QM2 The View From Onboard


John Clifford

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Hello Again.

Yesterday afternoon, after the Kona Highlights tour returned to Kailua I was able to enjoy the views of the ship, from various vantage points, and a lot of people were busy taking pictures, as this was the first time the Queen Mary 2 was docked off the Big Island.

When I visited the site of the former royal palace, I looked at the ship from the upstairs terrace and found myself thinking "What would King Kameameha and/or Queen Liliukolani think, if they could have looked out at the Queen Mary 2"?
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I had lunch at one of the local restaurants, sitting on their terrace area, and enjoying the view of the ship; some of the people there were, again, taking "Queen Mary 2 backdrop pictures"; some were local residents or tourists, others were fellow passengers.

After lunch I got to go on a brief submarine voyage, to see the coral reefs.
Before we left there were individual pictures taken of us, our "bon voyage", then a short trip out to the submarine. Our guides polled us to see who had been on a submarine, earlier. The only qualifier was that the former Submarine Voyage ride at Disneyland did not count for previous trips; that eliminated many of us answering in the affirmative.
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The dive down was about 70 feet, but we also saw the area around 100 feet below; however, there is no coral at that depth.
In addition to the coral and local fish, we also were able to see, of all things, a camera sitting on the bottom of the ocean. Our guide it was lost a few weeks before, during one of the photo opportunity moments. At the time, when the person lost her camera, an employee of the submarine said "What a shame. That was a great picture you were taking". I wonder how many people would have pondered jumping in to try and retrieve that camera, if it belonged to us.
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We also heard about the strange questions people asked the submarine operators:
1. "Do the fish come up to the surface to breath?";
2. "Does it get dark under the water at night?";
3. "Is the white area by the reefs (simple sand) an undersea glacier?"; and
4. "How far down does one go before they can swim under the Island and come out the other side"?

I'll wager those prior divers were among the people many of us encountered, per the "Looney Letters and Criminal Correspondence" thread.

Our guide was especially taken by the undersea glacier question, since were in a warm water area, and volcanic activity occuring below and around us.

After the submarine trip, it was time to head back to the ship, especially as a light rainfall was starting. Many of us made it a point to wait for the arriving tenders, and not take last seating, since we did not wish to sit on the upper levels with the rain starting.

I was able to sit up front, on the lower level of the tender, so I got a great view of the ship, and was again reminded of the tenders approaching Titanic.

After getting back on the ship, it was a good time to enjoy the Deck 8 Terrace Bar pool and jacuzzi area. Because of the rain, they moved the "Out to Sea" festivities up to the enclosed pool area on Deck 12. Those of us in the pool and jacuzzi area did not mind the light rain while enjoying ourselves. It was there we watched as we left Hawaii. Interestingly, with the cloud cover and light rain settling in over Kailua, it looked as if Hawaii mysteriously vanished, i.e. "Brigadoon".

During our trip around the Island, we did get to briefly see the lava coming down to the Ocean. This while I was at dinner in the Britannia Restaurant. My table is on the Starboard side, so many of us headed over to the Port side windows; the people at the Starboard side were polite and gracious, though.

This morning I saw part of Tom Nicolai's lecture on ship models, and this afternoon Bill Miller will give another lecture. I also plan to prepare the last of my postcards, to send to friends, family, and coworkers. The postcards will be shipped out in LA, but people will be glad to see the "Posted Aboard QM2" stamps.

CHEERS!!
 

John Clifford

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Hello Again.

Today we have sunny skies and calm seas; many of us are using the opportunity to enjoy walking around the ship. I plan to take a few walks around Deck 7, instead of using the gymnasium. Then I'll spend some time at one of the pools. Hopefully the Deck 12 pool roof is open.

