Author Topic: QE2 Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary  (Read 11494 times)

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Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #40 on: Feb 05, 2011, 11:11 AM »
And here is a second diary entry for this our last full day on board QE2 :

Last day on board this voyage, last day on QE2. And I spent this day doing what one of my “shippy friends” has called “Dancing with my Lady”. So, I danced with her. The last dance, and one full of happy memories.

Five Deck. That crooked alleyway, twisting this way and that around the funnel. My old cabin, remembered with affection. The engine room right underneath. The floor vibrating with the power of the engines. The sound of the engines, and the warmth of the alleyway wall where the funnel rises.

Three Deck. The Synagogue. I am not a Jew, but this place breathes peace and serenity.

All the stairways, each one of them explored anew, yesterday and today. Starting from the bow, A Stairway is the longest and the most perfect spiral. Leading from Five Deck right up to Boat Deck, past two of the restaurants where I have dined on past occasions and visited on this voyage. D Stairway the most irregular, leading past many of my favourite sights (and sites!) and arising from several locations on Five Deck. E Stairway with the lady’s voice on the lift, which for years and years has been warning on every deck “Caution : Narrow Landing” -- the other day she sounded just a tiny bit hoarse! G Stairway shorter and, like E Stairway, an irregular double spiral. The A Stairway is red, D, E and G are green, while the minor ones (B, C, and F) are also red. Each of them had a different colour when QE2 was launched, for easy identification.

Quarterdeck. So many of my favourite places. The Queen’s Room, serving afternoon tea. Tomorrow’s afternoon tea will be enjoyed by new passengers... The beautiful sunlight, almost always there on this deck, either on the port or the starboard side.

The Chartroom, with its calligraphy -- many sayings are well worth reading. And there is the piano from the original Queen Mary. And the transatlantic map, copied from that in the original Queen Elizabeth. The jigsaw puzzle under the Mauretania painting. The ship models, particularly the huge one of Mauretania. The bookshop and the library. The navigational chart and the noontime report from the bridge. The side entrance into the Caronia and Britannia restaurants, conceived right from the start for passengers with walking problems, as they could thus avoid the steps of the main entrance.

My lady too was ready to dance. She talked to me with the voice of her engines and the vibration of Five Deck. With the voice of the funnel on the higher decks. And with the voice of the passengers and crew. A lovely amusing moment occurred when I was taking yet more pictures of the Queen’s Room ceiling. Watching me, an Indian lady advised me that the best place to catch it well was to lie on the floor. So, while I took my position down on the dance floor, in front of the assembled afternoon tea crowd, she captured me doing just that! And of course, she was right -- the views were excellent from directly below!

The Midships Lobby, always a lovely place and, on this voyage, also a lively place, used by passengers to read and sleep, and reverberating with the voice of Thomas Quinones, using the wall panels to start the story of the Cunard Line. The Computer Learning Centre, so close to several cabins we have had over the years, and so full of memories of messages we have received and sent from QE2. Like this one.

And then, the nocturnal ramble on the decks. The wetness of the planks after their nightly washing by the crew. The wind and the sea rushing past. The funnel and the mast, steady as ever. This is how I wish to remember her -- going strong “on the Atlantic, where she belongs”.

And the corresponding diary photos can be seen here :
« Last Edit: Feb 05, 2011, 11:24 AM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #41 on: Feb 06, 2011, 10:34 PM »
Disembarkation. For the last time. But after these three wonderful weeks on board, even disembarkation was not as traumatic as it might have been.

After a tiny rest, I was up on deck again before 6.00. So, for the very first time, I was there to see the Southampton waters approaching, the tugs arriving far out and escorting QE2, the familiar landscapes emerging from the pitch black and gradually becoming visible, and finally that turn in the Lower Swinging Ground, where the water was just deep enough to give QE2 one metre under her keel. The windy air seemed just as cold as it was during our arrival in New York, but there was not the same exhilaration to keep us warm inside -- here, it was the wish to be part of our QE2 voyage, fully aware, until the very end.

And then, it was breakfast time, a final good-bye to our excellent waiters and our table neighbours, packing the last bits and pieces, and waiting for our deck to be called for disembarkation. A cold, numb feeling -- so hard to believe that we would never be there again -- and also, a feeling of huge gratitude for this beautiful time. As I gave QE2 a good pat on her solid steel hull at the gangway, I said good-bye to the Nepali security officers -- and found myself face to face with Third Officer Zak Brockmann, who had been making all the navigational announcements every day at noon!

