QM2 The View From Onboard


Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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A great effect, if you have a camcorder, is to stand at the doors of the children's deck looking forward down the 1000 foot corridor. If you focus your camcorder on the far wall at the end of the passage and then do a pullback shot, you can in effect 'walk' the viewer up the hall and give a great impression of how long the thing really is. The corridors are not for the sedentary. One 'feels' them quite a bit.... Especially if you have just walked it to the open deck, realised you had left your wallet behind, walked back to get it, realised that you had locked your cabin key in the room, making you have to walk back to the open deck to borrow the other key and repeat the trek. That's close to a mile of walking, and the elderly and unfit are cautioned that QM2 is not, perhap, their best choice.....
 

James Smith

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Dec 5, 2001
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I presume that, unlike the original Queen Mary, the Queen Mary 2 is perfectly flat and therefore you can see the opposite end of the halls off in the distance?

--Jim
 

John Clifford

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Mar 30, 1997
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HELLO FROM THE QUEEN MARY 2!!!

We're on the second full day here on the ship.

Saturday's check-in went fairly smooth. Despite signs to the contrary, Cunard streamlined things by opening all check-in areas to all people; no "Platinum"/Princess Grill lines. I estimate that it was probably about 40 minutes from curbside drop off to getting to my cabin.

I'm in Cabin #4014 and I have a great view from the Port side.

On Saturday afternoon the view from my cabin was that of the loading facilities at Terminal Island, but I saw several pleasure craft sail by (closely watched by Coast Guard and Port Police boats). One of the Port Police boats was, at one point, right below my window.

The Lifeboat Drill and Departure were delayed, mostly due to still-arriving passengers.
Before we left the Princess Cruise ship Saphire Princess, berthed next to us, took off first, so we waved to people on the Princess. Many of us wondered how many people on the Saphire Princess wished they were on the Queen Mary 2. Someone said probably nobody on our ship wished to be on the Saphire Princess.

When we cast off, at 4:49 PM, PST, I stood on the starboard side (ths ship was already pointing out to sea) and watched the various places where crowds gathered to see us depart.
In addition to the day area parking lot, there were people lined up outside the Maritime Museum, Ports of Call, and a warehouse building near the end of the Piers. There were quite a lot of people lining our route.

Two things I especially noticed:
1. People at the Acapulco Restaurant (next to the Maritime Museum) and at the restaurants at Ports of Call were gathered at the patio areas and windows; this included what looked like a wedding reception at the Ports of Call Restaurant, with the bride and groom seeing us off; and
2. Near Berth 78 at Ports of Call, on the open-air patio where I stood and watched the ship leave on Wednesday night (thinking "3 more days and I'll be on the ship"), there looked to be 2-3 times as many people watching the ship take off.

This was in addition to the fireboat preceeding us with the water displays, and all the pleasure craft and motorboats accompanying and following us out. It was a truly great occasion.

I was wondering how many people who came down to see the ship take off had been on previous voyages, including a few people living in LA who were on the April 16, 2004 trans-Atlantic voyage with me.
 

John Clifford

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Continuing the Cruise to Hawaii:
On Saturday night I learned that the ship's course had us go through the Catalina Channel so that we passed north of Catalina Island and south of Santa Barbara Island. That route must allow for better course settings, instead of heading south of Catalina straight towards the Islands. I called some of my neighbors, as well as my parents to let them know the ship was passing by the Palos Verdes Peninsula; will hear, when I get home, how many people could see us, though it was already dark when we were in the Channel; the Point Vicente Lighthouse was the one thing I could note to list our course.

On Saturday night the majority of the passengers turned in early, to finally rest up from all the routines in arriving in Los Angeles and getting to and on the ship.
My table at the Britannia Restaurant seats 8; thus far there are five of us. Two couples are from Kansas City; we discovered we all booked our voyage through the same travel agency.
One of the couples skipped the Saturday seating (as 8:30 PM was rather late that night).
I even admitted that I was so excited about getting on board that I was up early on Saturday, and "crashed" upon turning in.

