Author Topic: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969  (Read 4102 times)

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Offline Cabin 2066

My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« on: Sep 24, 2013, 09:45 PM »
My grandparents, beginning in 1962, took me on their trips to the UK and Europe in the late spring. They traveled for Horse breeding business as many of their customers were european. My great grandfater started my grandfather in this business and they favored the White Star Line and RMS Olympic throughout its entire career, only switching to Cunard after 1934.Except for occasional trips on the French Line or the US Line, it was Cunard and only Cunard.
I was the next male to come along, as these two gentlemen thought it not proper for a woman to get involved in the family business. So, my grandfather thought it time for me to begin learning the ropes of horse breeding in 1962 when I was 10 years old. As much of the business was abroad, 1962 was my first european trip, going over on the Queen Mary and coming home on the Queen Elizabeth two months later. This began my association with Cunard.  My grandfather was so used to sea travel as opposed to air that, to his death, he always went by sea and encouraged me to do likewise(which I didn't always but did when my schedule allowed).
My great grandfather had sailed on the maiden voyages of both the Olympic and the Queen Mary. My grandfather accompanied him on the Mary and believed that I should travel on a maiden voyage as well(largely because he believed that the ocean liner would be gone before the end of the century).
Well, I got to go on QE2's first eastbound to Southampton!
My private school was not out of session until May 16th, but my headmaster was a sea traveler and permitted me to finish early so as to get to New York on May 8. I joined my grandparents at the Waldorf and the next day went to pier 92 as we were to sail at 4:30 pm. Having been used to the QM and the QE, my first impression of QE2 was WOW! It was so much more streamlined than those other ships that my grandfather was somewhat put off by her.
When we boarded, coming into the Midships Lounge was another eye opener, as the entrance lounges on QM and QE looked like normal big city hotel lobbies. Needless to say, it took my grandparents a couple of days to get used to the differences.
We were in cabins on two deck and were supposed to dine in the Columbia restaurant. The cabin steward knew my grandparents(having come over from QE) and highly suggested that we instead dine in the Grill. We took the suggestion and that became my long association with the Princess Grill.
I could repeat my observations on the newness and modern features of the ship, but they are in line with so much of what has been written elsewhere. On all my travels onboard QE2 from 1969 to 2008, certain rooms changed very much as redecorating one's home over the years and I generally approved of the changes except for one room - The Observation Lounge!  It was spectacular and when it was gone the passengers lost in a very big way!
Other than that, the voyage was interesting for me, as we dined a few times with Captain Warwick and I got to visit the Bridge and had a great time!
I should also note that my fare eastbound was all of $ 496. US for first class. Also, in looking at my ticket and holder(both paper) on the front of both is a portside rendition of the Queen Elizabeth in Cunard colors which seems to me now that Cunard was using up old stock!
More reminisces in the future once horse business begins to slack later this autumn.
« Last Edit: Sep 24, 2013, 09:51 PM by Cabin 2066 »

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #1 on: Sep 24, 2013, 10:25 PM »
Wonderful! Thank you so much for letting us read your memories.

You must be one of those rare people who knew QE2 from her beginnings right through until her final year with Cunard. I am already looking forward to the next instalment of your story!

And even though you say that we have read about QE2's newness and the modernity of her features many times before, I must admit that I cannot get enough of it -- I love to see her in those early days through the eyes of those who were actually there. Thank you for having taken the trouble to write it down for us. :)

Offline Cabin 2066

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #2 on: Sep 29, 2013, 01:47 AM »
Isabelle, my reference to the newness and the modern feel of QE2 in 1969 being written elsewhere shouldn't be interpreted that I didn't have my own opinions upon boarding her for the first time in May of 1969.
I was used to the surroundings of QE and QM and my only contrasts until QE2 was a single voyage each on the FRANCE and the UNITED STATES.
I've read, on this site, an excellent post by Myles concerning his stay on the QM at Long Beach over a New Years celebration. His pictures of the interior in that post show very much what I saw in the sixties.
My memories of fourty-four years ago are a little hazy, but I remember the vivid colors throughout the ship not only in the public rooms but also in the cabins. It struck me as something I would see on Carnaby Street, not on an ocean liner. Also, the clean lines of the rooms awash with modern furniture was a huge contrast from QE and QM. Sailing on the QE or QM felt like one was traveling in an old restored mansion. Sailing on QE2 was traveling in the present.
Over the years, some of the public rooms became muted from their original presentation, quietly toned down from the bold statement presented in '69, I suppose, to attract changing values of the seagoing passengers. But the genius of QE2 was that it didn't change that much. Traveling on her from 2000 to 2008, I still knew that 90 percent of what I experienced in 1969 was still around me. Aside from the changes in the Lido, the conversion of the 736 club into the Queens Grill,  the Double Room, the awful redecoration of Midships Bar into the Golden Lion, and the elimination of the Lookout Bar(seriously the absolute worst decision ever made IMHO on the QE2), the QE2 you experienced was the same ship I experienced not only in '69 but all the way through her service life.
I close my eyes and just remember the vivid color everywhere!