We had had it all, during this journey. We had even had some things we had never experienced before! And we had lived through it all fully aware, enjoying our moments on this beautiful ship.

We had tasted the storm, seen the waves, felt the motion, heard the sounds, and we had sailed in calm waters, through lobster pots and among islands. We had seen sunshine and fog, and the waxing moon which reached its full size as we entered New York. We had heard the foghorn and the wonderful QE2 whistle. We had dragged ourselves out of bed for the early morning arrivals, and lingered on deck for the golden sunsets. We had felt the wind, as well as the calm -- but did not have any rain until we finally reached Southampton and it came down as we made for our terminal!

We combined both crossing and cruising (now that is a rare opportunity!). We stopped in cities and villages, along quaysides and in anchor ports. We enjoyed land days and sea days, went on excursions, and did our own exploring both off and within the ship, right into some of her deepest recesses. And for the first time, we failed to anchor at an anchor port and sailed away before we had even arrived!

We had enjoyed our beautiful cabins, been spoiled with superb food and service in the Britannia Grill, and relaxed on deck and in the public rooms. I had moved in and out of the warm sea water in the swimming pool as if it were my natural element. We had observed the crew going about their work -- including the Captain waving from the bridge, signing books and leading interdenominational services. We had enjoyed every minute, and every part of this wonderful ship, which has been our home now and again for the past decade. There was nothing more we could have asked for -- apart from the chance to do it again next year!

More Day 21 diary photos and one video here :

Offline Louis De Sousa

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Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #42 on: Feb 06, 2011, 10:51 PM »
Great to know you had a good time, Isabelle.Like i say once you got on board you just had to fall in love with her.


Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #43 on: Feb 26, 2011, 09:31 PM »
On rechecking what I had written, I have finally found the Day 15 entry that I thought I had lost! So, here it comes :

To Dubai or not to Dubai?

Tea queues in the Lido. Sailaway neighbours. Restaurant conversations. Chance meetings with crew from previous cruises. Onboard shopping. Conversations during excursions. The same topic always arises. Dubai.

QE2 going to Dubai. Is she ready to retire? Being who I am, I probably get into conversations with far more QE2 fans than with those indifferent to her charms... and the QE2 fans, one and all, want her to continue, for many years yet. If a major refit is required to keep her up to date with safety at sea regulations, so be it. QE2 could be booked out for years to come.

There are others who say (yes, even in my presence...) that she is a bit worn out, that the bathrooms need improvements, that she represents “nostalgia” for a long gone age, that other ships are more comfortable and modern...

These last voyages of QE2 are attracting a core of fans who want to enjoy her once more before she is no more. Many, many people I have spoken to have been on QE2 six or more times, this year alone! Many have known her for decades and will miss her like a family member. Several I have spoken to played a part in her construction (yes, Scotland is particularly well represented here on this occasion!), never thought they would sail on her, and then saved up for years to do so before she goes. Others have been on board many dozen times in the course of the years. The Cruise Critic Memory Book is full of the reminiscences of passengers -- and I have realised that, in my passion for QE2, I am by no means unique... and that I know her far less than very many others...!

The QE2 fans are by no means united in saying “once QE2 is gone, we are no longer interested in Cunard ships”. One lady, who was singled out during the Cunard World Club reception as having sailed on Cunard ships more than most, told me a day or two before this was revealed, that she was quite willing to give Queen Victoria a chance. She would start with the World Cruise this winter, and then see what next...

Dubai. Most passengers on board with us, will be leaving QE2 for the last time after this voyage... many of them in tears. Those living near Southampton will of course be watching her come and go until she leaves her home port on 11 November, never to return. And I shall be on the Clyde, just a few days after disembarking -- no doubt the very best place to say good-bye to this wonderful lady. But there are also quite a few people on board who will be on the Dubai voyage. Who want to escort her all the way. And of course, most of the crew will be there too -- sticking with her until they have to go. As one of the waiters said in July, “This lady has been good to me -- and I shall stay with her until the end.” Another crew member thinks the Dubai voyage will be one long party... the only possible way to bear it... I have a lot of sympathy for that...

It is so sad that she will go with her entire contents -- everything on board will go with her to Dubai, except that one Mauretania painting, to be returned to Newcastle upon Tyne. Even the GBTT call signal will be gone with her -- she inherited this signal from the Queen Mary herself, but will not pass it on.

