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Ab Ovo

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About Ab Ovo

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    NYC 10014/Eastern Long Island 11937
  • Interests
    Theatre, architecture, music, the sea.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    North Atlantic Ocean transatlantic crossings
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/pic77/wcc/index.htm (Of back in the day, the QE2 Winter Crossing Club.)

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  1. Ab Ovo

    How to properly eat a scone?

    By way of Magdalene, the 1428 one, not the 1458 one, I "learned my way …. take scone, pull'twist apart/break in half, giving me a top and bottom … I take bottom first, apply jam, top with cream, bite …. small bite, possibly three per half. Then, do same with top. NEVER make it a "sandwich"! My "Cornish" method works for me! While I know many Devonians, some quite worth their salt, I just cannot see splattering jam over clotted cream, dirtying plates and fingers. Tea goes into cup first. Then milk. For that, I'll fight to the death! Pinky up, out, hidden? Depends upon the company. And the roof overhead. In The Queens Room I'd go full stop, just because so many do, so join the fun! In the Queen's room, so in awe of The Presence, one could only sit like a lump, no matter it is said she likes cream first, then jam. No matter, anywhere, on sea, ashore, in town or in the country, try not to drop the cup.
  2. Ab Ovo

    Five day to Canada

    The 4th of July cruise load is hardly is a crossing crowd. Nor even the leisurely cruise crowd. Being one of the hardly-ever NY to NY short voyages, leaving NY and back within days, easy to get on and off, there's a big attraction for the partying young and the NY local bridge and tunnel crowd. Being the 4th of July, the mood is very celebratory, if not "let's rock." "A Party Cruise." Cunard does its best with what it has to work with, get 'em on, get 'em off. but … for those unwilling to pay Grill prices on long voyages, it is a good time to go Grill. And for locals just liking Cunard, it's a quick 'n easy way to get on for a few days. I've done five, before giving up. The clincher was not too long ago, locked doors into the Queens Room for Tea caused quite a crowd, which literally ran into the room. Through the one open door. RAN! I went through a door to the side, got to a preferred table by a rail fronting a portside window. As waiters were serving, across on the level down one man actually stood up and banged on a plate with a spoon to get a waiter to come to his table, and come NOW! Too, usually there is only one black-tie evening. Bummer for those wanting a more formal ship experience. To "sample" the ship, or see it again, there can be better ways. On the other hand it it's a case of being on or not at all, well go on the 4th and just put up with the atmosphere you get.
  3. Ab Ovo

    1st time on Cunard line

    Have you done this booking through some package by a tour company? They've got you on a Cunard voyage and before that put you in a London hotel or a few days? I ask because a 100% cancelation fee of $800AU to change hotels seems inordinate. Just dead wrong! Is this company telling you that is their charge to go into a computer and alter a booking? That isn't the Cunard way, and it certainly can't be the way of the Ascot Hyde Park, at best a very budget hotel. I know the area, the street, have walked by the hotel many times, never gave it a thought, it being little more than a doorway. It looks like any of the very modestly-priced tourist hotels in Paddington. The Paddington area is very busy, quite safe, "international." Just about every doorway that isn't a cafe or small shop is a hotel. None of them are the Dorchester. Paddington is not elegant. You ask is the hotel reasonable and clean? Well it certainly is reasonable enough, and several notches above a backpacker hotel, probably thin towels on the beds, a sample-size bar of soap, all very simple. The hotel is just a small half-block down from Paddington Station … which fronts on Praed Street, good subway connections there, and down to the right becomes Craven Road. Walk down nearby Glouchester Terrace or Craven Terrace to the Bayswater Road, Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens, the buses, the great-fun Swan pub, the Lancaster Gate tube stop. If you're a walker Marble Arch and the Oxford Street shops are just a bit east. I've always liked the area .... fly into Heathrow from America, take the Paddington Express train 21 minutes to Paddington Station, enjoy walking down the street a few blocks to a family hotel (closed now doing renovations for four months and already one month behind) I've stayed in close to 30 years ... I'm home! Paddington is simple, like Greenwich Village in New York. Always active 24/7. It's very central to London, easy to get anywhere else. I've found that Internet forums attract the crazies on hotel posts, the shower was at a bad angle, the television was too small, too big, too loud, too quiet, the carpet had a hole in it. If your booking agency has any experience I'd imagine they've booked the hotel before without complaint. It is a modest one. Maybe they didn't know. If you arrive and find it too modest, leave .. the area is filled with hotels. A Best Western is nearby, the Corus is on the park at Lancaster Gate. Many hotels around at all price points. You'll have no trouble in the area. Nearby Craven Road/Craven Terrace corner has a chemist, hardware store, flowers shop, Nisi …shops to make your hotel room more personal if need be. It won't be the best small room you've ever stayed in perhaps, but I'd not worry.
  4. Love staying in Bayswater! Always do, have for years. Almost any hotel will arrange a car for you … be it to the Southampton docks or local to Waterloo or Victoria Coach Station. From Craven Terrace I've used Smiths and South Coast Chauffeurs in the past, finally stopped and have only used the Cunard Connection. A Cunard coach from Victoria Coach Station, just a hop across the park from Bayswater. A dedicated gate (usually One) with a Cunard attendant takes your bags and you next see them in your cabin. The ride is not expensive, is a quick two hours down, you're on ship before 2 pm. It can be fun, all passengers ready to sail, and Cunard knows you're coming. Transport is your call, so check prices for what suits you best for services provided. It's exiting even now thinking of the coach ride out of Victoria, going by Harrods windows, over the Thames, glimpsing the Battersea Power Station, all the open fields along the way, entering Southampton, pulling into the terminal. It's such an easy, convenient ride. For fun before leaving Bayswater, pop into The Mitre on Craven Terrace and The Swan on the Bayswater Road, both near Lancaster Gate.
  5. Ab Ovo

