QUEEN MARY 2 MAIDEN WORLD CRUISE 2007
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Chapter 1, January 21, 2007
I joined the ship in Ft. Lauderdale January 10 and Kathy Aaron and I will be
hosting the Virtuoso group again. We have 90 guests this first segment then
less after that, which is considerably fewer than we are used to on the
Voyager. Also, with 2500 passengers on board, we don't see our people around
the ship much. Definitely a different hosting experience.
The food and service are astounding, especially considering the size of the
operation. We dine in the Queen's Grill, the ship's top dining room. I've
never eaten in a better restaurant anywhere. I'm just glad we don't have to
sign the bill after each meal! In addition to the three main dining rooms,
to which passengers are assigned, there are six alternate restaurants to add
variety to the culinary experience. Even they are all unbelievably good.
The ship is over 1100 feet long - almost the length of four football fields!
Our suite is the furthest forward and the restaurants are all at the aft end
of the ship so we figure since we have to walk nearly a quarter of a mile to
dinner we can eat anything we want with impunity! When they built the ship
it was the largest afloat, and they had planned to even make it higher than
it is. However, the limiting factor was the Brooklyn Bridge in New York -
any taller and the ship could not have passed under it. The QM2 is still the
fastest cruise ship afloat, cruising over 30 knots. We had dinner with the
Chief Engineer and he explained how the ship makes its own water. The three
machines can produce 75 tons of water every hour!!
One thing that gave me a nasty shock when I came aboard was the computer
room prices. The regular rate is $30 per hour (!) though you can bring the
price down a bit by prepaying blocks of time. The worst part is that they
charge the same rate just to use the computer for Word or Excel and other
programs. On past cruises I've spent many hours a day in the computer room,
but here it just makes me sick when I even look at it. Fortunately Kathy
brought her laptop so we bought a $500 package and will just have to make
the time stretch best we can.
After sailing from Ft Lauderdale we had seven days at sea to Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil. We were surprised to find a cool, cloudy day with temps in the low
80's. It's more typical to be in the upper 90's, but they have been having a
cool, wet summer so we benefited. We took the tram up to Corcovado, the
2300-foot mountain with the enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer, which
overlooks city and bay. The views were stunning. We had a drive around Rio,
including Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches (not too crowded because of the
chilly weather!) and also visited the amazing San Sebastian Cathedral. We
had to be back on board by 4:00 pm so there wasn't time to do much more than
some of the highlights, but we enjoyed our day ashore.
Saturday was bright and sunny and we were in Montevideo, Uruguay, a very
walkable city. It was market day and streets and squares were lined with
endless stalls of art, crafts, antiques, coins, jewelry etc. We spent
several hours shopping and put miles on our shoes. Uruguay is very European
with few minorities. Architecture is an interesting mix, dominated by
Spanish and French styles. The old town had similarities to New Orleans. On
to Cape Horn!Kent
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Chapter 2, February 8, 2007
We are rocking and rolling our way across the Pacific to Hawaii after a
stunning maiden call and enthusiastic reception in San Francisco. But that's
for later in the story. First the fjords!
What a fantastic day we enjoyed at Cape Horn and in the Chilean Fjords! I
have been at Cape Horn when conditions were so bad we couldn't even tell
there was land nearby, but this time we were treated to a glorious day. The
Captain decided we had extra time so he sailed past the Cape heading west,
then turned the ship around and sailed past it again towards the east. Then
we headed right up into the fjords and channels into a magic landscape akin
to Alaska. We sailed past majestic tidewater and alpine glaciers, thundering
waterfalls and towering snow-capped mountains, the southern extension of the
Andes. It was a beautiful day to be out on deck, taking it all in and we
nearly abused our digital cameras capturing one scene after another!
Good weather continued in the Pacific as we headed up the west coast of
South America to Valparaiso, Chile. We had our first Virtuoso event here
with a driving tour of Valparaiso and then a tour and lunch at a winery. The
day started in chaos! There were three other ships in port ahead of us and
the Crystal Symphony, unbeknownst to us, was also having a Virtuoso tour.
The QM2 arrived late and when we got out to the pier we saw Virtuoso buses
already loading. Then we were told that two buses had already left! As it
turns out, the Crystal group had taken two of the buses intended for us and,
somehow, two of our guests as well! It took some time to sort things out and
get on our way, and that put us behind schedule for the rest of the day.
Valparaiso and nearby Vina Mar are actually quite nice coastal cities.
Vina Mar resembled Miami Beach with its condos, shops, parks, and white sand
beaches. We headed inland to the Casablanca Valley which is strikingly
similar to Napa Valley, from the vast vineyards and architecture, to the
rolling hills and distant high mountains. We had a picture perfect day, but
didn't arrive at the winery until about noon. At that point people wanted
food and drinks, but first they had to do a little tour of the vineyard and
then take a hayride up to a high hill where the wine tasting took place.
People were pretty grumpy until they finally got drinks, but then there was
enough to make most people quite happy. That was followed by a lovely lunch
under tents, with food and drink of all kinds, as well as a Chilean Folklore
group who sang and danced for us. In spite of the stress for Kathy and me,
most of the guests were quite happy with our outing, even though we got back
two hours later than planned.
After five fine days at sea we called in Acapulco. Kathy and I walked and
shopped a bit, and then I met Karl & Ursula Heese, a German couple who tours
frequently with me, for a visit. They are traveling on the Seabourn Legend,
which was in Acapulco the same day. As we sailed north we were treated to
humpback whales quite close to the ship.
Then San Francisco! It was a perfect, sunny, 70-degree Sunday afternoon
as the largest ship ever to call in the city sailed under the Golden Gate
Bridge. We were accompanied into port by hundreds of sailboats and a
fireboat, which sprayed a continuous fountain of water to announce our
entry. Every bridge, street and open hillside were lined with thousands of
spectators, watching and taking photos. As we passed under the Golden Gate
Bridge (with only 11 feet clearance!!) the ship and the bridge exchanged
salutes with the foghorn and ship's whistle. Goose bumps. The scene was
shown on TV around the world and it was exciting to be part of it. Monday
was a great day in the city and at 8 pm we sailed out into the wild Pacific
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Chapter 3, February 25, 2007
The spectacular maiden calls on this world cruise would themselves be
worth the 'price of admission'! It has been an absolute thrill to arrive in
ports to the cheers and waves of thousands of excited onlookers. Even the
most jaded travelers are captivated by the excitement.
From San Francisco we braved some rough seas on the way to Honolulu where
my cousin Ken picked us up for the morning. Where in paradise did we have
him take us, but to the Goodwill Store! We had a good hour of shopping and
then went to Ken's place before going out to lunch overlooking Waikiki
Beach. We all enjoyed the visit and Ken deposited us back at the ship, from
where we immediately proceeded to walk around the downtown area. There are
lovely historic buildings in Honolulu, including the only royal palace on
The next call, Pago Pago, was still in the US. Most people don't know
that it's US territory, but it's called American Samoa because it is
American. Yes, they use US currency, US stamps, and the US NPS administers
Samoan National Park. The islands are much like Hawaii, but with a much
higher rate of native peoples. They are laid back and friendly and their
clothing is colorful. The traditional attire for men is a flowered shirt and
a wrap-around skirt. Even the policemen wear skirts in Pago Pago! Kathy and
I jumped on and off local buses to explore the island and went for a hike in
the national park rain forest. It was very hot and humid and we were
drenched just from an easy walk. But we did get photos of gorgeous flowers
of all kinds. A 'highlight' of a different kind was passing the Starkist
Tuna Plant. The putrid odor that permeated the air was enough to put Kathy
off eating tuna forever. However, outside the range of the tuna aromas,
Samoa is truly lovely with soaring mountains and rich vegetation.
