Thursday, 25 of April of 2024

2004 Tandem Crossing with QM2

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

TANDEM CROSSING WITH QUEEN MARY 2

25 April – 1 May, 2004

Cabin 3011 – Single, inside

 Sunday, 25 April, 2004 – New York Harbor

My plane circled Manhattan, and with difficulty I managed to see all three huge ships at their respective piers.  “Norwegian Dawn” at Pier 88, QE2 at Pier 90 and Queen Mary 2 at Pier 92.  I managed several photos of the latter while our bus unloaded passengers for QM2.  On we went to Pier 90 and I was on board QE2 by three thirty.  Gregory was at the Mid-ships Lounge and we hugged.  He said Mrs. Levy got off today, and he is working in the Caronia Restaurant.

After unpacking my suitcase, which had preceded me to cabin 3011, I set out with my life jacket for the four fifteen Lifeboat drill, but since embarkation was going very late, I carried the life jacket another hour while I wandered all over Boat Deck observing the Queen Mary 2.  Along the way I greeted John McFarlane and partner, Russell Taggert so we talked a while then met up again on the stairs to Heledeck as the QM2 was pulling out of her berth unassisted.  I met up with Ted and Suellyn Scull facing aft as we clicked shutters furiously.  By this time the drill had taken place at five fifteen in Mauretania.  Trevor Stevenson was one of our attendants.  Somewhere along the line I chatted with English Fred and wife.  Anyhow, all this time we were watching us get under way to the enthusiastic hype of Bill Miller’s lecture on the Tannoy.  We eventually caught up to QM2 and watched fireworks with the Statue of Liberty in the dark background.  Whistles sounded their series of three plus one numerous times.  When this was over, QE2 overtook QM2 to starboard and I had dinner in the Lido with a friendly Brit couple who had been on QM2 maiden voyage.

At ten o’clock I tried the movie “Big Fish” but left it.  Clocks go ahead one hour tonight and I was in bed by 1:00 a.m. new time.  Seas calm.  Verrazano Bridge was all lit up.  Great whistle sounds earlier.

Monday, 26 April.

I sat with a young couple in the Lido for breakfast.  QM2 was fairly far back to starboard, but as the morning wore on, she eventually came up parallel about a mile away.  Meanwhile, I did three decks worth of walking and found little Ben right on 3 Deck midi-ships.  I attended the lecture on Concorde and afterward the Flight engineer, Ian Smith (a Scot) confirmed that at 7:50 a.m. each day, Concorde did indeed cut to sub-sonic speed prior to landing in New York.  I told him of my sliding doors rattling on Cape Cod at that exact time daily.

I took several photos of QM2 in the distance with us in the foreground.  Also I made my purchases of commemorative shirts and a lovely mug before the hordes descended.  The Maxtone-Grahame book, the official Souvenir book about the QM2 was displayed at the Book Store, so I had to buy it.  I was shown a lovely print of all four Queens titled wrongly, “4 Monarches!”  Len Thompson the friend I met on the “Norway” in 2001 is on board with his wife.

I arrived late at the singles party in Yacht Club and sat with Joyce Boylen and Cynthia Kent who were lively conversationalists about our ships.  I then went to lunch with Joyce in the Mauretania.  By this time QM2 had caught up with us and crossed our path to Port at noon.  All I could do was to snap a photo showing what was left of the crossing wake.  We have strong 40 knot wind over the decks.

I took tea with a nice British gal, Marilyn, from Durham.  At 6:30 I watched the movie “Mona Lisa Smile.”  At my dinner table,  table number 224, were two British couples and an American lady and son William from Moorepark, California.  I told Ted Scull about William – a ship enthusiast.  I missed the concert and Stephanie and Edith again!

 Tuesday, 27 April.