Yesterday we had partly sunny skies, but a nor-easter made it hard to enjoy sitting out on the decks. I finished writing postcards, and later addressed three birthday cards for three family members who, like me, have birthdays in March.
Sitting on deck I knew I had to secure the cards in a folder; otherwise, the cards, address list, stamps, etc. would "go flying". We had some swells but not too bad; the ship's swaying was the worst part of everything.

I have noted that it is always best to sit in the Winter Garden if one wants to have a chance to relax after breakfast and lunch; it is most convenient after one has eaten and just wants to enjoy another cup of coffee and/or juice.
The Kings Court can be quite crowded with everyone milling around the buffet areas, and Cunard still has the beverage areas jumbled: cups located in the middle, so that one has to do a roundabout to get coffee or tea, then milk or cream, and people trying to pass by when others want to get juice or lemonade. Hopefully such a layout will not be on the Queen Victoria.

When in the Winter Gardens, I found myself thinking about Titanic passengers Elizabeth Lindsey Lines and her daughter Mary Conover Lines, when they stopped in the 1st Class reception room for afternoon coffee on April 13, 1912. This time, though, I have not seen Captain Warren stop by, and Cunard Chair Pam Connover is not, to my knowledge, so a similar Smith-Ismay will not take place.

I have learned that Commodore Warwick is retiring. He will stay at the Queen Mary after we return to Los Angeles, then he will visit with his family, who are in Hawaii. I do not know the date he plans to formally retire. Thus it looks like Captain Warren will be in charge of taking the ship back around "the Path of Magellan", to New York, and then on to Southampton.

This afternoon there will be a live broadcast of the Academy Awards. I will have to stake out a seat at the Golden Lion Pub. There will also be a telecast at Illuminations.

We are set to stop off at Ensenada on Tuesday, but no shore service will be available. Then it's on to Los Angeles, where we are scheduled to arrive at 6:00 AM on Wednesday.
 

John Clifford

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Today was a beautiful day, and the seas were smooth. The temperature reached about 70; thus many people took advantage of being outside.

I walked along Deck 7, and got in about 3 miles of brisk walking. Afterwards I went up to Deck 12, where the Pavillion Pool roof was open. I enjoyed time in the pool, then the jacuzzi; found myself thinking of when Jason and I visited the Pavillion Pool during the April 2004 crossing. It is quite impressive to look up at the ship's funnel, from the pool area. After that I had lunch at the Boardwalk Cafe, also on Deck 12. Many people took advantage of the day to have lunch outside. The only drawback was that I got sunburned again; thus tomorrow another outdoor pool outing is out.

Afterwards I sat in at another lecture given by Bill Miller; he is definitely a "wealth of knowledge" regarding the ocean liners.
I recommend that Bill be invited to speak at the Titanic Societies' gatherings, if he has not already spoken there before.

The Oscar Party at the Golden Lion Pub was not as crowded as I expected it to be, probably because everyone could watch the telecast in their rooms. The satellite feed was not always good, so the broadcast was blocked, with unusual freeze frame images created. However, we did see about 99.44% of the show.

Tonight there is a 70s Dance Party being put on in the Queens Room. I was there for a little bit, and the people were having a lot of fun.
My only vice is that when they did both "Y-M-C-A" and "Chicken Dance", I thought "No, this would not work out as a 'Dancing With the Astors'-type fundraiser for one of the Societies"; that would not work for people in Edwardian outfits. I will have to tell one of my friends, "Sorry, Henry, it's 'no-go' with that proposal".
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Tomorrow I will see about future trips on the Queen Victoria; thus far the Cunard brochure (not released to the public) notes only the Queen Victoria's maiden voyage (12/11 - 12/21/2007), which is fully booked, and the Christmas Voyage (12/21/2007 - 1/8/2008).

I will also see if Bill Miller has available pictures of the North German line ships, especially the second WERA, which, on another thread, was noted as the one whose 1931 voyage inspired Katherine Anne Porter's book "Ship of Fools" .
Then it will be on to the Canyon Ranch Spa for afternoon massage and facial. They offered a discount on the massage if one booked another treatment. That will probably be available on future Queen Mary 2 trips.
 