Dubai. And what will happen to her there? Rumours abound. Those in the know are keeping mum, except in very private conversations. In any case, all the rumours are still likely to change. But no one is saying that they are looking forward to QE2 as a hotel, that they intend to stay there when in Dubai. QE2’s friends will want to remember her as she is now, or as she was the first time they saw her. They want to remember her as a ship...!

Leaving Quebec this evening, we got a wonderful farewell. Sea Princess and QE2 exchanged whistle blasts liberally, and the port was thronged with people come to see QE2 off for the last time. As we sailed out in the St Laurence, we were escorted for a long time by a flotilla of small craft, and everywhere along the banks, crowds had gathered to wave and flash their cameras. This continued for hours, and even after darkness had fallen and we had retired to our cabins to change, the camera flashes were still visible from the portholes. While perhaps other ports had laid on grander displays, it was in Quebec that we got the feeling of genuine affection for the ship and a genuine sadness that she would not be coming any more. All the better, therefore, that we had stayed here for the night and given the people a real chance to visit her one last time.

And the other photos that go with this diary page, are here :

There are many detailed shots from Cabin 2044, the QE2 whistle during the Quebec sailaway, the entries of Captains Perkins and McNaught in the Cruise Critic Memory Book, and a lot of nostalgic comments in the light of the changes we were then expecting to happen within just a few months in Dubai. One of them even caused Rob to remark that I was "off my trolley"!   ;D

Looking back at the texts I wrote for these pictures at the time, I am so grateful that QE2 is still there, largely unchanged, so many months after we left her...  :)

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #44 on: Mar 19, 2011, 10:00 PM »
It was enjoyable to have had this look at this our last voyage again, a couple of years later. I am so glad that I wrote at least something every day (far too little -- I was far too busy enjoying the ship!), because I can see that my memories are fading but what I wrote at the time is still there  :)  .

I took such a huge number of pictures on that voyage...

The diary photos (292 photos and 17 videos) are in this set :

All the other pictures of the voyage (another 1,091 photos and 46 videos) are here :

And in addition, there is a set of photos of particular places, such as the synagogue, the Princess Grill and Britannia Grill, Theatre, stairways "and some of the less accessible decks". The latter were the mast deck and the funnel deck, with particular joy at having finally found the doggy lamppost! This set (149 photos) is here :

I suppose the only thing that saves me from thinking I was totally mad to take so many photos, is the fact that many others did too. QE2 was always one of the most photographed moving objects on earth -- but in her final year she must have beaten all previous records!

Offline Louis De Sousa

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Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #45 on: Mar 19, 2011, 10:46 PM »
Lovely photos you have i keep on looking at them over and over

Offline Twynkle

Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #46 on: Mar 16, 2012, 05:49 PM »
QE2-Herbstfarben "The final Call" vor NY
Video by dieterling
QE2 had been waiting alongside in Dubai for nearly 12 years.  Please restore her Lifeboats and Tenders to where they truly belong - she looks naked without them - please spare her this ignominy.

Online cunardqueen

Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #47 on: Mar 16, 2012, 09:16 PM »
What a lovely bit of video ! Thanks for sharing...
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Alan Snelson

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Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #48 on: Feb 18, 2014, 07:35 PM »
I just stumbled on this topic and thoroughly enjoyed stepping back in time with your commentary and photographs Isabelle. It sounds as though you really took the time to savour every moment you were on board.

Of course much has changed since my time aboard, though many places are still recognisable from the photos and your descriptions bring it all back to life so wonderfully well.
Don't just be part of her past, be part of her history!

Offline Clydebuilt1971

Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #49 on: Feb 19, 2014, 01:21 PM »
As Alan I have only came across this topic which is shocking behaviour given how long I've been reading this forum!!

I didnt think it was possible to miss a ship I'd never set foot on but there you go I do!

I was given the chance of a cabin on the 2007 Round Britain but I lacked the funds (and the leave) to go. How I wish.....

Anyway - I can (to an extent) experience QE2 through the memories of those on this forum who did sail or crew the girl and I thank you all for that from the bottom of my Clydebuilt heart...

And now I've a lump in my throat too!! Best  :-X it!!


Offline June Ingram

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Re: Autumn Colours 2008 -- a photo diary
« Reply #50 on: Feb 19, 2014, 02:38 PM »
Thank you, Alan, for bringing this topic to our attention.  I shall certainly take a look at the photos and read the commentary.  I had not come across this topic either.  June
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !