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Queen Mary 2 Sydney to New York, March 6 to April 25, 2020

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Today I dropped my large luggage off at the UPS store in preparation for a surface based circumnavigation of the globe.  This will be my second attempt at this.




I've handled my luggage shipment a bit differently from usual.  While UPS will be doing most of the actual shipping of the bag I am doing one bag through Luggage Concierge, Crystal’s official partner, and the other bag through Luggage Forward, partner of Cunard and several other companies.  While UPS gets the bags to California, each of the luggage companies uses their own courier at the destination to actually deliver the bag to the ship.  If I do not get luggage that is a serious problem since there will not be a possibility of bags catching up with me until French Polynesia.    While one courier might fail I assume the possibility of both couriers failing is minuscule.




The first was in 2003 and got off to a good start until events got in the way.  The plan then was Amtrak Baltimore to Montreal, a freighter (Canmar Courage) to Belgium, a series of ferry and rail connections to Helsinki, the trans-Siberia railroad to Beijing, the Crystal Harmony to Vancouver, and train connections back to Baltimore.


It was going pretty much to plan until I did an email check before leaving my hotel in Moscow.  2003 was the year of the great SARS epidemic and the Harmony was deadheading back to North America immediately.  I was heading into the midst of the epidemic and my way out had disappeared.  As I made my way to Beijing my travel agent found me a flight to Vancouver that would work, but I still had a couple of days to wait in a very subdued Beijing.


I picked up the trip in Beijing the following year but have not yet circled the globe continuously without onward flying.  Holland America’s annual world cruise could be a very attractive option but is a bit too long for me.  As treasurer at my local fire department I must do some year end employment reports, some of which must be done physically in the fire station, so a journey that leaves the first few days is very stressful.  I also have prostate cancer which is well controlled but requires shots not much longer than 3 months apart.  My time away on this trip is about 2 weeks shorter at each end than this year’s very attractive itinerary on the HAL world cruise and just fits into the window between my cancer shots.


The itinerary for this adventure works something like this:


January 14-18: Amtrak from Baltimore to Long Beach
January 22 to March 3: Crystal Serenity Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia
March 6 to April 25: Queen Mary 2 Sydney to New York


One thing I will do each day is note the locations of both of my ships.  Today QM2 is in Southampton.  Both ships this year have multiple starting locations for their World Cruises and this is the second location for QM2 with some World Cruisers boarding a week ago in New York.  Crystal Serenity versions of the World Cruise begin in Miami (1/6) and Los Angeles (1/22) and today Serenity is in Cartegena, Colombia.


My blog for this trip will be the one I use for grand journeys:




I will also set up Cruise Critic threads covering the trip on the Crystal and Cunard forums for their part of the journey and the entire trip on the World Cruising forum.


My parting shot–if at first you don’t succeed try again even if it is 17 years later.




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Thanks, Host Hattie.  I'm off:


Greetings from Club Acela in Washington DC.  So far everything has gone smoothly and I will board the Capitol Limited there in about 30 minutes.  I won't have wifi on the train so you won't hear from me until Chicago.


I had a bit of a weekend scare.  My Cunard portion is two bookings, one from Sydney to Southampton and another from Southampton to New York.  I checked the final segment and Cunard couldn't find it.  Love the changes to the website.  My TA got back to me on a Sunday and said the booking was in order.  Final payment wasn't due until the 19th but we paid anyway and the reservation came back to me.


I'll start posting here when I get to Queen Mary in Long Beach.  In the meantime, my active threads are on the Crystal forum:




And the World Cruise forum:




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Day Amtrak4, Saturday, January 18, 2020, Arrive Los Angeles, Transfer to Long Beach

Crystal Serenity begins a 2-day call in Cabo San Lucas.    Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Messina to Hafia, Israel.

I slept pretty well my final night on the train.  I was feeling pretty good when I woke briefly about 4 and found we were in California, but after checking the schedule we were actually about 10 minutes further behind than in Albuquerque.

While the trip was general west bound our final leg was to the south and the sun came up just after 7 on our left side.


When the Southwest Chief is on time breakfast is very early, I think 5:30-6:30.  As dinner ended Friday evening it was announced it would be pushed back to about 6:30 to 9, depending on the train's actual progress.  I went in about 7:30 for scrambled eggs and potatoes,.  While eating the conductor announced an estimated 10AM arrival but while at the table it was obvious that we were moving very slowly.

