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Queen Mary 2 New York to Southampton, October 18, 2019

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Day QM2-7, Friday, October 25, 2019, Disembark QM2


I will start with some left over photos from the ship (still a few to come).  I had a question about specialty coffee shops.  There are 2 I know of.  One is on deck 3, Sir Samuels has a variety of treats, primarily Godiva Chocolates and also specialty coffees.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/samuels.jpg


The second is in Café Carinthia, a large lounge between the Kings Court Buffet and the Gym.  The lounge is quite nice with a piano and a small service area where snacks are available.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/cafe7.jpg


The coffee counter is on the starboard side.  It had not yet opened when I took the photo but looked pretty well set up for coffees.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/carinthia.jpg


Next up is an area where I don't expect to be permitted on my next Voyage.  The Atlantic room is a good place for a quiet early morning; it's mostly used for bridge lessons but on the World Cruise becomes an exclusive hangout for people on the full World Cruise, off limits to us segmenters.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/atlantic.jpg


Most of the stairway landings have historical posters while the landings between floors have paintings, pretty much a different art theme on each staircase.  For the Holland America fans, the stairway landings on stairway C have paintings by Steven Card.  I transited that staircase a bit more slowly than the others.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/cardart.jpg


We docked at a rather unusual place for QM2, the Mayflower terminal, I think the furthest inland of Southampton's 5 terminals.  As I went on deck at 5:25 we were sailing past the QE2 terminal.  I walked 3 laps (1.1. miles) and when I finished we were past the terminals and starting to turn around in the basin.  We reached the dock just after 6.


I went back up to deck 7 about 7.  I was headed to breakfast but took a walk around the bow first.  The sun was not up yet but there was a very nice display of color ahead of us.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/dawn1025.jpg


I returned to my room and mostly was at the computer until about 8:15.  I had used 203 minutes internet time, about 29 minutes per day, which is just about what I budget for internet usage.  I had less than half my 8-hour World Club allowance but am trying to keep my internet usage efficient since I will only get 16 free hours on my 43 day passage from Sydney to Southampton in March-April.      


My estimated departure time was 8:30 and I was just at the Royal Court Theater the required 10 minutes before that time.  Disembarkation was slower than I expected and was only called off at 9.  Southampton is a very easy departure terminal.  There is a huge fleet of luggage trolleys as we enter the baggage hall and I walked empty past many piles of luggage.  My pink 3 was one of the closest piles to the exit and then just walked through the green customs lane and out to the street.


I was a bit surprised to see that my hotel transfer vehicle was a van, holding just 6 passengers.  My luggage was loaded but we had a wait for one straggler, almost possibly leaving him behind.  The straggler ended up being the solo gentleman who had been at table 322 the final night and he seemed largely out of it.  He arrived without his bag but fortunately one of the staff retrieved it for him and we were on our way just after 9:30.


It was just about 100 minutes to the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum.  We arrived about 11:15.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/holiday.jpg


The bellman took my bags and I did the preliminary phase of checkin but was told the room would not be ready until noon.  I asked about phone simms and was directed to a Tesco store a couple of blocks away.  I got the simm and a couple of apples and returned to the hotel.


The drama began when I returned at noon for the room key.  As I left the clerk told me I had a letter from Cunard with the Concierge, but he could not find one.  He told me they came in throughout the day but it seemed strange that where would be letters there but not for me.  I was particularly concerned because I had been told nothing about transfers to Heathrow and expected that to be in the letter.


I am in room 1618, a nice room but not a lot of floor space for luggage.  The bell man delivered my luggage about 10 minutes later.  I sent my travel agent a note about the missing letter, and she acknowledge pretty quickly but was waiting on a response from Cunard.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/hi1618.jpg

When the response came it was not very satisfactory.  I was scheduled for an 11:00 transfer to Heathrow while my flight is scheduled for 10:55.  The email response had the contact at Cunard and I emailed both her and the travel agent with my concerns.  A fairly quick response came back that they were waiting on a confirmation but they thought they could provide a 7AM transfer.