John Clifford

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Hello Everyone.

This is now our last full day on the ship. This evening we will stop off in Ensenada, for a brief service. This is required as the Jones Act, enacted in the 1930s to protect then American traveling between US ports, requires foreign carriers to make at least one foreign post stop; otherwise we would have headed straight back to Los Angeles. We are not getting off at Ensenada, as it will be a one-hour stop, and we are set to arrive early tomorrow morning in Los Angeles.

I am scheduled to go through Immigration at 8:30 AM, and disembarkation for my deck is set for 10:00 AM. Tonight I need to pack my suitcases and have them out in the hall by midnight, for offloading tomorrow morning.

For anyone planning a trip on the Queen Mary 2, if the itinerary includes being on board during the Academy Awards, you will be able to watch the program through a live satellite feed, via Miami; that's probably so that the broadcast can be carried around the world. It made for interesting when there was some satellite interference.

Afterwards, the Cruise Staff entertained us with a "Arrival of the Stars" show in the Grand Lobby; we had impersonations of Elvis, Hillary Swank, Marilyn Monroe, Tina Turner, Tom Hanks, Toby Maguire (in Spiderman Mask), and "James Bond".
The only "downtimes" were when:
1. "Elvis" tried crooning some of his songs, and I was ready to start a chorus of "Return to Sender". A lot of people agreed with me;
2. The gentleman doing "James Bond" had a Pierce Brosnan sign, but did not display it when "Elvis" started describing Sean Connery instead;
3. "Marilyn Monroe", dressed for "Seven Year Itch", and her two "Gentlemen" escorts, did not catch on when I suggested her escorts could be, in truth, masquerading as "Daphne and Josephine". Seemed they have never seen "Some Like It Hot". They now know that when they get to San Diego, to visit the Del Coronado, where part of that film was shot (the Del Coronado's most famous location picture); and
4. When "Toby Maguire" (in Spiderman Mask) was being introduced, "Elvis" made "the World's worst faux pas", in giving us a synopsis of "Spiderman 2": he used "the wrong word", to describe "Doctor Octopus' four metal tentacles". That faux pas caused everyone to laugh hysterically, and could be used as the perfect source material for a Southwest Airlines "Wanna Get Away?" scenario.

Yesterday afternoon I had a great time at the Canyon Ranch Spa. I had a massage and later facial, the latter treatment included a "fix-it" for my sunburned face. Then one can enjoy the Relaxation Lounge and Aqua Therapy Center. I was thinking of Jason's comments about not being able to leave the Spa, during his appointment in April 2004; I was the same way yesterday.
If nothing else, one should purchase a Spa passport, for use of the facilities, if one does not wish a hair or beauty treatment, nor a massage, nor a skin care appointment.

The ship's gymnasium is great for doing workouts and viewing the ship's course, especially during extremely windy days. The only times I don't recommend the ship's gymnasium is on great days, when one can do several laps on Deck 7 (between 8:00 AM & 8:00 PM for passengers on Deck 6) or when we have rough seas; you do not want to be on the treadmills or cross-country units when the ship pitches or a wave hits.

Last night at dinner the Cruise Director introduced us to the Chef Staff, for a big picture moment of the staff standing on the stairs of the Britannia Restaurant.

After dinner our table attendand, Quentin, entertained us with some ship facts. He told us that in an emergency, it is estimated that it would take about 9.5 hours for the ship to sink.

The ship would split in two, due to its structural integrity, which allows it to bend, "oh so slightly" during "roll and pitch times"; one can see this from outside on Deck 12 (though one would be crazy to stand outside during those times).

We would also have the suction, as 150,000 gross tons will definitely create a pull. It is said that the effect would be such that anyone not away within an half-hour's time will "go down with the ship".

