Author Topic: Malcolm's diary of QE2's final world cruise.  (Read 74290 times)

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Offline Malcolm

24 January 2008
« Reply #80 on: Jun 21, 2009, 11:14 AM »
Today was a port day - Salvador de Bahia - it was nice to be off the ship. As previously mentioned we had booked a tour as Peter Crimes had said that Salvador needn't be that safe. For that reason we had also booked my parents on another tour that was "designed for guests who prefer little or no walking".

Brazilian customs didn't turn out to clear the ship so that resulted in a delay of over an hour before we could get off. The Tour Office were very good however, making sure that the theatre didn't get overcrowded by starting to use other public rooms as waiting rooms, ensuring those who were in the theatre had a seat if they wanted one and keeping the waiting crowd informed by making an announcement every five minutes.

Paul and I had one of the best tours we have ever experienced from Cunard (and one of the cheapest at US$ 35.00 for a four hour tour). Our coach started by driving from the lower city to the upper city with our guide pointing out various important landmarks, until we arrived at the top of the lift that links the two halves of the city. From there we saw the view over the bay before walking through the old town to both the Cathedral and the church of St Francis. Both were stunning. After that we had half an hour of free time and were advised that the jewellers, H Stern, offered both free refreshments and the cleanest washrooms in that area. From there we walked through the Pelourinho District to rejoin our coach. Returning to the ship the coach made a brief stop at the San Antonio fortress to allow us to photograph both it and the beach it guarded.

My parents had a totally different experience. They went to the Theatre and were told to go to the Grand Lounge (remember this is a tour for those who "prefer little or no walking". They spent two hours there before their bus was called. There were only two announcements made during that time one was to say that the buses wouldn't have a toilet aboard (imagine the stampede that caused by those who required a tour with little or no walking!) and the second that there would be a walk of twice the ship's length (in reality it was far more than that) to get to the coaches. When my father asked about the possibility of wheelchair access he was told that "it's too late now", "you should have asked days ago".

My parents were not happy with the contents of the tour itself. As I wasn't on it I can't comment on that and just sum up some of their more major complaints: Over an hour of a two hour tour was spent queuing in traffic; the bus went along the same road several times; they couldn't understand most of what the guide was saying; they couldn't see that well from the coach.

We've just had lunch with my parents. The tour had upset my mother so much that she was in tears as she told us about it. My father was just angry; both at the quality of the tour and the way the Tour Office had treated my mother. I believe that my parents did get a rough deal with the tour and that it is just another example of the inconsistency of Cunard!

After lunch we went to see Lisa, the World Cruise concierge about our not getting invites to the parties of the last couple of nights. Apparently this trip counts as one cruise from the perspective of parties (unlike the internet minutes) so we can only expect one senior officers party on one of the segments. Likewise the World Club party although we should get a Wardroom party! [we never did]

After a cup of tea (OK and a slice of New York cheesecake!) in the cabin I went swimming. It was fine at first, for 20 lengths. There were a couple of other people in but the pool can cope with three people. Then this big, fat, woman got in. I think she was from the US although as she spoke with both a US and a German accent it was difficult to tell (as she was speaking English I'd guess American). She swam about half a length and bobbed about whilst I swam another ten lengths. As I was turning she stopped me to thank me for not splashing - I wish I'd thanked her for keeping out of the way, it would have been easier in the long run.

By the time I'd got to 40 lengths she was talking to the other couple in the shallow end. A woman came in to swim lengths. Between us we were able to use about 1/3 of the width as those three chatting were using up the rest. They kept up talking until I'd got to 117 and was fed up of having to swim round them. As soon as I'd got out they expanded to occupy the whole of the width.

I'd gone swimming early because we had the first cocktail party organised through our agent at 5-00pm. It was very much like any other Cunard party except for the numbers there (only about 30) and the drinks (no Pol Acker, just proper drinks). The reps, Glen Peters and his wife, were able to tell us a bit about Ensemble Travel: who they were, where they were based and how to book through them (but still using your existing agent, NOT directly. They gave the impression of being a very competently organised association.

Glen then went on to talk about the tour in Rio tomorrow. He was able to confirm that my mother will be able to take her mobility scooter and the arrangements for getting her on and off the ship.

The tour as originally offered did not include either Sugarloaf Mountain or the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Glen was able to tell us that the tour had now been amended to include a trip up Sugarloaf and a glass of Champagne.

