Thursday, 25 of April of 2024

Christmas Cruise 1997

CHRISTMAS CRUISE

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

DECEMBER 21-JAN 4

Cabins 4009 – 5179 – 5172

Sunday, December 21 1997New York Harbor.  

I flew to La Guardia airport and was met by a Cunard representative who put me in a luxury car all by myself.  Was driven by an Indian man who talked on his cell phone all the way.

Went through the check in and posed for my embarkation photo, then walked onto 2 Deck Midships Lobby.  Gregory, my waiter last January through March, spotted me and we hugged in greeting.  He told me Mrs. Levy is coming on in January.  The “Saga Rose ” has burned again and all passengers for that World Cruise, including the Morrises, have been cancelled.  He delivered me to cabin 5179, which is adequate for a single person, but with Emily (12) and Ben (10),  it will be tight.  I chose the bed on the outside with the single porthole.  My steward is Dennis, a Filipino.  He kindly returned the chilled champagne and secured a $50 credit on my account!   World Club has given me a $200 credit.  With the $550 for the rest of us, we’re doing very well.

I headed for Queens Room for tea around 3:30 and had several sandwiches and a nice lemon mousse cake.  Yum.  Wandered around the familiar haunts and when I stopped by the Library I bought John Maxtone-Graham’s new book about Violet Jessop, the nurse who survived the sinking of both the “Titanic” and “Brittanic,”

It was very cold on deck but I wandered up there till boat drill.  My Station E in the Golden Lion Pub.   I then watched our departure from Boat Deck – Miriam Moran tug – whistle blew two sets of 3, then the final boop.  Yes!!!!!!!  Saw the Statue of Liberty, then the Verrazano Bridge from my porthole.  Then I went to dinner alone at 6:15 in the Mauretania Restaurant, and sat at table 310 on port middle aisle.  Waiters are Martin and Hefid.  I went to my first of many movies to come, Picture Perfect.  Ho-hum.

The cabin is very warm, but fortunately they have added an air conditioner.  The water ight doors are a pain, and I hope this is the last time I ever stay on Five Deck!!!!!!

Monday, December 22 .

I awoke early to the sounds of passing waters and a sense that  something may be loose rattling in the water on the hull, but it may only be a slapping.  Anyway, I managed to drop off again till 8 o’clock.  When I ate in the Lido, I sat with a nice British lady from Kent named Eileen Hewitt.  She is alone and very independent.  We exchanged names and cabin numbers 4183, a small single. 

At ten o’clock I attended a lecture on Pirates, strolled around in the shops and back to the Theatre to see Batman and Robin, but left before it was over.   Being cloudy and rainy on Boat Deck, I opted to stay inside for the afternoon to attend a lecture by ITN Executive, retired Chairman, Sir David Nicholas. He brought us up to date on the life of Diana.  Eileen joined me.  I talked with some English people I recognized from last year.

Spent a short time on deck in the high wind and mild temperatures.  Eileen joined me at my table for dinner, and I had three crème caramels!    Afterward, I looked up John Douglass in the Caronia dining room.  He had seen my name on the list – all the Hufford names!!!!!   I then went to the Theatre to see Brassed Off.  Judy Kolba’s musical and funny show captured my attention late, and then of course, it was time for the ever- tempting Midnight Buffet.  After a short walk on aft deck in humid weather, I returned to the cabin.

Tuesday, December 23 – Miami.

I was awake near five o’clock and could see coastal lights.  Eventually I heard the ship slow down and saw the pilot boat leaving our side.  I quickly dressed and was topside to see us enter the channel and slowly proceed to the “Norway’s” spot.  Weather warm and humid. 

Had breakfast on my own, but returned to be with Eileen, who had come up later.  At ten o’clock I went on land to wait for the family.  Soon three taxis – posh – drove up and first Geoff and Michelle got out with Alec (5) and Jerome (2),  then Chris and the two youngest – then Cherie and the boys.  Mix-ups in Fort Lauderdale caused Cunard to have to order their own transportation since no one was on hand to meet these 10 people.  What an oversight! They had flown overnight from LA!

Fortunately the whole family was allowed to pre board and they settled into 5172 and 4009.  I showed the ship to Chris, Ben and Emily, and then we had lunch in the Pavilion at noon.  Geoff and Michelle slept. We kidded Cherie and Chris about having the largest and best cabin.  It rained while we ate but it cleared nicely.  Showed the Spa and Gym to Emily and Ben.

I had some time alone on Boat Deck starboard till time for the movie, Contact.   Met Geoff and Jerome as I was showing Alec the pool.    We took Jerome to the Nursery and he was happy to play.  We left him, Alec and Geoff there and I went to the cabin.  Emily and Lanie (8) were there.    Dinnertime brought only Chris and Cherie plus their family.  The others ate on their own.  Most of us saw Men in Black.  Set the clocks ahead one hour.

Wednesday, December 24.

Chris and I attended the Leonard Maltin talk on movies.  John Willy, our waiter and a young Liverpuddlian who has a three- year old boy, Nathan, loves to see Jerome and sometimes takes him for a bouncy ride around the dining room. 

The Christmas Eve dinner was very fancy.  First, we were all dressed in our formal attire and the tables were decorated with Christmas crackers and tall gold foil -wrapped chocolate favors.  The show included a lovely section of some of the Filipinos singing Christmas carols their style, and fairly well in choir.  I babysat Jerome while Geoff and Michelle enjoyed the gala midnight buffet.   Jerome is in a crib jammed into the cabin space, and maneuvering around it is a challenge to say the least!  They returned to the cabin around 2 a.m. and woke me up, whence I returned just across the ship at F Stairway.

Thursday, 25 December – Merry Christmas.   

When we arrived at the Mauritania Restaurant after 8:30, only Chris, Ben, Lanie and Cherie were there and they were well along.  I finished up with them and we then went to our cabins to collect the presents.  At ten o’clock the Crèche Nannies, Emma etc. guided the little children through a short nativity play.  Stephen was the Angel Gabriel, and Alec was an inn -keeper.  Each child was steered to his/her place, but one sheep toddled over to Mummy every time.  When the play was over, Roy Parkinson used his walkie-talkie to communicate with Santa and there was much anticipation on the part of us all.  Finally Santa and his single reindeer arrived on the stage of the Grand Lounge.  Santa sat in a very impressively large chair and proceeded to take children individually onto his lap while the photographer took individual pictures.  Presents were given to each child, and they were nice ones too, plus a candy stuffed stocking.

After all this, we took our presents to Midships Lounge on Two Deck, where we placed the presents under the lovely tree by the middle pillar.  When all were assembled, the children proceeded to distribute the presents to those seated around the benches.  During all this many people passed through and enjoyed seeing us.  I talked to Olivia, and spotted Helen, my stewardess from two years ago, and several others whose faces I recognized.  Helen, by the way is now on Two Deck aft.  It was a very happy time but quite warm there as usual.

When we dispersed, I took my loot to the cabin, and lunch followed for some of us.  It seems we never completely coordinate, because of Jerome’s naps etc. However, those at the Mauritania restaurant enjoyed lovely chicken kabobs and minute steaks, followed by banana sundaes and chocolate sundaes..  When done, I went up to Boat Deck to see the sunny skies and rather large waves created by rather stiff forward winds.  My skirt flew up much too high, so I tied it up while looking at a distant  freighter through the binoculars.  Then I walked aft, and along the way I met Eileen who was settling down for a good old sun worship.  I was supposed to return to chat, but was waylaid when I looked  up Cherie  in Steiner’s.  She said to go see Michelle who was getting lunch in the Pavilion, so I did that.  Cherie joined us when she was done and we nibbled along with Michelle.  I obtained two Christmas log slices for the girls and none too soon, because all the Lido food was being put away and only the log remained at desserts.

I suddenly remembered that if we are to have our family portrait made tonight, I had better shampoo and set my hair, which I did, and here I sit waiting for it to dry.  We did sit for the portrait in the Queens Room, and will see the results tomorrow night.

Christmas dinner proved to be a super special affair with traditional party crackers and lovely chocolate cylinders wrapped in shiny gold foil, making for a very colorful table.  Chris and company sat with their family, and I was with the others, Geoff, Michelle, Alec and Jerome.   We had choices of roast beef, lobster Newburg (stuffed shells, or pork, followed by plum pudding,) which Cherie, Michelle and I tried.  We ordered the soufflé in addition and I had a few spoonfuls of Alec’s ice cream to top it all off. 

We gals wore our lovely jewelry, Michelle her Russian necklace and bracelet, I my opal ring etc. and Cherie, her long purple necklace. 

After the feast we split up to go to the movies, Jingle all the Way.  Others stayed in their cabins.   When midnight came along, several of us attended the buffet preliminaries.  I had a Horlicks then left to relieve Geoffrey who was baby-sitting.   While in their cabin I heard water splashing on the hull, so I watched out the porthole for quite a while and saw rather large waves humping toward the ship while we plowed forward in and over the troughs.  Occasionally the waves slapped against the hull and caused solid water to slop onto the porthole!!!!

Friday, December 26. – Aruba.

The Ship had slipped into the channel and docked at Oranjestad, and when I looked out my porthole all I could see was the low and long barrier reef on which were occasional mangrove trees somewhat isolated from other tufts of vegetation.  Dockside we could see the city with typical Dutch pastel buildings backed by occasional steeples.  It seems to be less flavored with Dutch influence than Curaçao, but of course I haven’t penetrated the countryside.

Cherie, Emily and Lanie joined me for a stroll of the city, which turned out to be exclusively the shopping area.  With very warm, humid weather in bright sun, I was very hot, so it took little persuasion for me to join Eileen who was returning to the ship.  There was a steel drum band playing dockside.

Back on the ship I joined various family groups throughout the rest of the day, including lunch with Chris and Eileen, joined by Lanie.   Saw Conspiracy Theory on my own, but was later joined by Eileen.   More wandering to check on family, followed by some time on Boat Deck facing the city and enjoying the rather brisk warm breezes.

When time came to leave, I watched the gangway being shipped, and joined the rest of the family briefly on the seaside.  However, as we pulled away I had to do my usual running to the strategic points where the tugs did their pulling, and then to the bow to watch us ease away from the city shoreline.  I returned to the starboard Boat Deck and saw the pilot boat take away the pilot.  We were all disappointed that the whistle didn’t blow in the accustomed way.

Dinner was informal, but we tried something different.  The Lido is now open for dinner and we all had three tables put together and all enjoyed eating together as opposed to two tables in the Mauritania.  Chocolate Christmas trees with mousse laced with Bailey’s were in the offing, and Cherie took one, which several shared since it was rather large for one. 

After dinner, some of us went to see the movie, A Thousand Acres, about two sisters versus their Dad and sister Caroline.  I headed to the cabin after that, showered and slipped into bed.

Saturday, December 27 –La Guira, Venezuela.

When I awoke we were nearly in the harbor, and while we were at breakfast in the Mauritania restaurant the ship was turned around and appeared to be backing at a pretty fast speed toward the dock. By the time I was finished, we were all tied up to the long, wide concrete dock with numerous containers stacked up all along it in many rows.  The other side of the dock was an equally long bulwark, which was part of the unit, and to seaward we could see the blue-green ocean with white caps everywhere, because the wind was rather brisk all day.  Further in the background there was a Tanker anchored all day. 

Around two o’clock the crew had a large emergency drill with many lifeboats lowered to the water and driven around the harbor to exercise the motors and practice skills.  I took the kids up to Boat Deck with me for a short while to observe the action, but we were soon asked to leave that side because we might interfere with the maneuvers.

I was baby sitting for Alec and Jerome while everyone else took the tour to Caracas.  Nothing much of consequence worth recording, but when they arrived home, I joined the Geoff’s for lunch at the Lido.  Most of the afternoon I was on my own and I sat for a time on the Boat Deck feeling the lovely warm stiff breeze and resting up.  A large ketch came up from the East flying only its two staysails and even with that little canvas, it was clipping along at a pretty good pace.  Strolled around the deck a time or two, then Christopher came up to visit a little while. 

Christopher and Emily helped me learn about the Smartsound program.  It is all installed now and I can play with it any time I want.  It was fortunate Chris could feed in a number for the serial number because this particular package doesn’t have the instruction booklet and thus no number.

Around six, the ship left the dock with the aid of three tugs of varying size.  All they did was hold us in till the landlines were shipped, then they backed off for us to proceed forward out of the harbor.  Again I was disappointed not to hear the three toots of the whistle.

Tonight is supposed to be our cocktail party, but since the Staff Captain, Nick Bates is presiding due to the fact that Captain Hassel has to be on the bridge, we are opting out and again will head for the Lido.  That having finished, we dispersed to our separate activities for the evening. I checked out some of the floorshow called Memories.  Bed followed shortly thereafter.

Sunday, December 28 – Grenada.

Today we awoke to our new venue, and  Geoff and family joined me for the tender ride to St. Georges where we took a small van up the steep, windy narrow roads to the State Park where we did an interesting walk in the rain forest.  The summit afforded a vista to the Atlantic Ocean, and a short walk down afforded a close view of the old volcano crater, which is now a very deep lake now used for a reservoir.  We were shown a fern, which shrinks back when you touch it, so of course, Geoff and Alec had to try it several times with the desired results.  Jerome was with us riding in his backpack and weathered his little ordeal fairly well, for which I was grateful.  Back at the town, we went right to the tender and returned to “home” for lunch in the Pavilion.  I then spent a nice long time on port Boat Deck facing the island.  I watched the progress of a nice sailboat making its way to port.  Actually fell asleep up there which was great, Boat Deck being my favorite place to relax and nap plus do some reading.

At four o’clock I went to the Grand Lounge to listen to the Angel Harps Steel Orchestra, made up of local players.  Geoff was already there so I joined him up front where we could share our thrill and amazement at the fantastic technique of nuance and virtuosity, not to mention steel drum noise, which is unique.  Michelle joined us for a while before attending the Catholic Mass in the Theatre.  I collected Jerome from the Crèche at six o’clock.  We all ate dinner at the Mauritania Restaurant.

After dinner we split up and various people did the Yacht Club.  I went with Chris and Emily to the Computer room for instruction on the word processor on PC, then we parted after a short chat in the sitting area outside the computer room.  I walked Boat Deck in the strong wind toward G Stairway and discovered the stores were open so I browsed a bit and bought two leather purses for wallet and mini-vanity for now.   Back to the cabin after a brief listen to Judy Kolba and here I am with Ben and Emily settling in for sleep, and I settling in for a read etc.

Monday, December 29Bridgetown, Barbados.

I awoke in time to see the ship slowly entering the harbor and pivoting around the end of the long jetting pier.  A lot of water was being churned as the starboard propeller wailed in reverse and the stern tug pushed on the hull.  We ever so slowly eased sideways into the long narrow cement dock. 

I went topside near eight o’clock, ate my poached eggs on toast alone in the restaurant, then reported to Geoff and Michelle’s cabin for orders regarding baby sitting for Jerome.  They delivered him to the nursery and left for their catamaran sail and snorkeling, and I went up to Boat Deck for my long sit on the shady side, which happened to be the port side facing all the cruise ships in port.  They were, “Nieuw Amsterdam, ” “Freewind, ”  “Carousel” and “Princess Danae.”  Occasionally I strolled around the deck for exercise and went into the Board Room to snoop around.  Apparently they use it for a card room when not otherwise occupied, and next week I imagine it will be completely converted to be the Sam Cunard Club.

Took Jerome to lunch at the Pavilion, then returned him to the nursery for his nap.  I then searched for the other family and found them finishing up their lunch in the Mauretania Restaurant.   We then eventually headed into town by bus to the terminal then by taxi into the heart of the city.  We walked around among the crowds, took pictures of the Lord Nelson statue in Trafalgar Square, shopped and returned by four o’clock.     We connected with Geoff and Michelle, had ice cream with them, then returned to the cabin.

Had dinner in the Mauretania with Chris and family.  We had Beef Wellington and trimmings.  I just remembered we either weren’t served Yorkshire pudding or they didn’t have it on the menu.  Hmmmm!   G. and M. arranged for a baby sitter so we adults could attend the movie,  The Full Monty  together, and we all had a smashing hilarious time.   We next gathered for a concert by the Barbados Police Band, founded in 1889.  They weren’t all that proficient, but I maintain that if they got rid of the reeds, the brass would be pretty good.   Next came the art of watching us depart from port.  We gathered at the rail on port Boat Deck, where I speculated the aft tug would pull the stern into the harbor and pivot us around the 90 degrees to go straight out the channel, which is exactly what did happen.  When ready to clear the long jetty-pier, I dashed forward to see us clear the end, then walked and then trotted back to keep even with the jetty light.  By the time I neared the end of Boat Deck, I was running to keep up.  I then headed for the cabin and bed.

Tuesday, December 30 –St. Lucia.

We are now anchored outside St. Ludia  harbor and the tenders have been lowered. The island appears on the near horizon with several layers of mountain ranges, albeit rather small.  The main feature is the two Petons, which are conical shaped mountains in the distance from where we are anchored.  We spent the morning on the ship, some doing laundry and others doing computer work, while I attempted to sit on Boat Deck, but the wind was coming exactly from the bow and not enough was coming on the deck to keep me cool enough, so I went inside and visited the various families.

Geoff, Ben, Alec and I went ashore before noon and walked from the docking place into Castries where we encountered another docking area, this one being for the cruise ships.  “Horizon” of the Celebritiy Cruises was near our docking point and “Carousel” was along side a quay,  as was another smaller ship whose name I have forgotten.  Anyway, once at that area we took the water taxi back to the QE2 docking point to await the arrival of Michelle.  We then all took a taxi to the marina where G and M got their sailboat several years ago;  got wet in a passing heavy downpour;  then returned via a short deviation to see the village of Balata where the taxi driver lives.  We also saw avocado groves, banana tree groves and several large mango trees.   Once back at the staging area we did a few errands, which included my purchasing a nice new gold bracelet.   Back “home” via tender.

We all had dinner in the Mauritania in formal attire.  Michelle borrowed the sapphire jewelry.  The specialty this evening was Bananas Foster, which most people had.  I enjoyed ice cream.   Then I departed and headed for the Theatre where I saw the movie, Out to Sea , with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.   Eileen soon joined me and stayed with me when we went for a cocoa in the Lido and returned to the Theatre for the vocal concert by Victoria Livengood and her opera friends.   That was followed by a brief stay at the Grand Lounge to hear the sixties band.  I joined the gang briefly in Yacht Club where they were dancing, then again at the midnight buffet.   Fudge cake tempted me and I gave in!

A word about the Christmas decorations!  Along the corridors on Quarter Deck, garlands of greens and red ribbons deck the doorways.  Christmas trees are placed around Queens Room,  in the Lido, and of course,  in the Midships rotunda.  Hanging garlands grace the pillars here and there, making the ship look tastefully festive.

Wednesday, December 31 – Dominica.

 We were at anchor off Dominica  by the time I roused myself around eight o’clock.  The family members eventually made our separate ways to the Lido for breakfast, and while there,  Captain Hassel informed us there was a difficulty about the landing arrangements and there would be delays.  Around eleven, Cherie, Lanie and I took a tender to shore where we found the entrance along the wharf was a fairly narrow one and I surmised this narrowness was the trouble with free flow of tenders in and out.  While it was happening, however, I didn’t feel we were detained very much.   We had come in before Chris and company so we simply waited on the wharf and were somewhat drenched by a large passing cloud.  I rode back on an ensuing tender to get the passes for the others, and on the way, I noticed Geoff etc. passing us on the way to shore.  I had to wait a while for my tender to unload and load up again, so by the time I returned to shore, all had taken off for their taxi tour.  I eventually returned to the ship along with many of the locals including members of their government and musicians who were doing the protocol for a Maiden call of the QE2.  I didn’t see any of the ceremonies, because I looked up Michelle, found Emily and Ben still here and eventually, we all went to lunch at 1:30.  Meanwhile, I had checked out an Agatha Christie mystery collection and started reading on Boat Deck.

The rest of the gang returned while we were eating.   The adults and Ben saw Brassed Off  (the fourth time for me).  Then I returned to Boat Deck to read some more as I faced the lush green and mountainous shore of Dominica.  There was a rather old schooner in my line of vision, which added to a lovely picture, with the town off to the right.  A rather small cruise ship was at the dock to the right, but I don’t know what it was.  Someone mentioned it was a Russian Cruise Ship, but I’m not really sure.

At some point Chris, Cherie and I had walked through the Mauritania dining room and found it decorated with the many nation flags, balloons etc.  Also the Grand Lounge was being decorated around the same time.  Also balloons galore.

As departure time neared, I watched the anchor raising process, which is as follows.  The chain lock is raised on both anchors.  A man stands poised to hose down the links as they come up; a man stands at the controls in the middle; the “brakes” are released by being twisted clockwise, then at the proper time, the officer who stands on the little wing bridge to starboard gives the order and the electric winch starts to turn.   Another man stands at a brass bell and during the course of the raising the gong 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – and then a series of gongs when the job is done.  I imagine that was to mark the number of fathoms of chain that had been raised at those times, but I am not sure.  Chris and Stephen joined me for the process.  When the anchor broke from the water, the black ball was lowered on the tripod mast, and eventually the mast itself was taken down.  Also the Cunard mast and flag were taken down at the stem.   The whole deck was washed down and various other securing steps were taken, topped off by the lowering of the chain locks on both chains.  

This being New Years Eve, we are all getting dressed to the nines for the gala dinner and party to follow.  We arranged to have the late sitting so the festivities can go on uninterrupted for us.  Only Alec and Jerome will be absent from the party.   The table was decorated with fucia and white streamers around the poinsettia, and a silver -wrapped package of chocolates was placed on the butter plates.  Within the horse sculpture were placed multi color balloons.  I had rack of lamb.  The late evening meal meant that we were late in finishing, so there was just time to attend a portion of the stage show which included dancing and good singing of songs from Grease, to Les Mis.  We then headed for the Yacht Club to await the arrival of the New Year.  Most of us gathered behind the balcony on the aft part of the room well out of the way of the milling thousands, and when midnight came we blew on the horns, rang the ratchet noise makers and threw the streamers around our necks as we all embraced or kissed in new years greeting.  The kids really liked all of this.    We then had to wait till twelve fifteen to attend the fabulous midnight buffet, which was complete with a strawberry tree, a butter squirrel, various ice sculptures, including a long Happy New Year sculpture at the aft window wall, which I missed seeing.  I didn’t eat much, and when only Chris and Ben lingered for a while, I decided to head for the cabin for the night.

Thursday, January 1, 1998 –St. Kitts.

 We all awoke rather late to see the newest island of our itinerary,  St. Kitts.  I had breakfast at the Lido with Michelle, Alec and Jerome.   I went up to Boat Deck to enjoy the beautiful scenery toward the island, which is rather long and has a large volcano to the north, and a long peninsula to the south.  While there, a four-masted Windjammer sailed within my view and just as I took a picture of it with the island in the background, the four staysails were lowered and they dropped anchor.   Eventually I looked up family who were soon to head to the shore for a look around.  I joined them.

We motored to a very long pier and walked a long way to the terminal and through that to the center of town, where we hesitated at the town clock for a picture.   Shopped a bit, and then moseyed back to the ship.  At the terminal there were six or seven young girls singing songs with accompaniment of guitar and gourds.  Not bad.

Back on the ship, we split up and Michelle, Alec and I ate lunch at the Mauritania.  John Willy entertained Alec and us by folding napkins into different shapes, a boat, a banana, a ship etc.  We tried some of the shapes.  Lovely Cajun chicken, asparagus soup, and ice cream. 

I spent most of the afternoon on Boat Deck reading and resting, being careful to avoid the sun.  In fact I had to change sides to avoid it as the ship turned in the wind, which had pretty well freshened to create dusty white caps.  The windjammer had moved on down the coast to anchor in a more rural area, and another cruise ship docked.

Joined Chris and family in the Mauritania while Geoff and company did the Lido.  Geoff didn’t want to dress up, even informal.   Had the capon entree, broccoli soup and ended with the usual ice cream because the cake we ordered had cherries in it, and having said we wanted the cherries left off, John informed us just in time to re-order!   When we adjourned we all joined together in cabin 4009 for a game of nerts, which Cherie and Ben won.  I didn’t do too badly helping Michelle get rid of the nerts pile.  At ten o’clock, Geoff, Chris and I headed for the Theatre where we heard the third recital by Victoria Livengood and her cohorts.  We all agree that the Irish tenor should never be on the same stage as Victoria.  The Italian singer and his wife pianist did a series of Mama songs, which was quite interesting.   After the concert I headed for the cabin and a relatively early bedtime.   Ben babysat and never did come home, having fallen asleep in his parents’ cabin. 

There was a very loud wailing motor sound all night, which drove us nuts, but we managed to get to sleep eventually.   The motor stopped around seven in the morning, and it was blessed silence.  I hope that doesn’t happen again, and I don’t know what it could have been for. 

 Friday, january 2, St. Croix

I awoke at a normal time and joined Michelle and little ones for breakfast.  Geoff eventually joined us.   Around ten thirty everyone left for shore on St. Croix to seek out a beach, while Emily and I stayed on board to care for Jerome when the nursery closed at noon.   Emily and I meanwhile went up to the shady side of Boat Deck to face the island and read.  Below us was the great big diesel fuel barge I had seen earlier being dragged toward us.  Two tugs tied along side the barge.   Had a chat with the Librarian for a while, and she said June is on vacation in Cornwall and will join the ship in New York.  We also talked about various jobs on board and she mentioned the very worst one, which is sorting the garbage, a constant occupation for several of the Filipinos.  Wow!

I checked with the Purser’s office again and ascertained that Emily’s account is still being charged so we transferred the charges to mine and at the moment I owe $7.28.   Emily and I added to that by having a drink in the Chart Room Bar before lunch.  After lunch we took Jerome back to the nursery and returned to our cabin, soon after which we were visited by Geoff and company having returned from shore.  I joined them for lunch, although I had eaten, then Chris and I went to the Theatre to see Absolute Power, a film with Clint Eastwood.  I liked it, but Chris wasn’t impressed.  About a President who covers up a murder in which he was involved.  Back at the cabin, I washed some clothes and watched the departure from St. Croix on the television channel five

Saturday, January 3.

