Author Topic: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true  (Read 9275 times)

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Online cunardqueen

Re: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true
« Reply #15 on: Jan 17, 2010, 09:57 AM »
Not sure if I should tell it, as I have no proof of authenticity
Go on, share with us your version.... ;D
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline highlander0108

Re: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true
« Reply #16 on: Jan 17, 2010, 03:20 PM »
Perhaps we shall have to wait until Captain McNaught writes he tell-all memoir down the road.  Then he can also explain the Brambles incident too!

Here's one possible chain of events...

McNaught, fed up watching QE2 floundering in the heat of Dubai, approaches Micky Arison, and finally speaks his mind.  He asks him how in the world could he have let her go.  He bought Cunard and QE2 WAS Cunard.  McNaught asks him to work with Nakheel and get the ship back and bring her back to the UK, where she really belongs, especially since the plans for the hotel conversion have completely fallen apart.  Mickey treats this like a business transaction and coldly tells McNaught that he is glad to have found a way to get the "old black pig" off his books and to fetch an extraordinary sum in return.  McNaught, now absolutely furious, tells him that he deliberately drove that "black pig" into the Brambles in an act of defiance, hoping she'd get really stuck and miss the final departure and grab even more headlines, knowing that the soft mud of the Brambles would not ultimately damage her.  At this, he goes on to point out how silly it is for him to keep calling QV a "liner", noting that absolutley no one who has ever sailed with him believes for a minute that he believes what he's been told to say.  At this point, he tells Mickey he cannot in good faith, wear a Cunard uniform, and walks out, leaving Mickey with an interesting publicity nightmare to deal with.

Wishful thinking, but fun to contemplate the real chain of events!
"There will never be another one like her" QE2's last Master Ian McNaught
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Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true
« Reply #17 on: Jan 17, 2010, 06:37 PM »
Funnily enough, some time after the final sailing from Southampton, but long before I found out about this forum, I saw a cartoon somewhere which involved QE2 stuck on that sandbank; the crew on the bridge were holding newspapers with headlines "QE2 off to Dubai" and the caption was something along the lines of "Nice try Captain; another 5 knots might have done the trick!"

Unfortunately I don't have a copy of it.

Maybe someone here might have one???
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true
« Reply #18 on: Jan 24, 2021, 10:14 AM »
Gerry Loughrey sent his story called the value of an upgrade and although part of the story is about the upgrade to a better cabin and restaurant, the description of sailing on QE2 across The Atlantic in December was the decision to post in the Winter transatlantic topic.  Gerry mentioned that the restaurant he refers to as the Transatlantic would later be the Mauretania Restaurant, which in 1981 would still have been the Tables of the World. Does anyone remember the restaurant being named the Transatlantic Restaurant?

Gerry asked if Winter Crossing Club still exists, maybe some of our members can advise.  I did find a Facebook page The Cunard Winter Crossing Club


The Value of an Upgrade?
We had just returned from a pretty grotty trip to Salou in North East Spain feeling down after a less than good experience, so we headed straight to our travel agent to book our first ever cruise on the QE2.

We were young and had not long been married. We bought our 2 up, 2 down house complete with mortgage and like everyone else our age, our joint earnings were only just enough to pay the bills, run an old banger, feed ourselves and put a fraction away each month for an annual jolly.
Salou didn’t do it for us so whilst away, we decided that next time, we would aim to live the high life and go on a transatlantic cruise. A common enough thing nowadays, but this was 1981. This was a time when cruises were the exception and to contemplate the QE2 was truly a thing of aspiration that was then rarely achievable.

In all walks of life, whenever you see the expression ‘From only £xxx’, how often does anyone actually end up paying the lead-in price? Whether this is a Jaguar XJ or an inside cabin on the QE2?

Well, this time we did. The sorry state of our pecuniary health determined that the standard of cabin was indeed an inside cabin at the pointed end right at the front. Cabin 2010 to be precise. Too small for a double bed or two singles, between ourselves we needed to select our choice of either top or bottom bunk. Unheard of today!

The trip itself was due to leave Southampton on 16th December 1982. In those days, it took only five days to cross the Atlantic compared to seven today. Our arrival in New York on the 21st December would coincide nicely with my wife’s birthday.

Ahead of this voyage, Cunard had scheduled a short three-day trip as an in-between cruise after completing a minor refit and the lead-in to the forthcoming world cruise in 1983, but due to late running of the repairs, this trip was cancelled. Indeed, our departure to NY was also delayed until much later that night. In fact, we went to bed whilst the ship was still in port. I remember having our first night’s dinner whilst we were still docked in Southampton. Not for us was there the traditional brass band – they were sent packing much earlier in the evening. The repairs continued through the night and en-route, with all of the sawdust and carpet offcuts still abundant as some workmen remained on board to finish their jobs.

I awoke that first night not feeling too well. Usually a good traveller, ahead of the trip, I had decided to be brave and resist a travel pill. Big mistake. The sea conditions? Rough. Very rough. I remember on my third (or was it the fourth?) visit to the loo, this is the QE2! This is supposed to be enjoyable. Why on earth didn’t we get a jumbo across instead? Or even Concorde?

And so it went on. There was no escape. The sea conditions were awful. We were in the Transatlantic restaurant of course which was reasonably high up on the ship. Even so, the waves were hitting the dining room’s windows as the bow plunged into the cruel north Atlantic swell for the umpteenth time. Sea sick bags were everywhere ‘for the passengers’ comfort’. Walks on deck were prohibited of course. Often, I missed the meals entirely with my largely unaffected wife cheerily having breakfast lunch and dinner on her own. “No Mr Gerard tonight?” was the inevitable question from the waiters.
‘Never again will I ever trust the sea. 747’s for me from now on.’ Or so I thought at the time.