« Last Edit: Aug 07, 2009, 09:23 PM by mrkpnh (Malcolm K) »

Offline Malcolm

25 January 2008
« Reply #81 on: Jun 22, 2009, 04:11 PM »
Another sea day. It's nice to feel that you're in the familiar and safe surroundings after yesterday (not that we ever felt unsafe in Salvador - just that you very quickly become institutionalised onboard).

Yesterday both Paul and I forgot to take our hats as we left the cabin and then couldn't be bothered to go back and get them. Last night I felt a bit headachy and Paul said he felt he'd had too much sun. The clocks went on again last night so we had an early bedtime and I slept well; Paul didn't and as a result has dozed until about midday. He's taken a couple of paracetamol but still looks half asleep.

Peter Crimes has given another destination lecture - this time on Montevideo - that was very well attended. The lecture was far more encompassing than the one on Rio and has given the impression that Montevideo is a large and relatively safe city with lots of interesting buildings but nothing that's outstanding.

The ship has been much cooler this morning. Since boarding, mid-December it has ranged from warm to stifling with the exception of the odd area (such as a couple of metres or corridor or by the doors from the Yacht Club onto the deck), we haven't had our cabin thermostat set above minimum in the past six weeks. Our Assistant Restaurant Manager solved the problem at lunchtime however. Apparently the air-conditioning was shut down entirely yesterday mid morning and should now be working properly.

After lunch I went to sit on deck. It was warm although slightly overcast. Now that we are heading away from the equator again it is starting to get cooler although the term cooler is relative - it is still far warmer than it will be in the UK! There was still sufficient sun to be able to see shadows on the deck and for me to want to find a chair out of it. Suddenly it started spotting with rain and within 30 seconds had turned into a downpour. The decks emptied incredibly quickly. I retreated to the Boardroom to finish these notes. I've just looked out and the sky is blue and the sun shining. When I've finished my coffee I might go back outside!

The sun stayed out. At least until Paul met me on deck and then we both retired for afternoon tea! Only two sandwiches and one cake - I am still trying to control me weight!

According to the Daily Programme today was "Burns Day". I have never heard of a day for Robbie Burns, just the night (and I thought that was the 24th)! Here nothing was done to mark the day until evening though and then only in the menu. I started with Haggis, a very nice meaty Haggis although possibly geared to the US taste rather than being authentic; then I had Clam Fishcakes on a bed of Clapshot, these were five large, whole, clams that had been coated in a mixture of breadcrumbs and oats and deep fried then served on a mixture of mashed potato and swede; finally I had Highland Flummery, if you think cold porridge with cold apple sauce you won't be that far off! All in all the meal was very acceptable even if the pudding did leave something to be desired.

Offline Malcolm

Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #82 on: Jun 22, 2009, 04:15 PM »
I've would like to see all Peter Crimes' lectures again. I suspect that having visited the places I would get far more out of them a second time around. (Equally it might mean that finding mistakes was much easier ;) )

Offline Malcolm

26 January 2007
« Reply #83 on: Jun 23, 2009, 12:32 PM »
It's five o'clock in the afternoon, we've just got back from our tour of Rio de Janeiro and what a day we've had!

It started at 4-30am when we got up to see our arrival. In his talk on Rio Peter Crimes had said this was one entry we shouldn't miss, in fact everyone we spoke to said that the arrival in Rio was well worth seeing. Unfortunately, on this occasion, they were all wrong. We were on deck by five. As we sailed past them you could just about make out Sugarloaf Mountain and the statue of Christ but dawn didn't arrive until 6-00am so we passed them in the dark. We were tied up by just turned 6-00am. We were back in the cabin by 7-00am and I went for breakfast whilst Paul went back to bed for an hour.

I've received several requests for CC gossip from members not on the cruise. I've always said that there isn't any; now there is! Whilst we were on deck at 4-30am we met up with Leone, Charlie and Jo-Ann. WE also got the opportunity to meet Jo-Ann's new beau. He is called Alan and had latched onto Jo-Ann as soon as she came on deck at 3-00am. When we met him he had obviously had a lot to drink and was having trouble keeping his balance. What he was like when Jo-Ann first met him at 3-00am I hate to think. He left us at 4-45am, claiming sea sickness. What his hangover was like when he woke up I hate to think - I must ask him if I see him again!

Today was the first of a series of complimentary tours we'd got thanks to our travel agent and Ensemble Travel. We were to meet in the Yacht Club at 9-00am. We all got there early which was just as well as we found out that we needed the name badges we'd been given at the first, introductory, cocktail party before they'd allow us to join the group. As neither Paul, my father nor I had brought them we had to race back to our cabins to get them.