The waves were still rather boisterous, and I enjoyed again seeing the water and foam splash all over the porthole.   Being our last day at sea, I had lots of things to do such as money matters, Ben’s card and present,  and rehearse for and perform the talent show.  The latter was somewhat fun, but being first on the program, I was a bit annoyed to find that the whole youth program had planned a costume parade, which took nearly a half hour. Anyway, the “Old Mother Hubbard” routine went well, and my gift was a nice thin hard cover book on the QE2, which is really rather nice. After all that was over, I returned to the cabin to commence the packing routine and remained there essentially till dinner when we all went to the Mauritania for our last dinner.  John Willy was in good form as usual, and Hafid blamed him for anything amiss!  Good pair they are!

Evening activities for me included seeing the dumb movie, Liar Liar.   Eileen sat with me, and we went to the Lido for an Ovaltine and exchanged addresses.  We parted after I showed her my cabin and Geoff asked me to baby sit temporarily while they went on deck for a last time.    I thought back on the day, and realized I had not set foot outside all day, but it didn’t matter to me.  Packing done, I headed for bed quite late.

Sunday, January 4 – Miami, Florida.

I awoke to the whining sound of the revving down engines and looked out to see the Florida skyline.  I went on deck to see us go up the channel to the Norway’s Dockside, and noted several cruise ships ready to disembark their passengers.  At present I can’t remember the name of a single one, but Carnival was well represented.  A lady watching from the bow related that Cunard went to Miami because the city offered them $40 million to transfer their offices etc. to Miami.

Breakfast at different tables with the family.   Cleared out of the cabin by nine and set off to the Yacht Club eventually to await the signal to disembark.  The two families were up there and Geoff etc. were playing shuffleboard.  When they were calling Three Deck, I slipped off with them. Au revoir QE2!


LA – Hong Kong 1997 – Part 3

LA – Hong Kong, 1997 – Part 3.

Thursday, 13 February – Brisbane.

We traveled a long way up the estuary of the Brisbane River.  Our dock is at Fisherman’s Island.  We are docked starboard side after hefty pushes sideways to turn us around in shallow water.  Two tugs were posted aft, one by my porthole so I could see the mud QE2 was churning up with her stern thrusters, and the busy wakes of the tugs.  We were tied up by seven- thirty.

I took breakfast on my own then joined Vera awhile.  I met Jean Burns as we were going off for our tour number 70. When we were enjoying a moment outside the bus and admiring a lovely vista near the Gold Coast, Jean introduced me to her new-found friend Hilda who is from Austria (I think). We are way out of town so I didn’t get to see anything of the city proper.  Instead we went south to the Gold Coast.

Upon our return I went right to my cabin from B stairway entrance Four Deck, and relaxed watching “Babe.”  At seven- thirty I went to Heli deck for the sail away barbeque dinner.  The white area below the forward wall had boomerangs and a platypus stuck up for decoration.  Also palm fronds were tied to lampposts.  John and Vivian Morris joined me by the railing for dinner, but John wanted to eat in the Caronia, so when he left, Viv and I watched the ship pull away from the dock and proceed down river, with the tug holding back, poised to help if needed.  Three whistles and off we went!

I saw “It Takes Two” in the Theatre, then went to the sing-along with the Drovers, then the Fledermaus recital – very good.  Horlicks and cheese, buffet and a talk with Mrs. Levy.

Friday, 14 February – At Sea.

I had a fairly late breakfast, but found Jean B. as she was finishing up with the Rabbi lady, Marylyn.  When finished I headed for Boat Deck where I happily read and finished “Tramps” as I watched the occasional island crop up.

At eleven o’clock I attended Captain Pilot John Foley’s informative lecture on the Great Barrier Reef and piloting ships through it.  The brown stuff we see on the water is Coral Scum.  He prepared us for what is to come, starting in the afternoon. 

After lunch with Eric and Margaret and later Jean, and after greeting Catherine Lim, I returned to Boat Deck, starboard to join Agnes on our vigil under boat 15.  The sun eventually drove me to Portside mid-ships to keep cool in shade and breeze.  Islands continued to parade by.  I met Tana Bawden, the pianist from Classical Quintessence,  and we spent several hours railing-side enjoying the scenery.

Toward evening the ship slowed down as we entered the area of the Whitsunday Islands and the relatively narrower passage between them.  I watched a while from Observation deck too.  After dusk gave way to night, I reluctantly headed to the cabin for my bath and Valentine Day dinner.  Andrew Eardley had purchased a large coral trout and had it prepared for all of us at the table.  He and Judith, plus Nigel were there, making a rather full and festive occasion.  The fish was very artistically presented with body slit and spread out, mouth and head complete in a red, yellow and green vegetable sauce (peas, red pepper, corn kernels). Andrew also treated people to a special wine and after dinner drinks.  Again I was urged to drink – no thanks.  Decorations on the tables were of red and white balloons and Valentines draping over many of the tables, not all!

I went to the Valentine Ball to watch.  The decorations of red -glowing hearts were hung around the Grand Lounge.  Jean found me and sat with me, then we went to hear the singer and comedian upstairs.  We had Horlicks and a snack in the Lido before heading to the cabin.  It was a great day outside, warm but comfortable in the wind.

Saturday, 15 February – Great Barrier Reef.

Is an exciting day for me, on deck watching every detail of our passage through the fabulous Great Barrier Reef.

At nine o’clock I had breakfast with Catherine Lim, Fred and Terry, a very lively meal with discussions about men and women differences.  I went to hear Catherine’s talk in the Theatre and also sat with Fred. 

The reef excursion people left for the day on a large catamaran in beautiful warm sunshine.  QE2 headed slowly northward between the continuing shallow reefs to starboard and the mainland to port.  We passed Cape Tribulation and at one- fifteen as QE2 turned slightly to starboard we neared the reef – Endeavour Reef, where Captain Cook ran aground in 1770.  After a late lunch I spent (with Jean) the afternoon again on deck reading and enjoying the tropical waters of the Reef.  When the following wind showed up abeam, then forward, I realized we had turned 180˚ gradually to accommodate the oncoming catamaran boats.  A storm was brewing and came as the boats were unloading, so I took my photo of the scene and headed to Queens Room for tea.  I met up with Jean again and we sat with Terry and eventually another Aussie.  For more details of the day I include my notes taken during this significant day. Cooktown was opposite at this time.

[DAY NOTES: based on my observances from minute to minute.  At this point we were opposite Cape Tribulation with reefs all around us appearing very light green in the shallow water.  In the distance to starboard it looks like a sailboat marks the northern tip of Endeavour reef but I guess it must be a light beacon since it doesn’t move!  Finally we have a wind abeam; hitherto it was following near the speed we were going.  White caps follow, but the breeze up here is gentle.  There are breakers on the east side of the reef.  At one-fifteen we turned toward another reef, which I now guess must be the one in question.  This turn was slight, maybe 5˚.  There is water breaking on the east side of it.  A little more wind came from our beam.  This reef stretches further north under a little more water.  Also this reef shows variations of color in the water per formations underneath. They say the Great Barrier Reef is the only definite geographic feature and only living thing seen from space.  We turned back about 5˚ or so after passing this special reef.

We turned more a little later to port to avoid the solid reef now surfaced.  We can see exposed areas now.  Cook named this area Cape Tribulation in retrospect because of their troubles caused by the reef.

We turned to starboard and the wind is strong from forward.  The islands are now aft in  the distance and we are moving slowly forward and, judging by the sun’s position we must be circling?  The Barrier Reef tour boats are speeding toward us hoping to outrun the oncoming rain storm.]

The water was very colorful changing from dark blue to aqua to green and yellow, all according to the depth over the reefs and coral colors.  At five -thirty we revved up to cruising speed on our northward progress, coastline distant and islands to Port.

I spent three hours in my cabin whilst my hair dried.  Dinner at eight was held without both doctors, and we all let out our frustrations about Nigel’s ego.  I thought I was alone, but was relieved when it all came out.  I attended the Quintessence concert in the Theatre at ten o’clock.  Doug Wunch, Tana Bowden, Nanette Peraino and cellist and violist.  I later tried the movie but gave up, had a Horlicks in the Lido and trotted off to bed.

Sunday, 16 February – At Sea – Gulf of Carpentaria, Booby Island etc.

We are still skirting the Australian Continent with islands to port.  I haven’t seen Starboard yet!

I had a late breakfast with Hilda and later Jean, then went straight to Boat Deck around ten o’clock and encountered rain.  Catherine Lim told her Chinese stories in the Theatre then I returned to Boat Deck as the final drops tapered off and I chose a chair under boat 12 facing the coastline.  We passed channel markers, light towers, outer reefs and land to port.  I was reading and looked up as we turned to Port into the Gulf of Carpentaria. At one o’clock the Pilot came onto the Tannoy system with news of our approach to Torres Strait, a narrow and shallow turning point for us, then Cape York, Prince of Wales Point, Wednesday Island, Cooks Island, the finally Booby Island with a lighthouse and community.  Here we went nearly due West by three- forty.  Now in Aratura Sea south of New Guinea and Java, and across the top of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

[OBSERVATION NOTES:  We are passing a point of land with a lighthouse on the closest island.  On starboard side is a wide open are and the bow view shows land to port infinitely, islands of low hills and solid land beyond.  That is why I think we are atop the latitudes of the Continent of Australia.  With clouds all over, I cant see the sun so am vague in my sense of directions without a compass.  I love seeing the land framed between the parallel bars of Boat Deck railings. Nice panoramas in wonderful warmth of the sun.  A small speedboat has come to meet us and pace us.  It also circled and then went away. 

Captain Foley says a ship sank in this area, and the islands on starboard are where the survivors were able to scramble.  Cape York is the northern tip of Australia, and the Adolfus channel leads to the Prince of Wales channel.  A full tanker passed us heading in the opposite direction.   Captain Bligh named the next island, Wednesday Island which is to our port. This was when he and his remaining loyal crew passed through here on their perilous way from the Bounty mutiny area near Tahiti, all the way to Timor in their lifeboat.  Thursday Island I next.  Captain Foley tells us this may be a wide strait but the channel is rather shallow and very narrow, and the water is a fantastic tropical aqua!  Hammed Rock was named by Flinders and it looks like a mushroom at low tide.  Strong currents of 5 to 8 knots are running against us as we head west.   Flinders also named Cook Island where there are gun emplacements to this day.

The most exciting landmark of this transit is – for me at least – the next island, named Booby Island.   This is really a rather large rock big enough to have a lighthouse,  4 barracks, several buildings, palm trees and believe it or not, a Post Office.  In the old days, passing ships would stop to leave of notes and pick up messages left by other ships.  This was the second post office for shipping after Sydney!  Our wake has stirred up aqua trails as far as we can see.  Then we actually went around Booby Island before resuming our western course through the Gulf of Carpenteria.]  This has been by far the highlight of the cruise for me. 

Somewhere along the way I tore myself away from deck for lunch on my own at the Pavilion.  Then, when I left the deck after four o’clock I found John and Vivian in the Lido for tea.  I bought a great little mini-Atlas bound in fake leather and imprinted with QE2 for sixteen dollars.

At one time while standing at bow observation deck for the Strait transit, Colin Williams from my table in 1990 talked with me.  He reminded me of Walter Moffat the New Zealand Scot sweet on me!  A small Aussie joined our conversation and lingered after Col left.

I went to the cabin after tea then saw Peter’s lecture on television because I couldn’t tear myself away from the deck earlier.  I was sitting with Jannie Haynes who shared her binoculars with me.

Dinner was the usual gathering followed by a brief movie trial, but I didn’t stay.  I did, however, go to the Quintescence performance with Ryan dancers in the Grand Lounge and was very glad to see the ballet and opera selections.  Immediately after the show I dashed to Port Boat Deck just in time to see the Canberra approach (11:50 pm.) and pass us.  For me it was a bit emotional when QE2 tooted 3 times long blasts and Canberra answered for the last time, because it is being withdrawn after this final World Cruise.!  All her lights were on the two stern stacks so unique to her, and they shone prominently while passengers’ flashes were going off as we passed at combined speeds of at least 40 knots.  In a short time span we were receding to small spots of light.  Many people were at the rails but most missed the whole experience.  I wandered around the Lido to see the many ice sculptures and gala dessert displays, but I didn’t partake!  Back to the cabin I went after midnight.   Flat seas all day.  Almost no motion whatsoever.

Monday, 17 February.

Jean and I had a late breakfast and a lady from Zimbabwe joined us.  At ten o’clock Catherine Lim gave her humorous talk “Adam and Even,” which was a series of jokes on the subject.  Her daughter, Jean, was with her.  I then wandered through the shops and had a juice in the Sam Club till Peter’s lecture on the Eastern religions and slides of the countries.

At noon I joined Agnes, Naomi, Jannie and a lovely British lady, Ann for an hour on Boat Deck under boat 12.  The sun shone, wind was from our forward motion and shade made it very pleasant.  A lady passing by us took photos of us with our three cameras.

We parted when the three others went to the Sam Club for sandwiches and I eventually had lunch in the Lido with Margaret and Kay.  Marilyn joined us too.

I have been given an additional $250 credit from the Sam Cunard Club so I checked my account to see if it is true.  Sure enough, it shows up.  With money burning a hole in my pocket Jean and I went to check the shops.  She had bought a Pulsar watch and I liked it.

I went to hear Captain Foley’s lecture and video showing about the Torres Strait and islands.  Very Melanisian.  Booby Island is still my favorite.  A solitary man tends the unmanned lighthouse, because the buildings are listed historical buildings.  Australia’s second post office developed from messages, a log and so on left there for passing ships.  Most special, in some places, the channel floor only was six feet below QE2!!

I saw the Hugh Grant and Robin Williams film “Nine Months” which was very funny.  Afterward I met up with Jean who helped me buy the Pulsar watch like hers. 

I was in my cabin for a while, then went to the Doctors’ Cocktail Party on 2 Deck E Stairway.  I stuck with my tablemates.  Chatted a bit with Doug in the Golden Lion Pub, then went to dinner which offered Chateaubriand.  I had to sit next to Mrs. Levy!  The ship continues as smoothly as can be.  I checked the deck before Horlicks in the Lido and headed off to bed.  Clocks back 30 minutes tonight in preparation for Darwin tomorrow.

 Tuesday, 18 February – Darwin, Australia.

I awoke as we were easing into the harbor and rounding the corner of the dock to tie up.  There had been some question as to our ability to dock, so it was good news to me that we made it.  As I gazed out my porthole I saw a small skiff motor to the dock astern to pick up the stern line.  We were pulled in parallel to the dock and I soon saw my porthole would be below the surface and looking on or into the piling maze underneath.  It was dark!  I later learned there is a very large tide rise and fall and at five- thirty p.m. as I write, my porthole is well above the dock surface and looks onto a wharf café area.

I skipped breakfast and met my tour 77 at the Theatre, where we had to file out according to numbers.  We walked off at 2 Deck mid-ships.  Same on return.  However, in the afternoon the gangway shifted to A stairway 2 Deck. 

The air was so humid and hot out that I decided to stay aboard the rest of our stay here.  I wandered along Boat Deck to take photos then retreated inside.  Letters from Bob and John arrived and I mailed four postcards.

I found Eric dozing at Queens Room promenade, so I joined him.  Margaret came back and we spent the afternoon together, the Drum Show and tea included.  At departure time I placed myself beneath the starboard aft crane to observe from waterside.  Mataranka, the Darwin tug was just receiving the stern line, and it pulled the ship out and away from the dock backwards to the channel marker, where QE2 pivoted to port and headed out the channel, passing the city on starboard.  I counted around 22 boats waiting to accompany us on our way.  A seaplane took off toward us just as we left the dock.  From where I stood I could see the 9 little Korean fishing boats at red buoy moorings awaiting release from quarantine.  Illegal or something like that.  I moved to various places on upper decks for photos of the city.  The small boats followed.  The pilot boat took the pilot off and roared away.  I stood with two Darwinians who are excited to be on for a week to Manila.  We were all given long stem orchids when we filed off for our tours by the way.

I did the usual evening pursuits, dinner, concert and movie.  Classical Quintessence did their next concert of Beethoven and Haydn piano trios and Puccini arias and duets.  Doug pushed too hard and cracked once, otherwise they were very good as usual.  Woody Allen film, “Oh Aphrodite” okay.  Clocks back thirty minutes.

Wednesday, 19 February – Indian Ocean, Sea of Timor last night.

I had breakfast with Hilda and wandered a bit, coming across Eric and Margaret.  I joined them a while.  Jean Burns joined us later, soon to part when we split to attend the lecture on ‘”A Commoner at Buckingham Palace.”  I thought she over stepped the line from humour to ridicule and as I feared Margaret and Eric were offended.  The Bali lecture was next, followed by Catherine Lim’s last lecture.  All in all I spent three hours in the Theatre, a great place to be when outside was impossibly humid!

I ducked into the Sam Cunard Club and found Agnes and Naomi starting on their sandwich lunch.  I joined them. a lovely change which I may do again.  Agnes and I had a frozen yogurt then headed for the shops.  Alas, the motion of the ship, a gentle roll and rainy squalls, caused Agnes to retreat to her cabin.  I browsed some more then worked my way to Queens Room for a short read, then back to Boat Deck for a very blowy time on starboard under number 17.  Not long after, a very wet storm cloud was in our path and I ran frantically to the shops for shelter, watched the pouring fury, then gave up to change clothes.  Cabin time with hair in curlers.

At five fifteen I saw the “Pelican Brief.”  Beryl and Les Laing had their anniversary dinner and cake celebrating 31 years.  The cake and Baked Alaska parade ensued as well.  The dining room was decorated with red, white, and blue balloon clusters and country flags. Clocks back another hour.

 Thursday, 20 February – Bali.

We are already at anchor.  The landing platform is lowered right out my porthole.  Bob Burns called me.   I took the tender at nine o’clock to Pedang Bay.  “Crystal Symphony” and  “Albatross” are anchored here also.  There is a slight swell, which QE2 doesn’t feel but the launches bounced a bit.   Bali was shrouded in haze but you could make out outlines of the mountains including the volcano. 

When on the tour at a lookout we could see all three ships in the bay and they looked like toys.  Also we caught glimpses of the ships along the way and QE2 being so long, looks the most graceful too!  I was able to get the first tender waiting when ready to return “home.”  It was terribly hot inside the boat, which made the homecoming all the more welcome!  As I mounted the landing platform I made the comment I’m an old salt, and the officer in charge said “not old, just a young salt.”  A fabulous dance troop and orchestra of gamelins, gave a performance in the Grand Lounge at four o’clock.  It lasted 45 minutes, was loud but humorous and told a story.

I retreated to the cabin for a rest and bath, and the ship got under way by seven- thirty.  Dinner was with Andrew and Judith, who were here for the last time.  I walked the deck with the Morrises, then saw the film “Primal Fear.”  Bed by midnight.

Friday, 21 February, – Java Sea west of Borneo.

A strong wind prevails outside.  I went with Jean for breakfast then we moseyed to the shops, or should I say we parted at the shops.  I bought a Kookaburra and debated on buying a camera.  I interrupted that to go to the Theatre balcony for John Foley’s last lecture on Cook, Flinders, Bligh and Jeffreys, which was fascinating as he has been all along with the lectures.  Eric and Margaret were to the right as was Jean so I joined them and showed off Kooka!

Peter’s lecture on Singapore followed, after which Jean and I returned to the shops.  I did buy a nice Minolta Riva Zoom 70w camera.  That made me eligible for that twenty- dollar QE2 bag which I bought also.  The giant credit is all used up now!

We have white caps and moderate seas, but QE2 ploughs ahead quite flatly.  I joined Jean for lunch at one- thirty, then headed for Boat Deck and managed an hour or so sitting on Starboard with Janie Haynes, being blown a lot and spattered occasionally with salt mist.  The waves weren’t very high but wispy, and the seas were aqua in color even in overcast glare.  At four o’clock after a brief cabin stop I went to the Lido to join Margaret and Eric for tea.  Since I was a little ahead I took more ship interior photos and caught June for a library bookstore photo.

At tea by starboard window in the Lido, Eric and Margaret hailed me and we had our final time together.  They will convey my greetings to Harold Perkins.  By the way, the origin of the saying “Son of a gun,” comes from the early practice of letting women accompany ship voyagers and when babies were born, the women lay down by the guns of a naval vessel. 

I returned to my cabin to prepare for the film and dinner.  “That Thing You Do,” is a 1960s film.  Tonight was the Laings’ last meal with us.  Nigel was in good form.  I followed that with the last Quintessence concert.  Marvin Hamlisch played piano as well.

People have commented on the ship’s motion, but it is only very slight.  The waves have been a hodge-podge and now significant ground swells.  Windy though!  I nearly missed Eric and Margaret in the Theater, but we saw each other in time to hug goodbye as they went to finish their packing.  I forgot to give them Harold’s message so will try in the morning.

Saturday, 22 February – Singapore.

I was up by seven o’clock, and we were still going at a moderate rate but I could see land and ships.  When I emerged from the cabin, near eight o’clock, I went to Mauretania restaurant to locate Eric and Margaret to no avail.  I walked around Boat Deck on reconnaissance and while up there the ship’s whistle tooted lightly six times, presumably to warn a ship or boat in the way.  I ate breakfast in the Caronia with my tablemates.  John Douglass and David Thompson go off today so I hugged John goodbye.

I did find Eric and Margaret eventually at their breakfast, so I sat a while as they finished up.  Hugs again goodbye.  I sat a little with Jay and friends from Perth, Siddon and Steve.  I also had a brief talk with Tana Bowden before I left on the shuttle with Jean for the Meridian Hotel on Orchard Road.  As we pulled away we could see the Merlion on a high point overlooking the harbor.  We went in a U shape route and could look across the free dock to the ship unhampered in view.  A fuel barge was refueling her.  By the way, we left by portside 5 Deck A stairway, and upon return, we entered by 4 Deck B stairway.  After an ice cream at the Lido, Jean and I parted for cabin time. Bob has sent me a lovely vase of orchids and three letters were awaiting me from Bob, John S. and Lloyd.  Wow!  I don’t ever recall such a bounty of letters from boyfriends!

We were over an hour late leaving the harbor because of the delay in finishing the bunkering.  I was on Lido Deck and fantail to watch the tug pull the stern away and down the channel backwards.  The tug held the starboard stern line taught achieving just the proper angle to guide the stern in the middle, gradually working to port to hold up in the middle around the curve of the docks on either side.  QE2 was then pivoted around and proceeded on her way out the channel and harbor.  A bit of trivia:  The South China Sea is the largest SEA in the world!

Sunday, 23 February – South China Sea.

After breakfast I tried the outside and found it raining substantially, so I decided to join Jean at the “Let Me Show You America” lecture.   I then headed for the Sam Cunard Club to write letters to John and Bob.  Chocolate chip cookies and punch accompanied my brief chats with Terry and an older man.  I left my new watch to have the three links removed, then tried reading my book under the eaves aft of the Lido.  Warm and relatively dry there.  I changed to warmer clothes and met Jean for lunch.  Longley’s lecture on Manila ensued and I then headed for Boat Deck boat 12 for an hour or more reading and feeling the strong warmish wind and watching the grey sea and mists.  QE2 has a little noticeable motion.

Not feeling so well, I took some sandwiches from tea at Queens Room and headed to the cabin and a warm bath.  The usual Sunday church services came and went without me!

Monday, 24 February.

I haven’t been feeling well so I’ve taken it easy.  I had a late nibble with Jean and Marilyn, then went to the Richard C. Hottelet lecture on China.   Since the sun is shining and the temperature is mild, I finished reading my book under boat 4.  We have passed two freighters.

After lunch I returned to Boat Deck for a very windy time, and I was actually buffeted as I sat behind a raft pile.  I ducked inside to see the movie ‘Phenomenon”.  While sitting briefly with Agnes and Naomi they said the show was “lower than abysmal!”

I went a bit early to dinner, but again I was alone till John M. came on his own and a new couple from Louisville, Doris and Dale.  Dr. Newstead, the relief Doctor from near Bath joined our table.  He is the one I talked with two years ago at a Captain’s dinner.  I left the table before dessert and enjoyed a stroll and a long sit under boat 9, looking toward the moon and the ship crossing its path.  Perfectly clear and mild, it was.

I passed through the Grand Lounge while the show was going on but didn’t want to stay.  Saw “Pink Panther.”

 Tuesday, 25 February – Manila, Philippines.

We were just finishing the docking process when I looked out my porthole.  Tug Titina was gently churning and holding her bow just outside.  I took a survey of Boat Deck to see the city landscape.  At the bow observation deck I watched the Filipinos earnestly looking forward – lots of them – at the very bow.  Some waved when they recognized their families.  This is their once a year visit and families are allowed to come aboard.  It is a touching sight to see their happiness and although the employees are away ten months and home two months they are getting a better deal than they would at home!

I took the morning tour of Manila, including the Chinese Cemetery of mausoleums, two Catholic churches, Fort Santiago, and Intramuras with its golf course mote.

I returned to the ship for lunch with Marilyn, Kay and eventually Jean, who entertained us with her land experience and table mates.  I ventured out again to see the stalls across from the dock entrance.  Mrs. Levy joined me for a while then ambled back.  I heard my name, turned around and found a couple from my table last year, Helen and Peter.  I latched on to them, then joined them for tea when we returned to the ship.

The Filipinos are having a great time., and lots of kids are gleefully running around.  I was corralled on G Stairway to pose between two women with children in their arms! 

We left the dock a little after seven o’clock.  There were three tugs poised a long time on portside.  When we backed away under our own steam, the tugs stood ready to nudge for the turn around, one forward of mid-ships and one to stern, which was pulling.  This took a long time, but we eventually went forward and I observed from the bow observation deck.  I noted a green light on starboard jetty and red on port jetty.  What I expect of American ports.  Anyway, once outside the jetties I couldn’t spot any further channel markers and neither could the bridge – soon two tugs passed us, going way ahead.  Then I noticed light signals dead ahead for which we headed directly.  When on right bearing, the lights ceased.  We passed out of Manila Bay leaving Corregidor to Starboard.  Not wanting to dress for dinner, I went to “Apollo 13” at eight fifteen instead.  By now we should be heading northward through the Luzon Sea, then South China Sea.  Late night buffet.  Sat with Mrs. Levy a while.

 Wednesday, 26 February.

