Trip around the world makes its way to Mexico
This is the third installment in a series following New Kingston resident Fran Faulkner and her sister, Sandy Holsten, as they sail around the world in 90 days.
By Fran Faulkner
Preparations for the Queen Mary 2 to sail away from Callao began at 6 p.m. Tugboats turned the ship around and headed it out to sea. Then, as we were leaving the harbor, the pilot boat arrived to pick up the pilot who had boarded earlier to guide us out of the harbor.
In his daily announcement over the ship’s PA system (we can also pick up his messages on our cabin TV), Commodore Warner mentioned that the ship was now 10,863 nautical miles from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
We spent three days at sea and crossed the equator again before our arrival at Acapulco, Mexico. During that time we were excited to see dolphins and flying fish from our balcony. We had purchased a large world map from the onboard bookstore, and learning that the walls of our cabin were made of metal, we used our small souvenir magnets of the ship to hold the map to the wall. This has worked perfectly, as we can see exactly where we are and move the smallest magnet to mark our location!
We arrived at Alcapulco on Saturday, Feb. 7, and made ready for the Bay Cruise and Cliff Divers tour. Since the QM2 is too large to dock at Alcapulco, the ship anchored in the harbor and we took a tender to meet the sightseeing tour boat. This was the same tour that we had enjoyed when we stopped there in 2007 while we were on the Queen Elizabeth 2. Our tour guide pointed out the homes, which had belonged to famous entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Steve McQueen and Tyrone Power. We were served a mid-morning snack of tasty Mexican food, and enjoyed the beautiful day in the harbor. When we arrived at the cliffs used by the divers, they were ready for us, and climbed up the steep cliffs (at least 60 feet high) to do swan dives into the water. Soon they swam over to our boat and boarded so we could take photos of them. Later a man dressed as a pirate came around to have his picture taken with us. (So far, he is the only pirate that we have encountered – thank goodness!)
From the balcony back in our cabin, we watched other tenders returning to the ship and also the many wave runners circling around the harbor. The security boats kept an eye on them and blew their whistles if any of them came too close. It was interesting to watch the activities surrounding our large ship!
After a couple more days at sea and enjoying activities on board, we docked at Los Angeles, Calif. The weather was sunny but somewhat cooler. We had made arrangements to meet our cousins for lunch, and they were at the dock when we disembarked. It had taken us over an hour to go through customs and immigration on the ship before we could go ashore. At the end of each segment (L.A., Sydney, Dubai and Southampton), all passengers will have to go through the same procedure. Our cousins drove us away from the extensive harbor at Los Angeles/San Pedro and then south to Long Beach, where the original Queen Mary is anchored. We enjoyed lunch across the street from that ship and returned to our QM2 at about 2:30 p.m. It had been a beautiful day for our sightseeing trip. On board again we made some telephone calls, wrote in our journals, and had some R&R before going for dinner. The forecast was for some rough seas overnight so we took medication to prevent sickness as we sailed away. Since Los Angeles was the end of the first segment of our voyage, passengers going from Fort Lauderdale to L.A. disembarked, and others joined us for the next segment (Sydney, Australia). At this point there were more than 1,000 Australians, 500 British, and 500 Americans aboard, as well as Germans, Asians, and Canadians. Many other nationalities were also represented on the passenger list.
We spent the next four days at sea. The skies were overcast every day, but we found lots to do aboard ship. We played cards, read our books, relaxed on deck, played ping-pong and attended shows. The Royal Cunard Singers and Dancers performed “Jazz, Blues, and Rock ‘n’ Roll” one evening, and it was an excellent performance! On Valentine’s Day we were each given a red rose at dinner, and many of the guests dressed in red for the occasion. We had spent some time that day selecting our shore excursions for the next ports of call. We arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, at 7 a.m. on Feb. 15 and were greeted by Hawaiian singing and dancing at the dock. We were able to watch and hear the festivities from our cabin balcony. It was a beautiful day and our Oahu tour took us along Waikiki beach (which brought back memories of the vacation my family took to Hawaii several years ago). Then we drove to Diamond Head Crater and visited Hanauma Bay on the southern coast. A highlight of the tour was our stop at Pali Lookout, up in the Koolan Mountains, where the views are incredible! On our return to the ship, we had lunch and made phone calls to our families at home.
From the deck we took more photos of Diamond Head and the scenery around Honolulu. Our next port of call will be Pago Pago (pronounced Pango Pango) in American Samoa.