Auckland was our next grand entry. Already before dawn, and miles from
our berth, the QM2 was joined by a flotilla of boats and yachts, which grew
steadily as we approached the city. There are more boat owners per capita in
Auckland than any city in the world and it seemed they all had their boats
out to welcome us. As in San Francisco, people lined every hill, street, and
open area to see the arrival of the great Queen. The QM2 is too big for the
passenger docks so we were at a container terminal with extremely tight
security. This caused chaos for tour departures, as they would only allow a
few buses at a time to approach the ship. Our Virtuoso tour was no
exception, but we finally pulled out half an hour late. We were taken on a
nice driving tour of the lovely, subtropical city, and then were treated to
morning tea at the National Art Institute. I could have done without the
following tour of the museum, but fortunately it was brief, and from there
we proceeded to lunch at Mollies, an older private mansion which has been
beautifully converted to an elegant boutique hotel. It was open exclusively
to our guests and we were free to wander the house and garden, while
enjoying pre-lunch drinks and canapes. Frances, the owner, is a musician and
hires hotel staff with musical ability. Before lunch she played the grand
piano in the dining room while various ones sang operettas and light
classical music for us. It was an enchanting setting for lunch and the food
was equally superb. We had many comments that Virtuoso would be hard pressed
to top that one.
After the tour Kathy and I went to the home of John and Julia Ensom,
friends from back in the days I worked on QE2. Julia was celebrating her
50th birthday so we got to be part of the festivities. As the ship sailed
out of Auckland at 10:00 pm, people were crammed into every available space
around the harbor to see the majestic ship depart. A fireworks display over
the water as we pulled out put a finishing touch on a fine welcome.
And then there was Sydney!! All we can say is, "Wow!" The great Cunard
ships have always been loved in Australia and the masses turned out to see
the new Queen, and later, two Queens together as the Queen Elizabeth 2
joined us in Sydney the same evening. The city came to a virtual standstill
because of the traffic caused by our arrival and it looked like a major
national holiday, with all the people enjoying the beautiful day.
The ship's whistle woke us at 6:10 am as we approached the entrance to
the Sydney Harbor. Sydney is one of the five great natural harbors in the
world along with San Francisco, Rio, Acapulco, and Hong Kong (all of which
are on this cruise itinerary!) and it is magnificent to watch a ship wind
her way from the Heads into the heart of the bay to the Opera House and the
Harbor Bridge. Again, long before daylight, hundreds of boats and yachts
joined ranks with QM2 to escort her into the city. By the time we got to the
docks the entire harbor was crammed full of boats. We don't know how they
kept from hitting each other. We docked at the Naval Base, as the ship is
too big for Circular Quay where cruise ships normally go, but before pulling
in the Captain made a grand salute. He backed the ship up towards the Harbor
Bridge and Opera House, broadside to the city, and blew a long low blast of
the ship's whistle as if to say, "Hello Australia. Here we are!" Onlookers
and passengers alike cheered wildly.
The celebrating continued all day, as there was a continuous stream of
people coming to see and photograph QM2. Boats and yachts kept up a steady
loop in and out of the bay alongside the ship to give their passengers a
close up view and an appreciation for the mammoth size of our ship. It was
nonstop the whole time we were in Sydney.
Vicki Scotts, a former ship colleague of mine, and her husband Jamie,
came to Sydney from Brisbane for three days just to take in the sights
involved with QM2 and QE2. They were able to come aboard the ship, thanks to
a staff member invitation, and Kathy and I gave them the grand tour. Vicki
has worked on numerous ships, but she couldn't get over the size and
magnificence of QM2. It was a thrill to show them around.
Then it was their turn to host and they had arranged a car and driver to
take us sightseeing. In the city the traffic was at a standstill so we
headed out to Watson's Bay, the Gap, and Bondi Beach. It was gorgeous. We
had fish and chips for lunch at the Fish Market in Darling Harbor and then
walked back to the ship from Circular Quay, getting great photos along the
way of the bridge, the Opera House, and of course the QM2.