I attended two lectures, then at noon I tried Boat Deck, but the wind was howling on both sides, so I settled for a great spot on Fantail to read, but I soon just rested – aware of John and Vivien’s arrival.  After lunch at of a hamburger with Jean I retreated to my cabin for the afternoon till dinner.  Again I was first but by eight o’clock the others arrived for Vivien’s Birthday party.  I heard a brief bit of the piano show, then went back to my cabin.  Lumpy waves, but the ship is not very affected except the occasional gentle roll.  Not feeling well.

Thursday, 27 February – South China Sea.

As we go northeast, the temperature has lowered to more comfortable degrees, but with the forward wind motion, it is only just tolerable on Boat Deck.  I tried a couple of times to sit up there but gave up fairly soon.  Okinawa was sixty miles away at noon.  However, we never saw it. I am still not on top of the situation, so there is little to write.   Longley lecture on Yokohama and Kobe, lunch with Jean then movie “The Associate” with Whoopie Goldberg.

Paul Danby has returned!  He is waiting in Mauritania till an opening on cruise staff occurs.  We had nice dinner conversations for once.  Nigel okay.  Cruise Staff Pantomime far from quiet!  Quite fun, though!  Men took women’s parts.

Friday, 28 February – Still at sea.

It is sunny mild and not so windy today!  I attended the Hottelet lecture, followed by a very “far out” astronomy lecture on cosmic rays, by Sir Arnold Wolfendall.  Jean and I headed for the shops afterward and I came away with stuff for family, including an abacus for Stephen.

After lunch I ran into Agnes on fantail, who reports that the “Financial Times” says the owners of Cunard “desperately want to sell this ship, but there are no takers.”  Worst report yet.  Anyway, after a chat I took several panorama photos of outside scenes, then settled on Starboard in the sun! for a lovely time reading in my favorite place.  At movie time I saw “The Chamber” with Gene Hackman.

Earlier I spent some time poking around my souvenirs and packing a few of them in my new QE2 bag.  My late afternoons have systematically become cabin time, and if the movies available aren’t interesting I enjoy watching CNN International on channel 12 – just like being home, for which I am ready.

I was again first to my table.  On the way in, the ship lurched a little and I caught my balance with a flourish as a “manager: came and escorted me in.  I said “at last we have some motion,” and we joke a bit.  Alas the seas haven’t developed however.  Goose or geese were served as ordered but I stuck to chicken.  I asked John Newstead if he has seen Lady Hamilton on the Kennet and Avon canal, but he replied “no.”

I walked aft on Boat Deck, observing the gentle sea sounds and the crystal clear night with twinkling stars.  Last week was full moon so it is really late now.  I stayed up watching Kareoke nonsense at Golden Lion Pub, then a bit of the dancing, then the dance and song show, can can etc. – before leaving for the cabin near midnight.  A large cube of Terry’s chocolates awaited me from the Sam Cunard Club.

 Saturday, 1 March – Yokohama, Japan.

Very early this morning I looked out my porthole and saw gulls soaring and swooping around.  Next time it was dawn and a strong wind was dusting the water with broadside whitecaps.  I also could see we had large tugs in attendance as we carefully passed by a jetty with a thin conical-roofed lighthouse, closely followed by the tall white steel cable suspension bridge.  Two little tugs pulling barges much larger and higher than they, appeared and headed toward us secure in the fact we would be gone by the time they reached our spot.  Soon the third large, squared-off tug, moved to my area to act as pusher and pivot, making a long, continuous rubber scraping sound as they all turned and pushed us gently to the dock.  Stern tug AZAMT is pulling on a cable.  All around us are docks and modern skyscrapers, which are mostly hotels.

I took tour number 5 to Tokyo and saw a silk museum, the Yokohma Tower, a Doll Museum, and a large sailboat on display which looks like the type used in the America’s Cup races!  The Harbor Bridge built in 1989 was built so ships like the QE2 could go under it. Another impressive bridge is the Subasa Wing Bridge built in the suspension technique.  We also saw portions of the Imperial Palace from across the mot, and learned this was built for the Shogun in the 17th century. 

Evening return:  We returned over the Bay Bridge, which, from its elevated position afforded a magnificent view over toward QE2 all lit up.  Behind that were several solid modern high-rise buildings, one which looks like a melon edge, and a very large Ferris Wheel that lights up each second around it till six, then turns all off to start again.  Each second position has a passenger gondola.

Before leaving on my tour this morning I attended the official ceremonies of welcome from the Mayor of Yokohama.  Six Geisha girls, Captain Burton-Hall received a large diorama, and gave QE2 presents to the city, mayor etc.  Two selected passengers (Marion Morgan) and Commodore, Lainer, Brian Price received happy coats.  Next a band of drummers performed but that’s when I had to leave.  We were cleared shortly after.

A tug has been pushing on portside mid-ships constantly, since before dinner.  The explanation is that the wind is trying to blow us away from the pier and the gangways are affected.  Can’t use 2 Deck midi-ships.  I went to dinner at seven- thirty and was nearly done by the time others arrived, but I stayed till all were done.  I said goodbye to Doris and Dale, and froze on Boat Deck enjoying the city lights. 

We were given a demonstration of Karate by a little boy five years old.  Kimono dances were very colorful, graceful, comic and with masks, depicting dramas.  The tug pushing stopped by eleven o’clock.

Sunday, 2 March – Yokohama, Japan.

I took the Kamakura tour, which included the Great Buddha and temple. As well as other Shogun, and we were back at the ship by noon.  It was obvious the black- headed crowds were gathering in droves along the long covered walkways and observation deck for our departure.  I went immediately to Boat Deck from B stairway gangway on 4 Deck to take my photos of Yokohama in daylight.  A large construction dredge barge had come to the opposite side of our dock, complete with Godzilla mascot of great size, so this somewhat interfered with my view!  I stopped at the S. C. club in time to have a cup of tea with Agnes; then lunch in the Lido with her.  She complained bitterly about Mrs. Levy on the home visit yesterday, so I told her I knew it from Mrs. Levy’s side and we had a laugh!

I returned to Boat Deck to watch the gathered crowd, hear the colorful band with four marimbas until departure time.  I met with Jay who has booked a continuation all the way to Southampton, then Jannie and Donna, with whom I stayed till we finished photographing our passage under the Bay Bridge.  The departure was routine with a parallel back up away from the pier then turn to port for exit through the narrow jetty opening.  Temperature is cold and blustery, so I was glad to go in to the movie a little after two- thirty.  “Long Kiss Goodnight.”  Bought more films.

The ship lurched to port more than usual while Mrs. Levy and I were eating alone.  Nigel came at eight- thirty or so, so I remained till all had finished near ten o’clock.  Mrs. Levy left earlier.  After a brief attempt at the trivia game in the Pub with the Morrises and Audrey I returned to my cabin.

Monday, 3 March – Kobe, Japan.

We were tied up at the Pier by eight o’clock as scheduled.  We had come parallel to the pier and were gently pushed sideways till the large gap was closed.   I went on my bullet train and bus trip to Kyoto to see the three main sights.  Back home by six o’clock  Dinner was around eight o’clock and Mrs. Levy left soon after the Morrisses arrived.

We were entertained by a troop from Kobe, consisting of singing, Kimono dances and drummers; put on by the Travel Bureau of Kobe.  I walked Boat Deck to see the lights, which I don’t think are as good as Yokohama.  Trains and cars roar by on elevated highways and tracks.  We are supposed to leave here at two in the morning but I’ll not be awake!  Actually I did awake after two o’clock to see the harbor going by my porthole.  I looked out a short while then returned to sleep.

Tuesday, 4 March – At Sea.

This was a beautiful, brisk, sunny day with fresh winds stirring up white caps.  I had breakfast with Jean who had tales to tell of our Japanese.  She stayed overnight in Kobe.

I tried reading on Boat Deck where I found a sheltered area.  However, the crisp temperature and headwind cooled me down, and eventually I had to leave, so I went to the Theatre for Peter Longley’s lecture on China. – I dozed!

I read again on Boat Deck but before sitting down I had to heavily rub off dirty salt accumulations.  I lunched in my restaurant because the Japanese hoards were in the Lido.  I had four custards, then found Jean in the Steiner beauty parlor.  I took photos of 3 Deck and the Pavilion, then spent most of the afternoon in my cabin.  The seas are still moderate and there is little motion.  [Hong Kong exacts HK 100 for plane departure, so I cashed $80 for spending. 

I sat in on the final song of the entertainment; nothing to lure me for the second show.  I tried the movie “Space Jam” but left after an hour.  The gala buffet was very nice with ice sculptures, a wide Greek arch, cornucopia etc.  I was in bed by midnight.

Wednesday, 5 March – At Sea.

The day promises to be clear and bright for my last full day at sea.  After breakfast with Jean I headed for Boat Deck to bask in the sun.  I found Jannie so I joined her.  We looked over the South China Sea and could see Chinese fishing boats plus the occasional freighter paralleling our route at a distance.  At eleven, I went to Peter Longley’s Hong Kong lecture, and along the way, met Agnes who returned the Lim book.  Jean returned the Rendell book so I have all now.

I went back to Boat Deck for more sun and reading on portside.  It is still a bit chilly without a shirt.  Lunch for me was at one thirty.  The Japanese are all over the Lido and for the most part keep to themselves.  All announcements are translated now.

We are traveling through the Taiwan Straits, between China and Taiwan.  I can’t see any land though, but a lot of fishing boats.  The Strait is placid!

I went back to Boat Deck portside for an hour or so, but it became too cool so I retreated to the aft chairs by Sports Deck.  Some people are skeet shooting.  I latched on to Peter and Archer plus their friends Jackie and Tony who were ready for tea, so we all went to the Lido on starboard windows for sandwiches and scones.  I left them at five o’clock for cabin time. And the movie “Michael Collins.”  Dinner was happily without Nigel!

I went back to my cabin and set my clock back one hour for my last time.  Lots of ships are passing in the night.  There were lots of fishing boats all day too.

 Thursday, 6 March – South China Sea – Hong Kong.

I awoke early – around seven o’clock and went first to the Computer Room to compose my email letter to Chris, but ended up inside the Radio Room, located on Boat Deck next to the access on portside to the open deck. I wrote the letter and the radio officer did the dispatching.  He wasn’t sure what he was doing, it is all so new to him.  Anyway, I emerged to Boat Deck to finish a mild misty morning.  I sat a while on Portside watching the occasional fishing sampans and a freighter passing on its way north.  We seem to be going a bit slower and the forward breeze is slow. 

I joined Jean at nine o’clock after delivering my form to Key Club and questionnaire to the slot on D stairway.  Valerie joined us a while so I had her sign my book.  We then attended the Richard C. Hottelet lecture on Hong Kong.

I had more deck time in the sun after buying pens from the shop.  Shops close for three days at three o’clock.  I had a club sandwich in the Key Club with Jannie and later, Donna Hartstone who signed my book also.  Then I joined Jean in the Lido where we sat with a very elderly couple from Staffordshire.

From three o’clock on I wandered up to bow and sat on the bridge access steps to watch us slowly advance on the Hong Kong mountains, massed skyscrapers, small boats, tugs, freighters, islands, pastel skyscrapers, buoys and so on.  When we turned in toward the harbor both high sides loomed ahead and we continued with water-spouting tugs leading the way.  Numberless boats of all sizes crossed our way.  Finally we drew up to the pier.  “Oriana” was on the port side in all her splendor.  People watched us come in and we watched them!  At six, “Oriana” backed away, made horrible sounding toots and headed forward on out through the channel between Hong Kong and Kowloon.  We exchanged whistle salutes and when QE2 did her loud and deep toots, we people gathered aft on Boat Deck clapped and cheered; and when “Oriana” answered we jeered! 

An email from Cherie came.  Oh yes, Peter and Helen have different names.  Jackie and Tony let me join them on aft Quarter Deck.  Jackie is an avid photographer.  I was pleased to note the QE2 Brits prefer QE2.  Jay called to me to agree with my outspoken opinion of “Oraina’s” whistle!

I admired the skyline a bit more, then went to the cabin till dinner at eight- fifteen.  The Morrises were still there!  The evening skyline is very colorful.  I heard a virtuoso ethnic instrument concert by eight young people colorfully dressed.  Two 2- string bow- played instruments, two Kyoto types, a hammer dulcimer, a wooden flute, a banjo type guitar and a strange multi-sticked racket!   I headed for bed after more time spent on deck watching the harbor activities and admiring the city lights.

Friday, 7 March – Hong Kong.

We remain docked at Ocean Terminal.  I skipped breakfast and walked to One Deck Lido to see how the day would be – warm and foggy.  I took the junk tour along the harbor to Lantau Island and Po Lin Monastery.  Jannie and Agnes were with me as we looked at a fishing village on the way to the main features of the trip.  The ride on the little motorized junk was quite fun and we three lounged on benches and leaned on the railings to see the sights.

Once back at the ship I freshened up and met Agnes and Ann for our shopping excursion to Chinese Culture and Arts Centre.  Back at the cabin I rested and watched CNN and finished packing.

I said farewell to my tablemates at dinner.  Hugs for Gregory Dorothy and Maria, plus tips to them.  I spent a long time on Boat Deck aft just watching the harbor traffic including tugs towing dredge barges, Star ferries, small private boats, police boats, hydrofoils – you name it.  I scrutinized the skyline with the binoculars and eventually went around the deck photographing night scenes.  I met the Morrises for midnight snack with Mrs. Levy as well.  I was in bed by one o’clock with my two bags outside my door.  The German couple wished me safely home etc.

Saturday, 8 March – Goodbye Hong Kong and fly home.

I was up and dressed around six -thirty and went on deck to greet the new day.  Fog was burning off and the sun was out.  Traffic on the Pearl River accelerated with rush hour.  Tiny junks to old rusty cruisers and everything in between were darting here and there.  I met Jean for breakfast and Margaret Y.joined us, so I could hug her goodbye.  We sat by the windows.

I returned to Boat Deck for as much time as I could glean before I had to report to the Golden Lion Pub at ten -thirty.  I hugged Ben goodbye.  Ruth Joyce leaves now as well.

One of my bags was not readily available, but it was found finally in a room behind the general baggage areas.  It had lost its tag number 38.  We then were carted away from my dear Queen Elizabeth 2.   Till next time!

Hong Kong to Los Angeles in Business Class.  This was a rather horrendous flight because I was sitting with a man from the ship who had drunk too many cocktails and was playing off one stewardess against the other, obtaining much too much alcohol.  He upchucked on me and the rest is history.  Ugh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


LA – Hong Kong 1997 – Part 2

LA – Hong Kong, 1997 Part 2 on Queen Elizabeth 2.

Saturday, 1 February – At Sea.

There is a little more motion today with partly cloudy skies, brisk westerly wind and moderate swells.  After eight thirty breakfast with Mrs. Gray and Australian friend, I attended Judith Pika’s lecture number four; then Peter Longley’s lecture on New Zealand, followed by a brisk hour of reading on Boat Deck.  I tried to sit in the lee of a large stanchion, barely managing to keep warm.  Bisset’s Tramps and Ladies.  The Water was a brilliant blue contrasting with lots of white caps.

I took my welcome gift, the champagne bottle to Marjorie’s cabin.  She had just returned, so she invited me for a visit, after which we had lunch in the Lido.  Steve  ?  and another host from Massachusetts sat with us.  I then saw the movie “A Time to Kill.”  When I got out, I went for tea in the Sam Cunard Club, talking with Jay and Judy (the gal that ate with me yesterday.)

When I returned to my cabin I found a Cunard reward pin for one hundred days, waiting on my bed.  I wore it to the World Club Cocktail Party.  Awards were given to people who have been on Cunard ships five hundred and a thousand days!   I then went on to dinner, sitting between Vivian and John Morris, Andrew and Mrs. Levy on the other end.

The Officer’s Ball was the feature of the evening and I was surprised to see Captain Burton-Hall actually socializing and dancing!  Surprise!  He has been so unavailable it seems.

Judy Bork entertained again, and Bettine did a beautiful flute and voice duet with her.

The threatened cyclone Federico didn’t affect us as much as expected.  Only a bit lumpy, that’s all.  Clocks ahead one hour tonight.  Arch Deacon Bob Willing 5137.

Sunday, 2 February.

Bright sunshine glared through my porthole when I awoke.  Saw former stewardess Helen as usual on my way to the Lido on One Deck.  I chatted with Mrs. Gray; then at ten o’clock I attended the Professor Smith lecture on China.

I checked on the outside weather as I wandered briefly to Boat Deck then Fantail in cool sunshine.  There is a fairly stiff cool breeze, so I tried to sit away from it.  I soon decided a jacket would be needed so I went in to change some money into New Zealand dollars.  At noon I joined other Club members on 6 Deck B Stairway at a Bavarian feast,  Frühschopen.  While down there, I took the opportunity of exploring some of the storage areas and the food elevators with direct access to the storage area.  We helped ourselves to the Wurst, cold cuts, salads and so on, then pastries.  I had two helpings of custard, and sat with Eric and Margaret Lee, who are fast becoming dear friends, since we share equal enthusiasm and knowledge of ships and the sea.  Any questions I have about these subjects, I gladly ask Eric.

When the movie “The Rock” was over, I went out to sunny and windy weather on Sports Deck facing aft, to read.  Wonderfully blue and white waves!  Then at five thirty I walked all the deck lengths back to the cabin.  On 3 Deck I came across John and Viv Morris changing cabins.  I like the motion of the ship.

I ate most of my dinner of courgette (cucumber to us Americans) soup, salad and Beef Wellington alone.  Finally at 8:45 Nigel and Mrs. Levy came after the Ward Room party, which I forgot to attend.  I went to the sing along in Golden Lion Pub at ten o’clock; then headed for bed without any further entertainment.

 Monday, 3 February – Auckland, New Zealand.

By the time I awoke, we were nearly berthed at the Prince’s Wharf with bow pointing right to the front street.  The wharf and dockside to the south house the maritime museum where are displayed various famous sailboats, square- riggers and former America’s Cup contenders.  One of the New Zealand boats from 1995, the Black Magic, was there – the winner I might add!  I discovered all this as I walked forward on Boat Deck after breakfast.  I took photos of the city and QE2; then went to join my tour to the Waimoto Caves.

We returned to the ship by six- thirty, and at dinner we welcomed a new couple, John and Nola Campbell from Melbourne.  I walked with the Morrises along the waterfront by the museum boats and down to the Devonport Ferry, where we sat a while, then returned to check out the midnight buffet.

Near one o’clock in the morning QE2 backed slowly along and away from her berth.  As she did so I watched the process on my television and observed outside my porthole, noting what looked like an island with a tall towered building coming into closer view.  We eventually gained forward momentum and turned to port and out the channel past a flashing green buoy.  Devonport’s distant lights blinked.  I went to bed while still leaving the harbor, knowing it would be a long northerly course to clear the eastern peninsula.  In fact it was nearly noon next day before we cleared and headed south.

Tuesday, 4 February.

I awoke after seven o’clock, took a bath, washed hair and dallied through breakfast while it dried.  Sunny morning.  When I did emerge I went on deck at One Deck Lido and faced aft while reading.  I changed New Zealand money and mailed the two letters to Geoff and Chris, which I had written earlier.

At ten forty-five I attended Peter’s lecture on Wellington, after which I dropped in at the Sam Cunard Club for an ice tea and chocolate chip cookies.  Eric and Margaret joined me, and Eric and I eventually had lovely club sandwiches as well.  I had asked Eric about the channel buoy colors and it seems I have been wrong about “red right, returning.”  He says it may just be the US.  I will have to pursue that further.  When they left, I went to Boat 18 for a while to read Bisset.  At one- thirty or so I hunted for Marjorie Cullen in the Lido and found her sitting with Marion and Cliff from Australia, who had just embarked yesterday.  We talked about the M.V. mishap in 1992, which forced them to cancel their cruise which should have followed.

At two forty-five Alan Whicker’s World talk and videos was held in the Theatre and Marjorie and I attended.  We had dropped into her cabin a while before, where she had received a vase of orchids, and I discovered a door to close the room off from her entrance way.  Marjorie and I met up again for tea; then I returned to my cabin till time to see “Emma.”  Dinner at eight- fifteen with all ahead of me!  Edita dropped a bottle of wine on my Earl Gray teapot, broke the handle and I got to keep the pot – to save it from being thrown away!  I am now the proud owner of a sweet Cunard Royal Doulton teapot, which will grace my travel memorabilia shelf at home, that is, after I mend the handle.

I saw Jane Austin’s “Emma: again, did my laundry and headed for bed well after midnight.  Oh yes, we could see the mountains of the North Island to Starboard and passed freighters going north.  Marjorie said we passed Cook Cove where Captain Cook first went ashore.  Ben put new key rings on the cabin key, and I did the second one and will keep the two old ones.

 Wednesday, 5 February – Wellington, New Zealand

By the time I awakened at seven o’clock we were already docked on portside.  The sky was cloudy and remained so all day.  All around us was the encircling shoreline with the city proper abeam to Port, Mt. Victoria to the stern and Hull river valley to starboard.  Large cranes were poised ahead and infinite numbers of P & O containers stacked on the dock and some strategically placed at QE2’s bow to hem us pedestrians in.  A shuttle bus was the only way out for those not on tour buses.  A small dockside marquee was erected to house a few little sales tables, and when I went ashore a saxophone quartet was warming up on early Terpsichore type music.

When I returned from my tour I went into the tent to spend my last New Zealand dollars and a musical lady whose husband is an opera singer said she noticed me in the morning, responding to the music!  I bought a wooden cardholder from her.  Back on board I strolled the decks taking photos of the city and came upon the sail away party and dancing just getting started.  Good fruit punch!  I could just see the outstanding round Capitol Building from the ship’s bow.  It looks like a large beehive!

I waited on Port Boat Deck in increasingly heavy rain while a pipe band and drummers played typical bagpipe music.  The pilot finally came on board, the two gangways were removed, and we were off slowly reversing away with the help of a beautiful red tug pulling us at the stern.  Several sailboats under power, two kayaks and little motorboats stood at our port stern exchanging conversations with us at the rails.  Heavy rain dampened the harbor scene around seven o’clock.  Farewell Wellington!

We had a full table tonight at dinner with Nigel.  I attended the movie “City Hall” with Al Pacino, then had to leave because I was so sleepy, so I went off to bed to be rocked to sleep.

John Campbell is from Scotland originally and was a policeman.  Nola is an Aussie.  Vivian and John Morris are from London. Nigel Roberts is from the UK and Barbados.  Gerda Levy is German with US citizenship.

 Thursday, 6 February.

During the night QE2 passed between the two New Zealand islands in the Cook Strait, and we are now heading westward across the Tasman Sea bound for Melbourne, Australia.  After my beans and fruit, I went to Boat Deck for my usual deck chair lookout where I read Tramps and Ladies till time for a lecture on Aborigines, followed by Peter Longley’s lecture on Australia’s cities.  It is really rather brisk and windy outside so a sweatshirt, and closed shoes are in order.  I donned warmer clothes and returned to the deck for more reading and watching.  I ate lunch with Margaret Yehuda and a friend, Kay, then joined John and Nola while they ate.  When we parted I went up to Heledeck in hopes of finding a windless spot, eventually settling for a nice spot behind the wind -break.  Even that grew too chilly so I headed downward, greeting Nola and John, then encountering them in the shops.  I saw “Bridges of Madison County” in the afternoon.

Margaret Y. wants me to apply for two passes in Sydney for her.  I will try!  We’ve had some pretty good swells with cool winds, indicative of the latitude and the reputation of the Tasman Sea, so I hear!   Margaret is in cabin 2090.  We had a great discussion on the movie with the Morrises, Gerda, (she prefers the formal, Mrs. Levy) and the Campbells.  I attended the show – Pirouettes, two opera singers and dancers; ballet and excerpts from classical ballet.

 Friday, 7 February.

Early clouds gave way to bright sun, but I wasn’t able to go outside till after lunch.  Breakfast was with Margaret Y. then I left to do the bridge lesson, but diverted to join the long line to Golden Lion Pub for Australian immigration in the Grand Lounge.  Talked with a couple from Phoenix.  I was in the line forty or so minutes so I went to the Sam Cunard Club where I sat a while with John and Vivian till Peter Longley’s lecture on Melbourne and Sydney.  I sat with them in the balcony then joined them in Caronia.  I cashed eighty dollars and got Australian dollars $95.  I had mushroom soup, Mexican omelet and two raspberry sundaes.

The best part of the day was the two hours on Boat Deck portside, reading my Bisset book.  It was cool and crisp as I sat in sunshine and wind.  The movie was horrendous.  “The Cable Guy.”  Next I checked on my credit thus far and it stands at $33.50.  With that in mind I contemplated purchasing a Cunard Collection sweatshirt or T- shirt, but the prices don’t thrill me.  Maybe I will succumb later.

We can see CNN now.  It came in while in New Zealand and is a welcome change from the limits of in-house television.    Andrew Eardly was at dinner without Judith his fiancée who is slimming!  We all had fun together.  Gregory escorted me out of the dining room.  On my way downward I stopped for a bit of the Christine Trevett show.  Clocks back an hour tonight.

Saturday, 8 February – Melbourne, Australia.

I awoke in time to see us enter Melbourne Harbor.  We were greeted by several launches and a sailboat under power a long way out.  Eventually I could see a large tug named “Corsair” out my porthole to stern on portside.  When near the dock (Melbourne Welcomes You on the roof) the tug helped us turn around by pulling us on the stern.  Many many people are crowded on the end of the pier and are taking flash pictures of us as we turn.  Many more small craft including a jet-ski hover around.  At one point I saw a four-man rowing skiff, with helmsman on oar.  I assume another tug is helping turn us on the bow, but since I am at the porthole I can’t see it.  The tug has left our portside, presumably to push when needed on starboard, as we are docking on port now and backing in a distance of 200 feet away.  Oops!  The tug is still pulling, then around to push.

I went topside to watch the completing process and spotted both tugs spouting their water hoses and towers as they pushed us closer.  I met the Morrises and Campbells on Boat Deck briefly.  John M. hated the movie last night too!  I also had a brief chat on Helideck with the tenor from Washington State, now NYC, Doug Wunch. 

