Author Topic: Malcolm's diary of QE2's final world cruise.  (Read 74272 times)

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Offline Malcolm

22 March 2008 (again!)
« Reply #180 on: Aug 27, 2009, 05:27 PM »
The clocks didn’t go on last night. That meant breakfast starting at 8-30 am was actually quite late. When I got there (8-31 am) there were four people in before me. Two couples both of whom had seen the time change reminder and read it as the clocks advance by one hour and not go back by 24! They were up an hour earlier than they wanted to be!

I went to one of the lectures this morning. It was entitled “The World’s Worst Cruise Videos – and How Not To Make Them” and was given by a man called Brian Ford. The lecture was not that interesting (an understatement) and it did not tell me anything that I do not know already. The first thing Brian Ford did was to spend about five minutes plugging his books (he’s written two, both of which are available on board). He struck me as smug and his lecture seemed well rehearsed, as if it was a lecture he was frequently giving on various cruise ships where he was selling his books. He said how worried he was that his lectures would not be well attended and that he was always relieved when he got a good attendance (the balcony was about ¼ full and five people left before the end).

I’m at a quiet point in the day, have my computer turned on and have time to write so I would like to take this opportunity of thanking everybody who is joining the ship soon and has offered to bring us anything we need. I’ve spoken with Paul and we can’t think of anything that will become urgent in another week! So we don’t think that we need anything. We are both touched that so many people have thought to ask if there’s anything that we need though.

(Matthew – the mouse mat isn’t urgent but if you can get one that would be great; Susan and Michael – which address did you write to? If you used mrkpnh@dsl.pipex.com I won’t have been able to access it, since I lost my PDA I’ve not been able to check that account. Email me on the other address or qe2@cunard.com)

Guess what? At noon we didn’t get a captain’s message and we didn’t get a Third Officer telling us the navigation details for the previous 24 hours; instead we got a Deck Cadet telling us our position, the distance we’ve covered and our average speed. If they are running out of deck staff that are willing to talk to us perhaps they can start on the hotel staff – I’m sure a lot of them would be interesting.

The Deck Cadet did say one thing of interest – we expect to cross the International Date Line at about 3-00 am tomorrow morning. This is quite contrary to the Daily Programme of yesterday reading “Today we continue on our course across the Pacific Ocean towards the Hawaiian Islands and we expect to cross the International Date Line in the afternoon.” The TV still shows our longitude 175 6.7E. If this is an example of how good the navigating team are perhaps we would be safer with the hotel staff steering the boat! (Or perhaps the captain producing the Daily Programme ;) )

The Launderette only gets a mention today because it is the quietest I’ve seen it since we left Southampton on the 6th January! I managed to get two washers, as did a woman who’d come in at the same time as me. There were a couple of times during the first part of my time there when there were five washers in a row not being used and a further two marked as “out of order”. There were two people using four (4!) driers each and there was still enough capacity to allow for an empty drier. The peace didn’t last. By the time my washing was half dry there were queues for washers.

Perky’s party (why does that sound like a romantic comedy released by Hollywood in the 1990s?) was just like any other – A lot of people that we’d say we’d never seen before and not a lot of excitement. Except for the couple who asked me if I was keeping a blog, if one of us was called Paul and told me that a family (of eight I think) in their restaurant had been reading it and were onboard until Los Angeles. I gave the lady our cabin number and she said she would pass it on – If the message doesn’t get through then (to the family who are reading this) we’re in 2044 if you want to call.

Captain Perkins was at the party; we shook hands with him. So I can confirm that we didn’t leave him behind in Japan! Once we’d shaken hands we went to find a seat and order some drinks. When the drinks hadn’t arrived after five minutes we ordered some more. Both lots arrived at the same time! Roger and Rosemary (the only other people that we knew at the party) joined us – they were on their second drink as well. We all had a third drink (and in some cases a fourth) and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Paul and I made it to dinner and then to the show. This show was the best this new troupe has put on so far. The performance was entitled “Elton John” and was basically a collection of his well known songs put together with dance. There is no plot to it and it isn’t a show that tries to have great depth but it is fun, well sung and well danced. Again it’s not a show I’d say that I must see again; if it were on and I’d nothing else to do I’d probably go and watch it as I’ll have forgotten most of the most of the show in the next couple of days.

The clocks go forward again tonight so it’s off to bed to sleep and to recover from the cocktail party!

Offline Malcolm

23 March 2008
« Reply #181 on: Aug 28, 2009, 08:24 AM »
The combination of cocktail party and clocks going forwards meant I didn’t make the gym again this morning. I did however make it to the restaurant in time to join the queue of people waiting for it to open. Since Good Friday we’ve had Hot Cross Buns as an extra at breakfast, this morning the restaurant was decked out with streamers, pictures of Easter Bunnies, large crepe paper eggs, etc. As at Christmas I hope these decorations will all have disappeared by tomorrow morning.

We then spent most of the morning on deck. It was quite windy, but it was a warm wind. As long as you were sitting somewhere sheltered it was quite comfortable. Paul read while I listened to some radio comedy shows I’ve got on my MP3 player (I’m not using it in the gym but it does come in handy around the rest of the ship).

Perky didn’t make any announcement again. I’m missed who it was they got to give the navigational information but I suspect it could have been one of the KPs!

We stayed on deck until about 12-30 pm when one of the Third Officers made an announcement warning of a shower of rain ahead. The open decks weren’t crowded so they cleared very quickly. Nobody wanted to be soaked by a sudden shower, even if it was a warm one that would quickly pass.

This afternoon we got another letter from the purser. This time it was about immigration into the US. Neither Paul nor I were clear about its implications so I went to the pursers to check how the immigration applied to us. The girl on the desk looked at the back of the Visa Waiver Form (why? It’s blank!) and said that we had to attend immigration – no reason or even any interest as to why I was asking. I asked to see the Purser who wasn’t available and so I said would they make me an appointment to see him (I think it’s a man but I’m not sure) at about 9-30 am tomorrow morning and inform me they had done so by putting a note under my cabin door this evening.

By the time we went to bed there was still no note.

Offline Malcolm

24 March 2008
« Reply #182 on: Aug 29, 2009, 11:53 AM »
Today's report was just a long line of complaints. I think that they=were mostly justified but I could think of nothing else to write. I knew that I was just moaning but didn't seem able to do anything about it. I'd been onboard the ship for 3 1/2 months at this point - I was becoming very institutionalised!
 
Another important thing to remember is that the report was written after another lengthy sea crossing.

Offline Malcolm

24 March 2008
« Reply #183 on: Aug 29, 2009, 11:53 AM »
I was late to breakfast this morning. It’s another sign that Paul is getting better – he was able to stand and cut our hair this morning. That’s saved us about US$ 80.00 in bills from the onboard services (not to mention that it was much quicker and more pleasant).

On my way back from breakfast (9-15 am) I saw one of the purserettes heading the same way as me. When she passed me she didn’t acknowledge me so I was surprised to see her stop at our cabin and put a letter under the door. I slowed down so that she would have finished at the cabin before I got there – as she walked past me she still didn’t acknowledge me, not even an anonymous good morning. When I got to the cabin the letter was to Paul confirming his appointment with the Manifest at 9-30! We assumed (as it turned out correctly) that the letter was meant to be addressed to me confirming my appointment with the Purser.