A freight train had derailed and progress slowed to a crawl and when we reached Union Station it was about 11:10.  Cynthia had indicated it would be a long walk to the station and I agreed to use a Red Cap.  It turned out to be a good move as he asked if we wanted to go to the Metropolitan Lounge.  I had never known there was one in Los Angeles but it was quite decent while pretty well hidden from common view.



My planned layover before the bus would have been very long but arriving 3 hours late shortened it considerably and I took advantage of the internet for a while and took a short walk in the station area.

At my age carrying 2 backpacks totaling 46 pounds is a bit of a challenge but I manage fairly well for short distances.  The lounge called a Red Cap to help me to the bus but all he did was point me in the right direction (I had already found the bus stop).


The connecting bus primarily serves passengers coming from Bakersfield where the train stops at mountains and is lightly used on the last leg from Los Angeles to Long Beach.  It arrived in Los Angeles promptly at 2:35 and departed promptly at 2:45.

We stopped first at the Catalina terminal in San Pedro and then continued to Long Beach.  There was a Princess ship in San Pedro, and as we crossed the bridge to Long Beach I got my first view of Queen Mary.  In addition to QM Carnival ships often dock there.  I didn't have my camera but behind Queen Mary was Carnival's newest and largest ship, the Panorama.  It's just a bit smaller than QM2 but I was surprised that it seemed to dwarf Queen Mary.

I was dropped off at the Long Beach transit center and it was about a block to the free Passport Shuttle.  Free has it's costs as the main transit stops all have benches to wait but not the Passport.  It was less than pleasant waiting for the bus with 46 pounds on my back.

I arrived at Queen Mary about 4.  As I walked from the bus to the gangway I could hear loud music from the Panorama.  I am in an oceanview room on A-deck (A148).  There is a bit of a passage way from the door to the main part of the room.  I suspect initially there was an inside room or 2 on the section near the corridor.


The room was not big but had all the necessities.  A sealed doorway suggests it once connected with what is now A150.


I left about 6PM for a bit of shopping and dinner.  From the Passport stop the ship looked pretty all lit up.


I must have been pretty tired because I dozed off for a while instead of working on my blog.  I officially went to bed after the 11PM news.

My parting shot today is that when I checked into the hotel I had a long string of emails waiting about the storms at home.  It looks like things were bad enough to have the schools closed but not so bad that most events couldn't be relocated, especially a long awaited Eagle Court of Honor for one of my scouts.  Congratulations Hunter.



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Day Amtrak+1, Sunday, January 19, 2020, Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach

Crystal Serenity concludes a 2-day stay in Cabo San Lucas.  Queen Mary 2 begins a 2-day stay in Hafia, Israel.

I had a very good and long sleep, not waking up until about 6:30.  I had hoped to catch a sunrise from Queen Mary but it was not to be.  I was out on the sun deck right around 7 but it was coming up directly behind the Carnival Imagination and in any case I had forgotten to put the memory card back in my camera.  I don't expect a picture Monday either since the Inspiration will probably come in between me and the sun but I have my hopes up for Tuesday or Wednesday.

When in Long Beach 3 years ago I worshiped at Covenant Presbyterian Church and that was my plan again.  Oversleeping put me a bit behind the 8-ball and it was almost 15 minutes into the 8AM service when I arrived.  It was still a good experience and I especially appreciated the postlude, Bach's Gigue Fugue.  I have tapped my toes to it many times but never before in an actual worship setting.  Bravissimo!

After church I stopped at Vons (California's version of Safeway), a block away from the church and at an ATM before taking the Passport back to Queen Mary.

I did a bit of exploring later in the morning.  The staff does their best but keeping up an 80-year old ship is a challenge, as might be noted by peeling paint around the lifeboat stands.


The highlight of the day was brunch.  It is served each Sunday in Queen Mary's First Class dining room.  I was joined at brunch by a cruise critic friend (Copper10-8) and Holland America security officer and his wife.


A band provided music and a man dressed as a Captain circulated around the ship greeting the guests.  He told me that he is an occasional speaker on the Cunard Insights speaker.


There were about 5 buffet stations including almost anything one could want for brunch.  I feasted on waffles, bacon, mac & cheese, pork rib, 2 types of cake, and a cookie.


After brunch we walked around the ship.  There's an old Russian submarine that has been on exhibit but has deteriorated to a point where it is almost certainly destined for scrapping.  


This sailaway addict heard the general emergency signal from the Imagination indicating the start of the muster drill.  I went up to the promenade deck about 5:15 to watch her departure.  


On the way back to my room I passed the wedding chapel (the former second class smoking room).  


The gym was originally on the sun deck but is now inside the ship near the main staircase.  Some of the original equipment is in a small window display.  The stationary bike is a far cry from what is used in today's spin classes.


I took the Passport shuttle into town for a light dinner at Burger King, and was back on the ship a little before 8.

Monday is the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States.  May it be safe and pleasant.



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Copper10-8 has posted with some nice photos on the World Cruising thread:


1 hour ago, Copper10-8 said:

 It was great seeing you again today on the Queen, Roy and on behalf of Maria and I, thanks again for the nice brunch at 1:00 PM! That former Soviet Foxtrot-class sub off the Queen's port bow is not looking too good 😉 See you on Wed at 10:00 AM for the short ride to San Pedro and the Crystal Serenity and the start of your new adventure at sea


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Day Amtrak+2. Monday, January 20, 2020, Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach

Crystal Serenity is at sea from Cabo San Lucas to Los Angeles.  Queen Mary 2 concludes a 2-day stay in Hafia.

I will start with an attempt to deal with a question from a blog reader about the Passport Shuttle:


 "I have a question if you don’t mind...we are thinking of taking the flyaway bus from lax to Long Beach transit hub and I’m wondering if it’s a problem/hassle taking luggage aboard the Passport Shuttle....would you recommend it upon arrival or do you think an Uber is better (3 people, about 5 bags)?"

I'm not familiar with the bus from LAX but it sounds like it might drop you off on First Street just west of Long Beach Boulevard.  If that's correct it would be a short walk to the Passport stop on Long Beach Boulevard between First and Ocean Boulevard.  It's about another 500 feet to walk between the end of the line and the hotel entrance.  Suitability for luggage will depend on the size of your bags, your ability to handle them and who else might be on the bus.  I'm attaching a photo of the bus interior;  the steps behind the back door probably total about 16 inches.  Just in front of the picture there are 2 lengthwise benches with some vacant space in the middle but it might or might not be available when you board.



I stepped up to the promenade deck aft around sunrise time but the Carnival Inspiration was already docked, and it was quite cloudy anyway.


On the way up the stairs I passed a gate that I think is original.  The sign now says "Hotel Guests Only", but I expect back in the day it was a sign of a pretty rigid class separation.


Coming back from viewing the Inspiration I passed a display with a diagram of the class areas on the ship.  While today pretty much (including Cunard) groups cabin categories by deck the classes were much more contiguous and covering several decks.  In the photo, the blue is First Class and midship, the orange is second class and to the aft, and the yellow is far forward and third class, and each class spans several decks.  The classes were contiguous and separate, while I have often stayed in inside Britannia cabins directly across the corridor from Grills suites.  A big change in how things work on ships.


Most of the day was spent away from Long Beach.  I took the Passport Shuttle into town at 8 and rented a car.  My nephew lives in San Diego and I drew a Kia Soul for the drive down there.


While traffic was not heavy and there were few delays, especially on the way down, I still found it much less than relaxing driving along with 4 busy lanes of traffic.  I left Long Beach around 9:15 and was at Keith's house perhaps 11:20.  

He and Tracy have twins, about 3 ½ years old.  The last time I saw them they were just about ready to crawl, so it has been a very big change.  They are now pretty much bundles of undirected energy and quite a handle.  They will be going on their first cruise Saturday (Majesty of the Seas out of New Orleans).

I think originally just Keith, Tracey, and I were going to lunch but in the end the twins and the nanny came along also, and I believe there was a change of venue.  The place we ended up I think was called Tender Greens, with salad based entrees along with meat and vegetables.  They also had a couple of soups which I chose along with chicken and mashed potatoes.  The kids are still reticent about meeting strangers but it was a good lunch.  

After lunch Keith needed to return to work and I headed back to Long Beach.  The traffic was a bit heavier but still not a serious problem and I got a little shopping in before returning the car.  By the time it was done it was after 5 and I decided to stay in town for a light dinner at Burger King.  I was back at the Queen Mary a little before 7 and pretty much spent the evening in my room.

My parting shot will be a wish for a wonderful first cruise for Keith, Tracy, and the children.