Today I slept in and had a late breakfast. Then it was on to an 11:00 performance of a shipboard Murder Mystery Reading. The audience was invited to join in, guessing musical clues: the pianist plays certain musical pieces and we guess the song, and can later guess the identity of the killer. I did terribly, not recognizing some classic pieces, like "Red Skies" or "Sheik of Arabi", though I dig get "Stormy Weather", "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" and "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair". I correctly guessed who the killer was, but did not qualify for a prize. It was fun, though, especially as "Sherlock Holmes" occassionally corrected the narrator for intentional incorrect words, and amateurish sound effects used.

Now its time for once more in a ship's pool and jacuzzi, then finish packing.

I hope to go on a future trip and I recommend it to everyone. The ship's staff did a good job this trip, especially considering we were fully booked, about 2555 passengers and 1250 crew, with only a few people getting off in Hawaii and a few others getting on.

I'll probably post picture images next week.

CHEERS EVERYONE!!!
 

Deborah Kogan

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Thank you, John, for sharing your trip with us. I really enjoyed it! ..I will be going on the QM2 over Labor Day to Halifax, and I hope to see some Titanic related sites.
 

John Clifford

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Here are some pictures taken during the Hawaii Excursion:

1. Arrival in Honolulu:
Views from the ship of Waikiki, and the Aloha Marketplace:
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and the view of Terminal 2, including a group of musicians who came out to greet us (their songs included "Tiny Bubbles" & "Hukela"
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The ship looked great from the Aloha Marketplace:
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John Clifford

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In Honolulu, I was also able to get a great picture of the ship from the top of the Aloha Tower
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(perhaps the Honolulu Tourist Commission would be interested in a copy); we'll split the postcard residuals.
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Also, must sees:
Pearl Harbor sites: the Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri:
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The view of the Missouri was taken from the Arizona Memorial.

At Waikiki: time to have pictures taken by two tributes to surfing:
"Makua & Kila"
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and surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku
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(with the worst imitation of "Hang-10" ever performed by a crazy tourist)
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as well as seeing Diamond Head:
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The Queen Mary 2 was a popular point of interest; many people took pictures from this spot.
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John Clifford

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Maui images: great opportunity to get up-close pictures, of the ship, from the tenders.

Here are some pictures taken of the tenders being loaded and heading over to Lahaina, as well as returning to the ship. The one of the tender at sea includes a distant view of the Kapalua resorts area:


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John Clifford

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Here are some ship pictures taken from the tenders. From the tenders one can truly appreciate the full size of the Queen Mary 2:

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(the Maui resorts off in the distance in the second picture)

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and a reminder that we are in the "Post 9/11 World":
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The sign says "Security Warning - Keep 50 Metres Away"; they also have those ultrasonic devices in the stern area.
 

John Clifford

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In Laihaina, many people crowded along Front Street and at the Pier, to get pictures of the ship. Many of us took advantage of the opportunity for ship pictures from the upper deck of the tender (yes, that is a single branch I'm sitting on):
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In the Lahaina Marketplace area is a wooden statue of King Kamehameha
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If this was down at the Pier, he could be seen as blessing our ship.
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The one problem is trying to find a place for the statue near the oversized Banyan Tree
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John Clifford

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Big Island images:
The only island resident not interested in the Queen Mary 2's arrival.
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That's a Hawaiian Sea Turtle, which has protective status, so we were all warned not to disturb them at their habitats, including the area of the ancient refuge site.