Once the entire party was assembled, the hard of movement (over half the group) started to make their way down to the gangway. My mother had been told that she would be able to take her mobility scooter and was already finding that it had saved her walking the length of the ship three times. Once ashore the two groups met up and proceeded to the coach.

The first stop was at the cathedral, a 1960s building in concrete. Although it was starting to show its age and was in need of some repair, it was a very interesting site and a building that very much suited its purpose. Unfortunately we only had about five minutes there - enough time to take a few photographs and look inside the building.

From there we went on to the National Museum and spent the best part of an hour on a guided, whistle-stop, tour. This was the lowlight of the trip. It made us realise that I was the youngest person there; there were only about four who were under fifty and the majority were over seventy. It meant that a vast number of sticks and other walking aids accompanied us wherever we went and that the entire group did everything at an incredibly slow pace.

To describe the museum as "not that interesting" would be kind. The tour overran by 15 minutes and was almost insufferable. The guide appeared to be reading the label on an exhibit and then saying this is whatever. After the museum we wondered if we should just get a taxi and make our own way - we decided not to because the next thing on the agenda was  Sugarloaf Mountain, something we wanted to see anyway, and if entrance fees were paid why pay them again? We made the right decision.

From the museum it was back on our coach and the short drive to the bottom station for Sugarloaf. My mother had intended to leave her scooter on the coach and walk as far as she could however the guide was most insistent that she would be able to take it all the way to the top. She did take it and was very glad she did. We joined the queue for the first cable car whilst my mother and father were taken directly to the front of the queue. The queue wasn't very long and we were able to get the next car up to the first level. We had about five minutes there before being shepherded to the second cable car. Our guide ensured that we were all together as a group and that we were the first to board the next car - ensuring that we all got good views on the journey.

We had about twenty minutes at the top to take pictures before it was time to join the long queue for a car down. Our guide walked along the queue collecting everyone and telling them to wait by the top cable station. He then ensured that the entire group were out on the next car down - saving us a good half hour in time spent queuing.

Back at the midpoint there was a separate area set aside for our group. Here we were served a cocktail consisting of chopped lemons and limes and the local liquor - fermented sugar cane juice. It was a very refreshing and enjoyable drink (not to mention potent) when we were offered a second I didn't refuse. We were then taken to the front of the queue for the lower car and returned to the coach. [I have since found this stuff at Tesco and can confirm that it is as nice drunk at home as it was up Sugarloaf Mountain]

By this time it was about 1-30pm and time for lunch. This had been arranged at a local restaurant, the Julieta de Serpa, in a wealthy man's palace built in 1910. I believe this is one of the better restaurants of Rio. We started with a glass of sparkling wine and then went onto a three course meal with more wine. The service could have been a little faster and the main course quite a lot hotter but it still was a very good meal. After lunch there was a tour round a couple of the public rooms there before it was time to reboard the coach and head back to the ship.

Once back on board Paul went to sleep whilst I spent some time writing up today's happenings. When it was time to go and meet my parents for dinner Paul didn't want to know so I left him to sleep and headed off to meet them. They were both very tired. Mother managed half a glass or orange juice and father managed to order a tomato juice before they headed back to their cabin. I had dinner on my own; it was wonderful not having to wait for anyone else.

After dinner I headed back to the cabin where Paul was just starting to come round. By 9-00pm Paul and I headed to the Chart Room for a couple of lemonades before going to the "Folkeloric Show" in the Grand Lounge. We were not sailing until late so there was only the one show this evening, at 9-45pm, and it was packed. Every seat was taken on the lower level and the balcony was three or four people deep all the way round. The show was very similar to the show that had been put on in Barbados which in turn was very similar to one I'd seen in Curacao 15 years previously. The show was only something to fill an evening in port. Had there been somewhere else to go I would have gone there.

Once the show was over we headed back to the cabin. As Paul had missed dinner he was starting to feel hungry and ordered a couple of courses from room service. I couldn't leave him to eat on his own so I joined in with his repast. We were due to sail at 11-00pm, we hadn't by 11-30pm - the time at which I fell asleep, exhausted. Paul tells me that he didn't get to bed until 2-00am the following morning.
« Last Edit: Aug 07, 2009, 09:27 PM by mrkpnh (Malcolm K) »

Offline Malcolm

27 January 2008
« Reply #84 on: Jun 24, 2009, 07:54 AM »
I was woken by the alarm at 6-40am and was in the gym by 6-50am. I was back in the cabin by 7-40am in time for the tea to arrive. Once I'd had my tea I went back to bed and slept until 11-00am! Paul talked about going to breakfast on his own but then decided that he wasn't really that hungry.

