Fort Lauderdale == January 21, 2013

April 30, 2013
Leaving New York at night we sailed past the Statue of Liberty and looked back at the Freedom Tower (which now has been topped out and is completely lit each night) and, to the right of the Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge. Moments later we glided by the Verazanno Narrows Bridge and headed to Ambrose Light marking the exit of the New York Harbor. We passed Ambrose about 10 pm into the Atlantic Ocean. It was cold, but seas were surprisingly calm. The Victoria had come across from South Hampton crossing the North Atlantic. Never a friendly stretch of ocean, the North Atlantic in winter can be hellish, as it was on the Vicotira's first crossing in 2007. This time passengers reported it was calm and pleasant. But they were British and the Brits are seafaring people so might you please define "calm and pleasant for us?"
Leaving New York at night we sailed past the Statue of Liberty and looked back at the Freedom Tower (which now has been topped out and is completely lit each night) and, to the right of the Tower, the Brooklyn Bridge. Moments later we glided by the Verazanno Narrows Bridge and headed to Ambrose Light marking the exit of the New York Harbor. We passed Ambrose about 10 pm into the Atlantic Ocean. It was cold, but seas were surprisingly calm. The Victoria had come across from South Hampton crossing the North Atlantic. Never a friendly stretch of ocean, the North Atlantic in winter can be hellish, as it was on the Vicotira’s first crossing in 2007. This time passengers reported it was calm and pleasant. But they were British and the Brits are seafaring people so might you please define “calm and pleasant for us?”

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The Victoria charted a course out along the continental shelf and turned south and westerly off the Outer Banks of North Carolina where we have often spent Thanksgiving. On Sunday the ship entered the Florida straits, slowed from 19 knots. By Sunday the freezing temperatures of Friday night had given way to 60-degree weather, and by Monday, in Lauderdale, it was hot and muggy -- and the decks chairs came out.
The Victoria charted a course out along the continental shelf and turned south and westerly off the Outer Banks of North Carolina where we have often spent Thanksgiving. On Sunday the ship entered the Florida straits, slowed from 19 knots. By Sunday the freezing temperatures of Friday night had given way to 60-degree weather, and by Monday, in Lauderdale, it was hot and muggy — and the decks chairs came out.

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The entrance to Port Everglades, an hour or so before we docked. The port pilot was on board by this time.
The entrance to Port Everglades, an hour or so before we docked. The port pilot was on board by this time.

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When we leave Lauderdale at 5pm Monday night, January 21, 2013, we next head for Montego Bay, Jamiaca, then on to Cartagena, Colombia, through the Panama Canal. After a stop in Mexico, we'll go to San Francisco for a day before setting out for Hawaii and the South Pacific.
When we leave Lauderdale at 5pm Monday night, January 21, 2013, we next head for Montego Bay, Jamiaca, then on to Cartagena, Colombia, through the Panama Canal. After a stop in Mexico, we’ll go to San Francisco for a day before setting out for Hawaii and the South Pacific.

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Carol Anne photographing the Port Everglades port from our Stateroom Balcony as the Victoria was docking. The Ship captain is a woman from Denmark, only one of two women who captains ships for Carnaval/Cunard. So far she has missed all obstacles. In San Francisco, rumor is, she gets replaced by a guy.
Carol Anne photographing the Port Everglades port from our Stateroom Balcony as the Victoria was docking. The Ship captain is a woman from Denmark, only one of two women who captains ships for Carnaval/Cunard. So far she has missed all obstacles. In San Francisco, rumor is, she gets replaced by a guy.
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New York = January 18, 2013 // New York to Singapore // 2013 Queen Victoria World Voyage

April 30, 2013
Wednesday January 17, 2013 -- packed and ready our friend Pat Levinson too us to the Orlando airport and we flew to New York City to catch the Cunard Queen Victoria.
Wednesday January 17, 2013 — packed and ready our friend Pat Levinson too us to the Orlando airport and we flew to New York City to catch the Cunard Queen Victoria.

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New York was cold -- +1 to -3 C (I am learning C v F temps) -- it was also foggy and very New York post-Christmas. We love New York. We stayed in the Times Square, just blocks from the westside Pier 89 where the Victoria would dock and leave. In the same block in 1939 Clarence and Mary (my parents) stayed at the swank Times Square Hotel when visiting the 1939 Worlds Fair. That hotel is now gone.
New York was cold — +1 to -3 C (I am learning C v F temps) — it was also foggy and very New York post-Christmas. We love New York. We stayed in the Times Square, just blocks from the westside Pier 89 where the Victoria would dock and leave. In the same block in 1939 Clarence and Mary (my parents) stayed at the swank Times Square Hotel when visiting the 1939 Worlds Fair. That hotel is now gone.

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Carol Anne had never been to the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, much less even heard of it. Say what? We dined there Wednesday night and then, upstairs visited the Apple Store in Grand Central and the Christmas Lionel Train display at the Transit Museum store. The following day we went to Brooklyn to the Museum itself and crawled around all the old subway trains for half a day.
Carol Anne had never been to the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, much less even heard of it. Say what? We dined there Wednesday night and then, upstairs visited the Apple Store in Grand Central and the Christmas Lionel Train display at the Transit Museum store. The following day we went to Brooklyn to the Museum itself and crawled around all the old subway trains for half a day.

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It took us about 30 minutes to come to mid-town Manhattan from LaGuardia Wednesday night (traffic was astoundingly light). It took us an hour to get five blocks from our hotel to the Pier for Friday afternoon (traffic was astoundingly heavy). From our hotel room on the 36th floor of the Hilton we could see Freedom Town (old World Trade Center site), the Statue of  Liberty and, of course, the Empire State building. Once the Queen Victoria we know enough to select a stateroom on Deck 8, and also to pick one like Stateroom 8031 with its extended balcony. Carol Anne is on our balcony looking acorss at the Intrepid Museum where an old friend was sitting on the rear deck of the Aircraft Carrier Intrepid -- the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
It took us about 30 minutes to come to mid-town Manhattan from LaGuardia Wednesday night (traffic was astoundingly light). It took us an hour to get five blocks from our hotel to the Pier for Friday afternoon (traffic was astoundingly heavy). From our hotel room on the 36th floor of the Hilton we could see Freedom Town (old World Trade Center site), the Statue of Liberty and, of course, the Empire State building. Once the Queen Victoria we know enough to select a stateroom on Deck 8, and also to pick one like Stateroom 8031 with its extended balcony. Carol Anne is on our balcony looking acorss at the Intrepid Museum where an old friend was sitting on the rear deck of the Aircraft Carrier Intrepid — the Space Shuttle Enterprise.