My tour took me to the Dandenong Mountains,  and when I returned to the ship by nearly six o’clock, I took photos of the harbour and had juice in the Sam Club.  About seven o’clock I went on deck to photograph the city and stayed on portside to see the view and many people arriving on foot and milling around.  Crowds were massed at the end of the dock by QE2’s bow and hundreds of other people lined the two storeys.  Agnes (from Scotland) and later Marcella joined me.  We threw streamers down, which blew back up toward us.  I gathered some from the lifeboat area 18 and while climbing the rail I was caught by two white uniformed men with stripes on epaulettes.  They said “get out” but I gathered the streamers, joking with them and with the gate open I walked out!  One guy aid something like, “I thought you were going to lower a lifeboat” in jest I hope!

Anyway I remained at the railing till the gangway was lifted, and we pulled away from the dock while the whistle blew.  The brass quintet played “Auld Lang Syne.”  I checked to see the boats on starboard too.  The three-masted gaff-rigged schooner or Barque was under full sail for us!

I joined my tablemates late for dinner.  Afterward I went to observation bow to see us slowly cross the Bay to pass between the “heads” into Bass Strait.  John and Nola joined Jay and me for the long process between red on right and green on starboard.  A large freighter passed us to port.  Several small launches followed us a long way.  It is very windy, but relatively mild evening air.   By the time I left Nola and John it was buffet time, so I indulged in a very thin slice of fudge cake!  Sat with a young Aussie.  Bath and bed.  Talent Show tomorrow.

 Sunday, 9 February – Bass Strait.

We are traveling north now after rounding through Bass Strait with land to Port approximately twenty miles.  The weather is mild with forward motion wind, but quite pleasant topside.  I had breakfast with Margaret Y. then I joined Nola and John while they finished theirs.  We had a lively debate as to whether John would do a bit for the talent show – to no avail.  I parted from them when they were through and headed upward to Boat Deck eventually settling under Boat 17 to read  Tramps and Ladies.

Toward one o’clock I went in to find Marjorie Cullen and came upon the Sherlock Holmes skit and music quiz, which would have been fun to do.  Eventually I found Marjorie who had won a bottle of wine at the tasting session.  We shared lunchtime with Gordon the host and later the young Australian man traveling alone.  In between I dashed for the 1:30 talent show rehearsal and returned.

I had more deck time.  I think I saw an island to starboard but am not sure if it’s a fogbank instead.  Anyway we pass various ships in these parts, including “Crystal Symphony” bound for Melbourne.  Finally three- thirty came, and I was placed last on the program of nearly twelve acts, a compliment I feel.  Did a good job of hamming up “Old Mother Hubbard.”  Nola and John both kissed me when it was all over.  Our table in Lido for tea was augmented eventually by the arrival of John and Vivian, who were also supportive.  Viv had missed it but apparently John told her about it.

Clouds have taken over the sky.  Land continues constantly to Port as we progress smoothly northward.  Nigel joined us for dinner and told us about the plans for a television series based on his book C-6 (Sea Sicks) re: QE2 Doctor “in the ship.”  I then attended the vocal concert by Marilyn McCoo, which was very good.  I was in bed by midnight.

Monday, 10 February – Sydney, Australia.

I was awake at five o’clock to see us slip into Sydney Harbor with the city lights all aglow.  A tug paced us to port, then as we came abreast of the Opera House (not lit up) we were turned 90˚ then on her own, QE2 reversed toward the U-shaped quay, stopped, and was gently pushed sideways to contact.  My cabin glowed from the shore lights till dawn.  I slept till seven fifteen, when Margaret Y. phoned me.  I met her for breakfast to deliver the two passes to her for her friends.

I joined my tour for the Australian sights, which took us to an animal park and a lovely boat ride followed by a barbeque lunch.  While enjoying lunch by the river, a bold Kukubura sang his distinctive cackle for us from a nearby tree.  I was very thrilled and sang the round for those assembled.  Back at the ship, I was informed my tour tomorrow conflicts with the World Cruise Society dinner so I have cancelled that one.  I did, however, walk along the Rocks area and Circular Quay, then returned “home.”

Tonight’s dinner was the last with Nola and John Campbell.  I hugged them goodbye and went to the opera recital in the Grand Lounge.  Four fine singers and accompanist sang their arias beautifully.  On the way to my cabin I spied and joined Margaret and Eric Lee for a Horlicks, then we parted.  I was bathed and in bed by eleven thirty.

 Thursday, 11 February – Sydney

I met the Campbells and Morrises for farewell breakfast.  Heavy rain prevailed all day, so I walked to David Jones department store and Centre Point, stopping at the Quay to see QE2 as she sits dockside.  I went to the Wentworth Hotel and CSRR for a nice rest and read.  I enjoyed lunch at a small restaurant there, and was back “home” by one o’clock in rain.  The woman at the x-ray machine ran my bag through twice so I could see how my stuff looks. Then I went to the Lido and sat with Dot and ate a dessert while she finished her meal.  Then I hunted for Jean Burns to no avail. 5072.  I washed my hair and stayed in my cabin till time to leave for the World Cruise Society Dinner.  I phoned Jean and we met at Stairway A 2 Deck so we could go to the dinner together.  I sat with her through the receiving line and cocktail party.  The hors d’oeuvres table was made of ice and a carving of the QE2, Cunard and ’75 was placed thereon.

I sat at table twenty- six after passing through a large bulkhead, starry corridor and entering the 1922 era art deco- decorated ballroom.  Large wooden screens depicted dancers, pageboys, a large old car, and a real band was playing.  I sat next to IAN MCNAUGHT the first Officer, who is rather young and very pleasant.  Other mates were Gordon and Ann Scott to my right and Ruth ? to Ian’s left.  The other Brits across the way were hardly visible, because of the tall three-candle candelabra and prolific white flower centerpieces.  The candles dripped all over my menu and tablecloth.  Great meal, toasts by Commodore Burton-Hall, talks by the Chairman of Cunard’s Board and a travel editor who was a poor rep for an executive and American!  (Little did I know then that Ian  would become the Captain of the QE2 in later years, and it was he who had to deliver her to Dubai in 2008 where she was to become a museum and hotel.)

We were back at the ship around eleven o’clock.  I changed my clothes and went up to the deck just aft of the Lido where I sat in the shelter of the overhang- away from the rain – facing aft.  I admired the Sydney skyline about an hour talking with a recent widower from Melbourne.  With three long toots of the whistle (which echoed off of the buildings) we slowly pulled away from the quay and Sydney receded as we passed the Opera House, Fort Denison and on down river past Manly.  When I watched the little orange pilot boat keeping pace outside my porthole, toward the mouth of the heads, it tossed a lot in the waves, causing splashes over the decks!  Finally, the Pilot left us for that small craft and it mercifully fell off toward calmer water.  We have just revved up, so now to bed at one a.m.

[Vistafjord had a small fire in a mattress storage area, which was quickly extinguished.  In transit between Falklands and Punta Arenas.]

 Wednesday, 12 February.

I was up at eight o’clock.  Cloudy and very humid.  Breakfast with Vera.  A man was following the score of Mozart’s Gm Symphony number 40.  I talked with him, and he also has an art exhibit in mid-ships lobby.  I also had a brief chat with Agnes Lockhart from Scotland and her friend by Queen’s Lounge; then I headed for Boat Deck to read on portside.  All day we can see the shore of Australia to Port at a distance of about twenty miles.  A tiny boat had come way out to see us as we passed.

Peter Longley’s lecture on Brisbane and the Barrier Reef was at eleven fifteen.  There I had a brief chat with Eric and Margaret.  While up there, I dashed to the shops and bought a sweatshirt and polo shirt from Cunard Collection with my credit of $90.  Later I also bought a formal black long pair of culottes.

I had lunch in the Lido with Jean Burns, after which we parted only to meet again in the shops.  I then spent time on Boat Deck watching the shore and reading.  Tea with Agnes and friends, then we two went to Starboard Boat Deck to sun ourselves and talk.  The nice French-English lady joined our “natterings” for nearly two hours.

I saw the movie at six o’clock,  “Island of Dr. Moreau”  Yuk!   The new people at our table are from Sydney, Les and Beryl.  The Irish Drovers were singing in the Golden Lion pub, then I saw the “Follies Parisienne.”  They did some Les Mis songs.

Clocks back one hour tonight.  Key Club present!  A leather- bound Atlas with Queen Elizabeth 2 and new logo embossed bookmark.

 


LA – Hong Kong, 1997 Part 1

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

WORLD CRUISE

SAN PEDRO, CALIFORNIA – HONG KONG

JANUARY 17, 1997 – MARCH 8, 1997

Cabin 4224 

Friday, 17 January, 1997 – San Pedro, CA

I flew to LAX and was met at the plane and transported by bus with four passengers toward San Pedro, where we boarded QE2 around three fifteen.  She was berthed facing south on the outside pier, 91.  I went through the detector, surrendered my passport and ticket, registered my credit card and proceeded to the gangway, but not until I had donned my red Australia coat-sweater for the boarding photo!  The gangway led to 2 Deck, A Stairwell portside, then I walked way aft, using the G lift to get to 4 Deck.  Cabin 4224 was a most welcome sight!  (I have been upgraded to First Class, so will dine in the Caronia Restaurant.)  You enter a short hallway with bath on the left, then turn a right angle to the right, pass three closets with a mirrored dresser, then come to the two beds on the forward side and sofa on the outside.  One porthole!  A small stuffed chair and round table obstructed access to the sofa, so I removed the round table.

My former steward, Ben, has this section, which both of us are pleased about.  I distributed the contents of my tote bag, and shortly afterward, when the suitcase came, I put everything in drawers and closets.  I then headed for Yacht Club via the fantail, where I saw a familiar face – I can’t remember his name though! (Andrew).

During the World Cruise Society reunion at Yacht Club, I sat with Margaret Y. who has just embarked for the voyage back to England.  A couple named  ? and Nancy sat with us.  Elaine McKay, Peter Longley, John Butt, Brian Price plus several new hosts were present as well.

There were only four people at the Boat Drill plus two crew hosts.  That was at 5:45 at Station M.  I returned to the cabin to watch a bit of “Rob Roy,” and prepare for dinner.  I got rather mixed up trying to get to Caronia dining room, which is forward where Mauretania should be, so eventually I approached it from A stairway.  I am at table 270 with Elaine McKay and a lady named Dot who is on her first QE2 World Cruise.

Saw the movie “The Client”, then returned to bathe and watch us leave from my porthole.  I am writing this as I lean on the porthole sill.  We are heading south past the long piers, under the suspension bridge!  I’m mixed up.  I thought we should go the other way!  Yes we are turning around under the bridge!

It took me a while to get to sleep.  As I was just dozing off, I awoke to the sound of churning water below my porthole, which I surmise was due to accelerated screw turns.  The sound abated fortunately so I could sleep.

 Saturday, 18 January

I awoke shortly before dawn as we were still heading in a southerly direction parallel to the land.  It seems the coastline consists of a low mountain range.  We dropped anchor off Ensenada, Mexico and the ship is tucked in a pleasant bay area with a nice mountain curve around three fourths of the bay.  Off shore is a sizeable island with a lighthouse on its northern end.

At seven thirty I went to breakfast in the Lido by myself, then walked all the interior corridors except Five Deck.  Ben wanted to do up my cabin so I went to Boat Deck via Purser’s Office.  I am presently sitting under lifeboat #16 in the shade.  Weather is clear and around 68˚.  Launches are plying to and from shore, but I have chosen to remain on board.  I have wandered a bit and it is only ten thirty.  I went into the Sam Cunard Club private room (the Boardroom), and was greeted by a former acquaintance, Jay, who is from San Diego, and owns property in Pattaya, because he won a Thailand lottery.  He  grew up in Bourne.  We chatted a while and were joined by an English lady named Mary (who flew in yesterday).

The air conditioning in the Clubroom was so cold I changed clothes, then came on Boat Deck where it is still comfortable on the shady side.  I am under boat 17 facing the Ensenada jetty and the Carnival Cruise ship, “Holiday” docked in the harbor.  Ensenada appears built at the foot of coastal slopes along the water.  Now for a quiet read: Original Sin.

While passing through Queens Room Starboard, I spied a lady reading the Full Text Bible Lessons, so I sidled up to her and made myself known.  She is from Honolulu, on from Ft. Lauderdale and is named Jean.  We went to lunch together, then I took a launch to the Ensenada Dock and back.  As we pulled away from the ship, a girl pointed out what she thought was a whale.  It was rather long, but didn’t breach so we couldn’t identify it.  This really is a very attractive bay.  I just saw a baby whale who surfaced twice, pointed jaw, blowhole and large horizontal tail.

I had tea in the Clubroom, sitting with a very tall Italian man who know opera well.  Jay joined us.  The ship headed away from Ensenada at five thirty-five, and I watched this from my cabin on television till dinner.

Harrod’s is gone by the way!  Cunard collection replaces it.  At dinner, there were two new men from San Francisco to Honolulu.  The horse sculpture at the center of the restaurant is made of molded plastic. Entertainment was an acrobat who juggled and balanced on a free -standing ladder.  All the Cruise Staff were introduced.

Sunday, January 19 – At Sea.

I was up at seven twenty; the sun was shining, but by nine or so, clouds and rain moved in.  I had breakfast with Edie and friends, then did my Five Deck exercise walk.  I finished reading Original Sin, then had a coffee followed by a browse around the shops.  Not much to catch my fancy yet!  The sun returned before noon and I am presently sitting under lifeboat ten facing the sun, which means we must be heading in a southwesterly direction – logical!

During lunch I sat with a host from Louisiana, then Edie joined us.  At two thirty I attended Peter Longley’s lecture showing slides of what we will be seeing across the Pacific Ocean.  I skipped tea to return to my cabin for a rest.  I am disappointed in the television fare.  All the video players are gone and HBO seems to be operating. 

Anyway, toward six o’clock I dressed for dinner and watched “Mr. Holland’s Opus” in the Theatre,” which was excellent.  I then dashed to dinner by eight- thirty to join the others already there, Tony, the original gent was there as well as Elaine and Larry.  Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding.  Yum!

I checked briefly on the Neil Sedaka concert, then left to wash my hair and settle in for the night.  The ship is pitching gently.  Clocks back one hour tonight.

Monday, 20 January.

I was awake early and watched the sunrise from my porthole.  QE2 continues in slight ground swells, which she gently mounts and leaves behind.  Cloudy bright.

On my all deck walk, I met up with Helen, my stewardess of last year.  Her position is One Deck starboard aft.  While I finished up my breakfast, a nice lady from Cheltenham, named Vera came to sit with me.  We talked about her Gloucestershire vicinity and it turns out she used to work at the Gloucester Docks, was involved in the aftermath of the barge collision on the Gloucester and Sharpness Severn bridge, and thinks she recognizes Nadine Price’s name, because she is a member of the Ramblers club. We are both glad to have found each other, because of the similar interests.

I attended the first Bridge lecture in the Crystal Bar, not sure I want to continue.  However, from there I went to the Purser’s office to turn in my manifest form, then headed to 2 Deck A Stairway to have my picture taken for the boarding card.  Jay and Ruth were there too. I then headed via Boat Deck to the “club” for punch.  I wrote some post cards there too.  I think this place serves as the equal to Queen’s Grill Lounge and gives me that feeling!

Margaret Y. came in so we chatted a bit re: my many visits to England.  I then took leave of her and went to see the shops.  Neil Sedaka was autographing CDs, and a very long queue was hampering the port corridor.  I then went to the Cunard Collection shop (where Harrod’s was) to purchase a QE2 denim shirt.

After a brief stop at my cabin I went to the Fantail, where I sat on portside facing inward.  The weather is overcast and windy, but tolerable.  Lunch with Vera.  It has clouded over and is a bit moist, so I have settled in the Club for a while to read  Tramps and Steamers by Sir James Bisset.  I also wrote a letter, then went to “Il Postino” in the balcony of the Theatre.

Back at the cabin I caught Peter Langley’s talk on “Globalism” on television.  I had missed it this morning, so was glad.  I dressed for the Cocktail Party, wearing my Diane Frieze dress and headed upward to enter Queen’s Room by the back way.  I was stopped by a lady, who admired the dress.  When I entered Queen’s Room, I realized I should have been in black and white for the theme of the evening.  The room was decorated with black and white balloons and ship cut-outs also in back and white placed in planters around the dance floor.  I sat with two congenial couples.  After the ritual of introducing the officers, I headed for Caronia dining room.  My tablemates all in black and white teased me for being colored blind and I apologized all over the place.  They didn’t hold it against me!  Ha Ha.  Actually, the whole dining room of people had very few odd ones like me.  I went to my cabin via the Grand Lounge to see a bit of the show.

 Tuesday, 21 January.

It is a lovely, sunny, warm day, with beautiful deep blue ocean, sparkling as QE2 pushes her bow wave.  My lady friend, Mrs. Gray from Queen’s Grill, sat with me in the Lido for breakfast.  At nine- thirty we parted, so I could do my walk around each deck as I progressed upward to Boat Deck to check the temperature, and while there did one and a half times round on deck.  I then headed down for immigration in the Grand Lounge, then on my way down to the cabin I met Mrs. Gray at her cabin on 2 Deck by D stairway.  She allowed me in to see her QG single, which has two large portholes, one bed and various surfaces.  I didn’t think it was that great, frankly!

I returned to my cabin till time for Peter Longley’s lecture.  Kaverna is the company that has bought Trafalgar House and consequently, now owns Cunard.

I read my book on Boat Deck a while, then headed lower to shelter from the wind.  At one o’clock I had a soft serve cone then went up to Lido for lunch, and sat with an English lady from Princess Grill, then migrated at dessert time to sit with Vera and a lady from Canada in the Lido.

At two -thirty, Commodore Burton-Hall gave his talk and interview.—He told of the time the ship hit a large Humpback whale on the bulbous bow off Grand Banks.  They had to reverse to get it off – dead, alas!  The Commodore was a junior officer on Queen Elizabeth.  Doug Ridley is now also a Commodore, retired.  Burton-Hall flies the Blue Ensign, his personal flag because he is an officer in the Royal Navy.  He admits it is vanity!

I returned outside to sit near Yacht Club and at four o’clock I went for tea in the Club -room  (from now on I will call it Board Room, which is what we later called it).  On my way back to the cabin I walked the many alleyways downward.   I watched the movie “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austin – always a good one.  At dinner I had broccoli soup and vanilla soufflé – yum!  The show was by Michael James the juggler and magicians, the Beckers.  Back at the cabin I watched Mitchner’s  “Hawaii”.   Some time during the day I had a brief talk with John Douglass.  Clocks back one hour tonight.

Wednesday, 22 January – Hilo, Hawaii.

I was up early to watch us enter Hilo Harbor.  The pilot boat, painted yellow with blue, sported two outboard motors, and looked about twenty feet or less long.  Also there were small tugs and one normal-sized one and they started their tasks just in time to help nudge the ship around the end of the very long, low breakwater.  A little before, we needed to be nudged to the dock; we were touching bottom and it took a lot of mud stirring and engine effort by the starboard aft tug and port, forward one to get us around.  Shortly after docking we all gathered on top decks to see the helicopter dump petals all around the ship, but not on it – three rounds.  I then headed for a brief breakfast at the Lido, where I sat with Margaret Y.  She hadn’t put her watch ahead so was a little confused.

I went on my tour to Akaka and Kahuna Falls and was back at the ship by one o’clock.  The Lido was closed so I had to eat in Caronia with Dot and Tony.  I have asked Jon Douglass for a more international table.

I went to see “Walk in the Clouds” movie at three o’clock, then stopped by the Board Room for tea.  They served clotted cream, jam and scones while I chatted with a nice couple from England, who are doing the whole cruise plus a Trans-Atlantic, then Arizona would you believe!  I walked aft along Boat Deck in the balmy moist air, looking along the containers dockside and out over the jetty to the ocean beyond.

I attended the chaotic luau on Helideck.  As I walked up there it was as if there was no one aboard, but upon reaching Sun Deck it was obvious everyone was up there.  I eventually found a chair with a nice couple from Akron and we enjoyed lively conversation – Maxine and Terry were their names I think.

As I was heading downward at about eight o’clock I realized the tugs were already pivoting the ship away from the dock.  The stern tug, MAMO, the large new one from Honolulu was pulling the stern out but allowing that end to be the pivot as well.  When the ship was ready for forward motion, the cable was released and the tug continued to push, but it was using its engine in reverse as it moved in concert backwards.  Soon it pivoted on the hull of QE2 to push her sideways and away from any possibility of straying from the channel.  I soon noticed that the starboard side was taking on water in waves, and soon when swell came around the jetty end, waves were pouring over the side and all over the decks.   It was very exciting for me to see the skillful use and to be able to understand the whole process.  Earlier, the ship’s whistle sounded the usual three blasts then short BOOP.   When the tug was no longer needed it simply backed away and eventually sped around our stern, presumably to return to Honolulu, since it had been ordered from there to help out.  I returned to the cabin, exhilarated.

Thursday, 23 January – Honolulu.

I was up very early to see us slowly enter the channel of Honolulu harbor.  The full moon was coming in and out of clouds.  We slipped into the dock by Aloha Tower, and I returned to sleep a couple more hours.

After breakfast in Caronia, I went ashore to spend a long time waiting for Suzanne Fletcher, who never did show up.  I had lunch at Scott’s restaurant in the Aloha shopping center with a lady named Anita.  We wanted single tables but happily shared.  The proprietor thanked us by giving us dessert free.  I invited him and wife to use Sue’s passes and they got a tour of the ship.  David and Valerie Sorensen.  At five o’clock I dashed up to Grand Lounge to watch the sweet little girls dance the Hula.  Halau Hula Olana.

I went to dinner, where John Douglass managed to set me up at a new table far forward on Starboard (309).  I ate alone until nearly eight o’clock when John and Vivienne Morris from London came in.  They are on the whole World Cruise and quite delightful people. A Mrs. Levy, an elderly American lady originally from Germany, came followed soon by two Australians, Peter and Noel, who just came embarked.

The show was by Christine Trevett, who has a pleasant versatile voice.  The ship left port while we were eating and now is heading due south to Pago Pago, a four day open sea voyage.

Friday, 24 January – At Sea.

What a beautiful, bright, clear and comfortable day this is.  After breakfast at which Margaret Y, accompanied me briefly, I went to Boat Deck port side for a brief sojourn.  That side was very glary, so I stayed only a short time, reading.  I then headed for Crystal Bar via A stairway and Caronia restaurant.  There, John and Noel were finishing their breakfast so we chatted a bit.  The second bridge lecture left me quite confused!  Next was the trivial pursuit quiz, which I did with the Morrises.  As I left that, I recognized a friend from last year from Sydney, Marjorie Cullen, and she seemed happy to see me.  We went to a part of a lecture together.  She is sharing with a “Tartar” as she calls it, and hopes to get a cabin change or relief of some kind.

I went to Boat Deck and sat under boat 13 in shade, reading an Agatha Christie mystery, The Seven Dials Mystery.  Beautiful nautic blue ocean, scattered wispy clouds and comfortable breeze.  Just right!

Marjorie and I had lunch together then we attended the lecture on US Imperialism.  Movie at three thirty, “President’s Lady.”  I then washed my hair and watched another movie, “The Madness of King George.”  Nigel Roberts the ship’s Doctor arrived to host his table. 

Saturday, 25 January – At Sea.

I had breakfast alone, but joined Margaret Y. while she finished hers.  We then attended a talk on fashion in Queen’s Room.

We had rain in the morning, but it cleared so I spent an hour on Boat Deck reading from noon to one after Peter’s talk.   I joined Vera for lunch and we nearly argued about Communism vs. capitalism.  She is fairly anti-Tory etc.  Saw the movie “Casino” then spent more time on Boat Deck in cloudy weather.  At the Cruise Staff cocktail party I met a very nice Scottish lady named Agnes Lockhart.  This was Burns night, and Andrew and Judith joined us a table.   I tried the show but it was too loud.  An Australian singer, Bonham and a trumpet player.   I made note of a beautiful full moon outside.

 Sunday, 26 January.

At eight something this morning QE2 crossed the Equator and at twelve thirty King Neptune came aboard with his wife Camilla (Brian and Elaine).  They read poetic scripts, presented necklace medallions to the Commodore and Chief Engineer.  The Hotel Manager, Engelbert Lanier, was presented and a repartee ensued re: his similarity to Bill Clinton!

My morning consisted of a light breakfast with Margaret Y. followed by a nice long time on Port Boat Deck reading in bright sun and surprisingly comfortable atmosphere considering we are on the Equator.  The humidity was not too high.  I had a short fruit juice in the Club at noon with Jay and friends.

I met Marjorie Cullen before the ceremony and sat in the Pavilion to observe.  We left before it was over so we could get through the cafeteria line ahead of the crowd.  While eating, her friend the Arch-Deacon came to tell her he managed to get her a new cabin. 3112, a Grill cabin.  She was so happy and left to move her stuff.  I wandered a bit and read in Queens Room promenade till two- thirty when I watched another gory movie, “Copycat.”  

I read my book on Boat Deck and gazed over the beautiful deep blue ocean with occasional white caps from northeast quarter.  On the way down I scanned the shops.

My tablemates didn’t arrive until eight- thirty, because Nigel Roberts was hosting his cocktail party in the Doctor’s Office on Two Deck forward of the Computer Room, starboard side.  I went ahead and ordered, then ate two courses before they came.  I waited for crêpes Suzettes till the others could join me. 

Judy Kolba gave her show.  She is very energetic, loud and versatile; a comedienne and singer.  The ocean continues to be very tame, so QE2 forges ahead with a minimum of motion.  I was in bed by midnight.  By the way, all the video players are gone!

 Monday, 27 January – 

The sun rose clearly through my porthole, making a brilliant circle on the TV wall.  I joined an elderly lady from Long Island at breakfast.  She shared her peanut butter with me so I had beans, stewed tomatoes and peanut butter toast.

At nine- thirty I hastened to the third bridge lesson.  We played a hand, but I hadn’t the slightest comprehension of what we were doing, so I felt quite a fool as the three ladies tried to put me straight.  I won’t return.

At ten thirty I went to Boat Deck to stand at the rail.  Warm, humid and clouding up.  Peter Longley’s lecture on James Cook was enjoyable.  I stopped at the Sam Cunard Club for a fizzy fruit juice.  Gerda Levy was there so we had a nice chat re: our children.

I then wandered the shops until lunch, when Richard Craig, one of the gentlemen hosts, sat with me as did Marjorie Cullen.  Marjorie was very happy about her new cabin 3112.

