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


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happy to know you're on board the qm2 at last!  enjoyed the pictures very much too.  how was the ice cream?  your cabin looks very comfortable.  the obstructed view isn't too bad, is it?  is there enough storage for all your clothes and the luggage?

thanks for the first qm2 report.

 

 

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Ice cream not as good as ok.  Bags nestle into the rolling bag and one bag fits under each bed.  Storage is fine but not so good internet right now.  Post won't load.  Will try again after returning from Melbourne (maybe terminal will have wifi as well.

 

Roy

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The ice cream is fine, just that there was some REALLY good stuff in NZ and  on the Serenity.  Internet seems better than I've seen on QM2 recently; I think there was interference while we were docked in Melbourne.

 

Day QM2-1, Saturday, March 7, 2020, At sea, Queen Mary 2


The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Mooloolaba to Airlie Beach.  The sun rose at 6:47 and set at 7:44.   The moon set at 3:19AM and rose at 6:23PM.


At midnight I was on the Promenade deck looking out at  the Rocks lit up for the evening.  Captain Hashmi had indicated we were waiting for clearance about 10 minutes after he spoke about 11:45.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/rocksnight.jpg


We waited and waited, and finally about 12:20 I decided not to stand there any more,  I started walking.  As I rounded the stern we had moved about 20 feet off the dock.  I walked one more lap before going up to deck 8 for a better look.  The Opera House was beautiful all lit up at night.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/adieuopera.jpg


I was in bed a little after 1 and up about 6:20.  I will declare I walked 5 laps around the ship for the day, 2 before going to bed and 3 after rising.  It was mostly cloudy but the rising sun found a nice hole to peek through about 7.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dawn07.jpg


It was a VERY busy sea day.  Port lecturer Graham talked about Adelaide at 9:15, followed by forensic dentist Judy Hinchcliffe with a presentation of American mass murder Ted Bundy.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/hinchclife.jpg


Paul O'Laughlin had a talk with Celebrity Speaker Ken Sutcliffe (sports broadcaster) at 11.  Most of the things they talked about related to British sports and were largely lost on me.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/sutcliffe.jpg


When I walked in the morning winds were at the force 7 (near gale) level.  When Captain Hashmi gave his noon update they had dropped a bit to force 6 but deck 14 was still closed off.


There was a classical concert by the piano/clarinet duo of Westlake and Hay at 2:15.  Selections from La Traviata were featured but there were some other works presented as well.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/traviata.jpg


Andrew Jarrett had a talk on the life of a professional tennis player at 3.  I wasn't particularly interested and might have skipped it even if it had not conflicted with the Cruise Critic meet and mingle in the Commodore Club.  There were roughly 25 in attendance.  The last couple of meetings have been dominated by a group (mostly NOT Cruise Critic) complaining about the cancelled ports and compensation for them.  That group now meets separately but a number of people at the meet and greet were still unhappy about the changes.  We concluded the meeting about 3:30 and I went down to Kings Court for tea and scone.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/critic07.jpg


The day's final presentation was by Stuart Usher on a disastrous 1942 naval battle in the Java Sea.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/usher.jpg


One person was missing from table 211.  I chose the chicken consume as well as 2 of the spa selections, the lamb chops and chocolate coconut cake.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dishes07.jpg


The evening show was Desperado, an Eagles tribute band.  It was very good.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/desperado.jpg


My parting shot comes actually from over night.  Captain Hashmi came on the PA just before 2AM, asking for a blood donation for a sudden medical emergency.  I think we arrived at the Melbourne dock a little early due to the situation.  Best wishes for a recovery for the person involved.


Roy  

 

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2 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

The ice cream is fine, just that there was some REALLY good stuff in NZ and  on the Serenity.  Internet seems better than I've seen on QM2 recently; I think there was interference while we were docked in Melbourne.

That's good to hear thanks.

 

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It was very busy day for you with little sleep.  Our alarm system went off at midnight so we had little sleep as well.  Couldn't find anything wrong.

 

Great pictures -- especially of the Opera House all lit up.

 

That chocolate coconut cake looks delicious.

