We had some wonderful clients take a 111 Day World Cruise on the QE2 and they documented each day. Once home, they published their cruise in a book and sent it to us along with pictures they had taken each day. Needless to say, they had a great time and we thought it'd be neat to share their experience with you here. We'll try and add a "day" each week.
If you're just starting out, click the entries to the right to get started on Day 1.
Interested in a World Cruise? We'd love to help make this once-in-a-lifetime event special for you - give us a call, we'd love the opportunity. In the meantime, enjoy this journal!!
Entry 21 Entry 22 Latest Entry: Entry 23 Entry 24 Entry 25
Posted June 10, 2009
February 24, 2006: Fremantle/ Perth, Australia
Notes From Bill:
Weather: mid 70's; clear blue skies (14 hours of sunlight)
Morning Bus Tour 9:15am. On our way out of the terminal, here stood a welcoming committee of one: a very attractive woman wearing a long red gown, holding a rose, on 5' stilts!
This time it was to Bus #12 (by the way, from the start these ahve been super big elegant tour buses that require 5 steps up; for some with canes, etc. that is quite a lot to ask). The operator really knew his Fremantle history and kept up a commentary right from the start. After a meandering, zigzag introduction to what Fremantle was all about, we climbed up to the King's Park Botanic Garden which was also a very impressive war memorial to the Australian war dead; it even included one to the Americans (this is not unusual, as we found throughout Australia many meticulously kept floral tributes to the WW I and WW II servicemen). Here, atain, were dozens of beautifully kept gardens, not a weed anywhere, and the lawnmower guy going full tilt keeping that turf putting-green length. Then on to Perth, a very modern city of a million, with gleaming glass skyscrapers and facades of past structures they were replaced with. And of course, several million-dollar mile neighborhoods and an assortment of sailboat mariners. they claim that one out of four residents in places like Perth and Sydney own sailing yachts of various sizes.
Maybe the "statistic" is that there is one boat for every 4 Australians...
We spent the afternoon walking around Fremantle, a cozy community with a nice assortment of small markets and a mall crammed with all sorts of places that sold fresh fish, meats of all kinds, herbal remedies, and lots of other things that kept catching Pat's eye. And we learned to heed the sign forbidding busking... But by 4pm we'd had it. But by then we still had to find the shuttle bus, since it was not to be where we were left off. pat did remember a handicapped sign that was the landmark and I felt frankly that that was very appropriate, especially given the small throng of QE2 seniors that seemed to recognize and queue up with us (hmmmm, this is getting to be a cozy trip).
My Elevator Incident. Two mornings ago, I hit the 'down' elevator button and when the door opened with 4 people aboard, this short, older lady in front, shrieked "We're full. Go to another elevator. We're full!" This incident swept the ship, apparently, because when we were at the rail for the go-away sailing party tonight, it was repeated to me in much-aghast tones. The lady at the rail said she had heard in around the ship but it was probably exaggerated; I told her it was not, as it was me!
Another Travel Hint or so: 1. We left home without a change purse. This can be critical as Canada, Britain, and at least Australia ahve heavy coins, not $1 or $2 bills. We finally found a coin pouch of leather here with a draw string which makes coinage a lot more easy to do and won't wear a man's cotton pockets out quite so fast. 2. Studs: My great grandfather left me a set of tux studs and they were quite a task each formal night to put in. Pat found buttons at WalMart in honolulu that pass easily and are not permanently swen in as 'buttons'. Unless your wife does sewing on trips as a lark, men, you can have this done at home in advance and save a whole lot of inconvenience.
Gossip. According to a crew member standing in a line with us, there is a passenger aboard who has found access to crew uniforms and therefore has access to the below-decks quarters where he choosed to eat and party with the crew, and travles about even to the far-below-decks chinese laundry where he gest his stuff cleaned without going to our infamous Deck 3 Laundromat. Apparently he is no threat as everyone down there 'tolerates' him or better.
Weather. Today's crossing of the Indian Ocean was tolerable with following breeze which created some swells a few meters. We have heard from our table mates for a few days that 40 degree celius (110 deg F) temperatures are what Exmouth has typically in February. Well, we are in luck: tomorrow, only 96 degrees! Good day for the beach!!
Except we probably won't go to the beach. I bought a phone card for $20 Australian (1=1.20 US) which is for calling the US. After mastering the basics I did talk to some friends - glad to know all is okay with everyone.