We are sitting at the Funnel Bar at the moment drinking lemonade. The bar man has just put out a display of Auchentoschen malt whisky. It is a limited edition of 1000 and is marked for the farewell Season of the QE2. At US$ 59.00 it is not expensive - it is just a pity that Auchentoschen is not that good a whisky. [This spelling of Auctentoshan was queried in the original blog. The bar sign was definitely spelt –shen although the correct spelling on the bottle is –shan]

We have bought four bottles of the whisky. I was wrong - it isn't for the Farewell Season but the 40th Anniversary Season. I wonder why the barman has only just put it out at his point. Why wasn't it on sale for the Christmas cruise as well? I'm fairly sure that we haven't seen it before although as the barman has now moved the display to an almost out of sight position behind the bar I'm not too sure.

After lunch it was back to bed for both of us. I slept until 5-00pm when I went swimming. I feel so much better for a full day's sleep! Whilst we were asleep we missed something - the ship stopped! Apparently the captain came on the PA system and said that the problem would take an hour to fix; an hour and a half later he came on the tannoy again to say that the problem had been fixed and that we would now use our additional speed to catch up with our intended position and asking us not to tell anyone concerned with the Vicky know we'd had a problem. So please don't tell them!

Offline Malcolm

28 January 2008
« Reply #85 on: Jun 24, 2009, 07:55 AM »
The 27th was a fairly short entry so here's the 28th as well.

Offline Malcolm

28 January 2008
« Reply #86 on: Jun 24, 2009, 07:55 AM »
Paul is ill (and I am feeling hard done by, hence my way of starting!) He's had a cough and a wheezy chest for a few days but, as he'd didn't come to bed, 2-00am, he woke me up several times in the night and he was asleep when I got back from the gym, things were far worse this morning. If I wasn't a man and if I didn't believe that he does feel poorly I would call it "man flu"!

Peter Crimes was lecturing on Port Stanley at 11-00am. To ensure I got a good seat (and for something to do) I also went to the Tours Lecture for Easter Island, Tahiti and Tonga. Rather more interesting than normal as most of the tours are already full and they had to give more of a talk about the places themselves. It still wasn't that interesting!

It's been a week since we last did any washing and we had set today for our trip to the launderette. We had quite a lot of washing and mother had said she wanted to come with us so when Paul said that he didn't feel up to it I felt that I should really go on my own. What a mistake.

The launderette was busy. Every washer apart from one was in use. I put my whites into that (think of it as washer two) and set it going. A second machine soon came free and I was able to set mother going with hers’. About ten minutes later the washer immediately to the left of the one I'd started with (washer one) came free and I used it for our coloured load.

I had taken our washing in a black holdall (as normal) and had left it on the top of washer two when I'd filled machine one. When I went to check on machine two I moved it towards machine one; this old, scrawny, American, woman shouted out "keep your dirtbag off that machine". I replied to say that I was just moving it to check the machine so she said “keep your dirtbag off that machine". I said I wasn't going to argue and left her grumbling.

My mother (remember she's 81 and has difficulty walking) moved towards a recently vacated seat. This same woman shouted out that there was someone sitting there and would not let her sit down (The person who had been sitting there had just collected her stuff and taken it out of the launderette). Whilst my mother was being harangued someone else took the seat.

One lady had forgotten which dryer she had put her clothes in. When she went to check one dryer the old woman went mad saying that it was her stuff and that it should be left alone. Almost everyone else in the laundry room commented that this was not a very pleasant woman and the room would be much happier when she left. The (apocryphal?) story about two men having a fight in the launderette and then being put off the ship was told and we agreed that this woman could start a fight like that! [More, a lot more about this woman later!]

As I was the only one doing our washing I couldn't both watch the drier and do the ironing. Someone opened our drier twice and didn't start it again when they closed it.

Every iron was in use. Whoever designed that room designed it for right handed people. They never gave any thought to what it would be like to be left handed and have to iron buttock to buttock with another user!

That said I went back half an hour later to iron the clothes where the door had been opened and the room was quiet. There were lots (four or five) free washers and driers and the ironing room was almost empty.

Doing the washing today took 3 1/2 hours. It took so long that I even missed lunch! I was pleased that I was in time to make up for it by having a large afternoon tea. (I also managed two puddings at dinner ;)  )

Now is a point where I would like to add a note that I am not mentioning everything. For example we did visit the launderette last week but it was fairly quiet and nothing noteworthy happened. I have just received an email commenting on my remarks about service in the Britannia Grill. I must say that the waiters have now started serving Paul and I and my parents as two separate groups and the speed of service for us has increased greatly.

Mary, Penny and David will wonder what's happened - I've managed to get today's notes out before midnight! Paul retired to bed early (9-30pm) so I'm sitting in the Chart Room catching up.

Offline Malcolm

29 January 2008
« Reply #87 on: Jun 25, 2009, 08:46 AM »
Montevideo - what a friendly and unspoilt place Uruguay is. Museums and galleries are free, the streets are safe, and the traders take no for an answer, in fact the whole place has more of an air of Europe about it than South America.

We started the day by taking a taxi with my parents to tour the sites of Montevideo. A normal taxi that would take four but would be very tight was USD 100 for a three hour tour. This came with an English speaking driver who would act as guide. We opted for a bus that would seat up to 14 and cost USD 200 for three hours and came with both a driver and a separate guide.

The tour started by running round the centre of Montevideo and visiting some of the sites there. One thing I would say is that there are no must see sights. The whole city as far more about the atmosphere and the relaxed feeling. As well as visiting the cathedral and several other public areas we visited the Presidential Museum - a museum that charted the history of Uruguay's presidents from gaining independence from Spain until the present day. I will freely admit that this was not a museum that immediately attracted our attention but, once we'd gone in, we were glad we had. It is housed in a wonderful 1930s building. The entrance hall is fantastic (note that I am not commenting on the content of the museum).

The taxi then took us through some of the more affluent areas of Montevideo. Here there were some very nice houses. It's actually unfair to call them houses, the term mansion is more appropriate. We then drove past various monuments in the outskirts of Montevideo before returning to the ship through the diplomatic sector. There was an opportunity to stop at a wool factory which we declined.

The entire tour lasted for just over 3 1/2 hours and was well worth the US$ 200 it had cost. Both the driver and the guide seemed delighted when we said how much we'd enjoyed it and that we tipped at 15%.

For lunch Paul and I went to one of the BBQ restaurants in the old train station near the docks. All the restaurants there come highly recommended and we were tempted to have slightly more than the "light snack" we'd intended. We ended up having a meal that consisted of a couple of pieces of steak, four lamb chops, a quarter sucking pig and copious quantities of BBQ'd vegetables. It was a very nice meal; I'd certainly recommend someone eating their main meal of the day there. Including drinks the meal cost about GBP 20.00 per person - not bad if you're not planning on having dinner that evening!

After lunch we finished walking through the market at the old train station and then headed back into the old town to photograph some of the buildings we'd seen on our taxi tour. One of the things about Montevideo is that some of the streets are not that attractive - lots of empty buildings, uneven pavements, graffiti, etc; yet the next road can be a very attractive shopping street with some classy shops.

From there it was back to the ship to change before dinner. As we are in port overnight the dress code is "Elegant Casual" and the Daily Programme specifies "No Jeans" yet we still saw four men wearing denim one of whom was eating in the Britannia Grill. A man eating with him was wearing a windproof anorak in lieu of a jacket and there were a lot of men in other parts of the ship who were wearing only a tee shirt or polo shirt with shorts.

It was not just the men. There were a lot of women (we saw about 20) who seemed to think that a tee shirt and shorts fitted in with the description of Elegant Casual.

There was a local group putting on a Tango show after dinner and, having seen how crowded the Grand Lounge had been in Rio, we decided to get there early to ensure a seat. To save time we stopped and had a cold drink in the Golden Lion rather than going down to the
Chart Room. This was my first time in the Golden Lion for several trips and I was amazed at how "second class" it has become. It gives the impression of being a not very good pub from a rundown area of the UK. The entire room reeks of stale cigarette smoke [Remember I am pro the right to choose when it comes to smoking], the scratches on the wooden floor make it look like it's covered in sawdust, There are two large TVs showing pictures but with no sound and often a pianist singing off key! I saw Jo-Ann's Alan sitting at the bar. He was wearing tracksuit bottoms, a tee shirt and open toed sandals; everyone else at the bar was dressed in a similar way! If there is to be an area of the ship where the dress code doesn't apply the Golden Lion would make an ideal venue. I do not believe that anyone who comes on this ship should not be willing to follow the dress code, but if there are people who want to dress down they would be ideally paired with the pub!

