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

12 January, 2012

Interactive Winter Crossing - January 10, 2008

(note: check back over time as I add more information to these posts, such as additional video, menus, etc.)

7:30AM and I'm on deck, virtually alone and it's still somewhat dark.  Queen Victoria is back off to our starboard side today.
Seas have calmed down and QE2 appears to be going ever so slow; less than 20 knots according to the stats on the cabin TV.  Just look at the minimal wake.  It's also light enough out to make out the brown exhaust streak in the sky from her MAN diesels.  Queen Victoria's exhaust is less apparent, perhaps due to newer equipment fitted to comply with the ever tightening emissions regulations.

Surprise, surprise, the Funnel Bar was deserted.

At this point, with no one around, I was able to examine the aluminum superstructure and document the numerous patches at stress points, correcting cracking of the aluminum due to all her years on the Atlantic.  I view them as battle scars.  At forty years old, this is quite acceptable, but in reality, the ship started experiencing these stress cracks shortly after she was put into service.  The second patch below had a patch on top of a previous patch.  Wow!  I've read that there are crew members specifically assigned to repair this while at sea.  The amount of paint on the plating is also apparent around the patch, where the paint was removed to bare aluminum for the rewelding and in the instance below, additional fasteners.

Pool was drained and netted.  Hot tubs filled, but no takers yet......

The real reason I got up early was to see if they would do anything special while we neared the location of the sinking of Titanic.  I could be wrong, but I think I caught the tail end of the wreath ceremony.  Something special was clearly going on.

Thomas was there among other crew and was that some sort of wreath on the table?  Is the window open to toss the wreath overboard?

With the decks empty, I got a chance to photograph the "bubble" in the teak deck that we had kept walking over each time we took a stroll on deck.  The teak planks in these areas had become separated from the steel plates and the deck bulged in this area, creating a mild tripping hazard that I was a bit surprised that Cunard had not addressed or had roped off.  (note: this would be corrected after the completion of the World Cruise during QE2's "wet dock" at Southampton in April)

With the skies brightening, it was time to head back in and get ready for a full breakfast in the Caronia Restaurant, looking forward to orange marmalade on toast, served in those very cool silver toast racks.  If they had sold them on board, I would have definitely bought one.  (hint, hint Cunard, make this so!)

Thankfully, today turned out to be a beautifully sunny, but cold day in the North Atlantic, perfect for exterior photographs of QE2 and Queen Victoria.  Moments like this, Queen Victoria is looking sharp, although still alot like a floating block of apartment flats with all those balconies.

All the photographers were out on deck with the perfect lighting conditions.  After talking to this guy about his camera, I definitely had big zoom lens camera envy!  I think I did pretty good with what I brought for the Sony Minicam has a decent lens, as long as there was decent light. 

Walking on deck, I was reminded of Queen Mary, having seen the scenes shot onboard for the movie Poseidon Adventure, which by the way, was instrumental in starting my facination with ocean liners in my early years.

 Another shot that reminds me of that scene in Titanic where Jack sees Rose from the deck below, looking off into the distance.  Everywhere you walk, the iconic funnel dominates the skyline!

Passengers were posing all day with the new Queen in the background.

A quick pop down to 3 Deck and our cabin, number 3129.  Here's the view forward, showing the original wood panelling.  Our cabin was considered a first class cabin back in the days when QE2 was a two class ship.

On my way back up to deck, I decided to stop by the various restaurants to photograph them empty.  Mauritania Restaurant, where we dined in 2000 is pictured here.  (Iinterestingly, I would dine here again in September in one of the tables on the left).

Another view in the A Stairway at the top landing, with the Britannia figurehead on the right and illustrating the metal balustrade extensions.

Back on Boat Deck in time for a spectacular sunset to end the day.

Back inside again, I spotted carpet repairs going on.  QE2 would be retired in November, yet Cunard was going to have her go out looking good, at least from the passengers perspective.  This would be in sharp contrast to the sad events of the retirement of QE2's namesake, which was only repainted on the side of the ship the Queen would see before the original Lizzie left Southampton for the final time in the early 70's.

Looking all the way down to 5 Deck from the top of A Stair.

From 5 Deck, looking upward.  This stairway, used daily in lieu of the lifts, helped the waistline from expanding while on board!

Dinner in Caronia was topped off with an embarrassing gaggle of singing wait staff and a very tasty cake in a belated celebration of my birthday, ending another spectacular day on board QE2.  This was what I expected a crossing on QE2 to be exactly.  The ship was truly living up to all the hype.  Transatlantic Crossings are a unique experience and Cunard has kept the the tradition alive all these years with QE2.  "The only way to cross!"

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