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Saturday 29th June-Southampton
Sunday-at sea
Monday-at sea
Tuesday-at sea
Wednesday-at sea
Thursday 4th July-New York
Friday-at sea
Monday-at sea
Tuesday-New York
Wednesday-at sea
Thursday-at sea
Friday-at sea
Saturday-at sea
Sunday 14th July-Southampton
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(above) QE2 alongside the new Kings Wharf terminal, Bermuda.
(below) The "Twin Towers" and a 4th July arrival in New York.

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It had been a traumatic year of family losses for all of us and Dad was not yet ready to go back to sea but this was his treat to us instead - and strictly speaking, it was 3 cruises in one!

The Transatlantic was what QE2 was built to do and it is an experience like no other but to arrive in New York on the 4th of July and to have lunch at the top of the World Trade Centre would be something history would decree impossible to repeat. Add a 5-day excursion to Bermuda and a return Atlantic crossing for a truly spectacular holiday!

Show Picture Full Size Saturday 29th June
Boarding in Southampton
It was so nice not to have to fly! Arriving in the car at the Terminal at 12.15pm, the car and the luggage were briskly whisked-away by porters and by 1.30pm, we were boarding.
This was Andrew's first (and only) trip on QE2 but he had already developed a distaste for embarkation photographers, so that's why he is absent from our photo!
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The Gangway
& Brass Band
Luggage Lable First Class!
The Midships Lobby
Two Deck
Welcome Card Andrew

Show Picture Full Size Disappointingly, there were no streamers for our sailaway; the staff don't like clearing-up afterwards! But a few well-wishers waved us off and within two hours, we were passing the Needles, off the Isle of Wight. By nightfall, we were making 30 knots! Show Picture Full Size
4.00pm Cast-off! 6.00pm Passing The Needles

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Sunday 30th June - Wednesday 3rd July
Across the Atlantic - 4 Days at Sea
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Our 5-night westerly transatlantic course would gain us an hour every night, so we were up bright and early each day. The first morning, however, it was Boat Drill, compulsory for us as well as for new crew members joining yesterday.
(left) Yours truly, looking casual and (right) Boat Drill for new crew members
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Having become used to the luxury of single-sitting dining on Vistafjord, we had booked cabins on QE2 that placed us in the Columbia Restaurant, the "first-class" dining room that John & I had experienced on our very first cruise in 1983.

Show Picture Full Size The Columbia Restaurant
It was bound to be difficult to match the cuisine & service aboard "Vistafjord" but there was little doubt things had vastly improved since 1984, with some fabulous food served by our excellent waiter, Keith.
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The Grand Entrance Menus: Gala Dinner >> the Chef's Dinner >> and a Luncheon Menu >> The Cunard Cup

See more Photos of the ship's interior at the QE2 Ship Gallery >>

Show Picture Full Size In fact, our 4 days at sea seemed to be one long round of cocktail parties & fabulous dinners! There was the usual Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party, at which we got into conversation with a couple from Billericay (!), as well as a lunchtime Cunard World Club Party for "Repeaters" like ourselves.
(left) John shakes hands with a towering Captain Robin Woodall at the Welcome Cocktail Party!

But because we had such an upsetting time last year, they also had a special treat lined-up for us:-

An Invitation to Cocktails in the Captain's Quarters
We were among just a handful of passengers invited that evening and we found ourselves chatting with the First Officer & his wife; we had met Captain Robin Woodhall earlier, of course, but tonight we witnessed his sense of humour at play.
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Show Picture Full Size It had been wet and windy all day but had since calmed down a lot; however, things were still a little "up & down" and when no-one was looking, the Captain switched his "BridgeCam" monitor to a video of the bows in really rough seas! It was just a bit of harmless fun; and no-one was really fooled - not for long anyway!

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Fog Banks & Gales on the Atlantic! John, Me & Andrew
The Captain's Cocktail Party
30 knots and calm seas ahead!