 

Hope the patient that needed blood is doing better.

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Day QM2-2, Sunday, March 8, 2020, Melbourne


The Crystal Serenity is in Airlie Beach.  The sun rose at 7:11 and set at 7:51.  The moon set at 4:49 and rose at 7:13.


We were just tying up when I went on deck about 6.  I walked 3 laps around the Promenade deck not sure how much walking I would do in town.


My regular readers know of my obsession with Come From Away.  This was originally supposed to be the last performance in Melbourne before that production moved to Shanghai.  It has been extended a couple of weeks (presumably due to Coronavirus) with the move now to Sydney.  I had posted on my Cruise Critic roll call and one other person decided to join me.


We had also both planned on finding a church service in Melbourne and we both left the ship about 9.  Ann is primarily Episcopalian and we originally looked at a church near the Comedy Theater and an 11AM service, but Ann had been off the ship earlier and had some ideas for churches near the shuttle stop.


The first of the new possibilities was St. Paul's (Episcopal).  The services were 9 and 11 and we arrived about 9:30, far too late for the early service and too early to consider the second one.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/stpaul.jpg


We hit the jackpot at our next stop.  Ann had heard from a friend in Sydney about Australia's Uniting Church (Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational) and we arrived about 9:45 with the service at 10.  Among the announcements in the bulletin was a noon program with a worker who had provided support to victims of the recent wildfires.  Coffee and tea were served after the service, and it turned out they were also selling items appropriate to tea service.  This took care of the need for lunch, and the presentation by a VCC (Victoria Council of Churches) representative was both moving and informative.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/stmichael1.jpg


It was only a few blocks to the Comedy Theater where it was time first to exchange reservations for tickets do a bit of browsing of the displays, and then find our seats.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/cfamlb.jpg


This was Ann's first time for Come From Away and my 10th.  One thing I found a bit disconcerting is that  the actor who played several roles including a brief reading of a speech by President Bush was completely bald.  That really seemed strange but as always the show was fabulous.  Ann is on the full world cruise and had to rush back to the ship to prepare for an onshore special dinner.  


I had a more leisurely walk back to the shuttle stop.  Chinatown was one block south of the theater.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/chinamlb.jpg


I went by St. Michael's again on my way back to town.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/stmichaels2.jpg


Melbourne's train station is huge but almost all of it is inside fare gates so there was little to see except the exterior.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/mlbcentral.jpg


I did a bit of grocery shopping on the way back, checking both Coles and Woolworths and buying at Woolworths.  I bought both Diet Coke and enough apples to get out of Australia as there were none in the buffet.  Of course they were back on the line Monday morning.  Go Figure.  The shuttle stop was just across the Yarro River from the business district.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/yarra.jpg


I was back at the shuttle stop about 5:15.  It was about 3 miles back to the ship and the first 2 ½ miles took 15 minutes and the last half mile over a half hour.  The ferry to Tasmania was docked next to QM2 and the line for cars boarding the ferry ran all the way to the end of the dock with us trapped in the queue.


It was just me and the Aussie for dinner as the other 4 were at the onshore event.  I did not see an appetizer that appealed and asked for skim milk instead, along with a steak and cherry strudel with ice cream for desert.  The milk never came but I got it at Kings Court where it is always out at the coffee stations.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dishes08.jpg

 

After dinner I stepped out on deck and the ferry to Tasmania was just getting underway.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/tasmania1.jpg

 

A few minutes later the sun set over the top of life boat number 3.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dusk08.jpg

 

The featured entertainment was the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers with "Be Our Guest" which I believe is the standard first night show.


My parting shot will be long.  I thought it was appropriate that it was on International Women's day that I saw Come From Away once again.  One of the featured characters is American Airlines Captain Beverly Bass and the show includes her life story as well as her experiences in Gander.  There is only one vocal solo in the show and I just can't get enough of this inspiring story grounded with a sad final twist:


My parents must have thought I was a crazy kid.,
I was one of those kids who always knew what I wanted.
They took me DOWN to the airport to see all the planes departing
WATCHing them fly something in me was starting
I was EIGHT when I told them I'd be a pilot


But I was too young and too short and there were no female Captains
And my dad said be patient, he said just see what happens
When I took my first lesson, came down from the sky,
and told my father I'd fly for the rest of my life


Then I got my first job flying for a mortician
In a tiny bonanza, just the corpse and me
Five dollars an hour for flying dead bodies
I had to climb over their faces just to get to my seat.


