2007 World Cruise


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What an exciting ship and what an exciting time to be aboard, for the first world cruise of this great ocean liner. As the QM2 is too large to go through the Panama Canal, she will certainly not be doing many world cruises and this voyage is going around the world in 80 days! Actually the main purpose of the itinerary is to introduce this most famous ship to major world ports. Thus, we go fast, have few ports, and port calls are brief. Great for bridge players (me)!!

I'll post photos of the trip as I go at 2007 World Cruise Photos.

Click on the link below to see a map of the Pacific Ocean.




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Chapter 1, January 21, 2007


I joined the ship in Ft. Lauderdale January 10 and Kathy Aaron and I will be hosting the Virtuoso group again. We have 90 guests this first segment then less after that, which is considerably fewer than we are used to on the Voyager. Also, with 2500 passengers on board, we don't see our people around the ship much. Definitely a different hosting experience.

The food and service are astounding, especially considering the size of the operation. We dine in the Queen's Grill, the ship's top dining room. I've never eaten in a better restaurant anywhere. I'm just glad we don't have to sign the bill after each meal! In addition to the three main dining rooms, to which passengers are assigned, there are six alternate restaurants to add variety to the culinary experience. Even they are all unbelievably good.

The ship is over 1100 feet long - almost the length of four football fields! Our suite is the furthest forward and the restaurants are all at the aft end of the ship so we figure since we have to walk nearly a quarter of a mile to dinner we can eat anything we want with impunity! When they built the ship it was the largest afloat, and they had planned to even make it higher than it is. However, the limiting factor was the Brooklyn Bridge in New York - any taller and the ship could not have passed under it. The QM2 is still the fastest cruise ship afloat, cruising over 30 knots. We had dinner with the Chief Engineer and he explained how the ship makes its own water. The three machines can produce 75 tons of water every hour!!

One thing that gave me a nasty shock when I came aboard was the computer room prices. The regular rate is $30 per hour (!) though you can bring the price down a bit by prepaying blocks of time. The worst part is that they charge the same rate just to use the computer for Word or Excel and other programs. On past cruises I've spent many hours a day in the computer room, but here it just makes me sick when I even look at it. Fortunately Kathy brought her laptop so we bought a $500 package and will just have to make the time stretch best we can.

After sailing from Ft Lauderdale we had seven days at sea to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We were surprised to find a cool, cloudy day with temps in the low 80's. It's more typical to be in the upper 90's, but they have been having a cool, wet summer so we benefited. We took the tram up to Corcovado, the 2300-foot mountain with the enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer, which overlooks city and bay. The views were stunning. We had a drive around Rio, including Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches (not too crowded because of the chilly weather!) and also visited the amazing San Sebastian Cathedral. We had to be back on board by 4:00 pm so there wasn't time to do much more than some of the highlights, but we enjoyed our day ashore.

Saturday was bright and sunny and we were in Montevideo, Uruguay, a very walkable city. It was market day and streets and squares were lined with endless stalls of art, crafts, antiques, coins, jewelry etc. We spent several hours shopping and put miles on our shoes. Uruguay is very European with few minorities. Architecture is an interesting mix, dominated by Spanish and French styles. The old town had similarities to New Orleans. On to Cape Horn!


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Chapter 2, February 8, 2007


We are rocking and rolling our way across the Pacific to Hawaii after a stunning maiden call and enthusiastic reception in San Francisco. But that's for later in the story. First the fjords!

What a fantastic day we enjoyed at Cape Horn and in the Chilean Fjords! I have been at Cape Horn when conditions were so bad we couldn't even tell there was land nearby, but this time we were treated to a glorious day. The Captain decided we had extra time so he sailed past the Cape heading west, then turned the ship around and sailed past it again towards the east. Then we headed right up into the fjords and channels into a magic landscape akin to Alaska. We sailed past majestic tidewater and alpine glaciers, thundering waterfalls and towering snow-capped mountains, the southern extension of the Andes. It was a beautiful day to be out on deck, taking it all in and we nearly abused our digital cameras capturing one scene after another!

Good weather continued in the Pacific as we headed up the west coast of South America to Valparaiso, Chile. We had our first Virtuoso event here with a driving tour of Valparaiso and then a tour and lunch at a winery. The day started in chaos! There were three other ships in port ahead of us and the Crystal Symphony, unbeknownst to us, was also having a Virtuoso tour. The QM2 arrived late and when we got out to the pier we saw Virtuoso buses already loading. Then we were told that two buses had already left! As it turns out, the Crystal group had taken two of the buses intended for us and, somehow, two of our guests as well! It took some time to sort things out and get on our way, and that put us behind schedule for the rest of the day.