    Princess Grill on Queen Elizabeth

    Yes, go in to dine when you wish. As well, I've had a favorite deuce booked, but on some sunny mornings have asked to "eat over there by the window to watch the sea" and staff have been very accommodating.
  6. Cunard prides itself that any of the three Queens is a good introduction to the Cunard style. So, you''ve no worries on QE. No matter brochure copy, Cunard only runs one true "ocean liner," the bigger Queen Mary 2. She has a stronger build/hull, has more steel for strength, closer to 40% more than a stock Vista-build cruise ship, has a longer tapered bow to cut through rough ocean waves, has a deeper draft. She can plow through any weather and keep on schedule. A liner, built for speed. The Victoria and Elizabeth are more cruise ships that can cross an ocean but are more designed for holidays than transport. Their design has less call for strong steel in the hull, a reduced draft allows docking in more ports, the bow is shorter and wider, both have a more flat bottom. Liners easily cross oceans, cruise ships cross as well but prefer calm seas. The V. & E. are fine for World Cruise segments. On a Word Cruise segment in January/February you'll not find it overrun with children, the load will be grown-ups able to afford almost a month on sea. Lots of friendly, relaxing, types on board. In my 17 years of cruisecritic.com posts and more years of World Cruise segments on the last four Cunard Queens, dress code questions seem to be the most prevalent. It's all spell out in the brochures, but still people have questions. Remember, you're on a journey, the ship is a destination for many, as are ports to be seen. Dress on sea days is casual . For many, they turn themselves out smartly. It's not a load of people dressing as if they are making a quick run to Tesco hoping no one will see them. After 6pm the dress code is throughout the ship. Tuxedo/Black Tie or dark suit, women in gowns, on formal nights. Informal nights a suit and tie, cocktail dresses, are the norm. The dress for the night is posted in the daily bulletin. And as said, is for throughout the ship. Lately Cunard has seemingly been trying to attract a larger load by allowing men in dinning rooms on informal nights without a necktie, if wearing a jacket. For the hyper-casual any night, in the Lido buffet anything goes. But really, the dress code is a guideline, nothing to worry about. Foodwise, no doubt you'll be friendly with your waiter, and if two entrees look good to you he'll be pleased to see you get two, if not three! Same with deserts! Ship entertainment, the singing and dancing, is worth checking out; if to your taste, you'll be pleased. Same with the films. Often such take hard knocks on these forums, but it's all in good fun. Daily fitness? Well I'm very good at watching such activity, so cannot say. All four of the gym/fittness centers have been well-fitted out. Too, there are daily classes. I think you and DW will find your days well-filled.
  7. Ab Ovo

    R.I.P. "stowaway2k"

    Time passes, life happens, R.I.P. "stowaway2k" once an avid poster here. Of all the "QE2 People" Kyle Johnstone was a stalwart Cunarder and one of the founders of the fun group that became known as the Winter Crossing Club, a group of the likeminded that kept running into one another on early 2000 winter crossings and took it to the next level with online announcements, meetings, web pages and pins. His love for Cunard was strong, his knowledge ran deep. Beyond cruisecritic, Kyle's posts and videos as Leo Farnsworth were popular on Facebook QE2 & Cunard appreciation pages, sharing his knowledge of the secrets, nooks and crannies of ships. For the past few years Kyle was teaching English in Shanghai. Suddenly he fell silent in June. Word has been received he'd passed away in June, just slept away. He was a good friend to many here … Godspeed, my friend, we all wish you fair winds and following seas.
  8. Ab Ovo

