January 23, 2005


I am quoted in the UK "Sunday Times" newspaper in the Travel section ... but not that accurately......... this is the result of the email that I was sent (see an earlier posting)..

This is what the article says:

"January 23, 2005
QE2 'past its best'Chris Haslam

The venerable QE2 cruise ship may be drifting into her twilight years, according to reports from Sunday Times readers.

One couple returned from the November 2004 Falklands cruise with a litany of complaints: “The ship is definitely past her best, and it felt as if they were economising all the way — it’s nowhere near as good as it once was.”

The couple last cruised on the 70,000-tonne liner in 1994, before the American cruise firm Carnival’s 1998 takeover of Cunard.

“The food was still good, but not as plentiful as before — a rack of lamb is down from four chops to two! “The boat was also so crowded — there were 1,600 guests, compared with 1,200 the last time we were aboard — that the waiters could hardly get round the tables.”

They also reported problems with the heating: “Everyone wore jackets in the cinema, but the theatre was boiling hot.”

Gary Bembridge, a veteran cruise fan from Chiswick, west London, has recently switched his custom from the QE2 to the 150,000-tonne Queen Mary 2. “The QE2 is clearly in its twilight years,” he says. “There were towels around leaking windows, chairs with threadbare arms, sun-faded portraits and unpredictable plumbing (hot water from the cold taps on most days). And the loos behind the Queen’s Grill smelt a lot like a public lavatory.”

Last New Year’s Eve, the ship suffered a power cut for almost two hours in stormy seas in the Bermuda Triangle, en route to New York from Puerto Rico. The breakdown was caused by the automatic shutdown of an overheated transformer. Cunard has received no passenger complaints about the matter.

The QE2 was launched in 1969 and has carried more than 3m passengers over 5m nautical miles. Nick Leach, the assistant editor of Ships Monthly magazine, is not surprised by the difficulties: “The QE2 dates from the 1960s, and if you drive a car from the same era, you don’t expect everything to work perfectly all the time.”

There are rumours that the ship may soon be retired. Amendments to international maritime safety law, coming into force in 2010, would require the QE2 to undergo an extensive refit, and Cunard will take delivery of the 85,000-tonne Queen Victoria in December 2007. Cunard says: “There are currently no plans to retire QE2, which continues to receive high ratings from passengers and a high level of repeat business.” Posted by Hello


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