The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

18 October, 2009

QE2 on the Clyde

I posted my first ever YouTube video of this special day.  The video is a slideshow of my photos of our traversing of the Firth of  Clyde and or arrival at Greenock.

Regarding the music to the posted video; when we were in Edinburgh before the cruise, I heard this track playing in one of the gift shops as I was spending a significant amount of money for gifts for family at home.  I asked the cashier who was the artist and he pointed out that the CD was the featured CD for sale that day.  It was "Parallel Tracks" by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.  The CD was added to our purchase and remained in our bags until I unpacked at home. 

"Parallel Tracks" is one of my favorite CD's of modern Scottish music.  Not only are the musicians actual military personel, the are quite talented with their modern interpretations of traditional Scots tunes, featuring the bagpipes.  The track that got my attention was "Going Home", which vaguely sounded familiar, as it should have.  This song was originally written and performed by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame and was part of the soundtrack he did for the cult movie "Local Hero".   I had seen the movie many years ago and vaguely remembered that it was a very enjoyable movie about a oil executive from the states who ends up in Scotland sent to buy up the entire town, but has to deal with the locals.  A Google search interestingly revealed that the movie was filmed in Pennan, on the Aberdeenshire coast just above my grandfather's hometown of Peterhead.  In fact, we saw actual oil refineries of Fergus off in the distance.  I had no idea the track I heard in the store was called "Going Home."  What a coincidence.  This song as well as the "Time to Say Goodbye" song that was often heard onboard would become the theme songs for this trip.  Every time I hear them, they take me right back to our epic trip.

17 October, 2009

The Final Time - October 16, 2008

Despite leaving early and carving up the road, as I turned down the Henry Hudson Parkway, I could see the iconic funnel all lit up in the distance.  My heart dropped since I missed her final early morning arrival to the Manhattan pier.  Captain McNaught got her tied up at the pier a bit early, probably to guarantee a timely departure this afternoon.  With all the security measures in place, I could not park on the upper deck as I had done the past two times I had visited the pier to see the ship.  I ended up in a parking area across the street, which would later prove costly.

After watching the ship's passengers disembark through the terminal, many of whom I had seen either on my one and only January 2008 crossing or on the Farewell to the UK trip, Myles finally appeared carrying the extremely heavy bag.  After a brief chat with Matthew (kindlychap), we decided to take the subway down and ditch the bag in my car.  The car, unfortunately by now had been put up in a rack and I had to "tip" the attendant twenty bucks to get the car down and allow me to add the heavy bag that Myles walked off the ship for me. For that I will be eternally grateful since I now have a small assortment of tableware that we use occasionally for special occasions. In addition, Myles brought me my QE2 life ring which would have been very difficult to take on the plane home.

For me, this would be my very first subway adventure, ever, in New York, but I did not tell Myles that at the time.  We headed towards a subway station for a ride downtown to the South Street Seaport for a gathering of QE2 loyalists at the Sequoia Restaurant on the water, with a view of Queen Mary 2 in the distance.  As we emerged from the subway, we were basically at Ground Zero, which was a bit eery.  Both Myles and I had never seen the site and we managed to get a glimpse into the vast hole of the twin towers and saw the new construction beginning.

The Sequoia group meeting was nice, meeting up with Margaret and Frank from our UK trip, seeing Doug Newman and his dad from the January 2008 Crossing, and finally meeting Babette, from fame and the most knowledgeable Cunard travel agent around. (I have since used her to secure cabins on the maiden QE3 tandem January Crossing with Queen Victoria in 2011)  The QE2 Memories book was carried by Myles for others to sign who were not going back on the final crossing.  Ryan and I had already signed it onboard.  I also met Margaret and Frank's daughter Alex and her husband James, who had their son with them.  They were all heading home on Queen Mary 2 for the best view of QE2's final crossing.  On an interestly side note, Alex and james had flown over a few days early and drove to Essex to take the steam train one day and visited Mystic Seaport the next day.  They were amazed home nice the area and the Connecticut River was and were shocked to hear just how close they were to my house in Haddam during the steam train ride.

