Friday, 18 of January of 2019

QE2 2005 WC – Dubai-Southampton, Part 5

QE2 2005 World Cruise Part 5

Saturday, 26 March – Dubai – for real!

We were able to enter the narrow harbor channel with jetties on both sides, turn 180˚ and settle by the “ship-shaped” Passenger Terminal.

Gisèle and I took the shuttle bus to the Burjuman shopping mall, where we simply admired the mall itself and the high scale shops – Pot Pouri, we then returned in time for me to write two post cards, mail them and head out for my tour at one o’clock.  I saw the new and future features of Dubai, culminating in Tea at the Burj Al Arab hotel.  WOW!  (see my notes and photos).  We were the last bus to return to the ship, but we didn’t leave till about seven thirty because the last provisions had to be loaded and the Pilot was late!  We were pulled away from the dock and turned and pulled into position for heading out the channel between the jetties.  The lighthouse at the end blinks two times and holds one.  Captain Bates is now Master.

Palm Islands – Jumeirah, Jebel Ali. Boat ride in new harbor, new developments – Dubai Marina, Tea – Burj al Arab.

Note:   July 2007 – Cunard has announced that as of November 2008, Queen Elizabeth 2 will be sold and taken to Dubai to be a dockside hotel and museum at the Jumeirah Palm Island!

Sunday, 27 March – Muscat, Oman – N 23˚ 37.7′ x E 028˚ 34.1′ – Easter

We had to circle at least twice as we waited for the Pilot to arrive.  This made us late into Muscat (Qaboos) Harbor.  The tugs helped push us 90˚ to starboard as we docked on Port looking away from the city.  When we went ashore from five Deck, Stairway C, we were given plastic landing cards with clips.  My tour itinerary included the Grand Mosque, Bait Al Falaj Fort, old Muscat city, Al Alam Palace, the official residence of the Sultan, the old harbor and two fortresses – also the Muttrah Souq, which was all torn up for refurbishing.

We had to duck low to re-enter the ship on Five Deck as we had to in Dubai as well.  We were given two dyed eggs and six chocolate eggs and a chocolate Easter bunny.

I napped till nearly six o’clock.   I have two new tablemates, Elaine and Helen from Sydney and a city north of that.  We talked about the train trip across Australia.  I excused myself early to watch us leave port, but found I was ahead of time.  We did leave at eight o’clock.  Two tugs pulled us away from the dock and carefully back to pivot on the stern.  We left room between us and the large moored dhow in the harbor.  The large tug accompanied us nearly to the Gulf – then waved goodbye and blew its whistle and QE2 responded with its three blasts.

I tried to see the movie at 8:30 but the timing was late so I went to the Lido for a cheese and cracker snack, which I ate with Mike Campbell.  We discussed hymnody, RSCM etc.  John Henry Newton, JRR Tolkein and he knows Harry Bramma, Director of the Royal School of Church Music.  Chock up a few names dropped!  I also chatted with the Lees in the Queens Room then took my leave for the cabin.

Monday, 28 March – Arabian Sea

It is hot and humid on deck.  I had breakfast with Vernon and a new couple from Melbourne, Margaret and ?.  We had lively conversation on Australia.  I then found Elaine  McKay on Five Deck in the Shell doors area where the posters are being made for the Fayre different categories.  We decided to try the auction route for the dolls, so I delivered them to her office.  Done!

I had a nice chat with Lori who is a portrait artist and has sold stuff for people and the Fayre.  Lenny came along and showed us his lovely Burj al Arab pendant in gold and diamonds.  Wow!  For a retired postal worker, he hasn’t done too badly!  However, I think he knows this is his one big fling in life and wants to make the best of it.  His sir name is Bagarozzo.  He also told us we will be given a meal together at Todd English on QM2.  Thanks Ensemble.

I spent the rest of the morning on deck in the forward breeze on shady starboard side reading, until the noon whistle and navigation report:  N19˚39′ x E 058˚42′  Course:  215˚ true, Calm seas and low swell.

