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PeaSea8ch

QM2 Nov 2013 RT Trans-Atlantic & Europe Travelogue

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After a safe, uneventful flight, I safely arrived at my pre-cruise hotel for 2 nights to power down and get ready for this wonderful 23-night RT crossing with two port calls each to Southampton and Hamburg and a stop at Oslo midway during the cruise. I booked this sailing over a year ago and I am really looking forward to it — always enjoy the tours from Southampton, I have never been to Hamburg so will have 2 chances to go exploring and I have not been to Oslo in 27 years so I am looking forward to see how it has changed.

 

Soon it will be time to leave New York City and make my way to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal Pier 12 and embark on the Queen Mary 2!!

 

More to come …

 

Today’s New York City Freeze Frames:

 

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Skyscrapers Everywhere 1 of 2

 

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Skyscrapers Everywhere 2 of 2

 

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Skyscrapers at Night 1 of 3

 

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Skyscrapers at Night 2 of 3

 

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Skyscrapers at Night 3 of 3

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I arrived at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal about five minutes prior to my scheduled check in time of 12 o'clock noon. Baggage handlers were available to handle luggage at the curb. I walked inside and immediately noticed that the terminal had been updated since my last Queen Mary 2 sailing in 2010.

 

I was immediately directed to the security area where there were five lanes X-raying passenger carry on items. After competing this step, I was then given the standard Norovirus questionnaire. I filled it out and gave it to the lady collecting the completed forms. I was then directed to the check-in area. Cunard had about 15 or so check-in stations manned and working. After presenting my each ticket, passport and credit card my mug shot was taken and within a few minutes I was handed my key card. I then embarked the Queen Mary 2 and was in my cabin by 12:15 PM. I was very happy the embarkation formalities were handled so efficiently!

 

I then unpacked and stowed away everything in my carry-on bags and was surprised that the suitcase that I had entrusted to the White Star Luggage fairy 10 days ago was not sitting on my bed. I walked down to the Purser's office and asked if the White Star Luggage shipments had been delivered and he replied that it had then asked me if I'd received my luggage and I told him no. He excused himself and went back in the office and after a minute or so came back and said yes we have your luggage and I will have someone deliver it to your cabin right away. While in the Grand Lobby, I did some exploring of the area and noticed the shopping areas had been revamped. By the time I walked back to my cabin my bag was waiting for me inside my cabin,

 

I then unpacked and got my cabin shipshape for the cruise. I'm always happy when this portion of the voyage is complete. I walked upstairs to the king's court and had lunch. I then started to explore the ship and was pleased to see that the carpet been changed and other things have been updated since my last visit I also want outside and did some deck walking to enjoy the view from the ship.

 

Then it was time for Capt. Kevin Oprey's muster and safety presentation. After demonstrating I could put all my life jacket myself, I was released from the muster drill. I returned to my cabin to stow my life jacket and grab my camera and went out on deck to wait until the sailaway celebration. Then, over the public address system the captain addressed the ship and stated that due to a late arriving flight from the UK containing 41 passengers, the sailaway would be delayed and he estimated the remaining 41 passengers would be on board around 6:30 PM for departure. Later, the captain announced at 7:30 PM that all passengers aboard the late arriving flight were now safely on board and that would be easing away from the birth shortly. While getting cleaned up for supper, I peeked out from my balcony and saw we were sailing past the Statue of Liberty at 8:05 PM. It was dark by then so no sailaway photos this time.

 

After passing under the Verrazano Bridge and safely disembarking the harbor pilot at Sandy Hook pilot station, Queen Mary 2 then altered her course due east and entered the traffic safety fairway leading away from the outer limits of the port of New York towards the grand Banks of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic.

 

Upon arrival at the Britannia Restaurant it sparkled with anticipation and just inside the door was a line of smiling waiters ready to take us to our tables. I enjoyed my embarkation dinner of Thai spring roll, rack of lamb and Bacardi Limon crème brûlée. After dinner I wondered about the ship for a while and then started to fade and decided to retire to my cabin for the evening. The instant my head touched the fluffy pillow and I pulled the comforter over me I knew I was back home and see and slept soundly the entire night.

