Queen Elizabeth’s celebration

Cunard have cracked the embarkation procedures. Within an hour of leaving home, we were in our cabin and all our luggage arrived within 30 minutes. We had been checked in, photos taken, passes issued and greeted by the bell boys as we entered the main lobby.

This cruise is a celebration of 50 years since the launch of QE2 on 20 September 1967. We are looking forward to meeting up with Commodore Ron Warwick (a former QE2 Captain, the first Captain of Queen Mary 2 and son of Bil Warwick, the first QE2 Captain) and his lovely wife Kim and also Captain Ian McNaught and his lovely wife. Ian was the last Captain of QE2. They are giving presentations about QE2 during the trip and there are to be a number of gatherings for QE2 fanatics (and there are plenty of them) and former members of the crew of QE2.

To put it all into context, you will recall that my late father, Captain George Smith, was the first Staff Captain of QE2 and the second Captain of that classic and much loved ocean liner.

Linda is yet again house sitting for us. I fear that because of time pressures I have not left the house as clean and as tidy as Linda leaves it for us. She has to be the champion house sitter of all time.

Kim is with us again on the ship, helping to look after Jane, and we are all looking forward to an unusual adventure this time.

Some of you will know that the 3 of us are leaving the ship for 4 days in the middle of the cruise to attend Katie Holt’s wedding. She is marrying my blog guru and advisor. I had booked the cruise long before the wedding invitation arrived.

On Thursday 14 September we leave the ship in Messina, Sicily, take a taxi to Catania airport, fly to Rome, change planes and fly to Pisa (all of which should prove interesting with Jane in a wheelchair) pick up a hire car and take photos of all the scratches and dents. Then drive to the Hotel Milano, some 20 minutes north of Lucca. We then have 3 days of wedding celebrations after which, on Monday the 18th, it’s back into the hire car for the 3+ hour drive north to Venice. More photos of the paintwork on the hire car and then a taxi to the port where QE should be waiting for us.

In an attempt to avoid being ripped off by the car hire outfit I have ensured that MasterCard have reduced the credit limit dramatically on an old credit card that I rarely use. There have been so many scare stories in the press in recent weeks about scams by Italian car hire firms that I wanted to reduce the amount they can extract from the card to a figure that’s so small that I won’t get agitated about it.

Louise and Red and grandsons Ethan and Charlie,  and Mike and his fiancée Gretchen will all be at the wedding so our family will have one of those rare get togethers.

We have now seen the schedule for the QE2 presentations and celebrations. Luckily none of them happen while we are off the ship, because those days are all port days.

Today it has been fairly bumpy but the sun has come out in the late afternoon. It is windy and the decks are still very clear. The sun worshippers have decided to stay inside.

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