Time absolutely flew by with spirited chat about various Cunard ships and QE'2 eventual fate in Dubai.  In what appeared to be short order, Myles and I had to head off back to the pier.  For Myles, he was returning home on QE2 and for me, I was going to see the final departure from a World Ship Society sponsored harbor cruise.  On this cruise, I would meet up with QE2 fellow passenger and friend Ed, who also introduced me to a few other passengers who I was familiar with from my postings on  On this cruise, would be writer and ocean liner enthusiast Ted Scull, who did a bit of narration on this cruise for us QE2 nutters, and also writer and ocean liner enthusiast Bill Miller, who was on our UK trip.  Both held lextures onboard QE2 and I attended them all and bought their books.  HINT...I see me doing the lexture/book thing in my future.  Bill Miller recognized me from our UK trip and we chatted a bit as we all saw QE2 sail off into the distance. 

Simply stunning, with every passenger on deck for the historic sailaway and final farewell to New York.

The sun tried to come out as she backed out of the pier and was swung around with the Moran tugs, which which have assisted her into the Manhattan and Red Hook piers so many times over the years. Magnificant...stunning...memorable...historic...these words were repeated often as we viewed the ship brilliantly all lit up.  I have to wonder if the cabin stewards had orders to open every deadlight and turn on lights in every cabin.  The ship was ablaze in lights.  I will never forget how magnificant she looked.  Theer was also a sense of pride that she was after all the finest exaple of shipbuilding on the Clyde, proudly built in my ancestrial home of Scotland.

Most of us on the ferry were up top in the open air, soaking it all in with all our senses, despite it being downright chilly.  Sitting next to Bill Miller and listening him speak, I could almost here a chapter being written for an upcoming book on QE2. Unfortunately, it was all over so quickly. Surprisingly there were no fireworks, but there was a nice fireboat display.  Finally there was the the gut wrenching horn salute as she passed the Queen Mary 2 to lead the way out of the harbor for the final time.

Goodbye QE2.  She left New York harbor at the top of her game.  Not bad for a 40 year old ship with hard Atlantic service.  As Captain McNaught told us numerous times, the world will never see the likes of her ever again.  She is the last of her breed.  Three cheers for QE2!

11 October, 2009

Tyfon Horn Updates

Here is additional information on the big Tyfon horn located in the foremast of QE2:

More info on the MKT 230/75...It was last offered in 1985, it is 6' long, 30" bell opening, close to 200lbs, it is a 4 piece horn brass head, brass neck, aluminum body,and glass fiber reinforced polyester bell/opening. I belive it was on one of the Cunard ships along with an MA18/75, but have no confirmation on that.

The above information was confirmd on the Horn and Whistle Board, and later confirmed the ship in question was our beloved QE2.

Longing for the day to hear QE2's voice once again......

New York - October 10, 2009

Picture perfect weather unfolded shortly as we arrived at the Circle Line Pier today for a family day trip to New York City.  It has now been a full year since Ryan and I stepped off the QE2 for the final time.  You could say I am having a bout of cruising withdrawl, and in particular, QE2 withdrawl symptoms.  Today would help alleviate that, but would also be somewhat bittersweet since today would bring back memories of my last visit to see QE2 off for the final time.

After a somewhat late departure from the house, compounded with holiday traffic, we arrived at the pier around 1:45pm.  Prior to floating this trip to the family, I had checked the New York Cruise ship schedule and was pleased to see there would be four ships in port today.  The Carribean Princess, of the design I refer to as the "shopping cart", would fortunately be in Red Hook, while we would be treated to a full range of ships at the Manhattan terminal.  The NCL Jewel and the Carnival Triumph, which is a slightly stretched version of the Costa Magica that we have sailed on twice, were in port, but the ship that I wanted to see was the Saga Ruby. 

Standing out amongst the modern day cruise ship designs, the Saga Ruby is a welcome and familiar sight to ocean liner enthusiasts and QE2 fans.  In fact, she was often referred to as a miniature QE2 when sailing under the Cunard flag as the Caronia.  She began her career as the Vistafjord operated by the Norwegian American Lines, built by Swan Hunter in the UK in 1973.  She was sold along with her somewhat sistership, the Sagafjord, in 1983 and had her funnel painted traditional Cunard colors, but kept her original grey hull.  In 1999, after the purchase of Cunard by Carnival, the ships of the various fleets were reorganized and the Vistafjord was positioned along with QE2 as a premium ship.  After an extensive refit, which included repainting the ship's hull in traditional Cunard color, she reimerged as the Caronia, the third such ship to bear the name in Cunard history.

