The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June 3, The Queen Mary 2 to New York City

Wednesday, June 3 - Day 119 - The Queen Mary 2 to New York City 

During the night we continued up the channel to New York City after taking on our pilot. WOW, 4:00AM comes awfully early! Why, you may ask. are we up so early....well, to see the QM2 pass under the Verazano Narrows Bridge with only 14 feet to spare and enter New York Harbor!

We are really dragging, but we make it onto the Observation Deck on 11 in time to watch passing under the bridge about even looks tight! As we turn the corner into the harbor, we see beautiful New York City all dressed in its night lights! It is quite a sight, spanning more than 180 degrees from Staten Island, the commercial docks, up the Hudson River with its bridges, sparkling Manhattan Island with the bright beacon that is the new World Trade Center building, the East River with the Brooklyn Bridge and finally Brooklyn with just the tiniest hint of a golden red sunrise. We stay out on deck nearly an hour....what a fabulous scene! Sunrise over New York City!

Back in the room we warm up; it was a bit airish out on the open deck. Breakfast is from 6:30 to 8AM this morning and we are there about a 6:45AM with the rest of the Queens Grill passengers. Service, needless to say, runs a little slow, but that is OK as we can’t leave the ship until around 8:15AM or later.

The Captain comes on the PA at 7AM and welcomes us to New York and tells us the ship is cleared and the self service passengers can now leave. After we finish eating, we go back to the room and get our cameras for one more round of photos from Deck Eleven. At the terminal entrance, there is a long line of people waiting for taxis and not a taxi in sight! We stand and watch for a few minutes and see three taxis show up...getting away from the terminal is going to take forever at this rate.

About 8:20 we head on down to the gangway (that was the time we were suppose to be able to leave). We don’t like going to the Lounge because it is just that much more hassle with the luggage. So we just wait in the room until the printed time, which so far for Queens Grill has been earlier than the vacate time for the room.

In the lobby, there is a huge line trying to far they have only called the self service and Queens Grill passengers and it is already a zoo! Lots of people handling their own luggage on this cruise. In the terminal it is even worse. We have a bit of a hassle finding our bags and getting a porter. Once that is done, he gets us in a line for immigration and we think we will be there for an hour or more, there are so many ahead of us. Wrong...there is a separate line with two officers for those of us with porters and we move right along. The officer checks our passports and takes our customs card and we are done, the porter takes us to the Taxi line and suggests we use a fixed price limo for $41 as it will be much faster. We agree and are number two in that line while there are at least 40 people waiting for the regular taxis which are still coming very, very slowly, one every 2 to 3 minutes. By 9:15 we are on our way to the hotel! Worth every penny of the $41 dollars for the private hire.

We get to the to the Wall Street Inn just before 10AM and find our room is actually ready...wonderful! This is a nice little hotel just off Wall Street near the Battery. We are pleased with what we see. It is nicely appointed and seems to be in a very "happening" area.

Carolyn gets the luggage stowed and things in the room set up for our two day stay. We check email and reserve our ticket for the 9/11 Memorial for 11AM tomorrow. By now it is after 11:00, the sun is out and we are hungry! Dick’s knee is really hurting him after dealing with the luggage. Carolyn’s are achy and stiff from the cold, damp morning air, so we decide to find lunch and take a feel better pill. There is a pedestrian street right behind the hotel that is packed full of eateries of every kind, We chose a crepery that is connected to a restaurant and have a delightful, filling lunch.

Food and painkillers improve our mood, so we decide to walk over to the Battery and catch the Staten Island Ferry for a nice view of the Harbor and the Queen Mary 2 on this sunny afternoon. It is probably the best harbor ride outside of the Star Ferry in Hong Kong and it is free! It takes about an hour and a half to do the round trip and we enjoy the views and the people watching! After that we walk around looking at the neat mix of old and new buildings in New York's lower end. Some of the old buildings have mid=1800s dates on them and one date to the time of the Revolution.

By 4PM we are done in and limp back to the hotel. Carolyn gets cleaned up while Dick goes back over to the food area behind the hotel and gets us pizza for dinner. By 6:30PM we are fed, medicated and ready for bed. Four AM is way too early to get up!!! Hopefully a good, long, nights sleep will improve our knees. We have several things we want to do tomorrow.

June 2, The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Tuesday, June 2 - Day 118 - The Queen Mary 2 at Sea 

Sunrise is a little after 6AM. We continued our westerly course toward Nantucket over night. Crossing onto the North American Continental shelf this morning, we are now sailing over the Georges Banks. This is an area of shallow water ranging from 300 meters to 125 meters in depth. About 11:30AM we pass100 nautical miles off Nantucket and turn more southerly and enter the traffic separation scheme for our entrance into New York Harbor.

We wake to another sunny day, a bit breezy but calm blue seas. We have our usual breakfast, boy is Carolyn going to miss the eggs Benedict, but Dick is looking forward to his good cup of coffee!

Levine is doing his last talk on the airmen of WWI this morning. So we go early to be sure to get a seat. Again it is very good...Carolyn is not much on war history, but he really makes it come alive. We enjoy this lecture as much as the others.

Last night, as we went in the dining room, one of the photographers had set up a plain back drop for pictures. No one was there so we had him take a set since we were all dressed up. They are ready now, so we go check on them. There is one that we both like and we still have a few dollars of "on board credit" we need to use or lose plus the photographer had given us a coupon for a free B&W copy. So we get the color picture and order the B&W, which will be delivered to the room later tonight.

Now it is lunch time! Off we go to the dining room and have soup and a cheddar cheese and walnut tart, a very tasty lunch.

There are a couple of things on the afternoon agenda that Carolyn wants to do, but Dick’s knee is still dragging him down hurting. We did get planetarium show tickets for 2PM so we go to that, but it was really a disappointment and not worth the time! Dick goes back to the room and Carolyn goes to hear the last of Miller’s talk on New York City Harbor. It is as good as the earlier talks and is most informative about what we will see in the morning if we get up early!

Finally, back in the cabin at 4:30PM, Carolyn finishes the book she has been reading and Dick plays on the computer until dinner time. Book finished, Carolyn has put off packing until it has to be done! This is the worst part of a cruise! She spends the next hour getting most everything out on the bed and into one of the bags. Since Dick has to wear a jacket to diner, she can’t finish so we head to the dining room. Everyone is there tonight. We order a Caesar salad and the rack of lamb. It is delicious as usual. We then have another Brandy Alexander for dessert! After a nice visit with the tables around us and saying good bye, we head back to the room so Carolyn can finish packing. Dick gets the bags out around 10:30PM and goes to bed. Carolyn stays up doing some last minute little things before turning the lights out.

We have set the alarm for 4:00AM so we can watch the sail into New York City.

June 1, The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Monday, June 1 - Day 117 - The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Early this morning about 1:30AM we passed 40 nautical miles south of the resting place of the famous White Star liner, RMS Titanic, which lies in position 41degrees 44'N by 049 degrees 56'W. Our course was then altered to the West which we will continue on the rest of the day. We rounded the outer boundary of the ice limit late last night. We are some 300 miles farther south than the usual crossing track around Newfoundland’s Great Banks due to the unusually long reaches of the ice at this time of the year. Hence we are enjoying the effects of the warming Gulf Current with sunny days and very blue, calm seas. Thank you!

Sunrise is at 6:08AM. Dick is up around 7AM and goes to the Kings Court to fill his coffee mug with hot chocolate.  He has given up on finding good coffee! The Coffee Bar’s coffee is terrible on this cruise and was bad on the Cape Town run also. However, the Coffee Bar on the Queen Elizabeth had someone who knew how to make good coffee so Dick got his morning mug filled there every day. He can’t wait to get home and have a really good strong cup of coffee in the morning!

We have our usual good breakfast, then Carolyn goes by the Concierge to get tickets for the Planetarium Show tomorrow. We didn’t do this coming up from Cape Town, thinking we would have plenty of chances on the crossing, but there have been so many good speakers this time, we haven’t had a chance.

Next she goes to another of Bill Millers talks "Getting There was Half the Fun" at 10AM. Dick goes on back to the cabin and reads. There is a talk by the food speaker, John Mariani, at 11AM on "Bites from the Big Apple", but we decide to wait and watch it after 5PM this afternoon since we didn’t much care for his first talk...he really rambles...but maybe he will gives us some ideas for Italian in New York City.

Carolyn has a Panini in the room and Dick goes to the dining for some mushroom soup. Then we enjoy the nice afternoon. At 2PM Carolyn goes to see the RADA production "Romeo and Juliet". It is done in an modern setting and is an interesting take on the original play.

We spend the rest of the afternoon reading. It is the last formal night. Dressed we go to dinner about 7PM and stop to have another picture taken just outside the restaurant doors. Dick has a salmon appetizer and a version of Dover sole. Carolyn has another Caesar salad and grilled lobster. For dessert we indulge ourselves with Brandy Alexanders made with ice cream like we do at home instead of ice and cream!

After a walk on the deck, sunset isn’t until 9:26PM so the sun is still high in the shy, we go back to the room. Just one more full day!


May 31, The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Sunday, May 31 - Day 116 - The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Early this morning we completed our great circle track across the Atlantic Ocean and settled into a westerly course towards New York City. Tomorrow we will pass near the resting place of the Titanic.

Sun rise today is at 5:21AM. We miss it big time as Carolyn wakes about 8:45AM to find...surprise...Dick still sound asleep. She gets up and dresses and Dick opens his eyes at 9AM. We make it to breakfast just before the dining room closes at 9:30. Our waiter has learned what we eat and asks if we are having the usual, we say yes. The service was a bit sketchy the first day or so, but has settled into the almost perfect service we had on the Cape Town to Southampton run.

