Thursday, March 3, 2011

Queen Mary 2

                                                                        Photo slideshow

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 hereI 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.