But it gets better! At 7:00 pm the QE2 made her grand entrance into the
harbor, sailing slowly past the QM2, and the two sister ships exchanged
multiple salutes to the thrill of thousands of cheering fans. The harbor was
so full of boats there was barely room for the QE2 to continue on to her
berth near the bridge. Later media reports said the traffic was the worst
Sydney had ever experienced as virtually the whole city turned out to party.
We were all rewarded at 8:30 with a spectacular fireworks display over the
harbor between the two ships. There were two identical and simultaneous
displays set off from barges, one for each of the two Queens. The grand
finale brought a roar of approval from the crowd that must have been heard
clear back in the States!
Evidently the partying continued until we sailed at 11:00 pm, and the
escort out of the harbor was bigger than ever, but we were so tired by that
time we never even knew when this grande dame gracefully glided out to sea
and headed for Hong Kong. However, we were left with the feeling that we
were part of one of those special moments in history that leave you in awe
for the rest of your life.
Click here to go to my photo site.
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Chapter 4, March 7, 2007
After our spectacular visit in Sydney we had another long stretch of
seven days at sea. Love those sea days! February 28 we arrived in Hong Kong,
but because of the size of the QM2 we couldn't dock at the cruise ship
terminal, but were stuck out in a cargo port. Actually that has been the
case with most of our ports of call. What a difference it makes on first
impressions of a city. I love Hong Kong, but Kathy had never been there and
she wasn't impressed at first.
However, we took the shuttle bus into the city and had fun walking,
shopping, riding double decker trolleys and the Star Ferry, and taking the
very steep cable car up to Victoria Peak for a view out over the city and
harbor. In spite of the haze, it was amazing to see the towering apartment
buildings stacked side by side, crowding the harbor. We finished up shopping
the markets and little alleyways. Upon sailing from Hong Kong we were
treated to special sight. The Port Authority gave us special permission to
sail through the middle of Victoria Harbor, between Kowloon and Hong Kong
Island, while the city presented the world's largest sound and light show,
featuring dozens of the city's skyscrapers. It was a brilliant show!
We had another Virtuoso tour in Singapore. In spite of the hot, steamy
day, we enjoyed a visit to the National Orchid Garden with its incredible
collection of orchids. Lots of photos there! In Chinatown we visited a
traditional Chinese Temple and drove through the 'Wall Street of Asia',
before going to the Fullerton Hotel for lunch. The building had been the
main post office of Singapore and was converted into a luxurious, five-star
hotel. They must have had nearly the entire hotel staff lined up to greet
our group and escort us into the lounge for Singapore Slings. Lunch was in
the ballroom and there was at least one staff for every guest! The folklore
show included a Chinese 'Man of 100 Faces'. Dancing in full costume, his
mask would suddenly change completely with no explanation how it was
possible. He came off the stage, shook hands with Kathy, and had his other
hand in the air, when suddenly the mask changed. He showed dozens of faces,
until finally we saw his real face, and then, just like that, he was wearing
a mask again! A man in our group lives in Hong Kong and he was so excited to
see this act. He told us it is a great secret that is handed down through
the generations, but no amount of money will get them to give away the
secret of the masks to anyone else. We were certainly amazed!
The next day in Port Klang, Malaysia we took the local train into Kuala
Lumpur, or KL as it is known. We went first to the Petronas Towers, the
tallest twin towers in the world, and second highest building in general.
They have built up massive shopping and office complexes around it since I
was last here six years ago. We wanted to go up to the connecting bridge,
forty stories up, but they were booked until late afternoon. Instead we took
a taxi to the telecommunications tower, the fourth highest of its kind (CNN
Toronto being the tallest), and took the elevator to the viewing deck high
above the city. From there we got good photos of the Petronas Towers and the
city. It was surprising to see what a spread out city KL is with vast open
areas scattered between developed sections. Not parks, just big open areas.