In 2004, Caronia would be sold to Saga Cruises, who were operating the Sagafjord, now named the Saga Rose, painted a sharp dark blue with a yellow funnel color.  Her new name would be the Saga Ruby and she went under another refit and emerged with the similar color scheme as her sister ship the Saga Rose, as well as revamped interiors.  With all the refits over time, the rumors are that the Ruby will be SOLAS compliant after 2010, unlike the Rose or QE2.  It is my hope to one day sail on the Ruby, when I attain the age limit of 50.  Hopefully she'll still be around.  In fact, a dream of many would have Saga acquiring QE2 and returning her to sea with her stablemate the old Caronia. 

Looking more carefully at the photos of the Ruby at the pier, one can see some hull damage at the stem of the bow.  I noticed the scuff on the bow when photographing her, but not until I zoomed in did the real damage become apparent.  It looks like there has been either contact with a pier or another ship.  I question the seaworthiness of the hull and whether repairs will be made before she sails back home.

Upate:  The Ruby spent two days across the Hudson RIver in Bayonne, New Jersey to have her bow damage repaired before setting off across the Atlantic.

Our two hour Circle Line harbor cruise took us down the Hudson, past the Statue of Liberty, back up the East River (?) up to the United Nations Building and then back to Pier 86.  We got a glimpse of the "shopping cart" in Red Hook, which our tour guide referred to as QE2, not once but twice.  Ryan corrected him, telling him that QE2 was in Dubai at the moment.  We're not too sure if he appreciated the correction from a ten year old kid.

Coming back up the Hudson, we were treated to the departure of the NCL Jewel and as we docked, the departure of the Triumph.

All in all, it was a great day to be out on the water and to see a few cruise ships and one true LINER, the Ruby.

The classic stern profile of the Saga Ruby and tail fin of the Concorde; icons of British shipbuilding and aeronautical engineering.  One possible future location of QE2 could be right here!  Doesn't take much imagination with this picture to envision this.

Time to Say Goodbye - October 10, 2008

Today, we stepped off QE2 for the last time in her home port of Southampton.  Our magical 10 day Farewell to the UK voyage was over. For Ryan, this would be the last time he would see her.  For me, I would have one last time in New York in a weeks time to bid her a final farewell in New York City.

Since we were being picked up by our wonderful UK hosts and fellow QE2 tablemates Roger and Wendy, we opted for the early self disembarkation, even skipping breakfast onboard.  Our luggage load was reduced by one small, but extremely heavy bag that Myles had so gratiously offered to take across the Atlantic for me. He would hand over to me at the terminal in Manhattan in a weeks time when we were scheduled to meet to go to the Sequoia restaurant at the Seaport for a gathering of QE2 loyalists before some of us bid her farewell forever.  Myles was taking the historic final crossing home.  Since he offered, we also loaded him up with a QE2 replica life ring which obviously would have been an issue on the plane.

Exiting the ship was surprisingly quick.  There were few passengers up at this hour and there was no lines in the lobby to exit the ship.  We milled about the lobby for a minute and then proceeded down the gangplank, having our cards swiped for the last time.  Ryan commented that his red Cunard card would be upgraded to the gold color now.  His red badge of rookie QE2 passenger was history! 

In hindsight, it probably was for the better we left this way since I did not have too much time to dwell on the significance of today, but Ryan clearly did.  At this point, it is very clear that Ryan "got it", what it was like to be on the QE2, the greatest ship in the world.

09 October, 2009

New York Harbor

QE2 and QV tied up at Piers 88 and 92 in Manhattan, January 2008

Depending on the weather, we may venture into New York City tomorrow to take a harbor cruise, visit the Air/Sea museum, and perhaps go to the Empire State Building.  This also would give the opportunity to see the Saga Ruby for a final time.

English Channel - October 9, 2008

A QE2 Crossing, Explained

Queen Victoria on her maiden transatlantic crossing, January 2008, crossing in tandem with a true ocean liner, QE2

This video sums it up perfectly.  Although the video is several years old, the essence of the classic QE2 crossing are still the same.

The bonus in the video is the return flight on another British icon, the Concord, first flown the same year QE2 was launched.