At two- thirty Terrance Stamp talked about his movie, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” and then presented the movie itself.  Marjorie and I did this together, and she then showed me her new cabin, which has a large walk-in closet and one, half the size across from it.  Wood paneling, two portholes, large bathroom, a safe and frig.  Quite posh I would say, and definitely a Queen’s Grill grade cabin.  I showed mine to Marjorie then stayed in till dinner.

In went in late through the back entrance to the World Cruise Society cocktail party and found that it was a very elaborate affair.  There were many ice sculptures around one of the major canapé tables, several other tables with “finger foods” and one with an elaborately decorated cake with a map of the World and the ports visited marked.  To the left of the map were the names of the ports listed in Old English script, white and brown.

I sat briefly with Margaret Y. then found Mrs. Gray on a side.  She had searched for me this morning, so I should have moved to her as I thought.  I was again the first one to my table at eight- twenty, but the rest came shortly thereafter.  We had a long discussion about men in drag. Etc.  Peter and Noel were very casual about it all.   Had shrimp cocktail, carrot soup, swordfish and ice cream, coffee and petit fours. 

We all stopped at the Golden Lion Pub for the quiz then attended Bettine Clemen’s flute concert, preceded by a girl who sang strangely in my opinion.  I was back at my cabin by midnight while Peter and Noel went to Yacht Club for Australia Day festivities.  Clocks back one hour.

At eleven forty- five the ship has slowed down and there is no real feeling of being propelled although we continue going about ten knots.  Moonlight is pouring across the waves to the east and into my porthole.  I stood gazing out quite a while at the foam going by.

 Tuesday, 28 January  Pago, Pago, American Samoa

I was up in time to see us lying off shore, then around seven- thirty I went on deck to watch us enter the mountain-surrounded harbor.  We went slowly up the channel and eased to the dock to port with the aid of only one tug.  The dock itself had a small jutting  wharf, and QE2 had to ease to that and leave the last two thirds about fifty feet in distance.  It was all skillfully achieved as usual.

I had a quick breakfast with Mrs. Gray.  A Samoan band had greeted us with lovely music.  I waited in the Theatre for the signal to go to our tours; then we filed to Five Deck C Stairway portside to disembark.

We were back for lunch.  I bought two trinkets then took the afternoon tour.  At four o’clock we returned to the dock.  Dancers and singers were doing a big show so I stood a while watching.  A threadbare, uniformed Samoan man stood by the gangways all day saluting each person coming and going.  We were warned that he always does this when ships are in the harbor.

Toward six o’clock the gangway was raised, three whistle blasts blew, and true to my conjecture, the Commodore backed the ship away from the dock with the help of the little tug TAU MOU pulling her out from it.  The cable loosened and was dropped, and QE2 slowly backed toward the green channel marker near which it pivoted to port with the tugs nudging on port aft portion.  She pivoted gently to position, the tug backed off and we went forward.  I took a seat on Boat Deck to watch us go past the two outermost wrecks stuck on the lava shelf, past the inlet shoreline and Talofa – goodbye Tutuila, American Samoa.  A letter from Tommy Thomas was shoved under my door.

For once, all my tablemates arrived nearly the same time and we all enjoyed our steak and kidney pie and Dover sole meals.  Andrew and Judith were with us.

I wish to insert a note in retrospect.  Our waiters were Greg Dorothy and Maria.

I tried to see “Courage under Fire” in the Theatre, but gave up to return to my cabin and go to bed.  We will cross the INTERNATIONAL DATELINE around midnight – clocks go ahead 24 hours.  January 29 has been lost forever for me.  Wed.

 Thursday, 30 January – Post Dateline

A beautiful sunrise greeted me at seven o’clock.  After breakfast with Margaret Y. I started to walk the outside and we entered a “low flying cloud” full of rain.  I ducked into the shop swinging door and changed my tactic.  I attended a beauty lecture – lipstick, jewelry and so forth.  Judy the Comedienne was the example of “natural dramatic,” and had us all very amused with her large jewelry!  I joked with her afterward.  After that I went to Peter’s Fiji lecture then went on deck as the whistle blew noon.  I sat about thirty minutes under boat 16 reading, till heading for the Sam Cunard Club for chocolate chip cookies and tea, followed by lunch with Marjorie Cullen in the rear of the Lido.

The movie was “Executive Decision” an excellent cliff-hanger!

Oh yes, last night there was a certificate of International Dateline crossing and an invitation to the Commodore’s cocktail party, which I reluctantly accepted this morning after getting the hint that one “must” accept.

Actually I had a very pleasant time in the Captain’s quarters, because I met Margaret and Eric Lee, who were seafaring folk.  Eric was a Captain of freighters and she waited at home.  The Navigator joined in late, and they found they all live near or in Colchester.

That was followed by dinner of lobster tails with my tablemates, just down one deck in the Caronia Restaurant, a piano concert in the Theatre, by a Jewish American comedian, then midnight buffet with Mrs. Levy and the Morrises.  The Buffet was decorated with seahorse and shell ice sculptures.  Clocks back an hour tonight.

Friday, 31 January – Suva, Fiji.

We docked at seven o’clock in rain.  I had breakfast with Mrs. Levy, Peter and Noel in Caronia.  I went on the tour to see the city of Suva, then out along the coast to see native dances and fire walkers.  We had lunch at the Pacific Harbour resort and returned to the ship by three o’clock.  We had lots or rain and mist.  Eric and Margaret were with us.

I joined Marjorie in Queen’s Room for tea while we shared our day’s activities.  We then parted and I ended up reading on port side by the Library and looking out over the Suva dock and into town, where people were taking buses at the terminal.  Rain continued belting down.

At six o’clock the Suva Policeman’s band came aboard to perform in the Grand Lounge.  They were dressed in their uniforms of white “pinked” skirts and blue tops with red piping and medals.  They sang some Fiji songs as well as traditional and show tunes.  Very good.  I went to dinner at eight with only the Morrises and Mrs. Levy.  The ship left the dock, blew her whistle and we were gone without me having seen any of the process alas!

I attended the late movie, an action and killing theme called “Bulletproof.”  Definitely not my kind of entertainment.

 

 


Sydney – Mombasa – 1996 Part 2

cabin 4180

Sunday, 4 March – Singapore.

I had a quick breakfast in the Lido, then took the shuttle bus to the city for a bit of shopping.  Upon my return I took advantage of the opportunity to eat lunch in the new Caronia Dining Room.  I joined the Australian couple at a table for three by the window on Port where we could watch the harbor activity while we ate our Sunday beef, Yorkshire pudding and vegetables.  Oil slicks seemed to be coming from the ship and I think the crew in a “rubber ducky” were trying to control it.  The Gangway is on Four deck between A and B stairways on portside.

The Caronia chairs are very comfortable.  Appetizers were served with more finesse.  Almost all the waiters are “Brits,” and many more females are in attendance as well.  David Thompson and John Douglas have returned.  I had fruit punch in Crystal Bar beforehand.

I spent most of the afternoon in the cabin.  Dinner at six fifteen, however, on the way to dinner I met Fanny Cole who is a “Sagafjord” refugee and survivor.  She told me of four days without water, toilets, light and cooling.  When the two tugs came, one towing cable broke and another tug had to be sent for.  They slept on deck, ate off paper plates and cups.  Bars were opened but some people abused the privilege, so they stopped the liquor. 

After dinner when I told this, George asked what they did for ice.  I scornfully said like Marie Antoinette, “Let them eat cake!”

Our departure from the harbor was delayed two hours to nine o’clock because of the tide.  I left a poor movie to watch the process, starting with a long wait for the two gangways to be lifted by the crane.  A last minute paper was delivered, then I watched us released from the quay and slowly be pulled into the channel by our bow tug.  For a long while I debated with a man from Massachusetts about where our channel would be.  It looks like there are several openings between islands.  When I ascertained which it would be, I left for my cabin.

Monday, 4 March – Kuala Lumpur.

I was awake to see us enter the harbor of Kuala Lumpur around seven o’clock.  A freighter had to move up along the quay to make room for us, and a small motorboat darted around, presumable running the show.  I had a quick breakfast in the Lido and moved table to join a Scots lady, Margaret.  She is from Dundee.

I went on my all day tour of Kuala Lumpur, including a stop in the middle of the city for our lunch.  Outside I could see everyone busily walking hither and yon, crossing the big street, and very colorful activity.  We saw the very ornate Railway station, government offices which looked like wedding cake decorations, and various other landmarks, including the very tall building under construction. 

When we returned at five- thirty I showered and went to dinner as the ship left the harbor.  It went more or less straight out past a refinery or power station.  The Pilot boat took the pilot off right under our dining table window.   I saw the movie “Braveheart” in the Theatre and turned in.  Clocks back one hour.

Tuesday, 5 March – At Sea.

Over night we passed through the Malacca Strait separating the Malay Peninsula from Sumatra, then during the day we passed just south of Pygmalion Point and then into the Bay of Bengal, a vast body of water penetrating up to Bangladesh.

I spent most of the morning on Boat Deck in the warm humid, clear air, reading my mystery.  I shopped a bit, changed my library book and attended Waldemar’s lecture on India.  White caps danced lightly on a few tiderips, as I ate lunch at 407 with Marie and Elizabeth.  A British couple from the second sitting joined us.  T was back to Boat Deck Starboard for the afternoon.   LOVE IT!

Had tea in Queens Room with Daphne.  Andrew, a deck steward, talked with me on deck.  His parents lived in Arabia!  At dinner, I had veggie lasagna, then I sat on Sun (hele) Deck as evening drew on, and a full moon rose over the stern.  Clouds passed over it and over Jupiter nearly straight up.  Higher clouds still had light on them.  I attended the movie “Unhinged Heroes” and returned to the cabin for the night.  Clocks back another hour.

Wednesday, 6 March –  Bay of Bengal.

I joined David Hopkins for breakfast and soon Pat, an English lady, came then another Englishman, Fred.  Fred and I lingered a long time talking, then I emerged to Boat Deck where I sat with Thelma and Peter from Haverfordwest, Wales.  It was warm and windy.  We saw flying fish and beautiful bright blue water with white caps.  As we approach each country we have to complete a landing card for the manifest office, so I delivered mine around eleven o’clock.  I realized I was late for Waldemar’s lecture, so dashed in late to hear about the Moguls and see slides.   We continue on our due west course across the Bay of Bengal.

I had lunch in the Mauretania with Elizabeth and Marie plus the English couple.  At 2:10 Sri Lanka is just barely visible off the Starboard side in the horizon haze.  It rises rather high in fact.  I made some Panorama shots of the decks including the island expanse!  Soon we will turn more northerly to pass into the Arabian Sea.  I can see a tall monument or lighthouse and breakers on the shore.

At three o’clock, after passing the island, I detected us turning slightly north, then back to West.  I think the Bridge decided to wait a bit because of a large tanker dead in the water.  At 3:25 we turned in earnest and the ship’s wake showed the slight curve.  The sun is now hitting my spot on deck so in I go!

I attended June Owen’s last lecture on discovering Australia, then went to Queens Room to have Viennese tea – ice sculpture, harp and candelabra table of goodies.  I sat with Julia, a black lady, Fanny and a couple from the “Sagafjord.”  The lady had been caught soaped in the shower when the accident happened.  (Rumor has it the Cunard Line has been sold.) 

John Duffy held dinner and cocktails in his quarters on starboard forward of Midships lounge on 2 Deck.  Movie:  “When Harry Met Sally.”  Clocks retarded 30 minutes tonight.

Thursday, 7 March – Arabian Sea.

This is a clear, hazy day with little wind.  The 28 -knot speed of the ship gives adequate breeze to keep me comfortable on port Boat Deck.  The sea is almost flat with spots of placid surface.

The crew had boat drill at ten thirty so the bells went seven times accompanied by the ship’s whistle and long blast to top it off.  I sit in the shade of the tallest superstructure and funnel, with added bulk of a lifeboat davit (#10) port side.  I had breakfast by the starboard Lido window with a German lady.

At eleven thirty I attended Waldemar’s talk – late, then had lunch at my table and talked with Helen and husband about boats and tall ships in Edinburgh.   On the way up and out I chatted with Paul Danby re: the sale of Cunard.  A Norwegian company has bought Trafalgar House and will divest of Cunard.  There is talk of Disney buying it.  Curses!

I finished Chimneys by Agatha Christy on starboard under catamaran boat #13, by the Aft Fin sign.  Toward four o’clock I returned to my cabin by walking the lengths of each deck from Boat Deck to Four Deck to wash my hair and avoid temptation to tea!

Dinner as usual.  I saw three small fishing boats toward land but couldn’t see it through the haze.  I merely went to the movie and went to bed after spending some time leaning on the stern railing to look at the uprising moon and wake.  On my bed tonight were the 1996 medallion and cruise map Rosenthal plate.  My steward came to introduce himself.  He is Ben.  Earlier I had seen the other Ben I had on a previous voyage.  He remembered me and we had a short chat.  I think both are from Singapore, but later was corrected.  They are from the Philippines.  Both speak very good English.

 Friday, 8 March – Bombay, India

We anchored off shore around three in the morning, because the tide won’t be high enough for us to enter till about two in the afternoon.  After breakfast I looked over the vast harbor enshrouded in what I thought was fog, but soon realized it was mostly smog!  There were freighters, “bum boats” or water taxis, private craft, two dredgers, naval ships etc. all over the harbor.  We had to take a tender to shore for our tours, so when we arrived at the cement landing area, we mounted the steps next to three dhows and through a mini gauntlet of Indian girls who placed red spots on our foreheads and presented roses to us. 

We returned to the Ballard Dock where the QE2 was just completing her docking process, so the many busloads of people accumulated while the gangway was cumbersomely placed aboard.  I dashed to the cabin to freshen up, then had lunch with Peter and Helen at our table, with Elizabeth and Marie.  I decided to stay on board afterward, because it was nearly four o’clock already, and I spent some time on Boat Deck looking upon the harbor.  The big green dredger quietly continued its job.  The inner harbor basin was ever active with large naval ships docked, and little water taxis going back and forth.  The dockside afforded me a huge vista over the main part of the city.  As the sun set and night came on, the city lights went on hiding the reality of the streets.  At nine thirty a troop of Indian dancers performed very vigorous and colorful dances from several of their regions or states.

I went to bed by ten thirty for an early tour.

Saturday, 9 March – Bombay.

I was up and out to my bus tour to Kanhari Caves early.  This sight was about 40 miles out of the urban area, and the whole trip was lined with wretched slums and forlorn little storefronts.  The squalor ceased abruptly when we went through a barbed wire boundary and were immediately in dry, grassland with sparse woods and eventually the caves. 

We were back at the Ballard Pier by 12:45 and on board.   When I left, the gangway on Four Deck B stairway was so low we had to duck low to get out because of the low tide.  The ship sits on the mud at this time.  When I returned for lunch it was nearly high tide and we walked up at a considerable angle.  I figure the rise and fall must be ten to fifteen feet at least.  At this moment, nearing two fifteen, high tide, we are waiting with three tugs poised to pull us away.  The green dredger is easing by us as we wait almost on tender hooks!  A whole lot of Indian nationals have come aboard for a short trip to Africa.  A single sloop sailing close by; it joined others for a race.

As we pivoted around to leave, I spotted the Taj Mahal Hotel and waited for it and the Gateway to India before snapping my only good photos of them.  They are still too distant, however.  We are supposed to be anchoring to await the late return of the Agra people who went to see the real Taj Mahal.

Sailboat 11 turns out to be a dhow rig, with a perpendicular gaff.  He is keeping up pretty well at our slow speed.  We anchored for a long time.  Even at dinner we were still stopped and the speculation was that we were on the bottom.  I’m not so sure, but at any rate we slowly started to move before we finished eating.

I attended the showing of “The Scarlet Letter” looked in on the Raj Ball and went to my cabin for the night.   The Disney rumor is off.  Who knows what’s happening?  I saw John Butt who appears to be on Security now.  PR!

 Sunday, 10 March –  Arabian Sea

What a glorious sunny, clear, mild day with the headway wind giving the perfect cooling effect!  I had breakfast with David H. and Yvonne, then headed for my Boat Deck position under number 13 in the shade.  The morning position report explained we had to alter course several times for the little fishing boats during the night, but we are now on the true course.  I made purchases at Alders and Harrod’s between reads and on my second return, several ladies on the whole cruise were near my station.  The lady from Edinburgh and Perth gave me a nice post card, offered only to the Key Club people.  I skipped the Captain’s church service.  Occasional flying fish were “flying.”

I had a chat with David Thompson at Alders.  I told him about CH and he reported visiting with him and seeing his house “gutted” as he called it.  He meant drink, I think.  I spent the rest of the morning under boat 13 reading and watching the water of the Arabian Sea.

I had lunch at the Pavilion where Paul Danby came by to chat.  I sat with a man and wife who have raced on the Sir Winston Churchill.  I then went back up top for more pleasurable reading, then to Waldemar’s talk on Africa.  That was followed by a style show in Grand Lounge, at which I didn’t stay long.  I met Ruth Joyce later and Fannie Cole for tea, because I had arranged to sit with Margaret Yehuda, who joined us after Ruth left.  Fannie got talking about Oliver Cromwell’s illegitimate sons, then at her cabin (4152) which has a tub and three beds, she read me her notes on the “Sagafjord: incident.

I had dinner as usual, then went to the movie “While You Were Sleeping.”  I followed that with a stroll on Boat Deck and while up there, looked at the stars, then David Hamilton came along.  We talked about fifteen minutes about Cunard and impending sale. He put my mind more at ease and hopes the land- based company under new ownership can turn things around.  Let’s hope!  John Butt is the PR man on board, not security.    [2007 note:  Carnival bought Cunard in 1996]

Monday, 11 March – Arabian Sea.

I was up early because of the clocks being retarded a full hour last night.  I had breakfast by windows in the Lido with Gerda Levy and two American ladies.  I returned to Boat thirteen in hot, humid air in sunshine, but very pleasant in shade and wind.

We cross the Equator today!  I watched various flying fish, which cover quite a bit of territory as they glide over the water, trying to escape the disturbance our ship makes in passing.  At two thirty I watched the beautiful Indian dancer describe the story of the Ganges origins.  Naturally, I went back to Boat Deck for a while, then met Fannie and Margaret Yehuda and Ruth Joyce for tea, followed by my preparations for dinner.

The movie was “Nobody’s Fool” with Paul Newman and Jessica Tandy.  There was nowhere else to go after that than back to Boat Deck to look at the stars and enjoy the balmy breeze.  I can’t get enough of that pastime!

For a while this afternoon the forward observation deck was open.  While I was up there a man pointed out a sea turtle, which alas, I missed.  Lots of flying fish, though.

Tuesday, 12 March – Mahe, Seychelles.

What a beautiful island paradise lay before us when I went to breakfast.  The port anchor was lowered and when the ship swung around, the stern view became the vista of Victoria and mountains in the background.

I rode the catamaran tender to shore, and sat on top.  I stood most of the way, so I could photograph “home” as well as toward shore.  Toured South Mahe.  There were some pretty hefty ground swells as we headed for land, so it was tricky boarding and landing, but the Filipinos are very skillful in timing the right moment to jump, and then they sweep you on with care!  The return launch was my number 13 under which I have spent many enjoyable hours.  It bounced a lot on the swells and wakes of the other tenders, so in order to minimize the bounce, the helmsman will slow down on the wake’s approach, then speed up and over.

I skipped my afternoon tour and remained on board to putter in my cabin.  I emerged shortly before teatime to see the islands again.  I sat with Elizabeth and Marie by the starboard Queens Room windows so we could see the tenders coming and going.  Later, after tea, with Helen and Peter I joined Sylvia and friend Doris from England.  We watched three small sunfish sailboats.  One sailor kept swamping, betraying his inexperience.  I am nearly finished packing.

Dinnertime brought two new people, Bunny from Durban and Clive from San Diego, originally a Brit.  He was hotel manager for the Del Coronado among many others.  He is now a Host.  I saw the movie “Jefferson in Paris.”   Cabin return was next.

Wednesday, 13 March, At Sea.

This is my last day at sea, and what a day it is!  It is bright, sunny, tropically hot, brilliant blue water with visible swell, and QE2 ploughs ahead unaffected – nearly.  Very slight rocking as well.

I am presently sitting under my boat 13 in the shade – away from the “following” sun!  The Mombasa lecture beckoned me so I passed through to photograph the shops on my way to the Theatre.  At present I am sitting for the last time in Crystal Bar for a fruit punch.  Lunch was in the Mauretania restaurant, and my last sitting with Peter and Helen.

I attended the Indian dancer’s recital of a woman’s life – a fable.  Then I wandered a bit and met Fannie and Margaret Yehuda for tea.  I next finished my packing, had dinner and farewells with my tablemates, then again saw the movie “Nobody’s Fool.”

Thursday, 14 March – Mombasa, Kenya.

I was up early but remained in the cabin to see the ship glide up the river and into the harbor.  By that time, I made myself go topside to see us pivot around and ease into the quay where the natives were arranging their carved wooden animals and masks for us to admire and buy.  I had breakfast at the Lido, then went to the dining room to track down Helen and Peter so I could urge them to come visit Cape Cod if they could.  I wandered about a bit, said goodbye to Andrew and Paul, then shortly after nine thirty I hauled my three bags up E stairway to sit in Golden Lion Pub.  Elizabeth and Marie were about to go on their safari.  Peter and Helen were there waiting for their excursion as well, so we repeated goodbyes as groups were called to descend to Four Deck Stairway B. 

After ten o’clock my group was called so I went down E elevator with my stuff and joined the chaos on the pier as Safari Wagons loaded and left.  Very hot and humid.

As our wagon went through Mombasa on the way to the Intercontinental Resort, I gained a better appreciation for the people of Mombasa.  Their poverty is less abject and the city is a little cleaner – [I presume I am comparing it with Bombay] Noted in 2009.

At the resort we were given refreshments and room 148 for ladies.  I went to the beach with Howard and photographed the dhows and vendors.  I bought stuff from three vendors and traded my culottes and blouse plus earrings for sarongs!  Finally at six o’clock we were transported to Mombasa  airport – to Nairobi.  I was bumped by BA to Lufthansa and flown to Frankfurt, Germany, then changed for a flight to London.  I landed on Joan Tewson’s doorstep by noon the following day.

Great voyage, and I am ready for more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sydney-Mombasa – WC 1996- Part 1

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

WORLD CRUISE SEGMENT

SYDNEY TO MOMBASA

February 17 – March 14, 1996

 Part One

 Saturday, 17 February – Sydney, Australia

After a couple of days with Iris at the Wentworth Hotel in Sydney (the ship was late arriving because it experienced a storm on the way from Brisbane), I embarked on the Queen Elizabeth 2.  I filled out the Australian departure card, surrendered my ticket and Passport, signed the Gold Card and proceeded through security and onto the ship at 2 Deck, Midships Lounge.   I found cabin 4180, a single inside, left my tote bag and went on deck.  I saw Helen Jones at the Pavilion and waved to Iris from port Boat Deck.  As I stood on portside forward facing the quay, the sun was very hot so I spent most of the time on starboard in the shade of the launches enjoying the marvelous view of the harbor and the Opera House.  Hundreds of sailboats and launches were plying to and fro.  The “Bounty” replica was out as well.

Finally, after five o’clock we left the dock.  Countless  boats accompanied us down the channel, past Fort Denison, around the “Corner” past Manley, and through the famous Heads.  One boat was a miniature replica of an ocean liner named “Oriana” in which only two people could ride.  A steam launch also went along with us. 

Dinner at 6:15 seems early, but alas there are two sittings.  (I think this must have been my first time booked for Mauretania Restaurant,)  I sit at table 407 in a corner on starboard.  Went to bed early.

 Sunday, 18 February – At Sea

I awoke early but didn’t emerge until around eight o’clock.  I had breakfast with Gay and Daphne and a British gent, and later Ann, all of whom are on board for varying segments from SAGA.  I procured my excursion tickets and did the lifeboat drill and attended the Anglican service.

I ran into Jean Burns at the singles party, joined by an Australian lady named Marjorie Cullen.  I had two fruit punches.  Helen Jones served.  Jean and I went together to lunch at the Lido then browsed the shops and sat on Boat Deck till the Hansen lecture.  We are passing through Bass Strait with land occasionally visible on both sides.  To port we passed some pointed islands, more like huge isolated rocks and later a lot of mainland.

Had tea with Marjorie on starboard while we watched birds and dolphins.  Saw Muredach at lunch.

Monday, 19 February – Adelaide.

I emerged from my cabin as we were entering the channel to Adelaide Port.  Again we were greeted and escorted by many sail and motorboats, which kept pace with us on both sides.  While the tugs turned QE2 around and we docked, I ate breakfast with Marjorie.

At 9:30 I joined my land tour of four hours duration, then returned “home” for lunch (by myself) and a long nap.  I awoke in time to attend a band concert by the Tanunda band.  I had dinner of poached salmon.  A new gent named Gordon joined us from Wrexham, a welcome change from the one other man, George.

All day various boats have come and hovered to look us over, and after a quiz and a performance by the Jumbuk Mob, (children dancing Aboriginal dances and a demonstration of the Didgereedoo), I went to Boat Deck to watch the visiting boats.  For a long time I stood with an Australian couple who knew and chatted with the folks on “Tarwooki,” a lovely fifty foot ketch.

At around midnight the tugs came, pulled us gently away from the quay, and with three long blasts of the whistle (9 pulses each) we moved out with the boats escorting us: a  lovely sight with mast and running lights shining.  I went below to bed soon after.  A QE2 bag had been delivered to my cabin.

Tuesday, 20 February – Great Australian Bight.

It is overcast and cool outside.  I had breakfast with Gay and an American lady.  Crew were having their weekly drill, while doing my deck by deck walk. I stopped to talk with Helen Jones as she stood at her post at H stairway, One Deck.

I attended the Hansen lecture at eleven, then I talked with Ann from Glasgow – out on Fantail.   I had lunch with Marjorie; an Italian meal with raspberry sauce on my dessert.

