On Our Way Westbound Across the Atlantic Ocean
We’ve spoken to a lot of passengers who experienced a bumpy crossing on QM2 – We shall see.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Variably cloudy today and cool – probably in the 50s. There is little chance that this will be an open deck lounging cruise. Yet, the seas are calm and there is some blue sky out there. The picture below was taken through our porthole.
First thing – ED27 is a very quiet room – no earplugs required – the bed is comfortable and big with a very plush duvet and three pillows on steroids. The porthole in this cabin is situated in the middle of the wall so you can actually look out and see the sky.
My first breakfast at the updated buffet was very good – the various stations do not open at the same time but I worked out something with the waffle guy, who makes me a waffle before opening time. There is cottage cheese and preserves so I am set.
I attended Dennis Molnar’s first presentation at 10:00 AM - “Two Best Allied Spies” - in Illuminations – he had a good turnout. I stayed for Seth Gopin’s talk at 11:00 AM on “The Rise of the American Skyscraper”. Seth lives in New York in one of those skyscrapers so he has first hand knowledge of his topic. He’s a very interesting and very animated speaker.
We had lunch in the King’s Court Buffet – the salad bar was good.
My first presentation of this cruise - “Cold Cases Solved” – was scheduled for 3:30 PM in Illuminations – I estimated that the venue was about 95 percent full or about 530 people (based on a capacity of 560 seats). The talk ran only 41 min. I must have really been moving through the slides (Ellen said it seemed OK). I always have a great crowd on QM2 and this one was engaged and involved. Cat Kennedy (Assistant Entertainment Manager) came by and introduced me as he does on the first day.
“Cold Cases Solved”
There were no real options for us on the Britannia menu so we had dinner in the Italian Bistro in the Lido Café – this area is very nice in the evening with tablecloths and candles. We found a nice table with a view. We had a Margherita Pizza and Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce – plus a Cesar Salad – the food was excellent, the service good, and the ambience peaceful. A secret we hope stays that way.
Showtime tonight featured “Virtuosity”– three female singers from England - (Jennifer [operatic], Rebecca [thick brogue], and Samantha – the leader) – super excellent voices and a very classy act – some of the best vocalists we have ever seen on ships.
One of their best numbers was “When You Walk Through a Storm” (sequence below).
They also performed “A Place for Us” (below).
Time Change (back) number 1.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
A little more chop today…you can really see it through the windows on Deck 3. It looks a lot worse than it felt.
The Sea is a little more active
I had the morning off – one of my favorite things is to work on my talks in Sir Samuels. They make the absolute best decaf mocha skinny lattes (even better now that Cunard has an arrangement with Godiva Chocolates). The chocolate level in the latte was at near “toxic” levels (meaning really good). There are plugs and a view and the place is never that crowded. Perfect.
I braved the cold and wind for a picture on Deck 7.
There are some very interesting statues outside the King’s Court and we used them in the photoshoot below.
After lunch, at 2:15 PM we went to listed to Midge Ure (Farm Aid, Band Aid founder and trustee; I was familiar with the charities but not with him) talk about his career in the Royal Court Theater. He is the Celebrity Speaker on this cruise.
At 3:30 PM, I attended Seth Gopin’s lecture on the “Empire State Building”. A very interesting story of architecture and politics.
We had dinner in the Britannia Dining Room – The highlight tonight was vegetarian onion soup – so good I had two bowls. Another excellent dinner with quick service.
Showtime Tonight was the Production Show – “Broadway Rocks”.
Chorus Line – “One”
Westside Story – “Amerika”
Wicked – “Defying Gravity”
Jersey Boys – “Walk Like a Man”
“There’s No Business Like Show Business”
Hairspray – “You Can’t Stop the Beat”
After the show at 9:45 PM, we listened to a little bit of Helen Leek – Classical Pianist – in the Carinthia Lounge (formerly the Winter Garden) (below).
The QM2 is a big ship and you can get a sense of that when you look at the hallway that we take to our room on the ED.
The seas remain calm…
Time Change (back) number 2
Friday, September 23, 2016
Calm Seas – intermittent rain
Another quiet night along with calm seas.
Another good breakfast up in the Lido Café – the waffles just keep coming – the oatmeal is good as well.
I attended the 10:00 AM Robert Key Lecture on Thomas Beckett. I try but I just can’t get into this type of subject matter.
My second talk of the cruise was scheduled right after Robert at 11:00 AM.
The “Mystery of the Romanovs” – drew an SRO crowd with people standing in the aisles and in the back. I estimated the attendance to be 600 plus (the talk ran 45 min). This may have been my biggest turnout to date on QM2.
Standing in the back and sitting in the Aisles
After lunch, I attended the 1:30 PM Planetarium Show - “Infinity Express” – not as interesting as previous shows and I snoozed through a lot of it (if was dark, there was music, and reclining chairs – a deadly combination).
Ellen went to RADA’s production of “400 Anniversary of Shakespeare” in the theater. She liked it.