Now we are settling in to ship board routines.
 

John Clifford

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Right now we have partly cloudy skies, but the winds have picked up; thus people are discouraged from going outside. Hopefully we will have smooth seas as we near Hawaii and while at the Islands.

On board they have one speaker giving presentations about the geography, legends, and customs of the Hawaiian Islands.
Also on board, I discovered, are members of the Steamship Historical Society, which I just rejoined. I met the President of the Brooklyn Chapter, and he gave me the itinerary for the group. I discovered that several people from Southern California are aboard, including a friend of Don Lynch and Ken Marschall, as well as a lady who used to live in Belfast and was active in all the Titanic Societies, and who was on the April 16 2004 crossing.
At a Sunday reception I got to meet Commodore Warwick who is on the ship but as a passenger for this voyage (though I'm sure he'd be up on the Bridge in seconds, if needed).

The big guest lecturer on this voyage is entertainer and author Art Linkletter; he is on board with his wife, and this morning he gave a talk not just about his radio and television shows (excerpts of his show were included in the program, with interviews from his former guests), but on his outlook on life and living well while aging. Mr. Linkletter is an expert on the topic, as he will be 94 later this year.
I was able to see him earlier as he was still up at the ship's library, and he agreed to sign my copy of "Kids Say the Darndest Things". I was fortunate to be the last one to get his autograph. Mr. Linkletter will have another presentation, this time question and answer session on March 4th.
 

John Clifford

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Hi Jerry.
Yes, I did see Bill's presentation on Sunday; he is set to give three more lectures. I need to check to see if there is one being offered today.

Right now it is overcast skies, but smooth seas, unlike last night when we encountered heavy winds. At the Captain's cocktail reception we had our moments of swaying back and forth, with everyone working to adjust their steps and postures. The Cruise Director pointed out that our shifting was about 2 degrees, and pointed out that the original Queen Mary had a rotation of 15 degrees. At the Britannia Restaurant there were two times when items crashed; once was at the seating area behind my table. No one was injured; just a case of "there goes some of the silverware".

One item for anyone scheduled for future sailings: check the Photo Gallery to see if they are still selling copies of a picture of the "Two Queens" at Long Beach, with the Queen Mary in front and the Queen Mary 2 about a mile away (last Thursday's rendesvouz). They are selling a large framed picture for $150; I passed on that, instead buying photos to send out to some of my friends. Later on I'll have to post a copy of that picture.

We are scheduled to arrive in Honolulu tomorrow morning; Cunard changed the Wednesday and Thursday itineraries so that we proceed from Oahu to Maui and on to the big island of Hawaii.

This afternoon I will work on addressing postcards to friends, family, and coworkers.
I will also think about thaking part in a Connexions "Dock the Queen Mary 2" simulators challenge (with a bonus for the Queen Mary): in addition to Honolulu they also have
New York City, and Sydney; sorry Jason, the Queen Mary 2 is too big to pass under the Quebec City bridge, so its "no go" on navigating up to Montreal or Toronto.
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With my skill, of course, I'll end up crashing the ship, such that Inger and Alex will be relieved to know that I'm not at the wheel when the Queen Mary 2 arrives, in the future, at Sydney and Melbourne.
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In the future, Alex, Jason, and Inger will have to test their nautical skills.
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CHEERS EVERYONE!!!
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John Clifford

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Continuing the Voyage to Hawaii:
THis afternoon I had lunch at Todd English; it was quite interesting to sit in the dining room (though casual dress is allowed for lunch) and look out at the people on Deck 8, sunning themselves or going out to the pool. They also had a reggae band playing, too. It was fun, and I enjoyed the view looking out, as the sun was shining.

I just finished the simulator challenge by George Losey, who is a Professor Emeritus in Hawaii, and who publishes PC Cruise Ship Simulations. I lost, as I ended up having the ship crash in to the Honolulu Maritime Museum and the local microbrewery. A crew member told me that when she practices using Sydney Harbor she ends up destroying the Sydney Opera House.
Other casualties noted:
1. Getting the ship stuck in the Harbor Channel;
2. Blocking the Harbor Piers; and
3. Running in to the Coast Guard Station.

