Jump to content
Whitemarsh

Live from the RCOA - on QM2

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,

 

It's the 15th of February 2012; aka the first sea day of the Royal Circumnavigation of Australia (RCOA). It's been a long time coming and over a year since Cunard announced this segment of the world voyage (March 2010) and released it for sale (July 2010). If, like me, you've ever booked a cruise nearly two years out then you'll know what it's like to wait….and wait….and wait.

 

Happily embarkation day arrived and suddenly you find yourself still waiting but this time it's in hours - not days. Our e-tickets informed us to be at wharf 5 at Darling Harbour at 1pm for the processing and embarkation, so naturally we decided to arrive at midday.:) Because QM2 is too big to berth at the overseas passenger terminal at Circular Quay she berths at the naval base at nearby Garden Island in Sydney Harbour. Because it is a naval base they apparently are not allowed to do the immigration processing at Garden Island so that's why passengers embarking and disembarking at Sydney are required to go to Darling Harbour.

 

Wharf 5 is not a permeant structure and looks rather like a big white tent. After dropping our bags off outside we made our way into the tent where hundreds of others had also decided to ignore the embarkation time on their e-ticket and turn up early. Everyone was seated in rows of chairs in the middle of the tent and alongside a far wall were the rope barriers and the desks where they check your passport. We were handed the form that asks if you've been recently sick or have x symptoms and filled it out at the tables alongside the tent wall. At around 12:30 a lady brought a big Cunard sign up to the rope barriers and announced something without using a loud hailer. We couldn't hear what she said but that didn't matter as like it or not we were swept towards the rope barriers by the crowd. Upon getting closer we could hear that she was calling for Diamond & Platinum guests only. Everyone else had to sit down. Knowing that Grills passengers also get priority embarkation we let her know we were in the Grills and she let us through. They divided the rope barriers and had Grills, Diamond & Platinum guests going down one side and everyone else down the other. The Grills, Diamond & Platinum queue was processed first and they roped off the Britannia queue. As a side note, we always travel economy when flying so it's nice to have priority boarding.

 

The lady at the desk checked our passports and gave us a black boarding card that had the number 1 on it. We returned to our seats to fill out the immigration card. Soon after they called for everyone that had a red "preferred" embarkation card and those passengers started to make their way through to immigration in a closed-off section of the tent. We realised we'd been given the wrong embarkation card and so we explained the situation to the lady at the door and she let us through. Immigration processed us quickly and smoothly and we walked out of the tent along the dock to a boat moored alongside. We got on and put our carryon luggage on the seats and went out back to take photos. Pleasingly Cunard didn't try to squeeze as many people as possible into the boats and once they had a set number on board we set off. The boat ride from Darling Harbour around to Garden Island takes you under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, passed Circular Quay (where P&O's Pacific Dawn was berthed), past the Sydney Opera House and around Mrs Macquarie's Chair to Garden Island where the ship is docked. I have to say, it's a fantastic way to board the ship. The photo opportunities are amazing and the size of the ship itself is awe inspiring when you come alongside.

 

Our little boat pulled up alongside the ship and everyone quickly disembarked and made their way up the gangway into QM2. Our passports were again checked and we were directed through the Britannia Restaurant to the Queens Room where Britannia and Grills passengers were separated and directed to their relevant desk to have their photo taken and credit card swiped. The lady who processed us advised that the computer system they used to process passengers had changed since she'd done this last year. We were given our swipe cards and made our way to our room.

 

So, after much discussion on these boards, let me add to the general consensus that the new design looks fantastic. The carpet, sheets, curtains and the fabric covering the sofa and chairs are all new and the whole colour scheme works really well. The carpet looks great and goes really well with the new white sheets (which I might add are wonderfully soft). Our luggage hadn't arrived (which isn't surprising as our boat, with passengers only, was the first to leave Darling Harbour) so we went down to the Princess Grill to have lunch. I was very pleased with the table allocation - the maitre dé confirmed he had received my email requesting this particular table. I smiled and said "don't you mean emails?". He smiled and laughed and agreed "yes emails". :o

 

We were the first into the Princess Grill for lunch and the new carpet looks very nice. Our wine sommelier remembered us from our previous voyage and we said that we had really liked his wine suggestions last voyage and so were happy to go with his suggestions this time as well. We advised we would like a sweet white wine and again his recommendation was spot on. I also appreciate that he pointed out his suggestion on the wine list prior to getting the wine. I like that they take the care to ensure that you're happy with the price of the suggested wine (without actually mentioning the cost), it's a consideration that is much appreciated. Lunch was delicious (I had the Red Emperor fish) and a glass of our new wine. No one else turned up for lunch so we went back to our room to see if our bags had arrived.

 

They hadn't, but we got to meet our steward who was very polite and friendly. I asked for some fruit and water bottles, plus extra hangers, which were all delivered promptly. We decided to have a go at the Pol Acker and, whilst drinkable, it's probably not something you'd actually order yourself. But who cares - we're on QM2 for 22 nights and quite frankly the taste of the complimentary bottle of champagne is neither here nor there. We unpacked what we could (from the hand luggage) and went out on the balcony to take some photos of the city. Talk about million dollar views. As we are on the starboard side we have ringside seats of the city of Sydney, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge - wow! There were some small crowds across the water taking photos and viewing the ship. Car's were continually driving past and slowing down to have a look.

 

Our bags arrived and we unpacked. It takes quite a while to unpack three bags. We've used up all the space in the walk-in wardrobe and the cupboards hear the door. Happily there is enough room for everything. Feeling energetic we went for a run. After our run we took our lifejackets down to assembly station F for our life-boat drill. We were one of the first to arrive so got some good seats for people watching. As they are on a 48 hour hygiene alert there is no self-service in Kings Court so nice lady made us some coffee and orange juice. That's another thing about Cunard, the staff are always so friendly and polite. There's another thread on here asking if there are any changes to the emergency drills onboard. The only change I noticed is the attention paid to it by the passengers. When the "boing boing boing" sounded (as it does before announcements) everyone went silent - you could have heard a pin drop. Strangely there was no announcement and so after a while people started to talk again.

 

After the drill we went to the Commodore Club for a drink. The new chairs in the Commodore Club are very swish and look very nice. We also checked out the observation deck on deck 11 and peeked into the Atlantic room where the full World Cruise guests have a special lounge. Then we went down to the Britannia Restaurant to check out the Britannia Club restaurant - very nice I thought; much nicer than the little room on the other side of the restaurant which I previously thought was the Britannia Club.

 

As tonight's dress-code is elegant casual I put on some shorts and a hoodie.:eek: Just kidding. We went down to the Princess Grill at about 18:35 and were pleased to see another passenger at our table. She is an Australian lady travelling alone. Like us she booked back in July 2010 and we discussed the what other cruise lines we'd all been on and our dogs. It was a very pleasant conversation. Just after our starters we were joined by another passenger who is also an Australian lady travelling alone. She was very nice and we all stayed chatting until about quite late until at around 21:30 (the other lady having left early to join the dancing in the Queens Room). I very much enjoyed dinner, I had a salmon terrine for starter, followed by veal medallions and two deserts - the brûlée and the trio of sorbets. Absolutely delicious all of it. The meat was cooked perfectly and the service in the Princess Grill was fantastic.

 

As seems to be usual on embarkation nights, the ship was pretty quiet. G32 was a ghost town and the Queens Room not even a quarter full. There was a sail away party out on deck 8 and Vibz had set themselves up behind the pool. There was a bit of dancing going on but suddenly the heavens opened and the everyone scurried for shelter. We made our way down to the Chart room and had some tea and decided to call it a night. Presuming the sail away to be at midnight I stayed up but as the ship hadn't moved by twenty minutes to one I went to bed.

 

Well it's now 10:52 on the 15th Feb and I'm heading down to the shops to buy something for the sake of it, and to check out the supply of Cunard bears for Pushka.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a comprehensive, happy posting. Great fun to read about one of our favorite ships and hear your thoughts on the new décor and how everyone behaved during the muster drill. Hope you will continue this report as often as possible. Enjoy!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great reading with so much detail - many thanks for taking time out to do this.

 

Look forward to seeing you when we board in Fremantle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How exciting for you finally to be on your cruise. I don't know how you stood the long wait from booking to the cruise...I would have gone crazy! Thank you for reporting in on all that you have seen and done...sounds wonderful!! I look forward to reading more as you go. Will you be posting pictures too? I see you are from Brisbane...have you been to the other ports in Australia prior to this? We are in Melbourne and wish we could have done this cruise, but we are now booked for QM2 next Feb. Have fun!

 

Barbara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Captain Rynd is currently doing his midday announcement. He's advised that the delay in leaving Sydney was due to issues with refuelling. So that's that mystery solved.

 

We are currently south-east of Port Macquarie with east to south-east winds of 15-20 kts. The ship is doing 17.1 kts, which doesn't feel very fast. There is still a bit of wind out on deck though.

 

Captain Rynd also reassured the passengers that even though one of the tenders was removed from the ship for repairs, there are still more than enough lifeboats for everyone onboard and all relevant authorities were notified and have given their approval. This is all fine with me, I didn't even realise one of them was gone.

 

I will try to post pictures but the upload time seems to be too long. I haven't been anywhere but Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane so this itinerary is wonderful.

 

Carol, there are heaps of Cunard bears in stock. The shops were packed just then, they are handing out free champagne over the Royal Jewellery store, and the new layout of the cosmetic & fragrance store is a big improvement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the excellent descriptions thus far Whitemarsh. We are boarding in Sydney on the next leg so it's great to get a picture of what it will be like.

 

Are the RCOA passengers getting off in Sydney on Wedensday 7 or Thursday 8 March? It's a 2-day visit and I know we board on the Wednesday, but I'm not sure if the previous passengers get to stay on board for the extra day in Sydney.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[quote name=AussieVoyager;32436314

 

Are the RCOA passengers getting off in Sydney on Wedensday 7 or Thursday 8 March? It's a 2-day visit and I know we board on the Wednesday' date=' but I'm not sure if the previous passengers get to stay on board for the extra day in Sydney.[/quote]

 

We're doing the Fremantle/Sydney sector starting 28th Feb and disembark on the 7th.

Edited by Westaussie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're doing the Fremantle/Sydney sector starting 28th Feb and disembark on the 7th.

 

Thanks for that. Interesting that you have to disembark on the first day of a 2-day visit - when we disembark in Hong Kong (which is also a 2-day visit) we get off on the second day so we get a night on the ship in Hong Kong Harbour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers for the update Whitemarsh! Im so happy for you that your time has finally come! enjoy every second of it! and keep the updates coming as we are all awaiting your stories! :)

 

ps im so glad you guys alerted them to their mistake of not giving you priority boarding, just goes to show if you dont know your stuff you can easily miss out on such things! i even perhaps would have just thought that we still had to wait... good work!

 

steve :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for that. Interesting that you have to disembark on the first day of a 2-day visit - when we disembark in Hong Kong (which is also a 2-day visit) we get off on the second day so we get a night on the ship in Hong Kong Harbour.

And when you arrive I'll be in Hong Kong waiting to board Azamara Quest - should have stayed on QM2 and just transferred from one to the other!

Edited by Westaussie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope to one day cruise on this magnificant ship - thank you for keeping the excitement going!! Have an amazing time. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a fantastic read, I will be awaiting each new instalment with bated breath. Extremely well written and entertaining - the best blog ever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So it's now the early hours of the 16th Feb after the very first sea day of the RCOA. It's been a fantastic day at sea with hardly a wave at all. The ship has felt like it's been gliding serenely through a mill pond. On the port side the east coast of Australia is visible and on the starboard side the shipping lanes are dotted with tankers. Having our suite on the starboard side is a real plus as we get the morning sun which is very invigorating; the port side can be a little dark in the morning so I'm glad our suite is where it is.

 

So lets rewind to the morning and I will restate here and now that there is nothing on earth like waking up in the morning, opening the bedroom curtain and then hopping back into bed to watch the sea go by. The beauty of being on deck ten is that your bed is positioned perfectly, the orange hi-vis tops of the lifeboats aren't visible from your bed so they don't impact the view. If you're thinking of booking a Queens Grill suite my advice would be to book one of the ones on deck ten, your view will be better than deck 9.

 

We went down to the Princess Grill for breakfast at 8am and were the first to arrive. Breakfast in the grills is a wonderful thing. Firstly, you are warmly greeted by the staff as you make your way through the restaurant. When you arrive at your table your chair is pulled out for you and your napkin is unfurled and placed across your lap. Your waiter enquires if you slept well and offers you the menu. You order your juice, which arrives promptly, followed by the danish tray. Now I don't normally have danish for breakfast but the offerings look too good to refuse and so I succumb, and if you succumb like I did you'll be glad you did as they are delicious. If you order tea you will have your own pot accompanied by a timer so you know exactly when your tea is ready. On the table there are little silver plates with decorative butter pats, and the cutest little jars of strawberry jam and marmalade.

 

Thoughts of ordering All-Bran go out the window as the lure of the full english breakfast is too hard to resist. When it arrives the eggs are perfectly hot and cooked just as you ordered. The danish tray comes round again but this time you decline. Whilst you're eating you watch the joggers and walkers go past on deck 7. If you're seated in the best part of the Princess Grill you have a view down to Kings Court and you can also watch the hustle & bustle of breakfast as the passengers carry their trays this way and that. As I said at the start, breakfast in the Princess Grill is a wonderful thing. :)

 

Having had breakfast we went for a walk around deck 7. The starboard side was sunny and the port side dark. We managed two laps and then called it a day. We went up to the library on deck 8 as Robin wanted to borrow a book and I wanted to loan the Cruise Critic book for us to sign. The lady behind the desk advised that she couldn't locate it but she'd left a message with someone on the Queen Elizabeth to let her know where it was. I gather the QM2 librarian must have recently transferred. Oh well, maybe it will turn up. On a positive note there is a exhibition in the library of the diaries of Matthew Flinders who mapped the coasts of Australia hundreds of years ago. I marvelled at his wonderful handwriting - it was like copperplate - I wish my handwriting was as good as his.

 

After the library we went back to our suite and found that our steward had cleaned it and it looked very nice. It is such a luxury having someone else do the 'housework' for you, no having to make the bed or clean the shower. Robin took a nap and I logged onto the internet. When Robin woke up he went down to the shops which had opened at 10am. When he returned he told me that he'd met our table-mates Louise & Jane who'd been shopping as well. As indeed had half the ship as it was apparently really really busy down there. I decided to go and buy something so we went down to purchase some non-essential items. Chanel's Antaeus & paco rabanne's 1 million were the winning items.

 

It's a good thing that lunch was upon us as it's very tiring sleeping and shopping. For lunch we both had the chicken and leek terrine, sweet pepper coulis with chervil oil followed by the spinach ravioli with smoked salmon and dill creme fraiche. Both were delicious, the ravioli especially so. And seeing how we'd thrown restraint out the window we both opted for the sugar-free raspberry jelly for desert. Louise ordered the fresh black mussels a la creme with steak fries and garlic crostini - and it looked really nice. She said it was delicious. Lunch was very enjoyable, the wine assisted with the congenial atmosphere.

 

There are four of us at this table for six. Robin and I, Louise (D) and Jane. So far we've got a really good vibe going between us, it's very enjoyable. The remaining two people have so far been no-shows. Today our mystery table mates were discussed in absentia. I said I would ask the maitre d if there was anyone actually allocated to those seats. Louise replied that she had already done so and there are apparently two people onboard who have yet to put in an appearance at our table. The group discussion centred around theories on whether they would actually turn up - if at all - and where they had been eating so far. I supposed that if they did not turn up tonight (a formal night) then perhaps they may not turn up at all.

 

So far we've polished off a bottle of white wine and have ordered another. I had a nice glass of an Australian red but will go French tonight for a change. Our waiters provided us with a copy of tonight's menu and point out the al a cart options that are available in addition to the normal menu. There are some wonderful dishes on offer and some need to be requested now, prior to dinner. Robin and I go for the duck a l'orange and the ladies both choose the dover sole.

 

After lunch Robin and I went up to the Commodore Club for the Cruise Critic M&G for the RCOA. All up around 25 people turned up and it was great fun to finally put a face to a name for people that I've chatted with for so long. It's all going swimmingly and I'm standing there talking away when this lady approaches me and introduces herself as Mrs Rynd the Commodore's wife. Cunard had sent invitations to the Commodore & Mrs Rynd to attend the M&G so it was great that she had come along. She was very nice and passed along the Commodore's regrets that he wouldn't be able to make it. She then went around and introduced herself to everyone. About 15 minutes later, as I was chatting away, I looked up and walking towards me was Commodore Rynd. He introduced himself and I think I said something along the lines of "it's great that you could make it" and he introduced himself to everyone. I think it's really good that the Commodore and Mrs Rynd do this sort of thing. It does make it special for those of us attending these meetings.