I had lunch with Doug Jackson, because Rosemary is indisposed.  I then had more deck time till three o’clock when I joined the clothes committee in sorting the items.  Tea with Lillian, Margaret, Maria, Bernice and Evelyn, then on the way back down, I found Phyllis Reynolds who boarded in Dubai.  She looks very well!  She is in cabin 1001, as far forward as One Deck has accommodation, and she will be eating in the Caronia Restaurant.  She is sharing with Randy.

I ate only the little shrimp cocktail and soup plus ice cream with my two tablemates, and then headed for the Grand Lounge.  While waiting in our seats, Fran and Lillian entertained us with tales of craft materials rescue and Frank’s efforts to hide them from Harry.  We all had lots of laughs!  Renato Pagliari, a loud showman tenor, belted it out for 45 minutes.  Koo came over to give me 2 photos of my talent show performance, and then I walked on Boat Deck to my cabin.

Tuesday, 29 March – Salalah, Oman.

This is a very simple and early developing harbor and it is about four kilometers from the town, the second largest city in Oman.  I had breakfast with Phyllis and cabin mate Randy, and then I went to my tour assembly point in the Theatre.  Karen Scott was our host and we saw decorated roundabouts, Paqah Castle, Mirbat Castle and fishing harbor with Dhows and Mohammed Bin Alis tomb.  We drove along shore; desert and palm groves back to the ship by one o’clock.  Lunch was with Rod, then a short chat with Sheila (Aus.) and her friend Lana, before attending the movie “Lemon Snickety: – weird!

QE2 departed as I was having dinner; whistles tooting as we started forward after the usual back and fill exercise!  The Crew Show tonight had variable talent of singing and dancing.  The best was the juggling cocktail steward.

Wednesday, 30 March – Gulf of Aden.

Vernon and I ate alone.  Angela got me three jars of raspberry jam!  I spent the rest of the morning under the starboard double-hulled boat, reading and enjoying the sights- dolphins, three small outboard fishing boats and a freighter. 

At the Lido I ate with the Lees then moved over to chat with Doug and Rosemary.  When I spotted Sheila and Lorna, I stopped there till the ship slowed a bit, vibrating as though in reverse, so I hastened outside to ascertain what was up.  ? ?

Noon Report:  N13˚32′ x E 048˚09′  Course: 250˚  Speed: 25.4 knots  Temp: 85˚   Low seas and low swell.   We are now in the Gulf of Aden and will be able to see lights as we enter the Red Sea around midnight.  Bab el Mandeo is the water we would call Strait, and this leads to the Red Sea.

I helped again with the clothes sorting, and then attended Elaine’s session on fair activities and committees.  I will help with booth decoration and be a “floater.” to relieve the regulars.  Phyllis and I went to tea in the Lido and we talked a blue streak till I accompanied her to 1001 for my tour!  They will let me use their tub soon!

I went to the six fifteen movie “Shall We Dance.”  During that time QE2 stopped and sent a boat with officers and the medical staff to a container ship that had a badly injured crewman.  He was dead apparently, when our people arrived.  However, Captain Bates expressed a gratitude and pride that his crew was able to respond in the tradition of mariners helping each other in distress.

I ate alone in the Lido then attended the acrobat show, followed by my usual deck time.  This time I went up top and had a nice visit with my German friend and her “friends.”  We ascertained that at ten o’clock the ship is still heading west prior to passing northward into the Red Sea.  Captain Bates had told us we would do that by 12:30.  Midnight fix: N12˚25.5′ x E043˚ 55′  Course: 281˚   later 331˚

Thursday, 31 March, – Red Sea.

All morning I sat under boat ten reading in the warm and humid air.  The wind is following at nearly 20 knots so we have little wind on deck.  Noon Report:  N16˚08′ x # 041˚ 11.6′  Speed: 21.9 knots.  Course:  330˚  Temp: 88˚F  Low seas and low swell.

I had lunch in my section and gave tips to all three waiters.  Sheshank made me a nice entrée salad.  Irma and friend Doris Lorz joined me eventually and we talked about QM2 and the Warwicks.  They are chummy with them.  Doris may be interested in sharing a cabin for the Cape Horn QM2 voyage so we exchanged names and addresses.

