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Daily Log of a 111 Day World Cruise on QE2 - Entries 6-10

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!


Entry 6        Entry 7         Entry 8          Entry 9        Entry 10


 Posted February 20, 2008

January 18, 2006: Pacific Ocean - Heading for Acapulco

From Bill:

     Weather: windy, mid 80's, mostly very sunny. Chance of afternoon rain.

     This is one of those "Days at Sea" that look so romantic in the brochures but in reality means at least two things. You obviously cannot get off to do local shopping and also this comes with the sure fire bet that there will be 2 formal nights in succession. With no travelogue, what follows is a list of odds, evens and oddities. We'll attach several deck scenes and a flower to make it all authentic.

     Prelude: Off and on we have had the email connection rejected: "This page cannot be displayed..." Until this morning, we were very frustrated. Our computer guide on board today assured us this can happen often on a ship where the satellite connection has moved. Yesterday, we wanted to not only send out the day's news/ pictures, but especially to respond to those who had emailed news to us. We are on a terrific vacation and still treasure sending and getting. So here is what we will now try to do: Basically, send and receive your emails while we are in port (it would be an experience to try the free wi-fi at Starbucks but we have to check that out before we carry this lap top about... maybe not in Mexico!!). So this dated news brief of Jan 18 will no actually get sent this Friday. Tahnks to you all for your suggestions and patience! 

     Keys: That's right, honest-to-God heavy keys are used, just like they used to issue in older hotels. No computer-card access here. What's more, when you leave the room, it stays open unless you deliberately lock it up which you must or, in our case the first day, the room steward will leave you a handwritten note scolding you for your thoughtlessness. The advantage here is that you cannot lock yourself out!

     Time Zones: We've gone ahead 1 hour, gone back 1 hour but no word yet on when we begin to catch up with the Pacific Time Zone. I am also very aware that there are a lot more public area clocks around, unlike the QM2. Soon we'll begin to get an hour more each day... some time.

     Classical Music: When you turn on channel 3, there is a webcam pointing off the bow and classical music plays, all the time. Now, at Day 9, we realize that it is the same music every day. Thanks to the Ipod present from my daughter filled with over 700 pieces of music from the home collections, i have that problem licked. By the way, apparently there are very, very few Ipods on board. Several days ago, when I hadn't figured out how to up the volume from my headphones, I asked everyone around me at the pool how to do it. No one knew although of course every guy tried it out anyway; finally went to the room and read the directions.

     Longitude or Latitude?: Whichever it is that goes toward the equator, on no previous trips has the daily weather change been more apparent. Sunrise today was 7:26 am; sunset tonight will be 7:21 pm. Potsdam will not fare so well in June. 

     Fake Crabmeat: At one of our first formal dinners, I declined teh crabmeat cocktail because they didnt even try to disguise it otherwise. The waiter was horrified. "Sir, we always use only authentic, first quality seafood in here". He did not deign to even know what I meant by fake.

     Speed: Except for our departure out of New York City at 27 knots, the typically traveling rate is 17-22 knots (1 knot = 1.15 land miles).

     Sickness: The entire crew is absolutely fixated on preventing an outbreak of the African Awful, or whatever, by having at-the-ready squirt bottles containing a sorrt of gel that we rub between our hands, before meals, getting on/ off the ship, in any room that might involve hand contact with someone who might have previously left a germ behind. It becomes very automatic (Wifes note: I have Purell in my reticule).

     Movies: In the daily schedule of events, I was rather disappointed that movies rarely made the list of things to do. Pat has just referred me to a booklet in the room. We have 17 channels, which include 3 dedicated to feature films, a Classics channel, 2 news channels, BBC, and 2 others that rebroadcast past days' ship's lectures. Each of the four movie channels have continuous playtime 24 hours a day. Take today as a sample: Goldeneye, Ice Princess, Hostage (with Bruce Willis), and Some Like It Hot. I looked back over the last 9 days of films: No repeats. Unfortunately, despite such variety and accessibility, we haven't seen one movie yet.

     Men's toilets: On more than one occasion, I have actually found myself standing in line to use the facility. Except maybe at a McDonald's in the USA, this is usually rare for our gender. Finally, waiting again, this time at the Garun Lock on teh Canal, where there was only one stall available to us, I asked the guy in front of me why this line was so. He said, "You're from the Cunard ship, right?"

"Yes", I said.

