MY JOURNAL: Page 2 (1,

05-10-04 QE2 "INSIDER" VIEWS FROM STOWAWAY2K: Here is a QE2 Insider View #1 from a message board member called "stowaway2k", who posted this to me on my most favourite Cruise Board site at CruiseCritic.com . This was posted on 5 October.

"I was on QE2 last May, and I'm looking forward to meeting you on the Dec. crossing. You'll love QE2. I promise. Just keep this point in mind:

Marketing brochures are made to sell a product. Don't put too much stock in Cunard's, or anyone else's, marketing machines. But...QE2 is like no other ship afloat, and never has been. She is one of a kind. She has been sailing for about 35 years now, and that makes her very old in ship life...but so what? She is , IMHO, the most beautiful ship afloat, bar none.

She was built as a two-class ship, so you'll find quirks and foibles, and personality traits that are unique to her. These are, to me, what makes her special to sail on. A six day Atlantic crossing, especially in winter, isn't for everyone. It's for people with a sense of adventure, and for people who tend to be broad-minded about their experiences. If you are looking for Las Vegas style glitz, you'll be disappointed. You won't find shiny surfaces, neon, loud colours, huge multi-level showrooms, ice skating, rock climbing, Starbucks, etc. I don't think that's what you're expecting though.

You also won't find perfection. Nothing man-made is perfect. You might have a meal that doesn't knock your socks off, you might have a bartender that's a little slow, but so what? You'll be at sea for six days straight. I doubt there's such a thing as perfection on any ship for six solid days. You'll see some areas that look a little tired, such as the teak decks. But so what? It doesn't matter.

What does matter is that you're crossing the North Atlantic on a ship that is a living legend. She earned that for a reason. So her time on centre stage is about over, but so what? You're there. You're now a part of her, and she'll be a part of you. So she's not the newest, biggest, grandest, blah blah blah whatever. She's the Queen Elizabeth 2, and you're going to love her. I promise. I'll be in cabin XXXX. In New York you can tell me I was full of it, or that I was right. Only you'll know. These are my opinions only, gained from my experiences only. See you aboard!"

Isn't that just great!!

Others on the message board agreed by writing these comments on the board to his posting (and prove my point!!!):

WRIPRO: "your description of the QE2 and her merits gave me goose bumps and brought back wonderful memories of my two crossings on her. You are right that nothing is perfect but then neither am I so why should I expect a ship to be? The idea of crossing the atlantic by ocean liner and following in footsteps of all those who did so when that was the only option still excites me. in fact, I leave Friday to go to NYC for a round trip crossing on the QM2 with time in Paris in between and if she is as thrilling as the QE2 Ill be a very happy camper. (or sailor????!!!!"

SEACRUISE9: "Your description of the QE2 is excellent! As I said above, I love this ship and look forward to my seventh trip on the QE2 next year. The QE2 truly is special and unique".

BRIANBORU: "I couldn't have said it better, kj/stowaway. There's nothing quite like mid-atlantic on the QE2--a strange mix of isolation from the world and shipboard community, of purpose (we're bound for New York [or Southampton]!) and relaxation. A brisk walk on the Boat Deck, all sea, sky, spray and finding your sea legs, followed by hot tea, a good book and great conversation. I can't wait for December!"


06-10-04 QE2 "INSIDER" VIEW FROM DESIROD :Again from my favourite online message board on CruiseCritic.com , this was one of the postings in a new thread I had started called "QE Transatlantic Dec 2004: tips/ thoughts" asking for any thoughts. I had piles of replies and will post these.

Here is a long, very detailed one and like the one from Stowaway2K, shows the passion of the regular QE2 gang:

She is a nautical Jaguar. QE2 is full of both wonderful and maddening quirks at the same time. Her exterior design is beautiful. The forms and surfaces are like the Love boats and the RVL trio albeit enlarged. Her original interiors were done in 1966 London Mod. Over time, the mod got toned down to an interior theme which is a visual happy meal. Decor is neither innovative nor offensive. The only distinctive room is the Queens Lounge with the 1966 London Mod white fluted columns and coffered ceiling.