We had dinner in the Britannia Restaurant – can’t remember what we had but I know we had good seats and it was good.
Midge Ure was the Headliner tonight in the Royal Court Theater. I have to admit that I did not recognize a single song he performed. We dwell in parallel music universes.
Midge Ure Concert in the Royal Court Theater
Time change (back) number 3
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Calm Seas – Windy – Rainy
Talk number 3 -“Search for the Unknown Titanic Child” - was scheduled for 10:00 AM this morning. People started to arrive around 9:20 AM and the theater was totally packed (sitting in the aisles and one person on the stage) – I estimated about 700 people for this talk, which eclipsed the Romanov talk as my biggest crowd yet on QM2 (the talk went 43 minutes). BTW, the clock at the back of the theater is a brilliant idea (it keeps everyone on schedule).
Look carefully and you will see a guest sitting on the stage to my right.
“The Search for the Unknown Titanic Child”
Stayed for Seth Gopin’s talk on “The World Trade Center”. Another interesting talk.
We had lunch with Steve Conrad and wife Marina in the Lido Café. We last saw Steve and Marina seven years ago on the Pacific Princess through the Panama Canal. We caught up a little. (Note: check travel consolidator, “Travel with Alan”, for last minute cruise deals).
We had dinner in Britannia Restaurant – we both ordered the Sea Bass but I swapped mine for the Penne Arrabiata – also the key lime pie was good. The coffee on this ship is excellent and the only place you can get a large glass of iced tea is in the restaurant.
Comedian/Singer – Mike Doyle – is the Headliner tonight. He is once again a hoot (some of the same old jokes but still funny).
Mike Doyle Cracking Us Up
At 10:00 PM we attended a presentation by RADA – “Cunard Street” – a history of the Cunard company – nice program but a tad long in the middle.
Long day – back to the room.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Calms Seas – Cloudy and Raining
The Sea is Calm at the Moment
I have the day off today.
As is again the case, I am in Sir Samuels getting another iced mocha latte – this time, the drink came as a separate glass of ice, a little cup of espresso, and a separate cup of milk. And the price was a couple of dollars more. What? After really too much discussion, I had the correct drink made (they had to be convinced by a photo I had take of the mystery drink). (I got double charged for the drinks but straightened that out with the purser). Sorina told me to deal with her tomorrow for the iced mocha decaf latte.
We had lunch in the Lido – lucked out today – Fish and Chips – even without the malt vinegar, the fish was good.
Ice Sculpture in Lido at Lunch
After lunch, the seas kicked up a bit – this was most evident on Deck 3 near Illuminations.
Seas are getting a little active
Am reading the “The New and Improved Romie Futch” by Julia Elliott – lots of sciency stuff (some real and some imagined) about a diverse bunch of people involved in a clinical study aimed at increasing intelligence (via computer downloads).
We checked out the dinner menu and did not find much for us so we had dinner in the still little known and wonderful, Italian “Bistro”. We ordered the Caprese Pizza (sauce, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil leaves, and extra garlic and the Pasta Oglio – spaghetti plus olive oil, garlic oil, and extra garlic. We started off with two Cesar Salads (not too much dressing on these, plus good croutons and tasty parmesan cheese).
The meals came quickly and were delicious – I think it’s the best food on the ship.
We spent our pre-show time in both the Carinthia Lounge and in the Theater (expecting a good turnout, we sat in the second row).
The Show Tonight is the final Production Show of the cruise. It is a new production entitled “The Rhythym of the Night” and is supposed to be all about the music of the islands.
Man of La Mancha
The show had some high energy dancing and some very amazing back screen animation. Some of the songs were apocryphal but there was some “Miami Sound Machine” at the end and the solo from “Man of La Mancha”. The show would be better with some more recognizable songs – more attuned to the Rhythm of the Night.
It was “Roaring 20s” night in the Queen’s Room tonight and we checked in to see what was going on. Lots of people there.
Time change (back) number 4 tonight.
Seas are calm.
Monday, September 26, 2016
Seas are still calm – Mostly cloudy outside
Added some very good scrambled eggs (and two bites of a chocolate donut) to my standard WCSCJ breakfast.
Mid morning, I visited Sir Samuels for my iced mocha latte – Sorina, the barista, is a magician with coffee. No mix-ups today.
My final talk – “The Whitechapel Murders – The Search for Jack the Ripper” was scheduled for 3:30 PM. Again, the crowd arrive early and filled the theater to SRO level. This was a very successful series on QM2.
SRO Turnout for “The Whitechapel Murders”
There were even people sitting in chairs at the entrance to the theater – not sure if they were listening to me or just hanging out.
Paul had scheduled a “Meet the Speakers” get together in the Chart Room in the afternoon. It was, as it has been in the past, a modest turnout but I did meet some interesting folks.
Meet the Speakers
After dinner, we went to see the “One Piano, Two Pianists” act of Worbey and Farrell. Unique and entertaining.
We are all packed and planning to walk off tomorrow morning in New York.
Seas remain calm.