The weather on the crossing was a bit mixed; in fact, we had a bit of everything - slight seas, overcast, fog, stiff breezes, even choppy seas and a Force-7 gale, followed by beautiful sunshine and calm seas before our dawn arrival in New York, which was straight out of a travel brochure!

Thursday 4th July
New York, USA
Show Map New York Map >> Show Map

Show Picture Full Size The Verrazano Narrows Bridge
Named after the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, the first known European to enter these waters in 1524, the Bridge was opened in 1964. With a centre-span of 4,260 ft (1,298m), this was the longest suspension bridge in the World until the
Humber Bridge in 1981 and it is still the longest in the USA. After a 3,000 mile crossing, we simply had to be on deck by 6.00am to see us go under the bridge and make our regal entrance. (right) John's photo Show Picture Full Size

The Statue of Liberty
Prior to 1964, this was the first sight that greeted passengers on their arrival in New York. Standing on Liberty Island in the Harbor, the statue was a gift to the City of New York from the people of France in 1886, symbolising the struggle for freedom; the Torch of Freedom rises 305 ft above the Bay.

The Statue of Liberty was the tallest structure in New York in 1886 but today it is dwarfed by the skyline that now greets you on the other side of the ship!
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The 110-storey Twin Towers of The World Trade Centre have dominated the skyline of Lower Manhatten since completion in 1972.

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Sherman Statue
Saint-Gaudens 1916
Grand Army Plaza
Carriage-rides in the Park
The UN Building The Peace Window
by Marc Chagall 1964
John feeds the squirrels

Our Cunard holiday package included a "free" sightseeing tour & lunch, cleverly keeping us out of their way on a busy turn-around day in New York; for us it proved a pleasant and relaxing morning.

However, the "highspot" of the day was to be our venue for lunch, on the 107th floor of The World Trade Centre.

(right) The Winter Garden Entrance Lobby of The World Financial Centre and
(below) The view from the 107th Floor of the North Tower of The World Trade Centre
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We were not actually in the main formal restaurant but in The Club, which was adjacent and a little less formal; not surprisingly, our lunch was somewhat overshadowed by the spectacular view!

Show Picture Full Size 9/11 and the Windows on the World Restaurant
At 8.46am on 11th September 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 plowed into the North Tower just 10 floors below these windows. At the time, there were 73 staff and 92 guests enjoying breakfast in the Restaurant, all of whom perished in the ensuing conflagration, or in the horrifying collapse of the Tower 102 minutes later.

Show Picture Full Size Battery Park on the 4th of July!
Never having done it before, I had made up my mind I wanted to do the trip out to Liberty Island, so after lunch, much to their concern, I left John & Andrew & the tour group at the World Trade Centre and set-off on my own. Trouble was, just about everyone else in New York had the same idea today!

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A packed
Circle Line Ferry
Stars & Stripes Forever! The Statue of Liberty
on Liberty Island
Lady Liberty
(305 ft high)
The famous
Staten Island Ferry

Liberty Enlightening the World (The Statue of Liberty 1886)
The statue itself is 151 ft (46m) high but with its pedestal and plinth, the torch rises to 305 ft (93m). Designed by the french sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi it is made of copper and hangs on a steel frame designed by Gustave Eiffel.
Read more about the Statue of Liberty at www.nps.gov/stli >>
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to wait in the queue to climb the 354 steps to the crown today, so it was back with the crowds on the ferry to Battery Park.
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Show Picture Full Size Back to QE2 & Departure for Bermuda!
Catching a yellow cab driven by an incomprehensible taxi-driver who drove like a maniac, I returned to QE2 just in time for our departure for Bermuda, much to the relief of John & Andrew!
Having enjoyed glorious weather all day, our departure was once again set against the majestic skyline of Manhatten. (left & right) Ship's photos Show Picture Full Size

Independence Dinner Menu Cover For the 5-night cruise to Bermuda, there was now a new group of passengers aboard and although we had kept our table in the Columbia Restaurant (see Photo >>) we had a new waiter Simon, freshly promoted from the Mauretania Restaurant. That evening, we sat down to a special Independence Dinner menu. Open the Indepedence Dinner Menu >>