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The Enterprise arrived here from Dulles / Smithsonian last spring just in time to be damaged by Hurricane Sandy. She looks okay, but word is, she isn't.
The Enterprise arrived here from Dulles / Smithsonian last spring just in time to be damaged by Hurricane Sandy. She looks okay, but word is, she isn’t.

 

Ensenada, Mexico

March 28, 2011

Ensenada, Mexico, is about an hour south of Tiajuana and the United States border. Ships cruising from the United States must stop at least at one foreign port and for cruises to Hawaii, Ensenada is very convenient.


About twenty years ago I was producing one of those short student films that at the time showed up on Showtime and other cable channels promoting new filmmakers. When the project degenerated into a criminal endeavor behind my back, I cancelled my contracts with the Screen Actors Guide and other organizations, shut down the shoot before it began and hid out in Mexico until the phones stopped ringing. It took about a week. I lost a few grand, but it was worth it in valuable lessons.

That’s how Carol Anne and I wound up living in a hotel in Ensenada twenty years ago, and why we were prowling there. It was an amiable week in retrospect — we visited such attractions as the nearby “blowhole” where ocean water rushes in among the rocks, compresses itself and then spouts high in the air. Blowholes are not common, but Samoa and Hawaii each have them. It’s worth a look particularly if you have time and people are filling up your answering machine back in Los Angeles.

And we discovered “fish tacos” which were unheard of at the time being sold on the docks.

A street in Ensenada. Given the drug culture and the routine killings, no one seemed much interested in getting off the Queen Victoria when she pulled into port, but who could resist a look around. This is the main drag not far from the hotel we stayed in years ago. It was kind of vaguely familiar and kind of not.

In 1993 we drove down from Los Angeles to Ensenada. How quaint and how inconceivable today.

We drove down on the back roads which were challenging, and back on what was then a new toll road, which was staggeringly expensive. Today no one in their right mind even goes to Tiajuana much less drives that toll road down to Ensenada. Drug bandidos grab people off that road these days and the best thing that happens to them is that he gets robbed and she gets raped. On bad days, they just kill you.

Fish tacos.
Fish tacos are probably the main reason we got off the ship — that and our ever present journalistc curiousity that causes us to want to peer around. We might have wanted to see our hotel again, and there was vague talk of maybe checking out that blowhole south of town, but the only firm thing on our shore agenda was having a genuine Mexican fish taco again.

On our first trip down here, long before they had been heard of in the states, we found fish tacos for sale on the docks and wolfed a couple. We were hooked. So off we went, wandering a few shops here and there, but our real destination was the docks, the fish market and the prospect of a couple of fish tacos.

Fishing is obviously a big business here, judging from the number of fishing boats in the harbour and the size of that fish market (above). Some of these fish are on their way to be tacos. Does it rival the one in Busan, South Korea? Probably not, but ...

Cheap drugs.
Cheaper drugs and drugs that are not being sold in the United States are also a big business here, judging from the nuymber of pharmacies. We were working from a disadvantage because we don’t take much (an aspiran, please) so we have no idea what all this stuff will do for you. Maybe we should listen more closely to all the drug ads running on American TV.

Rings and more rings.
A street merchant on the street hauled us over to see 2,000 rings — “you can count them,” he said, “two thousand. I have what you want — look!”

2,000 rings!, right here!, right now! -- go ahead and count them!

“Haven’t you sold any today?” I asked him. He had no real interest in talking to me. He was eying Carol Anne who, ominously, had begun to eye his rings.

“Of course I have sold lots of rings today — !” He said, largely ignoring me. Everybody wants his rings, he said. Everybody.

“So you no longer have 2,000 rings, right? Unless you started with …” I’m like a gnat. When I start, I have to be told to stop. I expected trouble, but he’s handled gringos like me before.

“Let your wife check out my rings while you and I could them! One, two, three …”

I liked him.

But we didn’t buy any rings.

Fishing is a major part of the Ensenada economy judging by the number of fishing boats in its harbour.

Endings.
Ensenada was the final port on our short 14 day cruise on the Victoria.

Fourteen days may seem like a long time, but we spent more than 3 months on this ship. It passed quickly.

In the evening, the Victoria has slipped away from Ensenada and out of Mexican waters. By dawn she would be emptying the ship of most of her passengers at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. The following evening, she would set off for the Panama Canal, pausing at Long Beach to pay homage to the Queen Mary at anchor there since 1968 — honking back and forth with the original QM amid fireworks. By then we were off the Queen Victoria and had boarded the Queen Mary to watch the Victoria’s visit.

Soon enough she sailed off, vanishing into the blackness of the night. We headed back to our hotel in downtown Los Angeles and the following afternoon boarded Amtrak’s Southwest Chief for a 43 hour train ride to Chicago — to read about that click HERE.

Map from the Queen Victoria showing her approach to Ensenada, Mexico.

“All Aboard the Cunard Queens” is copyright © 2009-2011 by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC, Studio City, California, by the Peter Michael Crow Trust and by Peter Michael Crow.

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

March 27, 2011

This is a whale watching mecca. Not only can you see whales from the shore, but small boats line the wharf ready to run you out and let you run with the whales for a few hours. If you have the time, this is a must do.

Lahaina is touristy town on western side of Maui, the second largest of all of the Hawaiian Islands. Slightly more than 100,000 people are scattered around he island. The western end sports great roads and some terrific views of the ocean. It also has the only tunnel on the island.

The humpback whales are here and whale watching is a big industry. Small whale watching boats line the shore. Professional whalewatchers are also nearby with binboculars watching.

Various governmental and quasi-governmental organizations keep a close eye on the whales and offer information. The woman in the background has an advanced degree and sophisticated knowledge to share if you ask her questions; unless you say hi, you'll probably think she is just a babe with binoculars sunning herself.

These are huge whales. They weigh 40 tons and more, and 40 feet and more. The waters off the western end of Maui is their calfing country. New born whales are born here weighing roughly a ton. In less than a month they are ready to head north with their parents and ther whales on a trek that can go more than 2,000 and which they can cover in slightly more than a month.

Watchers can identify individual whales by the patterns on their tails. Hunting of whatles is slowly dyibng out – the Japnese are giving up and that will leave only two countries still fishing for whales.

Still an endangered species, these whales are almost certainly going to survive now.

