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  • Writer's pictureEllen Frazer-Jameson

SINGAPORE FINALE & KING NEPTUNE

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

DAY 46- 25 February 2023

ENROUTE TO BALI

Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage

102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.

Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting live from Queen Mary 2


On Queen Mary 2’s return visit to Singapore, several hundred passengers disembarked and several hundred more came onboard for the onward journey to Bali, Indonesia and Australia.


Close to a thousand passengers have already been on Queen Mary 2 for 44 days from Southampton and for 50 days from New York. All of these guests are completing the Centenary World Voyage and will be returning to their home ports after more than 100 days.



To thank these guests, and offer a special highlight as the voyage nears half-way, Cunard arranged an outing from the ship to Singapore’s famous Gardens by the Bay, a scenic paradise and one of Asia’s premier horticultural showcases. To deliver 900 guests from Queen Mary 2 to the nearby Gardens on the Bay, bearing in mind immigration problems which had been encountered on the ship’s last visit to Singapore, meant passengers faced waiting in long lines.


However, once through the process, luxury coaches took guests in style the short distance to the gala venue. Gardens on the Bay have become a globally recognised landmark of the island of Singapore with acres of the most glorious flowers, plants and botanical innovations. The breath-taking carpets of blooms are truly spectacular and become all the more beautiful when illuminated by modern sky-high multi coloured tree sculptures that burst into life with classical music and an exploding light show.


Inside the vast entertainment venue, hundreds of small round ceiling globes cover the ceiling and constantly change colour in time with developing events on stage.







In the entrance ways, Cunard footmen in their classic red livery, were transported from the ship to greet guests. Captain Andrew Hall, his company of officers and Cunard officials welcomed guests. Brightly coloured dragons accompanied by high level drumming and musical instruments paraded through the room to symbolise the bringing of good luck to guests.


Good luck was also the gift of a chirpy small pet bird who, after listening to the wishes of questioners, selects a card from a pack offering a solution and a prediction for the future. The cards the bird chose may all have the same message but I was happy to accept good health, wealth and a new love on the horizon. Personal Chopstick Calligraphy, a Chinese art form, was also, on offer along with other local crafts and activities.


On stage an over-the-top female Singaporean compere introduced local dancers, musicians and drummers and then invited Cunard guests to take to the small dance floor.



Captain Hall made a speech, recalled the history of the Centenary Voyage and the ship, Laconia; he thanked guests for their loyalty to Cunard and asked everyone to raise glasses for a champagne toast.



Being on a QM2 World Voyage, is a special event worthy of celebration at any time but for this one night only, leaving the familiar surroundings of the ship and being immersed in a port of call from a different perspective presented a unique opportunity for a not to be forgotten memory-making experience.






******


Crossing the Line Ceremony

An ancient Maritime Tradition


Friday 24th February 2023


It is said that the tradition goes back to 1391 and started on the old sailing ships. There is even a report that the explorer, anthropologist Charles Darwin was ducked twice over board to qualify him in the status of a sailor crossing the equator for the first time. From Pollywog to Shellback, he must have succumbed to natural selection.


As Queen Mary 2 prepared to cross the line en route to Bali, a declaration was made on board that all individuals crossing the equator for the first time would be ordered to commemerate the occasion. By order of King Neptune, first timers, known as Pollywogs are obliged to seek permission to be allowed to make the crossing of his kingdom and thereafter be nicknamed Shellbacks. All Pollywogs must Kiss the Fish .



Do not be fooled into thinking this is any kind of regal, formal ceremony. On the contrary, it is a deliberately messy business carried out by subjects of King Neptune who delight in covering the newbies in left-overs from the kitchens, primarily cold spaghetti. runny custard and sloppy baked beans.


Pollywogs are led into the public arena of the outdoor swimming pool, where jeering crowds gather, and a New Orleans band plays a slow march. Those who do not know what is about to happen to them , are advised to wear as little as possible.


Clothing, hair, body and the decks will end up covered in slippery foodstuffs. Offering credibility to the ancient ceremony, Captain Hall, who admits he was initiated many years ago, confirms a litany of crimes as a long haired, long-robed Judge, King Neptune decides the fate of the Pollywogs. Some have been guilty of saving theatre seats, others have eaten the buffet dry, leaving no food for other travellers. No one escapes the wrath of King Neptune. Ladies, men, young, old.



The more mess created the better before he gives the order to throw them in the deep, the better. That is Deck 8 swimming pool, not the ocean.


The afternoon heated up and as his wig became more dishevelled, Entertainment Director Neil Kelly could be spied peeking out from under the wig and brandishing his Triton. The mood turned ugly when white uniformed officers were marshalled in and accused of all manner of crimes against the sea and the passengers. King Neptune became excited and the packed pool area erupted with cheers of enthusiasm.


He loudly declared them all “Guilty”. White uniforms covered in baked beans, green noodles with custard sticking to their hair, squelched across the deck. The officers made their way to the pool where all manner of food stuffs floated and swam and dived in.


King Neptune led out his followers and the marching band brought the ceremony to a close. But, beware. King Neptune will insist on doing it all over again when we return and cross the equator from South to North. If anyone asks, to avoid a horrible fate, tell them you are a Shellback.


* * * * *


Back onboard the mother ship ... The Journey continues... Ellen



NEXT PORT OF CALL

Benoa, Bali - Indonesia

 

Current position of Queen Mary 2: Under way from Singapore to Bali

  • Departure was 1 d 23 hrs 15 min ago. (at 23:59 h local time)

  • Arrival will be in 8 hrs 46 min. (at 08:00 h local time)

  • Traveled distance since Singapore: 868.36 nm (1,608.19 km)

  • Remaining distance to Bali: 155.40 nm (287.81 km)

  • Course: 158°






NEXT PORT - BALI, INDONESIA

26 February 2023

 

Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)

"QUEENS ROOM"


Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.


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