I went along to the pursers office and said I had an appointment with the Purser at 9-30 am. When Birgit Gilly appeared she said “Good morning Mr Kelly, How can I help?” This was a perfect example of how the receptionists make silly mistakes – They had made the appointment in Paul’s name and not mine according to the letter they’d sent. Birgit Gilly is not the Purser but the Assistant Purser – another little mistake by the receptionists? The letter states that everyone must clear immigration before the ship can be cleared. BG has confirmed this is not the case. Once the 14 disembarking passengers have cleared immigration then the ship will be cleared, in transit passengers only need to clear immigration by 9-00 am. This is so different both from the original letter and what the girl on the desk told me last night that I feel it justifies my repeated asking.

Today’s message is turning into nothing but a whinge! There was a Crew Emergency
Drill scheduled for 10-30 am. Perky didn’t make a noon announcement today; as the drill wasn’t over until 12-15 pm I suppose Perky can claim some sort of dispensation from having to make his announcement today (although I think Captain McNaught still made an announcement when there was a drill on – I can’t say for certain though as I wasn’t listening out for the announcements then). The Third Officer didn’t escape though – he made his announcement at 12-20 pm.

While I’m in an awkward mood I’ll complain about the fact that the ship’s running out of things. The Travellers Cove has run out of Listerine (and face powder my mother tells me), There are six wines on the wine list that they don’t have any more, The Chart Room has no tomato juice whilst Paul got the last tomato juice in the restaurant. The crew say that they don’t know when these things will be in stock again although it will probably be Southampton. I don’t know if this is because of a stocking mistake, they are already starting to cut things out for November or if it is an aspect of a World Cruise – we can expect things to run out because it’s so long since we were in the home port.

I said today was a day for whinging; I think whatever I do today I’ll find fault with! I went swimming. There were four people in the pool but I decided to chance it – after all one of them must get out soon. One of them did and, although it was crowded, we were all trying to swim full lengths and managed to keep it up without getting too much in anyone’s way. That is until this oldish Oriental gentleman got in. He stood to one side of the shallow end, between the steps and the ladder (being a blockage of about half the width of the pool), and watched the swimmers. I gave up and got out. He watched the other swimmers whilst I showered and put my dressing gown on and he was still standing there, watching, as I left the gym.


Offline Louis De Sousa

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Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #184 on: Aug 29, 2009, 06:10 PM »
Quote
There are six wines on the wine list that they don’t have any more, The Chart Room has no tomato juice whilst Paul got the last tomato juice in the restaurant. The crew say that they don’t know when these things will be in stock again although it will probably be Southampton. I don’t know if this is because of a stocking mistake, they are already starting to cut things out for November or if it is an aspect of a World Cruise – we can expect things to run out because it’s so long since we were in the home port.

Malcom, the ship was in Hong Kong on the 14th of March,normally the ship gets stocked up their.If wines are missing that can happen on World Cruises but running out of tomate juice that is a joke........and because it all ends in November their is no reason to run out of it.Tomate Juice is a basic product just like to flour is to make the bread........

Louis

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: 23 February 2008
« Reply #185 on: Aug 30, 2009, 01:25 PM »

Firstly the Captain confirmed that the ship and the entire contents had been sold to Dubai. He said that, when he takes the ship there in November they will disembark the passengers and then spend about a week decommissioning the ship. When he and his crew finally leave the ship they will pack their personal possessions and leave everything else. That is as I understood the deal before I left in December. HOWEVER the captain also said that when (if) the QE2 is finally scrapped all the memorabilia onboard must return to Cunard. This could be in a very long time (think of the Mary) and he gave no indication of any payment that might be required to get them back but does imply that Carnival haven't just sold everything without any concern for the history.


Malcolm, thank you for this diary, which I am enjoying reading. At some stage, I got busy and failed to keep up, so I have printed it out and am now reading it at my leisure when I get a relaxed moment.

The above quote is very interesting and the one and only time I have heard or read this. It may be common knowledge, but it just had not reached me yet.

The Cunard memorabilia (the Heritage Trail, plus perhaps some more?) back to Cunard some time whenever the QE2 is no more? That would mean that these items are currently on long-term loan to Dubai, and presumably there is an obligation to look after them caringly, as they have to be returned. That to me puts a different spin on the arrangement. Could be quite reassuring to many of us...

Offline jdl

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Re: 21 March 2008
« Reply #186 on: Aug 30, 2009, 04:58 PM »
They’re not really annoying us (apart from some homophobic comments they made once) It’s just irritating to hear these peculiar noises and not know what they are! [At the end of the cruise our steward told us that it was masking tape on the door – to keep the pipe smoke out!]

Malcolm,

Did you not consider reporting them for their homophobic comments? - as the QE2 fell under UK law they could well have faced serious punishment for these illegal comments - if nothing else you would have had a fairly good chance of having them removed as passengers at the next port of call!!

John
« Last Edit: Aug 30, 2009, 05:04 PM by jdl »

Offline Malcolm

Re: 23 February 2008
« Reply #187 on: Aug 30, 2009, 07:10 PM »
these items are currently on long-term loan to Dubai, and presumably there is an obligation to look after them caringly, as they have to be returned

I've since heard, from another reliable source, that the items need only be offered back to Cunard for Cunard to buy if they wish. I don't believe that anything has been set regarding the price that is asked for them or how long Cunard have to be given to pay for them :(

Offline Malcolm

Re: 21 March 2008
« Reply #188 on: Aug 30, 2009, 07:13 PM »
Did you not consider reporting them for their homophobic comments?

No. There were only a couple of comments made on one occasion - they weren't about us. There was nothing after that. I don't think that either Paul or I thought about reporting them or that if we had it would have been worth the effort!

Offline Malcolm

25 March 2008
« Reply #189 on: Aug 30, 2009, 08:25 PM »
We were in the queue for immigration at 5-55 am this morning. We didn’t see the immigration officers until 7-00 am. The queue started at the portside of the Queens
Room. It went right the way past Cruise Sales, Past the Caronia Restaurant, through the Chart Room, back through the Queens Room on the other side and we joined it at the tea counter of the Lido. At 7-25 am I went to see how long the queue was – it had extended through the Lido and was back into the Queens Room. We were in that queue until 7-00 am before an immigration officer stamped our passport and gave us permission to leave the ship. This delay was in no way attributable to Cunard. The officers were due to start work at 6-00 am; at 6-10 am a purserette walked along the queue saying that the officers were not yet onboard; at 6-15 am there was an announcement that the officers had just arrived and it was not until 6-25 that they finally started to stamp passports. By the time we’d breakfasted and gone back to our cabins to shower and change for the day it was 8-30 am.

We are docked at pier number 2. This is not at the Aloha Tower but is only about five minutes walk – if you’re a good walker; if not you’d better allow ten minutes or, much easier, take the shuttle! Our first impressions of Hawaii were that it’s an Americanised Tahiti or Tonga. There doesn’t appear to be a lot here for someone who doesn’t want to get involved with water sports.

We took the shuttle in to the tower first thing and got a taxi from there – the taxis at the terminal only wanted to do tours to Waikiki Beach (we’re not into beaches) and Pearl Harbour (we’re not really into public outpourings of faux grief either). There were plenty of taxis at the tower and we were able to get one to take us to the Bishop Museum.

Our guidebook, the Rough Guide to Honolulu and Oahu, quotes the museum as “The best for Hawaiian history, anthropology and natural history – and the world’s finest collection of the arts of the Pacific”. Whilst I do not doubt this I suspect that it is only because other museums are in places like Tahiti and have far less impressive collections. The main hall, the Hawaiian Hall, was closed until 2009 for renovations so this might have increased the feeling that there was not that much actually at the museum. We did get to see a demonstration of Hula Dancing. If you think how Disney would give a demonstration at one of their theme parks and then reduce the cast to three you won’t be far off!

