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

07 January, 2012

Interactive Winter Crossing - January 7, 2008

During the evening, both ships sailed into increasingly higher seas and our cabin literally came alive.  The sounds of the ship flexing and the joinery gently flexing were what one would have expected on a wooden sailing ship.  QE2 was specifically designed for the North Atlantic Crossing, accomplished at her service speed of 28.5 knots, in all forms of weather conditions.  With all her cabins having experienced the grueling North Atlantic stresses imposed over 40 years, she's earned the right to be a bit creaky!  I have to admit, the cacophony in the cabin took some getting used to before I fell asleep.  Maybe it was just me listening and enthralled with all her sounds, as if she was actually living and breathing.  If you listen carefully, you can hear the cabin sounds in the opening of today's video.

Looking out our cabin porthole as I awoke, Queen Victoria was nowhere in sight.  In fact, she had moved off to port side of QE2 in the early morning and would stay alongside us for most of the day (trying to keep up with all of her engines running, while QE2 was running on half of her available power.

These pictures do not convey the true sea conditions.  The swells were decent sized (25' perhaps?) and both ships put on quite a show for each other.  I ventured into the Computer Center located up forward to establish my internet access account for WiFi connectivity.  With all the pitching, being in a small room, and staring at a screen for too long, it all started to get to me (I can't read in a car), and I had to get some air on Boat Deck.  Within a few minutes all was much better.  Family and friends think I was crazy to wish for rough seas, but this was exactly what I wanted to experience; QE2 in her element, doing what she was designed to do.  The only thing missing was her speed.  She was "loafing" along at 21-22 knots so that Queen Victoria could keep up.

Queen Victoria showed off her bulbous bow on numerous occasions throughout the day!  From the above picture it, I am not so sure I would want to be in one of those forward balcony cabins, precariously close to the bow during one of her limited crossings.  Now, Queen Victoria was designed as a cruise ship and NOT an ocean liner, but she will do limited crossings.  We were witnessing her first and she was definitely getting a workout.

I had timed it perfectly, being on deck for the noontime whistle test, hearing from afar the similar test taking place on board Queen Victoria.  Later in the afternoon, I would attend the Cunard Heritage Tour, hosted by Cunard's ever entertaining Thomas Quinones.  I filmed a portion of the tour, in which Thomas guides passengers through the ship, stopping at all the various historical artifacts throughout.  Some might say he's a bit over the top in his enthusiasm, but I found it all quite entertaining.  His love of the ship was abundantly clear.  Here's the video of a portion of the tour that I captured.

To cap off the evening, we attended the Captain's Cocktail Party, not wanting to miss the opportunity to meet Captain McNaught for another photograph opportunity from the ship's photographer.  This party was for the passengers dining in the Mauritania Restaurant.  Once all that attended had made their way through the receiving line for the requisite photo and handshake with the Captain, we were treated to crew introductions, followed by comments from the Captain himself.  Here's the video of Captain McNaught's pithy and witty comments, which perfectly illustrate why he is so beloved by QE2's fans.

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