April 20-26, 2009 Monday-Sunday
There are three (3) posts here, so continue scrolling down at the bottom of this post if you wish to read the two earlier QM2 posts.
Webcam from the Bridge of the Queen Mary2 is HERE.
These are the final 6 days in a round the world cruise in 2009 — the first 96 days are HERE.
As we left England behind us, the seas gradually became choppier. By the third night at sea we were in Force 7 Gale winds, and by the following morning the gales were above 30 knots and Force 8. Waves reached twelve feet. On Deck 2 passengers can sit in the hallways running from the Royal Court Theater to t the Planetarium (“Illuminations”) and be near the water line. In twelve-foot waves, passengers are occasionally looking UP at the water. That might sound high, but on the upper decks the waves are not very formidable.
Nonetheless, in this kind of sea, Mary 2 was rocking. This made one of our dinner companions very uncomfortable and as early as the second evening she was sucking green apples and sipping tomato soup, both of which seemed to help. The North Atlantic is a renowned stretch of rocky water; people pay big bucks for this kind of ride in an amusement park. Buckle up.
Dorothy, my good rightwing friend from the Queen Victoria’s commodore lounge is on board heading home to Montana. She is 83. Dorothy and I became friends because we would sit together in the Queen Victoria Commodores lounge in the morning and read the morning newspapers (before they were all snatched away along with anything else paper because of the norovirus). Dorothy managed to get herself invited to the Captain’s table the second night, perhaps because she had corresponded with him, but more probably because she is a very good Cunard customer.
Later in the week she came and sat beside me on the stairs during the “Groovy Choir”, a sing-along in the atrium several days a week. I became very fond of her.
Life aboard the Mary 2 was cheery and amiable. Want to see a dog? The kennels were on Deck 12 and dogs were usually running loose on a protected section of deck.
Children were everywhere including lots of babies – five proctors in the kid’s zone on deck 6 were looking after 22 children.
More than half of the QM2 passengers (1,300 of 2,400) would sail back to Southampton doing a roundtrip. One couple we met was coming over to shop at Macy’s in New York on Sunday before the QM2 headed back to London that same night.
By Friday we had passed within 15 miles of the site of where the Titanic sank in 1912. The site was marked on the navigation map posted on Deck 12, and the Commodore pointed out its approach and passing over the ship’s loudspeakers. By now we were now 300 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada, still two days sailing from New York.
The sea now became even choppier, and the skies had grown dark and blustery. Wind whipped and rain smattered. On my mile walk (3 laps) around Deck 7 on Friday morning I fought winds which, when added to the speed of the ship, were between 35 and 45 knots. The ship was running at between 25 and 28 knots. The crew washes the decks between 7 and 8 am, which meant besides the wind there was a water hazard.
By noon Saturday the wind was still ripping and cold, but the sun was bright. We were 140 miles south of Nova Scotia and only 180 miles from the coast of Massachusetts. Buttoning the ship up for arrival in New York was well underway.
The Captain said we would pass the former location of Ambrose Light at 3:45 in the following morning (Sunday), and slide under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge by a mere 12 feet at 4:45 am. And enter New York Harbour.
Then, after we passed the Statue of Liberty the Mary will do a 180-degree turn and back for a half mile into its berth at Red Hook/Brooklyn, arriving about 6 am. The ocean part of our world journey would end, and the journey itself would end Sunday night with the arrival of our flight from Islip to Orlando.
As cold as it had been on the North Atlantic, New York would be a balmy and warm.
Carol Anne spent the last of her 102 days at sea dozing in lectures while I finished photographing the ship, re-shooting the things that I had not managed to get in focus the first time.
I ran into one of the RADA performers and we walked the deck until she found two more members of her troop. We chatted about the business in London (not good for actors, but then it rarely is good for actors, alas) and some about Hollywood. The rumor is that Ellis Jones, director of the RADA onboard program, would be rejoining them in another crossing or two. Everyone is fond of Ellis, including me. Ellis did rejoin; so the rumor was true.
Ellis later wrote that “Hobson’s Choice” won top approval from passengers on one of the crossings after I left the ship. Richly deserved.
More invitations were arriving. Friday night it was a senior officer’s party that conflicted with the RADA poetry reading, although somehow we made both events. Carol Anne was happy that liquor still was being served when we arrived, but peeved because early arriving guests had wolfed all the food.
Our tables companions in the Britannia mostly spent the week vomiting because of the rough seas, but finally Thursday night we were all reunited again.
The location of our table, arguably the second best in the Britannia, had apparently been an increasing subject of discussion between the two other couples at the table. They decided that I might be one of the owners of the shipping line traveling incognito and that, for some reason, I selected them to sit at my table. When the ship’s Cruise Director hailed me from his seat at the Captain’s table, rose and shook my hands eagerly introducing me to his wife, they became even more suspicious.
Denial seemed to go nowhere. I finally put my foot down. I said that if this discussion continued any further this table would be gone the following night and they would be dining in the kitchen of King Court buffet for the rest of the trip. They seemed to think this was hilarious. Carnival Corporation owns Cunard. The only financial relationship I have with them is they cashed my check for our tickets.
Right on schedule the Queen Mary 2 pulled up and stopped near Ambrose Light and at 3:45 a.m. Sunday morning boarded the pilot, along with five others. For 80 minutes, the QM2 glided in a large arc running between the channel markers, and then, with less than 20-feet to spare, slid under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Straight ahead, Manhattan. On the left coming into view the Statue of Liberty. On right the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance and Red Hook. The QM2 came to a halt a few minutes before 6 a.m., did a 180-turn and backed one-half mile into the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and docked.
By mid-morning we were off the ship and on the way to Islip on Long Island to catch a flight to Orlando.
By early evening we were home – our 102 days at sea ended.
There are three (3) posts here, so continue scrolling down past the bottom of this post if you wish to read the two earlier QM2 posts.
Carol Anne and Manhattan with Brooklyn Bridge on right
Choppy Ocean off New Zealand
QM2, Deck 7
Kennels and dogs, Deck 12
Saga Rose, much beloved former Cunarder on way to breakers this fall – the QM2 passed her in the Atlantic Ocean and paid homage (HOOOOONNNK!). Research suggests the 587-passenger Saga Rose was initially, Sagafjord, 1965 and that the 655-passenger Saga Ruby was first Vistafjord, 1973, later Cunard Caronia III. However, a ship’s officer insisted the Saga Rose had formerly been the Cunarder Caronia III. When you figure it out, tell me.
Lookout on Deck 13 Forward of the QM2
Cabin 8105 – there’s a reason we got a great deal. On the other hand, we had a personal lifeboat, didn’t we?
The QM2 funnel. Cunard is very anal about its funnels.
QM2 docked at Red Hook, April 26, 2009. Our last look.
Sanford, FL, airport, one of two serving Orlando, FL. Sanford International, although lightly used, was the airport we used in 2008 to fly directly to Iceland.
In front of home in Celebration, Florida, after 102 days, posed and dressed exactly (on purpose) as we were when we left on January 13. Our friend George Moran picked us up at Orlando International Airport with his wife, Barbara, brought us home, and took this picture. (below)
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