Saturday, 22 of June of 2024

2007 World Cruise – Part 2

Part 2 – World Cruise – Queen Elizabeth 2 – 2007

Monday, 22 January – San Pedro, California.

The ship was docked near five o’clock, and I was awake to watch the process on my television.  I proceeded to dress and read a bit.   Little after six o’clock I joined the long queue for immigration in the Queens Room, then headed up to Mauretania where I sat by the window for breakfast with Jenny.  I vacated my now bare cabin to join the Lees on Boat Deck for their phone call on my mobile.  I had previously called Cherie and she confirmed Chris and Ben would be coming to visit.

I went ashore to wait over two hours for Chris and Ben, who took me to the Queen Mary.  We looked around and had a nice lunch at the Promenade Restaurant overlooking Long Beach Harbor.  I saw my young English friend, Gary there.  We finally were able to see the twenty-two foot model of the “Normandie” and Jon Hollis’ commemorative coin plus a “Lusitania” model.

Before all this I had a long conversation with Jon Hollis who happens to be from Pembroke, MA.  We talked at length about QE2 and his long years working on board. 

We passengers were allowed back on the ship shortly before five o’clock, and after settling in and knitting, I had my first dinner at table 255 with Carol and Val, two Americans newly embarked.  I returned to the cabin for the night, and didn’t count on watching us depart at ten o’clock.  We’ll see.

Tuesday, 23 January.

The ship did leave on time last night, which I noted upon waking as we were clear of the channel.  The next thing I was aware of was around 5:30.  I read a while and when the sun arose I could see a long shadow over the port side, indicating we were heading South – obviously adding travel time before turning for San Francisco – or the sun rises in the West!   NOT! 

I sat on Port side of the Mauretania with people of animated attitudes, the English friend of Avis, an American lady from Michigan and another Brit.  When finished I sat with Jenny by a starboard window and we exchanged reports on our individual shore-side day yesterday.

When I checked the weather on deck, I found it pleasant but not quite warm enough to sit comfortably.  I then found the Lees in Grand Lounge, so I chatted with them as well.  Terry Waite (Yorkshire) came by and entertained us with a mimicking rendition of the drill announcement on the Tannoy.  Ha HA!  The speaker was so loud we put our fingers in our ears.

After hearing all of the drill, I wandered a bit, noting that the Queens Grill staterooms on eight deck each had a door knob yellow sign “Clear” as did the heads and Board Room.

Eve Jones gave her first lecture,  “Dollar Duchesses and Diabolical Dukes.”

Noon Report:  We are heading NNW 345˚ Rhumb line, having turned toward San Francisco at a speed of 16.2 knots – 33˚05′ N x 121˚ W.  Calm seas and low swell, light wind – 17 knots over the decks.

I shared lunchtime in the Lido with Nellie Burns.  She has seen Jean Burns but I haven’t yet.  I then enjoyed reading my book facing aft in sunshine away from the chilly wind, till time for the movie, “The Sentinel.”  During my search to find Jean I had tea in the Lido with Granya – read again in the area by the Library, then went to the cabin at five-thirty.  I ate all alone at 255 because the couple opted for the late seating.

I had a long chat with Eric about his wartime activities on merchant ships, including being sunk by a U-boat and rescued by a trawler!  I was back in the cabin by nine forty-five.

Wednesday, 24 January, San Francisco, California.

I awoke just before the alarm went off and prepared to go on deck for the passage under the Golden Gate Bridge, and I made it in time to see the approach through the video viewfinder.  It was quite chilly out there.  By six-fifteen we were docked starboard side facing the city with Nob Hill directly ahead.

After breakfast with the Lees I aid goodbye to Stephanie and Edith and set out to walk along the Harbor road and docks to the Maritime Museum where I went on board the square rigged ship, “Balclutha” and examined the scow schooner “Alma,” the steam tug “Hercules”, the ferry “Eureka” and the side-wheel tug “Eppleton Hall.” I then walked to Ghirideli Square to buy chocolates, which I gave to Eric and Margaret.  I had lunch in the Caronia Restaurant with Gisele and Host, Joe.  An English couple joined us and as usual conversation centered on our cruises and Cunard ships.

When I checked on the Lido, I finally found Jean Burns with Nellie Burns (no relation to each other) and again we talked of our booking experiences.  Jean called her sister on my cell phone.  I then went below for the afternoon, knitting and generally relaxing until dinnertime.  I have a new tablemate from Brisbane, Wendy.  She is the widow of a Merchant Marine Captain so I introduced her to Eric and Margaret.  There being no show tonight I returned to the cabin for the night to await our sail away at ten o’clock.  We did leave more or less on time, but I fell asleep.

Thursday, 25 January, Burns Day.