Kathy didn't want to eat 'too local' so we had lunch in the Shangri La
Hotel. Very civilized, of course. There too, we spent a few hours in the
local markets before taking the train back to the port. The ship has been
late sailing from most ports, but from KL we sailed right on time.
Evidently a few passengers missed the ship and had to make their own way to
Cochin, India. Ouch!
Below is a photo taken from a helicopter in Sydney, showing QE2,
QM2 and the Opera House, and of course, all the small craft crowding the
More photos on my website.
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Chapter 5, March 12, 2007
Ahhhh, India! So many cruise passengers are revolted by the sights and
smells of India, but I relish every visit to the 'subcontinent'. Of all
places on this lightning paced world cruise to have an overnight, we got
Cochin, but we made the most of it. Kathy and I took the Catholic Priest,
Tom, with us and rented a taxi for four hours for the outrageous sum of $15!
We did all the 'highlights' of Cochin, which sound good on paper, but are a
bit underwhelming when visited. St Francis Cathedral is the oldest Christian
church in the entire British Commonwealth, but the Santa Cruz church was
more ornate. The Chinese fishing nets are interesting. Nets are hung on huge
wooden frames and lowered into the water from the shore. I think the
fishermen make more money charging a dollar for a photo than they do from
selling their fish. The Dutch Palace is historic, but takes about five
minutes to see the whole thing.
What we liked were the little shops and alleyways and all the wonderful
treasures of India available at cheap prices. The area around the old
Synagogue is known as Jew Town (really) and the shops there were lots of
fun. Many of the merchants were actually from Kashmir, in Northern India, a
wonderful area I visited in 1989. So while Kathy and Tom looked at the
wares, I visited with many of the shopkeepers. They of course really enjoy
talking with someone who knows and appreciates their homeland. In the
evening we went to a fancy hotel and had haircuts and head massages. That
was a real treat.
In the morning we got another taxi and headed into the modern city, only
to find everything closed due to a national strike. Their loss. We headed
back to Old Cochin and spent the rest of our time in the shops. Kathy and
Tom bought rugs and silks and souvenirs. I settled for a few spices and some
Masala Tea. Most western tourists can't get past the poverty and filth and
the chaos, but if you learn to take India for what it is it can be a rich
experience. I call it functioning chaos! In some countries they drive on the
right, in some on the left, but in India it's optional!
Next came my favorite port on the cruise and one of my favorite cities in
the world, Dubai! What an amazing place. The United Arab Emirates is only a
little over 30 years old and the rulers are former Bedouin Chiefs! However,
someone had great insight and Dubai has become one of the most incredible
modern cities in the world. Stunningly diverse architecture graces Dubai
Creek, as well as a newer area to the south, which stands in stark contrast
to the ancient markets and shops right out of Arabian Nights, where business
is still conducted as it has been for centuries. Oil money has been used to
build the best of everything. Welcome to indoor snow skiing! Enjoy a huge
water park with outdoor air conditioning! Shop in a mall with a full scale
model of London Bridge in the atrium! Soon to open is the world's largest
theme park, Dubai Land! Dubai will soon boast the world's tallest building,
the Burj Dubai. It is already 111 stories, headed for probably about 180
stories! And if any country dare think they can build a higher skyscraper,
Burj Dubai is designed to allow additional stories! The new airport should
open later this year and dwarf London Heathrow! The shore of the Arabian
Gulf is not the limit of expansion. Three gigantic artificial palm trees
(actually manmade islands) extend several miles out into the water with
commercial and residential developments along the trunk and the palm
'fronds'. Each frond is about a mile long and each 'tree' contains hundreds
of multi-million dollar homes! And of course, the Burj al Arab is the
world's only seven-star hotel!