If anyone wants to try their hand at the simulator, you can order or download it from www.WindwardTechnologyHawaii.com. If you do buy or download the simulator, "Good luck!", especially to Inger bringing the Queen Mary 2 in to Sydney.
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John Clifford

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ALOHA!!! Greetings From Honolulu.

The ship arrived in Honolulu this morning; we passed to the east of Oahu around 8:15 this morning. From there we slowed off the coast of Waikiki to allow the Coast Guard escort come along and drop off their personnel.

From there we proceeded past Waikiki Beach and over to the Port of Honolulu, pulling in to the newly designed Terminal 2. THere a group of musicians were there to greet us, as well as a group of people holding the letters to spell out A-L-O-H-A. Coming in I noticed people gathering in two of the shoreline parks, as well as personnel offloading a freighter in the next terminal; everyone was thrilled to see us arrive. I'll even wager that people in the Waikiki Hotels were watching the ship from hotel rooms or rooftop observation areas, if not from the beach; same with people in nearby condos and office buildings.

After we docked I waited to disembark, allowing the first crowd of people to get off, and avoid the lines; I used that free time to write postcards and pay bills. I finally disembarked around Noon.

On shore I first visited the Aloha Tower Center, even went up to the Observation Deck; got some good pictures from the Observation Deck and the Pier areas. I also thought about my disastrous simulator challenge docking the ship, when I saw the Pierside Maritime Center and the local Gordon Biersch Restaurant, both of which I crashed the ship into, during my simulation.

After that I mailed some bills, then caught a local bus to the Arizona Memorial, and saw the introductory film before heading out to the Memorial; there's no more waiting out in the sun any longer, but they also limit your visit. At least, though, you don't have to worry about having to wait for another shuttle boat, as they make sure only enough people attend each session.

I left the Arizona Memorial and proceeded via the local bus service to Waikiki Beach, and walked the beach area from the Hilton Hawaiian Gardens to the Waikiki surf club area. I made sure to get pictures of me with Diamond Head in the background, as well as next to a statute paying tribute to the story of the surfer girl and the sea lion, and a statue of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku; the latter statue left me thinking of Inger Sheil, who enjoys surfing. I even posed in a not-so-coordinated surfing post; will have to post that, and other pictures after I get home.

After dinner at a place called Lu Lu's Waikiki Surf, I did a quick walk back along Waikiki, especially seeing "The Pink Palace of Waikiki" (aka the Royal Hawaiian Hotel), which, I believe, is the oldest standing hotel. After that I caught a bus back to Pier 2 and got back on the ship. Now I'm looking forward to the 9:45 Luau Party, and we sail at 11:00 PM local time. Tomorrow we'll be in Lahaina.

CHEERS!!!
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Jerry Nuovo

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Jan 22, 2010
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Hi John, I am glad too see that you are enjoying the QM2 Cruise to Hawaii.Today here in the Northern New Jersey-New York City area we will get anywhere from 4 to 7 inches of snow and it is snowing already as I write this message.Oh well it is only about 10 months away when I board the QE2 again.
 

John Clifford

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ALOHA!!

Jerry, I promise not to say another thing about the weather here; its been overcast, but somewhat humid, with highs in the upper 70s, low 80s. And somewhere in Toronto, someone's thinking "TIME TO PACK MY BAGS"!!!
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Today we are anchored off Lahaina, on the coast of Maui. From here you can see some of the Maui resorts to the north. I was up early to watch as we approached the Island, and dropped anchor. I even saw a couple of whales swimming near the ship.
I'll be getting on one of the tenders heading to shore later this morning, probably around 9:00. Already a few of them have taken passengers ashore. Watching the tenders being loaded I was reminded of Jim Kalafua' post about the possibility that some idiot may spoil things by not staying seated while on the outdoor seating area; fortunately that has not happened, yet ("knock on wood").

