Saturday, 22 of June of 2024

2008 QE2 Farewell World Cruise




2008 —– Cabin 4017

13 January, 2008 : New York

Ann and Bruce delivered me to the 7:40 bus and I was off for my favorite ship, Queen Elizabeth 2.  As the plane circled over the Hudson River and Pier 88-92, I was able to see QE2 at her berth and south of that at 88, was a big cruise ship that I must have mistaken for the Norwegian Dawn – but upon further conversation with people who had come in this morning, it must have been the “Queen Victoria “– 964 feet long and multi decks high!..

There was a delay in our transfer from La Guardia and we witnessed a strange procession of vertical poles being carried by one person, with multiple guy “wires” keeping each one steady.  Each had a shield atop with Arabic imprints, similar to the huge shields I saw in Santa Sophia in Istanbul.  Next came a casket decorated with a maroon velvet cloth bestuded with regularly placed gold stud-like discs.  Following that, carried by pall- bearers, came a very informal crowd of slow followers of all ages.  I think it might have been a Muslim funeral.

Anyway, we eventually did reach the pier and began a rather long wait in folding chairs while a computer was fixed.  Meanwhile, I enjoyed enthusiastic banter with fellow passengers.  Terry Waite happened along and we hugged.  He will be on the “Queen Victoria” World Cruise as will a number of other friends like Jean Burns and eventually Violet Crafton.

When finally on board at Midships Lounge, I headed forward to 4 Deck and found cabin 4017.  To my delight it is not only an outside cabin with a porthole, but it is also a double.  My suitcases had long since been delivered, so I set about unpacking.  I love the full width shelf under the porthole and the television is mounted at the foot of the outer bed, with the little round table under the shelf.  Waiting for me was the regular bottle of wine, which I gave back to my steward, Andrew, and two letters of greeting from David Hamilton and the generic Cruise Staff.  Also there is a notice of an on board credit.

At five o’clock or so I attended the safety Muster in Mauretania Restaurant.  Having spotted Bill Greenwood, I greeted him.  Richard will be coming in Singapore.  At last I was able to go to Boat Deck for my first view of “Queen Victoria.”  She has very high decks, short bow area, but actually looks quite acceptable.  However, she will never be anything but a cruise ship.  The stories of her pitching at a mighty rate are eagerly described and recorded by those on the Tandem Crossing!  She slaps the water and pushes aside great splashes as her bow disappears from view.  The pictures on sale are quite spectacular and of course, I bought a couple!

There is a story related on Linerslist that Captain Ian McNaught told a BBC interviewer that QE2 going backwards could keep up with QV!

Dinner was announced for 5:45 so on my way forward I made my family phone calls and joined my tablemates at table 293– all Brits!  I’ll get the names later and I think we will be a congenial group.  They had done the tandem crossing westbound and spent the day touring or shopping in New York.

Finally, at seven o’clock “Queen Victoria” backed out and we followed ever so slowly down the Hudson River to rendezvous with Queen Mary 2 near the Statue of Liberty – with fireworks.  It started to rain rather vigorously, but the occasion wasn’t diminished by it as far as I was concerned.  It was mighty raw feeling though.   I had a nice reunion with Stephanie on Helideck, and later came across Marguerite and Perle Coles.  No doubt I’ll see more friends.  Eric and Margaret stayed in Grand Lounge for the festivities so I caught up with them before the show.  I’ll hear more details of the rough crossing I hope.  At nine o’clock, I returned to 4017 to settle in for my last World Cruise on dear “Queen Elizabeth 2, ” porthole and all!

Monday, 14 January:

I awoke before six o’clock, but didn’t linger long in bed.  The white glow of “Queen Victoria” was visible still on the television and it was till dark.  I finished organizing my stuff, dressed and prepared my tour requests for the whole cruise.  At seven o’clock QE2 slowly gained on QV and by 7:30 we were parallel.  I filmed our neighbor out my porthole in a relatively calm sea and heavy cloud cover.  Breakfast time soon came and beckoned so I emerged to do my walk around the various decks upward- cheating a lot so I could reach the Mauretania Restaurant without too much huff and puff.  I found Jenny at her usual spot by the mural, so I joined her.  Had a huge bowl of porridge!  I greeted Mary Mastony and the Lees, then went to Boat Deck where the weather was quite cold – to photograph the “Queen Victoria.”  I then bought two QE2 large tote bags, a windbreaker with 2008 logo and a 40th anniversary bag.  My on board credit is $500 – 20% of which is now used.

I did a lot of wandering to observe and greet friends, Archie, Valerie Bennetts (at singles party), and eventually I went to my cabin.  Alas, I missed the noonday whistles.  Our position is N36˚ 10.2’ a d74˚34.8 W, which puts us at 85 nautical miles northeast of Cape Hatteras.  Steering a Rhumb line course 199˚ at 18 knots.  QV is now one half a mile away, in a Force 4 wind (20k) and slight seas with low swell.