We had an event in Dubai for our Virtuoso full world cruise guests and
started with the Dubai Museum, which looks like a little Arab village, until
you go underground and realize the extent of the exhibits. Excellent. One of
the highlights of Dubai is the Gold Souk, which extends into the Spice
Market. It is overwhelming to see row upon row of shops full of gold and
jewelry. I prefer the little souvenir shops nearby and the delightful aromas
emanating from little stalls of the Spice Market. Piles and bins of
frankincense, sandalwood, dates, fruit, cinnamon, vanilla, and untold other
delights tantalize the senses in that area.
The grand finale of our tour was lunch at the spectacular Burj al Arab
Hotel. It is a beautiful, tall building shaped like a spinnaker sail,
constructed on a manmade island just offshore. The lobby contains an
enormous cascading fountain with water jets playing all kinds of patterns.
The walls are huge aquariums full of exotic fish. At the top of the cascade
is a separate fountain that shoots a geyser high into the air. The inside of
the hotel is open and you can look straight up nearly to the top. We had a
private room for our lunch on the top floor, where we had great views out
over the Palms, the nearby Water Park, the lovely Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and
the expansive Dubai skyline. Lunch wasn't bad either! Definitely a
We had to be back on the ship by 4:00 pm, but even our short visit was
enough for Dubai to work its magic and make most passengers want to come
back for a longer stay. But for now we are heading for the Suez Canal and
the Mediterranean ports beyond. On we go.
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Chapter 6, March 23, 2007
We missed a port of call, we watched an erupting volcano, and we saw the
Pope! Rod certainly joined for an exciting segment. After five days at sea
out of Dubai we spent a calm day transiting the Suez Canal. We were the
first of 30 ships in the northbound procession. The Sinai side is mostly
desert, but the west side is irrigated, boasting towns, resorts, monuments,
date palms and mangos. Other than that, one sees a lot of sand along the
Early the next morning we arrived at Alexandria, Egypt for the big day to
Cairo and the pyramids. Rod had been given an escort position for a Cunard
tour and he was excited about seeing the pyramids. Unfortunately, due to
high winds, the port was closed and we could not enter the harbor. There
were a lot of upset people when we finally had to give up and set sail.
We sailed directly to Athens and arrived Sunday noon, giving us an
overnight and an extra half day there. Rod, Father Tom, and I spent the
afternoon in the Plaka district of Athens, enjoying perfect weather for
shopping and photography. Monday was our final Virtuoso tour and we treated
our guests to a driving tour of the city and a walking tour of the
Acropolis. Lunch was at the rooftop restaurant of the Grande Bretagne Hotel
right across the square from the Parliament and offering stunning views of
the Acropolis and Parthenon. A fitting finale! After getting our guests back
to the ship Rod and I jumped on the train and headed back into the city,
where we walked and shopped on our own and then had a Greek dinner of Gyros
and Ouzo in an outdoor cafe in the Plaka. After dark we got some good night
photos of Athens.
We had only one day at sea before Rome (just too many ports on this
cruise!) but had a real treat in the evening. During dinner we sailed
through the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily and shortly after we
sailed close to the Stromboli Volcano which was emitting a large, red stream
of lava from the top of the cone, down the side, into the sea. That was
Wild winds and high seas plagued us overnight and we had to wonder if we
would be able to get into Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. However, things
calmed by morning and Rod and I took the train into the Eternal City. We
decided to get off at the Vatican station and start our touring there. There
was a large crowd gathering and we were told the Pope was expected in about
ten minutes. Sure enough, he appeared in his Popemobile, riding around
through the crowd and greeting the masses, before ascending the stage to
speak. We got photos for proof and then set out to explore Rome on foot.
Tuesday had been horrid weather in Rome, as an enormous storm system
pummeled nearly all of Europe, but we were lucky and the rain held off for
our day in Rome.