Saturday 6th - Sunday 7th July
King's Wharf, Bermuda
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Show Picture Full Size QE2 was one of the largest ships to have visited Bermuda and we expected to have to anchor and use tenders to go ashore but in the event, the way was cleared for QE2 to dock alongside at the brand new Kings Wharf Terminal on Ireland Island at the west end of Bermuda. See Map >>
(left & right) QE2 docks at the new Kings Wharf Terminal
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Show Picture Full Size Dockyard, Ireland Island
Built largely by convicts in the 1820's, this was the Royal Navy's base in the western Atlantic for almost 150 years until its closure in 1951 and its later development as a maritime museum and tourist centre. The addition of the new Kings Wharf now enables the handling of today's larger cruise ships.

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Glass-bottomed Boat Andrew Luxury Homes
on Point Shares
Colourful Front Street

This being our 2nd visit to Bermuda, this time we took one of the ship's organised trips in a glass-bottomed boat to see down onto one of the many wrecks on the reefs surrounding Bermuda. After lunch, we took the free Ferry across the harbour into Hamilton, where we bought local bus tickets for some sightseeing of our own. A hot & humid day, we were dog-tired by 10.15pm and turned in!

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Lime-washed roofs
(near Flatts Village)
A Traditional Colonial House The Botanical Gardens Camden House
Official Residence of The Premier of Bermuda

Our second day, and we were off for more sightseeing on our own on the buses, visiting the Botanical Gardens and the adjacent Camden House, the official residence of the Premier of Bermuda, although today hardly ever used except on special occasions. It's open for guided tours on Tuesdays and Fridays but today, we had to be content with seeing it from the outside.

But you can't visit Bermuda in July and not go in the sea, so in the afternoon, it was to be a repeat performance of our first adventure here in 1989 when we went helmet-diving. More "hands-on" than the glass-bottomed boat, it's a safe but exciting alternative to snorkelling or scuba-diving. (see below)

I had been trying since yesterday to contact Greg Hartley's Diving Centre because we wanted to have another go at his Underwater Helmet Dive again; we had tried this in 1989 but the water had been chilly and we had been rather nervous the first time. Now we knew what to expect, we figured we would enjoy it more - and we were right! We finally arranged to be picked-up by his boat after lunch at the Village Inn, about 2 miles down the road in Somerset Village.

Show Picture Full Size Greg Hartley's Underwater Helmet Dive - Brilliant!
This time the water was much warmer and there was no need for wet-suits, as we stepped down the ladder off the back of the boat to the sandy bottom. (See Additional Picture >>) Given a crash-course in sub-tropical
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Show Picture Full Size fish identification, we were shown living as well as dead coral and enjoyed the whole experience much better than the first time. In a well-rehearsed routine, we fed the fish, had our photos taken and I was even persuaded to stroke a forbidding Moray Eel (ugh!).
Fearing we might miss the bus, we were back at the Village Inn at 5pm and lucky the bus was late; at 5.30pm, they began raising the gangways! Show Picture Full Size
Departure for New York
QE2 sailed at 6pm amidst the customary hullabaloo of ships' whistles. Having a draft of over 32ft, QE2 then following the rather circuitous and now seldom-used "North Channel" for deep-draft ships, before finally heading for New York. See Map >>
Show Menu Cover Full Size Another Farewell Dinner! << open Menu left
To be honest, we were rather relieved to be saying goodbye to the 5-night passengers; some of them had been a bit of a noisy lot in the Dining Room!
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Monday 8th July
A Day at Sea
See more Photos of the ship's interior at the QE2 Ship Gallery >>

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Sports Deck
& the new funnel
Boat Deck
a cluttered Promenade
View aft
from the Bridge Promenade
Bridge Promenade
the Port Bridge Wing

Tuesday 9th July
back in New York, USA
Show Map New York Map >> Show Map

Show Picture Full Size The return to New York was more subdued on board, probably because many of the passengers were packing!