Tomorrow we ahve to use it up (I bought 1.5 hours of phone time!!) since that will be our last Australian port. Actually, the Cassandras are saying we may not be able to dock due to high seas (even the Captain said it was 'rough' on our noon report from him) and tonight, after the show, the MC said we've got to tender in for a half-hour trip, now, we've read.
Illness has hit our table: Marion hasn't been here for 4 nights now, due to a cold. She's gotten medicine for it and thought she was getting better but relapsed today. Doris's shoulder is giving her great pain. I bought some Arnica ointment for her to try but she's afraid since she's on steroids and isn't sure of the after-affects. She didn't want to see the Dr. She DID see him and he suggested p.t. where the gal said she had calcifications, some of which she pounded out - not all were poundable, though. She was at lunch, not dinner.
Lovely Lillian came otu of dinner while we were in pre-prandial mode, on her way to dancing, no doubt. Gorgeous in a long white gown tonight. At lunch Doris said yesterday some woman with a man in a wheel chair asked Lillian to give her a hand which, reluctantly, she did. On the way back, the woman said, 'Would you take care of Father now? I'm getting off here." Since we haven't heard the story from Lillian I can't pass along exactly the words she used to decline. We're all wondering where hs is and how he's making out.
The bus driver yesterday was named James Bond. However, once you heard him giggle, at his own jokes, you knew he wasn't the real thing. Drat. Here is a joke sample, talking about a locally-brewed beer:
They call if 4-X. Do you know why?
Answer: they can't spell beer.
Also he asked one questions I could answer:
What two animals are on the Australian seal?
Answer: kangaroo and emu.
Next question: Why?
Answer: They are the only animals unable to back up. Their knees won't allow it.
The other thing he mentioned: Convict labor did help build and settle these two cities. But, they were high class convicts, in for only minor offences like stealing bread to feed their families. Then he said that all the realy bad ones had been hung in England. What a relief!
When we left the port of Fremantle, they had a brass band with two (not good) soloists AND lots of people came to see the QE2 leave. So it was quite exciting and fun. They had us sing along with them and kept on playing even when all the setting-sail chores delayed our leaving for 15-20 minutes.
Well, I liked both these cities quite a bit. They are greener than Adelaide and, of course, we lucked out with very comfortable temperatures and sunny skies in both places. They've got a lot of nice Victorian buildings which they've kept up so it's fun to look around. Too bad our photo thing isn't working although Joanne said she got one of Bill from the Sydney batch, I think. Come and see us and we'll bore you even more than with this. Take care. Pat
Posted June 23, 2009
February 26, 2006: Exmouth, Australia
Notes From Bill:
Weather: predicted to be 100+ degrees F., high humidity, clear
We should have known from the git-go that this was not what we have been getting used to. But mroe important matters first: How did you read that title? It's "Ex-muth" you know. but onward. No dancing hula girls, no welcoming black-thonged man "playing" his didgeridoo, no beautiful girls on stilts. Instead, the weather forecast was for high swells. this was a spot that, we learned the next day, was a place in Australia maybe only 1% knew of, and despite the local tour bus driver exhorting its popularity later in the year, it was 300 or more miles from anywhere. We also heard that the place is very friendly for children to walk around in, to the market or playground. For other sports teams to play (cricket or rugby, we assume) they had "...only to travel on the bus 3 more hours each way to the next hearest high school." Actually, local schools only go to Jr. High. Then they board away.
This is a port created by the Americans as a communications base and, after the cold War, and 9/11 especially, it resumed as a submarine refeuling base. It is a port of desperation for the Cunard line since now that Bali is considered an unfriendly port to drop 2000 people for the day, the run from Perth to Taiwan would have required 7 consecutive days at sea. The tours were meager choices: an unair-conditioned bus to the coral reef/ glass bottom boat, and ours for the "Cape and Canyon" tour (note the singular nouns!).
Anyway, because of a huge difficulty in getting the tenders alongside, the debarkation stretched on; the announced departure in the daily news sheet was 9:15am but it stretched out to be more like 11:30am. It was so rough that at breakfast the captain came on, not just with the forecast, but with the hint of how difficult this was going to be. He suggested that we use what another cruise line came up with: The Agility Test, which meant that if you could not stand on one leg (of your choice) for 5 seconds, you might reconsider getting off the ship. A few took that suggestion, as no wheelchairs were spotted but The Canes still persisted. People went aboard very carefully, one by one, into the tender (a misnomer, as you will see below). Of course the usual herding instinct of contestants to be off first took hold, with my hanging back, I am sure once again to Pat's annoyance, so that perhaps a dozen squeezed in to board first; I did finally rally to the cause when a large German with cane and a big gimp also tried to join those ahead of him. It turned out that we were #53-54 to go aboard and the line was cut off immediately behind us. The aggressive German had to wait. And so did all those already seated who shouldered their way on ahead of us.
