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We are also traveling with you on this, our first TA.  Arriving 11/1 in London for some sightseeing prior to taking the National Express bus to Southampton on Saturday.  Our first time in London, NYC and Bermuda so we are checking a few items off the bucket list.   Looking forward to seeing you onboard.  Hope you signed up for the Connections Party.  

 

Sue

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3 minutes ago, Jim_Iain said:

 

Those temperature sure look good to us.    It would be nice if it's dry so we can take a walk from our hotel down to the Southampton City Cruise Terminal on Friday afternoon.   From what I can see our hotel is only a mile away.   I have never been to Southampton so would be nice to explore it a little.      I have always found that if we can stay up  and not take a nap on the arrival day that we survive jet lag better.    Sitting around on a ben in a hotel on the day of arrival makes it so tempting to take a "short nap" that can turn into a LONG snooze. 

 

 

This is our second time cruising out of Southampton, but last time stayed in London for a few days first so went directly to the ship.  Like you, we did not know where to stay, so picked the Holiday Inn since it is a five minute walk to the ship.

We do not nap on day of arrival, even though it is so tempting after a long overnight flight, so we usually try to go to bed no later than 9:00.

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7 minutes ago, shofer said:

We are also traveling with you on this, our first TA.  Arriving 11/1 in London for some sightseeing prior to taking the National Express bus to Southampton on Saturday.  Our first time in London, NYC and Bermuda so we are checking a few items off the bucket list.   Looking forward to seeing you onboard.  Hope you signed up for the Connections Party.  

 

Sue

 

Thanks for joining in Sue -  

 

I am sure you will enjoy your first TA.   It is wonderful and very relaxing, but for some it takes awhile to unwind and let go of the demands of daily life.   We find it so relaxing and time to spend quality time with your spouse or partner.   I do a lot of walking which helps keep my weight stable and spend about 3 hours a day walking.   The easiest way to find me is on the walking deck between 10:00 and 1:00    If the weather cooperates I usually walk the track then climb the stairs forward around the front of the ship down the stairs around the pool and up the aft stairs walking around the lawn club and theater and back down.   If the weather is poor or winds high I end up walking loops of the floors starting at the top and working my way down and then back up again.

 

London is a wonderful city and I am sure you will have a great time.   There is so much to do and see that it would be impossible to do it all in a couple days.   Iain was born in Scotland and later worked in London so knows it like the back of his hand.   We also lived in Europe for 3 years and would find ourselves visiting friends in London often.    That is the main reason we won't even be going into London.

 

One good option for London is to pick up a daily underground pass for 12 pounds and use it to zip around town.  Another  option that is always fun is to take the Hop-on-Hop-Off bus and get a feel of the city and decide where you want to spend a bit more time. 

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We are travelling with you on this TA.  We have done one other TA on the Queen Mary 2 but that was eastbound.  We took the QM2 because my Dad came home from the war on the old QM,  My Dad passed away 4 years ago and I thought it would be nice to spread some of his ashes on the North Atlantic. It was a good trip but a little on the fancy side for me.

 

We are flying from Toronto on Oct 30 on an overnight flight to Gatwick.  We have never done a night flight before.  I am hoping we will be able to sleep.  "We have friends picking us up in Gatwick and we are staying with them in Southsea (near Portsmouth).  We plan to go to Osborne house after we land.  We also want to go to Stonehenge and possibly Brighton.  Do you know if you can actually walk right up to the stones an touch them?  I am thinking of the Outlander books and TV show.

 

Do you think the pool in the solarium will be heated?

 

Looking forward to meeting you and Iian. (is that correct, or is I Ian)

 

Cathy

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NThe Novotel is the highest grade of 3 Ibis hotels set around a shared car park. (1 on the attached map) We have walked to the City Terminal (B) to get the feel of the place. However, we don’t walk with suitcases, but order a taxi for the 5 minute journey to the port.

B978EDD0-EA10-4EFC-9DE4-563BA64B6A62.jpeg

Edited by upwarduk
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I'm following along for no other reason than I enjoy reading live threads from S class ships.  We've done a TA, but it was on Princess.  We're slowly switching over to Celebrity for our longer cruises, and are on the Eclipse in January, and I'm on the Equinox next summer.

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Hi Jim,

 

I do enjoy your blogs so am looking forward to the next set of stories.

