table in the cabanas. Photo by Karen Salkin.

This year, (as opposed to last,) we stayed even after it was open to the public, because we were having such a good time. Everyone appeared to be having a blast!

So, if you’re also a fun-lover, who also reveres this month of scary entertainment as I do, hie yourself to the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. Just don’t be holding onto anything you don’t want to drop on the ground when the monsters inevitably get you!

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