    New Cunard Ship coming in 2022

    Of course, it's all speculation until actual plans are laid down …. no need to comment on a computer-generated image. As for names, I would like to see a 4th Cunard Queen ship … names? I can think of ELEVEN good ones …. Start with Boudica ? Berengaria? Anne, first monarch of a united Great Britain? A pre-conquest queen? Bertha? Eadgifu ? Matilda? Because of the play I like Eleanor (of Aquitaine)! Philippa? Caroline? The nine-day Lady Jane Grey? Alexandra?
  9. Ab Ovo

    Manhatten or Redhook

    Heartily agree with post #2! Have a holiday in Manhattan! Your hotel can easily get you a taxi or car service to the ship. Get there by Noon-1pm, you'll be boarded and can lunch on ship!
  10. Ab Ovo

    Cunard playing silly buggers with CONFIRMED dining

    It's all subjective, yes, but I never feel a few people rightfully or wrongfully complaining about seating at the maître d' desk in Britannia dinning, with almost 246 tables for almost 1,250 guests, would mean the system or the entire room is in disarray.
  11. Ab Ovo

    Cunard notice: half a day to clear US Immigration?

    For me, "when we arrive in a US port for the first time during a voyage following a non-US port" answers the question. Soton-Bermuda-NYC.
  12. Ab Ovo

    Any way to access a past Cunard roll call?

    Nice to read of a happy ending Here's another one and why ... one to-the-QE2 trip I flew into Heathrow. Almost immediately at the baggage carousel out came my hard-case red Samsonite. I took it. Waiting for the express train to Paddington I thought my case looked it had a hard trip. Then checked the number, uh oh, I'd taken the wrong bag! Raced to a Help center, calls were made, an officer got me back through security to the carousel. My lone red bag stood unclaimed. When the lady knew the red bag wasn't her red bag, Carousel security had opened mine, saw my info, called the hotel to tell me I'd taken the wrong bag. Luckily, the first thing I put in my case, and the last thing on top, I packed an 8x10 sheet of yellow paper, THIS BAG BELONGS TO with my name, London hotel address and telephone number, my e-mail address, stateside addresses and Cunard World Club number, with ship name, sailing date, cabin number and their phone contact. Every trip since I do that sheet, for a strong sense of security. If someone picks up my bag by mistake, it is easy to find where the owner is, is going, to make a return.
  13. Ab Ovo

    Men's evening attire: inspiration

    A black suit and somber necktie at a funeral is de rigueur; any other occasion a black suit and colorful regimental striped necktie is smart: https://www.mycollectors.co.uk/content/ties/ties-Military-Regimental.aspx
  14. Ab Ovo

    Men's evening attire: inspiration

    Hi CambsCruiser82 … you asked, here's my take … Over many years I've refined my Cunard dress to black tie/tuxedo for all formal nights; to me their informal nights only mean not black tie, so I like to wear a suit at dinner, usually blue or gray, sometimes in pin-stripes. These less-than nights stressed lately, the jacket and no tie thing, well, not for me. What are we, a bunch of farmers at a hoedown? However … I'm big on the look of a navy-blue blazer, medium gray trousers, crisp white shirt, traditional English-rep silk ties. Regimental stripes for color, loafers rather than lace-up shoes. Same look but perhaps a bit toward more casual, is a navy blazer worn with khakis, a blue/white striped shirt. If you do that, keep shirt stripes thin and tight, so it will take a broader striped tie, or use a navy/white polka-dot tie, the dots small. That's it for my case for evening wear, one tux, one suit, one blazer, several white shirts, neckties. If you pack more, blazer-wise, I like blazers in color, camel, red, maroon, dark green. Depending how you look in colors, they look good with oxford-cloth button-down shirts and neckties, keeping color of shirts, striped or not, but always collared shirts, and color of ties in agreement. Bow ties are fun here. For all formal nights I like the traditional black silk cummerbund sets, but don't mind a bit of color, cummerbund & tie, maybe a pocket square, in colors or patterns. One favorite is simple solid dark maroon, another is ivory ground with musical treble clef motif in black, one if navy with embroidered Boxer dogs; for summer and/or warm waters, a madras plaid is fun. Remember, cummerbunds are worn with the pleats facing upward. Huh, straying from my one tux, one blazer, one trouser packing, a seersucker suit or jacket always works well in summer and warm waters. Other cooler months, if you look good in brown, so many men forget it as a color, a good Harris Tweed brown herringbone is sensational, patch pockets, 1/4" welted seams. If you only pack one item, on formal nights you've a suit, on informal nights a jacket. And remember men, and you women who control them, let's have none of this "look" of white dress shirt worn w/o tie and shirt-tails hanging out, under a jacket. For me, s.s. France and Solent Richard here have ship dress down pat! "Fair winds and following seas" to all!
  15. Ab Ovo

    Oh no, another dress code question!

    Heard on morning television re a pair of khakis: "a durable and personal pant."