Suddenly the wheels lift off,
the ground is falling backwards, I am suddenly alive
Suddenly I'm in the COCKPIT
Suddenly everything's changed
Suddenly I'm not too young or too short
And the passengers in the back don't complain
Suddenly I'm flying company charters, suddenly everything's high
Suddenly there's nothing in between me and the sky


American Airlines had the prettiest planes
So I applied as a flight engineer, but the World War II pilots, they all complained
They said 'Girls shouldn't be in the cockpit
Hey lady, hey baby, why don't you grab us a drink'
And the flight attendants weren't my friends back then, they said
'Are you better than us do you think'


But I kept getting hired and the World War II crew, they retired
And the girls all thought much higher of me
1986, the first female American Captain in history


Suddenly I'm in the COCKPIT
Suddenly I've got my wings
Suddenly all those pilots protesting me, well they can get their own drinks
Suddenly there's no one saying 'stay grounded', suddenly everything's high
Suddenly there's no one in between me and the sky


Suddenly I've got an all female crew
The news talked, it made headlines across the world
Suddenly it STOPPED,
no-one saying you CAN'T or you WON'T or you'll never be anything cause you're a girl


Suddenly I'm getting married, and we're putting pins in the map where we've flown
Suddenly I'm a mother and suddenly shocked at how much they've grown
Suddenly I'm wondering how my parents would feel
seeing me teaching men to be pilots
cause suddenly I'm a senior instructor, and somehow I'm 51.


Suddenly I'm flying Paris to Dallas
Across the Atlantic and feeling calm
When suddenly someone says on air to air traffic
At 8:46 there's been a terrorist action
And the one thing I love more than anything was used as the BOMB

(slowly)

Suddenly I'm in a hotel
Suddenly something has died
Suddenly there's something in between me and the sky


A belated happy International Women's Day to all the ladies.


Roy

 

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3 hours ago, rafinmd said:


When suddenly someone says on air to air traffic
At 8:46 there's been a terrorist action
And the one thing I love more than anything was used as the BOMB

(slowly)

Suddenly I'm in a hotel
Suddenly something has died
Suddenly there's something in between me and the sky

 

 

 

I loved that soliloquy as well! 

Reading it today, I'm struck by how 

Suddenly ports are refusing ships

Suddenly uncertainty is the only thing for certain

Suddenly there's something in between me and the sea. 

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12 hours ago, ace2542 said:

What is it like onboard? Are people walking round with face masks on or is it a normal like the coronavirus doesn't exist?

Haven’t seen a face mask since boarding in Sydney

 

Roy

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15 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Day QM2-2, Sunday, March 8, 2020, Melbourne


The Crystal Serenity is in Airlie Beach.  The sun rose at 7:11 and set at 7:51.  The moon set at 4:49 and rose at 7:13.


We were just tying up when I went on deck about 6.  I walked 3 laps around the Promenade deck not sure how much walking I would do in town.


My regular readers know of my obsession with Come From Away.  This was originally supposed to be the last performance in Melbourne before that production moved to Shanghai.  It has been extended a couple of weeks (presumably due to Coronavirus) with the move now to Sydney.  I had posted on my Cruise Critic roll call and one other person decided to join me.


We had also both planned on finding a church service in Melbourne and we both left the ship about 9.  Ann is primarily Episcopalian and we originally looked at a church near the Comedy Theater and an 11AM service, but Ann had been off the ship earlier and had some ideas for churches near the shuttle stop.


