Taj, the Fine Art Gallery Art Manager, was the guest on the Jo Haley’s Morning Show. She explained the operation of the Clarendon Art Gallery and while they didn’t say they don’t have art auctions, they don’t have art auctions. Although I do not collect art from cruise ships, or anywhere else for that matter, I do like how the QM2 presents their art for sale and avoids the art auctions present on most other ships. I also appreciate how the art work on the QM2 remains in its dedicated gallery and doesn’t take over certain lounges or a main thoroughfare. Even though in many cases you find yourself having to pass thru the art gallery to get to the Queens Room, the art gallery fits in and is an interesting diversion rather than an intrusion into space not designed to display art.
Zandra Rhodes was the next guest and she discussed her upcoming fashion show at 2 pm in the Queens Lounge. She will be presenting 40 dresses during her show.
Jo’s final guest was Kym Purling, International Pianist, who has a fascinating background. Kym was an orphan who was adopted by an Australian couple during the final days of the Vietnam War and grew up in South Australia.
I wrote in “French Toast” on my room service hang tag and sure enough, it was delivered on time this morning. I have used room service more on the QM2 than most ships because I have found its service exceptional, the food delivered within a reasonable time frame and at the correct temperature. Most food areas on the ship are closed between 3 pm and 6 pm (except afternoon tea) and since we have late seating, we often appreciate a snack around 5 pm or so and room service is the only option.
We attended the morning lecture by Jon Sopel, BBC International Correspondent, who recalled various stories from his postings over the years. He recalled an amusing story where we was forced to spend upwards of $30,000 USD in cash to bribe various warlords in Afghanistan to facilitate access and charter aircraft and other transportation, all in cash and without receipts. On his way back to the UK he spent the evening in Dubai and ordered a $28 bottle of wine. When he filled his rather unusual expense report, everything was approved without question except for the bottle of wine in Dubai that exceeded their $25 limit for the cost of a bottle of wine.
Tomorrow Jon will discuss his perspective on the US presidential election.
I stopped by the Chefs Galley which has hot dogs, hamburgers and a selection of other sandwiches. Half way thru lunch the Captain appeared with a woman who I assumed to be his wife and proceed to grab some food and sit down a few tables away. He enjoyed his food undisturbed by anyone. I always assumed that the ships senior officers usually ate in their private messes or down in the crew area.
At 2pm in the Queens Room Fashion Week continued on the QM2 with the “Zandra Rhodes Transatlantic Dreams” Fashion Show. Doors opened at 1:30 but the line started at 12:45 and those who arrived after 1:20 would not be able to find a seat. Judy and I arrived early and were able to get a seat in the second row.
The show started promptly at 2:00 pm and would last about 30 minutes with a collection of 40 garments shown on the runway by a combination of professional models and the Cunard Dancers. This was my first fashion show and I found it very entertaining and interesting. Each model briskly walked down the runway to recorded musical accompaniment, twirled at end, retracing her steps and then taking a big lap around the Queens Room so everyone could see the clothes up close. I was unable to fully appreciate the nuances in the various outfits on display and Judy explained to me later how the actions of the model at various times (dropping flower pedals for some, carrying mirrored globes for others) indicated a change in theme. When a model in a wedding dress appeared Judy told me that meant the show was wrapping up as the wedding dress is always the final garment. Sure enough, Zandra entered the runway surrounded by all the models to enthusiastic applause.
After the fashion show we stopped by Sir Samuel for a midafternoon snack. We each ordered hot chocolate, one with dark chocolate and one with milk chocolate and a chocolate brownie with caramel inside to share. The bill for everything was about $9.00. It took about 10 minutes for our food to be delivered and we found it to be very rich, but quite delicious. Not something your waistline could probably tolerate very often, but it was a decadent treat that we enjoyed very much.
The show for second seating was at 7 pm and featured Kym Purling playing popular piano tunes. Kym was the musical director for many Broadway shows and toured with Natalie Cole and Engelbert Humperdinck. About half way thru his show, he shared his personal story along with a video that explained how he was adopted from a Vietnamese Orphanage toward the end of the war and ended up being raised in South Australia. We enjoyed his show very much.
I did hear from a more experienced Cunard cruiser – (or is it voyager) that at 7 am on the first day at sea, they offer a 4 hour long behind the scenes tour to the first 12 people who present themselves to the tours office. They said it is never advertised and they stated that it was open to all, not just those in suites or high up on the loyalty program ladder. Not sure if this is fact or fiction, but probably worth checking out if you are up at 7 am on the first sea day.
We had another enjoyable dinner in the Britannia Restaurant. Judy had the Lemon Sole and I had the Pork Loins. I have noticed that unlike HAL they don’t offer any “Always Available” selections like salmon or a steak. Maybe if you ask they have something not on the menu, but I have had no trouble finding something delicious from the selections offered.
After dinner we strolled thru some of the shops and discovered that the liquor store also sells snacks and other similar items while one of the clothing stores sells over the counter medicine and other drug store type items.
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