We got to the Grand Lounge about fifty minutes before the show was due to start. It was already almost full. After a further five minutes the lounge was full and the balcony was already two deep. We passed the time before the show started by trying to get a steward to get us a drink and then by talking with the Dutch/American couple who were sitting behind us (they were lamenting the poor dress standards).

The show was as it said - 45 minutes of Tango. Interesting but I'm not sure it merited the fifty minute wait before hand. After the show we went to have a drink and sit on deck at the back of the Yacht Club. So far this cruise that area has been fairly quiet and we have never had a problem getting a table. Tonight they had cleared away all the sun loungers and set out another two rows of tables. They were all full. After about five minutes we got two seats at a table when another couple moved away. They had also rigged up a couple of speakers that were piping "music" onto the deck. There appeared to be a problem with these speakers as they kept cutting out - we didn't complain.
« Last Edit: Aug 07, 2009, 09:32 PM by mrkpnh (Malcolm K) »

Offline Malcolm

Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #88 on: Jun 25, 2009, 08:49 AM »
We're off on holiday later today for a couple of weeks. We're taking a laptop and have mobile broadband access so I intent to keep posting these journal entries whilst I'm away. IF I have problems with the connection there may be a few days when I can't post - please forgive me :)

Online cunardqueen

Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #89 on: Jun 25, 2009, 08:43 PM »
Enjoy the holiday, not a cruise is it !!! and enjoying reading again your exploits of the World cruise
 Have Fun
From the moment you first glimpsed the Queen,
 you just knew you were in for a very special time ahead.!

Offline Malcolm

30 January 2008
« Reply #90 on: Jun 26, 2009, 09:06 AM »
I've managed to get online this morning :) so I might manage most mornings :)

Offline Malcolm

30 January 2008
« Reply #91 on: Jun 26, 2009, 09:08 AM »
We were feeling tired after yesterday and weren't in a rush to get off the ship. In the end we were off at about 9-30am and caught the free shuttle to one of the leather stores. They had quite a range of products and their prices appeared to be very competitive with home. I bought a couple of belts and paid US$ 25.00 each for them; in the UK I would have expected to pay between GBP 20.00 and GBP 30.00 [Remember that the exchange rate was very favourable to us at this time – those belts were cheap].

The leather shop was located in a very down at heel area. I was surprised to see one "lady of the night" plying her trade very much during daylight hours. I hate to think how much busier it will be by night! True to form we only had to walk for a couple of blocks before we came into one of the better shopping streets with lots of cafés and interesting stalls. We stopped at one of these cafés for a coffee and a mineral water. The coffee was unusual (we both had a hard job to finish a cup full) but was served with the most delicious choux balls filled with a vanilla confectioner’s custard. Those alone were worth the US$ 7.00.

After coffee we wandered back to the ship looking at all the interesting styles of architecture. This is a city where you will miss a lot if you don't look up (keep looking down as well or you'll miss your footing). A lot of the buildings have had new fronts at ground level but from first floor up there are the wonderful original facades.

I have caught Paul's cough and bad chest. It isn't very bad at the moment and I'm just hoping it doesn't get any worse. There seems to be a vast number of cold like symptoms passing through the ship - half of the people you speak to either have a cold or cough or are recovering from one. At least it's only cold germs that are passing round the ship - within a closed group far worse things can be passed on.

The dress code this evening was informal (semiformal). The man in denims was wearing them again, as was the man with the anorak. We only saw one other lot of denims being worn although passing through the Golden Lion on the way to the Grand Lounge was an education in what was considered "informal"!

We went for a drink outside the Yacht Club before the show in the Grand Lounge. This time they had cleared the sun loungers and put clothes on the wooden tables but there weren't any extra tables out and the oil lamps of the previous night were replaced with the "electric candles" that we'd last seen on the Christmas trip.

In the past 10 years I have never seen an act in the Grand Lounge that I was aware of off this ship. Tonight I had heard of the comedian - Kelly Monteith. He had been on TV in the UK about 25 years ago and I had a big crush on him then. When his series stopped on TV I forgot about him and was curious to see what the past 25 years had done. It had not been kind. He is now a grey haired old man who looks to be about 70. He looks as if he's filling in his final years working cruise ships before retirement. It is not always good to see your childhood idols much later in life.

