QE2 Story Forum

Introductions and Our own QE2 Stories => Passengers & Enthusiasts Introductions => Topic started by: Janice Naylor on Oct 10, 2010, 07:50 PM

Title: 1978
Post by: Janice Naylor on Oct 10, 2010, 07:50 PM
Hi Everyone - In the Spring of 1978 I received a phone call from a woman who had just been asked to fill in for a lecturer who had to back out of a commitment on the QE2.  I didn't know the woman very well, had just met her a few times.  She was calling everyone she knew asking if they were available to go with her on a cruise that left from NYC in 4 days.  The commitment was from NYC to Southampton and then on to a Scandinavian Cruise.  Not wanting to let such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pass by, I agreed and sailed from NYC on the QE2 4 days later.  I believe the lecturer was considered part of the crew, I never knew exactly if I was crew or a passenger.

There was no time to research the QE2.  The only thing I knew about her was that she was a legend.  I spent the first few days wandering around her decks.  Once I found the Grand Lounge (I believe that is what it was called at that time) that became my favorite place on quiet afternoons.  I'd find a sunny spot to settle into for a few hours and read and relax.  

At night we'd go to the Grand Lounge for entertainment and dancing.  I became friends with our waiter and also have great memories of singing and laughing in the crew pub.  The best of both worlds.

When we came back on board for the Scandinavian cruise the ship was much more crowded.  There was a bomb threat made while we were away so everyone's luggage was carefully checked.  The biggest surprise, however, was when the Captain ordered the ship to sail at 7 that night and left most of the crew behind standing on the pier.  It was a labor related stand off. As the week went on, members of the crew were flown into our ports of call and rejoined the ship.  During the first few days of that week I was amazed as English passengers stood behind buffet lines and helped to serve food.  Heaven knows they had paid a premium for that vacation yet they had such loyalty to the QE2.

I look forward to reading about other people's experiences on the QE2.
Title: Re: 1977
Post by: Twynkle on Oct 12, 2010, 08:47 AM
Hello Janice,
It's very good to have you on board!

QE2 was less than 10 years old,
a Transatlantic crossing and the Norwegian Fjords -
a surprise 'call up' and the strikes to contend with as well!
What an experience it must have been for you.

QE2 looked so different then - have you seen the VADS design journal photos?
As Rob mentions, you will find lots of references to it in the design section of the Forum

The labour relations and strikes of the 1970's are still remembered here in the UK
They happened in Liverpool too, when RMS Queen Elizabeth was in service.
Captains had difficult decisions to make
and obviously it was very worrying for everyone else as well.
The affection held by everyone for QE2 helped her through some very difficult times!

Looking forward to hearing more - hope that you will be able to tell us about your lectures etc!
Were you on board to speak about Scandinavia?
Probably one of the The Best Places in the World to be and to see with QE2
She took us there twice - it was as if the fjords were made for her!
You might have found this thread already:

Title: Re: 1977
Post by: Lynda Bradford on Oct 12, 2010, 10:58 AM

Welcome Aboard. 

What a fantastic introduction to your QE2 experience.  I am looking forward to hearing more about your trip and what you thought about QE2 at that time.  Also if you have any photos to add to our QE2 Story Photo Gallery that shows the decor of the ship in 1977 that would be wonderful

Title: Re: 1977
Post by: Janice Naylor on Oct 12, 2010, 06:46 PM
Hi Rosie - thank you for the welcome.  Actually, I was not the lecturer.  I was the guest of the lecturer and had absolutely no responsibilities on board.  I was free to roam about and get to know the QE2.  The first time I saw her, when I stepped out of the taxi onto the NYC pier, I was overwhelmed by her size and having no experience at sea, I wondered how she could stay afloat!  After reading about the great wave that struck her, I guess the answer would be "very well, thank you."

You are absolutely right about the Scandinavian cruise.  I wandered around Vigeland's Sculpture Park in Oslo for hours and walked miles at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.  I have very clear memories of the QE2 waiting at all of the docks when we returned from our day trips. I was on board for just over 2 weeks and every time I saw her I was impressed.

