Monday, December 30, 2013
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Friday, December 27, 2013
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Don, Mel and Dan
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Missing Bradley and Loki yesterday I decided to visit the kennel on board the QM2. I arrived on deck 12 aft just as all of the owners and their companions were posing for the voyage group photo! I was able to pet many of the wonderful dogs, which will hold me until we get home Sunday and I can give Bradley a hug!
The "Parade of Chefs," and the head Chef in the Britannia dinig room on board the Queen Mary 2 Friday evening.
The ocean calmed down, finally, Friday morning and the swells of the waves no longer reached 18 to 27 feet high. We were able to walk the outside deck for a short jaunt, after breakfast. One must say that traversing the Atlantic Ocean from Southampton, England to New York one gains new respect for the mariners of yesteryear and earlier centuries. After our walks, we started on some of the day’s many activities. There was a lecture on Brooklyn, called “New York’s Fast Rising Star.” The lecturer noted that anyone who lives in NYC pays from 30-40% of their salary on their dwelling. Dan left the Brooklyn lecture early to join those who wanted to tour the Galley. There, I found out that there are 160 chefs on board, under the Executive Chef, and that each Transatlantic Crossing requires 50 tons of fruits and vegis, 13 tons of fish & seafood, and 32,400 eggs, among many other requirements. Imagine how busy those hens are laying all those eggs! Friday afternoon’s attractions included a classical music concert and a lecture called “What we can learn from Near Death Experiences.” Then later in the afternoon we attended a cocktail party in the luxury bi-level private suite of Derek, the owner of the Pied Piper Company, who arranged this crossing. Friday evening was our final formal wear night of the cruise, so it was back into our tuxedos for lobster night in the main Britannia restaurant. While we have a full slate of activities planned for today, the trip is winding down and we look forward to the train ride home from Manhattan to Philadelphia on Sunday so we can again see Brad and Loki. --Dan .
Friday, December 20, 2013
Photo: Jazz and Dixieland in the QM2 Royal Court Theater
High gale force winds, rough seas and closed outside decks prevailed on Thursday aboard the QM2. All the pools and hot tubs are drained and covered including even the indoor pool in the fancy on board spa, which is an extra charge of $40 per day to use. Nevertheless, there are lots of things to do to pass away the hours. I attended three different lectures. The first was given by a U.S. astronaut who was a member of the team that repaired the Hubble space telescope in orbit. He explained the problems with the telescope, which was out of focus when they tried using it once in orbit. A team of four astronauts successfully installed replacement components which enabled the telescope to provide the fantastic images that we have seen over the years. The second lecture that both Dan and I enjoyed was given by the author of a biography of Dame Julie Andrews. He had lots of interesting things to say about her long career. One of the most interesting film clips that he showed was from a TV special that Andrews did with Carol Burnett in the early 1960s, This clip showed a comic skit that was a spoof of the musical The Sound of Music. This was before Andrews reluctantly agreed to take the starring role in the film. Composer Richard Rogers was not amused by the skit and he did not want Andrews for the role as a result. The director Robert Wise prevailed upon Andrews to take the role, and the rest is history, of course. It was one of her great career triumphs. The final lecture that we attended focused on sea turtles, which are endangered due to various environmental and other causes. In between lectured Dan did some reading and I put some time in on the treadmill at the gym. We met with our Pied Piper travel mates for lunch at a special venue, the Todd English restaurant. Todd English is a renowned chef and the restaurant features dishes that are not available elsewhere on the ship. For dinner we went with our group to yet another specialty restaurant, Lotus, for Asian fusion food. Unfortunately for me, the emphasis at Lotus was on beef and chicken, so I had only light fare and left early so that I could enjoy the after dinner show in the Royal Court Theater, the large showplace on board. The show featured a clarinetist accompanied by a jazz and Dixieland ensemble. They were really very good and I enjoyed the show very much. After this rather full day of activities, it was off to bed and I was able to get a pretty solid few hours of sleep in spite of the extreme motion of the ship, which continues into today, Friday. One wonders how in the world people in small ships crossed this wild ocean centuries ago? - Jim
Thursday, December 19, 2013
On Wednesday the master of the Queen Mary 2, Commodore Christopher Ryan, announced that he had taken the ship some 300 miles south of it’s regular great circle route across the Atlantic Ocean so as to avoid even more severe high winds and rough seas than we were already experiencing. At the time of his announcement midday Wednesday we had winds of gale force 8 (30-40 MPH) and seas from 18 – 27 feet. All outside deck areas except for two areas on the stern of the ship are closed. Unfortunately, this means that Dan and I cannot take our daily walks outside. Dan walks around the interior of the ship and I walked two miles on a treadmill machine in the well-appointed gymnasium on board. I get the impression from talking to other passengers who have made wintertime crossings on other occasions that these conditions are not unusual for the North Atlantic at this time of the year. The QM2 speeds along in spite of it all, making 18 knots, slicing through the swells. As the Commodore put it: “remarkable given these weather conditions.” Everyone seems used to the pounding of the bow and the quite noticeable up and down motion of this entire massive vessel! - Jim
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The gingerbread house holiday display at midship aboard the Queen Mary 2
Tuesday was a busy day for us on board the QM2. Rough seas are somethinng that most passengers seems used to by now, and conditions yesterday were challenging. Nevertheless, activities on board continue unabated. Dan and I had a full slate of things to do including spending time in the gym, attending two interesting lectures, seeing a show in the ship's unique planaterium, attending a private cocktail party in a shipmate's cabin, and attending two different LGBTQ group get-togethers. After dinner Jim attended a show in the Royal Court theater featuring a British comedian. Tuesday evening the dress code was once again formal, so we wore our tuxedos with variations, vests and red bow ties, to make our appearance festive for the holidays. Wednesday morning conditions remained about the same with rough seas but no rain. Perhaps a walk around the deck 7 outdoor promenade will be possible. - Jim
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
From Jim...yes, Dan and I are having a lot of fun. By now we are used to the rocking and rolling of the ship. We have gale force winds and 20 to 30 ft swells. Some shows have been cancelled on board due to safety concerns for the performers. Other than that, on board life goes on with lots of activities...lectures, films, fine dining and of course, cocktail parties!
Here we are last night (Monday) all decked out in our Tuxedos: