Slept through til 6am, hurrah. Still pretty tired though.

Watched our arrival into St Thomas. The initial view was not over a container terminal for a change. It was off to the side slightly. But then the Celebrity Summit pulled in and that was our view for the day.

US Virgin Islands flag on Queen Mary 2
US Virgin Islands flag on Queen Mary 2

St Thomas from Queen Mary 2
St Thomas from Queen Mary 2

Looking into the bridge of the Queen Mary 2
Looking into the bridge of the Queen Mary 2

Celebrity Summit arriving at St Thomas
Celebrity Summit arriving at St Thomas

Bird flying over St Thomas
Bird flying over St Thomas

Had a pretty leisurely start. Had breakfast in Kings Court (which was actually a bit of chaos). Then meetup time was 10:00.

Walked off the ship and got onto one of the local taxis which are open sided and hold 27 people. They don't really have private car taxis here (I think there are some but they are quite expensive). We were on a tour, but just took these public taxis with no other tour guide.

Hurricane damaged building
Hurricane damaged building

So they drove us into Charlotte Amelie and dumped us and said see you in two hours.

Blink.

Ok so the brochure said we'd be going to the beach first, then the shopping, but it's not unusual to swap things around. So that was fine. The problem is that Charlotte Amalie has to be one of the most boring shopping districts I've ever been to in my life. There's dozens and dozens and dozens of jewelry stores and that's it. BORING.

So at first we avoided the shops and walked up the hill, up the 99 Steps, to try and see Blackbeards Castle, but it was closed for renovations so that was a bit boring. There was a nice view of St Thomas on the way though. Saw a cute lizard on the 99 Steps too.

Hotel 1829
Hotel 1829

Three Queens statue
Three Queens statue

Blackbeard's Castle
Blackbeard's Castle

Blackbeard's Castle
Blackbeard's Castle

St Thomas panorama
St Thomas panorama

View over St Thomas
View over St Thomas (the ship on the right is the Norwegian Gem - now the third time we've seen her since New York!)

View to Fort Christian
View to Fort Christian

99 Steps
99 Steps

Lizard at 99 Steps
Lizard at 99 Steps

99 Steps
99 Steps

Back down the hill and the only map we had wasn't very good or useful so walked along the main street of Charlotte Amalie looking for anything interesting among the hundreds of boring jewellry stores. We went down a couple of alleys looking for something different and in the end found a beer garden and just plonked ourselves there. Had a couple of local beers, and had "shark bites" (just fried chunks of spicy fish) that was super delicious. Unfortunately the food took ages to arrive, so as soon as we'd had it we had to head back to the taxi. Didn't get to see anything else, not that there was much to see.

Stu at Beuchert's Beer Garden
Stu at Beuchert's Beer Garden

Lizard at Beuchert's Beer Garden
Lizard at Beuchert's Beer Garden

Shark Bites at Beuchert's Beer Garden
Shark Bites at Beuchert's Beer Garden

Next they took us up to Mountain Top which has a lovely view of Magens Bay. And the biggest souvenir shop I've ever seen in my life. It was enormous. Didn't buy anything though. Except a "world famous" banana daquiri. With a keep cup.

Reproduction of the Liberty Bell at Emancipation Garden
Reproduction of the Liberty Bell at Emancipation Garden

Fort Christian
Fort Christian

View over St Thomas
View over St Thomas

Mountain Top tourist trap
Mountain Top tourist trap

Stu and Kaz at Mountain Top
Stu and Kaz at Mountain Top
Photo by Stu

Inside Mountain Top tourist trap
Inside Mountain Top tourist trap

View north east to Magens Bay
View north east to Magens Bay

View north east to Magens Bay
View north east to Magens Bay

View north east to Magens Bay
View north east to Magens Bay

Stu with banana daquiri at Mountain Top
Stu with banana daquiri at Mountain Top

View over St Thomas
View over St Thomas

Then they took us down to the beach at Magens Bay.

Lizard on the road!
Lizard on the road!

Drake's Seat
Drake's Seat

Did I mention that I was stressing all day about this tour? How do you mix a beach day and a shopping day? What shoes do you wear? Sandals for the beach or comfortable shoes for the walking around? Which camera do I take? Will it be safe to leave the big camera (and my phone which is worth more) on the beach? Is there changing rooms at the beach? (I don't want to be wearing a swimming costume around all day). Once again the Cunard documenation was appalling regarding the excursion. These guys really need to lift their game.