 

You started off by asking about things to do in Boston. I have no doubt 

you are aware of all the wonderful historic stuff. We had a day in the city

three years ago on a New York to Montreal cruise. The place I was most

looking forward to visiting was The Bull and Finch, now more well

known as The Cheers Bar. Cheers and Frasier were my favourite TV

programmes so a visit was mandatory. I know it was only the

outside which was used but there is splendid memorabilia on the walls.

Unfortunately nobody knew my name as I walked in! If you were at all

interested in Cheers I would thoroughly recommend a visit. A picture

of me standing outside is much treasured. Cheers is in Beacon Street 

which is a very nice part of the city.

 

Still cold today 20 miles to the west of Southampton which isn’t a

place to get too excited about. Hitler destroyed all the old bits in the

city centre. However, if you have time, Winchester and Salisbury

with their wonderful cathedrals aren’t too far away. Easy trip by train.

The railway station is close to your hotel. I prefer Salisbury cathedral

but find the city of Winchester prettier and more atmospheric. It is

also closer and trains are more frequent.  On balance, therefore, I would

recommend Winchester.

 

Have a wonderful holiday. Very best wishes.

 

Mike.

 

 

 

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Hi Jim,

I really enjoyed your posts from the Millenium and am looking forward to your next blog. We haven’t done any TA so since you’ve done so many..I’m wondering whether you prefer the crossing in April or November. I would think the seas would be smoother in April than Nov. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. We have sailed from HNL - YVR and it wasn’t a bad crossing at all. We’re doing it again in April.

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Things to do in Boston- 

Our daughter went college in the northeast,and we would fly to Boston about once a year to meet her. We went there as tourists about 6 times in 4 years. I would recommend:

the Duck Boats, not sure if they are the original Duck Boats, but they are the most fun. In the same vein, the orange HOHO buses will take you to almost the entire Freedom Trail stops without walking. Walking the Freedom Trail is easy and a great way to see the city, but will take most of our time if you do the stops.

Boston has world class museums - my favorites are a bit off the beaten path - the Isabella Stewart Gardner (warning, it has an odd opening schedule, so check before you go, also read about her and her legacy, it will enhance the visit) and the Glass Flowers at the Harvard museum of Natural History. Both art museums are excellent. The modern art one is relatively small, on the harbor and has great city views. 

Favorite places to eat - anything in the North End or dim sum in Chinatown. I like Empire Garden, but there are a few other highly rated spots on Yelp.this is traditional rolling cart dim sum - might not be very special to someone from the Bay Area, but it is awesome to us!

Boston is a favorite walking city - enjoy!

 

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15 hours ago, Lindsaycruiser said:

We are travelling with you on this TA.  We have done one other TA on the Queen Mary 2 but that was eastbound.  We took the QM2 because my Dad came home from the war on the old QM,  My Dad passed away 4 years ago and I thought it would be nice to spread some of his ashes on the North Atlantic. It was a good trip but a little on the fancy side for me.

 

We are flying from Toronto on Oct 30 on an overnight flight to Gatwick.  We have never done a night flight before.  I am hoping we will be able to sleep.  "We have friends picking us up in Gatwick and we are staying with them in Southsea (near Portsmouth).  We plan to go to Osborne house after we land.  We also want to go to Stonehenge and possibly Brighton.  Do you know if you can actually walk right up to the stones an touch them?  I am thinking of the Outlander books and TV show.

 

Do you think the pool in the solarium will be heated?

 

Looking forward to meeting you and Iian. (is that correct, or is I Ian)

 

Cathy

Wonderful to hear that you will be traveling on this cruise also.   It's going to be a fun cruise.   It might be advantageous that you are taking a night flight as you may have an opportunity to get a bit of a nap while in flight.   One thing you will find is that it will be a short night.   Since you are flying East there will be 5 hours time zone change. 

 

Your trip on the Queen sounds really exciting and what a tribute you made to your Dad.  Were you actually able to spread the ashes?  I've heard differing reports on whether it was possible.  

 

I checked on visiting Stonehenge and found that you can get close but not touch most of the time -

During normal opening hours you cannot walk up to the stones themselves. The nearest you will get to the stones is about 10 yards, the monument being roped off by a low barrier, (see picture below).

 

xstonehenge_public_view.jpg.pagespeed_ic.YLwPGxtCpg.jpg.3b0caf2fba2eeec6d89653d275ed8c22.jpg

 

However it is possible to walk up to and among the stones at Stonehenge outside public opening hours. These are called Special Access visits. During these sessions of one hour duration, only 26 people are allowed onto Stonehenge, going beyond the barriers and walking amongst the stones.