"Well," he said, "look around you. At our age, it's all about the prostate."

AMEN! Travel experience is indeed broadening!


Addendum from Pat:

     Actually, travel doesn't ahve to be broadening if you eat sensibly and walk around the deck enough. I'm finding (thank you, God) that the menu isn't as seductive as it once was. They haven't repeated dishes, at least blatantly, yet. And enough is enough.

     This morning I hiked down our hall to the outside, (aft, the FAT end of the ship, our travel guide told us last time) and had a cup of coffee while perusing the News of the day which comes out in a USA and a British version. Theres is more fun but still covers a lot of ours, especially about movie stars and sports figures I don't recognize. This comes on a double 9x11 sheet, both sides, 2 pages or so. There's another one for business.

     We met the Loftusess for a drink before dinner and had a very pleasant chat. It's really amazing that we ended u pon the same boat this far away from home.

     We actually got to teh show after dinner tonight; puppets which were well done. We need to eat earlier and get a real seat and maybe one night we will do that! Our table mates are good company an dwe all get there whenever the spirit moves us so we were leaving as one was coming in. The last one, Eric, is definitely traveling to his own drummer. We do run into him on the deck or other places during the day but not so much for meals.

     Still resisting the stuff in teh shops and working my way through more bags of scraps. Put a lot of triangle pairs together yesterday and put them into some squares or rectangles today. At least I'll come home with larger pieces that I left with. What they'll ultimately become is all TBA. And now I'll wish you all a good night!


 Posted March 12, 2008

January 20, 2006: Acapulco

 From Bill:

     Weather: Mid 80's, very sunny.

     This day in port was quite different from the other ports and from other trips to the Caribbean Islands. This afternoon was a payoff for choosing accommodations on the One Deck, called a QE1 Grill Event. At 1:30, we all gathered in the Yacht Club lounge for another tender-trip to the dock where 106 of us were taken on a short tour of the downtown area of vendors, beaches (which are all public and open 24 hours a day), and then on to the cliff divers. Although it was just as we've all seen at some time, the hotel that hosted us/ Cunard had seats that were a fair distance away. I did notice a balcony above us that was not being used for some reason and was told it was ok to go up there, which helped a little bit more.

     Of course, we were besieged coming and going to the bus with vendors selling lace table clothes, marble elephants, Mexican sompreros, and all sorts of things including even rugs. From there, it was back on the bus along the beaches again, and up into the mountainous region overlooking the bay where off in the distance was anchored the QE2. And what we were treated to was a home (we later found out) that had been chartered by the Cunard folks just for the likes of us and it was opulent beyone anything Pat and I had ever before seen, even in the movies.

     We were greeted by a fleet of waiters/ esses with glasses of Mai Tais, Sangria, and several other tropical choices, walked on to a huge white tent where plush chairs had been set up in front of a stage where we watched folk dancers of traditional songs from, as they now call themselves, The United States of Mexico. No kidding. Drinks flowed, even in cluding champagne and then it was on to the downstairs, so to speak, where there were more reflecting pools, waterfalls, statues, tapestries, and an open bar too busy to actually measure what they poured. More waiters moved among us with trays of different canapes, guacamole, salsa and the like. This place had an "upstairs" bedroom that was out of the Arabian Nights and if you had night visitors we found 4 more lavish bedroom units with huge beds and murals without morals.

     We were all introduced to the owner (Pat and I got to pose with her) and she was a sweetheart. It was rumored that Cunard chartered this home (downstairs) for $250 per person; the upstairs gig was more after that (remember above: 106 of us!).

     Well, we lingered and the sun was getting into a sunset mode and some of the elderly who know about rules (the Captain has stressed that all were to be aboard by 6:30pm at the latest) began to seriously worry. There were 5 of these huge deluxe buses parked there in this insanely torturous driveway full of steep turns which had maneuvered shomehow down to pick us up while we were being hosted. Anyway, our ship's hostesses just laughed and said there were in touch wand had told the Captain we were going to be late, and of course he waited until we all ahd finally embarked, around 7:15pm. In spite of all the food and drink, it was of course time to go into the bare and later dinner.

     This was an experience we'll never forget; we took over 100 pictures. But we are not kidding ourselves into believing that we ahve truly been to the real Acapulco. We did not get off the main street, into any stores or up into off-coast areas that others probably saw on their trips into Acapulco. It was clean, the roads were crowded (the saying goes: "bigger goes first..."), the people (we never got to talk with) seemed very friendly toward us Americans. Finally, as you come into the harbor, by tender, you notice the immense development of homes and skyscrapers up on the surrounding hillside. According to several of the veteran travelers with us, this place has seen an immense explosion of people nad business in just the last 10 years.