I spent the afternoon wandering and reading.  I chose an Agatha Christi mystery and had a short chat with June Applebee, bringing her up to date on C.H.  Late afternoon I went to my cabin to relax and found “Three Weddings and a Funeral” on the television.  It lasted till 7:15 when I realized I was due to attend the Captain’s party and dinner.  Hastily I dressed and went with Helen to A lift and arrived, obviously the last person.  I signed the register, greeted Elaine McKay and shook hands with Captain John Burton-Hall.  He handed me right on after my apology.  I also spoke French with a little Frenchman who was an amateur musician.  Sang a few notes for him, and he was full of compliments.  Eventually we wended through Penthouse corridors, down through Queens Grill bar and paused for a photo on the Now Mauretania Restaurant steps.  Then we went to the dining room.  I sat next to Gary Burgess and Dudley Abbot.  Margaret Yehuda was opposite me.  Multi-course dinner.

I saw “Babe” in the Theatre after a voice recital.  To Bed late!

 Wednesday, 21 February – Great Australian Bight

I had breakfast alone, then a brief chat with Helen Jones.  I had my photo taken for the Bali I.D., then walked through Caronia Restaurant to sit in the Crystal Bar while catching up on this diary and J’s letter.  I indulged in a Fruit Punch!   (Caronia restaurant has been moved to the old position of Mauretania, because this area has been completely renovated, along with the Crystal Bar)

I had lunch with Marjorie at the Lido – three pieces of Key lime pie!  I followed that with browsing in the shop, then I was about to go to the Theatre lecture when it was announced the “Canberra” was heading our way.  I diverted to Boat Deck Port side and watched her while hull and distinctive double funnels in the rear, closed the gap with clear blue skies and brilliant blue water and the occasional white caps.  These all presented a spectacular sight.  Earlier I had sung arias off the fantail.   It was so gorgeous I stayed on Boat deck to read my mystery, and eventually when through, I did my multi-deck alleyway walk, ending up back at my cabin to shower for dinner.

Christopher Lee the actor was interviewed in the Grand Lounge.  (The Mummy)

After dinner I went to the “Postman” in the Theatre.

Thursday, 22 February – Fremantle.

We were nearly in the harbor by the time I emerged.  At least I saw them turn QE2 around and then be pulled in to the quay on port side.  I scanned the observers, but couldn’t find Erik and Mary, so I ducked into the Lido for a quick breakfast with my Cape Town friends.

I went off at 8:30 and immediately saw Erik at the exit.  Mary and Erik drove me all around Fremantle then along the Swan River to Perth where they showed me their church and other haunts.  We also paused and had morning coffee at King’s Park overlooking the wide expanse of the river.  I had lunch at their home north of town, and they returned me to Fremantle and the ship by four o’clock.  I was able to show them all around the public rooms and have them as my guests at tea in Queen’s Room.  After they left I relaxed in the cabin watching “Love is a Many Splendored Thing.”

When I realized the ship was just underway, I dashed up to Boat Deck to watch us leave and the many small craft, which were accompanying us.  Only one or two sailboats this time; all the rest were launches.  We didn’t have to dress up for dinner so I went as was and had swordfish and bananas Foster.   Had a nice chat with Gordon from Lanceshire.

The show was by the Pirouettes.   I turned in by ten o’clock, after a lovely active day with the Leasks.

 Friday, 23 February 

While cruising around the shops and down a deck, I found Jean Burns who told me of her overland trip to Ayres Rock (now Ulamulu).  We went up to Portside Boat Deck to relax and talk, and when she eventually left I remained to read and soak in the sounds of foaming water and sight of white cap waves.  Our forward speed was close to the following wind so the breeze on deck was gentle and slightly cooling.  Not so on the Starboard where the hot sun made it uncomfortably hot. 

I went to the Theatre to hear Hansen lecture on Hinduism and Buddhism at which Jean joined me, and following that I joined her in the Mauretania Restaurant for the buffet lunch.  I sat at her table enjoying our companions as I ate the superior foods to the Lido.  2 Key lime pies and a petit custard.  Yum!

I wandered again in the shops and bought two more china and brass “boxes” for house gifts.   The lecture by June Owen about Australia was most interesting, since she is not only a citizen of the country, but she is an expert on Captain Cook and other related subjects.  I returned to Boat Deck starboard to read and avoid the sun.  When I did walk to the sunny side it was unbearably hot, such a change.  I went back to the cabin at four o’clock to putter.

I watched a bit of “Much Ado” while preparing for dinner.  I went to the eight o’clock movie and Australian film, which lost me about a third of the way through, so I returned to my cabin and watched “Beethoven” the dog on television.  I slept fairly early.

 Saturday, 24 February – At Sea

I had breakfast with Gay, then moved over to be with Jean Burns and her Austrian friend, Hilda.  Jean and I then headed independently to Boat Deck port side (the shady side) to sit a while.  I stopped on the way to buy a 1996 World Cruise T-shirt.  The weather is extremely hot and humid so I was happy when it was time to go in for the Grandparents meeting at ten thirty.  I enjoyed sharing photos with Mary and Fred, then attended the Bali lecture, followed by lunch in the Mauretania with Jean again. – 2 chocolate cream puffs, and nice salad stuff.  Sylvia and Rosalind plus the Australian couple made for pleasant company.

June Owen held a writing seminar, which I hoped to learn about keeping this journal.  Then I bought a book from June Applebee.   Movie at four o’clock; “Before Sunrise.”

The following sequence filled the rest of my day:  cabin, dressed for dinner, attended a Quiz and then very much enjoyed Joel Gray’s concert.  I sat with Jean, Marjorie Cullen and Rosalind.  That was followed by a lovely opera recital in the Theatre. 

Sunday, 25 February – Bali.

I was awake early to see us approach Bali.  I saw distant lights on the television screen, then fell asleep till full light had come.  We eased slowly to our anchorage a fair distance off shore.  The “Albatross” a medium cruise ship was also anchored.

I went on deck to see the coastline and was aware of a rather large and high volcano in the mist.  The air was very warm and humid.  I chatted with Fred a while then went to the Lido for breakfast.  I then reported to the Theatre for a launch ticket, and very soon was escorted by Brian Price to Five Deck E stairway, where I boarded an older QE2 launch for shore at Padang Bay.  Had to wait in a queue to offload and while waiting, we noticed how close the coral and barnacles looked.  Then – bump –, scrape etc. and we were aground!  They got us off by sheer power forward!

I joined my tour number 78 after literally running the gauntlet of vendors.  I couldn’t see the ship as soon as we had entered the cove where we disembarked.  This is where the hexagonal church beckons the curious!  The tour took all day, and we arrived back at Padang Bay by 5:30, again ran the gauntlet and boarded a new catamaran style launch.  Sat on top.  Was in my cabin by 5:50.

As we were eating dinner – again casual – the last launches returned to be lifted to their davits and we watched the “Albatross” depart all lit up.  Heard its three toots faintly.  I had only crudités and soup plus ice cream followed by cheeses.

The movie was “The Usual Suspects” too crude.  Then the last bit of Christine Trevett’s show and to bed.  Today was hot and humid but bearable. Bali is so beautiful!

 Monday, 26 February – Java Sea

We cross the Equator today!  It is cloudy and rainy and dark in the morning.  QE2 plows on straightly and smoothly through waves and whitecaps.  I am writing this in the Crystal Bar looking out.  It may be plain, but it’s quiet!  We are in the Java Sea.

I attended a lecture on squids, then Hansen’s talk on Bangkok.   I met Jean for lunch at Mauretania Restaurant where I again joined her table group.  1 Key lime pie!  Afterward we went to sit on Starboard Boat Deck in very strong warm wind, which of course made the humid warm weather quite pleasant.

After the June Owen lecture and stress session, I returned to read and write on Boat Deck.  I talked with an Australian couple as a small fishing boat to starboard chugged along about half a mile away.  I wonder where he calls home in this area of Indonesia.  I have to remind myself I’m in the midst of a vast water and island country!  I hate to have to go in, but dinner at six fifteen is only an hour away, and I’m tempted to skip it, but will probably give in.

After dinner I tried the movie but walked out when the second explicit sex scene was in progress.  I tried a few minutes of the show but left to return to my cabin for the night.

NOTE:   The Sagafjord” suffered a fire in the engine room – no injuries, but two tugs will tow her to the Philippines to off load passengers.  She has lost power, no water pumping, also rumors she was slated to be sold anyway.

Tuesday, 27 February – South China Sea.

It is sunny with head winds.  Jean and I spent an hour or so on Port Boat Deck.  It was warm but wind makes it very comfortable.

I attended a lecture on the Smithsonian; then stayed for the Hansen lecture – Palace Gardens and Temples in Bangkok, we have to wear skirts and blouses with sleeves plus closed- towed shoes.

Again I had lunch with Jean at her table, then we returned to shady Boat Deck.  Two small fishing boats were to starboard and oil rigs a distant 20 miles off.  Fred sat down with us till we decided it was a bit cool and we returned to One Deck Lido for frozen yogurt.  Finally, I got to read my Christie mystery (Crooked House) in Queen’s Room, then Crystal Bar. 

Salad for dinner, then Jean and Rosalind joined me for the movie “Elephant Drop.”  I was awakened around three o’clock to shouting and loud discussion down the alleyway.

 Wednesday, 28 February  Leam Chabang, Thailand

I am sitting on Boat Deck starboard by myself looking at several islands and fishing boats as we continue up the Gulf of Thailand.  It is humid but cloudy so tolerable for the moment.  The islands are shrouded in mist or fog and I think I see a military ship of some sort.  Ate breakfast with Jean and we talked about religion, our youthful experiences and accidents!

I chatted briefly with Helen, my stewardess about the disturbance last night.  Crew were drinking!  I photographed my cabin, bought a purse and mirror set.

I stood on bow observation deck a long while with Fred from Herne Bay.  We exchanged nautical jokes and experiences.  All the while QE2 was closing in on Leam Chabang harbor.  When we came into the channel entrance we stopped dead in the water and the next thing I noticed was a great churning of mud.  In fact, even with the stern tug pulling or pushing, we continued slowly to churn as we eased to a port right angle turn.

I had to go to lunch with Jean as we drew on to the quay.  On shore we could see yellow and red clad lads to welcome us, bur we missed their performance if there was one.

I went on the Pattaya Delights excursion, including a visit to an elephant show and a drive along the beaches.  Given the reputation of the town, with its brothels etc, I wasn’t very impressed, although the strand area was quite spectacular.

Casual dress was the order of the evening for dinner and the show.  The movie was about Cuban refugees.  At ten o’clock there was a Thai Dancing and Finger demonstration.  Exquisite beaded costumes and headgear.

Thursday, 29 February – Leam Chebang, Thailand.  A pleasant overnight, dockside.

I was up early to have breakfast in the Pavilion with Jean, followed by our tour to Bangkok by 7:30.  We went off from B stairway at Five Deck.  This was a lovely day of sightseeing; the Royal Palace yards, and various landmarks, which are recorded in my day excursion notebook.  The trip was pretty long both ways through rural areas of rice paddies, small towns, distant shrines and so on.

We arrived back at the ship by 5:30 in time to have dinner.  We boarded this time on Four Deck B Stairway, the tide having risen!  I had beef Wellington and baked Alaska.  While eating the ship was pulled away directly from the quay and I then dashed to Boat Deck and observation Deck to watch the pilot and officers guide her backwards the long way to the end and back the stern around starboard aft.  The bow tug nudged her around the right angle, then under her own power she very slowly pushed forward and out the channel with red on Starboard and green on Port, the opposite of what I am used to.  The evening was warm and calm with amber harbor lights gleaming brightly.

I descended A stairway to Four Deck pausing to peek into the Synagogue.  It is a very small room with center aisle starboard to port and five short rows of pews with blue cushions and white Yamikas tucked into racks on pew backs.  A prayer for the Queen is carried on the starboard rear wall.  All wooden paneling on the walls.  Back at the cabin I washed my clothes and hair while watching “Much Ado…..”    A little note here:  I have never used the lauderette facilities on Three Deck, and do not intend to.  I have heard several stories about the happenings there, and considering the delays and having to hang around to rescue one’s clothes from the dryer or washer before others usurp the machines, is too much for me to bother about.

 Friday, 1 March – At Sea

I had a long night’s sleep and woke to sunny, warm and very pleasant weather on deck.  Of course, I couldn’t ascertain this till I emerged because of the inside cabin.  Jean and I ate together and then did our usual “constitutional” sitting on the shady side under a lifeboat.  Fred joined us for a while till Mary came to fetch him.  The time passed quickly so at eleven fifteen I attended Hansen’s lecture on Singapore.  Lunched at the Lido with Jean, and for me a brief stay in my cabin experimenting with warm clothing in the carry on.  It works!

I started listening to the afternoon lecture, but soon left for shady Boat Deck to read my mystery and write a letter.  Islands to port slip by on our southward course.  Little fishing boats occasionally show up as they tend their numerous fish traps.

Today was the Gala Viennese Tea.  The tables were set up in a large cross shape and this was centered by a ship ice sculpture and candelabras winged out the décor with bouquets between food trays displaying all sorts of goodies from sandwiches to savories and cakes, berries and one could have scones and cream served where one sat.  I met a mother and daughter from Perth, and I exchanged cards with Ida Lloyd.  Jean then went to her cabin and I returned to my favorite spot to watch the islands go by.  Rosalind sat with me a while.  Now, back in my cabin, I am debating on the pros and cons of eating dinner. 

The sea has been relatively calm ever since Sydney and I wonder if we will ever have excitement before I leave the ship.  I had soup and lamb for dinner.  My waiters, Mohammed and Omar get off tomorrow.  Tablemates are Gordon Thompson, and George Robelin.

After the movie I joined Jean for watching the Oriental Ball.  We had fruit punch.  Eventually Gordon came over and asked us to dance, which we did in turn.  He drew up a chair and stayed with us, plus he bought us two more fruit punches.  Elimination dance.  Oriental costume prizes.  Jean received a nice globe paperweight for participating.  I was in bed late.  Clocks were advanced one hour for Singapore.   Fred and Mary from Herne Bay, left at Singapore.  So did Jean Burns.

 Saturday, 3 March – Singapore

I was up early for a nine o’clock tour departure.  I saw the different lifestyles of Singapore, a Hindu Temple and Raffles Hotel, where I had a virgin Singapore Sling.  We were back at the ship in time for lunch at the Lido.  Jean found me so we ate together.  I then napped for a few hours.

Dinner at six fifteen.  A very large tanker was along side the ship refueling.  The superstructure was even above the Mauretania Restaurant.  (Remember this is now located where the Columbia Restaurant used to be, and also that name has been superceded by the term “Caronia.”)

I spent some time sitting on the deep sofas by QEII bust in Queen’s Room.  A new bar steward from England talked with me.  I said my goodbyes to Jean who leaves for home by 4:00 A.M!   I watched most of the movie and then watched the Singapore dancing and snake charmer in Grand Lounge, also Malaysian and Chinese and Indian dancing.  The ship is docked near an amusement park on reclaimed land.  The harbor is huge.  Oil tanks galore across it!

Ron Bolton – Staff Captain; David Hamilton – Purser; Paul Danby- open decks manager;

John Douglas – Maitre D; David Thompson , John Duffy – Hotel Manager;  John Butt – Cruise Staff.

 



QE2 Crossing, 1995 – Southampton-NYC

QE2 TRANS-ATLANTIC

JUNE 9 – 15, 1995

SOUTHAMPTON TO NEW YORK

Cabin 2130

I boarded QE2 around 1:30, wheeling all my own stuff.  A young waiter volunteered to help me.  He headed forward from Midships Lobby where I had embarked, so we had to reverse back through to reach cabin 2130 way aft!  My cabin is very pleasant with white walls, a light yellow, blue and white bedspread, a double dresser, yellow and blue chair and stool, and a full- length mirror at the foot of the bed.  The best surprise was to discover I have a new bathtub, plumbing and nice new white tile in the bathroom!  You have to close the door to get at the sink.

After settling my stuff in the closet and drawers, I went to 1 Deck aft.  They have eliminated hamburger heaven and made a curved entry way the whole width of the ship; at least it’s all glassed in.  Pavilion.  There are new stairways on both sides that curve up to the new expanded Lido.  The Magrodome is gone, replaced by a beige ceiling and pillars.  The pool is also gone.  There are scramble-type cafeteria counters in the middle and on starboard side.  Also all around the forward curve where the inner Lido used to be.  It all is much enlarged, and decorated in beige and light with green contrasting “sails” that adorn the pillars.  I spotted Helen Jones there and chatted a bit.  She has just returned from sick leave.

I continued wandering around.  The Queen’s room is newly done as are Midships Bar – now Chart Room, and Theatre Bar is now Golden Lion Pub.  I walked into the Theatre and was pleased to see it is still as it was.  The tech man said they ran out of money so will wait till the next refit.  Forward of that, the Princess Grill Lounge now serves as the Crystal Bar for entrance to the newly decorated Caronia Restaurant (first class) and formerly the Mauretania Restaurant.  John Douglas is still Maitre D.  So I greeted him with a kiss.  He says Muredach is also on board.  Caronia does look fresh and pleasant and features a horse-head fountain in the center.  It is supposed to remind us of the “White Horses” or white caps.

The ship left the dock shortly after three o’clock – tooted the whistle three times and headed very slowly down Southampton Water.  She took the Spithead route around the south side of the Isle of Wight.  Boat drill was held and my station is P on port Lido.  Life preservers are all new!

The Library is very enlarged and has a Bookshop aft of it, where the card room used to be.  I went on to the Grand Lounge, which is newly red carpeted with increased seating.  The dance floor is gone, but the stage is enlarged. The nice double stairway is gone and the aft entrance is closed up and replaced by the sound booth.  I spoke to a young waiter who has just started working today.

Sports Deck has been raised and now you look straight out from the Logo shop onto a basketball court.  The ball causes loud bumps to be heard in the shop.

I had a lovely bath and washed my laundry before dinner, then watched a full hour episode of Keeping Up Appearances, filmed on QE2.  Very funny.

Oh yes, and Dougie Brown and wife are on board.  I introduced myself as his “neighbor” and they remembered me.  We sat to chat 15 minutes or so, then I went to dinner in the newly redone Mauretania Restaurant, which is the old Columbia.  Table 433 at far starboard forward, and my tablemates are Adele, Jim, David, Geoff and Helen.  Jim is a “host.”  Geoff and David are from Huddersfield. (3 Brit men and 3 American women!)

I explored the Pavilion area again.  There are tables, a buffet area in the middle, and a bar on port side.  Women’s lavatory and changing room is on starboard and is quite large.  The men’s counterpart is on portside. At present it seems like a ‘no man’s land,” tucked away under the Lido and between the aft  pool outside; somewhat jammed I think.

The Golden Lion Pub is quite “pubish” done in inlaid brown wood, brass rails, glass upper partitions and red carpet with wooden chairs and tables.  The Chart Room has the Queen Mary piano in it.  Open atmosphere.

I attended the “Lullaby of Broadway” show with good singers and vigorous dancers.  E stairway has historical Cunard posters on the walls on each deck.  The brown woven launching tapestries, depicting the Queen christening QE2, now hang over the stairway at Boat Deck level. They used to hang at Quarter Deck D Stairway landing, where presently is mounted the marvelous large model of the “Mauretania” (some people assert it is the “Lusitania.”

In the Lido the chairs and tables depict a bamboo effect with greenish upholstery; 7 green columns flank the middle section  (3 wide columns) with partitions on either side.  Polynesian-type sails stem from these “partitions” to soften glare of fluorescent lights.  Central – circular – cafeteria and 2- queue cafeteria lines lead from sides to center exit.

Saturday, 10 June:

Full day one!  Breakfast in Lido by aft windows.  I joined a nice lady from the UK and Australia named Iris Towell, and we talked at length about our travels, grand children and so on.  The Harrod’s lecture in Golden Lion Pub was next on my schedule, although I didn’t retain much from it.

I did a walk down A stairway, from Boat Deck, stopping to enter the Caronia restaurant the back way (really the forward way) to photograph the horse-head centerpiece.  Next I photographed the Board Room, which appears to be set up for the bridge players.  At this point it seems like my daily activities don’t account for much compared with the big changes of the renovation, so I shall devote the rest of my pages to changes – not in order of events!

There is a heritage trail set up with historical displays and large ship models in various places.  A huge model of the Mauretania is in a glass case opposite the stairs to the former Columbia (now Mauretania) restaurant.  The QE2 tapestry in brown that was formerly hung here is now on E stairway Boat Deck.

The Laconia cup now resides in the large widthwise corridor between Grand Lounge (inaccessible) and the new Yacht Club.  The Britannia cup is also here.  This corridor has carpeted ramp access as well as central stairs into the bar.  Yacht Club itself now spans the width of the ship with bar on port side, raised “balcony” sections are around a central seating area and on starboard, a dancing area and band stand.  Wooden pillars are a bulging symmetrical shape resembling ten-pins.  The back entrances on both sides open onto aft deck on either side.

I laughed a lot at Duggie Brown’s performance.  Also, I enjoyed “Perfect Match” a singing duo from Scotland. 

Sunday, 11 June:

It was sunny early.  I had breakfast alone at an aft window in the Lido.  Took my panorama photos of the decks in sunshine.  The big motor auxiliaries are removed and empty davits remain.  An open deck was built where Magrodome was, then above that forward is the sports deck, backed up to the shop windows.  I met Iris briefly on Boat Deck.

I am presently sitting in the Crystal Bar just aft of Caronia restaurant.  This too extends the full width of the ship and is decorated in blues alternating dark chairs and lighter textured ones.  It is sparsely adorned leaving only a lone lion facing the long curved bar and stools.  General blah!  Alternately, round and square marble top tables in reddish hue, and supporting pillars in blue, grace the space.  I chatted with David Hamilton and also John Douglass.

I attended the Navigator’s talk. (Engineer Ellis), then Millicent Martin, the actress shared her experiences and did monologues from Shirley Valentine.  I did very little else the rest of the day.  I slept, however.  At cocktail party time, I entered the back way.  Andrew got me a nice fruit punch, then I went out whence I came – to dinner.

Show:  2 dancers and a violinist – electric violin, reels pop and very good interpretations.  I suspect (in retrospect it must have been Doug Cameron, whom I encountered many times in subsequent voyages on both QE2 and QM2, not to mention an NCL ship at one time).

Monday, 12 June:

With hour retardations of the clock each day, I awake earlier.  Breakfast with Iris, then to 1 Deck Lido to read in cool half sun.  Oh yes, I finally caught up with Paul Danby in Yacht Club.  He is in charge of all public rooms and will be assistant restaurant manager in Lido.  He told me the new Yacht Club was lowered in module form onto the place where the old YC had been cut away.  There are ten lifeboats on each side and 4 of them are new Catamaran motor boats.  Helen says the two old ones aft are gone for good!

Scarf tying class – Maureen Ryan:  Time reading in YC:  Lunch with Iris:  Wander.

I met Robert Cheadle in Crystal Bar.  He saved Columbia – remember?  Saw stairway to Britannia Grill – an addition of a class along with Princess Grill 2.  He is manager of the Princess Grill.

Movie:  “The Disclosure”

Hotel Manager’s party at YC – David Hamilton

Baked Alaska parade. Helens Birthday cake.

Attended the Captain’s interview at 2:30.

Hospital on 6 Deck at C stairway, above the so-called gym and inside pool.  Hot.

Doctor’s office is now located on 2 Deck by security at A Stairway.  It also serves as baggage passageway for embarking and disembarking luggage.

I noted the hull is a beautiful dark blue – not navy as before.  Horizontal stripes of blue, gold and red on side as well as under QE2 sign over sun deck.  Yellow Plimsoll line.  Red under.

 Wednesday, 14 June: New York Harbor

I was up very early to see us enter New York harbor in mist.  We went under the Verrazano Bridge, by the Statue of Liberty and slowly passed up to Pier 90 past the Nantucket Light Ship and Intrepid museum.  Remember 2130, the only single Mauretania cabin with tub!!!!! (It appears this is actually a Caronia grade cabin.)

I have failed to locate Club 2000 (but in subsequent years I found it on port side forward of the Lido and between the promenade and the inner corridor with Ladies and Gents and entryway to Queen’s Room.)  It has video games and ping pong table. The afternoon teas are assembled in this corridor daily.

Yesterday’s World Club party in Queen’s Room was ordinary; chatted with current travelers, but didn’t recognize anybody from my previous voyages.

HISTORICAL NOTE:

Queen Elizabeth 2 ran aground off Martha’s Vineyard – Cuttyhunk, August 1992. This was while I was at the Royal School of Church Music course at Salisbury Cathedral singing the Evensongs and Matins and Eucharist during that week.  I received the news while rehearsing, and became emotional for my dear ship.  It was as though I was injured myself!

40- foot draft, 25 knots, 32 foot draft standing still. We learned about “Squat.” Shallow water usually slow speed going into harbors.  This time QE2 was going 25K and they found at that speed in shallow water (40’) the ship “squatted” about 8 feet, the maximum this depth afforded – the difference!

The Pilot accommodated Woodall’s request to increase speed, and he was surprised at the findings.

Charts:  1939 readings on a grid.  Didn’t know what lay between the grid lines.   Divers went down and found 2 large rocks (red (1) and (2) with paint.  Took samples and compared them with samples scraped from QE2, and they matched.  The ship was taken to dry dock in Boston.  The “Squat” phenomenon was never known till these figures were tested, and graphically illustrated!

 


Mombasa-Southampton, 1994 Part 2

QE2 – Mombasa-Southampton – 1994   Cabin 3068, Part 2

Wednesday, 30 March:

At sea approaching the Equator.  My first activity was to deliver the St. Helena first day cover to Helen on 1 Deck Lido.  The heat and humidity have risen, so I was glad to retreat inside for breakfast with the girls in the Lido.  Alex is on duty there today, as is Dotty’s waitress.

I attended the Bible Reading group in Princess Grill bar on 1 Deck by C stairway, a good excuse to sit in there.  It is so dark in red décor and lighting, with its spiral staircase winding upward to the dining room.  Next I strolled a bit in the shops, having failed to locate Cate in the Crèche.  At eleven I attended the Tony Warren lecture in the Theatre about “Coronation Street.”  At noon I was poised on observation deck to hear my favorite ship’s whistle, one long blast, the subsidiary bleep and another blast and blip!  At present I am sitting in a new spot for me – on the third step up the stairway to the port side Bridge wing.  This is almost always blocked off at the top step.  Step 4 is even split and I put it straight!  Seas are choppy with white caps, but the old lady plows on unaffected in a very sooth and pleasant manner.

