Friday, May 20, 2011
The Blog covers a period of over 4 months - so, to see what led us to this big adventure - start reading at the first post way back on 23 March 2010 - LONG before we ever dreamed that this is what we would do.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
For us, this Blog and the movies will be our memories of our adventure into the future. Does anybody know how long things posted to the Internet will remain?? Forever??? But, in case they don't, we have had the Blog printed into a nice hardcover book - and we will store the movies on DVD's.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
This Blog came out of our aborted plan to tour the UK by road in 2010. It was only meant to be about our new plan to visit the UK by sea for the first time. But something else also came out of our disappointment in 2010 - and that was a booking to sail on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 from Sydney to New Zealand - only six short days after we got home from our 100 day big adventure. It was very poor timing - we were quite tired when we got home on 15th Feb and really didn't need to pack up again after unpacking . But - it was too good an opportunity to miss and we had to do it . Having now done it, we can only say how pleased we are to have done so. Life is short!
This is what I have already posted to the Internet into some Cruising Forums.
"I will try to add a few thoughts here - to attempt to put into words what I now feel about QM2. A weeklong experience like we have just had is very difficult for me to describe adequately.
Firstly - We really LOVED this past week and really LOVE QM2. With everything all added up - airfares, hotels, etc - it was an expensive week for us - but it was one of those one-time life experiences which warrant such expense. I am certain we will keenly remember this past week for the rest of our lives.
What is QM2 all about??? --- Well, if she was a car, she is not a brightly coloured brand new Ferrari with fancy chrome wheels. She is an older model Bentley, very well maintained and well used. When you sit inside her, the slightly cracked, but very expensive leather seats are just so comfortable and she just purrs along down the road so quietly and beautifully , that you instantly want to buy her and scorn the others passing you on the highway with hectic haste in their latest models. You won't see her on the cover of a fancy house decoration magazine either - if she was a house. She doesn't have the latest interior design colours and wallpaper - nor the latest avant garde furniture and artworks. She is furnished in what you might expect to find in a stately old Manor House in the UK - with many paintings and other memorabilia on display that show clearly the family's long heritage and good breeding. There is a very strong feeling that you are amongst "old money" here - not the "nouveau riche".
The thing about QM2 that impresses me the most is her size. She is MASSIVE!!! - and this is accentuated by the fact that she only carries around 2500 passengers. She truly is a real ship!! - and not a floating hotel, designed to maximise passenger cabin numbers. Personally - I thought that she is a much larger, and up-market version of Oriana!! Both show the heritage of their predecessors. I loved her open outdoor areas - especially her large open observation deck up front. Up there, I could almost imagine how it must have felt to be on a open Bridge of a Naval destroyer on patrol in the North sea during WW2. To really get all over this ship, you need some physical fitness. To walk from one end to the other - and to climb outside from Promenade deck up to the dizzy heights of Sun Deck is tiring .
I doubt that Christine and I will ever go on her again. She is definitely out of our financial league in regards to longer cruises, and this cruise was only ever meant to give us a feeling for her. For others in a similar situation to us, I would recommend that - if the possibility of a short cruise presents itself- take that opportunity. You won't regret it!!!! For those with the means to do so however, a much longer passage would be wonderful
PS - My only regret is that - for this particular cruise- the change of the original course from Sydney, around the bottom end of the South Island of NZ and up to Christchurch , to a much more direct course Sydney-Wellington, meant that we did not get to see the ship perform. I would have loved to see her get along at maximum speed in a bit of a sea - that was what she was designed to do. Unfortunately we only experienced calm seas - and a very leisurely pace"
You can find a slideshow of some of our photos taken onboard QM2 here. I found it very difficult to take photos on QM2 - externally, it is so big that it is difficult to capture anything other than small bits of it. Internally, every space is so cavernous that I really needed a tripod to hold the camera still for the long time exposures required. And anyway - I also only have a very cheap camera.
Monday, February 14, 2011
the cruise as basically over and have been largely marking time - this
has been especially so for those who have done the complete
circumnavigation. Many left the ship in Sydney, where we had an unusual
two day port stop. As I understand it, they were supposed to get off the
ship on the second day - but many insisted that they wanted to get off
on the first day. This introduced some problems regarding Customs
clearance - but in the end, they were able to do so. I don't blame them
for wanting to get off - I would not want to wait for another day after
arriving in Brisbane. When the party is over, it's over! Today is the
100th day of our journey and although very happy about it all, we are
looking forward to getting home.
However having said all that, we had an enjoyable stop in Sydney.
Somewhat strangely, the evening entertainment on both nights were some
of the very best we have had - in spite of the fact that many of the
passengers were off the ship. A lot of them went to the Opera House to
see "Madame Butterfly" on the first night.