Valparaiso and nearby Vina Mar are actually quite nice coastal cities. Vina Mar resembled Miami Beach with its condos, shops, parks, and white sand beaches. We headed inland to the Casablanca Valley which is strikingly similar to Napa Valley, from the vast vineyards and architecture, to the rolling hills and distant high mountains. We had a picture perfect day, but didn't arrive at the winery until about noon. At that point people wanted food and drinks, but first they had to do a little tour of the vineyard and then take a hayride up to a high hill where the wine tasting took place. People were pretty grumpy until they finally got drinks, but then there was enough to make most people quite happy. That was followed by a lovely lunch under tents, with food and drink of all kinds, as well as a Chilean Folklore group who sang and danced for us. In spite of the stress for Kathy and me, most of the guests were quite happy with our outing, even though we got back two hours later than planned.

After five fine days at sea we called in Acapulco. Kathy and I walked and shopped a bit, and then I met Karl & Ursula Heese, a German couple who tours frequently with me, for a visit. They are traveling on the Seabourn Legend, which was in Acapulco the same day. As we sailed north we were treated to humpback whales quite close to the ship.

Then San Francisco! It was a perfect, sunny, 70-degree Sunday afternoon as the largest ship ever to call in the city sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge. We were accompanied into port by hundreds of sailboats and a fireboat, which sprayed a continuous fountain of water to announce our entry. Every bridge, street and open hillside were lined with thousands of spectators, watching and taking photos. As we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge (with only 11 feet clearance!!) the ship and the bridge exchanged salutes with the foghorn and ship's whistle. Goose bumps. The scene was shown on TV around the world and it was exciting to be part of it. Monday was a great day in the city and at 8 pm we sailed out into the wild Pacific for Hawaii.


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Chapter 3, February 25, 2007


The spectacular maiden calls on this world cruise would themselves be worth the 'price of admission'! It has been an absolute thrill to arrive in ports to the cheers and waves of thousands of excited onlookers. Even the most jaded travelers are captivated by the excitement.

From San Francisco we braved some rough seas on the way to Honolulu where my cousin Ken picked us up for the morning. Where in paradise did we have him take us, but to the Goodwill Store! We had a good hour of shopping and then went to Ken's place before going out to lunch overlooking Waikiki Beach. We all enjoyed the visit and Ken deposited us back at the ship, from where we immediately proceeded to walk around the downtown area. There are lovely historic buildings in Honolulu, including the only royal palace on American soil!

The next call, Pago Pago, was still in the US. Most people don't know that it's US territory, but it's called American Samoa because it is American. Yes, they use US currency, US stamps, and the US NPS administers Samoan National Park. The islands are much like Hawaii, but with a much higher rate of native peoples. They are laid back and friendly and their clothing is colorful. The traditional attire for men is a flowered shirt and a wrap-around skirt. Even the policemen wear skirts in Pago Pago! Kathy and I jumped on and off local buses to explore the island and went for a hike in the national park rain forest. It was very hot and humid and we were drenched just from an easy walk. But we did get photos of gorgeous flowers of all kinds. A 'highlight' of a different kind was passing the Starkist Tuna Plant. The putrid odor that permeated the air was enough to put Kathy off eating tuna forever. However, outside the range of the tuna aromas, Samoa is truly lovely with soaring mountains and rich vegetation.

Auckland was our next grand entry. Already before dawn, and miles from our berth, the QM2 was joined by a flotilla of boats and yachts, which grew steadily as we approached the city. There are more boat owners per capita in Auckland than any city in the world and it seemed they all had their boats out to welcome us. As in San Francisco, people lined every hill, street, and open area to see the arrival of the great Queen. The QM2 is too big for the passenger docks so we were at a container terminal with extremely tight security. This caused chaos for tour departures, as they would only allow a few buses at a time to approach the ship. Our Virtuoso tour was no exception, but we finally pulled out half an hour late. We were taken on a nice driving tour of the lovely, subtropical city, and then were treated to morning tea at the National Art Institute. I could have done without the following tour of the museum, but fortunately it was brief, and from there we proceeded to lunch at Mollies, an older private mansion which has been beautifully converted to an elegant boutique hotel. It was open exclusively to our guests and we were free to wander the house and garden, while enjoying pre-lunch drinks and canapes. Frances, the owner, is a musician and hires hotel staff with musical ability. Before lunch she played the grand piano in the dining room while various ones sang operettas and light classical music for us. It was an enchanting setting for lunch and the food was equally superb. We had many comments that Virtuoso would be hard pressed to top that one.