My chest is feeling far worse by late this evening. I think it's off to take a couple of paracetamol and then to bed.
« Last Edit: Aug 07, 2009, 09:35 PM by mrkpnh (Malcolm K) »

Offline Twynkle

Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #92 on: Jun 26, 2009, 10:31 AM »

Hey Malcolm

Hope you are  having a good holiday - and thank you for keeping us posted!

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.

Offline Malcolm

Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #93 on: Jun 27, 2009, 08:27 AM »
Thanks Rosie :) We're touring - so moving on today - I've no idea what the mobile broadband signal will be like then!
« Last Edit: Jul 09, 2009, 02:24 PM by mrkpnh (Malcolm K) »

Offline Malcolm

31 January 2008
« Reply #94 on: Jun 27, 2009, 08:28 AM »
I woke up at about 2-00am feeling very ill. Last night I had every intention of going to the gym this morning but by 4-00am I'd decided that I wasn't going and had turned the alarm off. I didn't get back to sleep until about 7-00am when I dozed for a couple of hours.

There were three talks on this morning (starting at 10-00am, 11-00am and 12-15pm) that I wanted to hear so by 9-15 it was a case of dragging myself out of bed, into the shower and, dosed with paracetamol, off to the theatre. As the talks were running consecutively they filled the morning quite nicely.

The first talk was be Peter Crimes, on Chilie, and was as usual excellent. Not only are his talks of general interest but there is no doubt that they do help us to plan our port days.

The second talk was the first in a series by Hilary Kay of Antiques Roadshow fame. It gave a general overview of the roadshow, how it started and where it was heading. The talk lasted for a fairly humorous 45 minutes.

The third talk was by Dr Petra Schmidt, one of the doctors working aboard the QE2. The talk was about a year she had spent at the Halley Research Station in Antarctica. It was not just about the official workings of the station but also the human side, the crew relaxing and having fun. Dr Schmidt did not give the best rehearsed talk however that the subject matter was so interesting and that she was talking form first hand made it a very good lecture

Once the talks were over I was not feeling that good again and headed back to the cabin and to bed. I woke up at about 3-00pm feeling slightly hungry (I hadn't eaten at all today) and called room service to order tea (for both Paul and I) and a tuna sandwich (for me). I think that can be taken as a sign that I am feeling a lot better.

After dinner we went for a drink outside the Yacht Club again. It was only one very brief drink as it was a lot cooler than we are used to and could even have been described as chilly. The sun loungers had been cleared and there were cloths and lamps on the tables although we were the only people out there (There was also a man talking on a mobile satellite phone - the usual type of conversation: I'm on deck, we're in the middle of the Atlantic, etc).

Once we'd finished that drink we retired to the Chart Room where it was warmer. There was a group there that looked very out of place. It consisted of two couples (an older pair and a younger pair). The older woman was dressed in a two piece that would have been very suitable for an informal night and would have just passed for formal. The younger woman was wearing black denims and a coarse sweater. The older man was wearing jogging bottoms and a tee shirt, the younger blue denims and an open neck shirt. These clothes would not even pass for elegant casual. They are only permitted in the Lido after 6-00pm when, according to the Daily Programme "Tonight's formal dress code applies - throughout the ship". I am offended by the attitude to dress codes. Partly because I enjoy dressing up and seeing others dressed up however also because by not following the rules these people are showing their attitude to the vast majority who do follow the rules.

Offline Malcolm

Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #95 on: Jul 07, 2009, 06:39 PM »
The 27 th was the last day that our mobile broaband worked so, now that I'm home again, I'll continue from 1 st February

Offline Malcolm

1 February 2008
« Reply #96 on: Jul 07, 2009, 06:39 PM »
Today we should be arriving in Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands. The RAF were giving the ship a flypast at 7-30am and we were out on deck to watch and photograph it. It wasn't so much cold as windy. The wind was so strong that it was difficult to open the doors onto the outside decks. We saw the flypast and a helicopter even landed a man on the bow for a few seconds and then we decided to go for breakfast.

Service at breakfast seemed confused to say the least. Everything took twice as long as usual. You had to ask for things like water that would normally turn up as part of normal service. My pancake and minute steak arrived cold, Paul's Eggs Benedict arrived warm but overcooked.