Rome really is a fantastic city, albeit a nightmare for anything beyond
foot traffic. Streets were definitely not designed for cars, so they just
make much of the center area pedestrian only. Much better. Just about every
corner and alleyway offers a not-to-be-missed photo. There are so many
ancient cathedrals and Roman ruins. I still can't figure out why the Romans
built so many ruins! We visited countless squares (piazzas) and churches, as
well as the Coliseum, Forum, Victory Monument, Pantheon, Parliament, Supreme
Court, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Of course the area around the
Vatican was most impressive as well, and we ended up back there for a visit
inside St Peter's Cathedral and then a few night photos of the nicely
lighted buildings and columns of the Vatican. And to think that before my
first visit to Rome I didn't really have a desire to see it. Now it's one of
my favorite cities to wander. Finally, now we get three days at sea to relax
and enjoy the ship a little bit! Bay of Biscayne, here we come!
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Chapter 7, March 31, 2007
Wow! An "Around the World in 80 Days" world cruise sure goes a lot faster
than a normal one of roughly three and a half months. We are enjoying our
last sea days on our transatlantic from Southampton to Ft Lauderdale where
we arrive Monday, April 2. Time has flown.
After our great day in Rome we had three days at sea through the Med and
out into the Atlantic. Early Friday morning the ship cruised slowly past
Gibraltar with the famous Rock towering up on our right side. I was with
French speaking guests and I made the comment that it was interesting to be
going west through the Straits of Gibraltar and we had Britain on our right
and Spain on our left (think about that for a minute). A man overheard me
and in his best (poor) French attempted to enlighten us that no, Spain was
on our right and Africa was on our right. I repeated my statement but he
knew better, so I told him to go look it up in an atlas. I caught several
people with that piece of trivia actually. Across the water from Gibraltar
(which is still part of Britain) is the little Spanish enclave of Ceuta. on
the African side of the Straits!
Sunday we were in Le Havre, France on a chilly day. Rod, Father Tom and I
spent the morning walking around the city. It's early spring and daffodils
were blooming abundantly. The most impressive building was St Joseph's
Cathedral with its soaring, open tower, lined with stained glass from top to
bottom. We walked along the beach and through town, and as someone
commented, "A cemetery is more lively than Le Havre on Sunday morning." In
the afternoon we went over to the quaint town of Honfleur and there could
not have been a starker contrast. Whereas Le Havre is industrial, big and
characterless, Honfleur is a historic port village with charming houses,
thriving shops and boutiques, and countless coffee shops and restaurants.
and they were open! We didn't do any shopping but we did avail ourselves of
a friendly little coffee shop for a warm-up before going back to the QM2.
Monday was the last day of the world cruise for most of the European
guests, as they disembarked in Southampton, England. Rod had never been to
England so he spent the day in London, but I was 'ported out' after so much
activity in ports on the Mediterranean segment. I did go into Southampton
briefly, but generally spent a relaxing day on the ship.
As I look back over our wonderful world cruise adventure, certainly
highlights like the Chilean Fjords, San Francisco, Sydney, and Dubai come to
mind, but in reality, one goes on the Queen Mary 2 for the Queen Mary 2.
This ship is the destination. So many people come aboard wondering what they
will do on the sea days, only to find there are not enough hours in a day!
My main activity, besides my Virtuoso duties, is bridge, but there is truly
something for everyone on this city at sea. I still marvel at having a
Queens Grill suite. One does get spoiled, having a butler to attend to all
the details. We joke that when we get up in the night to go to the bathroom,
we come back to find our bed made! Dining in the Queens Grill is sensational
and we often comment how lucky we are not to have to pay the bill after an
elegant dinner of caviar, escargot, lobster, filet mignon, etc.! A couple in
our group from Hong Kong treated his new friends to wine before leaving the
ship in Southampton. Not just any wine - Chateau Petrus 1989, which comes to
over $3,000 a bottle with the service charge! He bought nine bottles and Rod
and I each enjoyed a $500 glass of red wine with our dinner that night!
Yes, it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. If this does end up
being my last world cruise, it will certainly be a fitting exclamation point
to eighteen years of illustrious cruising.
Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed the Chronicles from QM2!
Check out the photos of the trip at
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2007 World Cruise Photos