 

Today’s Freeze Frames:

 

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Manhattan Skyline at Sea Level 1 of 2

 

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Manhattan Skyline at Sea Level 2 of 2

 

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New Jersey Skyline

 

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Sunset

 

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Lady Liberty Basks in Twilight

 

Oh those lazy, hazy & crazy crossing sea days! As Always, life aboard Queen Mary 2 is great.

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Whitemarsh and Keith 1010: Thank you for your kind words.

 

ToadofToadHall and Oahucruiser: You both were correct in that the Hilton owns the hotel where I stayed; however, it was the Waldorf:Astoria.

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The title of your post indicates a further European vacation after arrival in Southampton. What exciting places are you planning to see?

 

Great pictures...

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Thanks, Paul, for allowing us to sail with you. I hope you have a wonderful voyage!! Thanks for sharing your photos.

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The title of your post indicates a further European vacation after arrival in Southampton. What exciting places are you planning to see?

 

The cruise continues on to Hamburg then Oslo then Hamburg again and back to Southampton with a sea day between each port.

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The sea has been as flat as the kitchen floor with no wind or white caps only gentle swells with very mild rolling. Today was an easy day for me. I slept in and then strolled upstairs to the King's Court for breakfast. Next, I attended the lecture "Titanic revisited 1912-2012 the enduring story of RMS Titanic" by maritime historian and naval architect Dr. Stephen Payne who was the designer of QUEEN. Mary 2. I found his lecture very interesting and learned new things about the Titanic.

 

It was cool Monday but only requiring a sweater for walking around the deck under partly cloudy skies with periods of sunshine. Then went back to the king's court for lunch where I had a large salad. As I was leaving, I noticed the chocolate Sacher cake at the dessert station and took a small piece, went to the soft serve ice cream machine and dispensed some vanilla ice cream to complement this uber chocolate cake. After that chocolate overload, it was time for a nap.

 

I set my alarm clock so I wouldn't sleep too long. Then I went up to Deck 6 for 45 minutes of deck walking. Re-energized, I went to the lecture "Welfare Before The Welfare State " The 19th and 20th century origins of the Welfare State from the Poor Law to National Insurance up to 1939 in the UK by Prof. Derek Fraser, which I found to be very interesting. I capped off the afternoon with another 30 minutes of deck walking to atone for dessert selection indiscretions.

 

Time to get cleaned up for supper and the first formal night of the crossing. It was wonderful seeing all the ladies dressed to the nines, elegantly coiffed and the gentlemen looking their dapper best. I enjoyed my dinner of rack of lamb and pistachio ice cream. Then I was off to the Black and White Ball and listened to the band and enjoyed watching the passengers dance in the Queens Room. I then went to my cabin and read the newspaper and daily program for tomorrow and slept soundly the entire night.

 

Sea day 2: I slept in again today and passed on breakfast. It had rained lightly during the night or early morning hours. It is cooler today as jackets are required for deck walking and overcast. This morning I attended the lecture "The Age of Discovery (circa 1400 to 1600)" which discussed the time Europe, led by Portugal and Spain, embarked on an astonishing process of exploration and discovery. The Age of Discovery connected the continents, laid the foundations of Europe's global power and had no parallel until the beginning of space exploration in the 20th century and was presented by Historian Dr. Peter Durrans. I enjoyed this lecture as well.

 

I had lunch in the Restaurant which is much quieter than the buffet areas and more enjoyable. Then back up to Deck 6 and more deck walking to clear my head for the afternoon lecture. This lecture was “Famous Crimes Revisited: The O. J. Simpson and Assassination of President JFK". These high profile cases were analyzed primarily from a forensic science standpoint represented by mystery writer and forensic science lecturer Jerry Labriola. Very interesting. Just prior to my afternoon walk I had an oatmeal raisin cookie and a couple of hot chocolate. I intended to walk for an hour but was "rained out" after about 45 minutes.

 

I enjoyed my second formal my dinner of salad, salmon and vanilla soufflé. The featured entertainment in the Royal Court Theater was virtuoso Gypsy violinist Ralph Allin. He played classical, Gypsy, jazz and Broadway show music. He is an accomplished musician, the show was well attended and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Today’s Freeze Frames:

 

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Typical Sea Day Conditions 1

 

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Typical Sea Day Conditions 2

 

 

Oh those lazy, hazy & crazy crossing sea days! As Always, life aboard Queen Mary 2 is great.

