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Queen Elizabeth 2 - 2006
Southern Delights - Overview and Anniversary

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Our "Southern Delights" cruise on the Queen Elizabeth 2 from Southampton took us took us on a Southerly route across the Atlantic, via the Azores which were new to us, then to the Everglades in Florida. It was then on to New Orleans before heading South to Cozumel in Mexico and Cristobal in Panama at the entry to the Panama Canal. We then stopped at the ancient port and walled town of Cartagena before heading back through the Caribbean with our first stop at Curacao complete with colourful houses reminiscent of Amsterdam, only much warmer. It was then familiar ground with stops at Grenada and Barbados before the return back across the Atlantic to Madeira, another favourite, and then through the Bay of Biscay back to Southampton - a total trip of 28 days.

Usually we book an inside cabin on QE2; we prefer to have longer and more frequent holidays in comparatively less luxury. For this trip we had chosen one of the larger inside cabins, on 5 Deck and had expected to eat in the Mauretania restaurant. This is our thirteenth cruise with Cunard and as Cunard World Club Platinum card holders we had priority at check-in. There we found a pleasant surprise waiting for us, we had been upgraded to a cabin on 3 deck and to the Caronia Restaurant. This was totally unexpected as we had already had a small upgrade as we had already benefited from a special offer because it was close to our wedding anniversary. We also found a bottle of cold sparkling wine waiting to welcome us in the cabin as platinum club members and, for our anniversary, a bottle of real champaigne and a lovely vase of flowers including an orchid which is still looking beautiful as I start to write this page a fortnight into the trip.

We always prefer to have a table for 2 in the restaurant and it was with some nervousness that we sat down the first evening at a table for 6 people. We had been told our table number, and it looked like a table for 2, next to another table for 2, but because the ship was full they had been combined to make a table for 6 people. We quickly made 4 new friends, and decided to stay put. The Assistant Maitre D'   Ismail in the restaurant was another old 'friend' completing the excellent service. When he realised it had just been our anniversary he insisted on providing a big cake for our table to which we added the bottle of champagne. We found that the entertainment in the Grand Lounge had improved, the meals were as good or better than ever and the service has been even better than usual with outstandingly attentive waiters and the sort of service from our cabin stewardess, Donna, that sets ones mind to kidnapping. The pitures below show the standard of a normal dinner, nothing special was laid on other than the cake.

We have also travelled with the Master, Captain Ian McNaught, when he was Staff Captain and it was nice to be instantly recognised at his opening cocktail party without even having to be introduced by Maureen, yet another familiar face. The ship has so many long serving staff like Maureen who joined Cunard before we even started at University, and there are many passengers who started on the original Queens that at times it seems like being present at a family gathering and everyone speaks of getting home when they return aboard after a trip. It is such small touches which differentiate the Queen Elizabeth 2 and keep us coming back - it is nice to be recognised and greeted by name when you come onboard and staff who have been on previous journeys with us inevitably come across to talk.

Using the same style as previous journeys, the write-up is in several parts with navigation bars at top and bottom of each page allowing you to move from page to page.

Firstly there is a comprehensive introduction to cruising on the QE2 writen by Peter - this may be skipped if you have read about our previous experiences. It has however been updated to include details and cameos of life on board from this journey. That is where you will find information and pictures of everything from Gala dinners to ice carving, and tug of wars to crossing the line. This is common to several years cruising so use the links at top and bottom to return to this cruise.

Secondly there are a number of sections based round the ports, listed in the order in which they were visited. They make comprehensive use of the photographs we took - a picture is worth a thousand words. All the pictures on the pages provide details of where they were taken if you hover the cursor over them and they can all be clicked to open a larger version in a popup window. The popup windows are reused and then closed up when you leave the page so you do not need to close them. Our digital pictures (from 2004) are in two resolutions and the initial size depends on your screen size. You can chose the small size if you have a slow internet connection or want to restrict data flow on a mobile connection. Click here for high detail popup images and click here for lower resolution images. You can also toggle the resolution by double-clicking an image but it may take an extra click to display the picture in the new size on some browsers. With some systems you may be asked to if you wish to allow popup windows as a protection against adverts. More

We hope you will enjoy the write up and our pictures as much as we enjoyed the journey

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