The most vivid memory I have of that cruise is standing on the outside deck of the QE2 at midnight while she was piloted out of Bergen Harbor.  It was a crystal clear night and a huge, white, full moon hung over the fjords, the orange roofs of Bergen and the old wooden pier.  To this day, I have never seen any landscape/seascape more beautiful.

I was a runner at that time in my life and many mornings I would go to the Top Deck (? I'm afraid I don't know the official name for it) and join other joggers. What a thrill to watch the sea splash by and fill up my lungs with the sea air.  During those runs I met a very nice gentleman who I would chat with occasionally.  It wasn't until after he disembarked in Southampton that I learned he was the late Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets.  I wish I knew who he was during our chats, It would have been so nice to tell him how much I enjoyed his work.

As you can tell, my experience was a true QE2 adventure.  Thank you, again, for the welcome.

Hi Lynda - Thank you also for the welcome.  Prompted by your comment about pictures, I found my album from that trip.  There are photos of the room we stayed in, the Grand Lounge, the deck and even some of the crew.  The problem is there were no digital cameras back then so uploading them onto the site will be a challenge.  I'll figure out a way to post them.

Thanks, again, for the welcome.

Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Janice Naylor on Oct 14, 2010, 09:26 PM
Hi - Turned out to be relatively easy to scan those old photos on a disk.  I have posted 25 or so of them on this site's gallery under separate headings using the established guidelines.  I couldn't get the photos of the staircase and Double Down Room to lighten, they're pretty dark.  If anyone knows how and is interested in trying, I can email the photos to you.

You may have noticed I changed the subject line of my messages.  It wasn't until I started looking at the photos that I realized I was on the QE2 in 1978, not 1977 ... guess a lot has happened between now and then.   :)

Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Rob Lightbody on Oct 14, 2010, 09:43 PM
THey're GREAT Janice, thanks so much!

Here's the link to the photos in the gallery - https://www.theqe2story.com/forum/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=lastupby&uid=1221
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: cunardqueen on Oct 15, 2010, 01:36 PM
What great photos and what a great adventure to be on.
 Welcome Onboard !!!
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Janice Naylor on Oct 15, 2010, 11:52 PM
Thanks for the welcome Rob and Cunardqueen.   This site is great fun and I'm happy I found you.

Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Twynkle on Oct 16, 2010, 12:44 AM
Hi Janice

What lovely photos - and happy memories, too.

As you say, you felt as if you were neither Crew nor passenger.
It must have been fun having a foot in both camps.

In 2008, it seemed as if many more passengers on the Norway trip were 'enjoying their retirement', with golden weddings etc
(Hope I can make this observation here - I feel very old (whatever that means!!) at the moment!)
I wonder, do you remember being aware of a sort of 'overall' average age of the passengers in 1978?
And did the waiters sing Happy Birthday with the accompanying special cake for passengers?
Hopefully, you won't mind just one more question - on the penultimate night, did you have Baked Alaska Night?!

Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Janice Naylor on Oct 16, 2010, 03:49 AM
Hi Rosie - I just looked at the Baked Alaska videos.  I don't recall anything like that on the transatlantic crossing or the Scandinavian cruise ... I suspect if it happened, I'd remember that!  I do remember bananas flambe though.  :) 
All the evening meals on the transatlantic crossing were special order for our table because one of my dinner companions was a gourmet cook and offered to make the selections.  Another of my dinner companions knew a lot about wine so he made all of the wine selections.  I think I'm gaining a few pounds (weight, not money) just thinking about those meals.

As far as ages of my fellow passengers, on the transatlantic crossing, the passengers were older than I was at the time,  I'd guess the average age was 55.  I didn't have access to all of the levels of the ship, but my impression is that the QE2 was nowhere near full capacity.  I don't remember talking with anyone who was celebrating a special occasion. Seemed to me they were either taking the QE2 to relax after hectic business trips in the USA, or going to the UK and/or other European destinations and the QE2 was a relaxing alternative to air travel.

However, the QE2 was at full capacity on the Scandinavian cruise.  All ages too.   I shared a dining room table with a couple who were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and told me they had saved for years for the opportunity to be on the QE2.  They were one of the couples that stood behind the buffet tables during the labor dispute.  Since I knew how much this trip meant to them it made their gesture even more impressive.

