Monday, 26 of February of 2024

QE2-QM2 WC 2005 – Part 6

Shift from Queen Elizabeth 2 to Queen Mary 2 for Trans-Atlantic Crossing.   WC Part 6 – 2005

Queen Mary 2 – Southampton, England

The lifeboat drill was at five o’clock and my station is B in the Winter Garden.  That being done, I headed briefly for Prop Deck, but soon took the outside lift to Atlantic Observation Deck on 10, where I waited with Holly and Hollis Latham for the dramatic departure.  A spouting Fire tug preceded us right up to QE2.  Both ships blasted their whistles in threes several times.  Appropriately, when QE2’s deep modulated whistle responded, we applauded.  QM2’s foghorn was particularly loud where we stood- up front.  You can tell each Captain is proud of his ship!

I dashed to table 259 in Britannia restaurant and met Frank, Art, Annette and Phil, Sharon and three others.  Sharon joined me on the left balcony for the show.  Brian Price still holds forth as Cruise Director.  So far the ship is nearly motionless.

Ut oh.  My cabin must be just above the Royal Court Theatre stage!  For a while the loud music and buzz were audible as well as “feelable.”

It has been a stormy day with large swells and whitecaps.  I searched out a nice game table on Deck 2 forward on portside where I sat for a while reading and experiencing the occasional foamy wipeout on the window at this low level.  Various friends wandered by to chat.  At eleven thirty after waiting for the crowd to thin out, I went to the special QE2 cocktail welcome party by Captain Paul Wright and hosted by Elaine, who obviously changed over with us.

I went to lunch in the Britannia Restaurant by a window with two British couples and two ladies from the World Cruise.  We had great conversations about world places.  I then spent some time in the Library and checked on the Bridge viewing area, and Commodore Club, where I read by the port window and forward.

I was attracted by an H. Stern come-on lecture and jewelry show in the Chart Room.  I took delight in showing the ring I had bought way back in 1993 when the QE2 did a round South America segment.

At three o’clock I joined my fellow World Cruise people at Todd English where we are privileged to take tea each afternoon.  Very posh and bright it is.  Doris L. and Irma K. plus Mary M. joined me and afterward we checked our bookings with Betty.  Doris and I are set to share at great half off savings per cabin.

Half of the Ensemble group members had our final freebee tonight at Todd English restaurant.  I sat with Joe and Lori Burke plus Doreen K. from Martha’s Vineyard and Anne-Marie and husband.  The experience of masterfully prepared and presented food was outstanding as we sat in our sumptuous stuffed booths with lobster and corn chowder, thick beef cooked rare on spinach and mashed potatoes, then Fallen chocolate cake and raspberry sauce.  The others had all the wine they wanted!  There was nothing more I wanted to do so I simply returned to my cabin by ten o’clock.

We are experiencing only slight motion.  Clocks back one hour.

Monday, 18 April – Atlantic Ocean.

Gemma and I had breakfast and a fun talk together in one of the King’s Court nooks observing the very active waves and spray, as well as the occasional rainbow reflecting the sun from aft.

I then headed to Deck 2 port corridor for close up views of the very large waves.  Marilyn and Glen Peters stopped by to chat a while.  I later cashed some travelers’ checks and received a very nice Cunard slim pen.  I gave my flight information to the travel desk people and collected my developed photos. At eleven I attended the very entertaining talk by the BBC newsman, Michael Buerk, and it was obvious the Brits far outnumbered the Americans here because he was much better known to them.

Noon Report:  N49˚ 52′ x W 026˚ 44′; Course: 263˚ (great circle route) and 25 – 30 foot waves.  Wind: 45 knots over the decks.  The seas are moderate, and heavy swells prevail.

At lunch in the Britannia Restaurant I again had a nice group of mates.  I then went to the Library where I found my favorite chair available looking three ways on starboard side.  I read a while, feeling the rise and fall, plus occasional hull slapping and shudder by the bow.  The seas have very gradually calmed down, so by the time I went to Todd English for tea, things were fairly steady.  When done there I went to Boat Deck aft to take the brisk windy air.  I walked up to 12 Deck stair by stair by stair, then retreated inside to the Pavilion Pool way up top.  Oh yes, earlier I had spent time in the Board Room off Commodore Club.

The string quartet, Con Fuoco plays on the balcony at dinnertime, adding a marvelous ambiance to the elegant Britannia Restaurant. Things have smoothed out enough that after dinner I went with Phil and Annette plus Art and Irene and Sharon, to the dance show “Apassionata.”  It wasn’t possible to perform this last night, because of the motion. Sharon sat with me in my favorite spot, the far left balcony.  I then went right to the cabin, showered and settled in for the night.  Clocks back one hour again.  Knightsbridge Room is on Deck one, C stairway, as is the Chelsea room.

Tuesday, 19 April.

Anita joined me for breakfast in a nook, and eventually I chatted briefly with the Burkes and Caldwells (Fran and Harry).  I then headed for the Library where I found a chair in my favorite spot again.  When the forward chair opened up I moved to the window looking forward.  Eventually I walked up to Commodore Club, and then took the lift down the outside to Deck 7.  This affords such a marvelous view of the ship as well as the ocean’s vast vista. 

I spent some time with Zelma at the 3L art gallery, wandered to Queens Room and G 32 and generally wandered aimlessly till lunch when Anita and her friend joined me for lunch in the Britannia.  Eventually Myron came to sit alone just next to us.  I spent the afternoon in my cabin till teatime when I went to Todd English and shared time with Valerie B. Molly, Erma and Doris and last, Perle.  The view aft from the restaurant shows the outside pool and Jacuzzi plus the wake.