We spent about an hour and a half at the museum. When we’d finished we caught another taxi to the ‘Iolani Palace. This was the residence of the monarchs of Hawaii from 1882 until their overthrow by American sugar farmers in 1893. It then became the Capitol Building until 1969 when it was turned into a museum. A lot of the original furniture was returned to the palace at this point and it is reputedly well worth seeing. Unfortunately the palace was being used as a film set today and so was closed to visitors. We could only look from the outside of the palace which is certainly very impressive.

After leaving the palace we walked past the Missionary Houses (so called because they were the first houses Christian missionaries lived in when they arrived on Oahu) and then slowly back to the ship. Paul’s leg was aching badly by this point so I left him at the shuttle bus stop and headed off on my own. I had arranged to meet Beth and Jerry (imacruiser from CC) at 3-00 pm and had about an hour to kill before that. I wandered around the Aloha Tower Marketplace and decided that a trip up the tower would pass ten minutes. The best things you can say about the tower are that it’s free and it had a lovely view (at least today when the QE2 was in port!) I took the lift back down again and wandered round the shops again. There really is not that much there of interest so I was delighted when this voice said “Malcolm?” It was Beth who had also arrived early and had recognised me from my avatar. I was pleased that we had met early because it meant that we could spend a full hour talking rather than the 30 minutes we’d thought. I felt sorry for Jerry, I feel sorry for all partners when two (or more) CCers get together, because it was an hour spent almost entirely talking about CC related stuff. I had to rush off at 4-30 pm or we could have talked for much longer.

It is the World Cruise Dinner this evening. Coach transport to the Honolulu Convention Center is provided however, because there are so many people involved, the coaches are scheduled to depart from 5-30 pm until 5-50 pm for a 7-00 pm dinner. They had made arrangements for anyone with walking difficulties to be collected from their cabin and either be taken by wheelchair accessible transport or to get the first seats on each coach so my parents had gone on before us. We got a coach at about 5-40 pm. It was a very peculiar feeling to be leaving the ship in full evening dress and having people who were not on the full trip looking at us in a puzzled way, wondering where we were going and why. The people who were invited to dinner were a very well dressed group. I think I only saw two men in dark lounge suits rather than dinner jackets and only saw a handful of men in anything other than the correct black tie. The coach did not go directly to the centre but did a short tour of the city first. The guide on the tour made great efforts to point out the ‘Iolani Palace and the statues of past monarchs about the city.

When we all got off the coach at the conference centre we were all given a lei by a group of young (10 – 14 years old) girls dressed in the traditional grass skirts before we were ushered onto an escalator. The escalator started from a large lobby with pillars shaped like modernist palm trees and very large windows on two sides. We rose through an atrium that spanned about five floors with the views of the city spreading out behind us before we reached a second, enclosed lobby. From there a second, shorter, escalator took us to roof level.

The top of the escalator was under cover but as soon as you started to walk away from it you were in an open-air roof garden. This occupied a very large area (There were about 750 people attending the dinner and I would guess the space could have held at least twice that many before it became crowded and probably had a capacity of about 2000. Around the edge of the garden were various tableaux depicting figures from the Hawaiian monarchy and demonstrations of how Hawaii has changed over the centuries. The centre of the garden was set out with tables and chairs for use during pre-dinner drinks; There was a large water feature on one side and on the other was a band playing Hula songs. At one point the girls who had been handing out the leis came and danced in front of the band.

When we entered the roof garden there was a receiving line that had Carol Marlow, Perky and David Hamilton shaking hands with all who wanted. We declined the opportunity to shake hands preferring instead to go in search of a drink! We were given a drink when we first got to the garden and then wandered round looking at the tableaux. You could order whatever you liked although the servers’ trays normally only had red and white wine, beer, Mai Tais, cola and soda water. These servers then continued to pass through the crowd and we had no problem in obtaining a second drink (as long as it was wine, beer, Mai Tai, etc).

When dinner was announced the Hula Dancers led us into one of the conference rooms. This conference room was large. There were tables numbered from 1 to 78, each of which seated either nine or ten people. The tables were arranged around a large dance floor with a lot of room around the edge of the tables for servers, etc. I would guess that you would have had no problem fitting another 40 tables in the room and making each table hold 12 people each. Each place was provided with a glossy booklet that included the evening’s menu and each table had a centrepiece consisting of a tall glass vase containing white orchids.

The waiters poured everyone a glass of wine and then we sat back while Perky introduced Carol Marlow. Her speech started and finished well by talking about the QE2 and her passengers. Unfortunately the middle of the speech was just a sales blurb to try and encourage everyone to go on the Vicky. She even paused to show a short film showing of the Vicky’s insides! After Carol Marlow’s address there was another display of Hawaiian dancing, singing, military work, and a faux parade with people pretending to be the last King and Queen of Hawaii. This lasted for about half an hour after which Perky said grace. I was not expecting a grace, it’s not that widely done anymore. I don’t think Perky was expecting to have to give one either. He said “We’ve got to thank someone so let’s thank God”. That was it!

The meal was very good. I think it was above the standard we get in the Britannia Grill, Paul and my parents think it was slightly below. Whichever we are all agreed that it was a very good meal. The menu looked as though there was going to be a choice at each course (unbelievable when you think they’re serving 750 people at the same time) however when the courses arrived everything was on the one plate. This wasn’t that peculiar with the appetiser but when the entree consisted of both a broiled filet of beef and a half lobster on the same plate at the same time it was slightly unusual; especially when they were both with their own sauce and were two totally separate dishes except on only one plate (not like Surf and Turf that is one dish of steak and shellfish cooked together). The wines were topped up as often as was wanted throughout the meal.

The only major problems to occur with the meal happened after the pudding had been cleared away. I list them as “major problems” but they were not that major – if I were to rate the meal and were allowing for these problems in my rating I would only give it 8/10 instead of 9/10. What happens at the end of the meal is what you remember about the meal; these were all fairly minor irritations but still left an unpleasant memory.

The coffee was almost cold when it was poured. Different teas were offered by pouring hot water from a jug into a cup and letting the diner choose their teabag to dunk. As the water was lukewarm the tea was poor at best. Three of the people who had tea at or table had difficulty opening the envelopes that held the teabags. Their tea must have been almost cold and even less tealike!

There was a flute glass on the table as part of each place setting. This was used for drinking the Loyal Toast. There were two problems here – they only half filled each person’s flute. Despite this being quite a saving in Korbel Blanc De Noir (not a Champagne (it originates in California) despite Perky calling it one) it makes the company look mean. The extra cost of a full glass on top of the meal would not have been a great excess. The second problem was with the definition of the Loyal Toast. I (and so did all the people at our table) believe that the Loyal Toast is only drunk to The Queen. When Perky gave the toast it was not only to The Queen but also the President of the United States and all other world Leaders!

Once dinner was over all the guests were offered a liqueur. We were offered either brandy or Baleys but they would bring other drinks if they were asked. The brandy was a very cheap liquor, the Baleys did not taste quite like Baleys; I suspect it was a cheaper generic make. If they hadn’t offered anything other than wine they could have saved the money they’d spent by giving full glassed of Sparkling Wine.

