Queen Mary 2

Take a bow, and a captain

This photo of Captain Kevin Oprey standing on the bulbous bow of the Queen Mary 2 off the coast of Bali was taken to mark the ocean liner’s tenth anniversary in May. Photographer James Morgan said the photos took months in planning – and waiting for a calm sea. This photo and other breathtaking shots were first published in UK’s Daily Mail. The photographer was taking the photos for Cunard and it was his idea to set this up to celebrate the anniversary. She visited Australia in early March on her annual round the world trip. I really enjoyed my short trip on this ship and am looking forward to another Cunard voyage in the near future.

10 cruises I’d like to be on

A little touch of wishful thinking from yours truly as Sydney still struggles to cope with wearing woolies and waiting for summer days…
Not in any order…
1. Chilean ice fjords on Scorpios 2
2. Sailing on Star Clipper in the Andaman Sea
3. Round the world on Queen Mary 2
4. Northern Europe and Scandinavia on Europa
5. Cruising the Po River on River Cloud
6. Visiting Antarctica and Mawsons Hut on Orion
7. Sailing the Caribbean on Sea Dream I or Sea Dream II
8. Checking out the Panama Canal on Regent’s Voyager
9. Exploring Egypt and the Red Sea on Silversea’s Silver Whisper
10.River cruising into Russia on Viking Surkov
That’s one of the hazards of being a cruise agent (if you could call it that) there are so many exciting and interesting cruises just waiting to be enjoyed.

Sail the world on Cunard – and join royalty on Sydney Harbour 2011

If you scroll down the right hand side of this blog you will find the photos I took when we joined the throngs to see the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 berthed in Sydney Harbour. It was a warm summer dusk and we walked down to the ferry wharf at Kirribilli and caught the ferry across the harbour, planning when we arrived at Circular Quay to walk round to see the QM2 at Garden Island. But the crowds were too much for us. You could have walked from one side of the harbour to the other on the spectator craft around the Harbour Bridge – it was amazing that there were no serious collisions! and once we arrived at Circular Quay after our ferry inched its way past the QE2 there was no easy way through the crowds to the walk through the Botanic Gardens.
Cunard has announced that two Queens will once again arrive in Sydney when the Queen Elizabeth on her maiden visit to Australia in 2011 meets up with the QM2 in Sydney Harbour in 2011 on February 22. Queen Elizabeth will visit Fremantle on February 17 and Adelaide on February 20 on her way here.
New Yorkers will have the opportunity to see 3 Queens on these world voyages when QM2 and QE meet up with Queen Victoria on January 13, following a tandem Atlantic cross by Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.
There is a bonus for those who love to sail on Cunard. For the first time it will be possible to sail the world on the 3 Queens…

If you are interested in booking on the 2011 Cunard voyages – they go on sale on 2 July 2009 – contact us asap and let us know you are interested so we can make sure you get the booking you want. Email travel@travelchoice.com.au – or you can phone us 02 9968 1600.

Their gracious majesties: news on Cunard’s Three Queens!

The maiden voyage of Cunard’s new Queen Elizabeth 2 sold out in 29 minutes according to the blog of Alastair Greener, Cunard’s cruise director. That voyage will start in Southampton 12th October and take her to Portugal and the ports of Vigo, Lisbon and Cadiz, then to the exotic Gran Canaria. QE2’s next voyage takes passengers to the Mediterranean for 14 nights, and is then followed by an Agean Introduction in November.
So if you are interested in booking on this gracious new member of the ocean-going royal family or on the Queen Mary 2 or the Queen Victoria for 2010- 2011 it might be worth getting your skates on.
The 2010 itineraries go on sale Friday April 17.
On her World Cruise 2010, Queen Mary 2, whose visit to Sydney in February made the headlines, will sail from New York January 4, arriving in Sydney March 7 after passing through the Whitsundays and visiting Auckland and the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. She’ll then go on to Fremantle. There is a huge choice of segments bookable on this cruise.
Queen Victoria will commence her World Cruise 2010, sailing from Southampton, UK January 4 and arriving in Sydney February 19, after visiting many ports in the South Pacific.
Throughout the year, Queen Mary 2 will cruise the Atlantic – doing the Transatlantic crossing between Southampton, Cherbourg and Hamburg and New York 21 times, plus a number of Grand Voyages.
Queen Victoria will circumnavigate the British Isles and sail from Southampton to Iberia, Northern Europe, the Norwegian Fjords, the Mediterranean and the Baltic.
Contact me if you’d like to know more or would like a brochure.
(I took the photo above from the Pool Terrace, aft on Deck 8 of the QM2 when she was in Sydney Harbour 26th Feb this year.)
You can find out first hand what is happening on the Cunard ships on Alastair’s Greener’s entertaining blog.

