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Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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It's very frumpy looking now. Or...welll...it looks like the room where brunch gets served in the better class of retirement home. The sort with a name such as The Elms At Shaker Heights. Or, Colonial Corner At Lexington.

The room, as it used to be, was an expanded version of one of the better night spots on the QE2. And, was one of only a few rooms we did not snicker at upon entering.

The question arises, why START there?

gross_qm2_1.jpg


Has the understated elegance of the Winter Garden been tampered with?

gross_qm2_2.jpg


Where one can while away the hours in a setting that perfectly captures the style and ambience of the antechamber between the lobby and the Steak 'n' Stein at the Fort Lauderdale 1978 motel of choice...

AND, the Grande Descent leading down from the grill class restaurants. Has the daring combination of yello Formica, yello dalmation-print carpet, and artwork which pays homage to the produce department wall graphics in ca 1995 ShopRite stores, been peeled away and replaced?

gross_qm2_6.jpg


Or the Harlequin painting, which whispers of sophistication and refined good taste?

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Or...the panda and bamboo...uhhh...."artwork" off the atrium?

So much else on the ship was WORSE.
 

Joe Russo

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Apr 10, 2006
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Maybe the designer of the Winter Garden was a fan of The Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. Animate those birds and they could charge admission.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Animate those birds and they could charge admission.

Joe, when you were aboard, did they still have the synthetic bird calls or had that concept been eliminated by then?

Another favorite what-were-they-thinking moment:

gross_qm2_5.jpg


It cries out for ca 1967 Tina Louise, reclining seductively, in Harem Pants. It NEEDS Joey Heatherton, 1968, in a see-thru Teddy, kneeling on it and sucking a strand of pearls. It was created expressly for the purpose of ca 1971 Lola Falana to crouch on it in a leopardskin sheath while snarling like a tiger.

...in short, its a room that needs drag queens in order to work.

Odd that the one room abord the ship that was not a stylistic mishmash or just-plain-weird has been done over as a stylistic mishmash. But, at least now the ship has a consistent level of mediocrity....
 

Joe Russo

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Apr 10, 2006
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>did they still have the synthetic bird calls or had that concept been eliminated by then?

I never stopped in the WG. I think I was probably afraid that the loud pastels would make me seasick instead of the rolling motion of the ship ;)
 

Joe Russo

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Apr 10, 2006
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>>Another favorite what-were-they-thinking moment

I thought it looked like the inside of Jeannie's bottle on I Dream of Jeannie. I kept looking for Barbara Eden behind one of those throw pillows.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Jeannie's bottle. The boudoir of a seductress in a Matt Helm film. High end bordello, 1968. Take your pick....the end result was neither 'playful' nor 'post-Modernist ironic.' It would have been both, had the rest of the interior been....coherent.... but in the jumble of kitsch with small interludes of actual style that is the QM2, this little bit of Johnson-era Vegas Whorehouse is denied the opportunity to be camp. It fits in with the rest of the decor. And that's a really sad commentary.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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Jan 22, 2010
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Jeannie's bottle,Oh my god what a laugh.And I do agree that the I Dream of Jeannie inspired decor in the entrance room of the Todd English restaurant aboard QM2 really has to go.But if Cunard insists in keeping it then they might as well go all the way and add a few women who look like Barbara Eden and dress them up in Jeannie outfits that includes those silly harem pants and have them dance to 1960s pop music like "Dance to the Music" by Sly and the Family Stone.And then that room can be called "Jeannie A Go-Go".LOL.Regards,Jerry
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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The ironic thing about the QM2 Winter Garden is that it can be the ideal location to go to, either during, or right after, breakfast and lunch service on the Deck 7 Kings Court, especially on the starboard side.

I usually did that to enjoy one last cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice; also could sit there to write postcards and letters if it was too windy to go out on deck.

What rankled me, too, was the fact that they had to keep having the art auctions there in the late mornings and early afternoons; did not endear it as a social spot.

BTW, Jim, in addition to Barbara Eden's Jeannie outfits, one might also consider the semi-seductive outfit worn by Mariette Hartley in the 1969 episode of STAR TREK, called "All Our Yesterdays"; that was the one where Spock and McCoy end up in the ice age period of the planet that is about to be destroyed by its star's supernova, when Spock realized he was in a time when Vulcans were savage, and he fell in love with Mariette Hartley's character.
Like Barbara Eden in "Jeannie", Mariette Hartley was, also, not allowed to show her navel, due to network censors' issues.

Sorry, Jim, if this brings up more repressed memories.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Believe it or not, John, I've never seen a Star Trek episode. Come to think of it, I can only recall seeing one or two clips over the last 42 years. Lost in Space was more my speed...

Hmmm... the art auction is one of those things, like buying a store warrantee on merchandise that already comes with one from the manufacturer, that I just don't understand. The quality of the...artwork...is generally horrific, and most of it is the mass produced stuff you can buy in malls. Yet...people attend. And overpay.

Once, on the Norway, a very elegant French woman and I refused to surrender our seats (she went first~ I only took her cue) on the VERY valid point that as paying customers why SHOULD we move for a shill concessionaire? The situation...deteriorated...rather quickly.

Back the Winter Garden. It's gross, but so too is King's Court. (And...WHAT KING? England doesn't have a King.) That entire complex should be torn out, and reconfigured so that...well...it runs port to starboard rather than bow to stern. As it is, at its best it has all the charm of eating in an airport seating area with crowds constantly passing by, and at worst it is like grabbing a snack in a bus station corridor.