I had breakfast on Portside in Mauretania with a great view of Queen Mary 2, and chatted briefly with Howard, a Dance Host.  Throughout the morning I composed four verses to Capital Ship re: our tandem voyage with help from Ted and Suellyn in the Lido, then another couple (Hope) who contributed the last verse.  I gave Ted the Lapland photo.  I was outside just in time to hear both ships’ whistles blast at noon.  QM2 faint.  Finally I met up with Stephanie and Edith in the Theatre Balcony as we waited for Bill Miller’s enthusiastic lecture.  I introduced Edith to Ted as she told of the luggage placed on QM2 wrongly. Both Stephanie and Edith have to improvise with the few clothes they wore, and with some they were allowed to buy, and they have managed to look outstanding and artistic!

I had lunch with Joyce, Norma and friend, and we were treated to a closer view of QM2 after she crossed our wake back to Starboard.  I took more photos, then typed up the lyrics in honor of QE2 in the Computer room.  I wandered with a Scottish lady from San Francisco area, and gave her batteries, and she gave me her Cunard pen.    Dressed formal again and took in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give.”  Our dinner table is at 224 on portside by a window in the aftermost part of Mauretania.  Carol and son William, Rosemary and Doug Jackson and Diana and Gerald Davies.   I stopped briefly at the show in progress and then the dance at Queens Room.  The QM2 across the way is all lit up so I gazed at it a while before returning to my cabin.  Clocks go ahead an hour.

Wednesday, 28 April.

I spotted QM2 way ahead, on the television channel 3, working to Port.  She must have crossed our bow quite recently.  With abundant sun all day, both ships sailed one mile apart really side by side and everyone photographed her, never getting enough.  Even my breakfast by a window on port side was eaten with head turned toward her.  In my wanderings through Queens Room, Gail Roberts waylaid me so we renewed memories of the 2001 World Cruise Select Traveler tours including the fabulous freebee trip to the Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok.  Ralph came by and set off again.  Later Valerie Bennetts waylaid me (2003 W.C.)

I had lunch in the Mauretania restaurant with Cynthia Kent, Marilyn Riley, Pat and daughter, and we had great conversations powered by the joy of experiencing this first tandem crossing.  During this time the QM2 very slowly dropped back all day on the way to complete her third circle around us!

 Saw the “Last Samurai” at three o’clock after a very pleasant time watching QM2 and freezing.  I checked her again at five thirty then headed to the cabin via the shops.  There was no more than a water trickle so I couldn’t take a shower.    In spite of not being clean, I attended the Officers’ Cocktail Party, where I chatted with Hugh and Hope.  Captain Ian McNaught greeted us and pointed out the Boston Cup, which was on display before QE2 has to give it up to QM2 when the latter becomes the Cunard Flagship and as QE2 retires from the North Atlantic run.  Dinner was again lively with great conversation.  Clocks ahead another hour.

 Thursday, 29 April.

At 7:35 Queen Mary 2 crossed our bow way ahead of us.  She remained in the bow picture a while.  Actually I learned at the Captain’s Interview that in all these maneuvers, the ship astern does the crossovers.

I was supposed to rehearse with Carol Golow, but the sound system in Yacht Club was buzzing loudly, so we had breakfast together by Port window in Mauritania, and William as well.  As we exited through Crystal Bar some smoke was wafting up a window gasket.  We left quicker and parted.  I spent a little time on Boat Deck then eventually attended the World Club cocktail party. After Brian Hoey’s talk in the Theatre about Princess Diana, I went to lunch on my own in the Mauretania restaurant.

I took notes furiously at the McNaught interview, and later I found the other Ben on 1 Deck by C Stairway.  Tea ensued in the Lido with a Brit couple – good view of QM2.  I shifted to join Jackie, Pat and Marilyn.  When I returned to my cabin, I tested the shower, which trickled slightly, so I sponged off; did some laundry and eventually dressed for dinner.  We joined in with the Baked Alaska parade.  The Westenders performed their great show tunes in the Grand Lounge.  They are a troop of six former and current West End performers and are very professional.  For the first time in a long time I tried out the midnight buffet. 

On my bed waiting for me was a  lovely Wedgwood commemorative plate and a certificate of the Tandem crossing.  Clocks ahead one hour.

Friday, 30 April.