Then there was a tribute band to The Supremes. The dancing to this band continued until we left at 10-30 pm, I assume that it went on until the party was over at 11-00 pm. Since we’ve known that we’d be going to this year’s World Cruse Dinner I’ve asked about to see what happens. I’ve been told that they are fantastic but not how they are fantastic. Despite the fact that I’ve written a lot (I’m horrified at just how much!) about the dinner and entertainment my understanding is that each one is different. I have to agree with the person who told me that you really must experience one before you can really understand what they are about.

[Looking back from May 2009, I find that my memories of the event are fading. I think that you really need to experience many more than one to truly comprehend what a World Cruise Dinner is all about. My strongest memory now is that it was a stupendous evening and something I must repeat if ever I can]

Offline Malcolm

26 March 2008
« Reply #190 on: Aug 31, 2009, 02:20 PM »
We finally got to bed at half past midnight after a very tiring day. I’m allowing us a lie-in tomorrow – I’ve not set the alarm to go off until 7-30 am!

The alarm went off at 7-30 am and I just didn’t want to know. I pulled the duvet back over my head and went back to sleep. I was woken a quarter of an hour later though when Jerome brought our morning tea. Paul thoughtfully stayed in bed for as long as he could. I went to fill our water bottles and then for breakfast!

After breakfast Paul went to the Grand Lounge to get tickets for the tender whilst I went to collect my parents. They weren’t ready so I reluctantly agreed to go with Paul to get the tickets and then meet my parents at G stairway on 2 Deck. I caught up with Paul in the Midships lobby and together we went and got the tickets – we actually went to the lounge to be told to go straight to the tender. Paul caught the lift to 5 Deck while I walked to pick my parents up. We all got onto the tender quickly and, as it was only a short tender ride, we were ashore by 10-15 am. There were not plenty of taxis waiting at the pier side however one of the tour guides was able to call us a car that collected us quite quickly.

I had planned on doing a trip that went from Lahaina to Wailuku by way of the North West coast of the north mountain. This route would have taken in the Kahekili Highway. Our guidebook describes it as “A dangerous drive ... not quite matching the Road to H?na ... is exhilaratingly beautiful ... provides a glimpse of how Maui must have looked before the advent of tourism”. The guidebook said the drive would take an hour; both the agent on the port and the taxi driver said the round trip would be nearer four hours. Unfortunately this meant that we did not do this journey.

Instead the driver took us on a typical tourist trip. From Lahaina to Papawai Point, a good spot to see whales – there weren’t any in sight! From there to the Maui Tropical Plantation – a stop on a lot of tours (there were several Cunard tours stopped whilst we were there) because entrance is free however the gardens are not of that much interest.

The drive took us through Kahului, the largest town on Maui, again not that interesting and consisting of nothing earlier than the 1950s. From there it was onto Ho’okipa Beach. This is reputed to be the best windsurfing site in Maui and one of the best in the world. Nobody in my family is a windsurfer and therefore the main attraction of the beach was missing, considered as somewhere to see it is not hugely attractive!

Our final stop was in the ?ao Valley State Park. The park consists of a viewpoint and the ?ao Needle. This “erosional residue” is a 1200 foot high pinnacle of lava. It is something worth stopping to look at if you’re passing but as one of Hawaii’s most famous natural spectacles” it leaves a lot to be desired.

[I regretted not insisting on doing the drive as originally planned. I suspect that we’d have come away with quite different opinions of Maui]

Our taxi then brought us back to Lahaina where Paul and I left my parents and headed into the centre of the town. As towns go it was one of the more subdued that we’ve been to, but that was only from the perspective of the number of locals out to fleece the tourist. There was a street market selling souvenirs but these were not the normal tourist tat. Most looked locally made and there wasn’t a sign of dolls, in red plastic “grass” skirts that twitched their hips in tine to an electronic tune!

The town centre was full of small shops selling interesting (although not so interesting we had to buy) products. As well as the shops there were a lot of local restaurants offering a good selection of food at reasonable prices. We each had a burger and coleslaw for lunch. Both the burger and coleslaw were homemade and only cost us about US$ 12.00 each – very reasonable by UK standards.

When we got back to our cabin Paul fell asleep on the bed whilst I tried to catch up with this journal. I was able to spend an hour on yesterday’s entry before it was time to go on deck and watch us sail. Whilst I had been getting ready to go on deck thee had been some announcement that I hadn’t heard. As I was going onto Boat Deck I was surprised by the number of people heading the same way; until I reached Boat Deck. Apparently Captain Perkins had made an announcement saying that there were two whales visible off the starboard side. At last I’d got to see some whales and even take some pictures of them. I knew that my parents had seen them from the QGL and so I went to try and wake Paul to see if he wanted to see them or not. I managed to wake him sufficiently for him to say he wasn’t bothered!

Paul continued to sleep. He slept through a phone call from my parents, my getting changed for dinner and going to dinner. When I got back after dinner he was awake and hoping that we could go and do something. He was disappointed – all I wanted to do was go to sleep. It was only 10-00 pm but after two hard days and with the clocks going forward again tonight I needed some sleep! I was asleep within five minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

Offline Malcolm

27 March 2008
« Reply #191 on: Sep 01, 2009, 10:15 PM »
I went to the gym this morning. I got back to the cabin just as Jerome was bringing the tea. Once I’d had my tea I went back to bed and slept until 10-15 am and it was time to get up and go to Peter Crimes’ lecture on Los Angeles. I met mother in the lecture. We both fell asleep during part of it – I must try to catch it on
TV later and see what I missed!

Something I forget to mention in yesterday’s notes was that as I was going on deck to watch us sail from Lahania I saw that evening’s cabaret rehearsing. It was to be a tribute band for The Beatles. The band consisted of two men both with ginger hair. Two men with ginger hair do not equal four men with dark hair!

We were in the Chart Room at about 11-45 am when Susan (Drangoscots) came past. She was saying how she’s noticed that most of the Full World Cruisers are becoming very short tempered, are really starting to get fed up with the ship and are all continuously tired. I think there is a certain amount of truth in this. Within my small family group we are becoming a lot less tolerant of each other than we were when all this started. We are all much more willing to criticize the way the ship runs and I am much more willing to bitch about people like the Captain who I might consider has not done something he should. The tiredness aspect is certainly there – my mother and father spend a lot of the day asleep, Paul slept through dinner yesterday and I was asleep by 10-15 pm last night and went back to bed for a couple of hours this morning.

 [As I read through this journal I think that can be said about many of my entries. They are turning into little more than a log of minor criticisms]

Perky made his address at midday. It was only a very short address which mainly went to great lengths to point out why he had not sounded the horn when leaving either Honolulu or Lahaina – apparently he needed permission from the coastguard who refused it on the grounds of noise pollution. (I’m not surprised that he couldn’t sound the horn at 1-00 am in Honolulu but don’t see why not at 6-00 pm in Lahaina). This sounds as if someone had been grumbling at him for not sounding the horn and this was his way of replying. (Is this another example of people getting fed up with the ship?)

Sitting in the Chart Room again after lunch I met Don who asked me what the “Ancient Order of the Turtles” was. Apparently they had an initiation this morning in the Yacht Club. The room was closed for a Private Party with invitees standing outside the Yacht Club until they were called to be inducted. Thomas was presiding over the induction. Don had asked the inductees what the AOT was – they did not know what it meant and Don couldn’t ask them what it was when they came out because once they had been inducted they didn’t come out again [or not while he was there!]. Don was curious about this and hoped that I would have the answer. I don’t, does anyone else?

