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Daily Log of a 111 Day World Cruise on QE2 - Entries 11-15

We had some wonderful clients take a 111 Day World Cruise on the QE2 and they documented each day. Once home, they published their cruise in a book and sent it to us along with pictures they had taken each day. Needless to say, they had a great time and we thought it'd be neat to share their experience with you here. We'll try and add a "day" each week.

Interested in a World Cruise? We'd love to help make this once-in-a-lifetime event special for you - give us a call, we'd love the opportunity. In the meantime, enjoy this journal!!

 

Entry 11        Entry 12        Entry 13       Entry 14          Entry 15

 

 

Posted May 19, 2008

February 1, 2006: Pago Pago


From Pat:

     Good news, we think, about the pictures for some of you. It now appears (thanks to Lois) that the major problem lies with those who have AOL. Apparently, AOL reads the text + pictures as either junk or trash or spam and red-crosses them out. We are not sure how we can solve that problem for you from the ship...

     It's good that you hear from us today since we'll be skipping tomorrow, the day we cross the International Date Line. Too bad we couldn't have skipped today! We are barely docked in Pago Pago. Due to wind with lots of rain, there's a tug boat holding us in place on a short pier. The dock here doesn't go the full length of the ship, from what I understand, so the tug is a good thing.

     We tried to go ashore to at least set foot on land but the gangway was closed due to rain and wind. People were jammed in the hallway with lots ahead and behind. We decided to skip getting off. So we observed the town through sheets of rain being blown by the wind. Went up on the Funnel Deck, above it all, for a while. No rock and roll up there.

     The captain wants everyone on board at noon; we'll leave soon after that, apparently. Well, we've heard about stops like this from our friend Doris. She tells about sailing past Sydney on one of her trips! At least it's not some IMPORTANT place to us. Bet the local economy will take a dive, compared to expectations.

     During the night, I had the feeling that we were steaming ahead very nicely and we were also rocking side-to-side. Back to the cradle! We'll see how rough it is as we leave - it's 11:15am here now.

     After dinner last night we stood on the upper balcony and listened to Three Tenors from NYC, I think. Doris claims one is a baritone and he did reach deep on some songs. They were okay - much better than I could do!  

 

Notes From Bill:

     This is rain like we only rarely see at home but it is the wind that has the captain concerned. There is a tug constantly pushing the ship against the pier and he is not sure this is a good idea to do all day so we will hoist anchor just before lunch. All trips today were cancelled and everyone gets a refund. We will attach pictures/ video of the harbor and also of Pat's sweing room. So her agenda today will be sewing, a book, and the "Dukes of Hazzard" on the TV. For me, another book ("Hornet Flight" by K. Follett) and email later this afternoon just about does it. It still beats shoveling the driveway, although it appears that NYC is getting 60 degree weather which bodes well for Potsdam, I assume.

 

Posted May 29, 2008

February 4, 2006: Fiji

From Bill:

     Temperature: 92 degrees; 75% humidity, sunny

     My first misconception was the name. This is actually "a" place made up of 320 volcanic islands, of which only about 100 are inhabited. the other one is that it in no way matched my imagination, built on the movie South Pacific, of hula girls, thatched huts, and other quaint things out of my junior high school National Geographic days.

     Now that we have learned not to book morning trips that leave insanely early, like 8am, we walked into town (lautoka). This was a serious case of not paying attention to the map or the ship's free shuttle information. It was along a very busy road of perhaps a mile or more and even the natives appeared to elect to take the native buses. The few of us hikers were very obviously from teh ship; and we consisted of the very fit ("...walk five to six miles every day" said one of them who passed us on the sidewalk) and the lame; I believe there may actually have been an older person or two with a walker and several canes. Just on the outskirts, a Figian lady intercepted Pat who then walked a good part of the rest of the way with us to point out where the fabric store was. There actually were three or more, along with all manner of clothing and merchandise stores, even including a shoe repair guy wedged in a stall not even 5' wide, between several shops. A minority of place were not air conditioned and apparently all the sales people never sit down all day long since there were no stools anywhere in sight. Nevermind, Pat was in absolute fabric Pig Heaven. We took a cab back.

     The afternoon excursion (once again, 45 minuted delayed) took us to Nadi, and the Burness House which was a 6-acre working orchid farm and a tour of the home housing family artifacts of the present owners and a shrine of sorts of pictures and memorabilia of Raymond Burr items, who also happened to be a rabid orchid collector. The roads on this island are a disgrace of potholes and humps so serious that we stopped often and crawled over others at a walking pace. The road to the orchids was dirt and in even worse shape.