I think that this will be my last post to this Blog - except that, after
we arrive home, I will attempt to answer some specific questions that
have been asked in the "Comments" section of each post. As I have
previously explained, I haven't been able to access the Blog much myself
while at sea, and when I did it was usually some time after a question
had been asked. So, I will gather all the questions together - and
answer each one individually.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
The weather was typically tropical - hot, clear and humid during the day with a thunderstorm developing in the afternoon. The ship's entertainment team had to move the sailaway party from the outside decks to inside the covered pool area - but after the storm and rain had passed, it was wonderfully refreshing to be out in the open air, with nobody around and the humidity gone. One of those "great to be alive" moments.
Today, the ship is putting on a "Round the World" lunch for the Aussies (well, we think it is only for us). P&O ships Oriana and Arcadia have already given RTW lunches to the passengers (mostly British) - as is traditionally done for the RTW cruises Southampton to Southampton. They forgot however that they have around 300 passengers who have also sailed with them RTW - Australia to Australia. They have finally realised after some gentle nudging. I would imagine that this particular market segment is significant to them and could be more so. It is always amazing to me how some companies do not think much "outside of the box" and just repeat what they traditionally do.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Oriana's positives - her large Promenade, her unobstructed main Theatre, large cinema, tiered stern, internal access between public spaces,external access from lower decks to upper decks, forward facing external areas, access to external decks from cabin decks, large Pacific Lounge (additional to main theatre), large laundries, Al Fresco restaurant.
Arcadia's positives - very nice but underused Orchid Bar and Restaurant, lots of bars and lounges with contemporary decor, exterior lifts, indoor pool with roll-back roof. I am sure that others may see some of my "positives" as being a negative for them - for example, the matter of ship's decor. I am reluctant to quote "negatives" for the same reason. However, for me, the biggest "negative" of Arcadia is really a negative of the VISTA cruiseship class itself (of which there are many today and are obviously popular with the cruiselines). This comes from a basic "feature" of their design. There are internal and external public spaces on decks 1, 2 and 3, and then again on decks 9,10,11. Between these is a big "block of cabins/apartments" on decks 4-8. The only way to get from the upper public spaces to the lower ones and vice versa is via lifts or internal staircase through the 5 floors of cabins. The only way to also get from the lower outside deck areas to the upper outside deck areas is also via these. Hence, having a nice spacious and comfortable cabin on Deck 1, my most enduring memory of 42 days on Arcadia will be of waiting for and riding in lifts!! I have heard Arcadia's exterior lifts being praised - however even waiting for and riding in these wears thin after a while.
Last night we had an exceptionally good meal and most enjoyable time in the Orchid Restaurant (with drinks in the associated Orchid Bar) on Arcadia - possibly the best night we have had on our way around. So, you can see that this business of comparing ships is very difficult - it would probably be best for prospective passengers to ignore everything here and see for yourselves.
Monday, January 31, 2011
bit of the southern area of the island outside of Honolulu, including the beautiful coast and also crossed the very rugged central mountain range. Afterwards, we took a shuttle bus to the huge Ala Moana shopping
centre - and also walked to Chinatown (only to discover that the one day we were in town coincided with Chinese New Year's celebrations - how fortunate was that? !!!!) So all things considered - we got a good idea of what both Honolulu and O'ahu are all about - and we were IMPRESSED!. After traveling 3/4 of the way around the World, we finally found a place that we will DEFINITELY come back to. A plan is formulating slowly in our minds already. As we came into Honolulu Harbour, we were preceded by the "Spirit of America" - which we have been told does 7 day cruises through the Hawaiian Islands. This, combined with a stay in Honolulu would be an excellent start to a future adventure. Actually, I have to do it - because I had planned to have a beer in the Royal Hawaiian hotel on Waikiki Beach, but didn't have time (this time).
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
traffic. We also enjoyed the heritage streetcars (otherwise known to Aussies as Trams) - they have a huge collection of these from right around the world including Australia - but we especially enjoyed the very large pre-WW2 ones from the US - we have never seen trams so large. Now -about my reference to the two faces of San Francisco. When we first arrived and wandered around the touristy area of Fisherman's Wharf and
took the cable car ride to "Nob Hill", we thought that the city was very clean and "nice". However, as we got closer to the downtown area of the city and went even further to the very end of the F streetcar line, we
became more and more amazed at the number of homeless/street people/beggars. We have seen western street people before - in European cities, London, Canada and even Sydney -- BUT we have never seen as many as we saw in San Francisco. We have no idea of the reason for this - but it was certainly enough to alarm us and to change our idea of what the city is all about. I think that we would still like to return to
California/San Francisco for a longer visit in the future - but we would have to rethink some things.
Next port - Honolulu