At 2:30 the clothing committee finished up sorting and pricing, followed by tea together.  I dressed formally for dinner with Elaine and Helen.  Since the Lees are due for the Ward Room, party, I headed to the cabin and called it a night.  QE2 sails on northward in the Red Sea, almost motionlessly.

Friday, 1 April – Red Sea – April Fool’s Day.

Jenny and I shared a happy breakfast time by the window then we parted for our own pursuits.  I spent time on deck reading till ten when I prepared to decorate the Grand Lounge with lots of others till lunch when Jenny again joined me.  I returned to the Grand Lounge for the afternoon serving during the whole Country Fayre – a busy and crowded time.  During de-dec, I left to attend the Ensemble party in the Yacht Club.  We will have dinner in Todd English Restaurant on QM2 during the Crossing.  Neat!  No extra tariff for us!  Noon Report:  N 24˚ 46′ x E 036˚ 14′   Speed: 29 knots.  Temp: 79˚ F  Following wind at 25 knots.

Right after dinner we drew close to Shem al Sheik, Egypt to transfer another patient to land.  We had a clear view of the city and coastline as the pilot boat came alongside.  A large private boat came up to us tooting its whistle in threes endlessly.  After the show I checked the deck view and found we were still passing by Shem al Sheik.  Clocks back one hour.

Saturday, 2 April – Aqaba, Jordan

We were docked by seven o’clock.  The temperature was 68˚ early and I was a bit chilly on the port, shady side, where I read facing the Israeli side of the Sinai Peninsula.

While the majority of the passengers were heading for Wadi Rum and Petra, Barbara Buchner and I took the shuttle bus into town and wandered all over.  We were cordially greeted by young men and from several sides we heard the words “Welcome to Jordan,” I spoke to one or two of them about my admiration for Queen Noor, and the fact that she had gone to the same school I attended, when she was Lisa Alibi.  One older man showed us his photos of Omar Shariff, taken during the filming of “Lawrence of Arabia.” The reason he showed them to us was because he had some part in the film, since he looks a bit like the hero!  I bought a nice cloth, which will serve as a very attractive card table cover, and parted from Barbara, because I wanted to return to the ship for lunch.  I had to search for the shuttle bus a while, but managed to find it after asking another bus driver along the way. 

After lunch at the Lido on my own, I spent the afternoon in my cabin napping and watching “Citizen Kane.”  Elaine and I were the only ones at our table for dinner, but just before I watched from Boat Deck, the hundreds of tour people snaking to board as the buses emptied out en masse.  The sun shone brightly on the mountain range and the bright, clean buildings of the city.  The huge Jordanian flag flapped nearly out straight in the brisk westerly wind.

We were a little late pulling away from the dock because of the wind, but we were able to use only the two tugs ordered.  We pivoted away on stern 45˚ then QE2 used her thrusters and forward motion to complete the turn.  Meanwhile, I sat facing aft with Holly and Hollis, enjoying the receding scene of Elat and Aqaba.  There being no movie at 8:30, in deference to a piano recital later, I headed for the cabin instead.

Sunday, 3 April – Gulf of Aqaba and Red Sea.

When I awoke during the night (around four o’clock) I saw the moon rise (on channel 3).  I checked further and found we are headed 146˚ – right back down the Red Sea.  This is how we used the extra time between very close ports.  At six o’clock we were still headed Southeast.  And in fact we stayed on this course till noon when they turned 90˚ to the West, which caused us to experience the full brunt of the stiff wind, which caused lots of white caps and moderate seas and moderate swells.

I sat all morning reading under boat ten.  Then joined Helen for lunch, by which time we had turned back to northwest toward our port for tomorrow.  I happily spent the afternoon in my cabin, puttering mostly.

Dinner with my mates and then the usual banter in our seats with the Lees, Lillian, Fran and others till the comedian Marty Brill performed.  It was still windy and chilly on deck as I returned on my usual route forward on Boat Deck for A stairway.   Clocks back an hour.

Monday, 4 April – Sokhna, Egypt.