Lahaina, while now morphed into a tourist city, got its start as a whaling port in the 1840s reaching its zenith in 1846 when an astounding 400 whaling ships sailed from here. By 1859 the whales had been fished out and the industry was gone.

But at its height it drew some interesting people to town, including Hermann Melville who would write Moby Dick about the whaling in these waters. Moby Dick, now a classic, never found its audience in Melville’s life and he died in relative obscurity eaking out a living as a government clerk. Here you can walk the streets that Melville walked.

Missionary cottage in Iao Valley. Christian missionaries got here in the 19th century and liked what they saw. They started grabbing land and today some of their descendants are financially quite fat. God's will?

Lahaina is terrific in documenting its history. Historical signs are everywhere. Hollywood has also been here – the motion picture “The Devil at 4 O’clock” was shot in Lahaina after World War II. Walk the Pacific Hotel if you want to visit where the movie was shot. Not only that but Thomas Edison was also here and his films from 1898 and 1906, the first ever taken on Hawaii, are being shown in the Wo Hing Museum’s Cookhouse Theater on Maui’s main drag. True movie buffs shouls make a beeline for this place

The dock is not large enough, or perhaps the water is not deep enough for cruise ships to get into the port. The Queen Victoria moored off and tendered its passengers in. The ride to the beach is about ten minutes and as the boat approaches shore you can expect to ride past people standing far out in the water.

This young woman has just whacked a coconut in half and is holding up the results. If the coconut milk is whitish it means it is contaminated. Clear means fresh. Either way, it is a natural laxative.

Lahaina is chocked full of teeshirt shops and will feel familiar to anyone who has visited Cariibbean islands or such relentlessly touristy places like Gatlinburg, TN, although it is not quite that awful.

Maui has the last operating sugar plant in Hawaii and sugar cane fields. The process of making sugar is well explained (turn off the irrigation for three weeks, burn the fields at night and scoops up the stalks and grind them up). Sugar is now processed into molasses now instead of granular sugar before it is shipped to Crocker, CA, outside San Diego where it is now processed into sugar. “C&H Sugar” is the dominant brand – and it probably stands for “California and Hawaii”, although one guide on another island said it stands for Crocker and Hawaii. If you live in Crocker, you probably will want to say it stands for “Crocker”.

Besides the beaches and surfing, which depending on the time of year, go from great to super fabulous, there are a few places on the islands to go day-tripping – but it might be a stretch if you’re expecting to see much. On the other hand, maybe we didn’t take the right tour.

The Pioneer Hotel adjacent to the dock. Walk through this place and walk back into the 19th century. Don't miss the list of films on the wall that were shot here.

We opted for the half-day Iao Valley and Maui Tropical Plantation Tour. Our bus driver/tour guide was Tim, a balding affable enough guy who talked in a singsong fashion and managed to drone a fair number of people to sleep. One problem was that this was primarily a riding-around tour. Great for people who are in very good walking condition, but it was an hour long ride to first the Iao Valley State Park and Tim seemed to be running his own personal tape. When asked the population of the island when he had been silent for a few moments, he began talking ignoring the question. It was as if someone had pushed a button and turned him back on. Still this guy came armed with lots of knowledge if you could stay awake.

The Ioa Valley was the site of a monstrously bloody battle in 1790 that unified most of the Hawaiian Islands and is well documented here. There is also the “Ioa Needle” a 2,250-foot cinder cone that dominates the terrain. Hikers can climb the 158 steps to an observation point, a climb that weeds out the people on the bus between those in shape and those not. Once up at the observation point hikers are rewarded with seeing exactly what those not making the hike see.

Pioneer Hotel house phone. A long boat is in the courtyard. Wander this place if time permits.

Our tour also included the Maui Tropical Plantation. Because there is so little to do on this tour, large amounts of time were left to wander and search site, and at the Plantation that meant about 45 minutes in the gift shop before a half hour tram ride through fields. The trams stop at one point and two young women husk a coconut, split it open and parade the two halves through the gathered crowd. Imagine what these girls could do dressed in leather and working with whips. Several of my misconceptions were dispelled about coconuts including that inside a coconut is coconut milk. The liquid inside a coconut, which is definitely nourishing and good for you, should be clear, not milky. If it is milky t is still healthy, but in a different way. Milky fluid inside a coconut indicates that the coconut is old or that a worm or two has gotten inside which, according to the young ladies is not all bad: – it is, the young ladies both nodded in agreement, a great laxative.

Shopping in Maui holds some surprises. If you are looking for vintage movie posters from the dawn of the movie industry a hundred years ago, this may be your place. On the main drag there is a nook with stunning posters that including providence of authenticity. They’re not cheap — $850 into tens of thousands of dollars, but there they are.

That's the Iao Needle in the background in Iao Valley State Park. Supposedly to reach this overlook, Carol Anne and I had to climb 158 steps and they were so insistent that it was 158 steps that I counted them. It is 158 steps.

There are also art galleries, including photographic art galleries. Photo artists, unlike painters and sculptors, always have a story about the special quality of their prints since, today, you can step outside and get the same quality shot these guys are trying to hawk to you for hundreds or thousands of dollars. But they’re worth a look.

Hilo Hattie’s is also here, a chain of variety stores aimed at tourists. There’s a selection of clothing, candy, grass skirts and tourist items, and other zany stuff like a lounge chair for your cell phone.

Snap! A member of the Victoria's crew takes a picture of his ship as we tender in at Lahaina. Lahaina was the only port where the Victoria anchored off shore. The Victoria holds her position by setting her GPS allowing her various thrusters to keep her in place instead of anchors.

Hattie herself, long gone and probably never affiliated with these stores, was a Hawaiian entertainer born in 1901 and now long gone.

Prices in Hilo Hattie’s need watching.

The store, part of a chain, is a few blocks from the main drag and to get there you either have to walk or take a short bus ride that Hilo Hattie’s provides.

It’s probably not worth the trip, though – we paid $10 for a grass skirt and later found the identical skirts mere steps from where the Cunard tender docked for only $5.

Hattie, Hattie, Hattie. Play nice.

“All Aboard, the Cunard Queens” is © copyright 2009-2011 by Seine/Habour® Productions, LLC, Studio City, California and by The Peter Michael Crow Trust and Peter Michael Crow, individually.

