I celebrated New Year’s having port with two new friends up in the Commodore Room. It was subdued as opposed to the racket in the Grand Lobby (way too loud music) and in the Queen’s Room. Though I love having the day off and using it as a marker for the Christmas season, I really don’t consider New Year’s something to celebrate. To me it was always an excuse for people to get drunk—basically a drinking holiday. The decorations for the holidays quickly disappeared as the days progressed.
Now the trip is quickly coming to an end. Where did the time go? It seems like I’ve been on this ship for many weeks instead of twelve days.
Here’s a picture of the plate that Cunard gave all passengers as a holiday gift. I guess I could use mine for nuts or candy.
And the characters that stood at the base of the large Christmas tree on the Queen Mary 2? They were Badger, Mr. Toad, Rat, and Mole from Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows.
I walked into Bridgetown and got sunburned on my neck and arms as a result. At least the distance to the town wasn’t as great as it was on St. Thomas. I walked around a very busy town. Lots of traffic. I passed by the Old Town Hall and went into St. Mary’s Anglican/Episcopal Church’s yard.
I watched us leave Barbados, and took some pictures of the ship leaving the harbor. What struck me were the people around me snapping picture after picture—of what? I took several photographs, but not one after another. These people had big cameras, too. I’m happy with the results of my little camera.
Some of the people decorated their doors for the holidays. It never occurred to me to pack decorations for my cabin door. Some of the decorations were clever. Here’s a sampling of some interesting ones.
The Queen next to a Royal Caribbean ship
I took a tour of “the best of” St. Kitts. Someone I know who is from there told me that the island highlights could be done in one day. I saw four of the highlights, two from the bus.
Romney House was named by the Earl of Romney when he bought the house from Sam Jefferson, the great great great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. The site was originally the settlement of the king of the Caribs, who were slaughtered by the French and the British. (I saw the massacre site from the bus.)
Then we ended the tour by climbing the Brimstone Hill Fortress, restored at the behest of Prince Charles. It was the biggest fortification in the Caribbean at one time. Climbing up the hill reminded me of the Acrocorinth, as the “steps” were all at an angle; you never stod on a level pavement. Unlike the Acrocorinth, though, at the top of the hill you were standing on level land. The views of the island were excellent.
Oh, and to answer the questions I’ve been asked: yes I can see your comments; and no, the Internet is not free nor is it cheap. It’s actually by satellite and it isn’t very good.
We docked in Antigua, but unfortunately the sea was too rough to allow the tenders to take the passengers ashore. As a result, we bypassed Antigua and had a day at sea.
There are huge, shiny steel objects bolted to the deck at the bow. They look like abstract art, but in reality they are extra propeller blades for the Queen Mary 2. This is in case the ship loses one on a voyage, there is a spare available. Throwing of propeller blades can happen. I have heard of it, but on older ships.
There are four strange plates displayed along the walls on the main floor. They represent four of the six continents. What is displayed as each continent is quite interesting. Europe is presided over by Zeus while North America by the Statue of Liberty. Past and present are represented in each. Quite interesting.
We docked in St. Thomas even though I was led to believe that the Virgin Islands had not recovered and that we dropped one number in ports. I was wrong. The Queen Mary 2 was the first ship to dock in St. Thomas—along with the Celebrity Equinox—since the hurricane.
There was still damage evident from the hurricane. There were trees that had large branches missing, but it was most evident near the port itself. A sign of welcome was faded and had been knocked over. I photographed the stump of a telephone pole; near which was the destroyed top off of a lamppost with the light cover shattered. Along the street to Charlotte Amalie were newly planted palm trees that (presumably) replaced destroyed ones.
I walked into the town from the port, which was about two or three miles. I got a good workout. I sat in one of the parks and watched the chickens and roosters walk around and look for food. Three times it rained on me. I only wanted postcards, so I got stamps at the post office. Turns out that the vendors right outside the port were selling postcards. I got them on the way back to the ship.
The ship is decorated for Christmas. The grand lobby has a huge Christmas tree standing in it. There are four characters from a famous British children’s novelist’s book. Can you guess who? Hint: the characters are a frog, a badger, a rat, and a mole.
The ship’s crew built a huge graham cracker village, which is on the main deck. It’s quite impressive.
I went to midnight Mass (there’s no Divine Liturgy on this ship), where we sung Christmas carols while people went up for communion. It was held in the planetarium. I took some pictures of the entrance. Zeus and Hermes standing on either side of the doorway. Rather a pagan twist to Christmas, but then again, a lot of our customs come from paganism.
I decided to take a look at the ship’s library, and boy was I surprised.
Other cruise lines have a “library,” which is usually shelves of books, in open cases, where people can help themselves to what they want. The Queen Mary 2 has an actual library. The bookshop (where they are selling books and trinkets) is part of the complex. The circulation desk and the cash register is the same area. I found really strong, florescent lights (ick!) that illuminated the cases. The books were on shelves with lips on them (to stop books from spilling over on rough seas) and the cases actually locked! Passengers were allowed to borrow two books and they had to be back before the ship returns to New York. I found two books I liked then decided to sit and read them there. (They were mostly just photographs.)
I wandered around and found computers for the Internet and spaces to sit and read. The stacks were pretty big, running the aisles and around the rim of the room.
I haven’t seen a ship’s library like this since Semester at Sea. I’m impressed.