 

The fact that these Stonehenge Special Access visits are outside public opening hours mean that they are at dawn or evening. Given that London is two hours' drive from London this obviously provides logistical issues in getting there.

 

The Special Access Visits are also immensely popular, demand far outstrips supply and they are often sold out months in advance.

 

As for the Spa Pool -   It is heated and often on a cold weather cruise they open it in the evening for a couple hours for Family Swimming so children have an opportunity to swim.   The remainder of the time it is adult only..

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11 hours ago, upwarduk said:

NThe Novotel is the highest grade of 3 Ibis hotels set around a shared car park. (1 on the attached map) We have walked to the City Terminal (B) to get the feel of the place. However, we don’t walk with suitcases, but order a taxi for the 5 minute journey to the port.

B978EDD0-EA10-4EFC-9DE4-563BA64B6A62.jpeg

Thank you for sharing the map.  I agree that we would not walk to the Terminal with our suite cases.   I was planning on using Uber.    Have you ever used it?    I checked the other day and it appears that Uber is active in Southampton.   If now I'll use a cab.

 

 

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10 hours ago, abbydancer said:

I'm following along for no other reason than I enjoy reading live threads from S class ships.  We've done a TA, but it was on Princess.  We're slowly switching over to Celebrity for our longer cruises, and are on the Eclipse in January, and I'm on the Equinox next summer.

 

You are very welcome.    I also love to read live blogs especially with ones with lots of pictures of both the ship and the ports.   It helps quell my addiction of sailing while not on the sea.   

 

We have never sailed another line than Celebrity.    When we first sailed them we loved the product and never found a reason to go on a different line.   Once you start accumulating status it makes it harder to go to a different line.   

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7 minutes ago, Jim_Iain said:

Wonderful to hear that you will be traveling on this cruise also.   It's going to be a fun cruise.   It might be advantageous that you are taking a night flight as you may have an opportunity to get a bit of a nap while in flight.   One thing you will find is that it will be a short night.   Since you are flying East there will be 5 hours time zone change. 

Even shorter; just four hours this week between Toronto and the UK, as the Brits are now back on standard time.  😉

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1 minute ago, Jim_Iain said:

 

You are very welcome.    I also love to read live blogs especially with ones with lots of pictures of both the ship and the ports.   It helps quell my addiction of sailing while not on the sea.   

 

We have never sailed another line than Celebrity.    When we first sailed them we loved the product and never found a reason to go on a different line.   Once you start accumulating status it makes it harder to go to a different line.   

Hi,

 

I know about the point thing.  We get a lot of perks on Princess, far less on X.  

 

By the way, forgot to mention - we're in your neighborhood.  I'm writing this from my condo in Mountain View.

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9 hours ago, montythecat said:

Hi Jim,

 

I do enjoy your blogs so am looking forward to the next set of stories.

 

You started off by asking about things to do in Boston. I have no doubt 

you are aware of all the wonderful historic stuff. We had a day in the city

three years ago on a New York to Montreal cruise. The place I was most

looking forward to visiting was The Bull and Finch, now more well

known as The Cheers Bar. Cheers and Frasier were my favourite TV

programmes so a visit was mandatory. I know it was only the

outside which was used but there is splendid memorabilia on the walls.

Unfortunately nobody knew my name as I walked in! If you were at all

interested in Cheers I would thoroughly recommend a visit. A picture

of me standing outside is much treasured. Cheers is in Beacon Street 

which is a very nice part of the city.

That might be a fun thing to do.   One thing we enjoy doing is to go to places the tourists don't usually go to.   We use to watc Cheers on a regular basis.   I've put it on our todo list. 

 

Quote

Still cold today 20 miles to the west of Southampton which isn’t a

place to get too excited about. Hitler destroyed all the old bits in the

city centre. However, if you have time, Winchester and Salisbury

with their wonderful cathedrals aren’t too far away. Easy trip by train.

The railway station is close to your hotel. I prefer Salisbury cathedral

but find the city of Winchester prettier and more atmospheric. It is

also closer and trains are more frequent.  On balance, therefore, I would

recommend Winchester.

 

It will be interesting to see how we feel after arrival.    I have to admit I'm getting older and don't handle jetlag with the ease I did in my younger days.   While living in Dublin I use to have to Fly to San Francisco once a month for staff meeting.   While I felt jetlag was very manageable.   

 

I'm finding new tricks all the time with the new software.    You can now insert comments between quoted text by just putting your cursor at the point and hitting the return.   Cool feature.