I roamed a bit – Library, and puzzle area, but was really waiting for the magical 12:45 time when the buffet opened.  I ate with a couple from Johannesburg, then a stuffy couple from Hawaii and California on the 100 day cruise. 

From 2:30 – 5:40 I participated in the World Cruise Country Fayre at which crew and passengers alike eagerly joined in to raise money for the three charities chosen for support this year.  With all those people in the Grand Lounge, the temperature rose a lot, the first time I can remember it being so uncomfortable.  I saw John Duffy and Muredach – the latter of whom was in a striped pirate costume!   I bought two chances on a trans-Atlantic crossing, and 4 chances to blow the ship’s whistle.  Alas, as usual I won nothing.  The Cunard flag went for $5,000;  world map with our course outlined $2,000; and ship plans $2,000 also.  The same man bought them all.   I bought, Tribute to a Queen and a book on 3 funnel liners.

Thank heavens the dress tonight is informal, because of all our work in the afternoon and too hot to dress up.    Before dinner, however, I saw Life of Brian.  Paul Danby walked me to my table.  I had shrimp cocktail, steak and 3 flavors of ice cream, chocolate mint, strawberry and vanilla.  How indulgent!  I also attended part of the flamboyant piano concert in Grand Lounge – emphasis on flamboyant.  It reminded me of my brother’s Gershwin poundings.   (In subsequent years, I came to dub this kind of piano playing as “whizbang” playing.)   Back in the cabin before ten o’clock, tired and hot.

Thursday, 31 March:

  I awoke at 7:01 to stay up and ate buffet breakfast with Edna, whom I had met on 2 Deck G stairway.  Dotty joined us eventually and we sat on starboard window – that side was very warm with sun directly on the window.  I had only stewed tomatoes and English muffins, plus a small Canadian bacon slice.

 Checked out a book from the library The Ship That Stood Still by Leslie Reade- about the “California,” the ship that was so close to the “Titanic” and never realized it was in distress!  Then I attended the first half of Hansen’s lecture on Morocco.

I returned to my cabin, then attended Brian Hoey’s lecture on life aboard “Britannia.”  At present I am on Boat Deck enjoying calm seas and slight swell.  The wind is mostly forward motion wind, mild and humid.  Noon whistle!    Lunch with Margaret in Columbia Restaurant consisting of pumpkin-curry soup, and pasta.   I washed my hair and read a bit and sneaked up to see Dr. at Sea.  Upon my return, a pink carnation corsage awaited me. 

At 7:15, Rita escorted me to A stairwell and elevator to Captain Woodall’s quarters.  Elaine did introductions as I signed in, shook his hand and was ushered into the office.  I sought out the far area near his desk and had a short chat with Miss Violet Smith and  Alexander, then a professor from England talked with me about ships, till Ron Bolton came to me, shook my hand and kissed my cheek. Shortly after that Elaine led us all along the officers’ quarters and offices corridor, down a step or two (ramped) into penthouse territory (black and white boxy crepe design, and purple print), down a lovely wooden-banistered stairway, past a lift, and along another corridor of penthouses and eventually into Queen’s Grill lounge, to Boat Deck corridor and to stairway D.  We assembled on the steps of Q Deck D stairway for a photo.  Then we were escorted into the special dining room where Muredach works.  The table was large U shape with candelabras (3s) bouquets and place cards plus individual menus.  Med officers, nurse to left. Doctor across and Engineer to my right, so it was much fun.  Gill is from Nantwich.  Dr. Holt lives near Bradford on Avon and Engineer Cornish from near Flamborough.  The Captain was at the bottom of the U.  Grace, Loyalty toast to the Queen, and gave a small speech re: 3,000,000 miles traveled and retirement.  Brief stay at Grand Lounge for the Neptune skit.  Quit early.

Friday, 1 April:

Cloudy, cool, windy and a bit of chop.  However, QE2 plow along unaffected mostly.  Not much to account for this morning out of the ordinary.  Breakfast by starboard Lido with Edna and Dotty.  I booked a Lisbon tour and shopped.  Bought a white T—shirt and chatted with Jean Burns as she tried on a beaded sweater.  I saw a slide show on Nepal and at eleven Tony Warren lectured again about his career.  I hastened to hear the noon day whistle as I stood on port Boat Deck forward, chilled with strong wind.  Back at my cabin I found the rumored caricatured plate from the Captain’s dinner.  The cartoon is not flattering to Capt. Woodall, but no doubt he okayed it.

I had lunch at Hamburger Heaven with the gals, then Sissy joined us for dessert up stairs by the pool under the Magrodome.  I then found a couple of less windy spots to read at length on Boat Deck.  Lots of blow!  Seas are choppy, and dark because of the cloudy haze.  Actually the sun was able to make itself felt.   I observed the tug of war proceedings on Helideck, but stayed outside the crowd so I could stroll away when bored, which I soon did – and stood looking aft at the churning wake.  Very strong gusts of wind.

I went down to 1 Deck Lido for the report to Helen Jones.   I then settled into a chaise on port to read my book, but soon a German lady traveling solo came to chat and I had to respond.  She is fed up with being alone – the Germans are mostly in couples and the few single women are boring.  She is vivacious and wants to dance, but the hosts tend to dance with the same ladies. Etc.  I taught her to say, “I want to dance.”  At six o’clock I returned to my cabin.

Saturday, 2 April

We are 30 miles from the Morocco cost.  We have moderate seas and swells, Force 5-6 strong wind speed over the decks.  I had breakfast with Margaret, then we went to the Theatre to rehearse the Easter solo.  Hansen’s lecture was on Islam, and Hoey’s was “Life at the Palace.”  I missed the noonday whistle by seconds.  Still strong wind and very cool.  We usual 3 shared lunch with Jean Burns and Harry, her friend.

By the time I finished lunch, it was time for the White Elephant auction, so I went to Grand Lounge to watch.  Lions, cows, booze, umbrellas, totes and sundry were offered and sold.  Also people bid on World Cruise maps in tubes, which were very nice.  This all lasted till 4:30 when I went upstairs where the cloisonné eggs kept falling down with the slight roll of the ship.  Where I sat in Grand Lounge you could feel the propeller pulse quite well.  Rudy, Michael, Elaine and Peter Longley officiated at the auction. 

At present, I am on 1 Deck Lido to have a read.  Skeet shooting is going on.  The wind is blowing the chaise lounge backs, and they are being stacked.  A deck hand is painting white with a long handled roller.  I corralled Helen in her corner and we had a good chat.  She wants to visit Boston and may stay with me in August.  We’ll see!  Dinner and show, the latter of which featured Roy Edwards then Duggie Brown. Back at the cabin I watched the tug-o-war on television.

Sunday, 3 April:

HAPPY EASTER!  Last night was a very “moving experience” with much pitching and occasional large rolls!  I put vulnerable items on the deck so they wouldn’t fall off, but occasionally the two empty drawers would hang out.

My alarm went off at 6:20 so I would be ready in time for singing at the Easter Service at 7:15.  The worst rolling had subsided, but we were still moving toward Agadir, which we did not reach till 8 or so.  Apparently we had had to slow down to 15 knots for two hours to save the ship from damage and to ease the roll for those sleeping.  Anyway, I sang the Easter solo.  All went well and was appreciated.

I went above to see us pull into Agadir harbor.  The jetty is made up of white rocks and triangle molded cement things that look like half jacks, and very substantial.  We were nudged and guided by two small tugs, till we eased into the long quay.  Nothing much to describe about the port, but it definitely is way apart from the new city.  The old city used to be above the harbor but the 1960 earthquake devastated that, and a new city was built further inland.

I took the all day tour to Marakesh, and was back just before nine o’clock.  The ship all lit up dominated the harbor.  I dashed to the dining room at 9 and ate Dover sole and water- cress soup (lots of other goodies too) by myself.  Alex and Sarah were attentive as usual, and I was the last one in the whole section.   I simply went back to the cabin for a shower and bed by 10:30.  Clocks head one hour – and we are now on GMT for daylight savings.  I don’t know when we left Agadir.

Monday, 4 April:

The weather is bright and mild.  I ate breakfast of stewed tomatoes, egg and Canadian bacon with a glass of milk.  Edna and Dot had finished theirs, but they stayed with me.  We exchanged names and addresses and discussed our yesterdays.  On the way out to G Stairway I saw Gary Jones, so we had our chat.  He wrote my cabin number on his hand!

I spent some time in the Grand Lounge, which is already decorated in purple tinsel and masks etc. for the masquerade Ball tonight.  Got caught up on my two journals, and had to dash to Waldemar’ lecture on Lisbon, followed by Tony Warren’s lecture on writing for money.  I am presently on Boat Deck by number 10 lifeboat waiting for the noon whistle.  Brisk wind from forward; sketchy clouds; blue sky and white horses.  Blast, Beep, Blast Boop!   Love it, love it!

I walked aft and found Margaret Farmer soaking up sun on the section of deck behind the shops.  We then went to lunch together.  Only Alex was present.  Dessert was more interesting in the Lido, so we ate there – fudge cake and ice cream!  I sat with 2 ladies from Long Island and Maryland, and we had a long conversation regarding “le Sport Sac.”

Peter Longley’s slide show on Lisbon and Sintra was next for me, then back to Boat Deck to read.  The sun has gone in, so it is cooler and I didn’t stay there long.  I tried One Deck Lido but even there where it is sheltered, it was still cool.  I showed Helen the Cape Cod pictures, and she suggested coals in the grate.  I read bundled up in two wool rugs, and talked with a neighbor until 5:30, then retreated to the cabin to putter and start packing.  I didn’t go to dinner or the World Cruise cocktail party, but instead Rita persuaded me to have a club sandwich and soup at home, which I did.

Again we are to advance the clocks an hour for European time, then tomorrow night we will gain it back again.  There is a slight swell, but the ship reacts little, except for a bit of pitching.  I slept off and on after the Michael Caine movie about East Berlin.

Tuesday, 5 April:  Lisbon, Portugal

I awoke very early to see us enter the Tegus River on the bridge cam.  A tug was escorting us, and in the distance, I could see the lights of the bridge over the river.  An ambulance with light flashing sped across it in the dark.  I slept again till 8:20 when I had to get going to make the 9 o’clock tour departure time.  We had been docked some time before dawn and are now just up river from the bridge and across from the statue of “Christ” built like the one in Rio on the Corcovado.  This one was built to commemorate Portugal’s neutrality during WW II.  Refueling barges are bunkering diesel fuel on the ship’s starboard side.

When I passed through Grand Lounge earlier, Vic Damone was rehearsing with the band.

During the tour, I was finally able to get close to the Belem and Navigator’s monuments.  I trotted off to have lunch at Hamburger Heaven on my return to the ship, and I joined Edna and Dotty who were already sitting by the pool.  Frank Hower came to join us, because Sissy is off shopping.  We all had tours in the morning and planned to stay on board for the afternoon.  I had chocolate cake and ice cream, then checked out the scenes from Boat Deck, overlooking the broad expanse of Lisbon to port and across the river toward the big statue.  I settled into a deck chair on starboard to read my “California” book – The Ship that Stood Still.  Warm sun beat down around me as I sought shade under a lifeboat for three or more hours.  I had a catnap too, till the Tannoy (the British word for public address system) broke the reverie.  As five o’clock approached I went to Midship’s Lounge to meet Margaret.  We hunted for a place to rehearse “Lorelei” but had to wait till 5:30 or so.  She will do quite nicely – so we “are on” for the Talent Show.

I stood on Boat Deck all the while the ship pulled away from the dock and slowly turned around to starboard.  The officers on the bridge wings were dressed in Winter blues;  Tug whistles blew and we answered back twice with boop!  Captain Woodall has warned us that we are in for rough weather, and during dinner the pitching slowly increased as we reached the wider expanse of the river and met the ocean.  I sat alone for dinner, soup and steak plus lobster – then a long wait till 9:10 when they had the baked Alaska parade with sparklers.  I photographed Sarah and Alexander and me.  Had dessert at table 211 with Mary, and two others.  When finished I went directly to the Grand Lounge for the Rockettes and Vic Damone, both acts of which were great.

I did my usual trek up to Boat Deck around midnight to see the tossing.  The wind was strong and swells were up, but it can’t compare to my 1988 October crossing.  Midnight buffet was nothing spectacular, the ice carvings being basic hourglass shape and a vague bird, I think.  Nothing really distinguishable.  To bed shortly thereafter. 

By the way, projected changes in the refit are: 1. Eliminate the Theatre balcony and use it for restaurant. 2. Eliminate Midships lounge and make it Purser’s office. 3.  Move shops amidships. 4. Reverse Columbia and Mauritania Restaurants, and Lord knows what else.  Oh yes, remove Lido pool!  We’ll see what they actually do!

Wednesday, 6 April:

Last day at sea, alas!  The ship is still rolling and pitching enough to be pushing white water to the sides.  Sky blue with clouds, as seen by channel 3.  However, by the time I emerged, it was overcast and rainy.  I didn’t eat breakfast, but instead circulated around the ship to gather notes from C’s friends.  Saw Dimitrios, Muredach, June Appleby, Helen and hope to catch more.  I sat in Queen’s Room reading while the dance class went on. 

Noon Report:  Big, heavy swell 6 feet from west northwest – down from Iceland!  Strong breeze.  Halfway across the Bay of Biscay –off Ushant – starboard to the English Channel.  East of Isle of Wight by 3:30 a.m.– pilot up the East Solent – turn around 6:30 port tie up.  The Canberra will be coming in too from her World Cruise.  I attended the last World Cruise cocktail party.  Chatted with Captain Woodall a bit before he went out to talk, and he reports Mary Maxtone-Grahame is working on a mystery novel about the QE2.  Followed that with lunch with Margaret Farmer and dessert in the Lido – then I prepared for the talent show.  Also did the Quiz on London and did well.  The talent show was as usual mediocre.  I got laughs anyway.  The battle of the bulge was next – ugh!

The weather was really wet but not terribly rocky waves. 

At Yacht Club I tried to catch up with Giles, but he was too busy. He did, however, give me a fruit punch on the house.  I sat with Sissy and Frank, then wandered a bit after they left.  I am presently sitting on Quarter Deck port by the Library.  I discovered the large windows here are hinged and I imagine that is so they can open them as doors for access to mounting lifeboats in emergencies.  The sea has calmed a bit, so we are simply rising and falling in the troughs of the angled swells.  They come toward us at about a 30˚ angle and occasionally parallel to our movement.  I think the stabilizers are out and right under this spot, because water sounds rise as the swells hit the port side.  Visibility has been quite limited, but the horizon is more visible at the moment.

It is time for me to go to my last dinner in Columbia – reluctant to do so, having discovered how nice it is here.  Soup, beef Wellington and berry crumble.  Then the final show; Jean Ann Ryan Singers and Dancers, Christine Trevett, and Elliott Finkel the flamboyant pianist.  I saw Bill Score briefly, then boldly went to Mauretania to track down Tony Bursey and Dimitrios, who took me to the Pig to get Gary’s note.  Tony is quitting QE2 after 8 years to travel on his own.  The Pig has been changed to bar stools and a partition for a dartboard area.  Paul Danby bought me a 7-up.  All go on leave except Gary who has another month.  I tried to reach Giles in Yacht Club again but gave up when I saw a special party was about to begin.

I was back in the cabin by ten o’clock (new time) to put out my bag and settle in for my last night.  The seas have calmed to glass – almost so the fun is over!

Thus ends my 1994 World Cruise segment from Mombasa to Southampton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mombasa-Southampton 1994, Pt. 1

WORLD CRUISE 1994

MOMBASA TO SOUTHAMPTON

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2

CABIN 3068 

Friday, 18 March:

Upon arrival in Mombasa, Kenya after a very long flight from LA to London, and London to Nairobi, I spent the night at the Inter-Continental hotel.  It was Friday, March 18, 1994, and we were driven through the old town, Fort Jesus, the Mosque, Turkish area, and finally to the harbor where Queen Elizabeth 2 awaited her embarking passengers.

After I went aboard and left my stuff in cabin 3068, I turned in my ticket and passport, and then headed for the dining desk on Q Deck.  Tony Bursey and John Douglas were there.

On One Deck Lido, I found Helen Jones doing her usual work on that deck.  She said that when things go wrong she says, “C. wouldn’t do it that way.”  I walked on up to Boat Deck and through Lido to check on lunch. I was the first one.  I ate by myself.  When I saw Gary, he came over for a hug.  Dessert – ice cream, green and vanilla, soft-serve.   I told the Schumann and Schubert joke twice today and got big laughs. Here is the joke!

An eminent musician was hired to give a concert on the QE2.  A lady, wishing to make conversation with him asked:  “And what is on your schedule tonight?  (Pronounced: skedule)  His answer was:  “Skumann and Skubert!”

The ship was supposed to leave at two o’clock but it was much later.  I spotted Captain Woodall from Boat Deck, sauntering by himself to the gangway in civvies, and was amused that the gangway was drawn in immediately after he boarded!

Three tugs helped turn the ship around in the harbor, and we proceeded out the channel, bounded by land for quite a while.  Finally, the channel turned southward and we followed.  I had a lovely chat on Boat Deck starboard with a British lady aboard for the whole world cruise.  She said,  “An eves dropper never hears good of himself” or something like that, apropos of a story she told.

With Mombasa behind us, I went to the cabin to rest and shower.    I attended the boat drill in Queen’s Room at 6:00 p.m. then returned to the cabin till dinner.  Just as I was about to leave, Rita, my stewardess came with my World Cruise pin, so we chatted a bit.  She is from Madeira, Portugal.  I then went to table 208 in the Columbia Restaurant on far port corner.  Two ladies from South Africa, Yvonne and Baby, yes, we were told to call her Baby, and then came Bill Score, a dance host.  We talked a lot and I anticipate more pleasant meals with him around.  Ate pumpkin soup, halibut and ice cream.

For a while I watched the dancing in the Grand Lounge,  I then went aft on Boat Deck and spent some time happily leaning over the stern, and then turned in at 9:45.

 Saturday, 19 March.

I awoke early, guzzled the grapefruit juice, read the schedule, and then ventured for a stroll up to Boat Deck, where I sat looking westward toward the imaginary shoreline of Mozambique.  By this time we were cruising through the Mozambique Channel, and at 9 o’clock we were 30 miles off shore.

I went to breakfast at eight o’clock, and soon I spotted Margaret Yehuda (Christine’s friend).  She came to sit with me, and we had lots to talk about.  The pool was filling.  At nine, I went with Margaret to get my tour tickets, then looked up David Thompson in Columbia for coffee.  However, he had an inspection so he begged off for today.  I then went to the shops and came away with two diaries, a bookmark and three boxes from India.  Rain splattered down on the Magrodome.

As I left my cabin again, I saw Rita, who thought I had only just then emerged.  I went to Boat Deck to read in the warm, humid wind, under a lifeboat; then headed for Waldemar Hansen’s lecture on South Africa’s history.  At one o’clock I went to lunch, eventually to link up with Bill Score and later Margaret and Ruth Joyce (the lady from Falmouth, MA).

Bill has to move away from my table in Columbia, because the two South African ladies complained about him.

Oh, before lunch I located Cate Bradshaw who was the Nanny last year.  She is a stewardess on 5 Deck by A stairwell.  Muredach Timlin is on board.  He serves the Captain’s table in the special room off Columbia Restaurant.

At present I am sitting in the theatre balcony having heard the lecture on Astronomers Royal and waiting to see the Kenneth Brannagh movie,  “Peter’s Friends.”

I slept from 5 to 7 then hurried to dress for the Cocktail party by 7:30; I wasn’t late for the end of the queue.  I said my hellos to Elaine McKay and Captain Woodall, who welcomed me back, indicating he remembered me.  I also saw Helen Jones looking very nice with her hair up and earrings; thence to dinner and the prospect of only Baby and Yvonne.  The tedium however, was relieved by the arrival of Margaret Farmer from Surrey.  We got along well from the start.  I had beef and Vesuvius parade.  I checked on the show and decided not to stay for the repeat.

On the way to the cabin I bought Catherine Lim’s book at the Library and had a short chat with June Appleby.  Another waiter, new supervisor, Paul Danby, recognized me.

 Sunday, 20 March.

 Awoke early again, and I was up on Boat Deck by seven o’clock and read for an hour on starboard side facing the beautiful water scene.  Two pairs of sea birds flew overhead on their way to Mozambique.  At 8:30 I went to breakfast at the Lido and sat with two new acquaintances, Edna Gray and Dotty Simpson till 9:30 when I went to Columbia to talk with David Thompson.  I was served coffee in the starboard small dining room.  Paul saw me on the way out and he will invite me to the Pig.

I window -shopped aft and at Harrod’s.  Sissy Hower came in so we shopped together; she bought a lovely garden scene plate.  This being over, I returned to Boat Deck for more wind, brilliant blue water with small white horses, scattered clouds and clear horizon – under boat 12.

At 11:30 I attended the Interdenominational service., then returned to hear the noon day whistle;  LOVE IT  [Of course, there were two sets of 3 blasts as we left Mombasa, and I thrilled as usual].

I went to the library and decided to check out the Bisset book, Tramps and Ladies, which I started to read in Queen’s Room while waiting for the lunch queue to open.  This is the second book of the fascinating auto-biography of Sir James Bisset who was eventually captain and Commodore of Cunard during the early part of the 20th century.  His First book is titled: Sail Ho! And the third one is entitled Commodore.  I had read all three books, borrowed from a friend who knew Bisset and who was mentioned as the child on the “Laconia.”  While in the Library, I struck up a conversation with an English lady from Scarborough named Kate.  She divides her time between England and Australia and is on for 60 days from Sydney.  We had lunch together, sharing the table with a lady from Hamburg.  Spoke German to her.  I then read a bit in starboard Grand Lounge.

Hansen’s lecture was at 2:30 and then I stayed for the movie, Crying Game.  Next I prepared for dinner and went at 7:30.  Things were boring until Margaret Farmer came, then we enjoyed our meal chatting together as I ate my salmon, chic pea soup and fudge sundae.  We then saw a bit of the Nell Carter show then I went to the cabin for the night.  [Clocks back one hour.]

 Monday, 21 March: Durban, South Africa.

Since I was awake very early, I turned on the bow picture.  Around six o’clock I could discern faint outlines and blinking channel lights, so I dressed and headed upward.  Many others were on observation deck, so I went up to the highest point possible by the funnel to watch us very slowly enter the harbor. This is technically reserved for crew, but since I knew about it from my previous voyages with my friend C.,  I stood up there alone for at least a half hour as we crept to the right (tugs spraying water) and eased along side the short end of a long quay.  This was 7:30 and I decided to have breakfast in Columbia, where I met Margaret entering at the same time.  At 8:20 I went to get my Shakeland tour bus.  A band was playing.  Also a band in blue was poised to play when we returned.  As I sat on fantail, a piper played “Scotland the Brave” and a pipe band joined in later.  Small craft are gathering to see us off, and a tug is maneuvering at the stern.  We are about to depart.

Actually we didn’t leave the dock for an hour.  I stood on Boat Deck at the rail chatting with an English lady and American gent and we gazed down at the crowds everywhere.  Finally, as it was getting dusk, we pulled away from the dock and pivoted around to head out the channel.  The three blasts on the whistle set off replies from tugs and it was exciting for me to hear them.  As we cleared the long, people-lined jetty, I returned to my cabin to rest.  A letter from Staff Captain Ron Bolton awaited my return.  Progress!

I dressed for dinner, and a German couple joined our table.  She speaks English but he doesn’t, so I used my German a bit.  Margaret came in near 8:30 happily reporting on her holy cocktail party with a reverend, the priest and other active church people.  Velvet soup (spinach) salad and steak, and hot fudge sundae.

I attended the end of the music hall show.  I was so tired by its finish that I hastened to bed.  So far the seas have been very calm, but tonight the slop bags have been placed around, so I guess they expect disturbance as we meet the Atlantic. 

Tuesday, 22 March:

I awoke near seven.  The rough weather hasn’t materialized but it looked misty out and in fact, remained foggy all morning.   I went to breakfast at the Lido, and found Edna to sit with and Dotty followed soon after.  At 9 I hastened to the tour office to put my name on the list for the half day Cape Town tour on 24 March.  I then took my book to 1 Deck Lido where I sat with Frank Hower.  Had iced tea and coffee snacks.  Next I did my 5- deck walk, all alleyways, and in doing so I spoke with Gary Jones and Cate Bradshaw.  I hear Giles is on board as well.  Made a date with Cate to have lunch together.  Read a bit in the Library.  June Appleby is to swim for an hour “around the Cape” for charity.

Next came the astronomy lecture, then I went to see the swimmers’ activity , which was very poorly attended.  I left, hoping I wouldn’t be seen and strolled through the shops again.  Came away with Chinese silk purses and eyeliner.  Back in the cabin Captain Woodall is presently talking to us re: the day.  Fog.  Whistle explanation.  First fog since New York.  Weather change to southwest – drop in sea temperature entering the South Atlantic.  Cape Aghulas 35˚ 15’ South and 25˚ 20’ East. 9 miles to Cape St. Francis.  407 miles from Durban.  23.4 knots (27 mph) ; 379 miles to go, and 19˚ C or 67˚ Fahrenheit. Seas 18˚ C.  Southwest wind moderate.

Had lunch with Kate and Edna.  At 2:30 I attended the talk with Peter Longley and Gillian Humphries.  She has had a lovely career as a singer in all media, stage, radio, TV, USA etc.  Spoke to her briefly afterward.  The masquerade competition followed, so I stayed to watch, then checked out Out of Africa, and bought the new QE2 tape, followed by tea in the Queen’s Room with Kate and friend, both of whom complained endlessly about the way the ship is run – raw veggies, meats etc.  Basically they are anti-American.  I washed my hair and watched the video.  Joined Margaret and the German couple after 8.  Clam chowder, lamb chops, butter pecan ice cream.  Yum.  The Moira Anderson recital was varied.  She sang Scottish songs, Broadway and operatic arias, (Always at the bottom of the note).  At ten, I heard Lorin Hollander play Bach in the Theatre.  Thence to bed.

Wednesday, 23 March:  Cape Town, South Africa

Was awake early again while still dark, but the lights from oncoming boats and the distant shore were looming up from Cape Town.  I went up top to see us drift slowly between the harbor jetties, pulled or escorted by the tug, which soon pulled our bow slowly to port to line us parallel to the long quay.  Three lead lines were thrown to the dock, and three larger lines followed; two for forward pull and the third for the spring.