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Day Amtrak+3, Tuesday, January 21, 2020, Hotel Queen Mary, Long Beach

Crystal Serenity is at sea from Cabo to Los Angeles.  Queen Mary 2 is at sea from Hafia to Aqaba, Jordan.

While Monday had been a major travel day Tuesday was the time to stay local.  In the morning I was pretty much in my cabin bringing my credit card balances up do date with just a quick visit to the Midship Marketplace for a muffin and coffee.

I left about 11 for what was likely my last visit to Long Beach proper.  I visited the bank, the post office, and bought a few more supplies (mostly packaged snacks), and stopped by McDonalds for a quick lunch.

Once back on the ship it was an hour or 2 before I finally got back to my cabin.  I walked along the shoreside walkway to find the actual location of my cabin.


The walkway ended at a lower entrance to the ship and I toured a bit of the engineering spaces.  On modern ships on behind the scenes I have sometimes visited the engine control room, now a quiet temperature controlled console.  On Queen Mary it is down among the engines with a small instrument panel, a telegraph from the bridge, and pretty direct manipulation of the machinery with an array of wheels and levers.


There were places down there where I saw the bare inside of the hull and even an opening to see one of the propellers (a fixed pitch unlike modern ones).  The light was insufficient to get a good photo of the propeller.


Returning further forward I browsed one of the shops on the Promenade deck.  A sign indicated the room was originally the First Class library.


The bridge is accessed from the sun deck.  It is a far cry from today's sophisticated bridges but a blue console was an early version of an auto pilot.  While actual bridge visits are now rare on QM2 one can easily get a look at the progress in bridge design from a window far forward on deck 12.


The officers quarters are behind the bridge.  The Chief Engineer had a nice 2-room suite.


The Staff Captain's quarters were a step better than the Chief Engineers but the really nice suite was for the Captain.


The day had started out cloudy and there was no visible sunrise but it cleared up as the day progressed.  The bow of the ship is accessed from A deck forward and was the perfect place to watch the sunset.


A large room in A-deck forward was devoted to Cunard history, and while the ship has little or no formal connection to Cunard there was even a corner with a supply of Cunard brochures.


My last dinner for a while on my own was attached to land but still floating.  I would like to have had dinner at Sir Winston's but it is closed Monday and Tuesday so I visited the Chelsea Chowder House.  I believe much of the space is the former second class smoking room but the dining area is a part of the former enclosed promenade on the starboard.  There was a lovely view across the harbor to downtown Long Beach.  I chose a (huge) pork chop entree.


I am hoping to get a good start on packing to transfer to the Crystal Serenity if I don't get too drowsy.

Today's parting shot will be a wish for a quick and effective response to the coronavirus.



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My ship has arrived.  I checked it on marine traffic just after 5 and she was edging up to the dock.  I thought I might see her from Queen Mary''s bow but no such luck.  It's not a warm day here, 51F.  I popped in on the Holland America sailaway thread for Ft. Lauderdale and it's just 42 there.



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Day CS0, Wednesday, January 22, 2020, Board Crystal Serenity, Los Angeles (San Pedro)

Queen Mary 2 is transiting the Suez Canal.

I did not set an alarm for my US travels but woke up earlier than any of the other hotel days, about 5:20.  Sunrise was about 6:55 and was beautiful off the back of the ship but I mistakenly deleted the photo.  While out I visited the Midship Marketplace for coffee and a muffin.  It's essentially a Starbucks  There's a place I've liked better (Promenade Café) but it's closed for renovation.


I walked about a half hour mostly on the Promenade deck.  Except for an open aft it was originally a covered walkway circling the ship.  The starboard section has been converted to restaurants and exhibits but the port side is still suitable for walking.


While walking I did investigate the bow a bit.  There are elevated sections both far forward and near the bridge with a cutout in between.  In addition to the machinery they've put back a gun from her days as a troop ship.


The toilet in my cabin is a mix of old and new.  There's still a quartet of faucet handles for hot and cold salt and fresh water but only the cold fresh water faucet is still connected.  Water for baths comes from a fairly modern mixing fixture.  The toilet is now fairly standard but the handle for flushing looks more like a beer tap.


Copper10-8 from cruise critic came at 10 to pick me up.  I took advantage of his knowledge about behind the scenes ship operations for a question.  One of my bags is a backpack with stowable straps.  The straps give airline baggage systems a headache but he assured me they would be ok for the ship.  One little task I didn't need to worry about.  I arrived at the terminal about 10:30.  It turned out I would be waiting a while.