Hilo, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

March 27, 2011

Mauna Loa. It rumbled a bit and after we returned to Big America, as the mainland is sometimes called in Hawaii, and with us gone, the lava began flowing again. Did we mention the Japanese tsunami? It happened a few days after we were safely back in Estados Unitos -- is that Spanish for the United States?

Hawaii is easily the largest island in the Hawaiian Island chain and is the best place to see and study volcanoes. Visit on a good day or you could be breathing bad air or worse – the Kilauea caldera, active for the past 14 years, might blow sky high and that would be the end of you.

Monitors keeping an eye on Hawaii's volcanos. When these needles spiked indicating a rumble deep beneath us, a man accused his kid of whacking the case.

It is the largest island in size, but nowhere near the population size of Oahu, which has Honolulu. Honolulu at 350,000 people dwarfs the 110,000 people on the entire island of Hawaii.

Tours in Hawaii try to gin up excitement, but if you’re not into volcanoes, you may lose interest quickly. Volcanoes are stark, and volcanic islands are black, craggy and largely barren. Lava flows freely and regularly on this island and it periodically wipes out entire villages. You can, and should, walk the lava field from the early 1970s and view the odd circular holes in the black lava. Those were once trees and the hole is where the trunk of the tree grew.

A visit to Volcanic National Park is a must, as is a stop at the park information center where the exhibits are excellent. Seismographic monitors are on view, keeping an eye on all parts of the island and its volcanoes and, in fact, the afternoon we visited, the seismometer kicked up right in front of us. That was a volcanic eruption we were watching, albeit a small one.

The Thurston Lava Tube. Easily one of the most fascinating places in the world. Lava once flowed through here and once it cooled it left this passageway. Not to be missed.

There are other places on the island as well worth visiting. The Nani Mau Gardens where lunch was served is a small but rich tropical garden. The Akatsuka Orchid garden is nearly if you wish to purchase orchids. It struck us as a tad expensive ($40 for orchids) and commercial, but still it was informative and they have a lot of orchids, including some blossoms you can attach to yourself with a hairpin for free.

Rainbow Falls is here, as well. It is Hawaii’s largest waterfall in terms of volume and plunges 80-feet. It is charming enough amid a lush tropical setting, and worth a look, but it’s not Victoria Falls in Africa much less Niagara Falls in New York. If you’re driving by, pull in – if not, you might not want to make a special trip.

Rainbow Falls. Nice, but as with many things in Hawaii everything this place has somewhere else in the world has it in spades. Still, you have to congratulate the Hawaii chamber of commerce. Only Disney can gin up more enthusiasm over nice, but not great, stuff.

Hershey Chocolate is also here. The Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory processes nuts from the adjacent trees and packages them in various varieties, including coating the macadamia nuts with chocolate. It’s not a great tour – no tour guides, just some windows that you peer into after climbing up to an outdoor second floor landing.

A farm near Hilo raising cocks for cock fighting.

Still if you’ve never seen a macadamia nut cracked it’s worth seeing. Cracking the nut takes fully 300 pounds of pressure so don’t get into any bar bets about hw you can crack on with your thumb and index finger.

Oddly, cockfighting – now almost universally outlawed in Big America (mainland United States) is alive and well here. A farm raising cocks to fight is easily seen on a highway. The tour guide explains that if you want to see a cockfight you’ll have to wait to the weekends and then they are done in secret. Want to get an invite? We passed.

A Macadaima tree forest owned by Hershey Chocolate. Go ahead. Walk around and pick up a nut or two. Crack them with your thumb and forefinger -- no problem if you can exert 300 pounds of pressure on the shell. It's easier to step next door and buy a whole can already cracked for you.

Thank you for respecting the copyrights of The Seine/Harbour® Production Company, LLC, Studio City, California. This blog, literary and photographic content is © Copyright 2011 by Peter Michael Crow, The Peter Michael Crow Trust and by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC, Studio City, California. We pursue all copyright abridgment and have gotten surprisingly good at extracting money for abridgments.

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

March 27, 2011

Waikike, one of the most famous beaches in the world. Is it overrated?

Honolulu feels like a much bigger town than it is. At about 350,000 it is at best a medium-sized city, but it has big city traffic problems twice a day. In the mornings the highways are jammed, and even reversing some lanes and adding HOV lanes doesn’t appear to help much. In the evening it’s true all over again, but this time going in the other direction.

The city is not only the largest in the Hawaiian Islands it is also the state capitol. It has one of the most famous beaches in the world – Waikiki. Arguably, it was the incubator for later tourist Mecca’s like Las Vegas and Orlando – check out Henry J. Kaiser’s 1955 Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach (now the Hilton Hawaiian Village) and see if you haven’t seen a lot of later iterations elsewhere. These days the design has grown cliché, but when it was built 55 years ago it was a sensation.

The Arizona Memorial atop the Battleship Arizona sunk on December 7, 1941

Then there is Pearl Harbor, one of the great natural anchorages in the world and a harbor that became a noun when the Japanese launched a preemptive sneak attack on the American Pacific Fleet on Sunday, December 7, 1941.

Touring Honolulu is easy. Buses run everywhere, and at $2,50 for a ride they are cheap. If you are a senior it gets cheaper still – a merely one dollar. Bus numbers 20 and 42 link Pearl Harbor and Waikiki and stop at the Aloha Tower and the mall. It doesn’t get much easier than that. If you prefer taxi, think $30 out to either Pearl Harbor or Waikiki versus $2.50 on the bus – and you might want to think again.

Iolani Palace, adjacent to the state capitol building and easily walkable from Aloha Tower where cruise ships dock. It is billed as the only "palace" in the United States and was residence of the Hawaiian royalty until the United States chased them off and took over shortly before 1900.

Queen Victoria and other visiting passenger ships dock at the Aloha Tower. Waikiki is a fifteen-minute bus ride away to the east, as is a huge mall. Pearl Harbor is several miles to the west – so close it may be tempting to walk it. Don’t try – interstates and heavily trafficked roads are in your way and sidewalks get scarce the further away from downtown you get.

From Aloha Tower and the anchorage, however, there are plenty of interesting places a few blocks away. The Bishop historical museum is a must if time permits. Closer still is the state capitol, a merely five blocks away with the only palace in the United States, the Iolani Palace, on property adjacent to the capitol. Here you’ll find a statute of the last monarch of Hawaii. The monarchy ended here in 1893 when the United States took over.

Hawaiian senate chamber. Hawaii was the last state admitted to the union and is number 50. The name of the TV show "Hawaii Five-O" is an homage to its status at the 50th state. I bet you knew this; well, I didn't.