The first of the new possibilities was St. Paul's (Episcopal).  The services were 9 and 11 and we arrived about 9:30, far too late for the early service and too early to consider the second one.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/stpaul.jpg


We hit the jackpot at our next stop.  Ann had heard from a friend in Sydney about Australia's Uniting Church (Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational) and we arrived about 9:45 with the service at 10.  Among the announcements in the bulletin was a noon program with a worker who had provided support to victims of the recent wildfires.  Coffee and tea were served after the service, and it turned out they were also selling items appropriate to tea service.  This took care of the need for lunch, and the presentation by a VCC (Victoria Council of Churches) representative was both moving and informative.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/stmichael1.jpg


It was only a few blocks to the Comedy Theater where it was time first to exchange reservations for tickets do a bit of browsing of the displays, and then find our seats.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/cfamlb.jpg


This was Ann's first time for Come From Away and my 10th.  One thing I found a bit disconcerting is that  the actor who played several roles including a brief reading of a speech by President Bush was completely bald.  That really seemed strange but as always the show was fabulous.  Ann is on the full world cruise and had to rush back to the ship to prepare for an onshore special dinner.  


I had a more leisurely walk back to the shuttle stop.  Chinatown was one block south of the theater.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/chinamlb.jpg


I went by St. Michael's again on my way back to town.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/stmichaels2.jpg


Melbourne's train station is huge but almost all of it is inside fare gates so there was little to see except the exterior.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/mlbcentral.jpg


I did a bit of grocery shopping on the way back, checking both Coles and Woolworths and buying at Woolworths.  I bought both Diet Coke and enough apples to get out of Australia as there were none in the buffet.  Of course they were back on the line Monday morning.  Go Figure.  The shuttle stop was just across the Yarro River from the business district.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/yarra.jpg


I was back at the shuttle stop about 5:15.  It was about 3 miles back to the ship and the first 2 ½ miles took 15 minutes and the last half mile over a half hour.  The ferry to Tasmania was docked next to QM2 and the line for cars boarding the ferry ran all the way to the end of the dock with us trapped in the queue.


It was just me and the Aussie for dinner as the other 4 were at the onshore event.  I did not see an appetizer that appealed and asked for skim milk instead, along with a steak and cherry strudel with ice cream for desert.  The milk never came but I got it at Kings Court where it is always out at the coffee stations.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dishes08.jpg

 

After dinner I stepped out on deck and the ferry to Tasmania was just getting underway.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/tasmania1.jpg

 

A few minutes later the sun set over the top of life boat number 3.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dusk08.jpg

 

The featured entertainment was the Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers with "Be Our Guest" which I believe is the standard first night show.


My parting shot will be long.  I thought it was appropriate that it was on International Women's day that I saw Come From Away once again.  One of the featured characters is American Airlines Captain Beverly Bass and the show includes her life story as well as her experiences in Gander.  There is only one vocal solo in the show and I just can't get enough of this inspiring story grounded with a sad final twist:


My parents must have thought I was a crazy kid.,
I was one of those kids who always knew what I wanted.
They took me DOWN to the airport to see all the planes departing
WATCHing them fly something in me was starting
I was EIGHT when I told them I'd be a pilot


But I was too young and too short and there were no female Captains
And my dad said be patient, he said just see what happens
When I took my first lesson, came down from the sky,
and told my father I'd fly for the rest of my life


Then I got my first job flying for a mortician
In a tiny bonanza, just the corpse and me
Five dollars an hour for flying dead bodies
I had to climb over their faces just to get to my seat.


Suddenly the wheels lift off,
the ground is falling backwards, I am suddenly alive
Suddenly I'm in the COCKPIT
Suddenly everything's changed
Suddenly I'm not too young or too short
And the passengers in the back don't complain
Suddenly I'm flying company charters, suddenly everything's high
Suddenly there's nothing in between me and the sky


American Airlines had the prettiest planes
So I applied as a flight engineer, but the World War II pilots, they all complained
They said 'Girls shouldn't be in the cockpit
Hey lady, hey baby, why don't you grab us a drink'
And the flight attendants weren't my friends back then, they said
'Are you better than us do you think'


But I kept getting hired and the World War II crew, they retired
And the girls all thought much higher of me
1986, the first female American Captain in history


Suddenly I'm in the COCKPIT
Suddenly I've got my wings
Suddenly all those pilots protesting me, well they can get their own drinks
Suddenly there's no one saying 'stay grounded', suddenly everything's high
Suddenly there's no one in between me and the sky


Suddenly I've got an all female crew
The news talked, it made headlines across the world
Suddenly it STOPPED,
no-one saying you CAN'T or you WON'T or you'll never be anything cause you're a girl


Suddenly I'm getting married, and we're putting pins in the map where we've flown
Suddenly I'm a mother and suddenly shocked at how much they've grown
Suddenly I'm wondering how my parents would feel
seeing me teaching men to be pilots
cause suddenly I'm a senior instructor, and somehow I'm 51.