I awoke early, did my reading and knitting and then found Vernon at a table for two by a port window, so I joined him!  We were going in and out of fog and finally the sun came out brightly.

I found Jean Burns at her favorite spot, sitting by a window between the steps and the Grand Lounge on starboard side.  We chatted a bit and I went on to book 12 future excursions.  Jean says Violet wants us and the Lees to meet her in Sydney, (which we will do), for lunch etc.  I attended the Charlie Urbanowicz lecture, which promises to be very informative.  Next, Eve Jones told us about Robert Burns’ life and poetry.  Naturally, the Theatre was the venue for these.

Noon Report:  35˚ N x 128˚ W;  Rhumb line 241˚ – moderate seas and long westerly swells.  Wind: Force 4 from the west.  30 knots over the deck.  Temp: 56.3 Fahrenheit.

After a brief time with Eric and Margaret I headed for the Lido and found Wendy, so I joined her with an Elizabeth from England.  The ship has been pitching in the long swells, so while in the Lido I enjoyed seeing the stern rise and fall.  As a matter of fact, I did go to the taffrail to watch the wake and swells, an exercise I can never get enough of!

I tried the movie, “Mission Impossible III” but left half way through to return to my cabin, where I knitted and watched “Driving Lesson” with Julie Walters and Rupert Grint (Weasly in “Harry Potter.”)  Teatime found me heading for the Lido where I met Bill Greenwood.  He invited me to view his DVD of ships ready for scrapping.  I am to call him for some afternoon.  I ate with Wendy and Elizabeth – Aussie not English.  There wasn’t much to represent Burns night, but white and blue balloons, haggis and venison goulash.  Not for me!  I did, however, indulge in crème brulé!

As I left the Lido I spoke to Captain McNaught briefly joking that he was released from his isolation.  He responded with humor and warm pleasantries as though he recognized me.  He actually looks like has enjoyed the sunshine – having a rosy hue! I then slipped into the show or better labeled, “concert” by a loud and not too pleasant sounding tenor. 

The pitching has lessened, but there is still some welcome, gentle motion – rocking in spite of stabilizers.  Clocks back one hour.

Friday, 26 January.

I arose early to cloudy skies, which remained most of the day.  I had breakfast at 257 with Martha, Betty and another friend, Beverly, all of whom had been on the “Aegean I, and know Phyllis Reynolds.  At nine o’clock I turned in my Passport at 2 Deck G stairway, then tried Yacht Club starboard for a quiet read.  The Chaplain’s discussion went on there after a lecture on Russia (not in the daily schedule).  After the morning lecture about Banquets and Claridges, the wind had picked up a bit so with our 27 plus knots speed it was blustery on deck. 

I tried some time in the Board Room and had pleasant conversation with Perle, Terry and others gathered by the bookstand.  A nice Brit lady and I found information and shared tips for upcoming ports.  Linda joined me for lunch in the Lido – I ate too much as usual!

The afternoon movie was a big waste of time – “Matador.”  I knitted in the cabin till time to dress formal for dinner.  I almost crashed the Grills’ cocktail party, but realized my mistake in time to pull out of line!  Wendy and I being the only ones assigned to our table 255, we enjoyed our exclusive dinner of lobster tail and gran marnier soufflé – pea and bean soup to start.

Eric and Margaret went to a party so Wendy and I joined Frank and Marie for the show by Sally Jones, a West End performer.  She was quite good!

There is some rocking motion and without checking outside someone said we have a strong broadside wind.  You can pretty much tell the stabilizers are trying valiantly!

Saturday, 27 January.

When I awoke I could see a bright day in the offing.  I had breakfast with Gronya and Peter on port windows of Mauretania, then headed to Boat Deck!  The weather was mild but the headwind was cool and not conducive to lingering long outside.  However, I did try it for a while, till time for the ten o’clock lecture on the history of “Forensic Science from Ancient China to Quincy” followed by Eve Jones’ talk on the Astor family- from Germany to England and America, entitled “Rough Manners.”  When we left the Theatre shortly before noon, I again tried the weather on deck but didn’t linger long.  I went below to get my sweater and after lunch with Bill G. (cabin 3033) and dessert with Marguerite and Shirley, I then returned to starboard Boat Deck for a nice hour of reading.  I got my GPS to work finally and saw the Hawaiian Islands on screen!

At two thirty Charlie Urbanoweicz raced through his lecture on Hawaiian history – too fast!  I wasn’t the only one trying to keep up (I always take notes) even the listeners were breathless so to speak!  I returned to the deck to read some more till I tried the Board Room at teatime.  I had hot chocolate with Elaine and David from Minnesota.