The ride to shore was every bit the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. The actual dock was tucked in behind several rows of rock jetties so getting off was a lark and a relief. But the welcoming committee was waiting for us under a large canvas canopy. I don't mean just the small cups of water and orange juice but the flies, for which we had been warned.By now it had to be in the low 90's (they mercifully do not post thermometers around, as we do in the Potsdam to lay dubious claim to how bad things are this winter...). The flies were incredibly small, numerous, and loyal to the head they adopted. By now, sweltering and committed, we elected to take the shuttle bus to the "Town Center". Pat had been able to cajole the tour office to let her switch our morning tour to an afternoon one so she could call some of you at home using up the last of her Australian calling card, meaning a call at home around supper-time. By now it was 11:45am so the East Coast was now out (more on that later from Pat). We grabbed a hotdog, hit the restrooms, and got back on the shuttle to catch our 1:15pm tour; it left at 3:15pm finally. Keep in mind the sun and humidity was just awesome, the flies seemed to ahve procreated considerably since we had left. By now more passengers had arrived and the several dozen plastic chairs were long bespoken for and then passed on down through other arriving generations of tour people.
People were now arriving back from teh morning tours and it appeared all were angry about the whole thing; it appeared this was mainly the reef people, as they became known to us, who had endured a morning without air-conditioning. It appeared that some demanded, and got, refunds then and there before leaving for the ship.
Anyway, someone with a wallopping imagination had a synonym for this place: Coral Bay. Maybe this same person conjured up this tour because there was precious little to choose from. Here goes:
1. Prawn Fishery which the brochure boasts a yearly export of 1,000,000 kilograms a year. In actuality this consisted of a slowing down to maybe 30mph for a photo opportunity of a giant 20' prawn which in New England only the sorriest of the restaurants would have erected unless it was meant as a community prank of sorts.
2. Charles Knife Road (12 miles, each way!). The Prawn photo opportunity also allowed the driver to downshift to a right (starboard) turn up a hill of gullies which were the advertised canyons. The driver had no clue as to why they were there. What was there was a monument of the 50th anniversary to an outfit that had unsuccessfully drilled for oil but while maybe still "producing" had been a distinct commercial failure.
3. Solar Observatory. "Ohhhh, sorry mates. Sunday you know. Closed. Shan't be going there today."
4. Harold E. Holt Communication Station. 45 minutes back and beyond from where this all started. This was a photo opportunity of a dozen or so radio towers. More important, tongue in check here, it was a rest stop. We took a commemorative photo of a fresh fish cleaning table.
5. Vlamingh Head Lighthouse. This was built as a result of a 1907 shipwreck; it hasn't been alight for years. It is a local landmark which just shoes how desperate these peopel are. It also featured a light keeper's house (actually a shed; no access allowed) and WWII sandbags which were also protected as a local treasure and not to be trod on for a better view, of what I was never sure.
By now it was nearing 5pm and a nice storm ahead considerably aroused my long dormant excitement of something going to happen. Instead, we arrived to the last tender to leave and bounced out to sea. And it was The Trip From/ To Hell! Of course, I am last and revenge prevailed for my earlier pride of being #54 exit from the ship. I took the last seat at the very front of this boat where there was an unequaled view of the saves 8-16' ahead, and splashing over us. The window over my knees began to leak, the humidity built up to 100%, and the temperature kept climbing. There was nothing to hold on to except a small one-inch latch to the life preservers which I felt would be needed any time now. It just got worse and worse. Slowing down or speeding up, no choice was a good one. We swung and thrashed about on our seats; I had no one up with me, so I just crashed around at will. My last hopeful thought as we cascaded toward the gangway was this will be over in just a few more minutes. Well, if the herding instinct was alive before, here it was fast developing into stampede mode. Except, now, the crew could barely control the heaving up and down as waves rolled in from the front, then others rolled in from the side, and then some again would just collide simultaneously as they reached us. One by one, paddengers slid along the seats, and one by one they were instructed on command to stand, wait and then hop off. By now, my view of each incoming tsunami had lost its glamour and my attention fixed on the floorboards, my sweat-soaked shirt, the adopted fly, and my increasing alarm over the lunch hotdog. I was last off, not out of any chivalry but to my now total certainty that I would be the first ever to board the QE2 on my knees, desperately kissing the steel stairs for my survival. I'm not kidding.