With the sun out clearly, I again filmed QV and during lunch with Stephanie and Edith at their table in Caronia, I could see QV parallel with us slightly forward with drift variations.  We enjoyed ship talk and life’s anecdotes. I caught up with Marguerite in the Lido.  Before heading downward, I compared ships’ wakes, had a frozen custard cup and then settled in my port-holed haven!

I napped and puttered till dinner – formal.  We had a pleasant dinner with Rosina and Eddy, plus the other couple, Ann and Tony and their friend Jean.  I shared the show with the Lees.  Dave Evans was the comedian and multi-instrument player sax, clarinet, trumpet and piano.  Quite good all around.  It is too cold out to do my Boat Deck walk home so I took off my shoes, gazed at QV in nighttime splendor and retired.  A list of freebee trips from Ensemble is offered and I intend to avail myself of those.

Tuesday, 15 January:

Because the “Queen Victoria” can’t keep up with us when we are going our usual speed, it takes two days instead of one to go from New York to Fort Lauderdale.  Last night, when ready for sleep I looked out my porthole to see QV a mile or more away in beautifully patterned lights marking her length in horizontal parallels.  The waxing moon was just receding behind a cloud to the West.  When I awoke twice, there she was (QV) faithfully proceeding with us still.  As I write this at 7:15 it is partly cloudy and there she is a little ahead of us.  At 7:30 she disappeared way forward just appearing on the television screen – as we did the cross-over.

I headed for the Lido via the Purser’s Office to mail my five postcards.  Upon finding Connie McMullen, I took my Bran Flake to her table and had a lively chat with and her British tablemate.  We parted, and I found the time was right for the morning lecture by Glenmore Tregear-Harvey on his intelligence friend Litveneko – the Russian spy who was murdered recently.  I then saw the Lees in Grand Lounge by a window and Doris McKeller was there too.  She will switch to the QV in Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of her World Cruise.  I entertained Eric by reading the account of the “Explorer” sinking in the Antarctic.  I bought a QE2 pin and earrings in the shops.

The noonday whistle duel between the two ships was a special highlight.  Both ships tooted several times to each other with QV playing all her different notes à la “First Encounters of the Third Kind”.  The sun only started to shine on our side for viewing QV lit up, and occasionally the sun glared off the forward windscreens.  30˚ 10.7’N x 78˚ 28.3’ W.  Rhumb line 195˚ Wind: F4 – 15 k.  Northwest low swell, and seas low.

The next lecture was by Sabin Robbins on Sea Mysteries including Atlantis, “Mary Celeste,” Bermuda Triangle (even Slocum vanished there and the Green Flash.

Anita (cabin 3068) joined me for lunch at Mauretania on port side, so we could gaze at QV in sunshine.  Our conversation was entirely on boats, ships, tugboats, yachts and more.  She has her Masters ticket and has crewed and captained tugboats, delivered boats for owners etc.  She told me of navigating in fog into New York, through the canal and being terrified; ending in confidence she can do anything.  No doubt we’ll talk again, since she’ll be on till Valparaiso.

The afternoon movie was “Stardust.” I spent more time on deck watching QV and taking more photos from observation deck.  When I returned to the cabin, an Ensemble black shoulder bag was on my bed.  It is identical to the first one given two years ago.  “Pride and Prejudice” is on TV.

I enjoyed my third night of fish, ice cream and butterscotch sauce plus a small salad at dinner with my mates at 293.  Afterward, I told Eric about my lunch with Anita and I will introduce them later.

I was back in the cabin by eight thirty, having walked forward on Boat Deck for a last look and goodnight to Queen Victoria” by our side.  We will precede her around five in the morning and we will dock bow to bow in “the basin,” as Capt. McNaught calls it.

Wednesday, 16 January – Fort Lauderdale:

I went on deck after six o’clock to watch the docking at pier 21 for us, then Queen Victoria” backed herself into the berth at pier 18 directly across from us and parallel.  So much for the “bow to bow” as McNaught had said yesterday.  Behind us two, the “Crown Princess” turned and sidled across from us to our stern, then soon after, the “Silver Shadow” backed herself along the other side of our dock.  After two walks around the deck, I returned to my cabin and found Andy had already made up my bed and bath.

When the announcement for all to disembark came, I went to Queen’s Room to say goodbye to Edith and Stephanie.  We had some time to chat; then I went with them to Midships where we parted with all good wishes.  I then had breakfast on my own by a window facing the QV.  A lady from Bradford-on-Avon was at the next table so we talked about the Kennet and Avon canal.  I then moved over to 255 to join the Lees.  Laundry day for them!