Since tonight we had our first Captain’s Cocktail party since New York, I made the effort to attend.  When introduced to Ian McNaught I tried a wisecrack as we shook hands “How are your eyes; do you see spots with all those flashes?  He chuckled and said “I have another pair upstairs!”  We posed together for another flash and I was off and was greeted by Martyn Moss.  Not able to find a free chair, I ended up standing with Marguerite.  The Captain said a few words and announced he will leave tomorrow and we all groaned.  He’ll be back when we get to Southampton.

I went up to dinner with Wendy and had lamb.  The rice pudding was nowhere near up to par.  Our waiter actually talked it up, and I was swayed by his pitch!  Wendy and Eric compared their sea experiences, then we stayed for the show by pianist and songster Chris Hamilton and later – Renato Pagliari – what a strain!

The first World Cruise gift was on my bed when I returned for the night: a black and red commemorative tote bag!  Clocks back one hour.

Sunday, 28 January – Honolulu.

When I emerged to witness the docking process we were just about abreast of Pier 2 to the east of the Aloha Tower and Maritime Museum, housing the “Falls of Clyde” square rigger.  We were gently pushed sideways till we were in position.  I saw Captain McNaught, the Pilot and another officer putting on their raincoats as a shower passed by.  The Hawaiian band and dancers had to end the serenade and greeting to save the drum and other instruments.

I had breakfast with Vernon on Port side, then went below to prepare for my day ashore.  The gangway was starboard side at stairway A.  I walked through the new, large terminal to the street and turned left for the Aloha Tower.  I went to the top to film QE2 at Pier 2 and “Pride of Aloha” at pier 10-11, then browsed at the shops before going to Hilo Hattie’s to shop.  I then took the trolley shuttle to Waikiki to browse at the International Market place and returned to the ship on the trolley by way of Hilo Hattie’s again.

I had lunch with Nellie and Jean, then joined the Lees on deck facing Waikiki and Diamond Head, and called the family from the deck.  I only got Geoff.  Gathering clouds and a squall prompted me to leave my deck chair and on the way aft, a gust uprooted a table umbrella, which two of us saved from being blown overboard.  We also put down the three remaining umbrellas!

I knitted in my cabin till time for dinner at six o’clock (15 minutes earlier).  I wore my new outfit, bought at Hilo Hattie’s.  Ate alone but had discourse with my neighbors.  Several of us adjourned to the Grand Lounge to see the special Hawaiian dance and singing, which was superb, with young girls dancing in light precision and the family of musicians lovingly supporting the little girls. 

I went on deck and found a beautiful, warm and sparkling harbor aglow with city lights.  I watched a large container ship creep by us and veer slightly to port toward its berth across fro the Aloha Tower pier, which the “Pride of Aloha” had vacated while we had dinner.

I met Gisele near E stairway and we two sent up to Funnel Deck to watch the Sail Away party.  Everyone received orchid leis, but eventually I became bored so left to watch the ship leave.  I at on deck well over an hour and nothing happened.  Finally, near eleven forty-five I walked aft and could see a tug heading for us.  It latched on to our port stern; lines were cast off the quay and then I discovered by the fantail a good spot to watch the large capstan on the docking deck haul in the stern dock line, while two other men hand-coiled the thick cable into a big pile.  I then went forward to see if a tug was there.  Yes.  The bow tug pushed while the stern tug pulled the ship around 180˚ on her axis, leaving little room between the island park at the stern and bow toward the quay.  By eleven forty-five we were headed out the channel and I went down to sleep!

Monday, 29 January – Lahaina.

After retiring near midnight and a late awakening, we were greeted with rain and a strong wind.  Captain David Perkins came on the Tannoy to say we will not be tendering.  The “Rhyndam,” anchored here as well has also cancelled her stay.  We are to look for whales.  White caps are pretty universal!

I had breakfast with Jean B. and Geri in the Lido, then Jean joined me for Charlie’s lecture on Darwin and his video of Darwin’s young life.  Charlie himself played the part of Darwin.  I then found Eric and Margaret inside the Queen’s Room to chat and knit.  In the course of reporting the entrance of a large freighter in the harbor last night, the light dawned on me that most likely that was the reason we were so late leaving.  It figures!

At lunchtime I chose a table for four by a starboard window in Mauretania, and was well rewarded, because Gwendolyn from Coventry joined me and we had a lovely conversation about  Mrs. Milburn’s Diaries and her own memories of the war when she was a teenager in Coventry.  Then another Brit lady from Norfolk joined us, adding nicely to the mix: Paula Bell.  We all talked and lingered so long that with a brief check on the weather (windy but warm and sunny) I went directly to the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

Wendy and I enjoyed our table literally for two, and I opted to skip the ventriloquist show so spent some time on deck gazing up to the waxing moon at its zenith, and Rowena (the waitress from the Board Room) as she too enjoyed the soft tropical air.  Grania and Peter were alone in the Board Room so I joined them till closing time at eight o’clock.  I returned to the cabin for the night.