My plans (some who know me won't be too surprised) for London were the West End version of Come From Away (both Friday night and Saturday Matinee).   The Phoenix Theater is about 6 stops away on the Piccadilly Underground.  It was probably still rush hour and the train was very crowded.  It took a bit longer than I expected and when I found the theater (6:45) the lobby was already open.  After a quick bite to eat I returned just after 7 and the seating areas had opened up.  I am what they call "The Stalls" which is equivalent to the Orchestra level in US theaters.  

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/thetube.jpg

There were 4 standbys in the cast.  I wonder if there are more standbys on weekends as 3 shows in 24 hours probably is pretty intense for the cast.  The show was great as usual with a few things done a bit differently with the British cast.  At the end I headed back on the Underground which was still a bit more crowded than I expected for
9:30pm.

https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/cfaset.jpg


When I returned to the hotel I checked again with the concierge on the Cunard letter.  This time they said it had been delivered to my room.  It was not there.  It appears the missing letter is a Holiday Inn issue, rather than a Cunard issue.  There was an email waiting for me indicating Cunard could do a 7AM transfer and asking for my flight deals.  (The final confirmation was in my inbox when I got up Saturday morning).


I am stunned by the discovery of 39 bodies in a lorry (truck) near London but my parting shot is a wish for safety of the people in the path of California wildfires (pretty well reported on BBC in London).


Roy

 

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Enjoyed some more pictures from the ship.

 

But what a mess with the transfers and flight times.  Hope all goes well on that.

Sunrise was beautiful.

 

Glad you got to see your favorite show again.  Have you ever kept track of how many times you have seen "Come From Away"?

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I at least have pretty easy to find records:

 

1--9/28/16 Ford's Theater London

2- 7/10/18 Broadway

3-12/1/18 Broadway

4- 4/12/19 Pittsburgh

5- 8/2/19 Totonto

6- 9/11/19 Broadway

7- 10/25/19 London

8- 10/26/19 London

 

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Day QM2plus1, Saturday, October 26, 2019, London


I have just a few photos left from Queen Mary 2, and I'll start by working my way down the front of the ship.  Right at the top, visible from the Lookout on Deck 13 is one of the ship's bells (there is another one in the Atrium that is rung at noon; I've seen that happen in the past but the weather was too nice to be inside during the horn test),


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/lookoutbell.jpg


Several decks down is the Commodore Club (HAL people think Crow's Nest and Crystal people think Palm Court).  There are 2 enclosed rooms just aft of the Commodore Club, Churchill's Cigar Lounge (cigarettes prohibited) on the Starboard side and the Board Room (a small meeting room) on the Port side.  There's a piano on the port side with nightly music.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/commodore.jpg


Next, on deck 8 is the very well equipped library with a book shop at the entrance.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/library.jpg


A bit further down on deck 7 is the gym.  I think it's pretty decently equipped.  The spa is immediately above and a scenic elevator on each side leads to it.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/gym.jpg


Down on deck 2 midship there's another large bar, the Golden Lion Pub.  They do a lot of things like trivia and karaoke there as well as offer a daily Pub Lunch.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/lion.jpg


Next to the Golden Lion there's an authentic British mailbox.  Mail is collected there and posted when QM2 visits Southampton.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/mailbox.jpg


Back in London I slept in late and did not leave the hotel until almost noon.  You guessed it, back to the "Come From Away" matinee with a little stroll first down to Trafalgar Square (also served by the Leicester Square Underground stop. Along the way I noticed several billboards along the way; I did not really need their nudge to do what I was doing.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/iknow.jpg


It was just starting to drizzle a bit when I entered the Phoenix Theater.  I hadn't run across them yesterday but there were a couple of maps on the wall where people came from.  There were so many tags on the map I could hardly see what the land masses were.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/themap.jpg


On Friday I was in the "Stalls", essentially on the level of the stage.  This time it was the Grand Circle, the very highest part of the theater looking straight across at the lights and a real bird's eye view of the stage.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/satperch.jpg


Unfortunately, we had the same 4 standbys as on Friday (Kevin T, Diane, the SPCA lady, and the mayor).  I hope the regulars in those roles are ok.