Deck time came next and I settled under a boat in a single chair slot to observe, film and scrutinize the features of “Queen Victoria” till nearly noon.  I walked the deck a couple of times, but out of bounds sections hindered my progress.  Bounds came down at noon, when I had lunch in Caronia Restaurant facing QV with Mary Mastony, a Brit man and another Mary (from New Jersey).  With the deck beckoning me as always, I spent more time there reading and watching two tugs, which eventually sprayed their red and blue water spouts.

I napped at three, then got up to see us off, but QV left at five o’clock and we lingered till all the provisions were craned aboard or placed on board by forklifts.  Meanwhile all the other cruise ships, a container ship and a yacht transport ship all left us.

Finally, after I had given up the vigil and joined my tablemates, we left at 8 o’clock.  I dressed up then and observed the back out, and joined the Lees, greeted Maria and Frank Sotile and stayed for the comedian David Walsh, the very very funny Irishman.  I tried the movie “Pursuit of Happiness: but left to go to bed.

QE2 is back in her stride at a more reasonable speed on her own, throwing water aside in calm seas!  A torch plant has been placed in my porthole sill.

Thursday, 17 January:

My cabin being way up forward,  I can hear the water in regular pulses as it is split by the bow and pushed aside in white foam, even in calm waters.  We are definitely barreling along much faster than when we were with QV.  I awoke at seven twenty thinking it was an hour later, but after my shower and laundry chores, I was pleased to see I hadn’t been late.  I headed aft to the Lido via my new stairway scheme – B stairway to 2 Deck aft to C, and on aft to Lido where I found Valerie and Bill Noonan.  We hugged all around and I offered my torch plant to her!  I also met Shirley Warren (cabin 4087).

Peter Crimes’ lecture on Barbados was a good review for me.  I then found the Lees and Lillian to show them the doll hats with “2008 W.C. QE2” knitted into the fabric. Yoyo and Anna the Cunard booking ladies explained the new World Club perks to us in the Grand Lounge.  These are:

  1. After first voyage – Silver
  2. Gold – 20 days
  3. Platinum – 7 voyages or 70 days
  4. Diamond – 15 voyages or 150 days.

I get 20 % off laundry and cleaning, and 10% off luggage with White Star – DHL.  Email package – Diamond, you buy 8 hours and are reimbursed in full after every segment.

As noon approached I went on deck to await the whistle and hear the noon report.  23˚49.3’ N and 73˚30’ W.  200nm northeast of Turks and Cacos Islands. Rhumb line 127˚ at 27 knots;  average speed 26.4K.   Temp. 25kC or 78k F.  Wind ESE Force 4 – 20 knots.  Slight seas, short southeast low swells.

I sat by a window on portside of the Mauretania Restaurant and eventually Beth from upstate New York joined me.  I had Greek salad and tomato soup.  I then spent the afternoon in my cabin watching the lecture on whales, BBC and knitting – an effort to start on the QE2 sailor dolls.

Tonight was our first formal night and joined my tablemates, Rosina, Jean, Ann and Tony – don’t yet know my other neighbor yet (Eddy).  After dinner I chatted briefly with Bill Greenwood who told me he will be on the last 6 QE2 voyages and on to Dubai.  Wow!

I ended up in the Lido sitting with Judy and Robert from Melbourne and Valerie Noonan till nearly ten o’clock.  Valerie took food to Bill then relieved me of the torch plant!  Clocks ahead one hour.

Friday, 18 January:

While I was dressing I saw us passing a Carnival ship going the other way.  I joined Frank and Marie for breakfast in the Lido having procured my blueberry bran muffin and raspberry jelly – then fruit bits later from the line.  Yum!

Both morning lectures caught my attention,  “Pirates” by Sabin Robbins, and the “Falklands War” talk by Glenmore, blow by blow including the intelligence cooperation of many nations.  I walked a couple of times around Boat Deck in very strong headwind, then had lunch in Omar’s section with 3 Aussie ladies.

Noon report:  16˚53,8’ N and 66˚06’W.  Rhumb line 125˚:  Temp. 27kC 81˚F.  Wind: ExS 22 knots, 45 knots open decks: slight seas and low southeast swell.

After checking at the Purser’s Office to see if indeed they have my Passport, which was confirmed, I watched the movie, “The Astronaut Farmer.”  I returned to the cabin via Lido and Boat Deck to watch “Miss Potter” on television, then at 7:30, having knitted the second leg of my doll, I went to the Lido and shared my meal and good conversation on ships with the Noonans and Marguerite McClean.  I caught the last bits of Adrian Walsh’s final comedy act – again very funny.  The way back “home” was via a very wet Boat Deck, and brisk winds greeted me as I stepped outside.  There was a red sign by the revolving door stating the deck was closed due to high winds but it really wasn’t any worse than earlier today.

On my bed was laid a nice poster outlining the 2008 World Cruise map and a nice small tie tack pin commemorating the “Farewell World Cruise, 2008.”  Now I’ll settle at ten o’clock for news and bed.  I hadn’t experienced any rain this morning, but a heavy downpour was reported while we were in the morning lectures.