 

 

Quote

Have a wonderful holiday. Very best wishes.

 

Mike.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Jim_Iain
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5 hours ago, Travelexpert35 said:

Hi Jim,

I really enjoyed your posts from the Millenium and am looking forward to your next blog. We haven’t done any TA so since you’ve done so many..I’m wondering whether you prefer the crossing in April or November. I would think the seas would be smoother in April than Nov. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. We have sailed from HNL - YVR and it wasn’t a bad crossing at all. We’re doing it again in April.

 

While we have done many TA's at this time we have never taken an East Bound one.  LOL     We booked our first East Bound after twisting Iain's wrist (he hates the idea of loosing 5 hours of sleep) for April so will then have a point of reference.

 

What I can tell you is that West Bound TA's are wonderful.   Their are 3 basic routes they take -  Northern Crossing ending in Port Liberty, Mid-Atlantic that stop in the Azores and Southern Crossing which go down to the Canaries and cross very south.

 

Southern Crossings have almost all been as smooth as a lake and warm enough for people to swim and lay by the pool.  They usually start out a little chilly but warm up in a day or 2 to pool weather.   I think on only one did we have any rain.

 

Mid-Atlantic cruise are a little cooler and comfortable to be outside without a sweater but get nice as they head south after the Azores.   This area can experience some stormy weather at the beginning of the cruise but have never experienced it.

 

Finally we have the Norther Crossing.   This route is definitely much cooler.    I don't recall it ever being warm enough to use the pool and have many memories of high seas, fog, rain  and heavy winds.    I have heard from others that have experience nice seas on the northern crossings but have also heard of others with 30 Foot waves.   

 

It will be interesting to look to see the route the ship takes on this trip.   With our first port being Boston the captain will normally select a route that will minimize as best as he can the heavy seas an storms.  

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18 minutes ago, abbydancer said:

Hi,

 

I know about the point thing.  We get a lot of perks on Princess, far less on X.  

 

By the way, forgot to mention - we're in your neighborhood.  I'm writing this from my condo in Mountain View.

 

Fantastic -  Welcome neighbor.    I'm sure we must be close.    I live off of Mary at Central Expressway.   The center line off Mary is the line between Sunnyvale and Mountain View.   

 

I walk from here most days down to Castro Street in Mountain View, grab a coffee at Starbucks and back home.   I usually also walk down there on Sundays to the Farmer's Market - Yum..

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18 minutes ago, gerelmx said:

When we cruise the Splendour of the Seas, British Island and Norwegian Fjords, we do pre-cruise days one of the tours was Stonehenge, Winchester and King Arthur.

 

Sounds like some more interesting points to visit.   

 

I'm not sure if we will get much touring in as our plane doesn't arrive until 2PM and then with a 1 hour 45 minute drive will probably be 4:30 - 5:00 before we arrive.   

 

I have to say that I'm getting exciting and still have 3 1/2 days until we leave.   

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16 hours ago, Lindsaycruiser said:

 

 

Looking forward to meeting you and Iian. (is that correct, or is I Ian)

 

Cathy

 

Forgot to answer.    Yes it is  Iain, which is the Scottish spelling of the traditional Ian which is common in England and Ireland.  Pronounced the same.    It is easy to tell a telephone solicitor as they get their tongues wrapped around three vowels.   

Edited by Jim_Iain
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18 minutes ago, Jim_Iain said:

 

While we have done many TA's at this time we have never taken an East Bound one.  LOL     We booked our first East Bound after twisting Iain's wrist (he hates the idea of loosing 5 hours of sleep) for April so will then have a point of reference.

 

What I can tell you is that West Bound TA's are wonderful.   Their are 3 basic routes they take -  Northern Crossing ending in Port Liberty, Mid-Atlantic that stop in the Azores and Southern Crossing which go down to the Canaries and cross very south.

 

Southern Crossings have almost all been as smooth as a lake and warm enough for people to swim and lay by the pool.  They usually start out a little chilly but warm up in a day or 2 to pool weather.   I think on only one did we have any rain.

 

Mid-Atlantic cruise are a little cooler and comfortable to be outside without a sweater but get nice as they head south after the Azores.   This area can experience some stormy weather at the beginning of the cruise but have never experienced it.

 

Finally we have the Norther Crossing.   This route is definitely much cooler.    I don't recall it ever being warm enough to use the pool and have many memories of high seas, fog, rain  and heavy winds.    I have heard from others that have experience nice seas on the northern crossings but have also heard of others with 30 Foot waves.   

