DAY 6 - QM2 AT SEA
Updated: Jan 17
AT SEA- ENROUTE TO HERAKLION, GREECE
102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.
Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage
Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting from The World Voyage - Queen Mary 2
At Sea en route to Heraklion - 1,000 miles away.
Transiting through the Alboran Sea heading North East along the coast of North Africa, Morocco and Algeria. Yesterday, we passed The Rock of Gibraltar, a monolithic limestone Formation in the middle of ocean. Shrouded in mist it appeared to rise like a magic kingdom one minute you see it, then it disappears.
Time flies when you’re having fun and nowhere does it fly by more quickly than on board QM2
Today, Day Six, from 10am to 11am you can choose between a presentation in the Royal Court Theatre on an upcoming port, Safaga; or make your way to the Britannia Restaurant where a watercolour art class is taking place as well as a craft class for guests who want to learn how to make a daffodil brooch; you can join a line dancing class in the Queens Room or show off your knowledge of current affairs in a Trivia quiz; still looking for a way to fill your time? There is a Bridge lesson for beginners in the Carinthia Lounge and a get together for members of the Rotary Club in the Board Room.
If none of the above appeals, take a trip to the health & fitness centre, or the spa; hang out at one of the the swimming pools (inside or out) or join others promenading around the open decks, weather permitting. No rain today, light wind.
In his noon time navigational briefing, the Captain, Aseem Hashmi, signs off with an insight into traditions at sea and the origin of certain phrases. Today he explained the word “opportunity” in nautical terms. On arrival into a port, ships often have to wait outside the port for the tide to turn. They await “the opportunity” to enter and the word signifies “to wait for the right moment.”
Sea days are great opportunities to meet fellow passengers. Leaning on the rails, staring out to sea, Val from Merseyside and I compared photographs we’d taken. “I’m not very good at this,” she told me. “My husband is much better at taking photographs than me – and he’s blind.” Val explained that Derek lost his sight following an operation for a medical condition 20 years ago, before then he was completely sighted. She and her husband, Derek, are on their first Cunard cruise. It is not only Val’s first cruise, it is the first time she has had a holiday abroad in 25 years. Derek was in the merchant navy and he has been around the world more times than he can remember. Val is her husband’s full-time care-taker; he also has a guide dog, a golden Labrador called Sooty. The dog had to stay home and Val and Derek are missing her. Val is amazed by the standard of service as she confides, “I’ve worked all my life and am not used to people looking after me. I’m complaining, I could get used to living like this.”
Derek refuses to let his blindness limit him. He has an active life and – with some help – drives, shoots, fences, plays bowls and takes prize winning photographs.
It is a priviledge to meet such special passengers. Everyone has a story to tell and even if we haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet, please feel free to reach out and tell
me your voyage story.
Sea Day continued...
Timeless – observations
The Grand Lobby is three stories high and at its heart placed on a huge round marble table, a huge, colourful floral bouquet. The carpet design in reds and grey resembles a spiral pattern of a giant ship’s wheel. On a previous voyage, a behind the scenes tour on the bridge, I asked “where’s the lovely polished wood and brass steering?” I got my answer, technology wins again, the wheel is now a small size, rarely used as all charts and course and navigational information are available on the computer.
In the Grand Lobby, spilling all the way down from ceiling level is a gold fresco of QM2. A central staircase sits atop four marble towers and a glass rotunda with access on the shopping level floor, surrounding the lobby. Two impressive glass encased, red carpeted staircases, with dark. polished mahogany bannisters offer a perfect opportunity for formal photos and people watching.
The lower level of the stairs are service desks, the Purser’s Office and Shore Excursions. A glass veranda shields the upstairs shops that sell luxury items such as watches, jewellery and designer handbags. The Grand Lobby lounge is a gathering place for casual and formal events. Today one of the world class jewellery shops, Theo Fabergé, are launching a celebration jewelled pendant to jointly signify the coming together of the QM2 centenary year and 100 years of Faberge’s luxury collection .
The Captain made an appearance in the Grand Lobby having delivered his noontime broadcast setting out latitude/longitude, temperature outside, ship’s speed and the depth of the ocean beneath us: 2,500meters/8,000 feet. He is called upon to unveil a new limited-edition piece, a stunning gold pendant with a cruise special price of $35,000. Captain, Aseem Hashmi, amuses the assembled passengers by telling them, “I’ve got to be quick. I’ve left the ship on auto pilot.” We assume he is joking but of course he does have other officers to conduct navigational duties. The pendant attracted a great deal of attention and many passengers showed interest in buying one. Several wives gave husbands a nudge, a wink or a winning smile. It’s way out of my league, more’s the pity.
After a lunch of pizza in the King’s Court restaurant, and dessert of yet another delicious pastel ariana tart from our last port of call, a brisk walk in the fresh air seems a good idea.
However, it was not long before I was hit with a case of FOMO (fear of missing out). As I walked past guests stretched out on their lounge chairs or leaning on the ship’s rails, they went out of their way to pass on the news. “We saw a school of dolphins, leaping, surfacing and playing together. An amazing sight- what we came on this journey for. We don’t see anything like that that at home”
Seeing my disappointment, one passenger reassured me. “Come by here again tomorrow, you might see them then. ”Thanks, as for coming by tomorrow. I’m not going anywhere – except around the word.”
Happy sailing, Ellen.
16 JANUARY QM2 POSITION AT 20:46 GMT
The Alboran Sea
entoute to Heraklion, Greece.
SEA STATE GMT 20:46 GMT - WAVE HEIGHT: 2.9 Metres / 9.5 Feet
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Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)
Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.