     Addendum: As we get ready to try to send this with our wireless laptop, I am reading The World Is Flat, by T.L. Friedman where he is talking about internet, anytime, anywhere; that in Japan you can log on cell phone or to internet. Here we are subject to blocks of miles where this ship has not come close to upgrading their communication technology. That is a surprise to me because the Computer Learning Center just opened this month with 12 computers hard-wired but the satellite connections are totally unpredictable. An example of this was that, despite our plan to send from ports where the connections would be in place, in reality they were not. Mid-morning I called the Purser to find out; they knew but had neglected to put up a notice by the room's entrance that there would be no connection until sometime after we left port that night. There were a lot of people until then sitting there in that room, absolutely frustrated; they believed it was their failure, not the ships. 

Notes from Pat:

     Yesterday was Laundry Day (see, I get the practical stuff while Bill does the internet business).

     For all of us on board, there are 12 washing machines with dryers above. Three washers were out of order. When we got there, not too many folks were in sight so the wait to get into a couple of machines wasn't bad. Someone who came for the opening at 6am said it was already full. The place was very full for some of the time. Anyway, an hour an da half or so later, we're laundered and ready to go for another session. We all were very polite and didn't get out of line. It gave me a good chance to stand up, not sit, and that's good for my back.

     This brings me to another Point of Amuse/ Amazement. First of all, the menu for the upcoming day is slid under everyone's door, another waste of good trees. So you don't have to spend a lot of time at the table, deciding what to have. Also, someone during lunch will come around with the dinner menu. Thus you can plan to eat a balanced diet each day. One of yesterdays choices included sea scallops with and i quote: "Turnip chutney and cider parsley sauce". We all had a good chuckle over that! But it's a good clue to dealing with any turnip or cider surplus you might have.

     I had the duck and Bill ordered scallops in butter and garlic.

     So that's about all I have to add for now. Oh, yes, we're on our way to church again. I've sat in on two (Bill, one) discussions led by clergy of the three major faiths. This coming week, we'll get a better idea of their personalities, etc. It is a discussion so people get to question them.


     P.S. Back from church. The ship offers a choice of church or belly dancing class at the same time. And I chose church. Next week... maybe. ALSO we forgot to say we went to the Talent Show yesterday. It was fairly good with a variety of stuff, a couple of Elvis wannabes, a couple of poetry acts which were well done, line dancing by part of that class, a couple of comedians. The 87 year old man I told you about during the Panama Canal crossing did a very fine job of harmonica playing to start things off. 

     And then we witnessed the act which still has us shaking our heads, wondering what to think.

      We've seen the opportunity to buy a book by the Ship's Diva but haven't explored it. The Ship's Diva was the last act in the show. Obviously elderly, dressed in a tiered-ruffly white dress with a short veil going down the back, she looked like a bridal munchkin in appearance. I couldn't say she was anything over 5' tall. She sang an aria I recognize but can't be sure of the title: Caro Babbino or Mio Babbino, something like that from Gianni Schiaci. Excuse the spelling; I know it's not right. Anyway, the experience was painful and we wonder about her store. Is she a permanent passenger? We think it's possible. It was not enought to do one aria; she had an encore. The pianist did a masterful job in trying to keep her on key and not holding the last notes of a phrase overly long. Well, as they journey progresses we'll see if she stars in every talent show.

     The End For Now.

     AND on the mortal side, everyone from our table (except Eric who comes in 15 or fewer minutes before 9 when dinner service ends) met in the Queens Lounge last night for a pre-prandial. Joan from England introduced us to her friend, Beryl. They met on ship and found out they have a mutual friend in England. They're both traveling alone; Beryl is in her 80's.

     This morning we found out that later last night Beryl had some sort of seizure, was non-responsive for an hour and is in hospital* on board where she's having tests. Fortunately they were in a public area and Joan was with her. They'll send her to an LA hospital and fly her home, all things being equal. She was planning to leave later on in the voyage.

     Carpe Diem!

     *I'm beginning to speak real English here. ;-}


Posted April 4, 2008

January 23, 2006: Los Angeles


From Bill:

     Weather: Mid 70's, brilliant sunshine.