But after a beautiful day and calm seas, we returned to New York and to a stunningly clear dawn sky that promised another glorious day.
(left) Dawn Arrival & (right) The World Trade & Financial Centres
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Me & QE2 Park Avenue Chrysler Building
Lexington Ave
A Typical
Hot-Dog Stand
Central Park

To keep us occupied and out of the way during another busy turn-around day, our Cunard package incuded another free sightseeing tour and lunch. This time, the venue for lunch would be the chic and fashionable Tavern of the Green on the edge of Central Park.

Show Picture Full Size The Tavern on The Green, Central Park
Originally the sheepfold of the adjoining meadow, the building was converted in 1934 and soon became a popular night-spot. It lost favour over the years, however, and closed in 1974 but with a renovation costing an unheard-of $10m, it re-opened in 1976 and has become the highest-earning private restaurant in the United States, with over 500,000 customers a year. Described as "chic" and "moderately expensive", it has featured in numerous movies.

(left) Just across the road, 55 Central Park West is the apartment building used in the 1984 film "Ghostbusters"

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The Tavern on The Green, Central Park
The "in" place to eat and be seen in New York!
Central Park, The Sheep Meadow
(no sheep but plenty of sunbathers!)

Our sightseeing tour, such as it was, was fairly short and sweet because we had to be back aboard the ship by 2.30pm. But disembarking 1,800 passengers, their luggage, making-up all the cabins, refuelling & provisioning and embarking another 1,800 passengers, all in 6 hours was no mean feat!

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QE2 Looms Large Pulling out of the berth A Moran Tug The "Intrepid" Air/Sea Museum
& the Empire State Building

Show Picture Full Size QE2 Departs for Southampton
We sailed at 3pm. However, having only this morning put the clocks back an hour, they were now advanced 2 hours and it was suddenly 5pm already!

Departing New York: passing Battery Park and the World Financial Centre, with the Twin Towers
of the World Trade Centre in the background (Photo sold on board QE2)

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The 4,260ft span of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge; because of the Earth's curvature, the towers are 4" further apart at the top!

Wednesday 10th - Saturday 13th July
Across the Atlantic - 4 Days at Sea
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Taking an easterly course further south of our westerly voyage, on Thursday morning we passed over the location of the wreck of the Titanic, discovered by Dr Robert Ballard and his team in 1985.

Show Menu Cover Full Size Back at our now-familiar table in the Columbia Restaurant (see Photo >>) we had another change of waiters; now we had Robert & Helle and they treated us like royalty! They even gave Andrew a Birthday Cake, though it wasn't his Birthday!
Souvenir Menus: Welcome Dinner Menu >> , French Dinner Menu >> & Farewell Dinner Menu >>
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The atmosphere aboard QE2, once we were back on the Atlantic, was so noticeably different. The weather for a start was now suddenly overcast, foggy and damp. But the pace of life on board was also now less hectic and even the passengers seem to be quieter and better-behaved!

There was the usual round of cocktail parties to go to, though regrettably not another one inviting us to the Captain's Quarters(!); there were talks and lectures, movies in the wonderful on-board cinema and even a Mozart piano recital, given by Francis Heilbut.

Show Picture Full Size Ship's mileage sweepstake
One of the traditions at sea is the taking of bets on the mileage covered from noon one day to the next. I tried in vain to calculate it and these were the results:-

Day 1 - I calculated the mileage at 491 n miles - actual mileage covered 488 n miles (3 out!)
Day 2 - I calculated the mileage at 723 n miles - actual mileage covered 721 n miles (2 out!)
Day 3 - I calculated the mileage at 689 n miles - actual mileage covered 690 n miles (1 out!)
Day 4 - I calculated the mileage at 684 n miles - actual mileage covered 682 n miles (blast!)

Sunday 14th July
Arrival in Southampton
At 10am, the clocks were put forward 2 hours again, so it suddenly became midday! We made our way into a grey Southampton and were alongside by 12.30pm, disembarked by 1.15pm. Another wonderful cruise was over.
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See Detailed Mileage Log for this cruise >>

Cruise Mileage: 7,536 nautical miles
Total Mileage to date: 31,652 n miles

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