Pearl Harbor, and the USS Arizona Memorial where more than 1,200 sailors remain entombed, is a must-see if your stomach permits it. This is one gut-wrenching memorial, and tickets – while free – are hard to come by. Go early. The National Park Service starts handing out tickets for the boat ride out to where the USS Arizona is sunk at 7:45 am each morning. In the summers tickets are long gone by noon.

The Aloha Tower from Deck 11 of The Queen Victoria.

If you arrive early chances are you’ll have a wait of a few hours before your time to board the board. But that is not a bad thing:

The Park Service has done a stunning job of telling the history of the antecedents of World War II in the Pacific and, while it may not set well with many Americans, telling the Japanese motivation in attacking Pearl Harbor and even, vaguely, slyly placing some blame on the United States for the attack. The decision by the US to enforce sanctions against Japan in 1940 and move their Pacific Fleet from the west coast to Hawaii enflamed tensions between the countries and spurred the Japanese attack. If you want a really slanted view, however, head over to Saipan, the furthest west outpost of US territories. In Saipan few Americans visit, but Japanese often do – the story there comes close to blaming the US for the attack entirely.

Honolulu, Hawaii, early morning, February 2011. We had spent a day in Hawaii in 2009, and been through Honolulu a number of times in the 1960s. This time we would explore three other islands besides Oahu.

All Content of this blog, literary and photographic, is joint Copyright © 2011, by Peter Michael Crow, The Peter Michael Crow Trust and by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC, Studio City, California.

================= INDEX ================= QV Los Angeles – Hawaii – Mexico – Los Angeles

March 19, 2011

Queen Victoria Bridge, webcam HERE

The Queen Victoria's Central Atrium is located on Decks 1, 2 and 3, midships. The Purser, Tour Desk, Booking Office and Internet Cafe are all found in the Atrium on Deck 1


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== INDEX to this POST ==

0/ Itinerary, under PAGES on RIGHT >>>
1/ Los Angeles
2/ Nawiliwili, Hawaii
3/ Honolulu/Oahu, Hawaii
4/ Hilo/ Island of Hawaii
5/ Lahaina/Maui, Hawaii
6/ Ensenada, Mexico
7/ Los Angeles / Queen Mary
8/ Life on Board / 2011 update
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Life on Board/ Queen Victoria … 2011

March 19, 2011

LIFE on BOARD

Queen Victoria's Deck 10

In 2009 we spent more than three months on the Queen Victoria so we know her and knew her crew. We gave the QV an A- overall but Cunard’s operation of the ship is a somewhat mixed bag. Where Cunard was good, were very good but where they were bad, they were ghastly bad, oblivious, seemingly uninterested and detached, an attitude sure to infuriate.

We expected changes, perhaps some improvements – but we expected that the most serious frustrations – the poor speed of the internet, the willingness to let passengers befoul the air with smoking, and the shore excursion disorganization to have survived.

Happily, we were wrong.

The ship sparkles; the food is great’ the entertainment is not embarrassing and the lectures – okay, the lectures are still sometimes poor – although the writer Matt Costello’s lectures were an excellent exception. Most happily few lectuers were flogging books and selling CDs and DVDs in the lobby.

By the way, Cunard only have three ships, and we have sailed on two of the three. The new Queen Elizabeth only took to the seas last fall and we have not sailed on her. We can say that what we say of the QV s also true of the Queen Mary 2 – if smoking s gone from the QV, we suspect that it has similarly been highly restricted in the QM2 and the new QE. Moreover, their personnel float from ship to ship, so policies on all three ships are likely to be similar as are procedures.

In other words, I think what we say of the QV you should generally find true on the Queen Mary 2 and the new Queen Elizabeth.

Lifeboat assembly signs match the Alphabetic Letter on each lifevest in each cabin. Here is Lifeboat Assembly Station A, the Royal Court Theatre.

We expected the answer would be not very much. The ship was just a year old when we barded her in Fort Lauderdale in January 2009, and is now barely three years old. This was a new ship when we first sailed her. Some of her knks were still beng worked out. The laundretts were flooding some rooms, for example. But overall it was a great experience and nobody loves everybody all the time. All dogs growl.

So how are they doing in 2011? Pretty darn well, we think. Here we go:

C/ INTERNET and WiFi
The internet was expensive and it didn’t work. Now te internet is expensive and it does work, including wi-fi. Do youx really want to know about your getting killed in the market?

The report here is actually quite good, but there are caveats.

LEFT PICTURE CAROL AQNNE HOBART Cunard warns you up front each time you long in that this is satellite service. It’s not going to be fast like when you’re sitting in a Panera or your own bedroom. But it is actually not that slow. If you go back to the dial-up days when you could watch grass grow, the connection is quite perky.

But it does depend on when you decide to log in. On the third night out, about 11 pm, all of my fellow passengers were fed and out of the shows and apparently all of them headed for the internet at once. Again to Cunard’s credit, a screen came up saying “too many users” which means that instead of circling and circling as your minutes went away, they simply told you to go away and come back later.

In that case I did – about 5 am the following morning (by now we were in the Hawaiian time zone which meant that at 5 am it was 10 am in New York and the markets were open). At 5 in the morning still in the middle of the Pacfici the Queen Victoria’s internet perked along quite well.

So the tip here is: Go where they ain’t. Your fellow passengers are going to be hugging the intennert in droves late in the evening but apparently are sound asleep early in the morning. You need to get up and exercise anyway – do your internet then.

Or, of course, wait until you get to shore. If you are Hawaii bound, as we were on this trip, you’ll find free internet steps away on the the Aloha Tower shopping center where the Cunard ships dock. And that internet is, in our experience, fast.

D/ ELECTRIC PLUGS IN PUBLIC AREAS
Here I’ll leave you on yur own – I do know where some, if not most, electric plugs are in the public areas if you need to charge yur computer somewhere else thaqn in your cabin. And these plugs come in both 110 and 220 usually together, sde by side. So electric plugs are there – not terribly visible and not easy to find, but I’m not going to tell you where they are. My lips are sealed: I live in fear that you’ll ship out with me on some future cruise and beat me to the plugs – or worse, tell someone who is booked on the QV and they hoof off and plug in.

I do have experience with this happening. Crawing around one morning in the Lido (yes, a very few outlets are there) I found a plug and, standing, was immediately confronted by an elderly very distinguished, very British gentleman.