Just before we went to dinner (we were dressed and about to leave the cabin) Paul asked me who Trevor was. It transpired that there’d been a letter addressed to “Trevor” put under our cabin door just after lunch. I hadn’t been with Paul when he’d got back to the cabin and he’d forgotten to mention it when I did get back. I said to open it (I’m nosey, and how could we trace Trevor if we didn’t open it?). I ended up opening it and it wasn’t to Trevor it was to me. From Laurie and Greg who are on the Singapore to LA leg. They have been reading this blog and wanted to say hello before they get off. This must be “the family of eight” I talked about on the 2nd 22nd! I wonder where the rest of the family are. I didn’t have time to contact them before dinner and it was too late afterwards so I will have to try and contact them tomorrow.


Offline Malcolm

28 March 2008
« Reply #192 on: Sep 02, 2009, 05:38 PM »
Another morning like yesterday: I got up, went to the gym and went back to bed! I finally emerged from the cabin at 11-30 am.

Unlike yesterday Perky didn’t make any announcement today. There was certainly no feeling that he was hurt by what people had said (the fact that people may be hurt by what he hasn’t said doesn’t seem that important to him). Oh well; almost time for lunch.

This afternoon is the afternoon of the Spring Fair. This event is another of the events held in aid of World Cruise charities. It was held in the Grand lounge with a selection of stalls. The event was opened by the Captain. I admit to not hearing his opening remarks. I will try to detail all the stalls but, as I didn’t visit all of them, I have probably missed some out!

Tombola – What it says. I won a 10 year diary and a flowery luggage label!
Guess the weight of the Easter egg – Veronica (adrenalinejunkie on cc) won this.
Human Fruit Machine – Three people who picked a fruit out of a bowl. If they each picked the same kind of fruit you won, if they only picked two of the same type you got a consolation prize of a miniature Japanese Hapi Coat. I got a Hapi Coat!
Thrift Bookshop – Various books on sale. I didn’t see anything that I wanted.
Darts – Hitting a target. I didn’t play.
You’ll be shocked – The electricians had set up a hoop along a wire game. Again I didn’t play.
Arts and Crafts – Gifts the Youth Centre had made to sell
Distance Target Golf Competition – I didn’t try my hand at golf.
Cruise Staff for A Day – An opportunity for the highest bidder to be with the Cruise Staff for the day – Not me either, I don’t pay to work while I’m on holiday!
Silent Auction – Two Dolls went to the highest bidder. I didn’t bid. What would I do with two dolls?
Carrot Chop – Cutting a carrot that’s been dropped down a tube.
Photo sitting in the Captain’s Chair – They’d brought the chair down from the bridge specially.
Navigator’s Station – Selling off charts and other ephemera for areas of the world that the QE2 won’t go to any more. Unfortunately she’s still to visit all the places I’d be interested in maps for.
Paintings – A guest selling of pictures he’s painted on this cruise. Most of his pictures appeared to be of wildlife he’s seen along the way.
The Sweet Tooth – How do you sell food on a ship where all the food is free? This stall knew how to do it and made over US$ 300.00. (Their cakes were very tasty though – I just couldn’t resist!)
Hoopla – I had nine goes at this and didn’t manage to hoop a single thing.
Secondhand Rose – New and used clothing and accessories – mostly women’s wear but a little for men. They didn’t have anything I wanted though.
Haunted House – This was set up on the stage behind the partially closed curtains. I didn’t visit but saw three people dresses as a witch, a skeleton and a monster standing in front of the curtains as the raffles were drawn. I imagine they were part of it.
Tapestry Raffle – Barbara Isherwood had embroidered a 6 inch by 12 inch tapestry. She sold over 3500 tickets for its raffle.
Ten Pin Bowling Powerstrike Challenge – this was the video version of ten pin bowling.
Tour of Hotel Stores – This was another silent auction. The winner got a tour of the hotel stores onboard. Although the stall was called a silent auction there was a figure showing what the highest bid had been. When I got to the stall at 2-15 pm there had only been one bid for US$ 10.00. This did not strike me as very high. I placed a bid of US$ 50.00.

I went back to the cabin for a while and then revisited the stall. Someone had placed a bid of US$ 110.00 so increased my bid to US$ 130.00. I returned to the stall a little later to find a bid of US$ 150.00. I increased my bid to US$ 160.00. The person running the stall asked me to wait a moment as the person I was bidding against was right behind me; this lady increased her bid to USD 165.00! When I had bid US$ 175.00 and the lady had outbid me by saying US$ 200.00 I decided to call it a day. Just before I left the stall I said to the person running it that I would still pay US$ 175.00 for two places on the tour.

As I left the stall the winner caught me and brought Warren Smith (Cruise Director) to my attention; He said that if we would both pay US$ 200.00 then he would take four people on the tour and that he would include more than just the hotel stores (things like the laundry). I accepted. He is going to contact me to arrange a time for the tour.

While waiting for the results of the Spring Fair I cornered Thomas about the Ancient Order of Turtles. When I first asked him what it was he said that he didn’t know. When I said that he’d been seen initiating people into the society he said “oh” and told me that it was an ancient society that had been going since biblical days, and was only open to passengers by invitation. I am now even more curious to know what it is about.

I did manage to get hold of Laurie (Rizzo) and Greg. We were invited to their cabin for drinks at 5-30 pm. As well as us there was Rizzo’s sister and John and Penny, the couple who’d introduced us (but whose names we didn’t actually know) at the party. It was a very jolly affair and we spent over an hour and a half talking quite happily. One thing that John and Penny said was that they’d met someone who had an entire set of 1995 plans. I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d got them from the same person I have.

After dinner we went to the Gala Midnight Buffet. We haven’t been to a Gala Buffet since New Year’s Eve and thought we’d try another one before Southampton. How disappointing! The midnight buffets have been reduced from the lavish, must see affairs, which occurred every night under Trafalgar House to a light snack on most nights and a slightly grander buffet which occurred once per cruise. Now this slightly grander buffet has been reduced in scale so that it is not much more than a light snack. I hate to think just how small the normal buffets have become!


Offline Louis De Sousa

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Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #193 on: Sep 02, 2009, 05:46 PM »

Quote
Navigator’s Station – Selling off charts and other ephemera for areas of the world that the QE2 won’t go to any more. Unfortunately she’s still to visit all the places I’d be interested in maps for.

This used to be my favorite stall i was lucky to buy a lot of charts over the years.

Louis

Offline Malcolm

29 March 2008
« Reply #194 on: Sep 03, 2009, 03:28 PM »
You can tell that we’re coming to the end of a sector - there are a lot of people wandering around taking pictures of every part of the ship. There is a constant parade of cameras coming through the Chart Room.

Perky’s noon report was quite short today but at least he made one. It consisted of three parts: The first was that we had gone at a speed of over 30 knots, on nine engines, last night (we managed an average speed of 28.9 knots over the past 24 hours); the second was to say goodbye to all the passengers departing in Los Angeles and the third was to promote future cruises with Cunard.

Another sign that the World Cruise is almost over is the number of people who are leaving the ship in LA. According to Peter Crimes there is about half the ship due to leave. I suspect that the figure is slightly less than that but I haven’t seen any definite figures [I can’t now remember why I suspected there were less]. One part of this departure is seeing suitcases outside cabins. They had already started to appear before lunch and the build up of cases is much more noticeable than it has been at the end of other sectors. Even at Sydney where there was a very big change there were nothing like as many cases as there are today.