     Stop two was the Central Market in Nadi, which actually was a big souvenir store with a native Fijian standing guard outside. It was more fun that I had anticipated (this souvenir business really becomes a jaded one) because some of the wooden bowls, containers, and statuettes were first class. One of the woods reminded me of the Bill Sherman "distressed" wood - white with black lines through it.

     Stop three was a visit to Viseisei Village, with those thatched huts I had looked for, but no naked ladies. It was table after table of jewelry found everywhere, a very attractive village Methodist church, and was praised by out tour guide as "how we live as a community". The houses were nicely built around the large grass common, but the natives selling crafts around the entrance road were very obviously living on the edge of poverty.

     Stop four: We arrived at the ship a little after 6pm (ship departure was advertised as 5pm). On the QE2, no one gets left behind.

     Note: On every excursion so far, the bus has had several people who were seriously can/ walker-dependent and therefore took excessive effort getting off at each stop; climbing back up the steps was a singular ordeal every time and it was not unusual to have fellow passengers reach out a hand to hoist them up. It didn't help their cause any, either, to be very seriously overweight. Cunard stresses on every tour its duration and symbols indicating walking involved, from easy to extensive. No mention anywhere indicates the degree of difficulty, especially for the handicapped.

 

Notes From Pat:

Well, gosh. I had a fine time yesterday! Guess my National Geographic Fantasies were not as dep as my traveling companion's!

     First of all, I was on teh deck at 6am watching the sun come up. That was quite a treat after two days of rain and wind. Beautiful. And I also stood on the deck and watched the sunset which was a real treat at the end of the day (7:10pm officially). I even have a little video of it on my digital camera; for those of you who are wondering: I love it!

     And, of course, the trip to town was fruitful althought I've made a resolution to stop diving in as much as I have. Enough with the south sea prints already.

     The tour, yes, was late dut to the buses not getting back from the morning tours. Lots of discussion about that all over the ship. When we were on the two-land macadam road, our guide said we were on the Queen's Highway. When we hit pot hole #1 she said, "This is the King's Road." It was beastly hot but the a/c helped on the van.

     Today is Sunday. But we went by the adage: Cleanliness is next to Godliness and took two hours to do our laundry. And got an earful. A large, take-charge woman (think church dinners, etc_ gave us the run down of how ther ewas a shoving match last week over taking someone's laundry out of the dryer, still wet. The bottom line is: stick by your laundry. Someone even said they'd heard two people were ejected from the boat for that. Please pass the salt...

     Other tid-bits we learned (besides ho the Ladies of the Laundry have organized things) were there was also a fight over an exercise machine in the gym and that seven people have died onboard already. That seems to be par for the course. Where are we? Not even half of the way through!!?? So even theough the laundry is not and rocky, you can really pick up on The News. One woman said her husband fixed on of the washers but still there were 3 out of commission while we were there. We didn't have any problems.

     Of course when we got to lunch, Doris, the English lady who always dresses like and English lady (demurely), had already heard whatever we picked up in the launderette. She knows those who know. Or maybe she learned it first. Anyway, we like her. She and I are going to the opera together in Sydney. Bill has taken a pass on that. We hear it's going to be Faust. This is the first serious opera I've ever been to (did see Madame Butterfly in Elmira when we still lived in Troy).

     Okay. I'm quitting for now since we are meetign the Loftuses before dinner. TTFN!

 

Posted June 17, 2008

February 6, 2006: New Caledonia


From Bill:

     Temperature: high 70's, cloudy

     We divided, but at least for me, not much conquered.

     I elected to take the Little Train Tour at 8:30am (which left at 8:45, of course), which wound through town and up one of their highest hills. Nice views, a snack of soda/ champagne and pastries, and back through another part of town for a total of 1(?) hour. This is a French territory which produces 30% of the world's nickel (behind Canada and Russia). Virtually everything sold has to be imported, at a tax of 40%; shops have to make a profit on top of that, making this a very expensive place to shop or do anything. Tourists are the other source of island wealth, followed by a reputedly very good coffee crop.

Notes From Pat:

     I went to the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, finished, I believe, in 1998. The only problem with the tour is that the guide spoke with such a heavy French/ native accent that I missed a lot of what he said! Tablemates Louise (daughter) and Pat (mother) also went and they were in the other group so they may have a better understanding. The tour was called "Kanak Cultural Acquaintance". The place is named for a Kanak Politician who was assassinated in the late 1980's.

     That said, it was interesting: much contemporary art by artists from neighboring nations plus New Caledonia placed in contemporary galleries under a building the likes of what I've never seen! It was designed by Renzo Piano. I can't even describe it! Look it up on teh internet and you'll see why! Maybe we can send a photo with this...

     They also erected three traditional houses from South, North and Loyalty Islands, the three parts of New Caledonia. They were interesting, too. Think of elongated teepee-shape for two of them. The Islands was more hut-like with a thatched roof.

     I do want to add a little more about Fiji because the scenery was beautiful. The mountains had sheer grey rock on their sides with patches of that wonderful lush gree wherever plants, etc. had gotten a toehold. Probably took way too many pictures of them from the bus with sugar cane in the foreground, then palm trees and the mountains in the background. Ummmm!

     And another thing: our American tablemate, Marion, who my mother would ahve called "a lovely woman", told us that she and other friends who have done a lot of cruising on these ships have agreed that the folks on this cruise are the "unfriendliest" of any they have taken. I palled with another single woman from Toronto and she said she'd heard at the Purser's Desk people complaining that all the gym equipment is being saved for the Round the World folks. So we still haven't nicened up, apparently. Honestly, we're trying to be pleasant!

     As for my "project", it may be that Barry McD. is right, thet there will be a quilt top in progress (at least) by the end of the trip. I've got a bunch of squares laid out for stitching together and some ideas on how to incorporate more of them between lectures, meals and pacing the deck tomorrow - and the rest of today. Just realized in 48 hours, give or take time zones, we'll be in New Zealand! Amazing!!! At the end of the month we have a spate of cruising days in a row so will really have to make that time pay!

     Speaking of time zones, so far we went ahead one (Curacao) and have gone ahead for so many we cannot complain of being tired! So far we seem to ahve adjusted to the change without lying awake nights. I think I heard we have to jump ahead two zones during the New Zealand/ Australian ports but am not sure yet.

     That's it for now. Hope you ALL are extra-well

  

Posted July 11, 2008

February 8, 2006: Auckland

 
Notes From Pat:

     Temperature: mid 70's, sunny

     Hmmm. Bill's just given you the outline below of last night's special event and told me to fill it in. Before that, I need to add a little Personal Stuff.

     To wit: Suddenly my hair had grown and was totally out of control. The beauty shop is just around the corner from our room. So I stopped in to see when the next available appointment would be and found that there was an opening at 8:00am the next day (Tuesday). They even gave a wake-up call at 7:30am!

     Tracey did a superb job, with lots of little snips in every direction. And it still looks good, two days later. I salute all of you who pay Big City prices for haircuts but we live in the boonies and I get what I consider a good cut for $18 in Canton from Denyse who had warned me that it would be a lot more on board. She was right - 4 times that much! Oh, well, it's all a learning experience! Maybe I can get away with only one more cut since it's nice and short and I do have an appointment for a couple of days after we get back...

     Hmmm. Bill's just given you the outline below of last night's special event and told me to fill it in. Before that, I need to add a little Personal Stuff.

     To wit: Suddenly my hair had grown and was totally out of control. The beauty shop is just around the corner from our room. So I stopped in to see when the next available appointment would be and found that there was an opening at 8:00am the next day (Tuesday). They even gave a wake-up call at 7:30am!

From Bill:

     February 8th: Complimentary Event

     Sky Tower/ Bungy Jumping: This needle-pointed building is the most recognizable of the Auckland skyline. At the observation tower, every half hour or so from above a diver takes off; a clock just above this particular windo gives viewers minutes of advance warning. We attach one.

     Auckland War Memorial Museum: This place deserved more than the 35 minutes allotted to us (we were the last bus there). The oldest authentic war canoe dominated the Maori cases of exhibits and reputedly held 100 warriors at a sitting.

     Telstra Events Center: Each coach was welcomed with dancing an a speech. The totem pole was 3-1/2 years in the making.

     Maori Greeting/ Cocktails: Maori and Polynesian dancers performed, greeting us to the dinner. Wines flowed and continued right through dessert. We met Dolores and Jack there and sat with them at a table of eight.