Queen Mary 2 – from those who’ve been onboard

Last night I was invited on a tour on board the Queen Mary 2 and to dinner on board afterwards. On the same day, Biba, our cruise consultant at the Mosman Cruise Centre, disembarked after travelling on board this grand lady for 3 weeks from Los Angeles. So we have lots to tell – and we will be updating this blog as we get more pictures and information.
For Biba, cruising on the Queen Mary 2, was a ”fantastic experience”. You can read her email below that was sent while she was on the voyage. We will put up some highlights of her trip in the next few days.
For us, last night, it was a quick trip around this floating mini-city, we simply didn’t have time to see very much in an hour and a half. The ship has the atmosphere of a grand old English hotel, like the Ritz. Highlights such as the real English red post box, outside the English pub, help to encourage the feeling that you are enjoying a little bit of England. Many years ago we spent a day on the original Queen Mary at her permanent mooring in Los Angeles. We visited the suites occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, marvelled at the size of the engine room and the pool in the depths of the ship, and enjoyed an English high tea – of sorts (the American idea of a pot of hot water and tea bag was unfortunately found even here).
At the moment the Queen Mary 2 is the world’s fastest ocean liner. Ocean liners are built to travel the world including crossing the North Atlantic – cruise ships are built to cruise in calmer waters and are not constructed with the same strength and stability of the ocean liners.

Last night we dined in the Todd English restaurant in the bow of the ship. Named after one of England’s first celebrity cooks, this restaurant has a cosy, comfortable atmosphere and the food was excellent. The entree was a goat’s cheese with salad and crouton, the mains were rack of baby lamb or yellow fin tuna served on a risotto and dessert was creme brulee. A selection of wine was served and we finished with coffee and petit fours. According to Biba the food was generally ‘excellent’. There are 10 restaurants on board, though not all passengers may eat at all the restaurants as the Queen’s Grill and the Princess Grill are for those paying for the top suites. However says Biba, this was not a problem.
I’ve downloaded an album of last night’s visit… and we’ll bring you more photos as they become available. The picture above is one of many on the walls of the QM2.
Bookings are being taken for next year’s QM2 trip to Australia – and you will be surprised at the prices, there are some great bargains to be had.
Contact me – martin@travelchoice.com.au or Biba – travel@travelchoice.com.au – for more information.

Queen Victoria, Queen Mary and the Crystal Serenity

Well dear readers, I was hoping to present you with some beautiful photos of the Queen Victoria docked at Sydney’s International Terminal, followed by the Dawn Princess sailing out of our beautiful harbour at night… but I need to brush up my photography skills.
So this week – the Queen Mary 2 will arrive in the Harbour on Thursday (bringing the lovely Biba back into the offices of the Mosman Cruise Centre) and the Crystal Serenity will follow on Saturday. I am thrilled to have been invited to visit both of these luxurious ladies of the sea and hope to do a better job of photography so I can present you with a slide show of them both.
If you’re out cruise spotting this week look for…

24th February

  • Rhapsody of the Seas in Sydney Harbour
  • Diamond Princess visits Melbourne for the day
  • Queen Victoria visits Adelaide for the day

25th February

  • Royal Princess arriving and leaving Sydney
  • Celebrity Millenium visits Melbourne for the day
  • Black Watch moors in Burnie, Tasmania for the day