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Eight bells and all is well on Queen Mary 2

 

I started with breakfast in the restaurant — more leisurely and quieter than the hustle & bustle of Kings Court. Attended 2 lectures today: 1) Creation of the UK welfare state in the1940's and Creation of Cunard's first great Queens: Queen Mary 1936 and Queen Elizabeth 1940. The after dinner show featured the Royal Cunard Singers in Concert in an hour performance that was really good. Comprised of contemporary songs, classic standards featuring songs by Stephen Sondheim, Neil Sedaka, Dusty Springfield and others.

 

Halloween: after the gluttony of the first 3 days, I decided that it would be best to dine in the restaurant or Chefs Galley (where made-to-order burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches are offered for lunch) for two meals daily with a few small snacks in between and avoid the temptation of the well-supplied Kings Court buffets. When presented with a buffet line I tend to exhibit the Mount Everest Syndrome and eat too much “because it is there.” In addition to metering my caloric intake, I have been walking the decks and only using the stairs to atone for dessert selection indiscretions.

 

After afternoon tea in the Queens Room (Darjeeling tea and 1 scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam), I attended a lecture on English Explorers: Sir Francis Drake pirate and explorer of the sixteenth century and Captain James Cook who redrew the map of the world in the eighteenth century which was very interesting.

 

A pre-dinner show by Soul Connection in the Royal Court Theater featured songs by Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keyes, Elton John, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin was very nice and I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed my dinner of tomato soup with chili oil, salad, penne pasta in parmesan sauce & paired with bacon and pumpkin cheese cake.

 

The sea continues to remain flat as the kitchen floor with sunny skies in the early morning and then alternating with partly cloudy & overcast with some showers. Right after he sun went down, the winds picked up enough to cause some gentle rolling and now, as I type this some mild pitching up and down rocking motion due to increased swell height.

 

Food, service and entertainment have been excellent and I am really enjoying myself.

 

Sea Day 3 Freeze Frames:

 

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Typical Sea Conditions

 

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Container Ship Presumably Headed to “The New World”

 

Oh those lazy, hazy & crazy crossing sea days! As Always, life aboard Queen Mary 2 is great.

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We are doing a similar QM2 voyage next year and would be interested in what tours Cunard offers in Southampton for passengers who are continuing on. Hoping they might have something other than Stonehenge and Salisbury where we have been a number of times. Love your posts and the wonderful photos!!

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Great travelogue Paul! I am so glad you are enjoying yourself! This brings back memories of the many, many times we crossed together....

 

Host Dan

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Thankyou for your travelogue. It sounds like you have some fantastic speakers onboard. Cunard haven't released the 2014 list yet but I am hoping for some quality ones.

 

I read somewhere that Stephen Payne was on the delayed flight so no wonder they waited. And lucky it wasn't a high tide.

 

I've heard the Chefs kitchen is good for healthy breakfasts but where exactly is it?

 

Looking forward to your updates.

Edited by Pushka

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The Chef's Kitchen is in a small area of the King's Court. Healthy shakes and other items for breakfast and made-to-order hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches at lunch time. If I remember correctly, it's on the starboard side near the Italian buffet area.

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The Chef's Kitchen is in a small area of the King's Court. Healthy shakes and other items for breakfast and made-to-order hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches at lunch time. If I remember correctly, it's on the starboard side near the Italian buffet area.

 

Thankyou Oahucruiser - I think it was your blog that I read it in, in 2012! :p

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We are doing a similar QM2 voyage next year and would be interested in what tours Cunard offers in Southampton for passengers who are continuing on. Hoping they might have something other than Stonehenge and Salisbury where we have been a number of times. Love your posts and the wonderful photos!!

 

The only other tour offered on both visits to Soton is the "Southampton Titanic Trail" a 3-hour walking tour. I have signed up for this tour and will provide a full report (and photos, weather permitting).

 

I am a little upset with Cunard about the lack of tour options. When I did my last QM2 RT crossing in 2010, there were about 6 different tour options for each port. This time there were only two for Sotoon. On Cunard's website there were at least four tour options for Hamburg but, upon arrival onboard QM2, there was only one tour offered, the Snapshot of Hamburg which I booked.