I forgot to mention, yesterday, that one can now see the USS Missouri, which is docked in Pearl Harbor near the Arizona Memorial, so that the symbols of the beginning and end of the US involvement in World War 2 can be seen near each other. Unfortunately I did not have time to go to the USS Missouri, and will have to do that for a future trip to Hawaii.

Last night after I got back to the ship I enjoyed the Deck 8 Hawaii Celebration, which was not spoiled by the weather, as it did not rain last night (again, "knock on wood"). My take is that as long as I have a rain poncho and umbrella available the weather will cooperate.
From Deck 8 we watched as the ship sailed from Honolulu, to a great time had by all, especially with the rhythms of the on-board band.
For me, I did join in some of the dancing activities, such as the Macarena, Y-M-C-A, and the Conga Line, which our group did while circling around the pool stage.
Later I was thinking about a friend's comments about one of the Titanic Socities activities; my friend can think of many a way something can be made it to a Museum fundraiser.
Our activities last night would be a great celebration, but I doubt the two persons who have organized some of these festivities could be doing the Conga Line while wearing a formal dress and tuxedo; not exactly "Conga With the Astors".
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This morning I'll have to find my picture, seated on one of the patio sofa chairs, holding up a strawberry daiquiry, for "Cheers to Hawaii and the Queen Mary 2"!! I can later on scan it, and send it to friends and coworkers, for "Having a Great Time"!!

Now its "Off to Maui".

CHEERS!!!
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Am enjoying your journal John- and very envious at the moment as four inches of snow are on the ground in CT and more falling by the minute. I wanted to ask if the custom of 10 a.m. hot bouillion on deck is still kept? And another odd question, when you are lying in the cabin at night, does the ship make any interesting ship sounds? I love the creaking little noises some of the old gals make. Maybe the Queen is not broken in yet to these delightful things.
 
L

Linda Sherlock

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Can I please add my thanks for the regular updates, John? As the snow drifted down outside my British window this morning it was very pleasant to read about Hawaii and the ship. I envy you your sight of the USS Missouri and your trip to the Arizona memorial.
 

John Clifford

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Good Evening Everyone. It's now 7:30 PM, Hawaii Time, and we're now enroute to the big island of Hawaii.

This morning I took the tender in to Lahaina. On board I found myself thinking of Jim Kalafus' post, last year, about the swaying of those things, and how easily the people in the upper decks can get hurt on it. Fortunately that has not happened, and with luck Cunard will make it a point to remind people more often, to be careful, even make sure the public address system on the tenders is heard by the people on the upper levels.

Leaving the tenders, I was reminded of Father Browne's photos taken in Queenstown (now Cobh) as he was leaving the Titanic, especially the one where Captain Smith was seen from the bridge. Mike and Jim can attest to how big the ship is from the tenders.

Loading the tenders in the morning was more structured, but Cunard made sure that there were tenders coming in to, and going out of, the Lahaina Piers. The structure was the same as docking in Honolulu, with organized tour groups leaving from one gangway, and general disembarking leaving from the other. The morning routine included having the passengers and crew going on shore by themselves to receive a tender ticket, then get on the crafts (tickets are numbered for group quantities); they emphasized that boarding does commence, so one cannot get a ticket then go to other parts of the ship.

In the tenders many of us enjoyed waving to the people still on the ship, and also noticed a sign posted on the 7th Deck railing: "Security Zone. Do Not Come Closer Than 50 Meters"; such is life in this "post-9/11 World".
I also noted the presence of the ultrasound repelling devices, too.

Heading to shore, many of us took "The $1,000,000 Picture" of the Queen Mary 2 at anchor; we also were thrilled to see the whales out on the ocean. The group I was with cheered when one of the whales swam nearby and raised his tail when going underwater.