As I didn’t make the gym this morning I decided to go swimming this afternoon. The pool was blessedly quiet with only a couple of men in who were splashing about out of the way behind the steps (why is it that men don’t always seem to monopolise the pool in the same way that women do? ;) ). When I’d almost finished this couple got in. He reeked of cheap aftershave and they both insisted in swimming partway down middle of the pool. They weren’t swimming but splashing about and getting in the way! Every time the ship rolled slightly (we’re in the Pacific – the rolls are slight) there was a wave washed across the pool. Each time a wave washed one way this woman called out wo-op and each time it washed the other she cried out we-ee!

As we are in LA tomorrow today was the last full day onboard for some CC members. Both Susans, Jo-An, David and Jim and Ruth are all getting off tomorrow (Jim and Ruth – sorry I didn’t say goodbye – I didn’t realise it was your last day until I was writing this). There was a gathering in the Crystal Bar so that we could all say our farewells. I was going to meet my parents for drinks and so couldn’t stay long (I think I managed five minutes!). I am delighted to have met so many people I hope I can now class as friends.

I have also got a confession to make. I’ve checked back through my notes for Honolulu and see that, on the 25th – the World Cruise Dinner, I said that David Hamilton was on the receiving line. He was not. He had been the Hotel Manager on the Christmas and New Year cruise and the World Cruise until until Freemantle but then John Duffy took over. John Duffy was the Hotel Manager and he was on the receiving line in Honolulu. Sorry :)

Offline Malcolm

30 March 2008
« Reply #195 on: Sep 04, 2009, 12:21 PM »
There was a very valedictory feeling about the ship last night. Everywhere was full of people taking their last photographs and having their last drink – until about 11-00 pm and then almost everyone disappeared to bed. We aren’t rushing to get off to sightsee today and that has meant that we’ve been about to view the morning’s activities. It has been a morning of guests waiting to get off and guests being called to disembark.

I was up and dressed before Paul. I went for a walk ashore to see if there was anything interesting within walking distance of the terminal. The answer is that no, there isn’t! Not even a couple of souvenir shops in the terminal itself. It is possible to get off the ship, walk down to the taxi stand and then return to the ship but that’s it.

There have just been three announcements made through the cabin. The first was that the ship has now cleared customs. A bit late, considering that I’ve already been off the ship and come back onboard again. The second was that the ship will be sailing at 1800 hours and passengers should be back onboard by 1730; that announcement also said that crew leave had been granted and that crew may go ashore. The third announcement said that we were sailing at 1700 hours and should all be aboard by 1630. This third announcement may have been directed at crew (I missed the first couple of words) but does make me wonder how the crew can sail an hour before the passengers!

The four of us took a taxi to the Queen Mary. This cost US$ 25.00 including a tip. The taxi picked us up from the terminal and dropped us at the gangway for the Mary. Here we parted from my parents, leaving them to go their way whilst we went ours. We had thought it would probably take us a couple of hours to see the ship. In fact we spent four and a half hours there before we had to leave and get back to the QE2!

We started our explorations by heading up to the Sports Deck to see the Bridge, Wireless and Radio Rooms. There were also some of the senior officers’ cabins on view here.

We then started to head downwards and got to Sun Deck. I was delighted to be able to see into the Veranda Grill through its windows but was disappointed that we couldn’t get inside.

The Promenade Deck is the main deck for tourists visiting the ship. Here is the Observation Bar (rather touristy – we were going to stop here for a drink but decided not to bother) and the main shopping promenade. This is still as it was installed and is a very attractive space. The shops there sell mainly souvenirs but there are also a hairdressers and a ladies outfitter. The Promenade Deck is also where the Queen’s Salon (1st Class Smoking Room) and Royal Salon (another 1st class room) are located. These were both in use for functions today but, as the Queen’s Room was only setting up we were able to see that room. Before leaving the Promenade Deck we had lunch at the Promenade Café – not fantastic but not that bad either.

From the Promenade Deck I went down to the Isolation Wards (until today I’d never realized that transatlantic liners had such things) whilst Paul stayed on the Promenade Deck to avoid the steps. We then headed to the bow area located on M deck before heading onto A Deck and the Fire Station Controls. I suspect that we went through a door that we shouldn’t have at this point although we didn’t see any signs saying that the area was for hotel guests only. We ended up on one of the original corridors of the Queen Mary. There were cabins off on both sides. These decks are very impressive and appear to be unchanged from the way they were when the QM as in service. If we did go through a wrong door I am very grateful.

We continued down the A Deck corridor until we reached the reception desk. We had decided that we would have time to catch the “Ghosts and Legends” Show before we got a taxi back to the QE2 however I remembered something that had been posted on CC a little while ago – ask at the reception desk to see a cabin; if there’s one available they will  let you see it. We did ask but we didn’t get to see a cabin; we got to see a suite of rooms. There was a sitting room, double bedroom, single, inside (think MI although the single on the QM was a lot bigger than most MIs), bedroom and two bathrooms. The cabins had televisions now and there was an extended range of toiletries available but the cabin was basically as it was in 1934. Thank you to whoever said to go and ask to see a cabin – it was a very valuable tip.

We never got time to see the “ghosts and Legends”, the 1st Class Dining Room, the engine room nor the submarine moored nearby. The Queen Mary will be worth a lot more time on our next visit.

We decided not to risk the 6-00 pm sailing time being correct and were back by 4-15 pm (rightly as it turned out – we sailed at 5-00 pm). Back on the QE2 there was a letter waiting from Warren Smith. He has arranged for the Hotel stores tour to take place tomorrow morning. We went on deck to watch us sail. We thought we’d order a lemonade from a passing waiter (We recognised him and he recognised us; he knew that we’d been on since Southampton and that we’d always had the soft drinks package). We’d ordered when I realised that we hadn’t bought our drinks package for this leg. He would neither trust us that we were going to buy one nor would he arrange for us to purchase one there and then. We ended up not having a drink.

The promised band did not materialize and we had to content ourselves with a quiet sailaway. Perky came made an announcement over the PA system. He welcomed aboard the new people who had joined us for this leg and said that because of other ships we would not be able to turn round but would reverse out of the port. He went on to say that the Coastguard had given permission for him to sound his horn and he would therefore be sounding it as he left.

First on Deck we bumped into Susan and Michael (ONADECK). They had been on the cruise at Christmas and we had been looking forward to seeing them again in LA. Whilst we were talking to them another man came up and asked if we remembered him. It was Bob who we had met with his Partner Chris on the Christmas 06 trip.

We went to the Chart Room for a drink before dinner. As we walked in two “odd” (:p) women jumped up and hugged and kissed me. It was Angela and M-L. They were sitting with Matthew, Paul and Tim. Michael and Ben joined us later as we all sat and had a pre-prandial drink and made introductions/catch-ups. We all confirmed the arrangement to meet in the Yacht Club at 10-00 pm that evening.

Once dinner was over Paul and I sat in the Golden Lion for 20 minutes. It is somewhere we dislike strongly but, as we only has to pass 20 minutes before we met the rest of hate CC group, we thought it would do. Whilst we were sitting there Michel came through for a break. We were able to pass a few minutes chatting quite happily. It was good to talk with Michael but it really was unfortunate that we were seen in that place!