Saturday, 19 January, Barbados:

I awoke early and could see the lights of Barbados on the horizon; fell asleep again and by six or so I guess we entered the harbor by backing to the outermost end of the very long pier.  We were first of about six ships due in, so by the time I got up at seven, the last of the series was just coming around our bow.  I have no tour scheduled so will enjoy leisure on the ship without the crowds.

I skipped breakfast altogether in favor of a leisurely morning shower and eventually a long wrestle with the Cunard computer system.  I chose the Business Centre and needed help too much, so I’ll take the lecture at the computer classroom at A stairwell so I can take notes.  The new system requires that I use – and I actually got my emails and answered a couple, plus emails to Chris and Geoff re: the change.

I tried Boat Deck a very short time, but abandoned that for a walk along the long quay with the Royal Clipper, a five-masted square rigger, then Empress of the Seas, Sea Princess, Explorer of the Seas and tucked away from the rest, a HAL ship, Veendam. On the second try, I managed to film and photograph the whole harbor.

I spotted Greg Dorothy who is now elevated to some sort of officer status.  We couldn’t linger, so we’ll catch up later.  Jennie came to join me by a window in the Maury, where we could look at the ships.  As always, we talked exclusively of our experiences on ships.

I spent a long time on the starboard Boat Deck near A door, which slammed loudly each time it closed unaided.  At three or so I walked the deck aft on the port side, which was sunny and a lot hotter.  The ice cream was my goal, and I enjoyed a chocolate cone – Yum.  More reading, then I went at 4:30 to see the local Folkloric show consisting of vigorous dancing, (emphasis on large derrieres), a drum number, more African type dancing, a very tall stilt walker and a very vigorous clown-type acrobat in a colorful braided tassle outfit.  The Emcee kept saying “I used to do that” but he was well past that age!  Good humor.

I was on hand at 5:30 when we were supposed to leave.  The Veendam had already departed unnoticed, then the  Explorer of the Seas backed slowly the entire way out of the harbor on its own.  Next a small container ship came slowly in “watched” by a tug, turned around and docked where the Explorer had been.  By this time it was after six o’clock, so I dashed down to dress for dinner, spent more time on deck for the departure of Empress of the Seas, but I gave up in favor of my dinner and missed all the remaining departures.  Fortunately, I could faintly hear our deep whistle, and we were off.  We tablemates shared our day’s adventures.

The show was a Glenn Miller tribute by the QE2 orchestra followed by a young “self-styled” hippie from Baltimore doing juggling, ladder balancing while juggling and uni-cycling, in spite of the slight ship motion.  The moon is about 2 days from full so I gazed at it as I walked forward on deck prior to heading down for the night at 9:20.  H. Stern stuff awaited me.

Sunday, 20 January:

For the first time this trip I tuned into the QE2 early show, and found they were broadcasting from the Sea Princess with QE2 full length in the background, docked in Barbados.  Martyn Moss is the Cruise Director there, and he also said Dr. Carroll is there.  Our Cruise Director is Warren Smith from South Africa.

I again skipped breakfast in favor of emerging at leisure, and when I did go topside I chatted briefly with the Lees before trying to select a shirt or jersey in the shops; coming away with the blue and white striped QE2 jersey.  Since 11:15 was rolling around I attended the Interdenominational Service in the Theatre with the Master,  Ian McNaught presiding.  We sang 4 hymns.  That was followed by Peter Crimes’ lecture on Brazil, and this was so popular the downstairs was full and the balcony filled after I shouted there was room.  Those in place upstairs joshingly boo-ed me en mass!  Woops!

Anita sat in front of me, so we went to lunch in the Maury together, then I introduced her to Eric and Margaret.  Then ensued lively marine experiences including the freighter towing freighter from Yemen to Britain and comparing of ticket and license examinations.  Anita and I excused ourselves in favor of dessert at the Lido.  “Breach” was the movie, about the Robert Hanssen spy traitor case in the late 2001.  Gripping to say the least!

The weather has been hot and humid as well as cloudy and rain-threatening.  The noon report was all I remained on deck for after church.  9˚19’N by 054˚26.5’ W which puts us 600 nautical miles north of the Amazon Basin in Surinam.  Rhumb line course 124˚ and speed 22.5 knots; average 23K  Temp. 27˚C; 81˚ F.  Wind: northeast at Force 5 or 18knots, 40k over the decks.  Slight to moderate seas and low average swell.

I remained in the cabin watching television and knitting on the first nautical doll till time to attend the cocktail reception line and cut out to enter the back way.  I sat with Archie Cooper and new acquaintances Laura and her husband.  Captain Ian said a few words and introduced the two ladies who “drive “ him,  Michelle the Cruise Hostess and his very tall secretary.  Only Ann and Tony were at the dinner table with me.  I asked the name of Rosina’s Husband – Eddy.  It turns out Rosina and Eddy are not married!  I had turkey with cranberry sauce and sweet potato, then peach flambé for dessert.