On approach to Lahaina the tenders slow, to be ready for the final approach to the Pier; I mused that we'd have to swim to the Pier to complete our journey. However, we were soon under way and came to the Pier, where we saw the many pleasure craft and tour boats anchored off Lahaina. Interestingly there was one wrecked sailing craft laying on its side; my comment was that was for "The Discount Package", to many giggles. After docking, the exit instructions were to walk around the Pier building, though some of us mused that we were supposed to go "straight into the drink".
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John Clifford

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After I arrived in Lahaina, I got the chance to see many of the local shops, and see some of the historical sites, even had my picture taken while sitting on the branch of the large banyan tree outside the old courthouse builing.

I later tried to rent a car to drive around the island but encountered a problem with Budget Car Rental, something the local agent said was due to their Corporate policy, but which I never encountered when renting from them in the last few years, from locations in Las Vegas and Virginia. I also found out that all the rental agencies were sold out, so I ended up back in Lahaina; the rental cars are picked up in Kapalua, 7 miles north, and near to the major Maui resort. Thus, I did not get to drive around Maui, and will save that for a later trip. The Budget Car Rental driver told me, though, that during this season there's more traffic around the island, so the 2-3 hour estimate is not correct; they also said it's very easy to have an accident when people decide to whale watch while driving (slow down or stop unexpectedly).

After that I realized I did not need a sweater and umbrella I took with me (as the local mountains did show signs of upper elevation storms or heavy cloud cover), so I went back to the ship to drop off those items. This is where I learned that one has to undergo searches of bags and equipment when getting on the tenders and then after getting back on the ship. That was around 1:15 PM, as I figured the local boat tours would take too long (we had to be back on the ship at 5:30 PM).

I then returned to Lahaina, but this time did not need a tender ticket, just head to the C-Deck gangway. Interestingly we learned that one tender was being delayed, due to assisting wheelchair bound passengers, so we were advised to head to the B-Deck gangway, or "up the C- and down the B-Deck stairways" route, a good way to get in one's daily walking exercise
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There was no waiting when my group arrived at the B-Deck gangway, but this time we experienced the swaying experienced by the winds and/or waves, as it felt like an Olympic event getting on the tender; the crewman were there to assist us, as they did when I returned earlier.

This time, in mid-approach we were delayed, due to too many boats at the Pier, and I also noticed that one of the tenders was delayed in docking along the ship (likely due to the scenario that caused us to change departure points). Our tender had to wait, but fortunately it was sunny and warm, so nobody complained; we mused that we could have used the time for some quick fishing, or a swim, which I would have liked (I had put on my swim trunks in planning to head to one of the local beaches). However we were soon on our way.
I then went to the beach area by the Lahaina Beach Resort Hotel (which we could see from the ship). It was great to just sit in the surf (though I do not advise one to venture to far out) and enjoy the waves coming alongside. Three other persons from the ship did the same thing, and I heard others also checked for local beach sites.
My apologies to everyone reading this while experiencing freezing temperatures and/or snow falls.

After sitting in the surf I had lunch at one of the restaurants along Front Street. My table was by the entrance but I did not mind (it was self-seating), since I could look out at the ship. I noticed that many people were out on Front Street, at the areas where the ship could be seen, and were either gazing at the ship or taking pictures (especially ones of themselves with the ship in the background).

I headed back to the ship around 4:30, and this time I was glad to be seated in the lower level of the tender, as I realized that (my term) "The Probable Curse From Toronto" was effective
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: I, like many people, did get sunburned. Many of my coworkers will be saying "You certainly made the most of your trip"!!!

The same will be said about a lot of people who are on the ship, who came here from Britain, and from other parts of the United States. They will, IMO, enjoying showing off their complexions when they return home after we get back to LA, next week.

The return trip on the tender was noteworthy as the waves did pick up, so we did rock back and forth; many of us wondered how quickly the craft might capsize. I found myself thinking of the survivors in Titanic's lifeboats encountering the seas after the ship sank.

Also, when approaching the Queen Mary 2, looking at the bow, I was quite impressed and immediately imagined what it was like approaching the Titanic from the tenders in Cherbourg and Queenstown.

