|18/10/2015||Southampton||-||On board just after noon!|
|20/10/2015||Hamburg||Snapshot of Hamburg||Organ recital in St.Michael's|
|22/10/2015||Southampton||-||Home by 9 am!|
This voyage was my third visit to Hamburg and my third voyage (we mustn't call them cruises!) on the lovely Queen Mary 2. I had an easy journey to the ship, given that the railway was closed for engineering work. I left home just before 9 am in one of Warren's Streamline taxis. I then caught the 9:50 National Express coach to Southampton. When I got there, I phoned for another taxi which arrived immediately and there were no queues to get into the Ocean Terminal. So I was on board Queen Mary 2 just after noon! Having eaten my sandwich in the departure lounge, I only had some chowder soup for lunch and then slept for a couple of hours. After the safety drill, we met up with social hostess Imogen for a briefing. She told us we no longer had to go to the sailaways, the deck parties nor the recorded music dance sessions! Our only commitments were the solos coffee mornings (and there only two out of the six of us were needed), the pre-lunch ballroom dance classes and the evening sessions after 9:45 pm. This meant I could have my siesta straight after lunch and see the show in the evening!
I dined in the buffet on lovely rib-eye steak at 6 pm,
before watching the sailaway down the Solent with a pink sunset, whilst sitting on a wooden steamer lounger.
Back in the stateroom (we mustn't call them cabins!), I met my room mate Peter Bernardo,
who I had sailed with on the Queen Victoria in 2010.
I then began writing this blog.
At 7:45 I went to the recorded strict tempo music session in the lovely Queen's Room, but there were no single ladies present.
At 8:45 I saw the Overtures show in the Royal Court Theatre.
This was a loud, five piece band playing 60s hit music.
At 9:45 I went back to the Queen's Room for the main Ballroom & Latin dance music sessions with the resident orchestra.
There were few good dancers present, with the exception of Julie from Winchester.
The band finished at midnight and after a snack of Tandoori chicken and a small hamburger with no bread, I went to bed.
I slept for nearly eight hours and it was only when I went outside that I realised it was 9:30 am, as we had lost an hour overnight. I had the full English breakfast in the King's Court buffet, before listening to Maureen's lecture on the original Queen's Mary and Elizabeth ships at 10 am. I remember when she was the social hostess on the two times when I went on the QE2 as a paying passenger! At 11 am I went to Claire's line dance class. She taught Elvira, Achy Breaky Heart & Boot Scootin' Boogie. The former was just four grapevines, so even easier and slightly shorter than the Electric Slide! At 12:15 pm I attended the Ukrainian couple's cha cha class. They taught the basics, underarm turns, New York checks and spot turns. I danced with Debs from South Croydon.
I lunched on a minute steak, before sleeping for over an hour. I then swam and jacuzzied for an hour in the glass house, before updating this blog. I did three laps (one mile) around the ship in order to work up an appetite for dinner. At 6 pm I dined in the Britannia Restaurant for the first and only time with Di & her husband from Boston, Lincs., Jill & her husband from near Gatwick and Shirley & her husband also from Boston. I had the prime rib of beef as usual. At 8:45 I went to the Singers in Concert show with the combined orchestras. I particularly enjoyed the Neil Sedaka and Dusty Springfield tribute medleys! At 9:45 we had a party night with the Caribbean band in the Queen's room. Unfortunately I had neglected to pack my party shirt so I wore my union jack bow tie, although I had packed my dinner suit which wasn't ever needed! Luckily I found partners for nearly every dance so I didn't have to indulge in any disco dancing at all. I spoke to Jo Haley the entertainment director and reminded her that we had last worked together on the Titanic Memorial Cruise on board the Balmoral in 2012! The band finished at midnight and after a frankfurter and hamburger (both without bread) in the buffet, I went to bed.
Queen Mary 2
I set my alarms for 7:30 but my colleague was up at 6:30 am. We were berthed miles out of the city at the new deep water cruise terminal Steinwerder next to a container port. In the morning I escorted the Snapshot of Hamburg tour. We began with a photo-stop by St. Catharine's church, where two passengers immediately lit up, so we had to wait for them to finish their cigarettes! Our next stop was outside the City Hall. I managed to use the free BTOpenZone wi-fi outside the Starbucks café. I had a couple of emails to reply to, but not long enough time to do them. Our final stop was at St. Michael's church where we had a fifteen minute organ recital. We also popped across the road to the famous Kramer Amtsstuben almshouses.