Two bands and a dancing group waited to entertain in light misty rain.  Alas, Table Mountain has a heavy “cloth” over it, but to the right the two conical mountains are clear.  Broken clouds and drizzle.  Saw both Captain and the pilot watching and giving orders quietly.  Civilians were on the Bridge as well.  The mountain to the right is Signal Hill.

I had breakfast in Columbia with Margaret to my right.  The bus tour 131 #2 gave a spectacular view of the Cape Peninsula.  We returned after four o’clock in time to dress for the gala World Cruise Society dinner – dance at the Sun Hotel.  Exotic tropical flower bouquets; 2 receiving lines; First Captain, Officers and Board Chairman Olsen, then up two floors stood the Cruise Staff.  Champagne and music (quartet) The dinner was fabulous with special plates for 1994 World Cruise.  I sat at table 17 with David Hamilton, the Purser, and Bill Score, two Brit couples and 3 single women and one man on his own..  Black dancers and marimba band and drummers performed for us.  I danced with David and Bill.  Toasts to couples, and Robin Woodall – “Hip hip hoorays.”  The Chairman, Mr. Olsen gave a speech of the usual hype.

When we returned to the ship she looked marvelous all lit up.  I was very tired.  The ship will go in for a refit in November and December.  Big alterations in store, moving shops, Balcony in Theatre will be going.  The Lido pool will also be eliminated.

Thursday, 24 March:  Cape Town.

Table Mountain still has partial cover.  After breakfast I went to the coach quayside and managed to get a place on tour 132 for the city and Table Mountain.  Eventually I sat with Jean Burns as we wended our way up to the mountain and back by the 12 Apostles on the backside and along the shore of the mountains.  Had tea at the old harbor, which is being done up.

Back at the ship Jean, (who is in 3065) and I had lunch at a nice table for two in the port isolated section of Columbia, because Lido was closed and we had open seating.  It was lovely in there where we could look out upon the vast Table Bay with its distant land arm.  The sun shone all day, but that pesky mist never really left the mountain.

For a while after lunch I strolled to Heli-deck and along Boat Deck for pictures.  Quite a wind up front on observation deck.  On my way down A stairwell I noticed the bulletin board with today’s schedule, which I never got under my door, and learned Passage to India was playing at 2:45 in the Theatre.  I went!

Back in the cabin I put up my hair.  Margaret phoned me about dinner at 8, so I was able to tell her we are moved to table 213 just for two.  We met at the door and had a lovely dinner together free from the stiffness of table 208: goulash soup, Atlantic cod and ice cream. 

I attended the African fashion show with fantastic jewelry and clothes.  It was announced that the ship would be leaving late, because a troop of entertainers was late coming, so I went to the cabin for the night.  Left Channel 3 on all night and each time I awoke we still hadn’t left. 

Our new waitress is Sarah, and waiter is Alex, a German. 

We finally left beautiful Cape Town, the tugs skillfully pivoting her around and away from the quay toward the opening between the jetties.  As usual the tugs and QE2 exchanged hoots and tugs pealed off to the old harbor entrance.   —- Quick change of plan!

Friday, 25 March:

Guess what!  We still haven’t left Cape Town.  I went topside to see if the mountain was any clearer, and yes – there was less table cloth – cloud gently pouring over the flat, otherwise very clear weather and mild.  The story is that there was too much wind outside the harbor to depart safely.  Dead calm here inside the jetties right now.  The pilot boat took off the pilot just as we left the last embracing jetty.  The view back to the harbor is thrilling and as clear as would be desired.  Even the tablecloth thinned out as we turned outward.  We could catch a glimpse of the mountains behind, named “12 Apostles.”  I am literally on an emotional high and so pleased we had to postpone the departure for daylight.  

When we were far enough away from the harbor I went in for breakfast on Lido with Edna, Dotty then Bill Score.  I then wandered a bit topside, then settled onto a deck chair  facing aft, aft of the sports deck, to read more of Tramps and Ladies.  I had to go in to attend the Hansen lecture on Namibia.  Bought a white beaded sweater for $37.95.

Margaret and I had lunch at our table.  The wine steward asked about my activities today and I told him about Commodore Bisset.  He seemed impressed and interested.  Actually, earlier this morning I visited Cate Bradshaw in the crèche.  We talked a long time in the baby room.  2:30 – Sacred Earth slide show.  Fabulous slides.  Walked out on the movie after.  Read on Lido listening to the string and flute trio.   Tea in Queens’ Room with the two English couples from the Cape Town dinner.

I went to my cabin till eight o’clock dinner with Margaret.  Paul took me on his arm to escort me to my table!  Nice Chap!  Sarah is pleasant too.  The show was a male choir concert titled Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  Very well done with good tone and Zulu foot work.  A bit monotonous though, perhaps because I didn’t understand Zulu.  I returned to the cabin tired again.  Earlier I bought the Moxom book, Driving the Hotel.   Tony Bursey is the Assistant Manager of Mauretania Restaurant, and I can’t find Muredach again.

Saturday, 26 March:

We set the clocks back one hour last night.  Our arrival at Walvis Bay is rescheduled for eleven o’clock because of yesterday’s delay.  Seas are still very calm as they have been all along.   I had breakfast with Edna and Dot.  Heavy overcast and cool weather.   On arrival a tug at our bow lead us into the channel.

On my way down stairway A I decided to go through the Mauritania restaurant.  Dimitrios recognized me and finally, I him.  We hugged and got caught up a bit.  I will see him tonight at 10:30.

By the way, this far out, a mile or two, we are already smelling the fish processing.  Ugh!

We eased very slowly into the harbor, which appears to be merely endless shore-contour quay with umpteen rather good- sized fishing boats.  For a short while I suspected we touched bottom because telltale mud was churned up.  However, we soon edged minutely on pivoting bow to nestle into the quay on starboard side.  I saw Captain Woodall casually standing on the bridge wing while Ron Bolton and the pilot used the walkie-talkies.

Walvis Bay is a strip-town along the shore and behind it you can see endless sand dunes of desert.  I spent some time in the Library.  June has some books for the local mission.

Early lunch on Lido – key lime pie, pea soup!  Stephen was working there.

Swapokmund Tour 136.  We went along the shoreline with blue ocean to our left and to the right, and rising sandy dunes with nothing, I mean nothing growing on them endlessly.  On the way back from the town, we got out and I ran up a dune so I could see beyond the rise – again, endless dune as far as I could see. It was literally climb up two steps and slide back in sand – one!  We were back by five o’clock, and I washed my hair to get the sand and dust out of my head.  Margaret called to say she won’t be at dinner.  Capt. announced we will be at St. Helena on Tuesday instead of Monday, because of yesterday’s delay and today’s.  OK by me.

I decided to skip dinner myself and happily watched Howard’s End on TV.  At 10:30 I went up to see Dimitrios, but he had already gone.  Instead I had a chat with Tony Bursey, who is quitting soon to work on land after 8 years.  He has had enough!

Sunday, 27 March:

I awoke after five o’clock and saw the moon set on the television as we headed northwest.  By eight I was ready to emerge for breakfast on Lido- again Edna and Dotty.  Strolled with them among the shops.  Before, I chatted at length with Muredach, who gets off in Southampton too.

The weather is in the 70s Fahrenheit and cloudy.  There is a following wind, enough to make white horses.  I saw Cate briefly.  Now I sit on Boat Deck starboard.  Namibia 200 miles away west of us. My time here was short-lived, because I went to the Communion Service at which Margaret was playing.  I have a job to sing next week!  At 11:30 I also attended the Captain’s Interdenominational service.

After the St. Helena lecture I headed for Boat Deck and a good long read.  The sun darted in and out of clouds helping it to stay comfortable in the soothing wind.  Before long, I became chilly so I went to Queen’s Room for tea with the two English couples.  Learned about the up-coming charity bazaar on Wednesday.  Lot of conversation about health care, orphanages in Thailand, etc.

Dinner at 8 o’clock, where the feature was a lovely salmon.  Duggie Brown gave his show., which was very funny and fast.  String quartet, then String of Pearls 4 girl quartet.  By bedtime I was very tired.  Duggie and his wife are next door in cabin 3070.  When they came aboard in Cape Town, they did a number of door slammings, so I left a note  about turning the knob.  They apologized, by leaving a note back on my door.

Monday, 28 March:

The early cloudy day promises to be clear later on.  An invitation to the Captain’s dinner on Thursday evening appeared under my door.  Of course, I answered in the positive.  Gary Lee Jones and I had a little “natter” as I went through the breakfast scramble.  At present I am on port Boat Deck under boat 8.  The sea is that vivid dark blue with white caps, and small swell following.  Stately QE2 is unaffected though.  I read on deck till ten o’clock when I attended the photography lecture.  I sat with the small English couple from Hull.  She has a telephone directory to give QE2 because that area isn’t BT and consequently the ship doesn’t get that independent one.

I phoned Elaine to accept the Captain’s invitation, and she said I will be escorted by a steward at 7:15.   I had a chat with Margaret Yehuda (3064) and Rita outside my cabin.  Rita is so attentive to my wishes and has kept me supplied with grapefruit juice and fruits.  Today she has changed to cranberry juice – a pleasant change.  Now there are also 3 more oranges too.

I purchased some stuff at Harrod’s, then headed for Boat Deck again.  I am under boat 6 now, feeling the soft wind and very smooth ride of the ship.  The noonday whistle has just sounded.  Wonderful!  Read more Tramps and Ladies.  Next was lunch at Lido by myself, then I spotted Sissy Hower, who was hunting for the desserts.  I had eaten my lime pie, but joined her for more.  We sat with an English lady who is a Key Club member, and has a $1000 on board credit among her perks.  At D stairway Sissy and I met Richard Smith and friend from Australia.

2:30 Buckingham Palace talk:,3:30-5:30 Boat Deck.  Bought earrings and cuff links.  Searched out Giles in Yacht Club, and when we found each other there was happy reunion talk together.

On my way out of the cabin for dinner, I introduced myself to Duggie Brown and wife (3070).  We had a fun and animated conversation plus a joke or two re: the thin walls.  He liked the joke about Schumann and Schubert.  Dinner – soup and tournados “opera” – steak and veggies.  Showtime “Encore:  Broadway review – Back to the cabin – Clocks retarded one hour tonight.

 Tuesday, 29 March: St. Helena

I awoke early, and followed our approach to the island on channel 3, then emerged to see the Jamestown harbor for real.  Breakfast on my own at 213, then I was on the first launch ashore.  There is a sign on the cliff “St. Helena welcomes the QE2.”  Of course, as we went away from the ship, more people were looking back at her than those looking forward.  The harbor is open to the sea on the west side, and I can now understand why Captain Woodall was apprehensive of the swell effect on the launches.  All was calm but the small swells battered the launch into the quay.  Anyway, I had a lovely tour of the island and returned “home” around 11:30. At present I am on starboard Boat Deck watching the tenders plying back and forth on their final trips.  All are due on board by 12:30 for one o’clock departure.  Anchor on port bow.

I met Margaret Farmer as I strolled down aft.  She saw a slide lecture while we were gone.  On back to see if there was a stern anchor.  No. Then lunch with Kate Jacques on Lido.  The ship pulled away from St. Helena around 1:30. I read on starboard Boat Deck till 2:30.  Afternoon activities included a lecture on photography and I went back on deck, first Boat Deck, then 1 Deck Lido till six o’clock.  Helen has been ill for several days but is back again.  I returned to the cabin to relax and prepare for dinner.  What a routine!  Finished Tramps and Ladies.  Dinner of halibut, then Showtime, which was a good Brit baritone, Roy Edwards.  The following concert in the Theatre was a string quartet called String of Pearls and an added clarinetist.


Rio – LA, 1993 Part 2

QE2 – Rio – LA, 1993 Part 2

 Thursday, 28 January – Valparaiso, Chile – for Santiago

I awoke at eight o’clock, turned on the television and saw we were already docked facing Valparaiso.  Had breakfast with Margaret then sat briefly with Christine.  Seeing the sun was right for pictures, I went up and clicked on several scenes up the slopes of the city from stern to bow.

I joined Christine on bus 2 – tour 36.  We toured Valparaiso then headed up to Santiago via mountains, two tunnels, valleys of grapes, corn fields, irrigated fields, low cost housing, short suburbs and into a modern city with an equestrian statue, tidy squares, classic buildings and so forth.

We had lunch at La Estancia with rather amateurish dancing and loud singing.  I dozed a bit on the way back – forest fire – Viña del Mar and back to the ship after six o’clock.  C. was preparing to go out with Ardyth and Robert.  I joined them at the gangway, and we took a taxi to a finicular, went up the hill, then enjoyed a lovely dinner at Café Turri.  This was a three storey private home with wood-beamed ceilings and staircase, chandelier and very good food.  I had salmon and sopas.  Since time to return was fast approaching, we paid and taxied down a steep alley slope and on to the docks.  They wouldn’t let the taxi go through the gate, so we had to get out and walk through.  Another taxi picked us up for $2.00 and took us to the ship.  We four freshened up and met in the Lido.  From there we watched the ship try to leave the dock, but she must have been stuck a while because she didn’t move for quite a while, although the tugs were pulling hard.  Finally we moved slowly along the quay and we waved at the spectators, and horns honked.  Further out the tugs whistled and QE2 answered back with her three blasts and one lone one.  The lights of Valparaiso sparkled like diamonds in a huge semicircle effect.  [This is also where the tug cable broke with a mighty snap, and the stern tug nearly flew to the stern and quickly became a potential bumper should the stern swing back to the dock.  I was most impressed with the skill demonstrated, and so quick!]  My log states:  “Tug line snapped and QE2 nearly hit the Nassau ship ahead of her.  Bow tug whipped back to wedge between the stern and the dock.  Bow thrusters pushed bow out.”

We crawled to the Theatre Bar, then Grand Lounge; danced one with C.  He left us all of a sudden and never came back.  He phoned to tell us he felt ill.

Celebrities on board:  Lee Iococa

Rosenberg who has the expensive suites $1,500,000 so I hear.

Charles Ira Sachs

Former Captains:  Doug Ridley and Peter Jackson

 Friday, 29 January

Clocks were retarded one hour last night, so I awoke early and showered and washed my hair.  I emerged after nine o’clock to see C. who is all right today.  The sun shines and cool ocean winds are very pleasant.  I ate breakfast with Ken ? and left as Jim and Zuilmah were about to join us.  While sitting near C’s spot with my Cunard date transfer project, Christine found me and I joined her on Hele-deck for a prolonged bask in the warm sunshine, she facing the sun and I back to it!  We never stopped talking and before we knew it, it was lunchtime.  I chose the table by the fire extinguisher starboard side in the Lido.  Harry was there too.  I had my usual gathered salad followed by two pieces of lime pie!  Yum!

I spent more time under the eaves on One Deck Lido, gathering sales slip information.  C. showed me a memo regarding new rules on death – your own or another – leave illness – all very humorous.  We had a good laugh.

Trafalgar House had merged Cunard with Crown Cruises.  They are happy that QE2 is safe for a while!   I joined Christine Joyce on Heledeck for the remainder of the afternoon till teatime.  Terry Waite (yes, same name) joined us for a while and we three all went to Queen’s Room for tea.  I returned to Lido One Deck to ascertain our evening plans, but C. has a Captain’s party and wants to sleep early.  I talked with Harry a while, then moseyed back to my cabin via the shops.  I caught the video about Great Liners.  Dinner with only Harry Cohen.  The others were at the Captain’s dinner.  I had lamb.  Back at the cabin I watched the “Taming of the Shrew.”  Was in bed by eleven thirty.

 Saturday, 30 January

I met Charlie Sachs on One Deck as I was going to leave his questionnaire at his cabin, and we went to breakfast together.  We sat at Christine’s table.  Charles is both interesting and gross!  I found C. on his deck, chatted a bit, felt the pleasant air, and then eventually headed for the Costa Rica lecture followed by Captain James’ lecture on Cadiz-Torente and Pearl Harbor.  By that time it was lunchtime so I met Christine and we ate together.  Great salads, cheese and pie!

I sat down on deck with Jim, Ken and Zuilmah and they showed me the 1994 World Cruise itinerary.  Zuilmah is a lyric soprano.

I then went to the Theatre to see “License to Kill” the Timothy Dalton 007 movie.  I checked on C. who later took me to the Pig for the usual.  Had dinner while the ship came into Callao, Peru Harbor.  They turned her around and tied up to a very large dock with isolated containers piled up.  A Doberman and master checked the pier, a band played and dancers did one or two.  Few passengers got off and on, but we weren’t allowed off, because of political dangers.  The “Shining Path” terrorists were taking pot shots at foreigners I hear!  It was dark anyway.  C. was watching all this with me.  We attended a good song show by Dolores Park in the Grand Lounge.  Sat with Jay and met his mom.  To the cabin at eleven, watched our departure on television monitor.  So much for Peru!

Clocks retarded one hour tonight.

 Sunday, 31 January

I had breakfast with Christine and Shelly joined us, and we cooked up ideas for a skit.  Later I joined Shelly and two new gals, Mary and Mavis for further plans.

I attended the Sunday service with Christine and we sang four hymns.  Captain Woodall conducted the service with very fast readings! 

The heat and humidity are high, being so close to the Equator.  I sat a while on the Lido under the eaves and C. continued his usual attending rounds.  I had lunch with Christine and Margaret Yehuda plus the bridge instructors. – no pie – just vanilla ice cream!

I tried the Computer class, trying to learn about spread- sheets, then I went to the Theatre to hear the lecture on Buckingham Palace.  This was followed by tea with Christine and Terry, in Queen’s Room, then I went to One Deck Lido and sat with Harry Cohen, chatted with Helen Jones (the deck girl) and tore myself away after six- thirty from the pleasant tempered air.  Have seen dolphins and maybe a whale aft.  I don’t know where the days go.  Only one more week, so I must knuckle down and enjoy intensely!

For dinner I had rack of lamb, meringue bombe and chocolate sauce.  C. met me at the Theatre Bar and we attended the Gala concert in Grand Lounge by Bettine and Co.  two harps and strings as well as her flute.  It was fabulous.!

I met Ardyth and Robert in Yacht Club; we changed clothes and all met at the top of A stairway for the loud, crowded Ward Room (under the Bridge).  What an experience!  C. is a loose, uninhibited dancer.  Mexican food.  I was back in the cabin at two in the morning.  Ardyth and Robert left the noise way before we did!

 Monday, 1 February

We crossed the Equator at 6:45 AM.  I was up late, in time to meet Shelly at nine o’clock after only juice with Harry and later my other tablemates (210).  Mavis, Mary, Shelly and I hashed out the script for our skit.  At eleven thirty I went to the Tea lecture by Glynn Christian, followed by lunch with Christine and Margaret.

C. is busy at work, looking no worse for the late party.  At noon the ceremonies for crossing the Equator took place, but I saw only a silly number game before lunch.  At two o’clock I went to the Computer Center to type up the script.  Stayed till 3:30 and was able to help a French man play Tetris.  When I left I realized I had missed the “Titanic” Lecture, alas.  Consequently I watched some of the movie.  When feeling a bit out of sorts, I went to talk with C.  To my surprise he wants to go to the piano concert tonight!

I had my pre-ordered salmon at dinner with mushroom soup, spinach, salad and hot fudge sundae.  I met C. in the Theatre Bar where we sat till time for the piano concert by a  Peruvian musician playing his own compositions.  We sat in the balcony, and he looked great in his black silk coat with grey and black upturned sleeves, Ritz trousers and waistcoat.  We also heard a ventriloquist in the Grand Lounge.  Ho hum.  Afterward, at the Yacht Club bar, Ardyth and Robert joined us. I returned to my cabin near midnight.   Clocks retarded one hour tonight.

 Tuesday, 2 February – Porto Caldera, Costa Rica.

I took the tender at 7:40 to the dock at Porto Caldera.  The new “Staatendam” was tied up in the small harbor, apparently broken down!  C. was already ashore, assigned to one of the half day tours.  I took the all day tour to San Jose with Steven (Estaban.).  Great.

Back on board I brought my two hammocks, wooden toys and Ocarinas to my cabin then went to see C.  He was starting to clean up for closing the deck. While I waited for him I noticed the deck cover astern, that holds several rubber raft containers and cranes on each side.  C. says they were installed during the refit in accordance with new laws.  We went to the Pig where Cate, Gary, Paul and others were present.  Then we separated to dress for the Ward Room cocktail party.  I  enjoyed chats with various people, especially Mavis, Mary and husbands.  C. joined in re: my “Lorelei” song.    I then went to dinner late and had green fettuccini Alfredo and cod, and banana split cake.  I went on my own to the variety show, which wasn’t much to brag about.  There were marionettes, dancers and the singer, Dolores Park.  At eleven, back in my cabin, I saw the “Meaning of Life” the Monty Python movie.

 Wednesday, 3 February

Hot, humid and sunny!  Again I got away with only juice at breakfast.  I met Mavis, Mary and Shelly at Midships bar at 9:30 for our Golden Girls run-through.  At eleven thirty I heard Charles Sachs’ lecture on post-cards of ships.  Catharine Lim is aboard again and we had fun meeting again.  Her daughter Jean is with her.

I had lunch with Margaret, and later found Christine and Terry at a table for two near G Stairway.  Romance is blooming I think!  Anyway, at 2:30 was the Talent Show rehearsal.  At 3:30 Glyn Christian lectured on royal titles and peerage. 

Lido Deck was quite comfortable in the afternoon.  Getty, Sigie and Jay were playing Conasta.  Deck workers have to wear white- billed hats now.  C. looks out of character and says they are hotter.   I had drinks with Ardyth and Robert in 4176 right next to my 4174 cabin of the past.  Then C. and I had dinner in my cabin.  He wore his kilt and we watched “To Sir with Love” and Michael Palin in “Far Out Tales.”

We went up to the Theatre Bar to meet a young Mexican couple and Robert and Ardyth.  I went to Grand Lounge to do my act, which had very good response!  Then I stood in back with C. and all got an umbrella and a set of coasters.  I gave the umbrella to Robert.  Yacht Club Bar and to bed at midnight.  C. tired again but not far gone!

 Thursday, 4 February – Acapulco, Mexico

I greeted C. on One Deck Lido in the early, warm humidity, promising a very hot day at anchor.  Since Magrodome-Lido was closed, I had to eat in the Columbia Restaurant.  I sat in Harry’s chair, then everyone arrived too.  Have had many good comments about last night’s performance.

I met Terry and Christine for the day’s trip to the city.  Ruth Joyce from Falmouth, Cape Cod joined us in the suburban taxi.  Silver bracelets.

We were back at the ship by tender near one o’clock.  I had lunch with Catharine Lim in the Lido, next to Terry and Christine.  Catherine talks a lot enthusiastically.  I put on my bathing suit and finally went for a swim in the One Deck pool.  I noticed the Magrodome was open to the sky the first time I have seen this.  I returned to the cabin for a shower and returned to Hele- Deck for the sail-away party.  Colorful clothes, dancing, rum punch.  I sat with Christine and Terry plus Margaret.  C. was busily doing his job.  I went to the bow to see us haul up the anchor.  The “Fair Princess” (a former Cunarder) leaving the harbor.  Exchanges of whistle toots.  Tom stood with me as we turned with starboard thrusters, and proceeded out to sea.  I caught C. atop and went with him to his deck, where we parted.  He is really tired.

Tonight was the Baked Alaska parade, with sparklers and flags and marching to “Auld Lang Syne.”  C. was asleep in his cabin when I went inside; glasses on book aside, TV going.  I returned to my cabin to see “Out of Africa.”

 Friday, 5 February

This is another beautiful, sunny and pleasantly bearable day!  Had breakfast with Christine who confirmed my suspicions that she and Terry are romantically involved.  We had a lovely talk and a hug, and we are mutually supportive. 

With no lectures to attend, I checked out a book, Mauritania, from the Library to read on stern deck. I had lunch with Margaret consisting of two pieces of lime pie, and sat briefly with Christine and Terry.  More reading and puttering in the cabin, then by four o’clock I went to immigration at Midships Lobby – 2 Deck.

I discovered a magnificent tea set up in Queen’s Room, with white chocolate sculptures, sandwiches, smorgasbord type open sandwiches, éclairs and fruits as well as regular tea cakes.  I sat with Terry and Christine, then later Shelly joined us.

When I returned to One Deck Lido, C. had already left for his next function, so I read a bit and joined Cate at the kiddie pool with Jordan.  I returned to my cabin and saw a long QE2 video.

Harry and I were on our own for dinner until the other three came in with a woman officer.  She told us about when QE2 ran on the rock off Cuttyhunk, and immigration troubles.  I attended the Debbie Reynolds show.  Great!

 Saturday, 6 February – Off Baja, Mexico

Clocks were retarded again this morning at four o’clock.  I woke at seven, saw C. early and he asked if I had gotten his message – no.  He wanted me to meet him at 9:15 at the Theatre Bar, but I had passed through at 9:10.  Later Terry said he was frantically trying to find me.   – Had breakfast with Margaret and found Terry and Christine inside the dark part of the Lido.

I read my Mauretania book on deck, catching glimpses and chats with C. and Helen till eleven, when I head Glyn Christian’s talk on food.  I also had a long talk earlier with Catherine Lim.  We laughed a lot, and she is writing a book about her QE2 experiences.

I had lunch at the Lido with Jay and his mother, then dessert upstairs consisting of fudge cake.  I talked with Connie Sillen, a travel agent, and she gave me her card.  I went back to the deck for more glimpses and reading till 3:15 when I attended the Debbie Reynolds informal talk.  I got her autograph.  Tea with Terry and Christine in the Queen’s Room.

I started my packing.

I met C. at nine o’clock in the Theatre Bar and we attended the show.  He fell asleep. Afterward we went to one Deck Lido to see the full moon on the water and sat in chairs together.

 Sunday, 7 February – San Pedro, CA

The end of the voyage for me has come.  I gave Christine three magazines, hugs by Harrods, then joined Terry and Christine at her table.  Maureen the Australian gave me her card and I mine to her.  I did the customs in Queen’s Room, wandered a bit then spent time with C. alone on the stern.  At ten thirty I had to get off, so C. helped me with my bags.

All the kids met me and we went to Ports O’Call for lunch before heading back to their home.