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Author Topic: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008  (Read 5162 times)

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Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« on: Nov 03, 2011, 03:29 PM »
Barrie Evans has sent us a beautiful picture of the QE2 wake, taken on 10 November 2008, in the Bay of Biscay as QE2 returned to Southampton from her final cruise, to the Mediterranean in November 2008.



https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/displayimage.php?album=53&pid=1100#top_display_media

He writes :

Quote from: from Barrie Evans
To me [this picture] captured many things.There is the sun on the deck, the dark threatening sky, and the wonderful wake you can see all the way to the horizon. And of course the photo has been taken from our beloved Q E 2. I took the photo on Monday 10th of November 2008. It was her final Southampton to Southampton cruise. She was passing through the Bay of Biscay on her way back to Southampton. It was obviously a very historic moment, as it was the last time that she would be sailing North back across the Bay. I really hope I am proved wrong, and that one day she will return to us in England.

Thank you, Barrie, for these beautiful memories and your fine picture!

Online cunardqueen

Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #1 on: Nov 03, 2011, 05:00 PM »
Barrie it is indeed a great picture, But what surprises me is that its QE2s last return trip to Southampton, and you would think for everyone on board they would be disembarking the next morning, and yet they are relaxing on the deck, no rush for afternoon tea, no one packing and no last minute shopping, or indeed as the pic shows they are indeed savouring the last day onboard ...
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Barrie Evans

Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #2 on: Nov 03, 2011, 09:52 PM »
Barrie it is indeed a great picture, But what surprises me is that its QE2s last return trip to Southampton, and you would think for everyone on board they would be disembarking the next morning, and yet they are relaxing on the deck, no rush for afternoon tea, no one packing and no last minute shopping, or indeed as the pic shows they are indeed savouring the last day onboard ...
Hi Myles. Yes it was a strange afternoon .It seemed that every one wanted to be out on deck to savour the last time to relax after lunch.Im sure we were all very sad it was all coming to an end. It was so quiet every where.it seemed that we all were finding it very hard to come to terms, that this was going to be our final Q E 2 cruise, and were finding so hard to accept the reality that it was happening.
Barrie
« Last Edit: Mar 26, 2012, 08:47 AM by Barrie Evans »

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #3 on: Nov 04, 2011, 11:43 PM »
Lovely photo Barrie and the scene capture what it was like on QE2 sitting watching the wake!
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Barrie Evans

Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #4 on: Nov 05, 2011, 04:29 PM »
Lovely photo Barrie and the scene capture what it was like on QE2 sitting watching the wake!
Hi Lynda,Yes it was a very special moment for myself, and im sure for all the other passangers watching the wake. Im so glad that i took that photo, and also that i can share this with all the forum members.  I cant quite remember at the moment, but i think i may of taken a video of the wake! If i have, i will post it onto the forum. Thank you for your kind comments Lynda.
Barrie
« Last Edit: Apr 15, 2012, 04:02 PM by Barrie Evans »

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #5 on: Mar 23, 2012, 11:19 PM »
Barrie Evans has written memories of his cruise onboard QE2's final cruise to the Mediterranean which I am sure you will find interesting reading: 

Our Final QE2 Cruise - this is our story of our last cruise on the QE2
 
It was on Monday 27th October 2008, when we set off from Kent, with very mixed emotions, to travel to Southampton, for the QE2’s penultimate cruise. It was for her Mediterranean Odyssey Voyage, with
ports of call at, Lisbon, Cagliari, Naples, Messina, Dubrovnik, Zakinthos, Piraeus, Gibraltar, and Vigo.
 
On our arrival at Southampton Docks, with our QE2 car sticker on the front of our window screen, (which by the way I’ve never taken it off) the gate man welcomed us, and said "Good morning sir" I think that you know where to go, don't you? Yes we do I said, and proceeded forward towards the Mayflower terminal, and feeling a rush of adrenaline at seeing the QE2 just waiting for us to board her. So after a quick check in, and through customs, we were welcomed on board ship, in a very happy and pleasant manor, which makes you feel very special straight away. We were determined that our last cruise on the QE2 would be a very memorable one.

