The QE departed Southampton on 28th August 2012 and we caught up with it in Civitavecchia for a 12-day voyage to Athens. We flew to Rome on a BA Cunard charter from London’s Heathrow. There was a long queue at check-in but it moved fairly quickly. Whilst in the queue I couldn’t help noticing that one or two people had two suitcases and there were quite a lot of heavy-looking cases. All the Cunard paperwork had indicated one suitcase per person to a maximum weight of 23Kg. I had weighed ours using the bathroom scales to ensure we were within this weight limit. I thought this could be interesting! When we got to the check-in desk I noticed a stack of ‘Heavy’ labels. I asked the question about overweight luggage and was told we don’t care on these charters. She told me that if my case had been 28 or 30Kg it would have gone through. I’m not sure I should risk it next time!
The BA flight left a few minutes late but we had a long walk at Rome airport and a 30-minute wait for the luggage. We then boarded the Cunard coaches for the 75-minute drive to Civitavecchia. We arrived at the ship and did the emergency drill. It had seemed a long day and many would have missed 1st sitting Dinner. Some came into Britannia Club.
The next day we were in Naples and went on a trip to Sorrento. It was hot but uneventful. The following day was at sea and the next was to be at Mykonos but a 50 knot wind precluded the launching of the tenders at this anchor port. Ruby Princess could not tender either. We sailed on to arrive that evening (rather than the next morning) in Kusadasi when the other cruise liners had left. This gave us an extended stay in Kusadasi. We had been to Ephesus on a previous occasion so this time we wandered along the sea front and through the shopping streets behind. This port has much improved over the years and we had an enjoyable time. It was very hot.
In Civitavecchia some 1600 disembarked leaving 300 hundred on board. Another 1600 embarked. An Australian couple told us that there had been a marked lowering of standards in the type of people boarding in Civitavecchia compared with those who got off. The new in-take didn’t observe the dress code etc, etc. They put it down to heavy discounting. Later an American couple made the same observation and said there had been huge discounting in the USA which extended to the price of the trips. This is a new one on me. I wasn’t aware of anything like this in the UK.
When booking a cabin I ensure, according to the plan, there are no adjacent cabins with interconnecting doors or cabins with extra beds. It didn’t work. On the first evening a young child next door seemed to be jumping on and off the bed all evening creating much noise which started again at 0630 the next morning. I thought we were going to be in trouble but the noise abated thereon.
In Britannia Club there was a long table for 17 people travelling together. This resulted in us being a bit isolated and on our own. They did not mix. When they were not there the dining room was a bit like a morgue for us and when they were there, in the words (not mine) of a waiter it was like ‘china town’. They were actually Filipinos but as the passenger manifest showed only two on board so I can only assume they are residents of the UK or similar.
The Filipino ladies dressed beautifully in colourful garments but the men didn’t take so much care. Some took no notice of the dress code, one being dressed at semi-formal nights in an anorak and no tie. Heaven forbid! They were not told about it even though there was a large notice at the entrance to Britannia Club describing the dress requirements each evening.
Unfortunately some of the ambience of Britannia Club was lost when you felt you were unwelcome guests at an Asian conference. They also occupied 9 cabins around us. They held noisy meetings in the corridor and on the sea day they had the interconnecting balcony doors between two cabins opened so they could drag all the furniture on to one balcony. The men seemed to be playing some game with much loudness, laughter, shouting, snorting and grunting. A quiet time on our balcony reading in the sun was destroyed. Let’s hope they don’t do it again.
More to come.........
To Enjoy: QM-2, QV (2), and QE.