I didn’t sleep much last night.  When I emerged, QM2 was way ahead of us in low cloudy weather.  I joined William and Carol for breakfast in the Mauretania, then I proceeded to wander hither and yon till time to register for the talent show, at the Casino Bar and rehearse in the practice room.  I caught some of the final Concorde Lecture, then had lunch in the Lido with two different British couples.  For the next hour or so we all congregated on deck for the rendezvous of the two ships, planes, a helicopter and fishing boats off the Lizard.   Had a great vantage point on observation deck as the ships closed ranks, slowed down and were saluted by a Hawk plane then a Nimrod plane.  The Talent show was next for me.  I did my QE2 lyrics to the tune of “A Capital Ship.”  That was followed by tea with Stephanie Hollowell and Edith Inghram.  I cashed in my performance voucher for a “lousy” pack of cards!

At six thirty I watched “Love Actually,” then joined my tablemates for our last dinner. 
Most of us had the superb roast beef.  I received hugs and compliments on my performance, and Carol presented me with a Hollywood t-shirt!  Again we took photos all around and Rosemary was presented with a tasty Birthday cake burning with a substantial sparkler.  We said goodbyes with hands and hugs then realized we’d be back for breakfast!

I attended the final show of all three main groups then prepared the suitcase to place outside my cabin with a special tag stating it is to be delivered to the Queen Mary 2.   Still no hot water, so I took a sponge bath.  There was only a trickle of water all week!

Saturday, 1 May – Southampton.

We arrived in Southampton early, and we who were to return on the QM2 that day, were treated to a very nice free tour to the New Forest and Salisbury while our stuff was transferred.  Instead of touring the Salisbury cathedral and close, I walked to the Tesco to do some food shopping, and met the tour bus in the car park nearby.

During this time the Britannia cup, sometimes called the Boston cup was transferred from the Queen Elizabeth 2 to Queen Mary 2 at a special dinner on board QE2 for the Captain-Commodore Ron Warwick and Captain Ian McNaught.  Queen Elizabeth 2 is now officially retired from the North Atlantic run, and will be doing European cruises mostly with the exception of World Cruises.

Words to the special song I sang at the Talent Show.

A CAPITAL SHIP A LA QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

APRIL 2004 and OCTOBER, 2008

TANDEM CROSSING WITH QUEEN MARY 2

1.

A Capital Ship for an ocean trip,

Is the Queen Elizabeth 2.

She plies the seas with greatest of ease,

And visits Continents too.

Her tiny wheel they tried to steal,

But it never laid her low,

And she triumphed still, and bided ’till

Her Master had ‘er in tow.

Refrain:

O, Blow ye winds hi ho,

A roving I will go,

I’ll stay no more on England’s shore,

So let the breezes blow, oh, oh,

I’m off on the morning train,

To sail the raging main.

I’m off to my love with a boxing glove

Ten thousand miles away.

2.

In time of war, she was a star;

to the Falklands her troops she took.

South Georgia waited while soldiers rated,

From luxury, volunteer crew.

Helicopters hovered while men recovered,

Her triumphal run to South – Hampton.

To a welcome loud, which made her proud,

And greetings from the loved Queen Mum!

Refrain;

3.

The Atlantic best she loved of the rest,

But other Oceans knew.

Her hull of red and black, or blue,

Not to mention grey by few.

Adaman or great Oman, or Red,

She well traversed with ease.

She paused below Suez with ships prepared

To face the breeze.

Refrain:

4.

A fond farewell we bid to you,

On this grand voyage of two.

We sailed together what e’re the weather,

Queen Mary, our partner true.

And though she moved from Starboard to Port,

And forward and aft each day,

QE2 still stands on top for us and earns our loud

Hooray!!

Last refrain:

Oh —– blow ye winds, hi ho,

A sailing she must go,

She’ll stay no more on England’s shore,

So let the breezes play – hey – hey;

We’re off on the morning train,

To sail the raging main.

We’ re off, Oh My, to old Dubai,

A thousand miles away!