Suddenly I'm flying Paris to Dallas
Across the Atlantic and feeling calm
When suddenly someone says on air to air traffic
At 8:46 there's been a terrorist action
And the one thing I love more than anything was used as the BOMB

(slowly)

Suddenly I'm in a hotel
Suddenly something has died
Suddenly there's something in between me and the sky


A belated happy International Women's Day to all the ladies.


Roy

 

Glad you got to enjoy Come From Away again in Melbourne on International Women's Day.  Thanks for sharing the lyrics of the female lead's solo.  It is a very moving musical.

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Day QM2-3, Monday, March 9, 2020, At sea, Queen Mary 2


The Crystal Serenity starts an overnight call in Cairns.  The sun rose at 7:15 and set at 8:11.  The moon set at 6:06 and rose at 8:14.


I'll start with another comparison photo.  I had mentioned getting a pretty extreme haircut in Sydney.  There was 40 days of hair growth after the Serenity photo that was more than gone when I boarded QM2.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/boarding.jpg


It was dark when I started my 5-lap early walk around the promenade deck.  I stopped about a half hour before sunrise with some decent color in the sky because a load of laundry on my agenda.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dawn0309.jpg


The laundries are open 7:30AM to 9PM but are usually opened up a few minutes early.  There's often a line waiting so I arrived about 15 minutes early.  I was alone when the attendant came but while most of the rooms have 4 sets of machines I found only 2 on deck 8.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/laundry8.jpg


My shipboard activities began with Graham's talk on Fremantle at 9:15.  There was a bit of a break at 10 before Olympian Rechelle Hawkes spoke at 11 on what it takes to sustain success based on the many highs and lows of her career.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/hawkes.jpg


In his noon update Captain Hashmi updated us on the medical emergency as we approached Melbourne.  He said the patient was offloaded without incident and is stable in the hospital.


I got lunch again at the Boardwalk Café.  In what seemed a bit of an odd scheduling move Stuart Usher had a 12:15 talk "Holdout-Surviving for the Emperor".  I did not go and as of 4:20PM Tuesday have not found it in replay, but there is still hope.  I did get to Andrew Jarrett's 1:30 talk on what can go wrong in tennis (bad behavior on the court and in the stands).


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/jarrett.jpg


The last talk of the day was Judy Hinchcliffe on Body Snatchers and Murder, the 19th century practice of robbing graves to provide cadavers for medical schools which in a couple of cases progressed to murder for the same purpose.


The Welcome Aboard party for those of us boarding in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne was held before dinner.  Captain Hashmi added that there were about 30 responses to his 2AM request for blood donors.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/welcome07.jpg


There were 4 of us at Table 211 (I'm told the other couple rarely shows up on Gala nights).  I went to the always available selection for a salad and included the lamb duo and carrot cake a la mode.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dishes09.jpg

I just missed sunset but the sky was still quite pretty from the promenade deck on the way back to my room.  The moon rose above lifeboat number 3 about 8:30.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/moonrise09.jpg


The featured entertainment was a new act to me, singer Lisa Crouch.  She did a variety of music and was very good.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/crouch.jpg


The Black and White ball was just getting started in the Queens Room as the show opened.  I dropped by only briefly.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dusk09.jpg


We gained a half hour as we moved to the local time for Adelaide.  As a parting shot, Stuart Usher's program on Japanese holdouts did come into the rotation just before 5PM Tuesday.  Sometimes fact is stronger than fiction.

 

Roy

 

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I'll need to have a look at that last photo.