Okay. This is The Next Day and this is the wife writing. Actually I have tears rolling down my cheeks laughing at the above. NOW I can do that. It's probably a total hysterical-relief reaction.
When we got on the so-called tender, there was a seat along the side which I took about 2 short rows of people behind Bill. it WAS the trip from hell. I think it lasted 20 minutes. The only reason there wasn't a major stampede to get off the tender is that a uniformed sailor came down and in his best Principal of the School voice told us students that he would tell each individual to stand up and then, assisted by several strong guys, we would be told when to leap (in my case) onto the dock of the ship.
The tender was, I think, rising and falling about two feet above and below the platform we were to step on to. Naturally the "pretty" blonde with matching orange pants and hat was first. She came from the other side so they did all of them before us.
When I saw Bill, FINALLY getting off, I knew he was in trouble. The way he looked and walked reminded me of his condition occasionally during radiation and accompanying medication. But we got back here, cooled him down and got some water into him. After showers and rest, we went to dinner; came back and crashed for the night. We both slept very well.
Another impressive thing about that trip was that one of the crew walked along the outside of the tender to grab the line from the Mother Ship while the seas were bouncing us around like a piece of wood (which we were!). He grabbed it the first time and seemed to just tie it up where it should go without hanging on at all. It was pretty clear that they all were pretty worried (Doris tells of a man who did what they told him and broke his leg. That has to beat falling in between the two vessels...).
Also, just a note in defense of the flies; they weren't that numerous AND if you stood in the breeze and moved a touch, they didn't hang out on your face. They looked like mini house flies.
So now we ahve 5 days at sea since Bali's out. AND there's always the possibility we can't dock at Keelung (Taipei, Taiwan) on Saturday, due to weather. However, I think we've just escaped that - a tropical storm to the west which didn't quite get into typhoon status. We've been kept relatively well-informed about that, we believe. At any rate, we slept very well so if it was as rough as I've heard someone report, we were blissfully unaware.
Today Dr. Blainey got into what was supposed to be Famous Sea Battles in the South Pacific. However, he gave an excellent account of how WWII developed as, at least, a partial consequence of the settling of WWI. He is very aware of his audience which includes peope from all over the world. We ahven't missed one of his lectures yet and we've talked to him a couple of times on board or in line for somethong or another. He's very approachable.
Well, this is it for me now. Stay well and in touch. Pat
Posted July 14, 2009
March 1, 2006: At Sea, just south of the island of Luzon
Weather: high 70's, cloudy, rain intermittently
High seas have cancelled the Crew Tug-of-War yesterday and today's big equator-crossing hoo-ha was scratched due to "tropical downpour" possibilities. I guess it did rain some but wasn't really looking out of the window.
Yesterday I got to a seat early to learn how to make a beaded necklace which I am not (proudly) wearing. Talk about your first grade ceramic-creation! Same thing. We were given a packet of beads in a color story - NO CHOICE. Luckily I got one I like, blues and greens with some yellow. We strung them yesterday, aided and abetted by two "treasure boxes" containing all sorts of odds and ends of beads. We had to share but we did it very nicely. Two Philippino sisters have given this class several times. I went last week on time but was much too late to get a seat with only 20 available. Today we put the clasp on and tomorrow - TaDa: Earrings! My suspicion is that my two will be totally different in look but with the same necklace color. That's how you can tell when you see me.
On the way back here from that, I heard the stentorian tones of Thomas Quinones, a crew member who does MC duty at times and a historical walk through the ship. We hadn't taken it yet so I joined in. He was, as advertised, Louise, a riot. Definitely a lover of this vessel!!! It was well worth listening to and I should go again with Bill to catch some of his lines that I missed. He's a showman from 'way back'.
In the dining room our table has been cut down by illness although there is hope we can normalize soon. Marion wrote us a not saying she's getting medication for a slight infection so she hopes to get back before too much longer. Doris's shoulder is beginning to feel better although she doesn't want to say it loud. We and Joan are staying well. Knock on wood.
Last night another woman joined the table. We're still shaking our heads over her so will let you know more when I'm sure of what I know.
