Days 15 - 21: Cunard QE2 Southampton - New York

Day 15 started at the Sheraton Skyline at Heathrow and continued with a much more complicated than necessary process to get to my London to Southampton bus transfer to get to the QE2. Simply put, a very round about trip around and through Heathrow airport could have been avoided if Cunard had only told me that the meeting location was 2 or 3 hotels closer to the airport than the one I was staying in. It would have been a 5 or 10 minute walk instead of an hour of busses, underground trains and minibuses. This problem out of the way everything went fine from then on.

We left London at about 11:30 am heading to Southampton by motor coach for a trip that takes about 90 minutes. After arrival you check in and tickets are taken, digital photos taken and security checked and then you wait as boarding is an hour or two away. Your luggage is taken as soon as you arrive at the meeting place in London and you never see it again until you get to your cabin on the ship. Once on board one of the first things you are required to do is lifeboat drill. Just about this time the Air France Concorde was crashing in Paris. We sailed at 5:30 pm local time.

This is the QE2 Lounge at the QE2 Terminal on
the QE2 pier in Southampton harbour. The
biggest majority of this cruises 1837 passengers
at some point in time go through here.
This rather hazy image is the southern tip of the
Isle of Wright. It takes over 3 hours to sail down
the Solent that is the entrance to Southampton
harbour and out into the English Channel where
we are here. The white dot is the flashing beacon
of a lighthouse.
This image shows the ships position on a handheld
Global Positioning System receiver at approx-
imately the same time as the picture above was
taken. It's about 9:30 pm British Summer Time.
The side to side range here is 100 nautical miles
(nm). The arrow shows current course. Island to
north is Wright, land to south is Gurnsey. In this
location we are just about due south of the dock
we started from. We went to the right or east of
the Isle of Wright and turned to starboard on to
the course you see here.
This picture was taken the same evening looking
west as sunset nears. We are still in the English
Channel at this time.

For the next 5 days we work our way across the North Atlantic. The course used is known as a great circle course. Once out of the English Channel a curved shaped course is followed going slightly north and then curving down to pass close to Cape Race Newfoundland. It is 3185 nm from harbour entrance to harbour entrance. (1 nm = 1.15 statute miles or approximately 6027 ft.) We actually pass the spot of the Titanic disaster about 100 nm to the north. We then sailed down the eastern coast of North America getting gradually closer to it until just off New York when we pick up a pilot and head into the harbour. The following are some images during the transit to just short of New York.

The morning of the first day.

This less than perfect view of the GPS unit
shows us as just south of Ireland. It was in this
approximate location that the emails were sent.
A general view of the Deck 1 pool area looking
forward from stern (rear) of the ship.
Another GPS view Greenland upper left. Line of
dots is course from 1999 cruise. Very similar.
One of the few sunsets we actually saw. On the
third night just below the clouds.

Sun even lower and disappearing rapidly.

Just a bit left. Completely set. Sequence of pictures took 3 min.
Exterior of QE2 looking from front to back or
for purists bow to stern.

The bow with the winches for the 2 anchors.

Another GPS image. Due south of Cape Race.
The Titanic is just a bit to southeast of this spot.

QE2 bridge and only forward facing view that
passengers have access to other than on TV.

The bow slicing through the waves.

The Starboard or right side looking from the bow.

Waves along side of the ship.

High view looking back.

Deck 1 pool from above.

The Queens Room. Most major functions during
cruises are held here.
A dark and wavey evening. Roughest of cruise. Approximate location of previous picture. This
TV GPS is linked to the ships navigation system.

No pictures were taken on the last full day at sea. Each day at noon the Captain would come on the P.A. system and talk about the last days speed, distance traveled, weather conditions current and upcoming, and what to expect the next day.On the last day he noted the times for the various important views as we sailed into New York harbour early the next morning. These include the Varizanno Narrows bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of Manhattan Island. These times were all in an hour long period starting at approximately 5:45 am on to about 6:45 docking a bit latter after that. As you'll see the views left something to be desired for getting up that early. To give you some idea of what it should have looked like I have included some still photos taken on my east bound cruise last year. The lighting is wrong as these were taken in the evening but you'll get the idea.

GPS view of the approach to the Verizanno
Narrows.

The bridge as we pass under it.

This is all we could see of it. Captain said he had
never not seen the top of the towers before.
Statue of Liberty. Where?? Just to the right of
the closest persons head.

This is the best we saw it that day.

What it looks like from 1999.

Manhattan island from ship July 2000.

Similar view (further upriver) from 1999. Left
picture is approximately the right 1/3rd of this
picture.

What could be seen on a good day.

Statue of Liberty on left, Staten island ferry in
between cranes, and Manahatten island on right.

We arrived at the dock a arround 7:30 am. I disembarked at about 8:15 and took a taxi to the Novotel. The cruise was quite uneventful and very relaxing which was the idea. The New York page starts later today and goes into tomorrow.

On to New York, Day 21 Return to Home Page.

Created: August 28th, 2000.
Last Updated: September 1st, 2000.