Instead one can admire the Temple statues
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(no, there not reciting "Oh how I hate to get up in the morning").
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or enjoy the coastline
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as well as take in great views from Kailua:
1. Popular Picture Spot on March 3rd, 2006:
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2. Popular Picture Spot on March 3rd, 2006, sans "Crazy Tourist":
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(the other ship is the Condo shipped called "The World") and
3. "What King Kameameha and Queen Liliukolani would have enjoyed seeing from the balcony of the Royal Palace"
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John Clifford

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Now that we say "Cheers to Hawaii"
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and to the Queen Mary
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I look forward to hearing the stories from the other ET members taking future trips on the QM2.
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John Clifford

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Now, two weeks from tomorrow, I will fly to New York and meet three friends. The four of us will do the September 4th eastbound crossing, Brooklyn to Southampton.
Then, after 12 days in England I will return to New York with one of my friends on the westbound crossing. My friend recently retired from his job and is a big Queen Mary buff; he saw the Queen Mary 2 in April 2004 and February 2006, and hoped to do both directions on the North Atlantic. I agreed to the westbound crossing; will have the same cabin for both excursions, with one friend in the cabin with me for the eastbound crossing, and my other friend being in the cabin for the westbound trip (for the eastbound trip, my other friend will be in a Deck 5 atrium view cabin with the fourth person on our trip).

I am definitely looking forward to this trip, and may also book a Los Angeles to Sydney trip in February 2009 (Cunard sent me the announcement brochure for the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria 2009 global cruises).
 

Jerry Nuovo

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John,Enjoy your September Eastbound and Westbound Crossings aboard the QM2.I will be aboard the QM2 on October 19,2007 to Southampton and stay aboard the QM2 for the return crossing to New York on October 25,2007.Let us know how you are enjoying the crossings.
 

John Clifford

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Thanks Jerry, Jim, and Michael, for your posts.
I'll definitely send a few posts when I am on the ship during the two crossings.

Michael: I know you will have a great time when you revisit Pearl Harbor and see both the ARIZONA MEMORIAL and the USS MISSOURI.
 

Jerry Nuovo

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Here is an article about an American deck officer,Ben Lyons who serves aboard the QM2. www.beyondships.com/QM2-Lyons.html .I had met the guy a few times aboard the QM2 and at the meetings of the World Ship Society,Port of New York Branch.I Wonder if he'll be aboard the QM2 in September when John will be aboard the QM2 and or October when I'll be aboard the QM2.
 

John Clifford

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HELLO FROM THE QUEEN MARY 2!!

We're in the third full day of the voyage to New York.
This time there are no celebrity entertainers on board.
On the September 4th trip actor John Cleese was aboard and he gave a chat about his life; that was a lot of fun, but they could have made it a longer session, and allowed more audience questions.
I also learned that Torquay, Agatha Christie's hometown, was also the inspiration for FAWLTY TOWERS: The Hotel Gleaneagles is where Cleese and friends had a rotten time with the obnoxious owner (now deceased). Today the hotel is a Best Western location, refurbished, and the current owners now are proud that FAWLTY TOWERS made their hotel a known name.

Also on that same voyage was Angela Bassett and her husband, Clive Young. They stayed through the ship's Mediterranean trip and got off in Southampton last week.

My friends and I had a great time on the eastbound crossing, with the only "downpoint" being that after several days the advancing of the time, forward, makes you semi-drowsy in the morning.
Going westbound, the act of turning the time back one hour makes the day more smooth.

The spirit here, though, on this crossing, is more low-key: as if people are thinking "Yeah, we're heading home", instead of heading forward on their holidays/vacations.

BTW, when in SOuthampton the best place to see the ships sail is from the Hythe Marina: there is a taxi-ferry crossing from the Town Quay, and after a short walk (following a pierside train ride) one can look accross to the Queen Elizabeth II Terminal. I was lucky that I knew the Hythe Ferry route (Jason Tiller and I did that in 2004), so my friends and I got great views of the ship as passed by it, heading to Hythe, then when watching the ship depart (both leaving the Terminal and then heading down the Solent).

Last Saturday I noted to look at the people on the Hythe Marina area, again bidding us farewell.

The ship will reach New York on Friday, and my cabin mate and I may go to Governor's Island to see it depart at that time.

CHEERS!!!
 

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