This is a sit-in port day while the tours to Cairo etc. take place, and the port is quite small with one channel leading directly to one u-shaped dock.  QE2 came in and did a tight 180˚ across the expanse and tied up away from the stacked containers, next to a large shed.  We can see lots of new apartment buildings in the distance and not much more.  I sat on deck all morning in shade with cool 60˚ temperatures.  Lido lunch with Gisèle who had been on shore where below I could see vendors selling carpets and other trinkets, and crew guys were playing cricket (!) and playing with their little remote-controlled cars.  More time on deck till two thirty when I got an ice cream and headed for cabin time.

At six I watched a drum and bugle corps playing on the dock as the Cairo buses drew up, then dinner with Elaine.  Again I went on deck, and a woman told me about the empty resort buildings we could see north of us.  There were fireworks as we left port at eight.  Movie “Being Julia.”  At ten we anchored just south of Port Suez.

Tuesday, 5 April – Suez Canal.  For details see WC 2001 Suez Canal Transit.

I landed on Boat Deck as the anchor was raised by six thirty and we were on our way.  I stayed under boat ten literally all day, [11 hours] as all the landmarks glided by.  Details are in my notebook.    I ate lunch of sandwiches from the Board Room.  The sun caught up with my single spot, but the temperature being cool, I was happy to let it warm me as I read my book till around five o’clock when I went down.  Elaine and I again ate dinner together then I saw the last half of “Calendar Girls.”  Being exhausted from my “vigorous” watching of Suez scenes! I headed for bed early.  Clocks ahead one hour.

Thursday, 7 April – The Med.- Ionian Sea.

After breakfast with the Sopers and Vernon, I tried the deck, but found it a bit too cold and windy, so I headed to Queen’s Room where I enjoyed watching the belly dance class!  Lucy did very well.  Around eleven I tried the deck again and managed to read in sunshine till the noon report.  Ionian Sea; N36˚44′ x E020˚ 6′  Course: 290˚ – directly heading for the Straits of Messina at 24.8 knots.

Jenny Christodoulou joined me just as I was finishing up my lunch of special Sheshank salad and “love sundae” so I stayed and eventually Koo and Pat joined us as well.

The charity auction was very interesting with Lord Jeffrey Archer doing the auctioneering.  My dolls sold for $130 making the total of my contributions $385. Not bad.  The 1969-2004 ship’s wheel and auto pilot mounting went for $16,000.  Wow!  Original menu and wine list covers and commemorative first day covers went for a lot too, as did Peter Russell’s white Captain’s uniform!

After dinner I joined the Lees and Fran (briefly) for Duggie Brown’s comic routine!  I feel he is a friend since we shared a little alleyway a few years back and had fun joking times.  About ten thirty I bundled up and headed to the bow to watch our long approach to the Straits of Messina.  I was there about an hour searching for channel markers of which I only sighted a shore side red blinker and a distant green one.  The Pilot eventually boarded at the last minute, and we proceeded slowly to starboard, straightened out and after a longer time than I anticipated, we zagged to port, at which time we had passed the tall tower on the Sicily side.  It was quiet and majestic as we silently passed through, and I remembered the myth about Scylla and Charybdis.  We were done by eleven thirty.  Clocks back one hour.  Anne and Chloe stayed up to see Stromboli, which gave a flare!  I had gone below by that time.

Friday, 8 April – Bay of Naples. My day was spent visiting Capri and sharing the day with Anne from Phoenix.  She is Chloe’s sister.  We saw Marina Grande harbor, Marina Pocola, Caesar Augustus Harbor and Faraglione Rocks and funicular.  Then the bus took us to Ana Capri for lunch overlooking gardens and cliffs and a walk to Anacapri town square where I went to see the Villa San Michele (owned by Dr. Axel Munthe who restored it) and back to Naples by hydrofoil.

We left Napoli by seven o’clock with two groups of whistles and a boop.  The Captain chose to take us past Capri on the way out!  I was so tired I headed to the cabin with prospects of a rough night in a storm.  (Pope’s funeral.)  The ship’s motion was hardly noticeable all night!