As I left the theater there was a fairly significant drizzle and I pretty much returned straight on the Underground to the hotel.  I had hoped to disembark either a stop early or late but it didn't look like a good idea.


I gain an hour overnight as London leaves Daylight Savings Time (only to be lost on the flight to Amsterdam), and hope to be in bed relatively early as well.


My parting shot will be a bone to pick with the "Come From Away" producers.  They bill the show as "12 chairs, 3 tables, and 12 actors".  That may be technically correct but it doesn't feel right to me and I am tempted to say 20 actors.  The band in "Come From Away" is not like any other band I can think of in a musical.  Their varied musical styles are essential to the flow of the show and they are not confined to an orchestra pit; while they are mostly just off stage in the wings they have an extended on-stage in the "Screech-in" scene and take the stage for about 4 minutes of jamming and dancing after the final bows.  Perhaps they are not quite "actors" but definitely much more than the usual theater band.  Kudos to these fantastic musicians.


theband.jpg


Roy

 

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Greetings from London Heathrow (BA business lounge).  My transfer arrived almost exactly at 7 and the drive to Heathrow was smooth.  Security was a pain (I had to take almost EVERYTHING out of my carryon but from there it went without a hitch.  I was in the BA lounge at 7:55; with 3 hours before takeoff.  I’m here for a while, gate won’t be posted until almost 10AM but there’s a pretty passable buffet.  The skies are pretty clear and I expect an uneventful flight arriving Amsterdam about 1:20PM.

 

Roy

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Glad to hear your transfer was smooth after all the problems arranging it.

Enjoy Amsterdam and your next cruise.

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Glad you are safely at the lounge and can enjoy a buffet before your flight.  I hate it when we TSA empties a carry-on and then dumps everything back in (always a mess).

 

Hope your flight is a nice one.

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Thanks all.  I am on board with no problems getting to the ship but will need a bit of time to wrap up my final partial day with Cunard and post those wine seminar blurbs.

 

Roy

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Day Bach0, Sunday, October 27, 2019, London to Amsterdam, Board Crystal Bach

I will start with one left over photo from Saturday.  I did take a stroll through Trafalgar Square.  The panels in the photo are Nelson's Column, The Canadian High Commission (I guess it would be the embassy if Canada was not part of the Commonwealth), St. Martin in the Field,  and the memorial to Nurse Edith Cavell.  I suspect people in the High Commission are quite pleased with the success of Come From Away so close to them in London.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/trafalgar.jpg


I briefly gained an hour overnight Saturday as Europe ended Daylight Savings Time a week ahead of North America.  I rose at 5 and did some internet work and packed in preparation for being away again from land based internet.  I moved one heavy cube from the backpack to the rolling bag and replaced it with a light one from the rolling bag.  With the reshuffling of the bags the big bag was 52 pounds, the backpack down to 27, and 19 pounds (mostly computer stuff) in the carryon.  My hotel schedule was a bit tight, breakfast opened at 6:30 and my ride was scheduled for 7AM but I was told to be ready for it to arrive up to 15 minutes early.


I called for the bell man about 6:15 but there was no answer and I was able without undue difficulty to get all my stuff down to the lobby where the front desk was able to contact him and get my big bags stored.  I had just a light snack (my last English bacon) before getting ready to leave.


My transfer was not early, but just on time, and I was loaded and on the road by 7:02.  The early morning drive went without incident and on arrival the driver helped me load up my luggage trolley.  Checkin was easy; security not so much as almost everything had to come out of my carryon and be repacked once through.  Still, I was past security by 7:55AM, 3 hours ahead of my flight.