“What are you doing down there, lad?” He asked. (And thank you for thinking I’m a lad, sir)

“I just found an electrict plug!” I said, not thinking. I should have told him I dropped my donut.

“Did you now!” He opened his computer and handed me his power cord. “Be a good lad and plug me in .”

Whoa. With brass like this how did these people fumble away an entire empire?

I looked around. My computer and plug were two tables away – could I sprint to my table, grab my power cord and be back before this fossil was down on his knees plugging himself in? Not likely – gravity alone would drop this Tub of Lard on the floor beside my plug faster than I could get to my table and back.

“I had planned to use the plug myself,” I said playing the decency card.

“Oh? Where are you sitting?” I glanced back at my table and sort of gestured. “I don’t think your cord will stretch that far –“ and down he went plugging himself in.

Suffice it to say, a few electric plugs are here and there – but it’s a treasure hunt.

Go find your own damn plug.

E/ SMOKING
Cunard is not great at service recovery, and they do tend to overlook the obvious. But after a bad, non-sensicle decision regarding smoking, Cunard has recovered at least on the Queen Victoria.

In 2009 Cunard allowed smoing in the casino and adjacent hallway on Deck two. With the atrium just above the casiono, and the Gold Lion pub next door, the result was passengers wishing to avoid smoke had to traverse the ship by going to Deck 4 and avoid the Golden Lion and – by the way – all of the Cunard sales shops on Deck 3 jst above the casino. Many passengers who valued their lung and health quickly learned to do just that.

As for passengers with real breathing problems? — they were in a lot of trouble trying to find clean air on the Queen Victoria’s world cruise in 2009. And remember, world cruises are populated by a majority of people 75 and older, the exact people most likely to hasve breathing and other health issues that would be aggrevated by being around cugarette smoke.

Today smoking in the casino and the adjacent atrium is gone. The air is cleaner – not clean but cleaner. Walk any passageway on the ship and you’ll know when yu are passing a smoking room – the stink is in the hall. We know a hotel manager for Marriott who does exactly that twice a day – walks and sniffs. And when she find the odor of smoke in any hallway in hr hotel she notes the room number, returns to the front desk and puts another $250 on the bill for that room. No arguments and no nonsense – and that hotel guest thought his/her pack of cigarettes was expensive …

Today on the Victoria smoking is still allowed in two small places on the starboard (right sde) of the ship, in Churchill’s a smoking lounge on Deck 10 starboard and, if you must, in your room but only if you have a balcony. “We strongly suggest you not smoke in your cabin,” the purser’s office says stiffly, primly and with disgust.

Does Cunard have non-smoking cabins?

The Queen Victoria is clearly heading that way. “We do have cabins where we try to put smoking guests,” the purser’s office says, and so it is clear they have identified the cabins where smokers have been smoking. Can smoke free cabins be far behind? We suspect not.

One question is whether banning smoking heped Cunard’s retail sales where the shops and surrounding areas on Decks 2 and 3 were once riddled with a blue haze and now are smoke free? Only Cunard knows, but most cruise ship decisions are driven by economcs not passeger convenience or desires, and when you have guests avoiding two entire decks where your retail shops are, aren’t you giving up a lot of potential sales?

Economics rather than guest comfort may have driven the ban on smoking.

Fact is, smoking is clearly not welcomed by American passengers and subjecting them to smoke when they tried to traverse the public rooms of the ship probably got them a lot of flack – but, do remember, Cunard has a robst international trade and while North American travelers may be quite important, they are not game/set/match.

In any case, breath deeply and if you have asthma problems, breathe safely. The air on the Queen Victoria is much improved.

F/ FOOD & FOOD SERVICE
In the several years since we sailed Cunard we have spent time on a number of river cruises in Europe, primarily on Viking River Cruises. The Russian and the Black Sea cruises offered food that was barely edible and especially on the St. Petersburg/Moscoew cruise, it was a few weeks before I was recvered. The places we visited were secial – but I soon fgured out I would need to eat sparsely and judiciously on Viiing. Their food may agree with you more than it did with me – and, in farness, others I traveled with, whie not thinking much of the food, weren’t brought low by it as I was.

Cunard, however, knows how to do it. The food, pastries, vegetables, we found on re-boarding, are excellent as befre. Skim Milk? Not so good – sometimes Cunard serves milk in pitchers, sometimes in their own commerciallymarked containers. When serving milk in pichers the crew is often careless – they may not think it makes much difference, but skim milk drinkers (me) immediately know. Boarding Cunard in Los Angeles we found milk back in pichers marked skim milk – it wasn’t.

Germs, a big problem always and a huge problem on the 2009 world cruise, was on the Queen Victoria’s crew mind when we boarded. The dabs of hand disinfectant were everywhere and crew members stationed at entrance to food service areas making sure everyone disinfected their hands. Crew were also serving all food, as was true in 2009 during the ship’s noro virus problems. Passengers also had to attest they did not have colds, flu or other diseases before they were allowed nea the ship. If you fessed up to sniffles, you were packed ff to see a doctor befre being allowed to board – and possibly your sniffles would have barred your being allowed on board. That make it unlikely that anyone was going to fess up to anything, including a hang nail.

We quickly discovered that, as befre, the passengers were drawn from all over the world. Four of our dinner guests were from the UK. A couple we joined for lunch in the Lido was from Germany. The breakout on the countries the passengers are from will probably be published in a few days – we’re betting about two-thirds will be Americans and the rest from arnd the world. We love that Cunard has so many non-Americans – the United States, where we are residents, is chocked full of Americans everywhere you look. They are nice enough people, but …

G/ THE SAUNA
An elegant view from the sauna with floor to celing windows looking out at the sea. Even if you don’t want to strip down and sweat, you gotta sea (see!) this place; and it might be the best place to shower as well. Big showers with even a place to sit with shampoo and soap provided for thos tired of the dramped shower in their cabins.

They also provide flipflogs, towels and a robe. What they don’t have are places to lounge away the day in masceline chat – just a few benches that are needed to changing, but no one will object if you stretch out on one for awhile and watch the sea if the place is not busy.

Also for geisers and dirty old men into eye candy, the gym is the best place for you. Dancers and other young performers practice and exercise here, and although the generally g=do this at night when the facility is closed, there are usually several young woman darting in and out during the day.

Besides the occasional lovely view, you might even start to get back into shape and improve your own sex life, assuming it needs improving.

H/ THE WARMED SWMMING POOLS
Where to look and which ones to avoid.

I/ EXERCISE PROGRAMS
When going around the world I feel nto a pattern in the morning. Cunard has amorning walk at 7:30 each morning, three times around deck three. It was a gret place to meet people and tat is where Carol Anne and I became friends with Pat and Fred who own a bed and breakfast in the UK. Then we had breakfast and I would head off with my computer to the Royal Court theater and write fr an hour or so. The Cathlic Mass is held in the theater each morning at 9 am (then and now). I am not Catholic, but I started listening to the short servce – fifteen minutes. Eventually I would put aside my writing and listen. It was a worthy way to start the day.

In the afternoons on the 2009 World Cruise Cunard offered a “stair challenge” which was decikk one to deck 10 on the front stairs, three times. Here I met my friend Grayand eventually his wife Wendy. He is a retired British Airways pilot and she was a flight attendant on the Concorde. As with several others we met on the world cruise, they have remained in our lives. Gray, by the way, was just a little faster on the sgtairs than I was. I get peevish about such things.

Re-boarding the Victoria we quickly discovered both the morning 730sm walk, and the 3pm stairway challenge are gone. Gone too is the companty than ran the spa.

Less surprisingly, few if any of the crew who were on the world cruise remain. The head of housekeeping is still here; the guy who is so great at making pizzas is here, and a few others. We were actually surprised that the ship’s mastr, Paul Wright, was gone – probably on vacation.

We were also surprised that, while we should know the ship intimately, we were a bit rusty on what decks various things were on, although a quick cruise around all decks on the first night seemed to reorient.

J/ ENTERTAINMENT
Alistair Greener, the affable Entertainment director has gone to the new Queen Elizabeth and, for all we know, on beyond.

Greener homage to the Queen Victoria which he used to open his morning program is also gone. Not a surprise, but a disappointment – it was a low kep lyrical opening which never got old, at least for us. The new opening we found ghasrish and the music jarring. It may suit others, The current Entertainment Director while affabe is not smooth with an agility for entertaining while informing. It’s no longer a must see, unless you are panting with curious about what the handbag special is today on Deck 3 or enjoy long-winded uninterrupted drifting answers from show people.

Happily, though, the entertainment itself may be improved. A comic on the first night at sea was clever and amusing, we thought – although here too humor is subjective. What we might find funny, others may not.

Los Angeles (days 1,2,3,4)

March 19, 2011

The Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro, California. Although not the largest port in the world by any means, the Port of Los Angeles is among the largest. The Queen Victoria docked at the same pier on the World Cruise in 2009 as she did when we boarded her in February 2011. Carol Anne took this photograph of the Port from the deck of the Queen Victoria in January 2009.


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LOS ANGELES
On February 17, 2011, we boarded the Cunard Queen Victoria in San Pedro (Port of Los Angeles) and set out for 14 days to four Hawaiian islands and Ensenada, Mexico – ending our journey right where we had begun in Los Angeles.

The Queen Victoria's Cunard funnel. Cunard is both proud and anal about the funnels on her three ships and passengers sailing Cunard ought to climb up and have a closer look. They are handsome and closer up they are a bit different than one might expect. Go look.

This is a much shorter jaunt than we took on this same ship in 2009 when we went around the world on her from Fort Lauderdale, FL, west to Australia, India, Rome and Southampton, England. In 2009 we left The Queen Victoria in Southampton and returned home to New York on The Queen Mary 2.

We were back not only on a ship that we knew well, but also living in the same cabin where we have lived in from Singapore to Southampton in 2009 (Cabin 7125). We liked the location of the cabin — four floors above the Britannia Dining Room (Deck 2 and 3), and two floors below the Lido buffet (Deck 9). Not the cheapest cabin on board (low decks and inside cabins are substantially less expensive), we liked the cabin’s outside deck and location.

BAD BEHAVIOR TUTORIAL
Checking out places where you do not belong.

The Victoria only has two classes and you’re going to want to see both. By far the largest class, with a wide range of fares and cabins, is “Britannia”. The other class is “Grills” (Princess Grill and the more expensive Queen’s Grill). The Grills are today’s “First Class”.

The Grills cabins are scattered in among the Britannia cabins so having a look in them is a piece of cake. Slow up when the rooms are being cleaned, or step in while the cabin stewart is cleaning the room and ask “Is suchandsuch here?” If they aren’t — and they shouldn’t be — glance around, apologize and retreat to the hallway. If, geech!, the resident is in his/her cabin, apologize profusely “I thought Melba and Ned had this cabin — I’m so lost! I’m so sorry!” Apologize profusely, glances around and clear out.

The prime difference between Grills and Britania is access to a private dining room and other Grills private areas, to include the veranda, on Deck 11. The Deck 11 amenities are accessible by a specially keyed Grills card which can be used on some, although not all elevators. Obviously you do not have a Grills access card, so just ride up with someone who does, or just walk up from Deck 10 to Deck 11. To walk up, you will have to ignor the signs which say “Grills only”, not a moral issue for me, although it may be with your wife.

Sniffing around up in the Grills works fine on the first day or so; your presence confuses them and they’re not sure who you are, especially if you act like you belong, keep moving briskly but deliberately and make friendly eye contact with everyone (“hi! — how’s it going?” — keep blathering).

The same poking around in places you do not belong also applies if you want to walk the Burma Road on Deck 1. Here, instead of acting like you belong, you will plead ignorance and confusion if you get caught or challenged. “Where am?” “Is there medical centre somewhere around here? Yes, it is. If confronted, turn around looking at this thing and that. But until confronted, walk smartly, deliberately and always make eye contact and speak with everybody. Do not act confused unless confronted. Act confused and you’ll be confronted immediately by people who want to help. You do not want help. Cruise on by saying “how are you?” or “good to see you!” and nodding, as if you have ever seen these people before in your life.

Now. There is a chance they will nab you, but probably not. If they do, you’ll have seen most of what you wanted to see anyway.

What they won’t do is throw you off the ship or sic those US Transportation Security Agency bulls on you — short of that, who cares?

GRILLS verus BRITANNIA
The problem we have with the Grills, besides the added expense, are two-fold:

First, in Grills we could either be served in our cabin or dine in the elegant, small, Grills restaurant on Deck 11. In Grills we would not be eating in the Britannia where we love the diversity of people who wind up at our table (we always choose a table for eight).

Second, while Cunard rightly prides itself on its Grills service, the problem is we’re Americans. To be cared for 24/7 in this manner, even if we could afford Grills (and we can) it is just too much of a bygone era for us — charming, yes, but vaguely embarrassing. Even those who book Grills sometimes flee to the Lido Buffet for a more egalitarian experience.