     As of this morning, we have now cruised 5798 nautical miles; leg two starts Monday. Today was both antoehr clock change back an hour (to Pacific Time). We no wnjoy more than 11 hours of daylight (7:05am to 6:12pm).

     The Commission of the Major Cardinal Sin: Boredom

     It was an early 7am breakfast as our tour was to leave at 7:45am. That turned out to be the most successful part of our day here. 

     Pat and I trudged off to the Grand Lounge to await our turn to go ashore. After ten minutes, it was becoming steadily more obvious that the passengers arriving around us were carrying bags as if they were on a 1-way trip ashore. It turns out that we hadn't read the ticket very closely; we were supposed to be in the Theater, around the corner and down the hall. Well, 8:15am (the now-fictional tour departure hour) came and went. We had a ticket for #3 bus; there were almost 50 of us. There were at least 7 busloads of travelers in all, sitting and waiting. And waiting. Finally, around 8:45, one of the staff said that the bottleneck was with U.S. Customs and Immigration. We finally got across the gangplank about 9 and waited some more. Lukily, since we ahve U.S. passports, we got into a separate line and from there to the bus. We were about the 5/6 peopel to get on and sit in a nice starboard seat. However, the rest of the group from England, Greece (we think) and other countries came on in dribs and drabs until 49 were there and we left around 9:30.

     Note: Photo Ops are just that: snap on the run, like the big Hollywood sign up on the mountain. There were 5 actual stops; at each we were told when to be back on board, and each time people took their time. So, besides the 1(?) hour late leaving, at each additional stop, the dardiness got worse, each adding up 5-12 minutes to the schedule. We did visit the Hollywood Bowl (it is boarded up now for the winter season); Grauman's Chinese Theater; a rest stop at the Disney Concert Hall; Olver Street, the site of where the original settlers from Spain put up there homes; and the Farmer's Market (actually a very large mall with every kind of food imaginable and many other stalls of assorted goods). We were told we could get a bite here to eat (this "4-hour" tour already was too late to get lunch in the ship's dining room) and be ready to go back at 2:40' we got rollying at 2:50.

     By now, I am angry at wasting a day on such a terrible tour and fed up with pushy passengers and others at the back of the bus who became steadily more rude. So we're now rolling along on the Thruway, when about 2:52 the bus begins to pull over next to the roads retaining wall. Smoke is pouring out of the front of the bus. We stop; the guide has already called for the fire department. And when he discovers the cause is a flat tire, calls for a tow truck and/ or a back-up bus to get us the rest of the 20 minute journey home. By now, we know the situation and both options. At 3:12, here come the fire trucks - at least 5 including two bery long ladder trucks and an EMT van. We cheer and shout and snap away with our cameras. They leave. The new bus arrives in time to get us to the Terminal at 3:40. There were several other matters Pat will get to; I need a drink!


Notes from Pat:

     Please understand I am not allowed to edit the above.

     Part of our frustration with this situation on the bus is that when it stopped the first couple of times for us to get out, people from the back were down the aisle before others could get up. Some made comments like, "Hellow, Houston, do we have a problem?" when folks didn't move fast enough to suit them. After that, to add insult ot injury, they asked the tour guide to "let the back get off first at the next stop". Hello! That's what they were doing. (We were about in the middle.) So he did, not knowing the situation. After that, as soon as the bus stopped, we halt, lame and otherwise decrepit leapt out of our seats into the aisle to play fair and empty the vehicle from the front.

     The other interesting little tidbit is that The Ship's Diva came with our bus and did a few bars from another aria so we could hear the wonderful acoustics of the Hollywood Bowl. There were many groans when this was announced. To add to the situation, she sat in the front bus seat and, when I got on, flashed her tape and CD. I just shook my head and said "Sorry." I do not want to buy any of her three books, to be honest, but I do want to find out her story. One of our tablemates said she asked her how she paid for her passage and she said "Royalties". Maybe the library has copies of her book and I can borrow one. It is painful to watch epople make fun of someone who obviously doesn't have it all together. Or maybe she does and I'm being too sympathetic. Cabbie: was she on board for any other of our voyages on this ship?

     Someone asked about the person supposedly left behind on the other bus. There was no one missing. One of the two staff people counted the other staff persion in and one didn't.

     We watched as Beryl, who may have had a stroke, was loaded into an ambulance. She seemed alert. We'll probably never know what happened to her. Also heard a man had a heart attack on board.

     Now I've got to get ready for dinner and meet new folks at our table. But now we're feeling like sophomores, at least. Till we find out how many times the new-to-us folks have been on this trip already...

     The End from Pat


     Added the next day: one of our new tablemates seems to know more of The Diva's story an dsaid she's never sung any better than she does now! One captain's wife dubbed her The Diva years ago so I guess she's a fixture. (Apparently if you buy a ticket, you can sell wahtever you want on this line.) Doris, the new woman, said she's really a very nice person. So I'm not worrying about her anymore.

     Our other two tablemates are a mother (Pat) and daughter (Louise) from Australia. Louise is a barrister; they've been on this ship before, too. Doris got on in Southampton, where she lives, and asked to move to another table since she was next to the smoking section. She was in "Industrial Relations - anything to do wtih money". Sounds smart. Actually I think tis table is loaded with people who are loaded - this leg was the first one. Three of the single women were in named suites which costs a lot. AND their spending patterns are a lot different from mine 

     Nonetheless, I observed...


Posted April 24, 2008

January 27, 2006: Honolulu

From Bill:

     Weather: Mid 70's, light winds, some clouds.

     Pat and I decided months ago that we would not buy any ship-sponsored trips since we had been here 20 years ago where we did a pretty good tour of everying from the Pearl Harbor Memorial to Waikiki. So we decided on a walking tour of the local craft shops by the Pier, and then walked up to a fabric shop in Chinatown (Pat will elaborate more on that below). We then hailed a cab to Walmart to pick pu a pencil sharpener, toothpaste adn the like. This WallyWorld was no different from all of those back in the USA.

     After lunch, back on board, we took a free trolley up to Hilo Hattie's where we collected an "identification" necklace eash, identifying us as tourists (we just blend in so well otherwise, you know...) and then on to another free tour bus that did the loop past the ship and along Waikiki Beach. We ended the afternoon going to the Aloha Tower (10 stories up, and free) for nice views of the town. As you all can see, no tales this day of spurious behavior on the part of our fellow travelers. So we are on to the next port, Pago Pago, correctly pronounced "Pan-go Pan-go" (this really defies all my phonic rules!). These next days at sea are forecast as probably a rock and roll treat but with temperatures at the next 3 ports in the high 80's to 90's and high humidity. I think it is time to dial up the Potsdam weather... Bill

 Notes from Pat:

     My turn! Just got back from the first movie I've seen in the theater here. It was "Ladies in Lavender" with Judy Dench and Maggi Smith, a very lovely little (bitter)sweet tale. See it if you can. I'm hoping they'll show "Mrs. Henderson Presents" with Dame Judi.

     Now to other matters: We have one patch left between us plus Dramamine and other oral things to try. Right now we are finishing the first of four days at sea and frankly, Scallop, I don't give a clam about cruising THIS way! We had three days between LA and Honolulu. Actually about halfway across the captain got on the pipe and said we were having exceptionally smooth sailing. Then we hit the big time rock and roll. No fun. Ginger helped.

     It was wonderful to feel good in Honolulu! I did look for fabric shops; got nowhere at first. Bill suggested asking a woman in a little shop and she knew of one in Chinatown, within walking distance. Found wonderful stuff at super prices - unbelievable, in fact: $3.50 a yard for the same stuff which was nicer than what the same manufacturer had in WalMart for $4.74. So I treated myself to some nice samplings. At home - $7-8 per yard.

     About this ship: right now it's not impressing me much. It's find; doesn't appear to leak... yet, anyway. It creaks a whole lot. There are spots, including our two porthole areas which are in serious need of paint, etc. We heard it's been sold to the Japanese already. Fine with me! The other thing is that I've been spoiled by Royal Caribbean (Navigator of the Seas, Carol - YUM!!) and others so maybe I just like glitter and glitz. But there is only one deck to walk outside on. 

     HOWEVER, there is a coterie of die-hard fans of ths ship who don't like QM2 at all! Mostly they complain that it is too big. One sits at our table, Doris, and English widow, who cruises 6 months a year, owns stock in Cunard and knows all the personal and business gossip within it! When I first say Doris I thought she was a teacher and now realize why: she could be Miss Miller's twin (Ithaca Hich School French teacher)! Except she has seriously black hair. She's the one who was in business and obviously made a lot of $$$$. It makes sense to love a ship you've traveled a lot in an dmaybe I'll change my mind by the end of April.

     We keep hearing stories about the damage to the QM2 and passenger reaction. We understand now that it will to into the nearest dry-dock (South America, apparently, where it is) to be repaired. The passengers, we heard today, were first offered $50 for missing 3 ports. This amount was upped to full-fare return plus a ticket home from whereever - like Rio de Janeiro - after the so-called "mutiny" by the passengers. I don't blame them.

     I've been going to the religious Hour (not exact terminology), run by a Presbyterian (Canadian) minister, American rabbi (who introduces himself as "Paul, formerly Saul"), and an Irish, I think, priest. Paul got himself in hot water a few days ago by asking whether Jesus would ahve voted to go to war in Iraq. Then we had to put our hands up (those who said no) if we were Americal. THEN some got irate that that question had been asked, just before the time ran out. Well, of course, religion has nothing to do with the war!!! Whatever were we thinking of!!?? One woman is perfectly willing to let others have their beliefs but SHE believes in HER Bible and is quite strident about that. Another man spoke of his belief in a touch of corporal punishment to raise good children; another blamed the world's woes on the women's movement. Saul, known as Paul, shot that one down quite succinctly. Bill's given up on going but I think it's interesting.

     Mary Higgins Clark has given one of her several lectures to come. That was the day before yesterday. She was very good; well spoken and interesting, about how she became a writer. We're also having a doctor who spoke on herbal medicines today; learned that Bill's mother had it right: don't take anything. He spent a lot of time on mixing prescription stuff with so-called "Natural" things and the need to let the physician know everything one ingests. There will be a helpful handout at his last lecture. There was SRO for him today.

     And today, the newest lecturer, Doug Burgess who has degrees from McGill, Cornell, and Brown, spoke today on the Anglo-German race pre-WWI to build the best ships. That was interesting, too. He'll do a few more, too.

     Last might we had a great show put on by 20 or so young girls, mostly, who did Hawaiian dances. They were simply wonderful - had been in Rome for 5 days doing their show there. Not sure if the Pope was in the audience. Every hip, hand and head moved as one. Very impressive!! Yes - that reminds me of another drawback of this ship: the Grand Lounge seats are not raised in the back well enough for one to see over the heads of taller folks in front AND they've got a series of posts holding the seiling up that eliminate a certain number of good seats. The QM2 certainly has it beat on that score!!

     Well, enough complaining. I'm actually happy to be here. Tonight is another dress-up night; we have 3 in a row since we're not in port. And the sun's about to set so maybe I'll get up on the Boat Deck where the outside walkway is and see if I can catch the Green Flash.

     All that and more to you. Pat


     More: Sunday noon, Jan 29

     First of all, that stuff about the QM2 was totally denied by the Hotel Manager to whom we spoke at the Captain's Cocktail Party last night. So take it with a big grain of salt. No sale to the Japanese, no quitting the current cruise, etc. And of course it will be ready April 23 to take us back to NYC. It can manage perfectly well with 3 pods, not 4, thankyouverymuch.

     I have just gotten back from walking at least a mile on the Boat Deck. We both saw some flying fish. Some are tiny; you might think you were seeing butterflies. They're disturbed by the bow of the boat so that's the best place to spot them. There is another variety, about as big as a robin, too. Some of the little ones soar so far it makes me wonder if they're getting away from home! Then they make a little splash when they land. Water?

     This mornign we went up the stairs at the bow where the wind advisory is truly needed. But it's not as windy as it was a couple of weeks ago AND the temperature is about 80, I think; maybe more. The breeze makes it very pleasant to be out. The captain warned everyone about the sun damage during his 12:00 noon report. Some folks are getting VERY brown.

     So we're doing well; hope you all are too. Pat


Posted May 8, 2008

January 30, 2006: The Equator

From Bill:

   Weather: Mid 80's, sunny.

     There is a strange phenomenon taking place here. The at-sea days have become very routine yet we never seem to be bored. To wit: breakfast (same menu every morning that has dozens of items in a dozen categories to choose from). 10am is the first lecture (they are only 45 minutes; school should have been like this!). This was on Titans... on the Atlantic by a maritime historian. 11am was the medical slant (today: Arthritis: New Joints for Old). Very well attended, given these passengers in particular. Unlike other days spent reading or whatever until lunch, we had at 12 noon: Crossing of the Line Ceremony. For those who can get their server to cooperate, the pictures will help here. It involved the Captain, Cruise Director, other crew members, and a flock of passengers ("Pollywogs") who folunteered to be initiated and thus become "Shellbacks". One by one, they came forward to be smeared by wet noodles, raw eggs, and tubs of green, pink, and brown stuff after which they were then instructed to jump into the deck pool. All three deck levels were jammed with people and the audiience participation was hardy. "Are they guilty of.....?" said King Neptune. Everyone clapped and cheered. It might have been the Roman Coliseum with tigers and lions, or the age of the guillotine: Off with their heads!; no one was spared and it was glorious fun! After lunch with many choices and alternatives to eat, a lecture at 2:30: Evolution of a Mystery Writer. We could have then gone on to Afternoon Classical Concert with a flutist and guitarist; I elected to get caught up with emails in Lido.

     This is also where 4pm Afternoon Tea is served.

     Dinner: There are a dozen or so Appetizer choices and I have settled on caviar every night. Then for those with robust appetites, there are soups (3), salads (2), and 5 entrees which tonight include Beef Ravioli, Broiled Salmon filet, Gratinated Seafood in thermidor sauce, Beef Wellington, Grilled Rack of Lamb,  and Vegetarian Lasagna of Portabello Mushrooms. If nothing there tickles your fancy, there is also a standard alternative menu of seafoods, steaks, beef chateaubriand for two( order it 6 hours in advance whenever you want it), lobster tail and the like. After dinner at 7pm, there is the Grand Lounge Showtime starting at 8:30 which we rarely get to because we have so much to talk about at dinner. Tonight might be different as it will feature singers and dancers doing "Words and Music from West Side Story to Guys and Dolls". At 9:15 there will be the QE2 Dixiland Band. Every evening there are other things going on simultaneously and right after other things. Tonight these alternatives include dancing at 9pm in the Yacht Club, Upper Deck; Caribbean Party follows that at 11:15. There is the Chrystan Bar featuring an excellent pianist 7:45 and 9:30pm; another pianist "playing for your listening pleasure" in the Chart Room, Quarter Deck; and at 9:30 and 11:15 "The enchanting sounds of Harpist Chiara Capobianco". Oh, almost forgot to mention the other goings-on: a film in the Theater (8 & 10pm: "Millions"); and in the Queens Room, Quarter Deck: The Queens Room Dance Band (9:45pm). In our stateroom, as i mentioned several days ago, 4 movie choices available over 24 hours and changed each day.

 Notes from Pat:

     Well. The Best Thing has happened. Yesterday I took a bunch of quilt pieces down to press them off. In walks a woman who says: I knew I wasn't the only quilter on board! Yep, she's Janet from northwest London. She brought a sewing machine, too. There IS a God and he likes me. We met this morning where she does her hand quilting. The next at-sea day we'll meet again an dI'll take my Honolulu treasures to show her. SHE was thrilled to find Jo-Ann Fabrics in a shopping mall in Honolulu. Jo-Ann stores haven't made it to England yet. (By the way, our "young" tablemate, Louise the Australian PhD Barrister, who's 42 and looks 22, can get an order from Lands End in... I want to say two days but maybe it's three).

     So I'm feeling good. This may be due to calmer seas, teh patch, or, I hope, I'm getting some sea legs. Also my "sinus" (my diagnosis) business is easing off. This happens at home when the seasons change. Sore throat and dry cough are the main problems. In lectures, etc. in the theater, lots of us do our "kennel cough" thing with harmonizing snores from time to time. This is definitely not Carnival Cruise Lines!

     It is 12:15 pm now; lunch is at 1:00. Besides seeing Janed, I've had half my daily walk (humidity abounds out there; it's overcast), we've heard two lectures, one by the maritime history guy. He's very well informed; probably exceedingly intelligent. He has a Hugh Grant hair-do or don't. And Mary Higgins Clark spoke again. She's very easy to listen to. We didn't get to The Chaplains' Hour due to seeing Janet.  

     The show was very good last night. They danced to canned accompaniment from many musicals which worked well. Just like Alice's cantata. There are probably 5 couples of dancers swooping while singing around a rather small stage. But no one fell off and it was fun to watch and hear. The jazz following wasn't up to Bill's standards so we didn't hang around for that.

     So, dry land and Pago Pago tomorrow. It would be nice if the spelling coincided with the pronunciation... oh, well, can't have it all. More later...