Going between decks is another story. She has 9 stair towers of which 8 of them go to only some decks, skip over a few, change configuration to become a habitrail so when you exit you do not know if you are going forward or aft in a hallway. It has the complexity of the New York City subway system. With 6 sea days I could figure them out if not interested in other activities. Ship had space age décor with 1920�s space planning.

She really shines like no other with her incredibly stable ride. I0" white caps and 20 knot winds gives the gentlest of motion that helps me sleep. For 2 days we had 20" swells where the waves would crash over the bow [saw from bridge cam, forward observation deck closed off.] the ship would gently heave, but no sound was heard. The sensation is more of pitching than rolling, like a porpoise. Unsecured closet doors would swing open and shut. I walked holding the rails, by the next day I was used to the motion and walking regularly.

From the dining room to the other side, I could see the ship rock, first all sea, moving horizon, then all sky and back again, but did not feel it. The SSNorway had the same ride motions, but with more amplitude and faster frequency. Her connection to the sea is magnificent.

Every public area has an ocean view. There is no traditional enclosed promenade, but I did not miss it since that space is opened to the rest of the ship and plenty of comfortable chairs next to the windows to look out of. Most of her public rooms are smallish hideaways unlike the SSNorway and Pacific Princess which are a succession of grand spaces.

The buffet area has a line that zigzag's in the wrong direction. There is a fence to keep you in the cattle chute, and you cannot see what is ahead to skip over food you do not want to eat. Since the dining rooms have great picture windows I did not use the buffet area. On many ships where the dining room is a windowless cavern below decks, I use the buffet simply because I like to watch the ocean while eating.

QE2 has a great sense of intimacy that I did not think could be found on a big ship. The SSNorway only 10% bigger has little sense of intimacy. Intimacy to me is a function of passenger density, not size of the ship. Regal Empress is 1/3 the size and stuffed with 1100 passengers offers none at all.

This was the BEST group of passengers I ever have been with.

Crossers and cruisers are different breeds. Winter time crossers tend to be eccentric and adventurous. To want to cross the North Atlantic in the winter you have to be [me included].

Not everybody on board was wealthy, however most were well educated. Many were QE2 repeat passengers which created a sense of camaraderie and an institutional memory. All knew how to have fun. There were lots of liner loonies too. Noted travel writer Ted Scull was on board, and Stephen Card: noted maritime artist.

Some complained the weather was too calm and wanted 50 knot gales and 50� waves. We sailed between 2 storms. The outdoor temp was 50^f most of the time and people were using the outdoor pools. The gym was crowded every morning with many seniors doing serious work outs. This ship did not have the typical red-neck, blue hair, big butt, big gut, glutton gambler cruise passenger stereotype.

Everybody on board was very friendly. If tables at tea were near full, it was OK to ask to join, and if people ask to join me I always obliged. The result was great Left Bank conversation. Pomposity and standoffishness are looked down upon. I had been recognized as DESIROD by 2 people; not by what I look like, but by certain maritime clothing and ship conversation. Internet is a small place.

Passenger complement was: 1000 Americans, 400 British, 90 German, 40 French, 30 Canadian and rest from all over. The Pied Piper partial gay and lesbian charter was 25 people. I counted 100 gay people overall. We all seemed to find each other. Ages were 20-80. It was nice since we had our own section of the dining room guaranteeing good table mates. Overall it was a very low key atmosphere and everybody blended with all and not one inch of intolerance. If you told someone you were gay: "yea, there was a Tuesday last week" and continued conversation.

Cunard had French and German social host/hostess's. Announcements were made in 3 languages. I found the French passengers a friendly delight and very interesting conversationally. I was told if was in France, my politics would be right of center LOL. One was a businessman/philosopher my age. We ate breakfast every morning together and were the last to leave the dining room. British were reserved unless drunk. I ate lunch regularly with a spunky septuagenarian Glaswegian couple who were fascinating people. The Germans travelling alone were friendly, but those in groups or couples tended to keep to themselves and not mingle. I did befriend a young lawyer.

There were many singles and the age breakdown was about 75% over 60, and about 10 passengers under the age of 20. My group ran the age gamut. A priest and a rabbi were on board. QE2 does have a synagogue. Church services were in the Theatre. One activity was a joint lecture by the priest and rabbi on people of different faiths coming together.