After the tour Kathy and I went to the home of John and Julia Ensom, friends from back in the days I worked on QE2. Julia was celebrating her 50th birthday so we got to be part of the festivities. As the ship sailed out of Auckland at 10:00 pm, people were crammed into every available space around the harbor to see the majestic ship depart. A fireworks display over the water as we pulled out put a finishing touch on a fine welcome.

And then there was Sydney!! All we can say is, "Wow!" The great Cunard ships have always been loved in Australia and the masses turned out to see the new Queen, and later, two Queens together as the Queen Elizabeth 2 joined us in Sydney the same evening. The city came to a virtual standstill because of the traffic caused by our arrival and it looked like a major national holiday, with all the people enjoying the beautiful day.

The ship's whistle woke us at 6:10 am as we approached the entrance to the Sydney Harbor. Sydney is one of the five great natural harbors in the world along with San Francisco, Rio, Acapulco, and Hong Kong (all of which are on this cruise itinerary!) and it is magnificent to watch a ship wind her way from the Heads into the heart of the bay to the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. Again, long before daylight, hundreds of boats and yachts joined ranks with QM2 to escort her into the city. By the time we got to the docks the entire harbor was crammed full of boats. We don't know how they kept from hitting each other. We docked at the Naval Base, as the ship is too big for Circular Quay where cruise ships normally go, but before pulling in the Captain made a grand salute. He backed the ship up towards the Harbor Bridge and Opera House, broadside to the city, and blew a long low blast of the ship's whistle as if to say, "Hello Australia. Here we are!" Onlookers and passengers alike cheered wildly.

The celebrating continued all day, as there was a continuous stream of people coming to see and photograph QM2. Boats and yachts kept up a steady loop in and out of the bay alongside the ship to give their passengers a close up view and an appreciation for the mammoth size of our ship. It was nonstop the whole time we were in Sydney.

Vicki Scotts, a former ship colleague of mine, and her husband Jamie, came to Sydney from Brisbane for three days just to take in the sights involved with QM2 and QE2. They were able to come aboard the ship, thanks to a staff member invitation, and Kathy and I gave them the grand tour. Vicki has worked on numerous ships, but she couldn't get over the size and magnificence of QM2. It was a thrill to show them around.

Then it was their turn to host and they had arranged a car and driver to take us sightseeing. In the city the traffic was at a standstill so we headed out to Watson's Bay, the Gap, and Bondi Beach. It was gorgeous. We had fish and chips for lunch at the Fish Market in Darling Harbor and then walked back to the ship from Circular Quay, getting great photos along the way of the bridge, the Opera House, and of course the QM2.

But it gets better! At 7:00 pm the QE2 made her grand entrance into the harbor, sailing slowly past the QM2, and the two sister ships exchanged multiple salutes to the thrill of thousands of cheering fans. The harbor was so full of boats there was barely room for the QE2 to continue on to her berth near the bridge. Later media reports said the traffic was the worst Sydney had ever experienced as virtually the whole city turned out to party. We were all rewarded at 8:30 with a spectacular fireworks display over the harbor between the two ships. There were two identical and simultaneous displays set off from barges, one for each of the two Queens. The grand finale brought a roar of approval from the crowd that must have been heard clear back in the States!

Evidently the partying continued until we sailed at 11:00 pm, and the escort out of the harbor was bigger than ever, but we were so tired by that time we never even knew when this grande dame gracefully glided out to sea and headed for Hong Kong. However, we were left with the feeling that we were part of one of those special moments in history that leave you in awe for the rest of your life.


Click here to go to my photo site.

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Chapter 4, March 7, 2007


After our spectacular visit in Sydney we had another long stretch of seven days at sea. Love those sea days! February 28 we arrived in Hong Kong, but because of the size of the QM2 we couldn't dock at the cruise ship terminal, but were stuck out in a cargo port. Actually that has been the case with most of our ports of call. What a difference it makes on first impressions of a city. I love Hong Kong, but Kathy had never been there and she wasn't impressed at first.