TRAVELING COMPANIONS
How we came to sail The Queen Vic again

We were joined on the Queen Victoria by old friends, a couple we have traveled the world with. The genesis of this trip was the realization that we had been together in a year and that all four of us wished to spend time together and visit. Traveling to far away places means we have always a week or two together, versus merely a visit of a day or two when we visit homes.

Planning began with thoughts that we would go to New Zealand and Australia. We have been to both places, and our friends had been to neither and wished to go. But as discussion progressed, they began to savor less the prospect of sailing several weeks down, and the prospect of a long flight back. Moreover, they wanted to explore Hawaii and soon enough we found the Queen Victoria was about to chug out there, loop around and return. The duration of the trip (14 days) worked as did the February dates. All four of us liked the itinerary. Moreover, Carol Anne and I loved the idea of sailing again on the Queen Victoria, our home for more than 3 months.

Done!

We booked passage and separately made our ways to Los Angeles. We met up on board the afternoon we sailed.

Old friends, off to see the world again.

THE QUEEN VICTORIA MATURING
No longer New, and no longer in her Terrible Twos

The Vic in February 2011 was just over three years old, versus entering year two when we boarded her in 2009. We had questions. Nothing big …

Had they corrected the minor problems noted elsewhere on this blog that she had in 2009? — Yup.

Would there be any crew on board that we knew? — Yup, yup.

Was the internet still a disaster? — No, but … we’ll explain in a few minutes.

We like this ship or we would not be back on her.

At 90,000 tons she is bigger than the old Queen Elizabeth II, but not huge. We find her roomy, wood paneled, tasteful and relaxed. Carnival Corporation does own her, but they don’t run her like a Carnival ship where women in short skirts work the decks hawking drinks, and gawdy colors jar us. Carnival lets the Brits run the Victoria with all of their mannered refinement and and we love that.

Bottom line? In 2011 we would find the Queen Victoria doing quite well – immaculately maintained, good-to-great food and a fine crew which is ever friendly and attentive. The Victoria is British, and we like the British a lot. We enjoy them and frequently are as bemused by them as they appear to be bemused by us as Americans.

BON VOYAGE
Santa Catalina Island, then open ocean to Hawaii

(Click to Enlarge) The Queen Victoria followed a Great Circle course from Los Angeles to Hawaii heading southerly and westerly.

Four days ahead, Hawaii.

Between Santa Catalina and Hawaii? Nothing.

Free of the American coastal waters, the Victoria’s officers turned the ship onto a Great Circle route, set throttles at 22 knots and for the next four days, sailed alone.

Passengers would see neither ships nor land.

“All Aboard, Cunard” is copyrighted property of Seine/Habour® Productions and Peter Michael Crow, © 2009-2011, all rights reserved.

Queen Victoria & Queen Mary meet in Long Beach

March 8, 2011

The Queen Victoria hovers in the waters off the stern of the permanently moored Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, on the evening on March 3, 2011

The Queen Victoria, the second newest ship in the Cunard fleet, paid homage on Thursday, March 3, 2011, to the oldest Cunard ship still remaining — the Queen Mary. The QM, now a tourist attraction, hotel and museum, first sailed in 1934. She left service in 1968 and has been permanently moored in Long Beach since then.

On March 3rd, The Queen Mary returned the deep-throated ship’s horn salute from the Queen Victoria repeatedly over a period of 45 minutes as fireworks burst over the water between the ships. The Victoria had returned to the Port of Los Angeles that morning after a 14 day trip to Hawaii and Ensenada, Mexico, and was on her way first to the Panama Canal and then across the Atlantic Ocean to begin summer cruising in Europe.

The original Queen Mary (1934-1968) is not to be confused with her namesake, The Queen Mary 2. The Queen Mary 2, took to the waters in 2004 and is roughly twice the size of the first Queen Mary (150,000 tons v 70,000 tons) now moored in Long Beach.

Both the Queen Mary, and the Queen Mary 2, are ocean liners, while the Queen Victoria is a cruise ship.

Ocean liners have deep V-shaped bows that cut through the water. They are faster and far more stable in rough waters like the North Atlantic than cruise ships, even with modern day stabilizers which car be extended under the water from cruise ship hulls. Cruise ship hulls are flatter, slower and more suitable for — surprise! — cruising.

Once all ships were liners, but today only one remains — Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. On the night that the Queen Mary and the Queen Victoria met in Long Beach, the QM2 was far away — she was in the far east about two-thirds through her annual winter world cruise.

THE SS UNITED STATES

The SS United States, gutted and rusting, is shown here moored in Philadelphia. The picture is, according to Wikipedia, in the public domain.

Besides the Queen Mary in Long Beach, another notable liner still floating is the USS United States which, gutted, is moored in Philadelphia. She can be seen, but not boarded — not that there is much to see if you were to board her.

The SS United States’ ignominous arrival in Philadelphia can be found in several places on the web. The story of the SS United States is simply a great tale, full of Cold War intrigue, not to mention that she is arguably the greatest liner ever built. The SS United States sailed into New York Harbour on July 4, 1952 — that date alone tells you the pride that the Americans took in her. While plans are announced periodically to re-fit the SS United States, the cost will probably prevent this; eventually she will probably go to the breakers.

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 / QE2
Finally, we should mention one other ocean liner that still survives, albeit she may be hanging by a thin thread. The Queen Elizabeth 2 (1968-2008) is moored at a pier in Dubai, UAE, behind chain link fence. She too can be seen but not boarded. She too, it is rumored, has been gutted — supposedly in preparation to make her a floating hotel similar to the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Well, we’ll see. The old girl didn’t look all that great when we were in Dubai in March 2009.

Sadly, most ships eventually are broken up. The original Queen Elizabeth (1940-1968) was sent to Hong Kong where, while being refitted to become a floating university, she burned, sank, and eventually was broken up and entombed where she sank.

The breakers was the fate of the stately SS France, later renamed the SS Norway. The Norway was unceremoniously renamed The Blue Lady several years ago, towed to India and scrapped.

Few ships, great or skow, in the end escape the breakers.

Contents of this blog, both literary and photographic, are copyright 2011 property, Seine/Harbour® Productions, Studio City, California, and certain content furthermore is shared copyright with Peter Michael Crow. Seine/Harbour® as longstanding policy legally pursues all abridging of any of its copyrights.