Newcastle - October 8, 2009

This morning we slept in a bit and did not get out on deck for our arrival to Newcastle on the Tyne, back in the UK.  All the trip hustle and bustle compounded with very late nights spent playing chess or checkers with Ryan and our January Crossing friend Ed, who was also onboard for this historic cruise caught up with us.  We have made it to the midnight buffet every night and enjoyed the company of our new friend Myles,as well as Ed.  These late nights were truly magical and often we were the only ones left in the Lido when we finally broke for our cabins.

Today, we are scheduled for another Cunard shore excursion.  Here we go again to experience yet another castle in the UK with an approximate hour motor coach ride to Alnwick Castle.  When picking out our shore excursions the first night onboard, I have to admit I did not do too much research on Newcastle and picked this excursion just to see another castle.  Little did I know how famous this castle was, how fabulous the weather would end up to be, and just how much fun we would have on this excursion.

After breakfast, I took a tour around the ship, photographing the exteriors of the ship in picture perfect sunlight.  Sadly, we were once againg confronted the the evidence of yet another shipbuilding yard being leveled and the waterfront redeveloped. 

As we first saw in Belfast with the Harland and Wolff yard, and again at the John Brown yard in Clydebank, we saw the remnants of the once great shipbuilding on the Tyne, who's yards built the famous Cunarder Mauretania.

Our tour was to leave mid morning and we made our way to the theatre once again to go through the familiar drill of waiting to hear our excursion number to be called.  Once again, we had a very "posh" motorcoach, using a Brit term.  Our tourguide narrated along the way, prepping us for our visit.  At this time, we found out that this castle is privately owned and occupied.  It is one of the rare castles that is owner owned, occupied, and open to the public.  In fact, they rent out the castle for films and other events to help pay for the massive upkeep required.  Alnwick Castle, pronounce "Ann-ick", is located in Northumberland.and was used in the filming of several of the Harry Potter films.

The castle was breathtaking, and the surrounding english countryside was right out of a typical 19th century painting.  To add a bit of "Potter" to today's visit, there were many black crows milling about the castle.  Bill Miller, noted Ocean Liner enthusiast, writer, and ship's lexturer, joined us for this excursion.  While we were grabbing an ice cream and a coke towards the end of our allotted time, we briefly spoke about just how special this final farewell to the UK cruise has been and that it will be a trip that we will cherish for a lifetime.  Prophetic words from Mr. Miller since we were in store for a little treat on the pier when we returned to the ship.

After the motorcoach dropped up off at the pier, we milled about, getting some fantastic photos of the ship tied up at the pier.  There was a tent set up for evening festivities with the local press since this would be QE2's final call at Newcastle.  We then saw Thomas coming toward us, escorting Captain McNaught towards the tent off  slightly to our left.  We continued taking pictures and then I met up with a couple that had joined us earlier on the Cabin Cavalcade and had ventured off  to the local hotel that was known for having millwork from Titanic's sistership, the Olympic, installed as part of the interior.  After our chat, I noticed the Captain was standing alone at the entrance to the tent.  Very unlike me, I decided this was our time to go meet the captain and see if I could get a photo of Ryan and him.  Not only did the Captain oblidge, after we gratiously asked if we could bother him with a photo, he began quite a little chat with Ryan that we will never forget.
Ryan asked him what he was going to do after November and Captain McNaught mentioned the Queen Victoria.  Ryan told him that he was very sad to see her go to Dubai and that this would be his only time spent on the ship.  Captain McNaught made his somewhat familiar speech about her being time to go and that as he put it, "there will never be the likes of her seen again."  He joked that he would be going from the fastest ship in the Cunard fleet to the slowest, from the oldest ship to the newest, and from the most beautiful ship, but held off completing that thought.  I got it..nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more.  Ryan mentioned that he is thinking of becoming either an architect or a naval architect.  Captain McNaught told the tale of Stephen Payne and the QM2 to a mesmerized Ryan.  The funny thing that Ryan was unaware of was Thomas in the background nerviously passing about and wanting to cut short the conversation.  Clearly, he was the Captain's handler for the event that was going to unfold in the tent, but Captain McNaught was not the least concerned and finished up his chat with Ryan on his own terms.  We ended our time with the captain, wishing him well, knowing full well that our beloved ship is in the hands of a Captain who wholeheartedly is going to have a hard time leaving her for the final time.  We told him we hope to see him in command of another liner someday, the QM2.