The cap'n has ticked Doris off once again by announcing that we are in waters with the chance of piracy! But not to worry. We're buzzing along Indonesia. However, this ship is the speediest liner afloat so we aren't worried; a souther-accented belle tole me yesterday she'll be glad when we're though here but didn't say exactly when it will end. You'll be glad to hear that the securing force, or some of them, anyway, are touted as former Gurkhas (spell-check doesn't help with that!).
Also Doris is unhappy because this captain (Christopher Rynd) is going to be the captain of the Queen Mary 2 next year for her round the world cruise. She knows the mother of another "jolly" captain with whom she has traveled so she does have somethign on which to base her opinion. Okay, more later, of course.
Notes From Bill:
While Pat sews on..... Ends and Odds
Back to Perth: There was a large gold rush to Kalgoolie in the late (I think) 1800's in the Outback. There was much money being made but little water so a man by the name of O'Connor planned a 350 mile water pipeline from Perth; trouble was when the taps were turned on as scheduled, not a drop appeared. That night he killed himself; the wather began the next day. When will these displaced English learn patience? Anyway, a second pipeline is planned, our driver said, for hot water. Leaving Perth at the quay (remember, that's "key"), a brass band appeared to serenade as we left. Nice touch!
Blonde Quip. The other evening a statuesque blond, in full white gown and a pale aquamarine pendant (hanging just where you might guess, gentlemen) joined us into the elevator. I couldn't refrain asking if she was on the way to a ball, or something. No, she said, she was going to join a cocktail party in progress in the Yacht Club lounge. Pat continued listening as she left: this lady waits to the end of a line every night going through (on invitation usually), picks up a champagne glass, and glides in to have her cocktail hour. That is larceny taken to a novel level indeed.
Concern? Periodically, unannounced to the passengers, they have a drill where the #4-#8 watertight doors are sealed. Most of the outside staterooms are, well, outside. So if the emergency is real, and we are abed, that would seem to pose a particular problem to some of us, it seems to me.
Literacy/ Courtesy. Today's lecture on chinese art forms included the fact that "all Chinese can read Jappanese, but the Japanese cannot read Chinese." Maybe something should be done about that. We've also had a brief demonstration on how to bow while in japan, the depth of angle commensurate with the bowee's importance. And speaking of which, we had the new person added to our table (see Pat's above). I asked the maitre'd how we'd been chosen. Very simple, sir, he said, all the ladies have watched how courteous you are at table, standing and even bowing when a lady joins your table. "There's no good deed that goes unpunished".
Food. On board, there are five kitchens, with 94 chefs and 76 kitchen staff, catering for 1800 passengers and 1000 crew serving up to 8000 meals per day!
Picture/ Kodak Update. Encouraged by the success of Loretta Nowicki who actually found the pictures on the test pictures of Auckland on this site, I began to load another album featuring Los Angeles. After the first one of a flower, the rest were rejected. I have queried Kodak on this.
Maintenance. It seems, again according to an elevator person with us, that the plug in some tubs/ bath is not easily opened. She said she solved this one "rather easily" by purchasing a steel nail file that is kept in there for the express purpose of prying the betal plug up; an dshe also used it to etch a notch in the shower dial to indicate where it is just the right temperature.
Staff Tug-of-War. Since Pat went to her Beading Group III after lunch, I went aloft to watch 19 8-person teams representing all sections of the ship (men, women and mixed) compete wearing a great variety of ingenious homemade team "uniforms". After 72 pictures out there in the blazing sun, no hat or #40 sun lotion, I quit but not before a guy in a lounge chair in front of us standing behind , got really angry at the guy standing beside me. He said the guy was touching his chair (shades of the backseat with my sisters on a long trip!) and when the guy bristled right back that he shoudl be lucky because he had a seat on the front row, the curmudgeon said he had sat there for two hours to get it. We said he didn't own the space behind him which shut him up. for a moment, I thought a dozen of us around the guy were going to erupt in applause. But I have to admit I was very glad not to have missed this event. I'll slip several samples in as attachments.
Movies. When it seemed that this was never to be on any of our schedules, along comes: Beginning each afternoon of February 26 and thereafter, we watched the Star Trek series in somewhat out-of-order sequence (Motion Picture, Wrath of kahn, Search for Spock, Voyage home, Final Frontier, and the Undiscovered Country). I think we finally get it!
Back To Pat
I feel very righteous because I hiked around the Boad Deck 6 times before breakfast. Five trips = one mile. I go 6 because the stairs up to the bow were closed because of high winds. Generally speaking I do avoid that space anyway because it's often super-windy.