However, we took the shuttle bus into the city and had fun walking, shopping, riding double decker trolleys and the Star Ferry, and taking the very steep cable car up to Victoria Peak for a view out over the city and harbor. In spite of the haze, it was amazing to see the towering apartment buildings stacked side by side, crowding the harbor. We finished up shopping the markets and little alleyways. Upon sailing from Hong Kong we were treated to special sight. The Port Authority gave us special permission to sail through the middle of Victoria Harbor, between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, while the city presented the world's largest sound and light show, featuring dozens of the city's skyscrapers. It was a brilliant show!

We had another Virtuoso tour in Singapore. In spite of the hot, steamy day, we enjoyed a visit to the National Orchid Garden with its incredible collection of orchids. Lots of photos there! In Chinatown we visited a traditional Chinese Temple and drove through the 'Wall Street of Asia', before going to the Fullerton Hotel for lunch. The building had been the main post office of Singapore and was converted into a luxurious, five-star hotel. They must have had nearly the entire hotel staff lined up to greet our group and escort us into the lounge for Singapore Slings. Lunch was in the ballroom and there was at least one staff for every guest! The folklore show included a Chinese 'Man of 100 Faces'. Dancing in full costume, his mask would suddenly change completely with no explanation how it was possible. He came off the stage, shook hands with Kathy, and had his other hand in the air, when suddenly the mask changed. He showed dozens of faces, until finally we saw his real face, and then, just like that, he was wearing a mask again! A man in our group lives in Hong Kong and he was so excited to see this act. He told us it is a great secret that is handed down through the generations, but no amount of money will get them to give away the secret of the masks to anyone else. We were certainly amazed!

The next day in Port Klang, Malaysia we took the local train into Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it is known. We went first to the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world, and second highest building in general. They have built up massive shopping and office complexes around it since I was last here six years ago. We wanted to go up to the connecting bridge, forty stories up, but they were booked until late afternoon. Instead we took a taxi to the telecommunications tower, the fourth highest of its kind (CNN Toronto being the tallest), and took the elevator to the viewing deck high above the city. From there we got good photos of the Petronas Towers and the city. It was surprising to see what a spread out city KL is with vast open areas scattered between developed sections. Not parks, just big open areas. Kathy didn't want to eat 'too local' so we had lunch in the Shangri La Hotel. Very civilized, of course. There too, we spent a few hours in the local markets before taking the train back to the port. The ship has been late sailing from most ports, but from KL we sailed right on time. Evidently a few passengers missed the ship and had to make their own way to Cochin, India. Ouch!

Below is a photo taken from a helicopter in Sydney, showing QE2, QM2 and the Opera House, and of course, all the small craft crowding the harbor. More photos on my website.


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Chapter 5, March 12, 2007


Ahhhh, India! So many cruise passengers are revolted by the sights and smells of India, but I relish every visit to the 'subcontinent'. Of all places on this lightning paced world cruise to have an overnight, we got Cochin, but we made the most of it. Kathy and I took the Catholic Priest, Tom, with us and rented a taxi for four hours for the outrageous sum of $15! We did all the 'highlights' of Cochin, which sound good on paper, but are a bit underwhelming when visited. St Francis Cathedral is the oldest Christian church in the entire British Commonwealth, but the Santa Cruz church was more ornate. The Chinese fishing nets are interesting. Nets are hung on huge wooden frames and lowered into the water from the shore. I think the fishermen make more money charging a dollar for a photo than they do from selling their fish. The Dutch Palace is historic, but takes about five minutes to see the whole thing.

What we liked were the little shops and alleyways and all the wonderful treasures of India available at cheap prices. The area around the old Synagogue is known as Jew Town (really) and the shops there were lots of fun. Many of the merchants were actually from Kashmir, in Northern India, a wonderful area I visited in 1989. So while Kathy and Tom looked at the wares, I visited with many of the shopkeepers. They of course really enjoy talking with someone who knows and appreciates their homeland. In the evening we went to a fancy hotel and had haircuts and head massages. That was a real treat.

In the morning we got another taxi and headed into the modern city, only to find everything closed due to a national strike. Their loss. We headed back to Old Cochin and spent the rest of our time in the shops. Kathy and Tom bought rugs and silks and souvenirs. I settled for a few spices and some Masala Tea. Most western tourists can't get past the poverty and filth and the chaos, but if you learn to take India for what it is it can be a rich experience. I call it functioning chaos! In some countries they drive on the right, in some on the left, but in India it's optional!