There was wifi in the terminal but I found it pretty unreliable.  It worked ok for a while and then quit.  I did get on again for a while about an hour later.  Boarding finally began about 12:05 and I was on board by 12:15.

I took a glance at the Waterside lunch menu and was not really inspired so I went up to the lido deck.  An advantage of Serenity over Symphony is that the Lido Marketplace is normally open for lunch.  I made a simple salad and then went out to the Trident Grill for my usual Grilled Ham and Cheese.


Rooms on Crystal are officially available at 3PM although they are often ready earlier.  While waiting I stopped down at the Computer center and did a little work.  I got into my room, 7060 on the Promenade Deck about 2:25.  It's a C2 cabin, the second lowest category, and kind of my sweet spot.  The oceanview and balcony cabins are all pretty much the same, and C2 is pretty well midship.


C2 cabins are priced a little below the C1 cabins because they are considered "limited view".  The limitation is the gangway which slightly limits my view towards the sky.  7060 is one of the most limited of these cabins because the end of the gangway is considerably thicker than the middle section but the view is not at all bad:


I was glad to be rid of my carryon (17 pounds), holding just a few essential meds and my computer equipment.


I did not consider it one of my better Crystal embarkation days.  I understand there were about 100 crew rotations in Los Angeles and that may have interfered with the usual superb Crystal service.  The first thing I noticed was that the menus were not posted on the intranet as usual.  The lunch menu was never posted and I did not see a dinner menu until late evening.  More of a concern was luggage delivery.  The whole afternoon I did not see any crew members delivering bags to cabins on deck 7 (the available resources may have been concentrated on the upper decks where the distances are longer).  I kept checking the forward staircase staging area and finally found my biggest (50 pound) bag (upper left), the one shipped with Luggage Forward, a little before 3 and brought it back to my room.    The next 2 (the 28-pound backpack and the 10-pound stowable bag that came from the hotel) were in a big pile about 4.  I got some help digging them out of the pile from the stairway monitor for the muster drill who I think was happy to free up any possible space in the landing before the drill.  After the drill I got a call from the Concierge about the final bag (lower right, 45-pounds, sent by Luggage Concierge) and indicated the bag had arrived with a tag and that they would deliver it.  I found it at the stairway landing about 5:30.  I hurriedly took out a few things before heading to dinner.


Scheduled departure was 5PM, although we were still loading a few supplies.  Louis sang at 5:10 (for new readers, Crystal tradition is that "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong is played as we leave the dock).  I walked out on the Promenade deck as we sailed out the channel past the USS Iowa museum ship.


I decided for the first night to dine on my own.  I think things were a little slow in Waterside as well as I was about 90 minutes dining solo while I can often do it in 60-70.    I chose the beef consume, fillet steak and ice cream for desert.


The World Cruise was "officially" kicked off with a balloon drop at 8PM.  After a short count down a massive quantity of balloons and confetti were released at the Crystal Cove.  As the items started to drop the mix was so thick you couldn't see across the ship, followed by a huge pile of balloons on the floor, and finally after about a minute I could see the officials (Captain Birger Vorland, Cruise Director Rick Spath, and Crystal Society Hostess Stacey Houston) amid the debris.


The show in the Galaxy (9:30) was the normal kick of f show, Crystal In Motion, featuring the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers, show band,  dance quartet, and violinist Karin Kovacova.

My parting shot will be a shout-out to the Ensemble.  I think Crystal is pretty much unique that the Ensemble is pretty much part of the crew.  While other lines have ensembles that are created for one contract and then never see each other again, Crystal has a cast of 5 guys and 5 gals, of which 1 of each will be on vacation with the other 4 performing.  Many if not most of the cast stay with the company for years.  This is also true to a large extent of the show band.  They become a cohesive unit and will often, especially on World Cruises, create their own in house productions.  They also become quite visible throughout the ship, doing things like trivia and covering the librarian's breaks.  I think all the Dance Captains and both band masters have been with the program as long as I can remember.  "Crystal in Motion" highlights that as one of the highlights of the program is an elaborate sequence of Irish Clogging.  The routine was introduced by Serenity's Dance Captain who taught it to the rest of the cast and to the cast on the Symphony.  Hats off to these talented performers.



This will be my final post on this thread until I disembark the Serenity on March 3.  I will be staying in Sydney at the hotel used by both Crystal and Cunard.   In the meantime the story continues on the other 2 forums and on the blog at https://morethangetaways.wordpress.com/.


Crystal forum:




World Cruising forum:



Sadly, tonight we are steaming back to Mexico for a medical emergency.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Just thought I'd pop in here briefly.  So much has changed since I left QM.  It sounds like people are coping somewhat with the change from Hong Kong to a second call in Singapore.  While she isn't posting updates on Cruise Critic, the internet has stabilized a bit on Safarigal and she's pretty well up to date on her blog.




It also sounds like the naming of the new ship may not happen until I'm on board.  That sounds good to me; I wasn't going to have a February 11 as that's the day I lose crossing the dateline.



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  • 3 weeks later...

Let me pop in again.  Yes, I'm still on Crystal Serenity but things are getting really crazy with the coronavirus.  They just announced a few hours ago that anybody who is not continuing the full world cruise to Rome will be forced to get off March 3 in Sydney and no further embarkations will be allowed until Rome.  Fortunately, that's what I plan to do but I sure hope Cunard will not follow suit.


My impression is that Cunard has been very proactive, deliberate, and professional about this without much in the way of knee jerk reactions and I sure hope that remains the case as I am counting on it.


As of now, I think Cunard has been one of the best coronavirus models, especially with the world cruise.



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5 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Let me pop in again.  Yes, I'm still on Crystal Serenity but things are getting really crazy with the coronavirus.  They just announced a few hours ago that anybody who is not continuing the full world cruise to Rome will be forced to get off March 3 in Sydney and no further embarkations will be allowed until Rome.  Fortunately, that's what I plan to do but I sure hope Cunard will not follow suit.


My impression is that Cunard has been very proactive, deliberate, and professional about this without much in the way of knee jerk reactions and I sure hope that remains the case as I am counting on it.


As of now, I think Cunard has been one of the best coronavirus models, especially with the world cruise.




Gosh, that's very dramatic of Crystal! It does seem that Cunard made early and sensible decisions and took action quickly so their passengers have had more predictability and a sense of security in the company's actions. In stark contrast to the unhappiness I have been reading about on the Crystal board, I think Cunard will come out of this with increased loyalty as well as many new passengers. 


Fortunately, Roy, you won't be inconvenienced by this change in the Crystal schedule and hopefully, you'll have a wonderful and uneventful voyage on Queen Mary 2.


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We are due to join QM2 on 1 April for the Cape Town to Southampton leg. The ship calls at Namibia, Tenerife (Spain) and Madeira (Portugal).


We are flying to Cape Town from the UK. I am worried about myself, but more worried about my elderly mother and Coronavirus. There are as yet no cases of Coronavirus in South Africa but lots in Tenerife.


It's four weeks before we board and six weeks before Tenerife but I fear the spread of the virus will only get worse.


We have paid the whole amount for the cruise. We haven't yet booked flights.


Should  I phone Cunard to see if we can cancel and use any credit for a future cruise. Or should I wait to see how things develop? Thanks.

Edited by longton
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45 minutes ago, exlondoner said:

I’d try and book flights through Cunard. Then if they cancel Cape Town you are covered. I suspect they may miss Tenerife.

I would agree on booking flights through Cunard for exactly the same reasons as exlondoner.  I think Cunard has acted very appropriately and would expect the cruise to proceed as planned in the absence of stunning new developments.  The only exception would be if Tenerife was an absolute bucket list item, where other cruises from the UK would be fairly easy to get. 


Cunard will not put you in harms way if the situation in Tenerife remains as it is.  They might be able to find a suitable alternate port or in worst case you would have an extra sea day.  On QM2 there's nothing wrong with that.



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Day CS39,Monday, March 2, 2020, At Anchor, Sydney Harbor


I hadn't planned to return to the Cunard forum quite this soon but there was a surprise.  I knew a few days ago that Crystal Serenity was cancelling her call in Hobart due to storms and we would arrive in Sydney a day early.  


I hadn't thought about Queen Elizabeth being in Sydney until our final sea day update when Captain Vorland mentioned we would be anchoring in the harbor and then proceeding to Circular Quay once QE sailed.  While I have only 6 days on QE2, QE is my least sailed Cunarder but I have a couple of nice cruises aboard her.  I got my first view of her as we were approaching the anchorage and will include a few more shots:




Our tender dock was on the Man of War Steps near Sydney Opera House.  She was bunkering fuel as my tender arrived.