After three days, the Atlantic relented. The sea calmed and my nausea abated, no doubt assisted by the injections I had in both cheeks of my posterior after my visits to the medical centre.

The late departure and rough weather meant inevitably that our arrival into NY was late. It was not until the mid-afternoon in fact rather than the usual early morning. Just time enough for a quick coach tour of the Big Apple, before having to re-join the ship for the next leg of our journey down to Florida.
Anyway, all of this so far has merely set the scene.

In those days, there was a relationship between British Airways and Cunard. A one-way outward or return flight was all part of the price of the QE2 Transatlantic voyage, but for a little extra, you could upgrade to Concorde at what was a fraction of the usual BA fare.

We pondered this for a while. Could we stretch our finances even further? A Concorde experience for £199 extra? Shall we?

Returning to the brochure, we examined our options. For an extra £199, we could upgrade to Concorde and get back home on the 22nd, or we could stay on board the QE2 for another two nights whilst it sailed to Port Everglade, disembark, and then spend the next five days at the Hilton Hotel in Orlando – over Christmas, and then fly back from Miami instead – in economy.

Looking back, a trip on Concorde for £199 was a steal and should have been a real no-brainer, but if we had taken that option, contrary to what many may believe, we would actually have diminished our lifetime experience and missed out on the very point of this story and hence I wouldn’t be writing this today. (In later years, we did in fact experience the thrill of flying on Concorde more than once, but that is another story entirely.)

We decided on plan B. Two extra nights on board together with five extra days in the States and the odd experience of Christmas in glorious warm sunshine won the day. (Eating our Christmas lunch listening to Tessie O’Shea singing Greensleaves in ‘England’ at The Epcot Centre, was a bit surreal to say the least though! We decided to celebrate our Christmas in ‘England’ so as to try and replicate home as much as we could. With the sun shining and us eating a ploughmans, (or was it bangers and mash?) it wasn’t quite the same.)

It was just before we arrived into NY on the way over when we were approached by the Purser’s office to ask us if we were prepared to re-locate from our cabin for the leg down to Florida. Clearly there was at least one other couple in the world with near identical finances to our own. Theirs was apparently a greater need.
By way of compensation, they would move us to an outside cabin at no extra cost. ‘Oh, and there is a double bed.’ We jumped at the chance and shortly after, we were moving our belongings to cabin 3181, starboard side near the stern. We were overjoyed.

Heading to dinner that night, a further surprise awaited us. On checking in at the door (this was usual to direct the new passengers to their tables), we were told that we had also lost our usual dining table due to the cabin relocation. But not to worry, as they will compensate us by allowing us to eat at the Caronia restaurant instead. Where the Transatlantic restaurant was the main restaurant on board for ‘economy’ passengers, the Caronia restaurant was a step up the ladder. More refined. Quieter. Select. We were making it in this world after all! Another big smile crossed our faces. Wow.

We sailed onwards. The seas were calm and we felt the warming air as we headed towards the sun.

On the final night, we again headed to the Caronia for our last dinner on board. We walked to our table, but our seats had been taken. Bemused, we collared a head waiter and returned with him to the doorway to query with the Maître di. He made a simple gesture. His forefinger pointed upwards. We were then led out of the restaurant by the head waiter and walked to the Princess Grill. I remember him saying on the way, that this may be the smallest restaurant on board, but it is the nicest. He wasn’t wrong. If the Caronia was a rung up from the Transatlantic, then this was an entire section.

This was dining at its very best. An eye-opener. Fabulous food, impeccable service, incredible ambiance. Not just the very best. The very, very best.
The next day we disembarked but not until we experienced our breakfast in the Princess Grill again.

We swore there and then that this is the only way to travel. Not for us anymore, the cheap and cheerful. We were going for it. From now on, this is the way forward.

A simple upgrade. It cost Cunard nothing. But for us, it opened our eyes. From then on, our outlook on life changed. Our expectations were higher. Our aspirations raised.

We have since taken many cruises with Cunard on the QE2 again as well as all three of the new Queens. Invariably, we aim for Grills. We have repaid Cunard many times over.

The value of an upgrade? Priceless.
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Online Andy Holloway

Re: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true
« Reply #19 on: Jan 24, 2021, 01:05 PM »
What a winter crossing meant to lots of the crew was, that it would lead to the Christmas Cruise to the Caribbean followed by the World Cruise. The Christmas Cruise was, usually, not so exciting as the festive period would,could or should have been, partially due to the make-up of the passengers list! But, there was always the warmth of the Caribbean to enjoy plus the anticipation of The World Cruise, with the excitement of all those 'foreign' ports that were only visited once every few years plus, overnights at the old favourites like Sydney & Hong Kong.   

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true
« Reply #20 on: Jan 24, 2021, 05:39 PM »
Gerry Loughrey sent his story called the value of an upgrade...

Great story, Gerry! Thank you for writing it and adding it to the passenger memories here in this Forum. I love reading those real life stories and the very many ways in which QE2 became part of our lives.

Online cunardqueen

Re: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true
« Reply #21 on: Jan 24, 2021, 09:24 PM »
Super story !

The value of an upgrade? Priceless.   

There is nothing nicer than to hear the magic words Upgrade.
Alas l never heard them officially on QE2 but on land or prior to take off  it conveys a very special feeling. And thats a thing that money can't buy and yet generally costs the company nothing .   
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Online Andy Holloway

Re: Winter transatlantic - a dream come true
« Reply #22 on: Jan 24, 2021, 11:17 PM »
A saying often used was;. Today's medical disembark, is tomorrow's s cabin upgrade.