Next came my favorite port on the cruise and one of my favorite cities in the world, Dubai! What an amazing place. The United Arab Emirates is only a little over 30 years old and the rulers are former Bedouin Chiefs! However, someone had great insight and Dubai has become one of the most incredible modern cities in the world. Stunningly diverse architecture graces Dubai Creek, as well as a newer area to the south, which stands in stark contrast to the ancient markets and shops right out of Arabian Nights, where business is still conducted as it has been for centuries. Oil money has been used to build the best of everything. Welcome to indoor snow skiing! Enjoy a huge water park with outdoor air conditioning! Shop in a mall with a full scale model of London Bridge in the atrium! Soon to open is the world's largest theme park, Dubai Land! Dubai will soon boast the world's tallest building, the Burj Dubai. It is already 111 stories, headed for probably about 180 stories! And if any country dare think they can build a higher skyscraper, Burj Dubai is designed to allow additional stories! The new airport should open later this year and dwarf London Heathrow! The shore of the Arabian Gulf is not the limit of expansion. Three gigantic artificial palm trees (actually manmade islands) extend several miles out into the water with commercial and residential developments along the trunk and the palm 'fronds'. Each frond is about a mile long and each 'tree' contains hundreds of multi-million dollar homes! And of course, the Burj al Arab is the world's only seven-star hotel!

We had an event in Dubai for our Virtuoso full world cruise guests and started with the Dubai Museum, which looks like a little Arab village, until you go underground and realize the extent of the exhibits. Excellent. One of the highlights of Dubai is the Gold Souk, which extends into the Spice Market. It is overwhelming to see row upon row of shops full of gold and jewelry. I prefer the little souvenir shops nearby and the delightful aromas emanating from little stalls of the Spice Market. Piles and bins of frankincense, sandalwood, dates, fruit, cinnamon, vanilla, and untold other delights tantalize the senses in that area.

The grand finale of our tour was lunch at the spectacular Burj al Arab Hotel. It is a beautiful, tall building shaped like a spinnaker sail, constructed on a manmade island just offshore. The lobby contains an enormous cascading fountain with water jets playing all kinds of patterns. The walls are huge aquariums full of exotic fish. At the top of the cascade is a separate fountain that shoots a geyser high into the air. The inside of the hotel is open and you can look straight up nearly to the top. We had a private room for our lunch on the top floor, where we had great views out over the Palms, the nearby Water Park, the lovely Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the expansive Dubai skyline. Lunch wasn't bad either! Definitely a seven-star experience!

We had to be back on the ship by 4:00 pm, but even our short visit was enough for Dubai to work its magic and make most passengers want to come back for a longer stay. But for now we are heading for the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean ports beyond. On we go.


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Chapter 6, March 23, 2007


We missed a port of call, we watched an erupting volcano, and we saw the Pope! Rod certainly joined for an exciting segment. After five days at sea out of Dubai we spent a calm day transiting the Suez Canal. We were the first of 30 ships in the northbound procession. The Sinai side is mostly desert, but the west side is irrigated, boasting towns, resorts, monuments, date palms and mangos. Other than that, one sees a lot of sand along the 137-year-old canal.

Early the next morning we arrived at Alexandria, Egypt for the big day to Cairo and the pyramids. Rod had been given an escort position for a Cunard tour and he was excited about seeing the pyramids. Unfortunately, due to high winds, the port was closed and we could not enter the harbor. There were a lot of upset people when we finally had to give up and set sail.

We sailed directly to Athens and arrived Sunday noon, giving us an overnight and an extra half day there. Rod, Father Tom, and I spent the afternoon in the Plaka district of Athens, enjoying perfect weather for shopping and photography. Monday was our final Virtuoso tour and we treated our guests to a driving tour of the city and a walking tour of the Acropolis. Lunch was at the rooftop restaurant of the Grande Bretagne Hotel right across the square from the Parliament and offering stunning views of the Acropolis and Parthenon. A fitting finale! After getting our guests back to the ship Rod and I jumped on the train and headed back into the city, where we walked and shopped on our own and then had a Greek dinner of Gyros and Ouzo in an outdoor cafe in the Plaka. After dark we got some good night photos of Athens.

We had only one day at sea before Rome (just too many ports on this cruise!) but had a real treat in the evening. During dinner we sailed through the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily and shortly after we sailed close to the Stromboli Volcano which was emitting a large, red stream of lava from the top of the cone, down the side, into the sea. That was stunning!