The Captain’s church service is at 10AM in the Royal Court Theater. It is well attended and we sing one of our all time favorite hymns, How Great Thou Art. Hard to believe next Sunday we will be back in our own church!

At 11AM we go to hear an interview with celebrity Christopher Biggins in Illuminations. He is a British actor and TV presenter. We don’t know any thing he has been in, but he happens to be sitting very near us in the dining room. He is very friendly with a great booming laugh! Then we stay for Joshua Levines 11:15 talk on "The Blitz, September 7, 1940." He is filling the house and by 11:05 there is not a seat in the room, people are standing and sitting on the steps to hear him. He is an excellent speaker and his photos and videos are great!

It has been a busy morning so we retire to the room and order the California burgers...hamburger with all the trimmings..bacon, avocados etc, from the Queens Grill menu. They are not too big, but delicious!

Dick decides to take a nap, his knee is better, but still bothering him some. Carolyn goes to see the screening of "Mr Ocean Liner, the Life and Times of Bill Miller". He is the lecturer on ocean liners and she has really enjoyed his talks.

Back in the room she finds Dick sound asleep. Since her knees are feeling much better, she decides to explore the top decks a little since she has yet to do this. It is a very pretty afternoon, but still really windy so deck 13 and 14 are closed still. Eleven is open and there are a few people walking and playing some of the deck games. She finds the kennels and watches the people interact with their pets. There are 5 dogs and their people out this afternoon. It is had to imagine bring your pet on a ocean voyage!

It is informal tonight and we go early as we are hungry. The dining room is very empty and we get a chance to talk to some of the staff as they check on us. We both have Caesar salad and the tempura shrimp as our main. This is a favorite of Carolyn’s. We finish off our bottle of white wine from yesterday and it goes very well with the shrimp dish. Dick has key lime pie and Carolyn has the chocolate volcano for dessert. As we are leaving the people sitting on either side of us are just coming in.

The sun is low in the sky and casting a very nice glow on the promenade deck so we decide to walk a little. While we are watching the sun set several whales go cruising past the ship. Carolyn saw a pod of dolphin off our balcony while we were dressing earlier. We stroll back to our cabin, get ready for bed and read awhile. It has been a pleasant Sunday at sea.

May 30, The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Saturday, May 30 - Day 115 - The Queen Mary 2 at Sea

Sunrise is at 4:25 and it is a very messy morning. Dick is up and has been up about an hour. He was over served last night and has not slept well. He does manage a little more sleep from about 5 to 7AM. All the extra hours sleep...3 hours now...are messing up Carolyn also as she wakes up about 7! We read and mess on the computer for awhile then go to breakfast. Not too many people are out and about yet as it is windy and misty.

Today we continue on the great circle track taking us South of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and the wreck of the Titanic. Later today we will sail over some of the deepest sections of the Atlantic Ocean with soundings in this area of over 4500 meters or 2.5 miles. Later this evening we will pass over the Flemish Cap, a shallow of about 102 meters in the otherwise 3.500 meter deep ocean floor.

There is a ship wide drill at 10 which last about an hour. Most services are on hold and there is no formal entertainment until 11:15 when the lectures start. Carolyn goes to hear Bill Miller lecture on" Martine Royalty: Britain’s Queens of the Atlantic". She enjoys stuff on the Queens, but Dick gives it a pass. He does join her at noon for Robert Marshall’s talk "History of the Newsreels from Edison to D-Day". The title sounds rather dry but we are pulled into the topic because his grandfather was a WWII reporter and Robert will show some of his grandfather’s rarely seen personal color footage of Normandy and the liberation of Paris. Dick wants to see if it is new to him as he eats this stuff up. It is a good talk and the video clips and stills are all good. Dick hadn’t seen very little of the footage before. The CD of all the footage is for sale in the Bookstore so Dick buy’s it and get Robert to sign the container.

Back in the room we are lazy most of the afternoon reading and playing on the computer. Carolyn orders a turkey sandwich from the dinning room menu and Dick goes for a walk and grabs an ice cream from the Kings Court. By 2:30PM the sun is out with small white caps. The TV channel tells us the seas are moderate...but to us it is still smooth sailing. Carolyn goes to tea for the first time since we were on the Queen Elizabeth back in February. She doesn’t need any more food, but wanted to see the Queens Room and see the difference in the two ship’s service. The Queen Mary II’s tea is a little nicer mainly because the room is not part of a main passage way and is a lot quieter. The music was more easily heard and enjoyed.

Time to get ready for dinner, the early morning is catching up with us. We both have a Caesar salad, Dick has rack of pork chops with New York cheesecake and Carolyn has a grilled steak and a lemon bread pudding with a bottle of wine. We actually have a nice sunset about 8:20, but we are still in the dining room and Carolyn doesn’t have her camera. Maybe we will have another one tomorrow night. On the way back to the room we stop by the photo shop and pick out some pictures from last night and then head to bed.