Offline StuM

Re: My first voyage - maiden east and westbound June, 1969
« Reply #3 on: Oct 30, 2013, 04:52 AM »
I too had the great honor of crossing on her in June 1969. She was so shiny and new, yet still had teething issues. Generally smooth crossings both directions. We were in a One Deck cabin, midships on the stbd side and ate in the Columbia Dining Room. Wonderful memories and life-long impressions. I sailed on and visited her many other times, but those maiden season crossings were unique. She remains in my heart forever.

Offline Cabin 2066

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2014, 03:58 PM »
My grandparents, beginning in 1962, took me on their trips to the UK and Europe in the late spring. They traveled for Horse breeding business as many of their customers were european. My great grandfater started my grandfather in this business and they favored the White Star Line and RMS Olympic throughout its entire career, only switching to Cunard after 1934.Except for occasional trips on the French Line or the US Line, it was Cunard and only Cunard.
I was the next male to come along, as these two gentlemen thought it not proper for a woman to get involved in the family business. So, my grandfather thought it time for me to begin learning the ropes of horse breeding in 1962 when I was 10 years old. As much of the business was abroad, 1962 was my first european trip, going over on the Queen Mary and coming home on the Queen Elizabeth two months later. This began my association with Cunard.  My grandfather was so used to sea travel as opposed to air that, to his death, he always went by sea and encouraged me to do likewise(which I didn't always but did when my schedule allowed).
My great grandfather had sailed on the maiden voyages of both the Olympic and the Queen Mary. My grandfather accompanied him on the Mary and believed that I should travel on a maiden voyage as well(largely because he believed that the ocean liner would be gone before the end of the century).
Well, I got to go on QE2's first eastbound to Southampton!
My private school was not out of session until May 16th, but my headmaster was a sea traveler and permitted me to finish early so as to get to New York on May 8. I joined my grandparents at the Waldorf and the next day went to pier 92 as we were to sail at 4:30 pm. Having been used to the QM and the QE, my first impression of QE2 was WOW! It was so much more streamlined than those other ships that my grandfather was somewhat put off by her.
When we boarded, coming into the Midships Lounge was another eye opener, as the entrance lounges on QM and QE looked like normal big city hotel lobbies. Needless to say, it took my grandparents a couple of days to get used to the differences.
We were in cabins on two deck and were supposed to dine in the Columbia restaurant. The cabin steward knew my grandparents(having come over from QE) and highly suggested that we instead dine in the Grill. We took the suggestion and that became my long association with the Princess Grill.
I could repeat my observations on the newness and modern features of the ship, but they are in line with so much of what has been written elsewhere. On all my travels onboard QE2 from 1969 to 2008, certain rooms changed very much as redecorating one's home over the years and I generally approved of the changes except for one room - The Observation Lounge!  It was spectacular and when it was gone the passengers lost in a very big way!
Other than that, the voyage was interesting for me, as we dined a few times with Captain Warwick and I got to visit the Bridge and had a great time!
I should also note that my fare eastbound was all of $ 496. US for first class. Also, in looking at my ticket and holder(both paper) on the front of both is a portside rendition of the Queen Elizabeth in Cunard colors which seems to me now that Cunard was using up old stock!
More reminisces in the future once horse business begins to slack later this autumn.
Today, Friday, May 9 is the 45 year anniversary of my voyage on the eastbound maiden passage of QE2(to the exact day and date in 1969 and now in 2014). Over the next week, I'll try to recount memories of that voyage, of the newness and decoration of the ship and life onboard the new QE2.

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2014, 04:14 PM »
Today, Friday, May 9 is the 45 year anniversary of my voyage on the eastbound maiden passage of QE2(to the exact day and date in 1969 and now in 2014). Over the next week, I'll try to recount memories of that voyage, of the newness and decoration of the ship and life onboard the new QE2.

Very much looking forward to that! Thank you for letting us share your memories.

Offline Adam Hodson

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Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2014, 05:32 PM »
Very much looking forward to that! Thank you for letting us share your memories.