 

Day QM2-4, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, Adelaide


The Crystal Serenity concludes an overnight call in Cairns.  The sun rose at 7:11 and set at 7:43.  The moon set at 8:20AM and rose at 8:23PM.


Anticipating some walking in port I walked just 3 laps in the morning.  The internet has actually been working quite well most of the time but I went up to Café Carinthia to check it before arriving in Adelaide.


The sun was just coming into view as we arrived at the dock next to the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, in the middle of a 2-day call there.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dawn0310.jpg


My tour was called "Adelaide Highlights".  We were on the bus most of the time (For starters, Central Adelaide was about a 45-minute drive from the dock).  Our first stop was at the South Australian Museum.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/sam1.jpg


The free museum covered 5 floors with an array of exhibitions ranging from art to Antarctic explorations.  The one exhibit that left me cold was a giant squid which was displayed only in small sections over several floors.  We had an hour at the museum.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/sam.jpg


The second stop was about a half hour out of town, an overlook called Lofty Mountain (elevation about 2,400 feet, 1,500 meters).  The views were very nice.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/loftyview.jpg


There was a snack bar at the overlook.  I didn't see any real food that struck my fancy but I bought a bag of Aussie potato chips to get a start on lunch.  We had about a half hour there and left at noon.  There was a very prominent obelisk at the summit.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/obelisk.jpg


We saw a lot of the sights of Adelaide driving both ways through the city but I didn't get much in the way of photographs through the bus window.  The core of the city is surrounded by a very nice ring of green space.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/greenring.jpg


We detoured a bit past the beach on the way back which extends for 30 kilometers.  We were back at the ship about 1:15.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/adlbeach.jpg


There was an ice cream product that I enjoyed very much in Sydney.  I saw the brand but not the actual product at both the café at Lofty Mountain nor in the terminal.  I really found nothing of interest near the terminal.


I finished off my lunch with skim milk and an ice cream cone from Kings Court, and watched some of the lectures I had missed on Monday.  Stuart Usher's talk on Japanese holdouts didn't come on until almost 5PM and I watched it rather than going on deck for sailaway which was around 5:30.  I stepped briefly onto my balcony but all I could really see was a bit of a tug boat helping with the wind.


All six of us were present at Table 211.  I chose the oxtail consume, spa chicken breast, and roasted pineapple.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dishes10.jpg


After dinner I took one more lap around the promenade deck for a total of 5, starting from the aft pool on deck 6.  As I arrived sunset was just starting and I got a better view from the promenade deck near the life rafts.  A little further along the sun was reflected in the doors to Kings Court.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dusk.jpg


When I returned to my room there was another letter about the coronavirus.  No itinerary changes were mentioned; it was pretty much a slight amplification of the every day sanitary precautions.  The one new thing I noticed was that security personnel who handle multiple items at the gangway would be wearing gloves.  I do expect the passenger count to drop at Fremantle, not necessarily due to new cancellations but I expect after effects from the Asia cancellations where many spots were filled at bargain rates by an influx of Aussies.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/corona0310.pdf


The featured entertainment was singing group the Valley with a tribute to the Four Seasons.  They were good but I think would have been better if they had stopped a little earlier.  The end of their show just dragged on and on.  We did gain a half hour overnight as we return to an integral hour offset from GMT.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/valleys.jpg


This parting shot will be brief.  Best wishes to Harry and Megan as they begin a more private life.


Roy

 

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Day QM2-5, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, At sea, Queen Mary 2


The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Cairns to Darwin.  The sun rose at 7:01 and set at 7:52.  The moon set at 8:23 and rose at 9:11.


