There were a few more reminders yesterday that Queen Mary 2 is not just a cruise ship but an ocean liner. Captain Christopher Wells made the point forcefully throughout his address to passengers at the Gala 175 Welcome Cocktail Party.
Apologising for the fact we had felt some movement as the ship encountered near gale-force winds between Land’s End and the Irish coast, he blamed the fact that we were “pootling along” at a mere 13 knots. The ship is designed to make twice that speed on Transatlantic crossings in far worse weather.
Capt Wells made several semi-apologetic references to the fact that because QM2 is so much longer and deeper than most cruise ships, we will not be able to tie up alongside at several ports during this 10-night Salute to Liverpool voyage.
He gave the impression that we would be at anchor today in instead of berthing at the cruise ship terminal in Cobh, the port for Cork. As it turns out, we are alongside at Ringaskiddy, hard by the Pfizer factory that manufactures Viagra.
Tomorrow we will be at anchor at Dun Laoghaire; passengers wanting to travel into Dublin will have a relatively lengthy journey. Greenock, on the Clyde, will be able to accommodate us, but when QM2 arrives for her maiden visit to Oban, we will be anchoring again. Capt Wells claimed he did not know exactly where – because neither he nor the ship have been there before.
The Pier Head at Liverpool will be able to accommodate us, of course, although we will have to leave the berth on Monday morning to make way for Queen Elizabeth; St Peter Port has no facilities for cruise ships – large or small – to tie up, so we will be tendering ashore there on Tuesday.
Significant as Cunard claim this voyage is, it has failed to sell out. According to the Captain’s figures there are 2,443 passengers on board; full capacity at double-occupancy is 2,620, while the theoretical maximum, with every berth filled, is 3,090. There are 28 nationalities of passenger: 1,648 from the UK, 441 from the United States, 70 from Germany, 67 from Canada, and 59 from Japan.
More later, on what makes Queen Mary 2 different from your average cruise ship. Meanwhile, I’m off to catch the shuttle bus to Cobh.