Newcastle gave us a decent fireworks show, which stopped briefly and then started up as we neared the breakwater.  Cunard played a completely horrid rendition of "Time to Say Goodbye" on the loudspeakers that must have attracted every dog in the area to the pier.  Later, we would learn that this was actually being performed live by one of the singers onboard.  The taped version would have been far better.  This was the last port of call for us. The next day would be a sea day and an early morning arrival at Southampton.

07 October, 2009

Queensferry - October 7, 2008

Today would be the last time QE2 would ply the waters and enter a port in Scotland.  We anchored off the Forth Bridge in mid morning in overcast and drizzly conditions.  I had scheduled a simple shore excursion " Edinburgh On Your Own" today which would have us taking a Cunard chartered motor coach from the pier below the Forth bridge into Edinburgh, dropping us off at Charlotte Square for the good part of the day, letting us explore and shop in Edinburgh, then returning us back to the pier in the afternoon.

It was a good thing that we had already visited the new Parliment Building and the beginining of our epic trip to the UK and gotten excellent photographs in the sun because today turned out to be almost a complete washout. 

Despite the weather, my plan for today was to first visit Edinburgh Castle and then visit the various shops along the main street before heading back to the motor coach and then the ship.  We can prepared with our mini umbrellas that tucked into my travel bag when not in use.  With umbrellas furled and us fighting a breeze that threatened to bend them beyond repair at every gust, we headed for the castle.  It wasn't raining partiularily hard, but it was a definite nuisance to using the camera without getting rain on the lense.

Edinburgh Castle, which would be our second castle of the UK visited so far, is a sprawling assembly of buildings, built throughout the history of Edinburgh, on top of a plateau overlooking the city center.  You could easily spend a complete day here visiting all aspects of the castle.  We only had several hours in less that perfect conditions to view it all.  Compounding this, today Ryan was completely drained and the pace of the entire vacation and lack of sleep finally caught up to him.  Not getting to bed til after 2:00AM probably has alot to do with his lack of energy today as well. 

For lunch, we grabbed a bite to eat at the gift shop, where there was a small cafeteria style restaurant with views overlooking Edinburgh Center. 

Heading back to the bus drop off, we stopped at a few shops that we had previously checked out on the way up to the castle. 

More later.......

06 October, 2009

Isle of Skye - October 6, 2008

Today, we awoke with the Isle of Skye off to the starboard and out of our porthole.  I was not sure of our position as we dined in Mauritania.  We had pancakes with American bacon and I followed that up with a second course of Scottish Kippers in honor of us passing the ancestrial home of the MacLeods.  I knew they were going to be a treat since I could smell them coming as they came up the dumbwaiter next to our table.  They were VERY strong in both smoked and fish flavor.  Our tablemates commented that I needed to eat them with some slabs of butter, which I added and that alone made the dish taste better.  I finished the plate, but that dish would stick with me the rest of the day.  I just could not get rid of the taste despite repeated brushing. 

Isle of Skye was stunningly beautiful, even at the distance we observed it.  As we passed the area of Skye where Dunvegan would have been seen way off in the distance, the overcast sky opened up a bit and the sun illuminated the island.  Off to the port, the Isle of Lewis loomed out of the fog, another ancestrial home of the MacLeod's.  We would later pass Ullapool, where Murdoch McLeod, my great great grandfather originally hailed from prior to apparently making the trek to the north coast in search of work.

Our course today would take us to the tip of Scotland, past the Orkney Islands and back down the North Sea side of Scotland.  After dinner, we passed by Peterhead.  I was monitoring the ship's position in our cabin and went up to the Boat Deck to see what I could see at the appropriate time.  Off to starboard, you could see the lights of both Peterhead and the oil processing facilities farther north.  Boddam light was clearly visible and helped orient me to where we were.  Today was quite a day for the MacLeods, seeing our all of our Ancestrial homeland via water via the greatest ship in the world built by proud Scots.

Greenock - October 5, 2008

03 October, 2009

Liverpool - October 3, 2008

Isle of Man - October 3, 2008

Early this morning, QE2 made a first ever pass by Douglas Bay on the Isle of Man.  Ryan did not make it up for this event, despite my sales pitch that this was THE island that the author of the Thomas the Tank Engine based his stories on.  It was also very cold with the headwind.  QE2 slowed dramatically at the harbor and then followed the coastline for a bit, then swung around and headed for Liverpool.  We were treated to a spectacular sunrise as a reward for getting up so early and braving the cold.