Saturday, 9 April – Tyrrhenian Sea.

Charles and Camilla wedding day.  We saw it on the BBC.

The strong headwind continued through the night and all day, so most people stayed inside.  I tried the deck occasionally; first when we were sailing between Sardinia and Corsica, when I simply stepped out each A stairway door to see the islands, then retreated to comfort!  Second; when I braved the wind, deep swells and wind sweeping up foam, to listen to the noonday report from the Captain.  N41˚ 120′ x E 008˚ 20′  Course: 270˚ – due west to Barcelona and Speed; 17.6 knots.  The screen on my GPS was literally crowded with city way-marks on Africa and Europe, even up to Zurich!

The whistle was blasted fully for a long time, then at intervals I heard the other smaller ones.  The wind over the decks was 50 knots and supposed to diminish; two to three meter swells and 55˚ F temperature.

Jenny and I had lunch together by the window in Mauretania Restaurant and Sheshank again made me a super Niçoise salad with tuna and chicken plus a lovely peach crisp!  We parted then as I located Rosemary B. who had my Gore-Tex jacket to return to me.

I went to read my book by a window in the Grand Lounge, where I could watch the rough water with deep swells slapping the ship and themselves.  While there, Lord Jeffrey Archer had a question and answer session, which I enjoyed very much.  At this time the royal wedding was in progress.

Around four thirty I again braved the Boat Deck, this time bundled up while I trekked against the fifty or more knot wind forward from G stairway to A stairway.  I met only one hearty man and really had to balance and stomp firmly with short steps.  It was really work!  As I passed by the Queen’s Grill Lounge, a lady was looking out, and when I passed by very deliberately placing my feet on the deck, she expressed great surprise and disbelief!  QE2 is pitching nobly with slight rolls, obviously controlled by the stabilizers.  Spray is pouring over the bow and the wave remnants are reaching the bridge windows.  Also I feel waves slap the bow sides, which jolt the hull.  Since we are heading due west, the afternoon sun is making things glisten as we head just slightly off its path!  I must admit I am surprised that the Mediterranean Sea has enough fetch to cause these wave disturbances, but given a strong enough wind, anything seems possible!

I watched a horrible movie in the Theatre, then had dinner with Ku and Pat in the very tossing Lido, followed by cabin retreat by nine o’clock, to stay as we pitch quite noticeably.  All during the night QE2 was buffeted and tossed fairly roughly.  I wasn’t exactly thrown out of bed, but I was awakened when the water tray moved and glasses klinked, so I had to put all that stuff on the deck sole.  Gee I love this!

Sunday, 10 April – Barcelona, Spain.  N41˚17′ x E 002˚ 12.’

It has been quite fresh and windy. We docked at eight o’clock bow to the new bascule bridge, and proceeded to mount our 2 Ensemble buses.  Landmarks visited:  Via Ramblas, Columbus Column, Roman Barcimo (old walls), Catalonia. Rablas (used to be a river, but it is now a wide avenue with a Bird Market and colorful flower market) ; Musica- Lyceo, Opera House rebuilt in 1994 after a fire; Gaudia Church of the Holy Family; Palau de Musica; and the venue for the Olympic Games, topped off with a Tapas lunch in a dark and very crowded restaurant (where our large group of two bus capacity squeezed in without benefit of the much needed “shoehorn.” The meal was tasty but very hot.  When we returned to the ship by three thirty, I did not feel well. 

I did manage to dress for the World Cruise dinner at the Palau Nacional, and enjoyed the fabulous high- domed structure with a huge pipe organ.  We had dancers and a guest soloist plus a choir.  Three of us left at 9:45, just prior to the end of the festivities, but I was feeling awful.  Terry Waite walked me to the bus, which I thought was very kind of him.

Monday, 11 April – Barcelona.

I slept most of the day so missed any further exploring of the fabulous Spanish city.  I don’t even know when we departed from the dock!  I felt lousy all day.

Tuesday, 12 April – at Sea.