I though I would hate it, but I really don't mind. On the QE2 there were several passengers in Scottish Kilts, one Napoleon uniform and several other vintage military outfits. If I realized I could have been creative Hmmmmmm;-) The Captains party was like a Fellini movie: taking place in the space age Queens Lounge, the bordello velour furniture, and the vintage costumes was a strange confluence.

The cruise format was made for me-SUPERLATIVE. Again what the QE2 does well is superlative and what it does badly is horrid.

The library and book shop are second to none. It has many maritime books, and did not get a chance to finish all I wanted to read. Crossing had a Science Fiction theme which had several lectures on the Cosmic Watergate-cover-ups of aliens visiting Earth. Ted Scull gave two interesting lectures. Other speakers were Seth Stoshak, Max Arthur, Herbert Appleman, and Stanton Friedman.

There was a classical music concert, and loved the afternoon teas with the harpist.

Overall I truly enjoyed myself. It is great to come home refreshed, showered, wearing clean clothes and not jetlagged and would definitely cross again. I can forgive the ship�s quirks, but not Cunard for simple shortcomings so easily rectified by other cruise lines"

Like I said in an earlier post, the QE2 really brings out the passion


06-10-04 Cabin 8006: One thing you can find online - and in books and videos - are lots of photos of the public rooms and the outside of the ship. But you cannot find many pictures of the cabins. And even according to some posts the pictures in the brochures are not entirely accurate.

So I was trying to find out what our Q2 cabin (8006) is going to look like. One site said it will be 355 square feet. The picture above I believe is of a Q3 cabin (based on the same picture that appears in the 1995 Cunard Brochure)

Below are some other comments that people gave:

SIGNMAN: "Well I found my set of plans. They date from 1978 and do include the first set of suites added, but not the few additional ones 8011-8019 which were added in a secondary phase.

8004 and 8006 were originally known as the Westminster Suite and have an adjoining door, and while 8004 shows 2 beds, 8006 shows only one. I'm sure that has changed and you will have 2 beds convertible into one large one.

As you enter 8006 the bathroom, complete with bidet will be on your left, and closets to the right. There is less detail for these closets than for the Q3's which show full detail of the walk in closets, including refrigerator and wardrobe.

As you enter the main cabin space, the bed will most likely be against the left wall with a nightstand on each side. Drawers appear to be against the right wall and a dressing table/vanity against the far balcony wall. The door to the balcony is to the left beyond the bed. But since these plans are 25 years old, who knows what you will find. I can't imagine that you will not have a walk in closet."

EDWARDMPOST: "I have sailed QE2 Q2 several times and offer the following opinions:

1. 8001/8002: Ideal for the December crossing due their larger interior space and smaller balcony. If you look at the deck plans, you'll notice a space forward of the balcony -- this is a small windowed seating alcove which is perfect for breakfast, reading, etc. On any voyage that might afford you the opportunity to spend time out on the balcony, you should opt for forward Signal Deck suites 8003-8010.

8001/8002 offer greater closet space than the other Q2s -- all cabinets are located on either side of a small hallway which is ended by a full-length dressing mirror. The downward staircase is closed-off behind a door unless you also book 8101/8102. FYI, for better Southampton sail away views of the quay and shore, I recommend any forward starboard suite.

2. 8003-8010: Nicely proportioned with large balconies featuring two teak steamer chairs, a teak dining table and two teak dining chairs. Of all Q2s, I prefer these suites.

3. 8011-8019: Much smaller Q2s with less living and bath space. Instead of cabinets for closets, these feature a curtained walk-in closet. In my opinion, these aft Signal Deck suites should be categorised separately from the forward suites.

4. 8101-8110: These suites offer the same space as 8003-8010 but the view from the balconies is obstructed by life boats.

The Queens Grill restaurant is consistently excellent in terms of food quality and service. My table preference is for a table situated in the centre of the room or on the upper tier over-looking the centre. As you may have read on other posts, you are welcome to ask for off-menu items, Beluga caviar, etc. at any time.

Gary: December crossings are like no other. You'll find several fellow passengers who specifically book these voyages for the adventure of sailing the (often times rough) North Atlantic in December. Fear not though, no other ship meets these seas like QE2."....

More about the sea, our fears and what people suggest in a future posting.....



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Mail me: Gary Bembridge