 

It will be interesting to look to see the route the ship takes on this trip.   With our first port being Boston the captain will normally select a route that will minimize as best as he can the heavy seas an storms.  

Thanks so much for the info....very interesting..a friend of mine did a TA in April one year from Tampa and it was smooth as glass. I believe they did a more southern crossing. Enjoy your cruise...I’ll be following your blog...

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1 hour ago, Jim_Iain said:

Wonderful to hear that you will be traveling on this cruise also.   It's going to be a fun cruise.   It might be advantageous that you are taking a night flight as you may have an opportunity to get a bit of a nap while in flight.   One thing you will find is that it will be a short night.   Since you are flying East there will be 5 hours time zone change. 

 

Your trip on the Queen sounds really exciting and what a tribute you made to your Dad.  Were you actually able to spread the ashes?  I've heard differing reports on whether it was possible.   

 

I checked on visiting Stonehenge and found that you can get close but not touch most of the time -

During normal opening hours you cannot walk up to the stones themselves. The nearest you will get to the stones is about 10 yards, the monument being roped off by a low barrier, (see picture below).

 

xstonehenge_public_view.jpg.pagespeed_ic.YLwPGxtCpg.jpg.3b0caf2fba2eeec6d89653d275ed8c22.jpg

 

However it is possible to walk up to and among the stones at Stonehenge outside public opening hours. These are called Special Access visits. During these sessions of one hour duration, only 26 people are allowed onto Stonehenge, going beyond the barriers and walking amongst the stones.

 

The fact that these Stonehenge Special Access visits are outside public opening hours mean that they are at dawn or evening. Given that London is two hours' drive from London this obviously provides logistical issues in getting there.

 

The Special Access Visits are also immensely popular, demand far outstrips supply and they are often sold out months in advance.

 

As for the Spa Pool -   It is heated and often on a cold weather cruise they open it in the evening for a couple hours for Family Swimming so children have an opportunity to swim.   The remainder of the time it is adult only..

Thank you for the wealth of information and pic.  I don't know if you are a fan of the Outlander stories, but I had visions of myself touching one of the stones and being transported back in time to Scotland.!

 

I didn't actually get permission for spreading my Dads ashes.  What I did do was, I carved out an apple (like ones does with a pumpkin) complete with lid.  I then put the ashes in the apple and put lid on and threw it off the stern of the QM2.  I didn't want the ashes blowing back in my face and I thought the apple was environmentally safe.  There were numerous notices posed not to throw anything over the side of the ship, so I was quite nervous.  My husband and I did it under the cover or darkness.  It was sad and funny at the same time.

 

Glad to hear the solarium pool is heated.  We were on the Reflection last year to the Caribbean Islands and I enjoyed the pool very much.   And the Spa Café is quite nice for a light meal or snack.

 

I am having a devil of a time packing.

 

See you soon.

 

Cathy

 

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18 minutes ago, Lindsaycruiser said:

Thank you for the wealth of information and pic.  I don't know if you are a fan of the Outlander stories, but I had visions of myself touching one of the stones and being transported back in time to Scotland.!

 

I didn't actually get permission for spreading my Dads ashes.  What I did do was, I carved out an apple (like ones does with a pumpkin) complete with lid.  I then put the ashes in the apple and put lid on and threw it off the stern of the QM2.  I didn't want the ashes blowing back in my face and I thought the apple was environmentally safe.  There were numerous notices posed not to throw anything over the side of the ship, so I was quite nervous.  My husband and I did it under the cover or darkness.  It was sad and funny at the same time.

 

Glad to hear the solarium pool is heated.  We were on the Reflection last year to the Caribbean Islands and I enjoyed the pool very much.   And the Spa Café is quite nice for a light meal or snack.

 

I am having a devil of a time packing.

 

See you soon.

 

Cathy

 

 

You have us laughing about touching the Stonehenge Rock and being transported back in time.   Wouldn't that be fun, but you might miss the cruise.

 

 

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You can only imaging our joy of the latest ocean forecast which was posted today.    Hopefully she will be fast moving and gone before our crossing.   After being hit with 2 Typhoons on our last cruise I'm feeling like a hurricane chaser. 

 

Hurricane season ends on November 1, but with global warming the world of weather is changing. 

 

2036315891_Oscar18-10-28.jpg.dee7df8152c9e61cbdb7baa043a716f5.jpg

Edited by Jim_Iain
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