After breakfast with Vernon and the Sopers plus Bill G., I headed to the deck for the rest of the cool morning.  For a while the distant Spanish shore was visible as were occasional fishing boats.  Every three months the ship’s steering gear has to be tested, and today is the day.  I didn’t notice any aberrant movements, however, when the noon navigation information was given; N37˚ 52′ x E 000˚ 04′ Course: 210˚; Speed 12 knots.  Whistle testing took three complete blows.

I had lunch by the window with Helen, then returned to my cabin the rest of the day.  Finally I made myself go to the Harry Potter movie and dinner at the Lido.  I just missed the helicopters shoot and maneuvers.  All I saw was a very curvy wake.  This must have been the steering test.

I heard the last bit of Jacqui Scott’s show.  She too went to Cheetham School.  She is a well-known West End actress.  A nice World Cruise gift awaited me – a Bushnell binocular set.  Fixed field.

Wednesday, 13 April – Malaga, Spain.  N36˚ 42′ x W 004˚ 24.9′

Whereas I was not on deck for the docking, Ku told me a tug pulled QE2 by the stern into her berth, just like the last time when I observed it years ago.

Today I went to Granada and the Alhambra.  The tour was extensive and detailed.  Some features I list: a stand-up cemetery, Granada wall, Gypsy caves, Moorish architecture, harem house and courtyard, council chamber, mosque-cum chapel, plaster molded ceilings, wooden inlaid ceilings, balconies and so on (see notes).  We were the last bus to return so we left shortly after six o’clock, having tooted at and waited for another ship to precede us.

Again I made contact with the Lees during dinner and for a while in the Lounge.  We re-arranged the chairs to suit us!  I left before the show began.  Peter Garland’s wife passed on Monday back in England.  They had left together from Hong Kong, and none of us knew how immanent her demise was although we knew she didn’t feel well. 

My tablemates’ names are Fitzpatrick and Ellis.  Ku and Pat are still there too.

Between nine thirty and ten we will pass through the Straits of Gibraltar, but it will be too dark to see anything but lights – if that.

Thursday, 14 April – At Sea – Atlantic Ocean again.

Helen and I shared a table by the window at breakfast.  I had a blueberry pancake for a change.  Upon checking on the weather above, I quickly decided it was too cold for comfort, so I proceeded to do my errands:  1. I got a stopper from Elaine, 2. Errands, 3.  Get passport and later, deliver jam jars to Elaine.  In between I chatted briefly with Lillian and the Lees.  Margaret had her hair done.  Fran was also there one time I passed by and she still remembers she has my needles and will return them shortly.

I chatted with Sheila and also Elaine F. and at eleven I joined fellow solo travelers for our farewell party in the Yacht Club.  I chatted with Ann L. and Chloe and photographed other friends there.  Ann and Chloe were frequent companions as we mounted the stairs from Three Deck to the Upper Deck and the restaurant via A Stairway – huffing and puffing, but feeling virtuous in making the effort.  Often we would be ahead of people who summoned the lifts and had to wait or endure the deck stops on the way up.  We would greet them at each end of their ride!  More feelings of virtue and triumph!

Noon Report:  N39˚ 12′ x W009˚ 48′; Course: North; Speed: 23.5 knots.  Temp.: 59˚ F.  It dawned on me that even in the Mediterranean Sea we managed to cross the Prime Meridian without my noticing.  No one pointed it out at the time, and it took me two days to realize this.

At lunch in the Mauretania Restaurant, Peter and the Irish lady plus Helen joined me and we had happy conversations – dogs, our three countries and so on.  Doris Lorz and Erma Klindt came too and Doris is interested in the cabin share idea, so we will pursue it on the Queen Mary 2.  I spent the afternoon in my cabin, blowing and sneezing as I read “the Touch.”

I managed to emerge for dinner, which offered the Baked Alaska parade.  I then attended the Captain’s final World Cruise party.  He greeted me heartily as I came in past Elaine McKay, who was at her usual post introducing those who need it.  I found Jenny to one side and Gisèle joined us.  The gala food displays were spectacular including vegetable sculptures and sculpted World Cruise 2006 cake. 