02 October, 2009

Cobh, Ireland - October 2, 2008

Today, we were scheduled to visit Blarney Castle via motor coach.  After breakfast in Mauretania Restaurant, we met down in the theater for our tour to be called.  I forgot the tickets and had to make a mad dash back down to the room and then back upstairs to find ourselves the last people in line. Great way to burn off some of that nice breakfast.

The bus was parked right on the pier.  Ryan grabbed an outside seat on the bus and there was a snail on the window next to him!  Our tour took us through Cork and then out to the countryside to Blarney Castle.  The weather was perfect and the line to kiss the Blarney Stone was not too long.  I kissed it, but the jury is still out whether it has brought any good luck.  This castle was the first of several we were to visit on this trip
Once we returned to the ship in the afternoon we went to the Lido for a bite to eat.  We saw Anke, our waitress we had in Caronia Restaurant on our January Crossing and I introduced her to Ryan.  She was sad to be leaving the ship in November and did not know where she would be going next.

 Next, we ended up back off the ship for a hike up to the Catholic Cathedral on the hill, which had sounded the bells in the tower as QE2 arrived in the harbor yesterday.  On the pier, a local children's pipe band had assembled and was about to begin.  Before taking the walk up the steep hill to the cathedral, we spent some time in the gift shop, which was the former train station.  This was the stop for so many Irish immigrants, probably including some from our family, and there was geneology services located in the station, which we did not have time to look into.  There is also a bronze statue of the first Irish immigrant to the USA on the pier.  There is a corresponding statue on Ellis Island in New York. We picked up a few souveniers, including a "Kelly" doll for Kelly.  Interestingly, the shop took American dollars so we paid with George Washingtons in Ireland.  This port was previously named Queensferry and was tragically the last port of call of Titanic. There were numerous references to Titanic seen trhroughout the pier area.

This was the first of several cathedrals we would visit on this trip and the only Catholic denomination.

We really did not appreciate just how steep the hills were until we made our way through the narrow streets to the Cathedral, which has a spectacular view of the harbor.

On our way back to the ship, we stopped at the Lusitania Memorial and got several dramatic shots of the ship with the iconic funnel towering over the surrounding buildings.  Another interesting feature of Cobh was the trees along the pier that looked like they belonged in a much warmer climate.
Our five deck cabin location was very close to the starboard side door exit to the pier in this port. Ryan suggested I take a picture of him in our porthole from the pier. What looks like lots of paint is layers of paint applied since the ship was supposed to have been stripped bare during the 1999 refit.
We wanted to get our favorite position at the center of the observation deck below the bridge so we showed up a little early before sailaway. The crest, removed from a previously owned Cunard ship under the command of then Captain Warwick, is right in front of Ryan.  This was going to be a spectacular sailaway, with the sun setting as we departed

The tugs finally arrived.  Ryan had thoughtfully brought our UK flags that Cunard furnished in our cabin before the Southampton sailaway with him for the Cobh sailaway.

Sailaway was exciting since the ship had to make a 180 degree spin in the harbor full of small craft.  At times, it appeared we were going to collide with the small craft at the bow as the tugs swung the ship around.  I figured that bow thrusters must have been used in this maneuver, but have since read that due to a seal failure, their use had been minimized.  This issue would have normally been corrected during the April refit, but her last refit was a "wet dock" and this could not be accomplished.  The drydock was skipped basically to allow Cunard to insert a a few farewell cruises, such as this one, into the schedule.

Once 180 degree spin was accomplished, we approached the pier on the portside and gradually gained speed, with a flotilla of small craft in tow, trying to maintain our speed.  People lined the streets and there were several whistle exchanges, echoing off the hillsides. 

We were in our favorite position , on the observation deck forward, below the bridge.  Heading out to sea, with a headwind, it did get quite cold.  Ryan found a new use for the observation area to warm up a bit.  I think we might have gotten a few frowns from several older, stodgy passengers, but I frankly did not care.  We were having the greatest time on the greatest ship of all time!

This would be the final departure of QE2 from Cobh, Ireland.