As it turned out, all of my flights are premium class, Business to Amsterdam and later to Barcelona, and "Business Select" on Southwest back to Baltimore on 1 December.  The Club Lounge at Heathrow was a very welcome touch with seating (although it was pretty crowded) a breakfast buffet (not as tasty as it looked but still welcomed), and internet.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/clubeurobuffet.jpg


While in the lounge I took care of the last of my Cunard business for this voyage, the post cruise survey.  They did not ask about post cruise experience but I did mention it in the other comments section, and noted that Ms Westbrook of the California office had been helpful in sorting things out.


My gate was posted about 10AM.  It was actually a pretty short walk from the lounge but boarding was posted to start at 10:15 leaving me just a short stay at the gate.  Club Europe seating is not that great, essentially a regular coach seat with the middle seat vacant on the Airbus A319.  I did, however get a bit of a lunch which was quite rushed on the short flight.  We touched down at noon London Time, and as I had done 5 times on QM2 advanced my watch an hour forward at noon.


While the walk to the gate in Heathrow was short, the one in Amsterdam seemed like it would never end, probably close to 15 minutes, followed by a 20-minute line at passport control.  The baggage claim area was also quite large and I needed to go through one baggage hall, and around a group of offices to get to the second set of belts.  By the time I got there one bag was already on the belt and the second came in just a minute or 2.  


I was a bit concerned about having 2 different exits from the baggage area but when I emerged I saw a lady with a green Crystal paddle on the other side of the hall.  There were some other passengers on my flight in economy and they followed a few minutes later and we were off.  Crystal River has it's own motor coaches assigned to each ship and it seemed pretty comfortable.  We arrived at the ship a little after 2:30 and I was escorted up to Palm Court for checkin, and then down to my room.


The Anglican church has a couple of satellites in Amsterdam and one had a service at 3:30.  From my reading of google maps it appeared to have been at the end of the 53 metro line.  I should have paid more attention to the details, the line on google maps stopped but it was not the end of the line which was far from the church and it was already 3:40.  I decided it would be futile to return to the correct stop and get to much of the service and returned to the ship.


Once back on the ship unpacking started.  There seems to be significantly less closet space (especially drawers) than on the ocean ship.  My petite suite is not that small but still feels a bit tighter than on the ocean ships.  The entire outer wall is a window and the top half will open.   The desk space is pretty large although the expresso machine takes up quite a bit of the space.


Muster was at 6:15.  The permanent location is on the sun deck but it was pretty chilly and it was held in Palm Court.  Captain Douwe Tilstra (Dutch) was a bit of a comic, comparing Bach to Titanic but what really makes our ship unsinkable is the shallowness of the river.  It can flood one deck if it drops to the river bed but there would still be 4 meters above the water.  The life jackets are not the ones used on the ocean but more like the small work vests that crews use.


Dinner was at 7 in Waterside.  The menu seemed a bit less extensive than on the ocean ships but there was plenty to like.  I chose a basic salad, the pasta, and rum raisin ice cream (not listed but the waiter offered several choices in ice cream).


I think the entertainment hosts do most of the entertainment but for the first evening we had an outside entertainer, singer Steffan Mullan accompanied by Francisco Carlo Leone on the piano.  He was ok but too loud for my taste.


My parting shot will go back to to London.  I don't think I had heard of Edith Cavell but I found her story quite interesting.  A nurse in World War I, she went to Belgium and freely treated casualties on both sides.  She also helped people escape from the occupied territories and was executed by the German regime.  Her final words, as noted on her statue just outside Trafalgar Square are a tribute to her humanity.   "Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."  A true heroine.

 

cavell.jpg


Roy

 

This will conclude my regular posts here (continuing on the River Cruise forum.  I am attaching the Discover pages with the Wine academy sections (all at the bottom of the page and 2 of potential interest on the 22nd

discover18.pdf discover19.pdf discover22.pdf

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