After running a few errands I went down to Circular Quay to investigate the luggage dropoff setup and got my closest view of her.



The most sweeping unobstructed view was from the Opera House as I planned to reboard the tender.





I had hoped to watch her sail past us but she was a bit late leaving the dock.  She was just about to head out to sea as I needed to leave for the evening show.




My next 3 nights will be in Cunard's Sydney hotel and I will now resume posting here.




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Day CS40, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, Disembark Crystal Serenity, Sydney

Queen Mary 2 is in Brisbane.  The sun rose at 6:42 and set at 7:28.  The moon was up from 2:10PM for the rest of the day but I never saw either the sun or the moon.

This was not to be a typical tourist day.  I made 3 trips around the deck 7 perimeter of the ship in the course of getting coffee and returning to the lido for an omelet and raisin toast.  The weather ran from cloudy in the morning to drizzle in the afternoon.  I got a look at the Sydney skyline from the same point when I first went for coffee at 5:30 and again going back for toast 2 ½ hours later.


It isn't my usual style but I booked a private transfer to the Four Seasons after Hobart was cancelled and I was left with an unexpected $149 in onboard credit that came back to me from a cancelled shore excursion.  My transfer time was 10AM and I left my room at 9:30 to wait in the cove.  I was escorted off the ship a little after that and found all 3 pieces of my luggage already loaded on a trolley with my name and destination on it.


Since the Quarantine officer had signed my Customs Declaration on the ship there were no questions when I handed it in and we were on the street.  It was only a few minutes before my car arrived for the short drive to the Four Seasons.


Checkin was officially at 3 but my room was ready, a nice little bonus.  I am on the 8th floor in a bit of an odd shaped but very nice room.  I saw hospitality desks in the hotel for Crystal but not yet at least for Cunard.


I think the receptionist said "partial view" but it's a very nice partial view.  I have a nice view of the Opera House, the ferry docks, and part of the bridge and the funnel on Serenity.  Over the next few days the view will change to the Costa Deliziosa and then QM2 for just a couple of hours before I check out.


The hotel was very busy.  I decided an hour was as long as I would wait for luggage delivery and went out shopping.  I encountered a bell person in the elevator and confirmed they were really busy; he said the bags would be left in my room.  My first order of business was a grocery store.  The best bet appeared to be an "IGA-Express" on the Rocks.  It was not the greatest but served me pretty well with nuts, milk, apples, coffee, and blueberries.  All I am finding in Sydney is various types of cappuccino (even on the hotel's machine) and I want regular coffee.  The store didn't have packets but I bought a small jar of instant.  What I don't use at the hotel will be handy for the hot pot in my room on QM2.

When I returned from shopping and lunch the luggage was waiting in my room.  I dug out my tux, trusty Travelsmith blazer, and sport coat and sent them out for dry cleaning.  I think I prefer a real dry cleaning to the "specialist cleaning" on the ship.

I also wanted to get a haircut before returning to sea.  There was a barber shop in what was mostly a food court across the street from the hotel.  The barber asked how I wanted it cut and I mentioned that I was about to embark on a 50 day cruise so take quite a bit off.  I think she took my words a little too literally.  Far beyond 50 days I don't expect to need another haircut for at last a month after returning home.  I thought the mural on the wall where George street meets the railroad tracks was kind of interesting.  It was a bit out of my way but it was starting to drizzle and I could wait for the light under the overpass.


For the evening I was booked on the first of 2 nights at the Opera House.  The walk over was mostly covered.  This performance, "No Pay, No Way" would be at 6:30 in the Drama Theater.  The theater has a capacity just over 500.


I was in an aisle seat, J3, fairly close to the front.  The show was a comedy/farce about 2 women who steal food in a riot and then try to cover up their crime by hiding it under their coats claiming pregnancy.  There are almost too many crazy twists and turns to keep track of.


When I left the theater the Serenity looked quite nice at the dock.


My parting shot will be a wish for some breaks in the rain over the next few days.  Passengers on Serenity and QM2 deserve a nice port experience.



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Looking forward  to  following  you  on  the  reminder  of your world voyage  


. Hopefully  there will  not be too many  deviations  from the planned  itinerary in upcoming  days.



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