 

At 15:00 Louise, Robin and I headed down to the Queens Grill lounge for afternoon tea. Strangely it wasn't set up and the Queens Grill lounge was a bit empty. It turns out that afternoon tea in the Queens Grill lounge is at three thirty so we sat and chatted until then. When the time came we were offered tea or coffee. I didn't particularly want the tea on offer so we requested Earl Grey and they went off to make us a pot. The cucumber sandwiches and little fruit tarts were divine. And I should know - I had three. Robin had a scone with jam and clotted cream. You could get very full having afternoon tea in the QG lounge as the staff are very attentive and continually circulate offering the cakes and sandwiches etc. BTW - I know there's been some discussion on these boards about the cream served for afternoon tea and whether it's clotted cream or not. Well the cream in the Queens Grill lounge is of the clotted variety.

 

After afternoon tea we went to the gym for a workout. The gym is located forward on deck 7 and it really is a well equipped gym. Luckily the seas are still smooth and it's quite easy to run on the treadmills. The gym isn't full and there is no waiting for any of the equipment or weights. We finish our workout and after showering back in the suite we head to the Commodore Club for the FOD meeting. There's quite a big turnout and it's nice to meet the guys.

 

As we made plans to have pre-dinner drinks with a couple from the M&G in the Queens Grill lounge we head back to the suite to get changed for dinner. Tonight is a formal night so I'm very pleased. I'm happy to say that I did manage to find a u-shaped waistcoat which I think looks very smart and much more forgiving than a cumerbund or no waist covering at all.

 

After some cocktails in the Queens Grill lounge (which I should say has been very much improved by the recent refit. The new carpet, chairs and artwork on the walls has really made all the difference as it was a little bland before and now it's much cosier) we went into dinner at 7pm (having agreed with Louise and Jane that that's what time we would meet for dinner). We arrived first followed by Jane and Louise, both of whom looked very elegant in their evening dresses. If there is one word that sums up this evenings dinner in the Princess Grill it's 'diamonds'. Diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds. Everywhere I look my eyes are drawn to the bling.

 

Being a formal night the Princess Grill is busy. The service is again exquisite, as is the food. Robin and I order two starters - I have a salmon tartare with caviar followed by a soufflé. Louise and Jane show more restraint and stick to having just the one starter. The french wine I order is very nice and the table is really starting to gel. Out of the blue the maitre d arrives with our mystery table mates, they are Linda and Peter who turn out to be a lovely couple with a great sense of humour (and some great matching diamonds to go with) who instantly gel with the rest of us. It turns out that they were too tired to eat last night so that's why we haven't seen them. They promise to come to lunch and dinner from now on.

 

Speaking of dinner, ours arrives. When I see the duck a la ronge that Robin and I are to share I regret having the two starters as the duck is a whole duck. It's presented to us by the waiter and then taken over to the nearby trolley for table-side flambéing and preparation. It's wonderful to see the waiters in action, they are very skilled and watching your dinner being prepared adds to the evenings enjoyment. Our duck is then brought back to us in sections and placed on our pates. A selection of vegetables is brought over for us to select and finally the sauce - amazing, what fun. Louise and Janes' dover sole is prepared the same way, presented and then deboned table-side and then presented along with a selection of vegetables to choose from. Dinner was a great success and you're reminded why you chose Cunard in the first place and how could anyone possible want to dine onboard a ship in any other fashion.

 

During dinner I was surprised to see Commodore and Mrs Rynd arrive for dinner. They had a table for two in our section of the Princess Grill. I thought the captain always ate in Britannia, but I think it's good that he does eat elsewhere on the ship as Queens & Princess Grill passengers don't really seem to get the chance to dine with the captain as it's mainly Britannia guests from what I hear.

 

We leave the table at around 9:30 leaving Louise to chat with the new couple. A quick turn around the deck is followed by some pictures taken on the stairs of the grand lobby by the photographers. We run into passengers we've run into before (it's a big ship but it's amazing how you do run into the same people over and over again) and chat a bit more with them. They are very nice and are Australian, as seem to be most of the people onboard at the moment. Strangely we're informed by the couple that there are people onboard (not them) who are doing Sydney to Brisbane as a two day itinerary. That seems very short and I wasn't even aware it was on offer.

 

On deck 3L we look for our photos from embarkation. They aren't printed and placed on boards to find anymore, you have to swipe your room key card and make your selection from the photos electronically on these machines they have. I like this change as you no longer need to spend time searching for your photos.

 

Moving into the Queens Room the Black & White Ball is in full swing and it's wonderful to see everyone dressed up and dancing. There is a lady in a stunning white floor length gown which is very beautiful. We also see lots of other lovely dresses and pretty much everyone looks great (except for this one guy that we saw in the corridor, back near the lifts, walking around in chinos - there is always one :rolleyes:).

 

As we don't know how to ballroom dance we went into G32 to await the DJ. Vibz was still playing so we sat and had a drink and waited for them to finish. Tonight was billed as disco night but the dj was playing songs from the 50's. He announced on the microphone that anyone with a request should come and make it so I went down and requested a song. He said he would play it but he had to get through the decades first. After waiting for the 50's and 60's to finish I got up and danced to the 70's & 80's. The dance floor was busy and it was fun dancing. The hour finished and Vibz came back on. I didn't get my song played so I went over to talk to the dj about it. Apparently he thought it was more appropriate for the 12:30 set, which I don't plan to wait around for, so we'll see what happens tomorrow night.

 

We stop by the Queens room to watch the dancing and start talking with one of the ladies from the G32 dance floor. She's on the full world cruise and having the time of her life. Feeling slight jealous, but very happy for her, we retire to our suite. Next stop…. Bris-Vegas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done whitemarsh ...... I'm with you all the way ! ....And we can always count on you for 'attention to detail'.

 

 

Bell Boy:)

'We are Cunard 2'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone. :)

 

We have arrived in Brisbane for QM2's maiden call and done a complete 360 to turn into the dock. It is really is a grain dock and we are not that far down the mouth of the Brisbane river. Unfortunately the ship is now docking alongside her starboard side so we have a view of the dock as opposed to the river bank opposite.

 

There were small crowds alongside the river bank and there are a few choppers overhead. Brisbane has turned on the nice weather which wasn't a guarantee what with all the rain recently.

Edited by Whitemarsh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another lovely, detailed missive - only trouble is - I'm putting on weight just reading about your sumptuous meals!

Edited by Westaussie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Another lovely, detailed missive - only trouble is - I'm putting on weight just reading about your sumptuous meals!

 

I should have weighed myself the first day to see how much I put on by the time I disembark. This morning's breakfast was eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and a side of American bacon (purely for health reasons - I don't like bacon at all ;)).

 

Again the service in the Princess Grill is wonderful. I honestly don't know how they do it.

 

Thanks for the wonderful posting. I look forward to the next one.

 

The following is a link to a webcam of Queen Mary 2 in Brisbane. Unfortunately where it is, there is not a lot of good pics...

 

http://www.portbris.com.au/TradeLogistics/TruckCams/AAT

 

Yeah it's pretty uninspiring. On a positive note the flag at the stern is flying as we're in port. It's visible from the restaurant and I for one am very pleased it's still the red ensign.

 

They are really reiterating the quarantine restrictions on what you cannot take ashore with you; Australia being an island and everything.

Edited by Whitemarsh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What wonderful, detailed reviews. Thank you. It sounds as though the World Cruise is something to do, and must be quite different from a Transatlantic. Have a terrific time! It sounds great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those of you interested in safety onboard, the Commodore has just announced to passengers that they are running a safety drill based on the scenario of the ship striking a rock, or similar, which has damaged the ship's hull.

 

The Commodore announced that all passengers would be required to go to their staterooms and wait to be called to their emergency stations. I thought 'oh bugger' (as we're down by the pool in our swimmers) but happily he went on to say that as it's a drill no action is required by passengers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Whitemarsh...

 

I am thoroughly enjoying reading your reports from onboard... Sounds absolutely amazing!!! You are quite a writer, something I think we may both have in common...

 

I am a tad confused... If I may clarify something... In your Youtube video, which one are you? I thought I had worked it out, but I think I may have you the wrong way round! :D

 

I can't wait to read the next instalment!

 

Warm Regards, and Safe Sailing!

 

T5

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Peter, another fabulous read. A question, what is the difference between US and British bacon. This is really important to me.:p

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you Peter, another fabulous read. A question, what is the difference between US and British bacon. This is really important to me.:p

 

US bacon is really crispy whilst British bacon is not. Personally I like a nice halfway point between the two.

 

BTW - during the drill they had all the staff (I think it was the housekeeping staff only) lined up in rows on deck 6 and 7. It was quite a sight to see.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They have set up for a media conference on deck 8 and Ann Sherry the boss of Carnival Australia is here. We're going to stay and hear what she has to say.

 

Update: I went up and had my photo taken with Ann Sherry. She was very nice and asked what port we got on at. I told her we're doing the Sydney to Sydney sector.

Edited by Whitemarsh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ann Sherry was doing the same in Melbourne when I was aboard QE last year for its maiden voyage. I did get to speak with her but no photo.

 

Enjoy, :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi guys

 

Was that you two in the courier mail Peter and Robin? How nice you 2 look with your cocktails and so relaxed...

 

I gotta book another cruise (for after the next)...:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi guys

 

Was that you two in the courier mail Peter and Robin? How nice you 2 look with your cocktails and so relaxed...

 

I gotta book another cruise (for after the next)...:D

 

Whitemarsh I had a feeling it was you and your partner in the you tube clips I always watch and this has now confirmed to me it is! I love your you tube videos they are so good! Cheers for them I have watched them

Many times leading up to this upcoming trip!

Hope you two are having a ball!

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

white marsh has filmed some areas of QM2 in action eg PG dining room, QG lounge... they are very good to see how it is just day to day with people using the various places etc.. love it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought it was these two cheekie chappies... But I think I may have the wrong people on Youtube! :eek:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be so nice to do another video with all the new furnishings etc. You have answered some of my questions with regards to the Grills resturant. Thanks and more would be nice....:D:D:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't awake when QM2 began her entry into the Brisbane river but I was once she started sounding the horn. There were a couple of choppers, boats and a couple of hundred onlookers to welcome the ship to Brisbane. After doing a 360 degree turn the QM2 docked at the Brisbane grain terminal in Pinkenba. Brisbane does have a cruise ship berth but it's further up the river at Hamilton; unfortunately it can't handle ships the size of Queen Mary 2.

 

The Princess Grill restaurant was open for breakfast at 7:30am this morning due to people needing to leave for shore excursions etc. For some reason more people chose to have breakfast in the PG restaurant then there normally is. Today's breakfast was a fruit compote followed by eggs benedict with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce, as well as some bacon. Once again the eggs were cooked perfectly and arrived hot. The hollandaise sauce was very nice.

 

After breakfast we went for a walk around deck 7. The grain terminal is also near the container wharf and the docks were full of imported cars. We're not going ashore today for obvious reasons.

 

As the sun was out and the temperature warm we decided to go down and have a swim in the pool on deck 8. The pool was empty and refreshing cold. After doing a couple of laps we tried to get the spas working but we think something was wrong with them as the button on the side of the tub had no effect whatsoever. Swim and spa over, we went and laid on the deck chairs and read magazines. I went and ordered a couple of cocktails from the bar and the day was looking pretty good so far. A friend rang so I spent a bit of time waving my hat from atop the pool structure on deck 8 in the vain attempt to get them to see me from across the river - I don't think they did.

 

At this point the Commodore came over the loudspeaker and announced they were doing a drill, the scenario was going to be the ship hitting rocks (or some other kind of submerged hazard) and then running aground. There were alarms and the Commodore kept updating everyone on how the disaster was evolving over the loudspeaker. Then the housekeeping staff came through the doors on deck 8 and in single file walking towards the steps leading down to the deck 7. They did this on both sides of the pool. There was certainly a lot of staff and when we looked over the railing they were all lined up in about 8 single files. I was later told at lunch that they launched some of the lifeboats and sailed them around the river a bit. Additionally, I am informed that there were a lot of people with the official looking jackets with 'Australian Maritime Safety something' written on them. This drill was pretty extensive.