Here is where I stop mentioning names (because my memory is so bad I’m bound to miss someone out). There must have been about 20 at the CC meeting in the Yacht Club. I was very pleased that the people boarding at Los Angeles thought the meeting time was 10-00 pm. I thought it was then as well but most of the people on the full world cruise thread were saying that the time had been arranged for 10-30 pm. Although most of the people on the entire cruise had never met most of those joining at LA we still got on like a house on fire. It was turned 11-00 pm when the party started to break up and nearly midnight before we decided to call it a day. The party was still going when we left.

Offline Malcolm

31 March 2008
« Reply #196 on: Sep 05, 2009, 12:01 PM »
The gym was busy again this morning. It was full of new people all eager to show their keenness! When the clocks start going on (tomorrow) the numbers will drop. When I checked the sheets I haven’t been booked in beyond today. I’m not too bothered – I’d already thought I’d give tomorrow a miss (the clocks going on, there’s another new show I want to see and a lot of CC people I want to see as well) and here’s my excuse!

The people in the cabin next door have changed. We wondered a while ago because the bridge arguments stopped, although we thought that the people in there had just worked out that we could hear everything they said. Now there is a definite Australian accent in the voices next door so we can be sure they’ve changed. I guess we’ll never find out what they were doing with all that sticky tape!

10-25 am – five minutes before the hotel stores tour was supposed to start. I’ve just had a telephone call from Warren Smith saying that he has just spoken with the stores and they have said how busy they are. Apparently they took a very big delivery yesterday at LA and they are in the process of storing it all away. The advice was that we did not do the tour today so it has been rescheduled for the 4th March (another sea day) at 11-00 am.

Another day when we did get a midday announcement from the Captain; quite a long announcement as well! In his announcement he said that 60 people are onboard with no luggage because of the problems at T5. I hope that BA can sort it so that the luggage is in Acapulco before we get there.

This afternoon was the second Cruise Critic get together. There were over 20 people there at the meeting’s busiest. Tomorrow is Judy’s (Oldchick) birthday and Charlie (songanddance) had arranged for there to be a cake at today’s meeting. The meeting was also the first to include the soft toy contingent. Bluey, Doggy Boy, Pip, Lyn and Margot were all there flying the flag for mascots. At about 4-20 pm it was decided that eight humans amongst us should go for afternoon tea. The soft toy contingent decided they would join us. The waiters were not best pleased when they had to find a table for eight (plus five) partway through service. This tea was the first official Cruise Critic Teddy Bear’s Picnic (I hasten to point out that orange cats were not welcome).

It was the Gala Dinner menu again (!) and I hadn’t fancied anything from the menu. I asked for a special order for both my appetiser and entree whilst Paul just had the special order for his appetiser. We had both said we would like Fociaccia del Potate (sp?) – a kind of potato soufflé with Grappa; the Maître ‘D had never heard of this but listened to the recipe and said he would sort something out. What the kitchens produced was nothing like the dish that Paul makes at home but was very acceptable. It was also a “proper” soufflé – not like the sweet ones that they serve as a pudding – it did collapse quickly if not eaten.

The photographs from the World Cruise Dinner were in our cabins when we got back for the night. They are horrendous! On the night we had told the photographer that there were four in our party and the photographer had told us that he was taking one picture of the entire table. What we have got is a picture of mother, Paul and I with my father sitting facing away from the camera; with the woman who was sitting to Paul’s left also facing the camera (Paul did not get off on a particularly good footing with her as her first question to him was what department did he work in on the ship).

Offline Malcolm

1 April 2008
« Reply #197 on: Sep 06, 2009, 09:52 AM »
I went to see Lisa bout the World Cruise Dinner photograph. She said that “they” had spotted that the picture wasn’t that well composed and had spoken to Graham (the officer at the table). His response had been that all the other people at the table had said they didn’t want their picture taking. That’s it. I find it hard to believe that the photographer could not work out that there were more than four people at the table wanted their photographs taking. Graham tells Lisa that he was busy talking to the man on his left and therefore wasn’t in the photograph. As the host for the table wasn’t it his job to ensure the photograph was taken correctly? Lisa tells us that there’s nothing else she can do about it. We’ve left the photographs with Lisa – we don’t want them.

I thought it had gone on too long to be true. Perky didn’t make any announcement today. We did get the usual navigational information – from a Deck Cadet. I wonder if anyone’s pointed out to Perky that there are a lot of people who look forward to the Captain’s announcement.

Yesterday I was delighted to be able to access the internet from the cabin. It was the first time I’ve been able to get access despite having tried it in the past. I’ve tried twice today and can’t get a signal again. I’ve also been to three wireless points – I can’t get access there either. I’ll have to try again tomorrow.

Michael of Michael and Susan (ONADECK) had invited us to drinks before dinner as it was Susan’s birthday. It was meant to be kept quite because, like me, Susan doesn’t like a fuss made of her birthday. Paul and I had rather broken the surprise by sending her birthday flowers earlier in the day. We met Michael and Susan in the Chart room at 7-30 pm. Michael (Tour Office) and Anna (Cruise Sales) joined the group later. The party had to break up at 8-45 pm. If it hadn’t we would all have missed dinner!

After the quickest dinner we’ve ever had (45 minutes to include 3 courses and coffee) we went onto the deck outside the Yacht Club for a Ginger Beer and then to meet Bob and Chris for a drink. I didn’t get to bed until well turned midnight again.



Offline Malcolm

2 April 2008
« Reply #198 on: Sep 07, 2009, 01:50 PM »
We’re anchored in Acapulco Bay this morning. After a leisurely breakfast (for me) and a cup of tea in the cabin (for Paul) we both went to the Grand Lounge to get tender tickets at 9-00 am. We were delighted to find that there was no queue and that, as soon as we’d got tickets, we were told to go straight to the tender. This is the second time we haven’t had a problem with tenders. If this could be kept up then it would make tender ports preferable to docking ports.

The tender dropped us at the Cruise Terminal. This is about a mile from the old part of Acapulco. Be warned; not only is this not a pleasant walk but you also have to run the gauntlet of taxi drivers all trying to sell you their tour to see the Cliff Divers (we did want to see the divers, just not first thing). For over half of that mile walk we had to tolerate people trying to find us taxis or show us shops that we didn’t want. This problem did ease as we moved further away from the Cruise Terminal.

Our first impressions of Acapulco were that it was not that pleasant. Our second impressions went on to confirm that! We had intended to walk into the old town but had instead ended up in the current centre. It was full of beggars, hawkers, and people wanting to show you where to spend money. It was not nice. Acapulco has a system of licensed guides. They are not paid by Acapulco but make their living from tips earned by giving help to tourists. We had generally avoided them but out of desperation asked one the way to the Cathedral (in the heart of the Old Town). He was very helpful and certainly warranted the tip we gave him (US$ 2.00) for helping. He told us that we had walked past the road leading to the cathedral and that we should retrace our steps until we got to the correct turning. We did so and found ourselves in a much more interesting part of town.

The old town was pedestrianised with wide streets and several small squares with fountains, etc. We spent a very enjoyable half hour wandering around this area. We did find the cathedral. It was a very modern building (by comparison with most cathedrals in the UK). Work was started on it in the late 1800s and finished in the 1920s. Paul’s comment was that it looked like a picture palace built in the 1920s!

We got a taxi back from the Old Town to the Cruise Terminal (we couldn’t face either the walk or the hoards of taxi drivers). The taxis for hire on the street are very interesting. They are Volkswagen Beetles that are painted blue and white; there are hundreds of them and they are cheap our taxi cost us US$ 5.00 and US$ 1.00 tip for the journey back). As we were dropped at the taxi stand it meant that we didn’t have to face the drivers we’d walked past on the way out.