The entertainment offered was a mighty soprano – Dorothy Bishop from Yale, who sang both opera and show songs.  She certainly was able to put both types over very well.

As I walked forward on Boat Deck, a very wet one, I admired the nearly full moon shining through patchy clouds.  There is a gentle rocking motion.  I have to fill out an entrance card for Brazil at Bahia.

Monday, 21 January:

It looks as though we have another overcast day, but bright.  Latitude is 04˚ and I think tonight will be the crossing time.  We are about to cross off the delta of the Amazon River, albeit 240 miles away to starboard.  I learned a very interesting fact about compass “variation.”  Each ship is tested initially to ascertain the precise “deviation” because the metal hull acts differently.  When the variation and deviation are worked out, that figure is how the ship will act for its entire working life and remains constant whenever factored into any compass reading.

Most of my morning was spent in the Theatre attending the lecture on Rio with slides of most of what I have seen. Then followed the lecture by Martin and Tanis Jordan, regarding their explorations in Venezuela.  My notebook has the exciting details.

I had lunch by a window with 2 Japanese ladies and a Sri Lankan woman.  My afternoon sojourn on deck under boat 10 and later number 14 was interrupted by a very wet rain squall!  The rapid cooling made me cold so instead of attending the H. Stern talk in the Theatre, I retreated to the cabin to change clothes.  An invitation to a World Cruise Platinum and Diamond wine tasting awaited me.  I’ll not attend tomorrow.  I watched the movie “Hairspray” in the Theatre.

At seven thirty I went to the Lido and ate with Valerie and Bill plus Bill Greenwood next door.  Since tonight is full moon I spent some time horizontal on Funnel Deck staring at the “man” whose countenance seemed to change to a frown, then to a scowl!  When clouds covered it I thought it prudent to head forward to A.  However, when raindrops started falling, I ducked in at D, stopped for a number in the show – sax and clarinet, then went on downward.

I had planned to watch the Equator crossing on my GPS but at 11:50 that prospect seemed dim,  because of the late time I predicted.  I simply watched a movie and turned in.    Oh yes!  I had to fill out several landing cards before getting one “perfect” Ugh!

Tuesday, 22 January:

I am glad I didn’t keep an Equator vigil per se, because although I checked channel 4 frequently, the actual time of crossing was about 4:40 and I could see signs of dawn.  At least I saw the 00˚ reading but many minutes of arc were still to go.

Although QE2 proceeds very smoothly, the sea has enough ripples that I wouldn’t call this “doldrums.”  It is cloudy bright, but I’m not ruling out rain.

Skipping breakfast is catching on, and I don’t miss it.  I took my time preparing to leave the cabin and when I did, I went on deck for a round or two of walking before settling into a deck chair on port near D door.  After a while, the Officer of the Watch warned us of an oncoming rain squall, so this time I heeded it and went to the Board Room nearby to wait it out.  Bill Noonan was there reading papers, so I sat with him.  Rowena brought me a coffee and pastries, plus a cup of tea, and I too read newspapers till time for the eleven o’clock lecture on “Surinam and Brazil” Tanis and Martin Jordan related their near fatal experience in rapids and their Discovery channel program about this!

I returned to my place on Boat Deck for the noon whistle and report:  01˚ 30.3’ S by 039˚ 30.9’ W which put us 2900 nautical mile west of Africa.  Rhumb line course 126˚ still, 23.5 Knots speed;  Temp. 28.5˚C and 83˚ Fahrenheit.  Wind ENE Force 3 – 12 knots, 30 knots over the deck.  Slight seas, low easterly swell and very pleasant.

Neptune is presiding by the aft pool.  Capt. Ian is passing judgment.   I later heard the rhymes were clever with references to Victoria.  I read about Fitzroy and Darwin while waiting for lunchtime.  I ran into Ann and Tony along the deck and remarked how comfortable it is in the doldrums – not usual to say the least.  I ate lunch in Omar’s section at 259 and was joined later by Valerie Woods and her 2 friends (Brenda and Molly).

O my way down to “regroup” in the cabin, I found a free computer on 2 Deck and successfully logged on.  When done I had communicated with family and Brewster friends.  It is easier with practice.  1.  Activate the computer, 2. Swipe card. 3.

User name, “Marthie,” and password, “Saltie.”  4. Compass – receive and send. 5. log off and wait to make sure you are off.

I saw the movie, “Because I said So” with Diane Keaton instead of attending the wine tasting session – one of the Diamond W.C. club freebees.  Afterward, I spent a few minutes at the railing as we proceeded along in calm waters at dusk.  Soon we’ll be rounding the “Horn” of South America to head nearly southward past Recifé on down to Bahia in two days.

Dinner of minestrone and salmon was followed by a brief chat with the Lees, Lillian and the Sotiles.  I then found Marguerite in the Lido so, of course, we had long discussions about our bookings and experiences.  Back at the cabin I set my clock and watches ahead another hour as we prepare to round the northeast corner of the South American continent by tomorrow morning.

Moonlight is still illumining the foredeck, clearly seen on the bridge cam.  I found my new World Club Diamond pin plus an invitation to the cocktail party tomorrow evening.  Sure enough there is what must be a Zirconia inset.

Wednesday, 23 January:

Earlier this morning the ship rounded the corner of South America and is now heading 176˚ – nearly due South as we pass by Recifé.  Latitude 7˚ 3.2 S.  The sea also has flattened and definitely looks like the doldrums.  With the clocks now another hour ahead I am late rising.

My first objective was to check out the Logo shop for T-shirts, but nothing different was offered and nothing was discounted.  I then went to Boat Deck to read and enjoy the Booby birds flying – mostly gliding by the ship.  I had to get my camera, but for the most part, I remained on deck in warm sunny weather all morning till the noon whistle and report, at which time I went inside to the Theatre for Tanis and Martin Jordan’s talk on going “To the Heart of Manu.”

I had a nice large mixed green salad by a window with 3 Brits, who talked about the South American explorations of the Beagle,  and Darwin.  The movie, “Hoax” about Clifford Irving, and biography of Howard Hughes was in the Theatre this afternoon.

I spent some time on Boat Deck before tea in the Lido with the Lees.  Beside us came Barbara Huff so I moved over to chat with her.  She elaborated on the “Assessment Party” incident on Funnel Deck.  The fire on the BBQ was quickly put out but the team came anyway, milled around and a 3 Striper and engineer came as well, made out reports and then Ian McNaught showed up.   “Stand down!”  On my way out of the Lido, I stopped by the H. Stern table with the upshot that I’ll be given a car and driver at my disposal while the work is done on my jewelry.  WOW!

Only Ann and Tony were at dinner with me, then we all went to the Gold, Platinum and Diamond World Club party.  I sat with Marilyn and Glenn Peters, who showed me their yearly trips listed on a nice QE2 card since 1969.  Various people were recognized for top days and trips.  Bea Muller naturally, 2 others and Lillian Kenney who has been on all 26 World cruises!  After the presentations and the Captain’s banter with Yoyo – “Direct flight to Singapore tomorrow,” I left for the concert of Kenny Martyn and Dorothy Bishop (the powerful lyric soprano).  After a brief sojourn on deck gazing at the moon, I joined Archie, Valerie, Shirley and Marguerite in the Lido.  Caught Dorothy Bishop as I left and we chatted about our singing and singers.  Back at the cabin the first “gift” was on the bed, a black and red tote bag with a big WC logo on it.  Shower and bed by eleven.

Thursday, 24 January; Bahia de Salvador, Brazil

I awoke before six to see the rising sun shining through my porthole, the first indication we were heading north and into the bay.  I could see the city outline as we headed further into the bay – reminding me of the Montevideo skyline somewhat.  The pilot boat whizzed by, around the stern and appeared in the bridge cam at 6:45.  As we docked I could clearly see the two different layers to the town.  After a quick breakfast in the Mauretania of melon, English muffin and milk, I reported to the very long line for tickets and eventually was shunted into the Crystal Bar to wait for immigration clearance and the tours ahead of us (#12) to clear out.  My tour took us around the lower city, past the lighthouse and on up to the older city for the walking part through the streets and into the Basilica, St. Francis of Assisi – cloisters, drum instructions, brief stop at H. Stern for water and rest stop, down past the pillory square and Black church built by and for the blacks.  We were back at the ship after two o’clock.  1572 – San Francisco Cathedral – cloister of blue and white tiles, Pelourinho District – Pillory Black church- built for themselves.  Lacerda elevator `1873:  Faral de Barra – lighthouse and Fort; 16th Century San Antonio fortress;  Palace of Governors and lookout – Basilica- Renaissance and Baroque gold leaf on wood – Hindu influence – 1672; – 2 rear balconies, built by Jesuits.  Dutch influence paintings with ceiling perspective; Display of a lake with African gods in a fountain.  Voodoo!

Back at the ship I simply had a banana in the cabin and took a long nap – missing the Ensemble cocktail party – Oops!  Anyway, toward time to leave I simply went to dinner, missing the sail away.  I checked the Lido and found Marguerite and Valerie.  When briefly on aft deck, Rosemary (Canada) called my name and we had a nice reunion – filling her in on Virginia Dolan’s travels.  I invited her to join me on the H. Stern outing.  She is in cabin 4123.

I watched a bit of the Cunard dance show and returned to my cabin as we headed south.

Clocks ahead another hour.  We are racing along at 28.2 knots!!!

Friday, 25 January:

We continue on our speedy pace of 27.4 knots on 203˚ heading.  The day is bright and sunny, but when I awoke early we were experiencing a passing rain cloud with a lovely rainbow to starboard.  Having realized I missed the Ensemble cocktail party I phoned Glen Peters just now to apologize.

I have added my wall hangings in her by mounting the Magellan chart opposite the closets and the color photo of Cape Horn by the TV!  I had breakfast at table 201 (melon, juice, milk and English muffins) and had a chat with Allen our waiter from Durban about Durban.  The Lees were at 203.  I then did my email check – Geoff and family will go to Spain in March.

At ten and eleven I attended the Crimes lecture on Montevideo and Buenos Aires, then the Jordans’ talk on Brazil – Manaus and the Wai Wai people.  By the time I emerged to Boat Deck at 11:45, after a rain session I found a dry cushion under a boat for reading and the noon report: 19˚ 46’ South  by 37˚ 41.6 West.  Rhum line 201˚ at 27K – average 27.9 k.  Wind WNW Force 3 – 12 knots, over deck, 25k.  Slight seas and low southwest swell.

I found the English man with whom I shard the Fitzroy biography 2 days ago and sat with him for lunch.  Our conversation switched eventually to cameras and photography, and a lady joined us toward the end.  We were by a window.  Back in the cabin, I regrouped to attend eventually the movie “Underdog.”  The rest of the afternoon I stayed in my cabin and took the opportunity to video my décor and out the porthole as we continue to speed ahead at 27 knots in low seas.

This being Burns day, we entered a Scottish decorated Mauretania Restaurant, with an entrée of Haggis on the menu.  Jean ordered it and it came the size of an ice cream scoop,, which caused a discussion with waiters and a Manager.  I kept quiet.

While sitting with the Lees I told them about my steward, Andre who always stands my soap on end each day, and when I put it in my cabinet, lo and behold he gave me another in a new box!  Margaret laughed heartily and my 4019 neighbors were behind me chuckling, because they too have vertical soap!  Thus ensued their story of toilet troubles, necessitating a major plumbing repair today.  Also, Margaret said Captain Ian’s announcement last night about revving up to 29 knots – with an aside “eat your heart out, Victoria.:” I laughed heartily at that and quoted his comment to the BBC:  “QE2 can keep up going backwards.”  More laughter!  Duo Yolba played most of their 40 instruments to enthusiastic applause, and when it was over, I walked home on deck, noticing many oil rigs with their red flames.

Saturday, 26 January:  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

I arose at five o’clock to see us enter the harbor.  I could see both Corcovado and the huge statue all lit up in the clear morning pre-dawn air, as well as the lights and Sugar Loaf with its single light atop the dark protrusion.  I stood forward watching us proceed between the red on starboard and green on port, as well as past a long dark spot in the water, which I couldn’t really decide whether it was a bar or not.  Anyway, I stood there long enough to see the Pilot boat speed toward us on Port, drop the Pilot and speed back “home.”  Seeing the long bridge in the distance, I decided to head back down to watch the slow entry and eventual turn around 90˚ to sidle up to the same dock by the “Aloha: (my name for it) tower.  I dozed a bit too, waking at 7:40 when a wrong number rang on my phone.  I then called  Rosemary.

I had a quick cornflakes and milk with the Duo Yolba guys, then had to excuse myself hastily to meet with Rosemary to catch an H. Stern bus.  It was good to look out and see many familiar sights on the way.  I had my earrings adjusted, the rubilite ring mended and – – – I bought a blue topaz ring!  On the way back to the ship we saw a lot more of the city streets and buildings plus Corcovado and the Cathedral – wigwam style.  We were allowed a brief viewing inside the cathedral before being delivered back to the terminal.

Lunch at Lee’s table with Rosemary and then we parted.  I went aft to see the “Rotterdam” moored behind us – got an ice cream cone – then re-organized myself for the afternoon.  Andre has left me a very nice box for the Cunard chocolates.

Occasionally raindrops and dozing drove me off Boat Deck, so I had a nice long nap till 5 o’clock when I went to collect my new ring at the dockside H. Stern store.  Only Ann and Tony were with me at our table, and we had a great time, sharing our on shore doings, desserts, soufflé (with so much chocolate sauce the soufflé rose in the dish.  We then discussed the wonderful Brit-coms we in America enjoy.  They came to my cabin to borrow the jeweler’s screwdriver, and enjoyed my wall hangings, Rio is at: Latitude 22˚ 53.7’ South and Longitude, 43˚ 11’ West.

It is 12:35 AM and we have just left Sugarloaf behind us.  We had a local show with tambourines, drums, vocals, dancers, tumblers, samba gals in scanty – elaborate costumes as well as flouncy, beaded, colorful skirts etc.  I left a little before it was over to walk the sopping Boat Deck, admiring the Rio waterfront and city lights.  I went to the Lido and chatted with Ann and Tony till they left at eleven.  I then briefly joined Valerie, Tara and others to drink a Horlicks.  Sensing that the ship was leaving, I went topside to watch us pivot on bow, then stern to head out the magnificent and certainly romantic harbor.  When I found Perle Coles, we stood together on starboard railing chatting about everything regarding QE2, QV experiences and future trips and feelings.  A lady joined in with similar sentiments.  When Sugarloaf was abreast, we three parted with our memories full of the whole scene as we mentally said Adieu to Rio – on QE2.

