Sunday, April 19, 2009

3rd day at sea -- frantically packing!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009 – the last normal morning onboard the Queen Victoria – we are at sea
Sunny and cloudy and cool – about 50 degrees – heading into the English Channel and passing other cruise ships headed to a UK port

Packed, packed and packed. What a mess. It is really quite depressing to try to pack and then to not have to room to pack it! We did end up buying a small duffel bag for the last minute items. I had hoped to get rid of my business box but that is not even an issue. It has to come along…Many, many people are buying additional suitcases or have already bought them along the way. The corridors are lined with cases. And they are collecting them all day long. Most cruises ask you to put them out after dinner. Here, they advise us to put them out as soon as they are ready. You can imagine an average of 8 cases per stateroom and there are over 1000 staterooms. Poor porters!!! We will hopefully not have to claim ours and they will automatically be delivered our stateroom on the Queen Mary 2.

We listened to the Concorde lecture “Concorde Experience Reminisces and Antecdotes”.
British Air had seven aircraft and Air France has five. They flew two times a day from London to JFK/New York. They even flew an around-the-world trip for $35,000 per person for 28-day trip. Cunard and Concorde had a special association and offered promotions to cruise one way and fly home supersonic one way. It took three hours and fifteen minutes for the one way London – New York flight. They flew 2.25 faster than a 747 airplane. Concorde pioneered the “lounge” for pre-departure. You could even visit the flight deck and they had an additional officer onboard to answer your questions so you did not disturb the Captain and First Officer. SXXXXXXX The plane was very narrow and tiny. It was rounded and there was little leg room. They used 250,000 horsepower for take-off and it took 52 seconds to reach the level of noise abatement. When leaving NY, when they passed Nantucket, they could go to Mach 2 and were about 50-59,000 feet about the Atlantic. Canapes, wines, Dom Perignon, three choices for an entrée including lobster, and dessert, cheese and a box of Concorde chocolates were included. They passed out certificates “you flew supersonic” on ___ date. At certain times of the year, you could see two sunrises on one flight! They even flew charters from the UK for 1.5 hours and reached Mach 2 for about 4 minutes. Sometimes they flew transplant organs from NY to London. They would put a flight certificate in the organ box signed by the Captain and crew stating, “This organ has flown supersonically to reach you. We wish you a long life.”

We enjoyed our last dinner in the restaurant and we were all there at the table. Some times one or two of our six were missing. It was nice meal. We said many goodbyes all day and shared gifts and hugs and many tears.
Entertainment was the best yet! Petrina Johnson, a vocalist from the West End, and Adrian Walsh, an Irish comedian. Both were superb and I sat and cried (from joy and sadness) for this last great show in this wonderful theatre. It is absolutely gorgeous with the maroon colors and fantastic lighting and box seats…it is a gorgeous venue for any entertainer.

I kept looking out at the sea as we packed. It won’t be there much longer. In less than a week, we will be home. No more waves crashing and no more ships sailing by. No more ship’s whistle at noon and no more “eat when you want and what you want”. No more late nights working in the Commodore Lounge listening to live piano music. It has been a fabulous voyage; just fabulous.

Tomorrow, we are expecting an easy transfer from the Queen Victoria to the Queen Mary 2. We have 28 of our group continuing on with us and will have another cocktail party! Surprise!

OK – back to packing. They have to be out in less than two hours and the internet center closes in an hour….