After being directed to our cabin, we unpacked, and noticed in the daily programme that afternoon tea was being served in the Queens Room at 2.30 pm. That will do for us we said, then it would be lifeboat drill, then up to the top deck for the sail away party.

All this seems to be the routine now for the first few hours on board. We had decided that on sea days
we would  chill out on the boat deck with our books, and totally relax. This helped to slow things down, as we did not want the days to fly past too quick.
 
Then came the case of mistaken identity. One of our friends said that Beatrice Muller, the lady who lives on the QE2 was on the next table to them in their restaurant. I said that I have never seen her. Our friends said that you can’t miss her, she nearly always has a hat on with flowers on it. So there I was just walking along, and who do I see coming towards me, the lady with flowers around her hat. I stopped her and asked if i could have my photo taken with her. Sure she said, but I don't know why you would want a photo of me? I said its because you are a very famous lady. "I wish that I was" she said. Jean took a couple of photos for me, so we could show our friends. When we showed them the photo, they laughed, and said, "that's not Beatrice Muller".

"It was a case of mistaken identity" As it turned out that the lady who I thought was Beatrice, was the lady who takes the Art class. I later found out that her name is Norma Rachlin.

As the famous Dick Emery used to say "I got it wrong again Dad"
 
Because our friends got a late booking, they could not dine with us. We were in the Caronia and they were in the Mauretania Restaurant.
So one lunch-time we decided we would dine with them. We were taken to our friends’ table, and right next to us, Beatrice Muller was sitting there with her son. With respect to them, I would not interrupt their lunch, so it was a smile, and a polite nod of acknowledgement to each other. As I sat down I was laughing to myself, on what had happened to me earlier on, with the other lady, who I thought was Beatrice.



On another occasion we dined with our friends, we were met by the Maitre’d.  It turned out to be Andrew Nelder. Andrew was always shown in the Cunard brochure flambe'ing the meals. So I rushed back to our cabin and got our Pre-Voyage documentation brochure, (which shows a picture of Andrew flambe'ing) for him to sign for me. We had a nice chat and he said that he was not sure what he was going to do next, but probably would be retiring after his contract had expired.

 

As I had visited the bookshop on several occasions, and purchased a few items, I thought that I would take the opportunity of having my books signed by Captain Ian McNaught. This was easier said than done. Memorabilia signing was starting at 2.30 pm outside of the library.

We had our lunch in the Caronia Restaurant. It was about 1-45pm when we were finishing our lunch, and Jean said you better go and get your books from the cabin. I said that there was plenty of time, I will go about 2 o'clock. By the time I got back the queue was right back round the ship. Two hours later I got my books signed by the Captain. He said sorry for the delay. I thanked him for staying longer, so every one got their books signed. As you can imagine it was well worth the wait.

 

On Sunday the 9th of November we attended the last Remembrance day service to be held aboard QE2. The theatre was packed for a very emotional service, which was delivered by Captain Ian McNaught in a most sincere manor. We then were all invited to deck 1 aft, for the lowering of the Red Ensign, and a two minute silence was observed. This was a very special moment for us, which will always stay in our memories.
 
This being the penultimate cruise for the QE2, I have to say how disappointed we were that we did not receive any farewell gifts from Cunard as a keepsake for being passengers on her final Southampton to Southampton cruise. All they did, was to give us the opportunity to purchase the information leather QE2 folder, which was in our cabin, for the sum of $5. As it was embossed with Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 I jumped at the chance of owning one, and it is now along side with my limited edition Isle of Man Post Office Box set, and all my QE2 books, DVDs ,and many other QE2 memorabilia items.
 
On waking up at 5am on the morning of November 11th 2008, (and not had much sleep) because we were so upset having to say goodbye to our wonderful QE2. We were dreading the arrival of this day, but it was something that we were having to go through. So we got up early wanting to soak up every minute that we had left. I had already looked out of our port holes in our cabin, but I was unable to see any thing as it was still dark. Then it happened! There was an almighty shudder.