     Kapa Haka Performance: Dinner followed with a salad of cold scallops and mussels on greens, choice of salmon or chicken and a cake for dessert. Wink kept flowing. And the dancing exhibits went on almost non-stop.

     Three Waiters: This was th eablosute knock-out highlight of the evening. Pat will fill in here...

     Okay: Early in the meal the "head waiter" made an announcement that a silvery evening bag had been found in the men's restroom and could be claimed by seeing him. For some reason he sang a few measures of an Italian aria. We didn't think anything of that. After a while, je came back to say that the bag had been claimed... by one of the chefs. Somehow another waither who was French got involved with the act and they began a vocal duel over who wa the better singer and which nationality had the best arias, etc. They each sang. Very well! The argument continued and they finally decided to sing a neutral/ Spanish aria since of course they were best in their native tongue. Suddenly a third singer took over the Spanish one. He was the best, I thought! So we had The Three Waiters who apparently do this a lot. They did a couple of numbers together and brought down the house. It was GOOD! And in the end they all admitted they were Aussies.

     Here's a little human interest sidelight. Please excuse me if I sound uncharitable but I'm trying to be realistic. We went ashore in Acapulco, a couple of girls sitting just in front of me were taking digital photos of the group and honed in on one woman who was almost grotesque (plastic surgery gone horribly bad?). Let's just let it go with that. I'm not going to try to describe her. Her age - probably older but arent we all? She was with a very elderly/ frail/ stooped older man.

     Because I was so fascinated with her, whenever she appeared I was afraid to look at her for fear she'd figure it out. They eat in our dining room so we ahve seen them walking through the lounge off and on.

     In the last week, I met her face-to-face, said good morning and she responded so she seemed friendly and unaware of my perverse interest. Well, last night when we found a table with 4 open seats, they were at it! Bill sat next to her and finally we asked where they were from: Itale, Milan, to be exact. We also learned she doesn't speak much English but that her cousing works for teh NY Times! And that her husband (?) wasn't well. She seemed quite solicitous of him. Ther're signed on for the whole trip but, she said, they might leave in Rome. Not bad for not speaking English, don't you think?

     Her ring finder was loaded with diamond (I think) rings to the knuckle! AMAZING!!! And of course there were rings on other fingers too. They left during the salad, pleading bathroom but never came back. After we got here last night I walked around the deck and Bill ran into her, asked how he was and she said "Not well." Haven't seen them today at all.

Posted August 6, 2008

February 9, 2006: Tour of Countryside

 

From Bill:

     Unlike other Cunard tour events, this began with boarding our bus before the 8am scheduled time. First stop was to see teh gannets, a bird that migrates from Australia and is apparently procreating with enthusiasm. The beach on either side of our picture goes for miles and it and the surf were absolutely spectacular.

     From there it was off to a working farm with sheep shearing, deer feeding, and landscaping of gardens and ponds that were terrific. Tea/ coffee with sandwiches and cakes were served at 10:15 but no departure until noon. Consequently, Pat and I got our walks off for the day!

 

Notes From Pat:

     We are wondering about these two "homes" we have visited on these events. Both were, of course, lovely, to say the least. But it seems to us they were set up (built 3 years ago in today's case) to accomodate such groups. This is a great way to pay the mortgage, if you like this sort of entertaining. We were given the run of the house although everyone basically stayed outdoors. The two women today were telling of a very busy schedule including lunches and dinners coming up in the next several days... A big roast was in the oven, before noon. But there were not other signs of the rest of the meal while we were there.

     And the shearer had a truck with sheep dogs in it for his act. There were plenty of sheep in the fields to select a victim from. Later he drove off. The Acapulco "home" was more palatial an dprobably is run my some sort of business, not by the owner, I'll bet, since it all was catered. Any actress could have played the part of the owner. Come on!

     Other Notes:

     1. If some of you are still not able to get the pictures we attach, we do not know what to do. It seems now that it is only a problem with several of the servers or perhapes your spam screening.

     2. We cannot help but notice every day how gorgeous (i.e. the untypical) weather you are all getting, if the national daily temperature of Boston and NYC is a guide. Well, just thank us for leaving this year!

     3. Although we seem to be able to stay current with our trip notes, email here is very erratic with the satellite transmission/ reception being very unpredictable, and even more so when we are in port. Maybe is it time to try a Starbucks internet session.

     And now we are underway; we were docked right next to the Hilton Hotel here. Just a narrow pier between us; we could see right into their decks and living rooms! They were all lined up to wave us off. Fun!