While we were waiting a couple who we've become friendly with came over to chat. After a little while I asked them if they were going on tour today. They thought this was very funny as at 7-00am the Captain had announced that we wouldn't be able to call at Stanley because of bad weather. We are very disappointed (although we knew that it was 50:50 at best) and, as it was to have been a port day, have a very limited programme.

As I write this a revised "Today's Activities" has come under the door. It now gives revised opening times for the shops, casino, tour office, etc and includes a few new activities like a Heritage Trail Lecture and Interest Corner, Classic Movies (unhosted) and has had things like the flypast, the FOD meeting and the Sabbath eve ceremony removed.

It's almost Lunchtime and the ship has become rather like a crowded cross Channel ferry! The cabin hasn't been serviced yet, every comfortable seat has someone sitting in it, most of the uncomfortable ones are taken as well so there's nowhere to go. I went to sit in the Queens Room and listen to a recorded book until two women sat at the same table and talked loudly; I went back to the cabin and ordered some coffee from room service (I tried it but left it as it tasted very funny); I went back to the Queens Room - that was OK for ten minutes until a dance class started; I moved to the Chart Room where there was one seat on its own, however the sound of the dance lesson and the harp clashed; I've come back to the cabin which still isn't serviced. I now know exactly what Paddington meant when he described himself as being at a "lewse end"!

Jimmy - you're right. (Looking at CC stopped me wondering what to do) Auchentoshan is spelled with an "a" on the bottle (and on the Daily Programme). It was the Cunard sign at the Funnel Bar that was wrong!

Mother's caught Paul's cough. Paul is still coughing and feeling terrible. I still don't feel 100% but I can manage. The only person who's anywhere near well is my father and it would be saying too much to describe him as 100%! It seems as if most of the passengers on the ship have some form of cough (except for very loud women with American accents who never shut up for long enough to cough!) This cough even seems to have started to spread amongst the stewards.

« Last Edit: Aug 07, 2009, 09:42 PM by mrkpnh (Malcolm K) »

Offline Twynkle

Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #97 on: Jul 07, 2009, 07:02 PM »

Welcome back!
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.

Offline Malcolm

Re: Malcolm's diary of the final world cruise.
« Reply #98 on: Jul 08, 2009, 06:09 PM »
I managed to post yesterday's comment and that was it - until now! I'll post today's entry and then I might get chance to look at the rest of the site :)

Offline Malcolm

2 February 2008
« Reply #99 on: Jul 08, 2009, 06:10 PM »
Our Daily Programme for today said that we should be passing into the Beagle Channel at about 4-00am, completing formalities at Puerto Williams and then heading back out of the Beagle Channel by about 7-30am. We were then due to pass Cape Horn not once but three times so that we saw it from all directions (and to pass the time gained from yesterday's missed port).

At 9-00am all that changed! The Captain told us that we had not made the Beagle Channel because the Chilean Authorities had warned that the weather was too bad and had granted our clearances by email. So we are therefore bobbing round in circles at 18 knots until 11-00am when we will make our first pass at the cape. The weather report last night had been for 50' seas; today it is almost a flat calm. So, for the moment, we are lucky.

We were very lucky. We were just south of Cape Horn Island at midday when the noonday whistle sounded. It was sunny and warm. The seas were calm and we had a view over the island and the waves breaking on the rocks. However it had not been like that all morning. The Captain announced that we were starting to make our circumnavigation of the islands at Cape Horn at 11-00am. We had to brave the ice cold gales, the flurries of snow, the driving rain to see that there were indeed some islands near to us. An hour and a half later it was warm enough to sit on deck without a coat - how fast the weather can change.

Now for an example of the kind of excellent service Cunard are capable of. Paul left his winter hat in the taxi in New York. It wasn't expensive so we weren't that bothered but he had to get a new one by the time we went to see the penguins; that is now tomorrow. We checked the shops onboard - lots of baseball caps but no hats. Fort Lauderdale, Barbados, Salvador, Rio, etc were all too warm to be selling hats. That left Port Stanley - we didn't call there! Paul desperately needed a hat so we checked the shops again - still no hats but I had a job persuading him that a tea cosy wasn't suitable! Out of desperation we asked Lisa, the World Cruise Concierge, she managed to find one, exactly what we were looking for, in the Crew Shop. Thank you Lisa, you're a star ?

We have now (6-30pm) finished our trip around the islands and have returned to the Atlantic. We are heading for the Magellan Straits to make our way into the Pacific properly.

« Last Edit: Aug 07, 2009, 09:46 PM by mrkpnh (Malcolm K) »