I'll start off with a photo I mentioned but forgot to post on the sea day before Adelaide, the sunset on March 9.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dusk09.jpg


I had planned on walking a little bit more than I did on March 9, perhaps 8-10 laps.  I was out on deck about 5:20 and as I rounded the stern an essentially full moon was shining down through the deck 8 railing.  I walked 3 laps (1.1 miles) before returning to my cabin to watch Paul O'Laughlin's morning show live.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/moon0311.jpg


O'Laughlin's guests are usually people associated with some revenue generating activity but this morning he also interviewed the acrobatic duo performing later in the day.  After the show I returned to the promenade deck and walked 10 additional laps before starting breakfast.  I hadn't expected much with some low lying clouds but the sun appeared beautifully on about the third of those 10 laps.  I walked one final lap just before 9 for a total 14 laps (5.1 miles)


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dawn0311.jpg


While I have a penchant for expensive cruises I am a cheapskate at heart.  When I am buying wifi by the minute I go into scarcity mode.  I budget for 30 minutes a day for everything and decided my free 8 hours would be insufficient for 26 days.  So far the internet has been very good and I've used only 100 minutes for the first 5 days.  In addition to personal email and stuff I post by email to the blog which also hosts the pictures I reference on Cruise Critic.  I was able to post to the blog just before 10 but did not have time to go on to Cruise Critic before the 10AM  lecture.


The first of the day's lectures (10AM) was Chris Frame with a talk on Cunard and the Queens, covering her last 100 years.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/frame.jpg


Another new speaker went on at 11.  Peter Beckingham talked about the life and voyages of Captain Cook.  At the same time Paul was interviewing Captain Hashmi in the Royal Court Theater.  Hashmi started life as an airline pilot but started looking for a new career after a major slowdown in the airline industry.  At the time Cunard had a program of one way on the QE2 and the other on the Concorde and one of his BA contacts suggest investigating sea life.  He is officially Aseem Hashmi, MNM and the MNM was explained.  It is Merchant Naval Medal, and it came largely based on his airline background.  Hashmi was instrumental in a group devising airline style checklists for ships which are now an industry standard, and his group was appropriately honored.


In his penultimate noon update (Captain Wells joins in Fremantle) Captain Hashmi noted we were in the middle of the great Australian Bight in the Southern Ocean.  We were about 200 miles from the nearest land but will get close again as we round the Southwest tip of Australia.


A misprint in the Daily Programme had a 12:15 lecture but when I discovered it should have been 3PM I went up to the Boardwalk Café for my lunch, grilled chicken, skim milk, and a cookie.  After lunch I finally found the time for my second internet session, posting to Cruise Critic and checking my emails.  One from my travel agent had my room assignment for the transatlantic segment of my cruise.  I will stay in 8025.  It was not available when I first booked so I suspect there was a cancellation.


The final classical concert by Ben and Tyler was in the Royal Court Theater featuring "Rhapsody in Blue" among other works.  The final talk of the day was Stuart Usher with the story of the German warship Emden, grounded and wrecked in the South Pacific in WW2.


For the second Gala night of the segment there were again 4 at Table 211.  I chose the Chicken Consume, Beef Medallion, and ice cream.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dishes11.jpg


I must say I like Crystal's "Lectures on Demand" very well.  Cunard tapes the lectures but most of them appear on only 1 channel with the day's lectures running sequentially from 5PM to 5PM the next sea day.  I did eventually see Peter Beckingham's talk on Captain Cook but it ended after the night's show had already started.  


There seems to be a special Ball each Gala night.  This one was the Australian Ball.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/aussieball.jpg


While on deck 3 aft I popped into night club G32 (for those not familiar with Cunard, the name G32 comes from the number the shipyard assigned to QM2 while it was built  It was quite lively with a live band.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/g32-11.jpg


The featured entertainment was Power of 2, an acrobatic duo.  This type of show has always impressed me with the skill, strength, and flexibility of the performers but left me searching for a reason why I should care.  This duo added the element of interesting costumes (one was a clown) but did not change my verdict.  The show was at 10:30 and I was in bed by 11, even though we gained an additional hour overnight.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/powerof2.jpg


My parting shot is a sad one.  I have learned Crystal Serenity's World Cruise is ending a month early in Perth.  I find this sad for everyone but especially for World Cruise Hostess Stacey Houston and venerable Cruise Director Gary Hunter, both on their final World Cruises.  I had the feeling this was a likely train wreck by the end of February with the successive announcements that no passengers would be allowed to board in Sydney and then reversed less than 48 hours later.  It is also ironic that passengers onboard could continue to Mumbai but would not be allowed to disembark in Perth, and now everyone must leave in Perth.  Cunard seems to have been more proactive and organized about this and while there are some concerns I am quite optimistic about my prospects of a successful sail in to New York.