26th February

  • The Queen Mary 2 arrives in Sydney, docking at Garden Island, and stays for a day
  • Saga Rose arrives in Sydney and berths at the International Cruise Terminal overnight
  • Rhapsody of the Seas visits Brisbane for the day
  • Black Watch visits Melbourne for the day
  • Diamond Princess goes to Hobart, Tasmania for the day

27th February

  • Aurora arrives in Brisbane and leaves same day
  • Royal Princess will also moor in Brisbane for the day
  • Volendam visits Burnie, Tasmania for the day
  • Athena goes to Fremantle for the day
  • Diamond Princess goes to Adelaide for the day

28th February

  • Millenium returns to Sydney and stays until March 2. She will moor at Athol Buoy
  • Crystal Serenity arrives in Sydney and stays at the Overseas Passenger Terminal until 1 March
  • Pacific Sun arrives in Brisbane and leaves same day
  • Volendam visits Melbourne for the day

1st March

  • Pacific Dawn arrives for the day in Sydney Harbour
  • Aurora also visits Sydney and stays overnight. She will moor at Point Piper Buoy then move to the Overseas Passenger Terminal
  • Saga Rose arrives in Brisbane for the day
  • Pacific Sun moors in Adelaide for the day

2nd March

  • Volendam arrives in Sydney and departs same day
  • Athena returns to Fremantle for the day

Phew! Busy time. If you’d like more information I’m always happy to oblige. Just email me, martin@travelchoice.com.au or phone me during office hours on 2 9968 1600

Message from the Queen Mary 2

I’m flat out without her so it was wonderful to get an email today from my consultant, Biba who is enjoying the pleasures of the Queen Mary 2 as it sails from Los Angeles to Sydney on its 2009 world voyage.
Biba writes:
“We are in ‘heaven’ and enjoying every single moment on the incredible one and only Queen Mary 2.
“A typical day consists of the following:

  • early morning walk round the 600M deck
  • 10 – 15 mins in the gym using the deluxe equipment
  • beginners’ bridge classes
  • lectures in the Royal Court Theatre
  • RADA workshops
  • games – backgammon, trivia etc
  • dance classes – tango/rumba etc.
  • volley ball/paddle tennis/pools + spa
  • afternoon French lessons (for me)
  • enjoying dinners whilst listening to the beautiful sounds of the harp ( the photo is of the Britannia Room)
  • Jazz Club or Caribbean Band VIBZ or Party DJ in G32.

Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are unbeatable, the cuisine outstanding, and the service is at all times very personal and attentive to the very last detail!”

Ahh – doesn’t it sound wonderful!

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 arrives in Sydney on February 26 after visiting Honolulu, Oahu in Hawaii, Pago Pago in American Samoa and Auckland, New Zealand on the way. She departs on the same evening for Yokohama, Japan and on to Asian and Mediterranean ports before arriving in Southampton. (There’s a slide show of the Queen Mary’s last visit to Sydney Harbour on the side of this blog)
You can find out more by emailing me now – martin@travelchoice.com.au – and Biba will be pleased to tell you more when she returns.

Two Cunard Queens to visit Australia in 2010

Cunard has just released the news that the Queen Mary 2 and her younger sister, the Queen Victoria, will visit Australian waters in 2010. The two cruise ships will call into Fremantle and Adelaide and make an overnight visit to Sydney. Queen Mary 2 will visit the Whitsundays for the first time and the Queen Victoria will berth at Albany and Exmouth in Western Australia for the first time.
In 2007 we took the ferry across from North Sydney to Circular Quay when the Queen Mary 2 arrived with her older sister, Queen Elizabeth 2. It was shore-to-shore boats, madly jostling to get a better view of the two magnificent liners. This trip could probably have been entered in the Guinness Book of Records for the shortest ferry trip from point to point that took the longest time. By the time we reached Circular Quay it was dark and the crush at the train station was tight. We could have walked home to North Sydney in the time we took waiting for a train! but it was fun and the atmosphere was one of excitement. (I will add a slide show of our ferry trip)
Will the arrival of the Queens Mary 2 and Victoria cause the same excitement?