Back at the ship I lunched on smoked salmon salad with french fries with my cabinmate Peter. I then lay down for an hour, before catching the 3:15 pm complimentary shuttle bus back into the city. The journey from the new deep water terminal took 20 minutes via the Elbe bridges. I went into the City Hall to get a map and enquire about free wi-fi and they suggested outside Starbucks, so I went back there again to answer my emails. I walked along Monk Mountain street (Mönckebergstraße) and Hospital street (Spitalerstraße) with their big department stores all the way to the main railway station. Here I went in the main tourist information office, before walking back into the city centre. Finally I visited the huge Europa Passage shopping mall, before catching the 5 pm shuttle bus back to the ship.
Since it was another turnaround day, I wasn't allowed to eat in the Britannia resturant, so I had the roast beef in the King's Court buffet instead.
After reading in the library, I listened to Maria King's excellent piano show in the Royal Court theatre at 7:45 pm.
However, I had to slip out towards the end in order to get to the 8:30 dance set in the Queen's room.
This was very sparse with most people outside watching the sailaway down the Elbe.
I did meet one good dancer in the shape of Ann from New Mexico.
At 9:30 we all went outside to watch the Airbus Factory's fireworks to celebrate the fifieth visit of QM2 to Hamburg.
Back in the Queen's room we danced with Ann, Julie and one good German dancer and a few terrible ones!
Having started earlier than normal, the dancing finished at 11:30 and I went to bed at midnight, after eating a frankfurter and a small roll.
Up at 7:30 am, I quickly went through UK passport control where the Border Agent knew Richard Osman proprietor of the Seabreeze dance agency. I breakfasted on the full English, before updating this blog and my fifty Hamburg photographs from the previous day. Again I was not needed for the Solos coffee morning with John and the other Martin holding the fort. At 11 am I chose to go to Derek's interesting YouTube lecture rather than the line dancing class. Afterwards I spoke to him about the copyright of clips we have downloaded and he told me about the "News Access" and educational dispensations. I then told him about the recent case where a cruise line had been sued for copyright infringement by a guest lecturer!
At 12:15 we had the ballroom waltz class where I danced with Sandra. I then lunched on roast lamb with Caroline and her friend from Manchester, before sleeping for an hour and a half. At 3:30 I went to Seth Gopin's interesting lecture on English architecture. I then swam and jacuzzied in the indoor pool for an hour. After doing my laundry in the free launderette on deck 11, I had a rib-eye steak in the buffet. At 7 pm I saw the Crazy in Love production show in the Royal Court theatre. I then worked on this blog and did my packing. At 10 pm we had the Big Band Ball, but not wearing formal attire. The ball finished at midnight and after shrimp salad and chips I went to bed.
Queen Mary 2
We berthed in Southampton at 6:30 am and after another full English breakfast, I was off the ship by 7:10 and home by 9 am! The big bonus for me was investigating the brand new, deep water cruise terminal in Hamburg, which entailed updating my port talk accordingly. Having booked this cruise, another of my agents offered me Dubrovnik to Barcelona on Voyages of Discovery's Voyager as the destinations lecturer. However I was already committed and had to turn it down!
The Queen Mary 2 is an enormous ship but there were too few dancers for the six of us. The ballroom is huge, but not quite as impressive as those on Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. I still can't get to grips with her strange layout of mezzanine decks (e.g. 3L) which involved odd staircases and ramps when going from one end to the other. The King's Court buffet restaurant was peculiarly strung out, so you had to walk a long way to inspect four or five different serveries before deciding what to eat. My biggest gripe however, was dancing in jackets which were hot and sweaty after doing so many jives, quicksteps and cha chas. Overall a very impressive ocean liner!
4 Evening dance sessions enjoyed 2 Ballroom dance classes attended 1 PowerPoint presentation updated 1 Line dance class attended 1 Tour escorted