Roy

 

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Hopefully Roy's voyage won't be disrupted too much but to avoid disrupting this great thread, for posters other than Roy, please keep discussion of Coronavirus to the sticky at the top of the board.

 

Thank you

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On 3/12/2020 at 2:43 PM, Host Hattie said:

I think that might be the first time I've ever read that on the Cunard board !

 

Thanks for another great report.

I am pleasantly SHOCKED.  I just got back from my tour and spent about 10 minutes going through emails about coronavirus closures at home.  I can only imagine what it would have been like if the internet was the same as a year ago.

 

Roy

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Day QM2-6, Thursday, March 12, 2020, At sea, Queen Mary 2


The Crystal Serenity is at sea from Cairns to Darwin.  The sun rose at 6:45 and set at 7:31.  The moon set at 9:21AM and returned at 9:27PM.


In Come From Away Mayor Claude Elliott starts his Gander day at Tim Hortons.  I start my QM2 day at one of the coffee stations in Kings Court.  Coffee, tea, regular and skim milk, juice, water, and ice all there but for me it's coffee, and all just steps away from the finest promenade deck at sea.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/coffeekc.jpg


When I went on deck and rounded the stern the moon was shining brightly above the starboard life raft cluster.  I walked 4 laps before returning to my cabin for Paul's  morning update.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/moon0312.jpg


I returned to the promenade deck for an additional 7 laps for a somewhat reduced but still satisfactory total of 11 (4 miles).  As I rounded the bow of the second of those laps I just missed seeing the sun drop behind a low lying while the sky was still a pastel of beauty.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dawn0312.jpg


I took care of the day's internet business before the lecture activity started at 10.  Judy Hinchcliff started things off with a talk on Crocodiles, followed by a Q&A with Olympian Rechelle Hawkes.  In his final noon update Captain Hashmi noted we had 365 miles to go and were 70 miles southeast of the nearest land.  We should approach Busselton at 7 and be anchored by 8.  He indicated that wind and sea swells might be an issue with tendering.  As I think he traditionally does he closed his final message of a voyage with a letter "Why I want to be a Sea Captain".


There was a chilly wind up on deck 12.  I took my lunch from the Boardwalk Café to one of the loungers and wrapped up in one of the pool towels for some extra warmth.  Almost lunch in bed.


The Chart Auction for the Prince's Trust was held at 2 in the Grand Lobby.  There were 2 charts, one for the Sydney to Fremantle segment ($850) and the other for the full circumnavigation of  Australia ($1,400).  I wonder if the days of the Chart Auction may be numbered as the world goes to electronic charts.  The actual base charts were at least the full southern hemisphere rather than a more detailed area chart as in the days of old.  It is still a nice exercise for the Cadets.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/auctions.jpg


The afternoon presentations were at 3 and 4, first Stuart Usher with the story of the rescue of 6 political prisoners from Fremantle Prison, and then Chris Frame on the story of the QE2.


I have a balcony but it isn't especially private.  For most of the voyage the catwalks between me and boat 3 have been torn up and crews have been out there scraping, painting, and sprucing  up the boat riggings.  Cruise lines can't win.  If they do this kind of work people will complain about the workers but if they don't then it will be "the ship  is a rust bucket".  Since I'm behind a lifeboat and not a tender I just want to be sure the boat is still up there.  


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/boatwork.jpg


We were a party of 6 for one of the last times at table 211.  I chose the duck consume, beef medallion, and ice cream.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/dishes12.jpg


The featured entertainment was probably Cunard's oldest production show, Appassionata.  I opted instead to go to a Viennese classical concert by the Harmony Strings (I hadn't encountered them yet but believe they are part of the crew).  It was a very nice performance.


https://morethangetaways.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/vianese.jpg


My parting shot will be a wish for safe travels for all joining QM2 in Perth or returning home, and especially Captain Hashmi and my table mate Liz.


Roy

 

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