We were quite glad to get back on the ship, and I had a better appreciation of how the people on Titanic probably felt when they thought they'd just "stay out of the way" and remain on the ship instead of going out on the lifeboats.

I then, after dropping items off in my cabin, watched some of the later tenders arriving, while also enduring the waves; not at all like the Beach Boys' lyrics of "Catch a wave and you're sittin' on top of the World"!! My thoughts were "I know what you're going through".

We finally loaded the tenders and set sail around 6:45 PM.

Now its "Off to Kaialua-Kona".

CHEERS!!!
 

John Clifford

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To Jerry & Linda, I appreciate your notes of "Thanks".

Shelley: I have not noticed any unusual noises, only the usual sound of the ship's sway.
Usually when I return to my cabin I'm ready to "crash" and have fallen asleep immediately.
 

John Clifford

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ALOHA, ONCE AGAIN!!!

Right now were are sailing around the Big Island of Hawaii, and will be heading to Ensenada for a service call, before returning to Los Angeles. The service call is so that the ship complies with the rules of the Jones Act: we have to stop in at least one foreign port before returning home; that's probably due to our shipboard gambling and keeping items duty-free.

Today was our last day in Hawaii, but it was definitely fun. We arrived off Kailua, on the Kona Coast around 6:45 AM, and were cleared to start tender service around 7:30.

I was having early breakfast up at Kings Court, Deck 7; there I saw the readying of the tenders. My table was next to Tender #12. Observing the crew making launching preparations I could not help notice the swaying of the tender, and noted the access point where we could board, from Deck 7, in case of emergency. This left me thinking, again, of the people on the Titanic boarding the lifeboats during the sinking, and what their thoughts must have been. Then seeing the lowering of the craft, and how swiftly the process was made me wonder if the tender would lower at the same rate of speed if required in an emergency. That left me thinking "I hope nobody dreads or hates accelerated lowerings".
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I'll also admit that yesterday and today I found myself thinking of Father Browne's famous picture of Captain Smith on the Bridge of Titanic when, in late afternoon, I got the opportunity to look up from Deck 7 to the Bridge area, on Deck 12, and I saw our Captain with some of his officers, standing on the Bridge extension.

Right now I need to head to dinner at the Britannia Restaurant. I will post some more of today's activities either later tonight or tomorrow.
 

John Clifford

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Greetings From the Queen Mary 2.

Today I was able to sign up for two of the shore excursions. The first was a bus trip to the Kona Coffee House and Museum, and to a former refuge area (set up during the rule of the Hawaiian Kings). The bus trip allowed us to see the area in parts of the West and South Coasts of Hawaii.
Our bus driver and tour guide was extremely polite and well-natured. He was used to many types of tourists and tour groups, and was glad that my group made it a point to be back at the buses timely, from our two stops.
The guide also mentioned how he once had a group from The Rotterdam, and they were upset due to delays that resulted from one the ship's cruise jumping overboard.
The only thing our guide did NOT say was that "Hilo" must mean "Abundant Rainfalls}, based on his comments about the weather on the other side of Hawaii.

The Coffee House was a good place to buy souvenirs: does anyone want two gift packs of 100% Kona Coffee and a set of kitchen items with Hawaii on them?
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The refuge point was a great opportunity for shoreside pictures, of which I took many.

At the refuge point I especially noted a temple model which, I mused, could be the ultimate "Discounted Hawaii Room"; would just be a matter of "no wake up calls, room service, or running water; other than that everything's great.
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Another picture point featured several tiki-type statues; their expressions, I thought, could be modeled after how many of us feel when getting up in the morning.
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We also saw the local green turtles, one of which was waiting to wade to shore; another was sunning itself. We're forbidden to touch them, due to their endangered species status.

Afterwards we headed back to Kailua, taking the scenic route along the coastal highway. We were thus able to get multiple views of the Queen Mary 2, and later on the "Condo Ship" called "The World", which came and docked next to us. Again, some of us must have been thinking "the passengers of 'The World" must be envious of us, but the feeling is not mutual".
It was a nice, pleasant morning.
 

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