 

Around 11:00 or so we noticed the bar tenders setting up a refreshments tab on deck 8. We ask what's going on and are advised there is going to be a press conference. Sure enough, in walks Ann Sherry head of Carnival Australia. I tell Robin who she is and we decide to go and say hi and get a photo. Ann is very nice and agrees to take a photo. She asks where we got on and we tell her we're doing the Sydney to Sydney sector. Eventually the Commodore arrives and the press conference begins. They are a bit too far away to hear exactly what is being said but Ann goes first followed by the Commodore. They both seem to be seasoned professionals in dealing with the press, they'd have to be in their jobs. We see lots of what we presume to be travel agents wandering around. They all seem pretty impressed with the ship.

 

Press conference over we go back to the stateroom to change for lunch. It's just the four of us as our mystery (well not anymore) table companions don't turn up. Jane, who was also down on deck 8, enjoyed the press conference as well and Louise informs us of the boat drill on the port side which we missed due to being sticky-beaks. Lunch was okay, I made a poor decision to order herring. I don't know why, it's not as though I like it. In any case the meal and the conversation was enjoyable and afterwards we went for a walk around deck 7.

 

Having discussed during lunch the offerings of the Canyon Ranch, we go down to book a package. The one we've chosen is the Spaclub Adventure. It's $382 and is supposedly valued at $658. For this you receive a Canyon Ranch Massage, Deep Cleansing Facial, Organic Body Exfoliation, Essential Manicure and Essential Pedicure. Plus a five day Aquatherapy Centre passport. As they are have daily specials we also book a Sole Rejuvenation which turns out to be very relaxing. The masseur takes the time to also instruct me on the correct process for using the spas - as in which steam rooms come first and what the ice is for - I appreciated this as I wasn't told last time.

 

Afternoon tea is a delight as always, the Queens Grill lounge does seem to be getting full for afternoon tea so maybe some of the first time Grill guests are catching on.

 

Tonight's dress code is elegant casual and after watching the sail away festivities from the Grill deck we make our way to the Princess Grill for our seven pm agreed dining time. Tonight the only thing on the normal menu that interests me is the Bananas Foster in filo. I decide to order that for dessert and am having the tartare for a starter and the venison from the a la carte menu as a main. The venison is delicious. Jane ordered the lamb and she won tonight's prize of ordering the dish with the most table-side preparation and silver-service of the vegetables. The lamb looks really good and I'm going to have that tomorrow night.

 

Jane left early to go and see tonight's comedian David DiMuzio who has apparently performed in over 73 countries and is advertised as cirque du soleil meets Bon Jovi. We make Jane promise to come back and tell us if he's no good. Dinner was again very enjoyable tonight. I really enjoy the company of Louise and Jane; they are great fun.

 

Louise agrees to meet us outside the Royal Court Theatre to see the 10:45pm show of David DiMuzio. In the interim we check out the Queens Room - a pretty good crowd but not a lot of atmosphere and then G32 in which we find Vibz playing to an empty dance floor with four people in the room. Seems like port days are going to be slow nights. Not happy Jan. :(

 

Returning to the Royal Court Theatre we watch the show which is good in parts but we were expecting a comedian. We should have paid more attention to the daily programme which lists David as a comedy and variety act, which explains the juggling etc. We leave early and call it a night. But not before checking out the carpet on deck 2 where there once were holes (apparently) but are none now.

 

As I write this (at midnight) the alarms have just started to ring. There was no warning of a drill and they keep going. I go to the stateroom door and the look up and down the corridor as others also peer their heads around the corner. A lady a couple of suites down asks "what's that?"…. "I don't know" I reply. A crew member appears from the crew quarters and looks visibly worried as he looks up and down the corridor. I think shivers, something is actually happening. Then the Commodore comes over the loudspeaker and apologises for what is a false alarm caused by a computer error. He turns off the loudspeaker and the alarms start up again. They keep going for about a minute and then the loudspeaker comes on again. This time we can hear the officers and crew talking in the bridge, people are phoning them and it sounds like they are unsure of what it is.

 

The Commodore again apologises and the loudspeaker is kept on - presumably to stop the alarm from ringing again. They start to talk softly as they must be aware that the whole ship is listening. It's quite surreal listening to what is happening in the bridge, we cannot see what they are doing but we can hear phones ring and muffled conversations. They turn the loudspeaker off but the alarm starts again so the loudspeaker is turned back on. At this point we've reached about 8 minutes of this. At 12:20am they bring do a broadcast in French and then German. Afterwards the loudspeaker is still on and stays on until 12:46am.

 

So what was going to be an uneventful day in Brisbane turned out to be quite interesting. And our sole's were rejuvenated as well. :)

Edited by Whitemarsh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wasn't awake when QM2 began her entry into the Brisbane river but I was once she started sounding the horn. There were a couple of choppers, boats and a couple of hundred onlookers to welcome the ship to Brisbane. After doing a 360 degree turn the QM2 docked at the Brisbane grain terminal in Pinkenba. Brisbane does have a cruise ship berth but it's further up the river at Hamilton; unfortunately it can't handle ships the size of Queen Mary 2.

 

The Princess Grill restaurant was open for breakfast at 7:30am this morning due to people needing to leave for shore excursions etc. For some reason more people chose to have breakfast in the PG restaurant then there normally is. Today's breakfast was a fruit compote followed by eggs benedict with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce, as well as some bacon. Once again the eggs were cooked perfectly and arrived hot. The hollandaise sauce was very nice.

 

After breakfast we went for a walk around deck 7. The grain terminal is also near the container wharf and the docks were full of imported cars. We're not going ashore today for obvious reasons.