All of my tablemates were present at dinnertime. I went to the movie in Illuminations, “Edge of Reason – Bridget Jones” Clocks back one hour.

Wednesday, 20 April

From the bow scene, it looks like we have a following sea, and a man is standing way forward, looking intently over the ocean.  This proved to be part of a drama, which started with a gentleman gone missing last night!  Suspecting something amiss, I went topside with my GPS and bundled up.  It was frigid outside and the GPS reading revealed we were at 7:20 going 3.9 knots and heading due East.  However, I presumed the figure 8 search pattern had been in effect most of the night, which also proved to be true.  The whole story came out by 8:30 with the order for crew to make a thorough inspection of the ship.  Captain Wright came on the Tannoy and explained the whole thing.  Apparently an 82 year old Doctor from Germany had left a suicide note in his study at home where his wife found it after being notified by the company.  Queen Mary 2 had been working with Newfoundland Coast Guard and alerted all ships in the area to be on the lookout.

We are again heading southwest at nine o’clock at speed, plowing through sizeable seas. I had a nice chat with Lori and Phyllis at King’s Court; then headed to 2 Deck port alleyway to enjoy the rather steep waves.

Through the morning I sat in different venues to read – Deck 2 game area, 3L gallery, Commodore Club, and up and down the scenic lifts and then lunch in Britannia with Anita and friend.

Noon Report:  N45˚ 09′ x W 051˚ 24′  Course:  250˚ Rhumb Line.  Speed 26 knots.  Wind West at 56 knots over the decks.  Temp:  37˚ ; Seas: rough and moderate swell..

I watched the Sherlock Holmes Mystery in the Royal Court Theatre.  It was like a radio play and Lenny B. was the sound effects man.  Funny.  Also I saw two plays given by the RADA group. 

We celebrated Annette’s Birthday at dinner.  This was also the baked Alaska night as well as Chef’s parade.  When done I slipped in at the last minute to Captain Wright’s cocktail party and sat with Chloe and Anne till time to attend the Rock@the Opera show.  It was very good and not too loud.  However, as I write this in my cabin, I can feel the vibes and actually hear the soprano singing during the second show.   I filled out the custom’s declaration before retiring.  Clocks back another hour.

Thursday, 21 April.

When dawn came, it was obvious we were in thick fog!  At seven o’clock I emerged and took the portside scenic lift to 11 Deck and settled in the Atlantic Room right under the Bridge where I could hear the foghorn every two minutes.  The deck is closed off for safety. I returned to deck 7 the same way and shared a nook table with Phyllis.  A piece of plastic flew down and shattered on the deck as we sat there!

The rest of the morning saw me in different venues reading or exploring the Connexions area and the photo gallery.  I managed to get my pink booking slip back as well as a cabin assignment for the 2006 South American Odyssey.  About an hour before noon I talked with Zelma’s friend from New Zealand.  Backing up a bit, I did my “Lorelei” rehearsal with the accompanist.

Noon Report:  N41˚29′ x W065˚ 28′  Course:  250˚  Speed: 26 knots, average 23.8 knot.  Temp: 41˚ F.   Seas: moderate and swell moderate.

I was seated in the farthest aft corner of the Britannia restaurant for lunch with an English and a Scottish couple plus an American couple.  I followed that with a nap in my cabin till three o’clock when I headed to Todd English for one last tea for us World Cruise members.  Doris, Erma and Lori sat with me in the elegant surroundings of red plush and superb service.  I hastened to the Queen’s Room for the talent show and did my “Lorelei” ditty and heard several pretty good singers.

Pretty soon after that, being dressed for the occasion, I simply shifted forward a little for dinner with my mates.

I just had a lovely reunion with Jeff Canono on Five Deck, C stairway.  He is a former steward on the QE2, and we would sing to each other whenever we would meet.  We did a bit of this again as we reminisced about past years.  I then continued aft on Boat Deck to climb the stairs to 12 Deck.  At Ten Deck, the exclusive deck for Queens Grill passengers, I took some great dusk shots sweeping forward to pink afterglow.  It was plenty cold up there but the wind wasn’t all that strong.  At A stairway, I took the scenic lift to Deck 7 and headed back to the cabin to finish packing and put out my bags.  I saw the movie, “Ray” in Illuminations and was in bed by ten thirty.  Clocks back the last hour.

Friday, 22 April – New York City.

I was awake before four o’clock so decided to get up.  Distant lights showed on the television screen and the chart channel showed we were approaching the channel from Ambrose Light.  When I saw the Verrazano lights I went to Boat Deck and up the elevator to Atlantic Observation deck where I remained through the whole process, bridge, statue and so on.  At five thirty I went through the Immigration process in Illuminations and the customs officer waved my duty!  As we were pulling into the berth, I went to Twelve Deck and walked aft on top.  A Corgi dog was enjoying the air at the Kennel and I patted him.  I walked down to Boat Deck and watched baggage off-loading (by cage and fork lift), and sat in a deck chair a while.  Friends came by for greeting and final farewells.  Myron, Phyllis, Valerie N. etc.  I eventually found Jefferson Canono and we photographed each other.  Goodbye to Jenny at C Stairway.

At eight o’clock I joined hundreds of others in the Royal Court Theatre to await our disembarkation call (Red 3 for me).  I found my brown bag at the QE2 group, then the other two in Red 3 category.  We had been routed through and around 3 Deck Lobby and out by the Champagne Bar.  David and Elaine were on my bus to Newark.  This is where I had a horrendous time going from the wrong division on the monorail to the right terminal.  Fortunately, a safety guard took pity on me and aided in boarding the train.

Anyway, thus endeth a wonderful 107 day World Cruise.   New York Harbor: N40˚45′