Author Topic: The last year of QE2 -- and my personal celebration  (Read 2398 times)

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Offline George C Griffiths

The last year of QE2 -- and my personal celebration
« on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:22 PM »
The year 2008 was the last for QE2 – and in the July of that year it was to be our last voyage on her – sailing with my Sister, her Husband and my Niece.
But it was also a "milestone" year for me – as it was the year of my 60th birthday.
So I decided to commemorate both of these events by doing something special.

Normally we drove down from Glasgow to Southampton the day before sailing as we had lost confidence in the ability of the airline getting us to Southampton on the morning of sailing day.
This was due to an incident that occurred at Glasgow Airport (a fault in the 'plane) which might have caused the cancellation of the flight – and us to miss QE2.
Fortunately the defect was rectified and we were able to fly – albeit behind schedule.
But this made us re-think.

We still wanted to go down to Southampton the day before sailing – but I decided to hire a Private Jet to take us down – as opposed to driving.
For the return journey 2 weeks or so later I rented a stretched pink Hummer to bring us back to Glasgow.
The reason for my choosing stretched pink Hummer was more as a treat for my niece who was 11 years old at the time.
I will admit that I enjoyed the journey in it also!

I suppose what made that trip/voyage more special was the fact that my very first voyage on QE2 in 1999 was from New York City to Southampton – flying from Prestwick to NYC on Concorde.
Then in 2008 – some 9 years later – my last voyage on QE2 involved a Private Jet.
Perhaps both Jets don't compare in many ways – but they certainly made my personal "beginning and end" of QE2 a bit special.

Below is a picture of the Jet at Glasgow Airport and the Hummer at the QE2 Terminal in Southampton.

I'll then follow with more of the story - including pictures and movie clips.
« Last Edit: Feb 23, 2014, 08:27 PM by Isabelle Prondzynski »

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #1 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:28 PM »
The day started at Glasgow Airport and in the separate lounge reserved for Private Jet passengers - well away from the main building.
Refreshments and light snacks were made available for us - and the aircraft was literally "outside the door".
The Captain personally welcomed us and introduced himself.
One advantage of hiring a Private Jet is that the client (me!) can decide when is to be take-off time - at any time of my choosing - and the Jet then just turns up.
I think what surprised me most was that there was no security at all!
Below is a picture taken inside the private lounge.

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #2 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:33 PM »
The interior of the Private Jet was luxurious - with cream leather seats and gold fittings. It would sit 6 persons but there were only 4 of us.
Again light snacks and refreshments were available for us - the food supplied being "appropriate to the time of day".
However - as there was only a Pilot and co-Pilot on board - it was self-service!
This turned out fine as my niece (11 years old at the time) was thrilled since she had always wanted to have a go at being a "trolley dolly" and was therefore delighted to serve us.
Below is a picture of my Sister "Lording it" with her Champagne and sandwiches.

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #3 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:35 PM »
As I said above - in the private lounge at Glasgow Airport there was no security.
The same was true in the air - and we were told we could visit the flight deck any time we wanted.
It was open to view anyway - see the picture below!

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #4 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:38 PM »
After a flight lasting all of 55 minutes we were landing at Southampton Airport.
It was such a smooth flight - in the lap of luxury - and we did not want it to end.
However - QE2 was waiting for us - and nothing compares to that!
Below is the private lounge at Southampton Airport where, again, light snacks and refreshments were available for us while we waited for our taxi.

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #5 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:45 PM »
Now I can revisit the story so far - and show the video clips that I took on the way.
The first is of take-off from Glasgow Airport.


Next is on the flight deck of the Private Jet.

Then I show my Niece serving us food.


All too soon we are landing at Southampton Airport.

Finally - we alight from the jet at Southampton Airport.

Then I shall continue with the journey home - 2 weeks later - in the stretched pink Hummer!
« Last Edit: Jan 26, 2014, 05:35 PM by Lynda Bradford »

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #6 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:49 PM »
2 weeks later we disembarked QE2 (as guests) for the very last time. It was a very sad occasion and my Niece in particular was near to tears.
However - her tears soon turned to joy when she saw what awaited her at the Terminal - a stretched pink Hummer!
We had kept this a secret from her.
In the first picture (below) you can see the joy on her face!

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #7 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:54 PM »
Then we were on our way north to Glasgow.
As you can see in the pictures the interior of the Hummer was luxurious - albeit in a more garish way than was the Private Jet!
Again refreshments were provided on a "help-yourself" basis.
The Hummer was also equipped with a sound system into which could be connected a personal device such as an iPod or whatever.
We could stop anywhere we wanted and as often as we liked - but since a Hummer is a "gas guzzler" we stopped many times to refuel anyway!
Below - the picture shows one of the 2 drinks cabinets.

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #8 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:56 PM »
The next 3 pictures, below, show general views inside the Hummer.

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #9 on: Jan 26, 2014, 04:58 PM »
At the start of this Post I showed a picture of the front and side of the Hummer.
Below is one of the rear and side.
After this I shall re-visit the story by showing video clips.

Offline George C Griffiths

« Last Edit: Jan 26, 2014, 05:48 PM by Lynda Bradford »

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #11 on: Jan 26, 2014, 05:07 PM »
I had said that the reason for hiring the Private Jet and Hummer was to commemorate our last voyage on QE2 and my 60th birthday on board.
As far as my birthday celebrations are concerned - we were sailing in Penthouse accommodation once more - and our crew friends in the Penthouse area laid on a great party for me.
I took many pictures and clips of this too.
However - as I intend to produce a separate post on the Penthouse area - I'll incorporate them into that.
I hope you are enjoying my stories so far!

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #12 on: Jan 26, 2014, 08:18 PM »
Hello George, and thank you for having let us relive with you the fantastic journeys you had to and from Southampton! What an adventure, to celebrate your 60th birthday in this way -- great ideas.

Particularly the homeward journey must have been wonderful. I always found it such a low to disembark from QE2... a nice chat perhaps with the taxi driver, and a final look at QE2 as we left the port behind. But then, back to the mundane realities of having your baggage weighed, invariably paying for overweight, and then settling down to the long wait at Southampton Airport, with nothing but plastic sandwiches to keep you going (and they even had to be paid for!), the worries of the security check (they always seemed to find something they did not like), the crush of the plane and then finally the drive home from the airport, arriving tired and frazzled to encounter the questions of those left behind.

A pink Hummer might have made all the difference!

Online Peter Mugridge

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Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #13 on: Jan 26, 2014, 09:17 PM »
Very good story; may I ask - what was the date of your voyage?  The chances are there are pictures of it elsewhere on the forum as 2008 was, of course, a heavily followed season!
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Offline George C Griffiths

Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #14 on: Jan 26, 2014, 10:07 PM »
Yes Peter - it was 2 to 17 July that year.

Offline June Ingram

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Re: THE LAST YEAR OF QE2 - AND MY PERSONAL CELEBRATION
« Reply #15 on: Jan 27, 2014, 05:05 PM »
Thanks, George !  Great pictures, videos and commentary.  Looking forward to more !  June  :)
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

 

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