Wild winds and high seas plagued us overnight and we had to wonder if we would be able to get into Civitavecchia, the port for Rome. However, things calmed by morning and Rod and I took the train into the Eternal City. We decided to get off at the Vatican station and start our touring there. There was a large crowd gathering and we were told the Pope was expected in about ten minutes. Sure enough, he appeared in his Popemobile, riding around through the crowd and greeting the masses, before ascending the stage to speak. We got photos for proof and then set out to explore Rome on foot. Tuesday had been horrid weather in Rome, as an enormous storm system pummeled nearly all of Europe, but we were lucky and the rain held off for our day in Rome.

Rome really is a fantastic city, albeit a nightmare for anything beyond foot traffic. Streets were definitely not designed for cars, so they just make much of the center area pedestrian only. Much better. Just about every corner and alleyway offers a not-to-be-missed photo. There are so many ancient cathedrals and Roman ruins. I still can't figure out why the Romans built so many ruins! We visited countless squares (piazzas) and churches, as well as the Coliseum, Forum, Victory Monument, Pantheon, Parliament, Supreme Court, Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Of course the area around the Vatican was most impressive as well, and we ended up back there for a visit inside St Peter's Cathedral and then a few night photos of the nicely lighted buildings and columns of the Vatican. And to think that before my first visit to Rome I didn't really have a desire to see it. Now it's one of my favorite cities to wander. Finally, now we get three days at sea to relax and enjoy the ship a little bit! Bay of Biscayne, here we come!


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Chapter 7, March 31, 2007


Wow! An "Around the World in 80 Days" world cruise sure goes a lot faster than a normal one of roughly three and a half months. We are enjoying our last sea days on our transatlantic from Southampton to Ft Lauderdale where we arrive Monday, April 2. Time has flown.

After our great day in Rome we had three days at sea through the Med and out into the Atlantic. Early Friday morning the ship cruised slowly past Gibraltar with the famous Rock towering up on our right side. I was with French speaking guests and I made the comment that it was interesting to be going west through the Straits of Gibraltar and we had Britain on our right and Spain on our left (think about that for a minute). A man overheard me and in his best (poor) French attempted to enlighten us that no, Spain was on our right and Africa was on our right. I repeated my statement but he knew better, so I told him to go look it up in an atlas. I caught several people with that piece of trivia actually. Across the water from Gibraltar (which is still part of Britain) is the little Spanish enclave of Ceuta. on the African side of the Straits!

Sunday we were in Le Havre, France on a chilly day. Rod, Father Tom and I spent the morning walking around the city. It's early spring and daffodils were blooming abundantly. The most impressive building was St Joseph's Cathedral with its soaring, open tower, lined with stained glass from top to bottom. We walked along the beach and through town, and as someone commented, "A cemetery is more lively than Le Havre on Sunday morning." In the afternoon we went over to the quaint town of Honfleur and there could not have been a starker contrast. Whereas Le Havre is industrial, big and characterless, Honfleur is a historic port village with charming houses, thriving shops and boutiques, and countless coffee shops and restaurants. and they were open! We didn't do any shopping but we did avail ourselves of a friendly little coffee shop for a warm-up before going back to the QM2.

Monday was the last day of the world cruise for most of the European guests, as they disembarked in Southampton, England. Rod had never been to England so he spent the day in London, but I was 'ported out' after so much activity in ports on the Mediterranean segment. I did go into Southampton briefly, but generally spent a relaxing day on the ship.

As I look back over our wonderful world cruise adventure, certainly highlights like the Chilean Fjords, San Francisco, Sydney, and Dubai come to mind, but in reality, one goes on the Queen Mary 2 for the Queen Mary 2. This ship is the destination. So many people come aboard wondering what they will do on the sea days, only to find there are not enough hours in a day! My main activity, besides my Virtuoso duties, is bridge, but there is truly something for everyone on this city at sea. I still marvel at having a Queens Grill suite. One does get spoiled, having a butler to attend to all the details. We joke that when we get up in the night to go to the bathroom, we come back to find our bed made! Dining in the Queens Grill is sensational and we often comment how lucky we are not to have to pay the bill after an elegant dinner of caviar, escargot, lobster, filet mignon, etc.! A couple in our group from Hong Kong treated his new friends to wine before leaving the ship in Southampton. Not just any wine - Chateau Petrus 1989, which comes to over $3,000 a bottle with the service charge! He bought nine bottles and Rod and I each enjoyed a $500 glass of red wine with our dinner that night!

Yes, it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it. If this does end up being my last world cruise, it will certainly be a fitting exclamation point to eighteen years of illustrious cruising.

Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed the Chronicles from QM2!


Check out the photos of the trip at
2007 World Cruise Photos

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