Posted October 19th, 2017, 09:12 AM
Last edited by david,Mississauga; October 19th, 2017 at 09:13 AM Reason: Typo
Aboard the 9/29/17 QM2 Quebec City to NYC .
We experienced an overwhelming welcome and spectacular departure in Saquenay .
Never saw anything like it on any cruise .
Seemed the whole town came out , dressed in period costumes , jugglers , clowns and such.
Blueberry pie for everyone. Music all day long from folk songs to a orchestra ..
Couple thousand people at the dock , playing music and waving flags . QM2, lots of horn blasting also.
Big fireworks display as we entered the fjord also.
This added to the thousands who sent us off at the dock in Quebec City .
Wonderful ports .
I was on this cruise this year - and continued on to Southampton - as well as last year, which was the first time the QM2 came to Saguenay. It may be hard to believe, but last year's welcome was even more lavish than this year's (although there was not a symphony orchestra as there was this time). It was mayor Jean Tremblay's 10-year dream to persuade Cunard to send the QM2 to his city and he was proud to welcome Captain Oprey and everyone at a civic event last year. I missed the mayor's welcome this year, but I understand there was a reception in the cruise pavilion.
Last year's maiden arrival was on a week-day and we were told that thousands of children were given the day off school. As it was this year it was a chilly morning but it was touching to see so many thousands out for the arrival and again for the departure when the weather warmed up. The media estimated 40,000 turned up that day.
There are many videos of that 2016 day on Youtube. There was also much coverage of the festivities as well as on-board the QM2 on Radio-Canada, the French language version of the CBC. Sorry, having just flown in from England I haven't time to search for the dozens of links to all of this, but of course they are easy to find.
Regarding the port of Sept-Iles, it was an almost-last-minute substitution for Gaspé due to the temporary speed restrictions in the St. Lawrence. I hope Cunard will return to Gaspé when conditions permit.
The one interesting aspect of the call at Sept-Iles was the opportunity to hear Mylène Paquette speak about her transatlantic rowing experience during which the QM2 came to assist her when she ran into difficulty and lost three of her four mobile communication devices. She gave a fascinating talk on board the ship and received a thunderous ovation from the capacity crowd. Later she was available for a chat at the small museum in town which had her boat on display.