FAREWELL QM2: A JOURNEY'S END
DAY 103 - 23 APRIL 2023 (SHIP'S date)
SOUTHAMPTON - ELLEN'S VOYAGE COMPLETE
Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage
103 days, 32 ports, 18 countries.
A FOND FAREWELL
Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting from Queen Mary 2
FINAL WORDS FROM ELLEN & JOSHUA
A 5,000-mile journey starts with one footprint. Since setting sail from Southampton on 11th January 2023, on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have travelled 31,750 nautical miles on the world’s only ocean liner of today and left my footprints on foreign lands in 32 ports and 18 countries. However, like every journey, the adventure started long before embarkation day. It began in Miami, Florida, in the last week of December 2022.
Early evening in Miami Beach, I came out of a restaurant, I was delighted to see a friend of mine, Joshua Schwartz, sitting at an outdoor cafe. We hadn’t seen each other since before covid. ‘Still writing?”, he asked me. I nodded, ‘You still cruising?” He nodded. Staking my claim to bragging rights, I told him, “I’m sailing on the Queen Mary 2 World Voyage on 11th January.”
He was gracious enough to admit that the journey was at the top of his bucket list. “I do envy you - that voyage around the world. I’ve crossed the Atlantic on her five times, but I’ve never done a World Voyage,” We were both talking as fast as we could to make ourselves heard. A few years before, Joshua published a beautiful art book of black and white photography featuring QM2. The volume called “Divine Crossings” had sold out but before the day was over, he had sent me an digital version of the book and now was in the process creating a new edition.
I was enchanted by the elegant photographs and his passion for Queen Mary 2. A few years ago, I travelled on her across the Atlantic but never observed the depth and beauty of the architecture and design. I was thrilled by the new world of perspective opened up on what Joshua calls, “the most beautiful ocean liner in the world.”
Another 24 hours later, and Joshua, who was planning his return to his home in Aruba on the night we met up, sent a message, "can we meet?” The journey was sped up and I had only a couple of days before leaving for London to spend the holidays with my family. As a journalist and an author, I always write wherever I am and whatever I am doing. “I’ll be doing a blog,” I told Joshua, “and publishing a book.”
He is a man of many talents and I had not realised Joshua was also a marketing and branding professional as well as a digital and internet expert. An offer to help me with the technicalities and transmission of authoring and publishing a World Voyage blog and a book. Within days he set me up with all the technical equipment I needed and even though I told him, “I am not a great photographer”, his answer- “I’ll talk you through it.” And he did.
Connectivity problems on the World Voyage caused by poor internet connection were mine or the ships. Joshua has been a tireless colleague and has put up with my frustrations. More than once I needed to apologise for being so tired after an early start for a shore excursions, followed by glamming up for a Captain’s Cocktail party, fine dining and a night of ballroom dancing. I tod him. “You don’t realise how exhausting it is being on a world cruise.”
The fact that he never set foot on the ship during this voyage but was gracious and complimentary as I learned to take the photos he required for the daily blog, was amazing, he was a gentleman. His main source of complaint was, “More photos, please, close up.” “Of me in my gala ballgown? “ I asked. “No, of Queen Mary 2. She’s the star of this blog.”
I know when I’m outclassed. Luckily, he and I are both in love with the Queen of the Seas. My World Voyage has been fabulous. The adventure would not have been so exciting or life-changing without the support and encouragement, I received from my friend Joshua.
Next time, I’ll try to take him with me. Well, I don’t want to be the one left ashore… Ellen.
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FINAL WORDS: JD SCJWARTZ
I’ve just sailed around the world on Queen Mary 2 minus one slight detail. I never stepped onboard the ship. Rather, my dear friend Ellen invited me to join her as a media alliance assembling the text and photos from her experience onboard QM2’s 103-day Centenary World Voyage. What a journey it has been, and for me, a dream come true even if lived vicariously.
Ellen’s reporting as a published author and from onboard QM2 featuring over thirty port calls garnered over 20,000 page views to this blog of ours. I want to personally thank all the readers and followers that joined Ellen from start to finish. My eyes teared up as I assembled the final navigational map for the blog detailing QM2 docked in Southampton. Ellen has now disembarked in the UK as QM2 continues her final leg of the journey to New York.
Having crossed the Atlantic five times on QM2, I know the ship well. As a photographer, I find the ship to be perhaps one of the most picture-perfect ships in the world and I’ve sailed on over 50. Beyond her near flawless and iconic presentation, QM2 has a bold heartbeat. There is a spectacular and unparalleled allure that defines todays only ocean liner that in my opinion positions her as the finest ship in the world. Finest, from the bottom up regarding design, comfort, status, amenities and more. However, QM2 is not for everyone. There is no rock-climbing, ice-skating rinks, water slides or zip lines. This is an ocean liner and sailing on QM2 carries on a tradition and nostalgic appeal no other ship can offer. From gala events and fencing classes to water aerobics and dance lessons, QM2 crosses the oceans with aplomb even through thirty-foot seas and a Force 10 gale.
I’ve traveled around the world without leaving my home in Aruba, a small island in the Caribbean - thanks to Ellen. From transiting the Suez Canal to camel rides in the desert and tram rides up mountains, beach walks on the oceans, to the onboard events found only on Cunard, Ellen has engaged myself and thousands of followers with a love for the seas and destinations around the globe and of course us Cunarders. I believe the only thing in life more rewarding than any experience itself is having an opportunity to share it.
When I first heard from Ellen that she would be sailing on QM2’s world cruise and that she secured stateroom 3002 (Deck 3L), a wonderful single cabin rarely available and hard to reserve on any voyage due to their limited numbers, I knew this partnership and alliance in creating a chronology of this great voyage was to happen – I have also sailed in stateroom, 3002, the deal was sealed. There are no coincidences. Happy sailing Ellen and thank you…Joshua
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Thank you, Captain, for our safe passage.
All of us on QM2 wish you a fair-weather journey ahead.
Happy Sailing... Ellen
AT SOUTHAMPTON 23 APRIL- A SEA OF A DIFFERENT KIND...
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Current position of Queen Mary 2:
Final Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)