My QE2 Cruise, August 12-22nd 2008
My Mother and I's 10 night cruise to Lisbon, Alghero, Cannes, Barcelona and Gibraltar. I make no apologies for travelling with my Mother! I enjoyed her company, and she had the same connection with the ship as I did - my father.
The best holiday of my life, by far. I had an absolutely amazing time on board QE2 and it left me with some memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
My complete photo-set is here
My complete photo-set is here
The Best Bits
- Unexpectedly dining in the wonderful, original Princess Grill for 10 nights. One of the very best restaurants in the world. With a seat close by the huge windows, watching the stormy seas, then calm Mediterranean, and watching the sun set over some wonderful food. Meeting Andrew Nelder and getting a sense of history of that room, and the ship.
- Getting up before dawn, going to the bridge, and watching the sun rise over Africa, all while QE2 belted along at over 28 knots.
- Swimming in QE2's salt-water heated pool both while the ship was underway (waves!) and docked in Gibraltar. I can't normally swim, but in the warm salty water I found that I could
- Watching a full lunar eclipse with a famous astronomer to guide us as to what we were seeing.
- Sitting outside the Yacht Club listening to Abba as QE2 cruised along the Med with the moon reflecting off the silky smooth ocean and drinking far too much!
- Having a cold beer in the Chart Room while listening to the pianist playing Billy Joel
- Having a dram in the Chart Room with my Mum while listening to the harpist.
- Falling asleep in a teak steamer chair, on a teak deck, as the ocean passed by at my feet.
- Typing an email in the yacht club, to the sounds of a piano and the distant sound of the ship's foghorn
- Playing shuffleboard with our new friends Alison and Betty at 1am under the moon and the stars.
- Trying (and failing) to sleep as the ship contended with gale force 9 and 10 winds in the Bay of Biscay.
- Going on Thomas Quinone's marvellous tour of the ship while at sea.
- Re-discovering proper, real fresh fruit sorbet where I discovered it the first time!
For completeness, here's some not so great bits.
- The ship vibrates a lot more than it should, both the propellors and the engines. I think the engine's rubber mounts might need replaced after 21 years. At times the entire stern at 1 deck was shaking and rattling terribly. Also at times standing at the funnel bar felt like being a kid sitting on a washing machine
- Some of the passengers didn't "get" QE2 at all, didn't really know what ship it was, and were just there for the sun and the duty free at Gibraltar. The crew did little to raise awareness of the great QE2's final months at sea - in fact they didn't even blow the ship's whistle on two of our departures, and the funnel was never illuminated.
- There is some obvious wear and tear items that could be quickly and easily fixed. Some areas simply needed a quick sanding and repainting, some screws mere missing here and there, the picture frame in our cabin needed replaced, the tread strips on some outdoor steps were loose and/or had been replaced. However you had to go looking for these small problems.