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|Queen Elizabeth 2 - 2007
Silver Jubilee World Cruise - Hong Kong to UK
We joined QE2 in Hong Kong after a five day stay on our way back from New Zealand. The time in New Zealand and Hong Kong are covered in separate pages. This time we had the chance to watch her come in and moor, it was a very hazy morning and we got some interesting pictures as she emerged out of the mist and was shepherded into her berth by four tugs. She was in port for two days and we were due to join on the afternoon of the second day but we were so close in our hotel that we could wheel our suitcases down in the morning before we checked out and just carry valuables and hand luggage in the afternoon. We had met up with a college friend so as soon as we had gone through the formalities we went ashore again rather than head for the 'Tea Ceremony' and only returned in time for the mandatory lifeboat drill.
We usually book an inside cabin on QE2; we prefer to have longer and more frequent holidays in comparatively less luxury. For this trip we had only a guarantee of at least an inside cabin; the allocation of the cabin number was only made at embarkation although we had mentioned a preference for one of the larger inside cabins, on 5 Deck. We expected to eat in the Mauretania restaurant and we always prefer to have a table for 2 in the restaurant . This is our fourteenth cruise with Cunard and as Cunard World Club Platinum card holders we had in theory priority at check-in. In Hong Kong it was difficult to find the check in point, and we left our suitcases with the security officers in the morning because we had to get out of our hotel room at midday. We arrived at the embarkation point to find that we had to go elsewhere to get our ID card and to do the rest of the paperwork. Fortunately our two suitcases had made their way down to our cabin. We saw several staff we knew from previous trips, who greeted us.
We found when we checked in that we had been upgraded from an M4 to an M1 cabin on 4 deck (4258). Every cabin on the QE2 is different and this time we had booked so early to get a good deal that we had not been able to specify an actual cabin which has advantages and disadvantages - the advantage is that you are perhaps more likely to get upgraded and the disadvantage is that some cabins are more desirable than others at the same grade. Our upgrade gave us an outside cabin with a porthole on a higher deck, deck 5 has watertight doors which are closed for drills and when entering port so you have to make sure you use the correct staircase.
Our cabin was right at the back which is good in principle but was a bit noisy as we were over the propellers and rudder so there was considerable noise and shaking when she changed course - in practice we found we slept through everything and it was right next to H stairway leading to the Pavilion where we could get coffee (or hot water for making our own) before going to the Gym in the mornings. We should perhaps explain about upgrades - they are far from guaranteed although some packages such as those for anniversaries and events such as Birthdays may trip them. We are also Platinum Card holders because we have done many cruises with Cunard which helps in the same way as a gold frequent flier card does with airlines when the final allocations are carried out. We also suspect that being an individual booking helps, one can imagine what would happen if one couple from a bulk booking was upgraded in a German tour group!
We were booked for second sitting dinner as we were still in the Mauritania restaurant. Last time we were upgraded into the Caronia Restaurant which is open sitting which has advantages and disadvantages, the basic menu is the same but the service is slightly different, for example, you get your lemons squeezed for you and more dishes are 'silver service'. The downside is that service is slower, and that you always have to sit at "your" table so cannot move around and meet new people or get away from seats with too much sunshine. We rather like the atmosphere in the Mauritania and the Maitre D', Jamie has always looked after us very well and had seen us on the list and had again allocated us one of the table for two next to a window under his eye and, as we were to find later, some of the best waiters on the ship, Lloyd ably assisted by Tatiana.
The next day was at sea and we started as we intended to continue with a session in the Gym. The Gym is well equipped and it it is very easy to put on weight with the quality and quantity of food on board - we once worked out it was possible to get to 28 courses without cheating and having a buffet and sit down meal! It is known for people who are on their first cruise to end up putting on a pound a day. Pete aims to go down to the gym for an hour before breakfast on days when we are at sea and to burn about 2500 calories a week on the cross trainer and rowing machines as well as using the equipment and free weights. He still puts on weight but claims it must be muscle! Pauline has gathered up a sewing kit instead.
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. We have included a summary of our six weeks in New Zealand and the four days Hong Kong in the Navigation Bar at it was one continuous period away from home.
There is also 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 is being 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.
Finally 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.
We hope you will enjoy the write up and our pictures as much as we enjoyed the journey