 

As the sun was out and the temperature warm we decided to go down and have a swim in the pool on deck 8. The pool was empty and refreshing cold. After doing a couple of laps we tried to get the spas working but we think something was wrong with them as the button on the side of the tub had no effect whatsoever. Swim and spa over, we went and laid on the deck chairs and read magazines. I went and ordered a couple of cocktails from the bar and the day was looking pretty good so far. A friend rang so I spent a bit of time waving my hat from atop the pool structure on deck 8 in the vain attempt to get them to see me from across the river - I don't think they did.

 

At this point the Commodore came over the loudspeaker and announced they were doing a drill, the scenario was going to be the ship hitting rocks (or some other kind of submerged hazard) and then running aground. There were alarms and the Commodore kept updating everyone on how the disaster was evolving over the loudspeaker. Then the housekeeping staff came through the doors on deck 8 and in single file walking towards the steps leading down to the deck 7. They did this on both sides of the pool. There was certainly a lot of staff and when we looked over the railing they were all lined up in about 8 single files. I was later told at lunch that they launched some of the lifeboats and sailed them around the river a bit. Additionally, I am informed that there were a lot of people with the official looking jackets with 'Australian Maritime Safety something' written on them. This drill was pretty extensive.

 

Around 11:00 or so we noticed the bar tenders setting up a refreshments tab on deck 8. We ask what's going on and are advised there is going to be a press conference. Sure enough, in walks Ann Sherry head of Carnival Australia. I tell Robin who she is and we decide to go and say hi and get a photo. Ann is very nice and agrees to take a photo. She asks where we got on and we tell her we're doing the Sydney to Sydney sector. Eventually the Commodore arrives and the press conference begins. They are a bit too far away to hear exactly what is being said but Ann goes first followed by the Commodore. They both seem to be seasoned professionals in dealing with the press, they'd have to be in their jobs. We see lots of what we presume to be travel agents wandering around. They all seem pretty impressed with the ship.

 

Press conference over we go back to the stateroom to change for lunch. It's just the four of us as our mystery (well not anymore) table companions don't turn up. Jane, who was also down on deck 8, enjoyed the press conference as well and Louise informs us of the boat drill on the port side which we missed due to being sticky-beaks. Lunch was okay, I made a poor decision to order herring. I don't know why, it's not as though I like it. In any case the meal and the conversation was enjoyable and afterwards we went for a walk around deck 7.

 

Having discussed during lunch the offerings of the Canyon Ranch, we go down to book a package. The one we've chosen is the Spaclub Adventure. It's $382 and is supposedly valued at $658. For this you receive a Canyon Ranch Massage, Deep Cleansing Facial, Organic Body Exfoliation, Essential Manicure and Essential Pedicure. Plus a five day Aquatherapy Centre passport. As they are have daily specials we also book a Sole Rejuvenation which turns out to be very relaxing. The masseur takes the time to also instruct me on the correct process for using the spas - as in which steam rooms come first and what the ice is for - I appreciated this as I wasn't told last time.

 

Afternoon tea is a delight as always, the Queens Grill lounge does seem to be getting full for afternoon tea so maybe some of the first time Grill guests are catching on.

 

Tonight's dress code is elegant casual and after watching the sail away festivities from the Grill deck we make our way to the Princess Grill for our seven pm agreed dining time. Tonight the only thing on the normal menu that interests me is the Bananas Foster in filo. I decide to order that for dessert and am having the tartare for a starter and the venison from the a la carte menu as a main. The venison is delicious. Jane ordered the lamb and she won tonight's prize of ordering the dish with the most table-side preparation and silver-service of the vegetables. The lamb looks really good and I'm going to have that tomorrow night.

 

Jane left early to go and see tonight's comedian David DiMuzio who has apparently performed in over 73 countries and is advertised as cirque du soleil meets Bon Jovi. We make Jane promise to come back and tell us if he's no good. Dinner was again very enjoyable tonight. I really enjoy the company of Louise and Jane; they are great fun.

 

Louise agrees to meet us outside the Royal Court Theatre to see the 10:45pm show of David DiMuzio. In the interim we check out the Queens Room - a pretty good crowd but not a lot of atmosphere and then G32 in which we find Vibz playing to an empty dance floor with four people in the room. Seems like port days are going to be slow nights. Not happy Jan. :(

 

Returning to the Royal Court Theatre we watch the show which is good in parts but we were expecting a comedian. We should have paid more attention to the daily programme which lists David as a comedy and variety act, which explains the juggling etc. We leave early and call it a night. But not before checking out the carpet on deck 2 where there once were holes (apparently) but are none now.

 

As I write this (at midnight) the alarms have just started to ring. There was no warning of a drill and they keep going. I go to the stateroom door and the look up and down the corridor as others also peer their heads around the corner. A lady a couple of suites down asks "what's that?"…. "I don't know" I reply. A crew member appears from the crew quarters and looks visibly worried as he looks up and down the corridor. I think shivers, something is actually happening. Then the Commodore comes over the loudspeaker and apologises for what is a false alarm caused by a computer error. He turns off the loudspeaker and the alarms start up again. They keep going for about a minute and then the loudspeaker comes on again. This time we can hear the officers and crew talking in the bridge, people are phoning them and it sounds like they are unsure of what it is.

 

The Commodore again apologises and the loudspeaker is kept on - presumably to stop the alarm from ringing again. They start to talk softly as they must be aware that the whole ship is listening. It's quite surreal listening to what is happening in the bridge, we cannot see what they are doing but we can hear phones ring and muffled conversations. They turn the loudspeaker off but the alarm starts again so the loudspeaker is turned back on. At this point we've reached about 8 minutes of this. At 12:20am they bring do a broadcast in French and then German. Afterwards the loudspeaker is still on and stays on until 12:46am.