I found a chair in the balcony for the super electric string quartet “String Fever.”  Ku volunteered to hold a violin during the Bolero “extravaganza” piece, with all four guys playing the one ‘cello!  I talked with three of the guys afterward – all of their instruments have five or more strings like viols.  They admitted that was indeed the fact, but they don’t make an issue of it.

After two Horlicks in the Lido, watching the catering crew decorate for the gala buffet at midnight, I managed to tear myself away to watch the Royal Ascot Ball which was taking  place in the Queens Room – complete with fancy hat competition and a “horse race.”

Friday, 15 April – Bay of Biscay!!

The night was a bit lumpy but not as bad as pre Barcelona.  It continues rough and nicely sunny.  I said farewell to Vernon and Bill, who will fly home.  The Sopers we’ll see after we change to the QM2 at Southampton.

When Margaret and Eric arrived at their accustomed Queens Room spot, Phyllis Reynolds came to that and wow, does she chat!  It is all interesting though!  We then all parted, and I tried the deck for twenty minutes.  I found the winds very brisk, but waited for the noon whistle all bundled up and braced for the wind and cold forward motion, analyzing the waves and swells, both of which are above moderate in my estimation.  Noon Report:  N47˚27′ x W 006˚  Course: 27˚   Speed: 23.7 knots.  Temp. 50˚F

I have chosen not to participate in the talent show, so with that out of the way I shared lunch again by the window with Helen Ellis. from Newcastle and Australia.  We watched the wild grey seas with whitecaps galore.  QE2 rose and pitched effortlessly on the on-coming waves.

I did attend the talent show, however, and the usual participants, plus Line Dancers participated, as did the belly dancer, Patricia.  This was also the time when the Cruise staff did their amusing ditty in a progressively growing line of antics starting with Warren Smith in his Grenadier guard uniform and subsequent wacky staff-members joining him at each new verse.  It always gets a good laugh.  Of course, I filmed it in a successive manner!

Afterward Chloe, Anne and Sheila shared their amusement over the performance, and I headed on deck to enjoy the abating seas and sunshine,  I watched the One Deck Lido being power washed, and noted how all the decks are spic and span.  Helen Jones told me some crew guys went on a destructive spree last night and vandalized the beautiful triple-tapestry. During the pre-show time Margaret Lee filled in further details about the vandals.  At least two guys on the crew damaged and stashed the QE2 launch tapestry in a lifeboat, and are being held under guard on Five Deck.  A hearing took place tonight at six o’clock.  Also the grand lounge carpet needed cleaning, because they spattered paint deliberately on walls and carpet.

Jacqui Scott and Alan Stewart shared the entertainment stage.  I hugged both Eric and Margaret goodbye as we all sang “Hail Britannia” by Arne.  I had to pack and put my bags out for transfer to the Queen Mary 2 tomorrow.  Although having to say goodbye to my best friends, I am so glad the Crossing still remains.   Clocks back an hour.

Saturday, 16 April – Southampton, England and shift to Queen Mary 2

I awoke after five o’clock and noticed we were already going up the Solent, a tug lighting the way!  After we were moored all turned around, I went to Boat Deck (took the lift for practically the first time in these three months). I always have avoided the easy way up and down in favor of the exercise and the ability to greet people along the way, and especially to admire that marvelous “smuggler” oil painting at the top of B stairway on 2 Deck.  Each time I look at it, I see some detail un-noticed before.

At six or so, I saw a dark spot down river, which loomed into the shape of Queen Mary 2.  As the sun rose, it lit up the ship and I took many successful photos as she passed way up to the Mayflower Terminal. 

I had breakfast at seven o’clock, said my goodbyes to Helen and the Lees, hugged Omar and Sheshank plus posed with them, then I headed for Queen’s Room where Harry, Fran Caldwell and friends waited till our buses were called.  I went to the QM2 terminal then took a taxi to town where I had fun shopping on the High Street.  I got my Natwest money and returned to QM2 by two o’clock.  I boarded immediately through the Platinum line, and puttered in 4046.  I met my stewardess, Nina from Sweden.  My luggage made it in good order.