Sunday, 27 January:

I arose late, skipped breakfast and just made it to the last lecture by Tanis and Martin Jordan on turtles in Surinam.  Having decided I would rather sit on deck in the warm sunshine than attend the Interdenominational service by the Captain.  I found a nice chair under boat 13 and read my Darwin- Beagle book, while overlooking the beautiful blue and moderate seas.  Noon report:  26˚ 40.3’ S by 45˚ 32’ W off Santa Catalina Island, a former restocking island for ships.  Direction 211 ˚ Speed 23K, average 22.3K.  Wind SE 4k – 15 mph.  25k over the deck.

Jean my tablemate, came to ask me abut the tipping procedure, so I explained the $11 charge each day as like wages. $1000 per month – tip personally if you want.  We decided we would meet for lunch at 12:30 and we sat with my usual Englishman to share good conversation.  I had the Greek Salad and tapioca.

On the way back to the cabin I decided to check my email so got my list, sent my instructions to Wendy and answered Blanche and Roxana.  The movie was “Chicago.”  Shortly after it began Capt McNaught came on the Tannoy to say we are stopped because of some mechanical failure.  We were then going 4K but when I emerged at 4:20 we were stopped,  although I observed some sort of water disturbance directly below mid-ships like a thruster, but I don’t think it is mounted that far back.  On the horizon was a freighter.

The weather was cool, and pleasant with small white caps and we were gently, almost imperceptibly pitching.  At 4:35 I noticed we were slowly moving forward and ten minutes later, after I had walked aft for an ice cream, the Captain came on again to say we were slowly picking up speed, but are now operating on manual because the fault was found to be in the automatic system.  Anyway, I went to the taffrail to see our wake, and at that time it definitely appeared we were only using the starboard prop shaft.

After returning to my deck chair and reading a bit more, I noticed the freighter still keeping pace with us, and perhaps gaining on us.  Hmmm!  At 6 o’clock we are going 19K.  Dinner was with Rosina and Eddy only.  Later I chatted with Eric speculating about the ship problem, Captain assignments in future etc.  The show featured a “whiz-bang” pianist and flippant humorist.

Back to the cabin via Boat Deck.  There is a little more motion tonight, but not too bad.  Had to fill out the Uruguayan affidavit of accompanying luggage!

Monday, 28 January:

When upon awaking, I ascertained it was heavily cloudy outside.  I showered and read my Bible Lesson at leisure, only emerging near ten o’clock.  I sought out the Lees after spending time in Queens Room with Archie Cooper, Tom, Stew and Wendy (both new acquaintances).  We discussed the various questions on the quiz, and meanwhile Valerie Bennett came by – then Jean (my table mate) came as well.  The Lees were listening to the quiz at the Grand Lounge, then we headed for the Theatre for Peter Crimes’ talk on the Falklands – Tony and Ann sat with me and returned my screwdriver.

Noon Report:  33˚ 21.8’ S by 53˚ W.  Rhumb line 211˚  21.5K average 19.15 K speed.  Wind ENE F 6 – 25k and 35K on deck.  Moderate seas, short northeast swell.

I went in search of a lunch partner at Mauretania and found Anita by a window.  We had pleasant conversation about our ships and cruises, and I offered the Dallas Murray book to her, which she accepted with alacrity.  I showed her my cabin decorations and gave her several map printouts of the Horn area.  On the way to the Lido for dessert we stopped by her single cabin 3068.  (I had this very cabin in 1994 Mombasa to Southampton). I had tapioca pudding and she had meatloaf to augment her scant meal at the Maury.  We parted then to go on Deck (for me) for a couple of hours.  I sat just forward of 13 in a single chair nook till 4 when I returned to the cabin.  The clouds have been rather dark all day, but I still felt the glare.

We were all at dinner.  I had leek soup and a huge chicken plate plus my usual ice cream and chocolate sauce.  I wandered to Lido and on deck aft before settling with the Lees and Marie for the singer Mark O’Malley, a Scot, who sang very good tenor range songs including Jean Valjean’s prayer from Les Miserables.

I hunted for someone to chat with at the Lido but came away, passing the Captain and other officers.  Archie hailed me as I passed through the Queen’s Room on my way to the Library, where Bill Greenwood recommended “Burning Cold” to me – about the “Prinzendam” fire. I found the Lees by the Library at the same time, so I chatted with them before returning to the cabin.  I’d like to stay up for the midnight buffet special, which I did.  Desserts and cheese and crackers.  Yum!