Hear hear. :)
"The QE2 is one of the last great transatlantic liners, and arguably the most famous liner in the world"

"QE2 and Concorde, a partnership that lasted almost 30 years... two stunning pieces of engineering, never to be forgotten!"

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2014, 07:54 PM »
Today, Friday, May 9 is the 45 year anniversary of my voyage on the eastbound maiden passage of QE2(to the exact day and date in 1969 and now in 2014). Over the next week, I'll try to recount memories of that voyage, of the newness and decoration of the ship and life onboard the new QE2.

That would be so special to hear your memories of being onboard the QE2 in her original decor!  :)
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Twynkle

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2014, 08:54 PM »
Thanks so much, Cabin 2066
A new experience, in a new ship - what an adventure it must have seemed!
Looking forward to 'travelling' alongside!
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 Cabin 2066

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2014, 05:28 PM »
Forty-five years ago yesterday, we left The Waldorf-Astoria after an early lunch and proceeded to the Ocean Passenger Terminal on West 52nd Street.  After unloading at pier 92, we boarded the new QE2 shortly after 2 pm.  into a very modern circular room and were directed to our cabins forward on the port side. Our cabin steward(familiar to us from our RMS QM voyages) advised us to make sure to be on deck at 4:30pm as there would be ceremonies upon departure from NYC.
My cabin was large and furnished in a modern manner(like many newbuild hotels in the states) - the only indication that the room was on a ship were the portholes on the wall. What struck me about the cabin was the use of color throughout. My cabins on the QE and the QM were mostly in dark wood tones, but in this cabin the only wood tones were the dresser and desk while light pastels dominated all else.
After unpacking, my grandparents and I headed up to a pre-departure cocktail party in what we later learned was the Double Room. Being a nice day, the piers had attracted many people and several helicopters to see the departure of the ship. Slightly after our scheduled 4:30pm departure time, QE2 began backing into the Hudson River and nosed downriver towards the lower bay. Just before Liberty Island, we were met by NYFD fireboats. After QE2 saluted the Statue of Liberty, the fireboats began their water display as we passed the lower tip of Manhattan and moved through the lower bay towards the V Bridge. We were on the forward sports deck just ahead of the funnel and, as we approached the bridge, the talk was of whether we would scrape it with either the mast or the funnel. Safely to say, we cleared comfortably. My grandmother left us to retire to her cabin for a rest before dinner, so we headed to the open stern area on One deck to watch the pilot boat head to shore. Standing there, we could feel the vibration under our feet as QE2 increased speed and headed east along the southern shore of Long Island.
After about an hour, we headed forward to our cabins to rest and prepare for our first dinner on board.
My grandfather had arranged for us to take our meals in the Grill room instead of the main dining room, so just before eight pm we proceeded down the corridor to the spiral stair and up into the Grill. This room, colored in deep shades of burgundy (which were unchanged throughout her service life) was another contrast from the grill rooms of QM and QE. After an excellent dinner, my grandparents retired for the evening and I took a couple of laps around the ship while watching the bright glow on the western horizon get more and more distant. One last drink in my cabin and off to bed with lifeboat drill in the morning and a full day of exploring this new super ship to come.

(if you have any questions during this narritive, Ill try to answer as I'm working on memories that are 45 years old...)

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #10 on: Jul 03, 2015, 11:24 AM »
Does anyone have any memories or more information of an incident on the first Eastbound voyage in May 1969 when prior to the Captain's Party the lights went out and the emergency lights came on.  Apparently it was a problem with the computers one triggering the next before the engine room staff could stop it. Where you or anyone you know onboard?
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Offline Cabin 2066

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #11 on: Jul 03, 2015, 09:56 PM »
Lynda, I've just checked my diary Which I kept during that voyage. I noted that the lighting went out on the second night just as we were assembling in the Queen's Room for the meet and greet with Capt. Warwick.  The captain had just arrived when the whole area plunged into darkness. The officer with him told us to stay where we were and them, over the ship's loudspeakers another voice advised all passengers to stay where they were due to a technical problem. I noted that the e lighting came on after about a minute in darkness. During this time, the captain was talking on a phone and then left the room. After about 4 to 5 minutes, the main lighting slowly came on. Our meet with the captain was postponed until the following evening where he mentioned that with the newness of the ship they were still experiecing a few slight problems to correct. It didn't happen again during that voyage.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: My first voyage - maiden eastbound May 9, 1969
« Reply #12 on: Jul 04, 2015, 02:53 PM »
Wonderfull that you had kept a daily diary and could recall the incident because of this. Was there any other mishaps on the voyage?
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

 

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