We’d agreed to meet my Mother at 11-30 am and go together to see the divers. As we were at the terminal early we asked at the official stand about talking a taxi to do what we wanted. The driver quoted a fare of US$ 200.00 to do what we wanted in a large van (it would have seated 14!). We didn’t haggle as we felt that fare wasn’t that bad for the added convenience and space a large taxi just for us would give. As it was just turned 11-00 am we decided to go back into the terminal proper and have a drink before we went looking for mother. We were just about to order when both she and my father arrived. We all had a cold drink but dad did not stay with us – he decided to walk into town on his own. Mother, Paul and I got into the taxi at 11-15 am.

We had said that we wanted to see the Chapel of Peace in the hills overlooking Acapulco but had thought we would visit after seeing the cliff divers. Our driver told us that the chapel shut at 1-00 pm for a siesta and we would therefore need to go there first. Despite being busy with Cunard tours the chapel and its grounds still had a very peaceful air. The views form the grounds are certainly not to be missed. It is a fabulous location to get views out over the bay and the QE2. I suspect that the views from there are still quite good, even when the QE2 isn’t there!

From the chapel we made the journey back round Acapulco to La Quebrada, the place where you go to view the divers jumping. There are two places where you can view the divers jumping. The first is the public viewing area. This is down quite a long flight of steps (over 50) and was quite crowded by the time the divers jumped.

The second is from the Hotel El Mirador. The hotel charges US$ 14.50 per person for either two drinks or a light snack and one drink, a seat and table and a good view of the divers. We only got to the hotel at 12-55 pm for the 1-00 pm show and got the last table. It probably had the worst outlook of any of the tables there but it still had quite a good view). The restaurant does take credit cards although they are very slow at processing them; we paid cash and they were able to handle that fairly quickly.

Of the two places I would guess that the public area has the better view of the divers. The hotel has the major advantages of being on the flat, you can get something to eat and drink whilst watching and it has good and plentiful seating. The divers are not spectacular. If I were in Acapulco again and there was something else I wanted to do then I would quite happily miss them. But I am pleased to have seen them.

When we’d finished lunch our taxi took us to the Fuerte de San Diego. This building is just up the hill from where the tenders dock. There is an entrance, with a bridge over the road, almost next door to the terminal. However it is still quite a climb up to the fort. I am glad we got the taxi to take us there. The fort, heavily restored, was last used in the battle for Mexican independence. It contains a museum telling the story of Acapulco. The fort itself is not the most interesting of places but does offer some more spectacular views over the city and bay. We gave the museum a miss however I’m told that it does contain some good pieces.

We wandered round the shops in the terminal – nothing of great interest and nothing that we’ve not seen elsewhere – before we got the tender back to the ship. We were back onboard by just turned 4-30 pm.

After dinner Paul and I went to sit outside the Yacht Club. They had cleared away all the sun loungers, put tables in their place and hung coloured lights from the deck above. This is only the second time this has happened on the World Cruise and at Christmas (the first was when we overnighted in Montevideo). There is no mention of any event outside the Yacht Club tonight; not even “Cigars Under the Stars” something that is scheduled there no matter what the temperature.

I’ve just checked yesterday’s Daily Programme to make sure that the event wasn’t mentioned and then written the above paragraph. Whilst I was writing it Paul was looking back through the programme. When I’d finished writing he found mention of it – ‘Evening Under the Stars” – hidden away under the heading “Recommended Drinks for Today”!

Whilst we were there Joel and Jane (Novascotian) came and joined us. It really is wonderful thar CC means you know so many people on the ship. There is usually someone about who wants to chat or have a drink.

Offline Malcolm

3 April 2008
« Reply #199 on: Sep 08, 2009, 10:16 AM »
I had a relatively leisurely morning this morning. After going to the gym I skipped breakfast and spent quite a long time doing nothing before I had to get up and get dressed. I tried to send emails from the cabin with no luck – I can connect to the network but have no joy in accessing the ship’s servers to gain internet access. I then went down to the computer centre and tried there. No problem – I was able to connect straight away and, with only a few users online, the internet was quite quick.

We had wondered about Peter Crimes’ talk on the Panama Canal. Some of his latter talks, particularly those on the Pacific Islands and the West Coast of the States have tended towards the geology of the area and have not been as informative as some of his other talks. We need not have worried; he didn’t mention any more about the geological structure of the canal area other than to say it was made up of a lot of rock and mud! Unlike the talk on Los Angeles it was very busy. Every seat was full five minutes before the talk started and there were people standing in the aisles.

I wonder if I’m being too hard on Perky. We saw him this morning, wandering through the short corridor that links the Queens Room with the Chart Room. He did stop at the one table in there and exchange a few words with the people sitting there. His parting words to that table were something to do with having to get back to the Bridge to make his announcement! (Overheard comments so I’m not sure that is what was said ;) )

I am being too hard on Perky! He’s just made quite a long midday announcement which included a promise to make an even longer one tomorrow when he will give us provisional timings for our trip through the Panama Canal. He’s promised that he will not only give the information but that it will be published in the Daily Programme for the day as well.

Today was the Cabin Cavalcade. There were 14 cabins to view. They ranged from MIs and an M6 to 3 Q2s. And from Five Deck right up to Sun Deck. One of the surprising things was the Q2s. All Q2s are on either Sun or Sports Deck and have similar facilities however we saw a “normal” Q2 that had a full balcony, a Q2 towards the front of the ship that had a shorter balcony and a separate sitting area off the main cabin and the Q2 that doesn’t have a balcony but is a much larger cabin. We also managed to visit the Synagogue, the Princess Grill Bar and the Princess Grill, the Queens Grill Lounge and the Queens Grill and the Mauretania Restaurant.

I thought that I’d been almost everywhere you could go on this ship. I was wrong. Matthew showed us a route from the A stairs to the penthouses that didn’t involve the Queens Grill Lounge. I have often seen these stairs but have never thought too hard about where they go; I’ve just assumed that they led to officers’ quarters. I now know where another of those unlabeled flights of stairs go!

Today has set me thinking about other places I would like to see. I have never been in either a Q1 or a QS. I would like to see both (more than one QS as they are all different). I would like to see the nursery (not because I want anything to do with kids but because I am interested in the ship?).What have they done with the kennels? I’d like to see what’s left. I’ve never seen the kitchens for either the Mauretania or the Queens Grill. I haven’t included the engine rooms because they are totally out of bounds and I haven’t included anything else on decks Six, Seven or Eight because they are normally out of bounds. Who can I ask to see these places? What else should I be asking for?

I really think I have been misjudging Captain Perkins. Tonight was the Gala Farewell Cocktail Party for full World Cruise Passengers. It was very similar to the welcome cocktail party that was held at the start of the world cruise in that there was a buffet with canapés, smoked salmon, prawns, caviar, an assortment of small cakes, etc. There was also the usual problem of people ordering drinks, the drinks not arriving, ordering more drinks and then both lots turning up ten minutes later! However both Paul and my parents made this party; Paul and I got to a brief chat with Captain Perkins. The conversation wasn’t world shattering: just about Jamaica (Perky was born there) and his advice to people going to see the island (only on a tour) and the difficulty of anchoring there.

Captain Perkins also made a speech to the entire room about the future of the cruise, the ship and Cunard. He was less than flattering about the Vicky (a la Captain McNaught).