My wife jean was in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, and promptly got thrown off the seat. What was that? she called out, did you feel that. Are you ok I asked? Yes she said laughing, I am now. I said, perhaps we have just docked. I looked out again, but i still could not see anything. About ten minutes later, Jean looked out and said that she could see two tugs with all lights blazing. At that time we had no idea that we were stuck on a sand bank. We turned on the T V, and the news presenter said that they were just getting reports that strong winds had blown the QE2 onto on to a sandbank at Brambles bank near Calshot. On reflection, we did have a report from Captain Ian Mcnaught the evening before, saying that they were expecting very "Strong winds" in the morning, and that it may delay our arrival into Southampton. It turned out that there was a force seven blowing from the south west with a moderate swell. So that was enough to blow the QE2 onto the sandbank. It took five tugs to re float her, and about 6.10am we were under way again. We were very relieved when we looked out and could see that we were on our way back to the Mayflower terminal, we kept laughing when Jean slipped off the toilet,
from the "violent shudder." We said at the time, that was our lady saying that "I don't want to leave Southampton and go to Dubai.”
 
I wanted to make sure that I was dressed correctly to say goodbye to our lovely lady the
QE2. So I had on my full regalia of my blazer and grey trousers. On my blazer I had my QE2 ship
badge,with my Cunard badge on the other side. I also had my QE2 tie, and tie pin. We went to
breakfast for the last time. I had a couple of comments from people saying,"Wow" don't you look smart. One American asked, are you staying on board to meet Prince Philip? I said no, but it would of been nice to of had the opportunity to asked him how he felt about the Q E 2 going to Dubai, and not returning. There were several people who had booked back to back cruises. We did have the opportunity to do the same, but we declined the offer, as we just could not sail to Dubai, and have to leave her there, and have to fly back.

So the time had finally arrived when we had to disembark this wonderful ship. Sitting in the Queens room with very mixed emotions, we had time to reflect on what had been a very special cruise for us.

To have had the opportunity to sail on the wonderful QE2 on her penultimate cruise, was indeed an honour and a privilege that will be in our memories for ever. As we took our final steps off the QE2, we could not look back at her, but just remembered the saying, to the QE2.
 
              Happy have we met
              Happy have we been
              Sorry to part
              Happy to meet again.
 
We hope that you have enjoyed our story of our final cruise on the QE2. 

Barrie and Jean Evans


 
             
 
 
« Last Edit: Apr 10, 2012, 02:08 PM by Lynda »
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #6 on: Mar 24, 2012, 10:02 AM »
Thank you, Barrie, for those memories, beautifully written up! And thank you also to Lynda for posting them here.

I love the story of the lady with the flowery hat, and the great picture taken of the two of you! And all the lovely events and encounters of life on board -- as well as the very special one, when QE2 was grounded for a while.

These memories of the great ship are priceless now -- they will fade (I know mine are fading...) and whatever we can capture now, will remain for ourselves and others to enjoy.

I wonder what the atmosphere was like on board... the very last cruise for QE2... ever. It may have been a case of laughter in one eye and a tear in the other...

bobso

  • Guest
Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #7 on: Mar 25, 2012, 05:56 PM »
Hi Barrie, Thank you VERY MUCH for the absolutely fantastic story of your last cruise on the QE2. The photo of the wake of the QE2 is simply magnificent. The bit of the "mix-up" with the lady was very funny. Great you managed to get your book signed by Captain Ian McNaught. It would be nice to see the QE2 sailing back to Britain--we live in hope.

Thanks again Barrie for the story.

Best wishes,

Bob.

Online cunardqueen

Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #8 on: Mar 25, 2012, 10:17 PM »
Great story and thanks for sharing this !
Just wondering the "happy to meet"isnt that a masonic "thing"
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Barrie Evans

Re: Final cruise, Mediterranean November 2008
« Reply #9 on: Mar 25, 2012, 10:45 PM »
Great story and thanks for sharing this !
Just wondering the "happy to meet"isnt that a masonic "thing"
;D Yes Myles, just one of many happy things in masonary  ;D
Barrie