 

I know that the tours have a minimum participation level, in 2010 my tour to Windsor Castle was cancelled and I booked the tour to Bath which was lovely. Maybe it is too late in the season to offer more tours; I just think Cunard could do better in this area.

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Thank you, Paul, for your answer about the tours. I appreciate your letting us know. We have been to Soton a jillion times, arriving and departing on ships, and have done the Titanic Trail so we were really hoping for Windsor or somewhere we haven't been. Perhaps Cunard will offer more in the summer next year.

 

Aloha from Hawaii ~

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We are doing a similar QM2 voyage next year and would be interested in what tours Cunard offers in Southampton for passengers who are continuing on. Hoping they might have something other than Stonehenge and Salisbury where we have been a number of times. Love your posts and the wonderful photos!!

 

You can get the train from Southampton to Winchester and walk around the town and cathedral etc or Portsmouth Harbour and visit the Victory and other old ships.

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All is well on QM2. I was quite happy after hearing the noon navigational announcement and weather report that the winds were going to pick up and the seas would be rough. The winds did pick upend it got cold requiring my warm jacket with zippered liner and the ship is gently rolling from side to side.

 

I attended two lectures today. First: the Genesis of the Queen Mary 2, her design and construction. Second: The Welfare State: The first half-century and how it coped with the challenges of a rapidly changing Britain in the second half of the 20th Century. Both lectures were excellent. I got in about 45 minutes of deck walking.

 

It was formal tonight and I enjoyed my dinner of New England clam chowder, salad, sliced beef lion and raisin bread pudding with vanilla sauce. When I went to the Royal Court Theater for the after-dinner "Apassionata" performance, a popular show featuring the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers, I was told the show had been cancelled due to injuries sustained during the first seating performance. This was to be the last performance of the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers on their current contract. I hope any injuries are minor and not serious.

 

Overnight there was moderate vessel motion in the form of moderate rolling and mild pitching which pleased me as now it feels like I am on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Sea Day 6: The day began sunny and then transitioned to partly cloudy and overcast. It was cool requiring jackets outdoor activities and intermittent showers throughout the daylight hours. Vessel motion was milder than last night during the day but soon after sunset, the winds picked up and vessel motion was similar to last night.

 

I attended one lecture today, Dr. Labriola’s final lecture Famous Cases Revisited: The JonBenet Ramsey case and The Vincent Foster case where physical evidence was either ruined or ignored. His observations were very interesting. After a few laps around the deck it was time for lunch. Since I bypassed breakfast, I went to The Chefs Galley and had a made-to-order hot dog and after adding a few condiments, it was so good. It always seems that when the chef makes something just for you, it always tastes a lot better. I made myself a combined vanilla / chocolate soft serve ice cream cone and enjoyed that with a decaf cappuccino.

 

After four straight days advancing our clocks 1 hour each noon, I decided I needed a long nap. I awoke refreshed and then had some paperwork to read and then it was time to get cleaned up for supper and the last formal night of the first leg to Hamburg. As I was walking up to the door of the Britannia Restaurant, the Assistant Maître d’hôtel sent a gentleman away dressed in slacks, collared shirt and sweater. I enjoyed my salad, lobster tail and Baked Alaska dinner.

 

Then I was off to The Royal Court Theater for Tenor Benjamin Makisi’s show. He was born in Wellington, New Zealand and is of Tongan and Samoan descent. He sang classical operatic pieces, music of the South Pacific as well as 2 pieces from Rogers & Hamerstein's “South “Pacific.” He has a beautiful voice and it was a great show. Then, back to my cabin and another journey to Cunard slumberland.

 

 

Freeze Frames:

 

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My Window To The World

 

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Sea Day 5 Promising Sunset…

 

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Sea Day 5 Sunset Starting To Deteriorate

 

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Sea Day 5 Sunset Rained Out At Horizon

 

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Sea Day 6 Sunset Before Being wallowed By The Clouds

 

Oh those lazy, hazy & crazy crossing sea days! As Always, life aboard Queen Mary 2 is great.

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Thank you, Paul, for your stunning photos and interesting updates. I guess I'm not the only one who enjoys rough weather at sea.:D My DW (who is on board) has been sending me daily weather reports and asking when I'm coming aboard to slay the dragons!

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