On the other hand, when my friend came back on board a few days into the cruise, I heard the crew's side of the dispute too, so again, I had a very unique perspective on the situation.

Feel free to ask questions.  They remind me  of what a great time I had on the QE2. 

Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Jem on Oct 16, 2010, 04:21 AM
Great photo's, thanks Janice.
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: riskygizmo on Jan 14, 2011, 04:03 PM
Hi Janice,
             just realised I was onboard for the same Scandinavian cruise as you (Bergen, Oslo, Copenhagen and Rotterdam, if my memory still works). Thinking back also made me realise I must have been a bit of a Jonah. I did three trips, this one in '78, with
the waiters strike; a "there and back" crossing in '79 or '80 when the New York tugboats were on strike and the ship had to be brought alongside under her own power and then a Land of the Midnight Fog cruise up the Fjords a year later which ended at Cherbourg with a transfer to a hastily chartered car ferry to Pompey because ( you guessed it) the Southampton dockers were on strike. 
             It's probably just as well I didn't sail on her again. Lord alone knows what would have gone wrong.
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Janice Naylor on Jan 14, 2011, 08:21 PM
Hey Riskygizmo - What are the odds of connecting with someone who was on the same cruise 30+ years ago??  QE2Story is one of the very few places that could happen.  Sounds like all of your trips on the QE2 were an adventure ... what great stories to tell.

Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Louis De Sousa on Jan 31, 2011, 06:25 PM
Hi Janice,

I just looked at your photos ( even add a comment) nice collection it is good to have all those memories.

Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Grantslinger on Sep 29, 2011, 04:01 AM
Hi Janice, I too was onboard during the 1978 Scandinavian cruise. In fact I was onboard for a total of almost eight months that year. I played the red piano in the cocktail lounge as you headed in and out of the restaurants and also in the Q4 nightclub before a group called Gina and the Mario3 came on.

Boy some of the stories. Spending a night with Chins Soo the casino manager and the casino girls and Rock Hudson drinking a lot of Scotch on one ofthe transatlantics. Meeting an American girl whom I wouldn't be in touch with for another six years and we got married and had two children. Divorced now but we are friends. 

In Bergen being amazed at the live fish in the market. My first visit to the States was sailing up the Hudson into New York and now here I am living in Connecticut which is my home now and all because of that contract to play onboard the QE2.
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Janice Naylor on May 29, 2012, 07:29 AM
Hi Grant - I realize this response is pretty late, but a full-time job I began last September has kept me away from this site.  Imagine the odds that you and I were on the QE2 at the same time all those years ago.  You must remember the ship sailing and leaving most of the crew on the dock at Southampton.  That was quite a shock to me.  What an interesting story about meeting your future wife and mother of your children.  The social life of the QE2 was like no other.  Now you live Connecticut ... I have a dear friend who lives in New Britain.

I'm sure I passed you as you played that red piano.  Thank you for being in touch. I hope to spend a little more time on this site in the future.

Best regards,

Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Rod on Jun 13, 2012, 10:22 PM
Janice, welcome to the forum. I too was on that cruise. many of the Officers were called on to do things that they had not been trained for that trip. I washed dished for a while!
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: riskygizmo on Jun 14, 2012, 07:57 PM
Rod, it wasn't just the officers, it was the officers children who were pressed into service. That's me on the left
and my brother doing vital work manning the Wardroom bar while Mr Yexley was busy doing everything else ;D
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Bob C. on Jun 15, 2012, 01:41 AM
You look so at home!
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Rod on Jun 15, 2012, 10:23 AM
And a grand job you did....but if I recall correctly, your brother sometimes poured a "short" pint!
Title: Re: 1978
Post by: Twynkle on Jun 16, 2012, 12:03 PM
riskygizmo - The message and photo has got to be, put simply - 'One of the Very Best'!

.....  The social life of the QE2 was like no other.  Now you live Connecticut ... I have a dear friend who lives in New Britain.

I'm sure I passed you as you played that red piano.  Thank you for being in touch. I hope to spend a little more time on this site in the future.

Best regards,

Janice - Hope that all's good with you,
Really interesting to know how good things were on board then.
You must have missed QE2 when you disembarked - did you prefer the transatlantic crossing ( with all those tricky time changes NYC to UK)  or the cruise the most?