 

So what was going to be an uneventful day in Brisbane turned out to be quite interesting. And our sole's were rejuvenated as well. :)

 

 

Those computers again, another "error". That must be unnerving. Keep us posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those alarms going off during the night must have worried quite a few people with visions of Concordia. Pre that disaster I'm sure many would have written it off as just the glitch it turned out to be.

 

Sounds like you had a good day on board which we plan to do in either Adelaide or Melbourne.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think lots of us will miss the Melbourne stop. Although I did read there was an excellent seafood restaurant near by. I have to get off in Melbourne just so I can board again.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We awoke this morning around 9:30 am. Still feeling slightly full from the previous evening we didn't bother to have breakfast and so ordered so tea & coffee from room service to have out on the balcony. According to the tv the sea conditions are slight (0.5 - 1.25 metres) and being out on the balcony we don't need the tv to tell us that it's hot. Hot, hot, hot. The sea is a wonderful blue and the sun is shining. It's too hot to stay out on the balcony so we retreat indoors to have our coffee & tea there.

 

Robin & I both have treatments booked this morning so we head off to the Canyon Ranch Spa. As my treatment isn't for another hour I decide to give the spa pool area a go. I follow the instructions from yesterday and spend about 10 minutes in the herbal sauna followed by a rubdown with handfuls of ice. The ice part is a bit hardcore. As you stand there rubbing yourself with cold ice the thought does cross your mind "why I doing this?" :). Then it's off to the swedish sauna where a helpful lady advises I don't need to spend two minutes on each step, I can simply use the hourglass timer on the wall. After the timer is up we move on to the steam sauna which has a lovely eucalyptus smell. It's not as hot as you'd imagine so I stay longer than planned. There are two ladies in there as well and the conversation is about the alarms last night. It's funny now but for the first couple of minutes is seems everyone was jumping out of bed and putting on clothes or grabbing their lifejackets. It's good the Commodore did his announcement to reassure everyone. Listening to the bridge via the emergency loudspeaker was very amusing and everyone seems to have enjoyed that.

 

I leave the steam room and enter the pool to lie on the metal rails whilst the jets do their thing . It's very relaxing, I understand why regulars visit the spa everyday. I get out and dry myself off and head to the waiting room which is on the starboard side of the ship. The advantage of this room is the recliner chairs which overlook the promenade deck on the starboard side. You can have a good time just lying there relaxing and people watching. Soon enough it's time for my Organic Body Exfoliation. Firstly you are rubbed down with an exfoliant which feels a little like soft sandpaper - sort of. Then hot towels are applied. They do this to your whole body and you feel very 'scrubbed'. After this you get in a modern looking bathtub which is filled with scented water and the bubbles are turned on whilst you simply lay back and enjoy the dim lighting and the scented aroma. It really is very relaxing. Afterwards there is a relaxing massage. I'm told by the masseur that I have very good skin and that I must take very good care of it. I don't really (apart from not generally going out in the sun) and when I say that, the reply is that it must be genetics. :D How's that for a nice compliment.

 

Feeling very good I head back to the suite to meet with Robin and head down to lunch. The Commodore's midday announcement comes on. He again apologises for last night's false alarm. We are advised that we are just passing Gladstone and are about an hour away from entering the tropics (Brisbane and it's surroundings been sub-tropical). It certainly does feel tropical outside so I have no reason to disbelieve him. We are also told that we are doing 15 knots. I can also well believe that, as the ship is feeling very 'sedate'. It's so different to a transatlantic. It's nice though, feels appropriate for a cruise.

 

We arrive a little early and the Princess Grill isn't open yet so we head out for a walk on deck seven. We're called over by Sue & Andrew from the RCOA roll-call. They're out sunbathing and are having a very good time with some midday drinks. That's the way to enjoy the cruise. We were doing the same thing yesterday. We talk about the alarms last night and it's very funny to hear how everyone reacted to the alarms.

 

Leaving them to enjoy the sunshine we head indoors for lunch. The ex-mystery guests don't turn up and we are the first to arrive followed closely by Jane and then Louise. It's so relaxing have lunch, such a lovely feeling. The service is, as always, excellent. Today I had 'Game Pate en Croute with stone fruit chutney' followed by 'roasted fresh giant Queensland Groper fillet'. Robin orders the 'Avocado and baby shrimps in a filo basket with chipotle sauce'. Our waiter must have seen the look of envy on my face when he saw me look at Robin's starter and so he enquired if I would like one too. He knows me too well; I say yes and my pate is followed by the avocado and baby shrimps, which is delicious.

 

Conversation at lunch is about the alarms and the difficulty with the internet wi-fi. Jane was very pleased to finally have confirmed she had logged out correctly and didn't waste 16 hours of internet time whilst sleeping. Louise made a comment about the food in the Princess & Queens Grill being exactly the same. So there you go campers - that's a tip for you. Book the Princess Grill as opposed to Queens Grill - use the difference to have a fabulous time onboard with extra drinks or spa treatments, or put it towards your next cruise. You heard it here first. :)

 

As I write, it's 2:36 pm on the 17th Feb. The distance sailed from Sydney has been 889 nautical miles with around 213 to go until we get to the Whitsundays. The ship is currently just north of Gladstone.

 

Tonight is a formal night and also the Grills cocktail party. We received our invitation to meet the Commodore and his officers in the Queens Room at 6:30pm. If we would like to meet the Commodore we enter via the photo gallery and if we would like to meet his officers then we enter via the Clarendon art gallery. Jane was saying at lunch that the captain and officers on Silverseas won't shake hands at these events - something about germs etc - which seems to be overkill. Chalk one up for Cunard in this department.

 

We have also received an invitation to an evening with the 'Adagio String Quartet', exclusively for Grill room guests in the Queens Grill lounge at 9:30. Cunard has a way of making even invitations sound elegant.

Edited by Whitemarsh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Victory Cruise Lines Sweepstakes - Enter now for a chance to win a free 9-night cruise on Victory II
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2018
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×