Have you noticed that with the QM2 they have taken a massively large ship and done the impossible- made large sections of it cluttered and constructed? King's Court is the worst...an ugly clusterf*ck of an area...but the two lounge decks, as well, are very partitioned off and have more of a 'warren' feeling than one of intimacy.
 

Tom Roesser

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May 14, 2007
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Interestingly, the brightly painted parrots have been absent from the Winter Garden for years. They were stripped during the ship's first drydocking in 2005.

winter_garden.jpg
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Eew. The spectral parrots are even weirder. The effect is rather like Wedgewood being commissioned to create a relief for the Tiki Room. Having never progressed any further forward on that deck than the entrance to the Princess Grill since January 2004, I never got the chance to see this bit of tweaking.
 

Joe Russo

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Apr 10, 2006
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>>They were stripped during the ship's first drydocking in 2005<<

Odd that they would go through the trouble to strip the loud colors, but then leave that tacky artificial agapanthus in that "planter." They also left that "rain" falling in front of the mural.


>>Having never progressed any further forward on that deck than the entrance to the Princess Grill since January 2004<<

I avoided it too. I think it's like kryptonite for guys like us.
 
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Ellen Grace Butland

Guest
If the interiors of this ship are really like the photos - inside Jeannies bottle, I am not too fussed about travelling in her. Looks like Queen Mary der Grosse is not only big outside, but gross inside. It's such a pity, because they could do 'understated elegance' and really make her a ship to see, rather than another Carnicunard ship of tickytacky.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Odd that they would go through the trouble to strip the loud colors, but then leave that tacky artificial agapanthus in that "planter." They also left that "rain" falling in front of the mural.

And the quiet elegance of the painted glas...plastic...skylight. Is it still present? The plastic plants were/are a nice touch~ zero maintenence, other than dusting, and thematically compatible with the plastic rain and the plastic birds.

>I avoided it too.

~Buffet.
~Winter Garden.

>I think it's like kryptonite for guys like us.

Yes.

>If the interiors of this ship are really like the photos - inside Jeannies bottle,

If only. Jeannie's Bottle, although garish, was at least cheerful. In order to give the ship that....elegant olde worlde feel, much of its interior is sheathed in woodgrain laminate in the shade refered to as Dogsh*t Brown. Does one HAVE to French Polish laminate? Due to the extensive use of partitioning to create that unneccesary "Processional":

gross_qm2_9_copy1.jpg


there are only "accidental" port-to-starboard views on the lounge decks. A mistake continued as well on the Kings Court deck where the preparation areas are centrally located, blocking off most side-to-side light. Add to that a prevalence of "Regal" reds, "Royal" blues, and "Dogsh*t" brown laminate and you have an interior that is frequently quite gloomy as well as "Internal" feeling. Also, see those pseudo-Deco relief works in the Grande Processional? (Aka Big Pointless Hallway) They are not even metal. They are either plastic or fiberglas. Time to drag out that old saw about an unadorned neck being more beautiful than a neck draped with rhinestones.

To balance that...QM2 IS the first ship I've been aboard to provide adequate in-cabin bookshelfs. Two of them. TRUE....the majority of people do not bring ten or more books with them on a six night cruise, but for those of us who do, it was nice not to have to stack them atop the dresser.

gross_qm2_cabin_2.jpg


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So, it's not a 100% wash. True...the only room I REALLY liked now looks like the brunch room in a retirement condo complex, BUT, if I upgrade into Princess Grill I get adequate bookshelf space.
 

Tom Roesser

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May 14, 2007
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>>And the quiet elegance of the painted glas...plastic...skylight. Is it still present?<<

With the exception of having the colors being stripped from the mural in 2005, and the new seating arrangement put in place in 2006, the Winter Garden remains the same as it was back in 2004. The Winter Garden has a variety of odd functions when the ship is at sea. During a part of the voyage, the room is full of different works of art, which are later auctioned off in the same room. And after the change in seating, the room now basically serves as an overflow dining area for the Kings Court.  Despite the food being terrible there, the place can get very, very crowded. The same issue was present onboard the QE2. I rarely spend time in either area, and the only time I saw them on my last couple of voyages was on my way to the spa which, btw, is fantastic.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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>Despite the food being terrible there, the place can get very, very crowded.

That's because of its major design flaw. Internal service areas. Internal buffets. Multiple small buffet islands. Only two transverse corridors. A HUGE amount of space is devoted to preparation and serving, with only two narrow strips of unused space on the far side of the (for want of a better term) promenade decks left for seating. The space wasted as opposed to the effect achieved is horrific. As such, it is inferior to the Lido on the QE2. Like much else on the ship, it is an inexplicably weird design choice, the principal flaw of which should have been painfully evident from day 1: more space is devoted to spreading minimal amounts of food out over a VERY large area than is devoted to the comfort of the passengers who have to eat there.

Myself...the single most disgusting-tasting thing that has EVER been in my mouth entered it in that room. I have NO idea what it was- other than that it was breaded- but the aftertaste one gets from the pungent odor of decaying raccoon roadkill in midsummer actually represents an improvement....
 
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Ellen Grace Butland

Guest
EEEWW! its a wonder you didn't vomit on the spot, it sounds disgusting.
 

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