Anyways, so there was in fact change rooms, so got changed, but the beach was super crowded. Walked along the beach for quite a while until we found somewhere with a few less people and some available shade on the beach. Found a big patch of driftwood and was able to hang my bag on it so didn't have to put it on the sand, so that was good. And the water was so calm I could keep my hat and sunnies on. So we could swim near our bags and keep an eye on them. So turned out to be ok. We met a couple of locals (they thought the water was COLD haha). Chatted to one of them for quite a while (she'd lived in Atlanta and DC for years but came home to USVI, and was still doing repairs to her house which had been damaged in the hurricane). Got out and then wandered back down the beach, ending up at the bar where we got some rum punch. Living the dream - rum punch on a Caribbean island beach. Hrmmm. :) Didn't bother to get changed, as this was our last stop before getting back to the ship.

Beach at Magens Bay
Beach at Magens Bay

Water at Magens Bay
Water at Magens Bay

Beach at Magens Bay
Beach at Magens Bay

Had a nice view of the place on the way back.

View over St Thomas
View over St Thomas

Crystal Symphony and Crown Princess at St Thomas
Crystal Symphony and Crown Princess at St Thomas

Why did the chickens cross the road?
Why did the chickens cross the road?

Queen Mary 2 at St Thomas
Queen Mary 2 at St Thomas

Stu about to board the Queen Mary 2 at St Thomas - possibly our last time ever boarding the Queen Mary 2
Stu about to board the Queen Mary 2 at St Thomas - possibly our last time ever boarding the Queen Mary 2

Ultimately I was disappointed in the tour. It just didn't know what it wanted to be. Would have been a lot cheaper just taking those taxis ourselves. And we didn't get to see the iconic view of the harbour, you can only get that it seems from doing the cable car (we probably should have done "Views of St Thomas" instead of this one). Not that it would have mattered, the Queen Mary 2 was way way way over at the western end, away from all the views anyway. There were three other ships in port at the eastern end, including the Norwegian Gem and two others. But sadly I never got to see a Behemoth of the Seas :(

Anyways. Back on the ship, had showers and got changed, then sat out on the balcony with some bubbly and waved at all the people on the Celebrity Summit as they waved goodbye to us departing.

Crowds gathered on bow of Celebrity Summit - not fair, we can't do that on Queen Mary 2!
Crowds gathered on bow of Celebrity Summit - not fair, we can't do that on Queen Mary 2!

Drinking champagne while departing St Thomas
Drinking champagne while departing St Thomas

St Thomas from Queen Mary 2
St Thomas from Queen Mary 2

Water Island from Queen Mary 2
Water Island from Queen Mary 2

Sunset over the North Atlantic and Peurto Rico with Sail Rock
Sunset over the North Atlantic and Peurto Rico with Sail Rock

Got ready for dinner and went to Princess Grill (the sweetie was finally well enough to come to fancy dinner).

Mediterranean jump shrimp at crevette cocktail with saltine crackers that I had for entrée
Mediterranean jump shrimp at crevette cocktail with saltine crackers that I had for entrée

Tournedos rossini, toasted brioch, wild mushrooms, lyonnaise potatoes and buttered spinach that I had for mains
Tournedos rossini, toasted brioch, wild mushrooms, lyonnaise potatoes and buttered spinach that I had for mains

Blackberry cheesecake, blackberry compote and blackberry sorbet that I had for dessert
Blackberry cheesecake, blackberry compote and blackberry sorbet that I had for dessert

After dinner I went with Bryan and Jan to the 20:45 show which was the Backstreet, sorry, Barricade Boys. They did a few songs from Les Mis, a bunch of others, and Bohemian Rhapsody! Which was pretty cool.

Backstreet, sorry, Barricade Boys
Backstreet, sorry, Barricade Boys

Then to bed.

Woke up 5:15. Except my phone was wrong so I have no idea what time I woke up. No idea when it got set to the wrong time either. Probably yesterday at some point.

Watched our arrival into St Maarten.

Sea bird flying next to Queen Mary 2
Sea bird flying next to Queen Mary 2

St Maarten and pilot boat
St Maarten and pilot boat

Rain over St Maarten
Rain over St Maarten

St Maarten from Queen Mary 2
St Maarten from Queen Mary 2

St Maarten from Queen Mary 2
St Maarten from Queen Mary 2

Ships docked at St Maarten
Ships docked at St Maarten

Port of St Maarten
Port of St Maarten

Had a pretty easy morning. Had sausages and salad for breakfast. Kinda sick of the same stuff every day. But we did see the captain walk through Kings Court. Twice! Even said hello haha. Apparently he had his family with him and he was showing them around, including the Carnival Fascination next door hehe.

Getting off the ship was super easy - just walked off.

Queen Mary 2 and Carnival Fascination at St Maarten
Queen Mary 2 and Carnival Fascination at St Maarten

Then it started to rain. Hurrah. Just lightly though.

Walked into Philipsburg and had a bit of a look around. People here are much more in your face selling stuff. Guess life has been a lot harder since the last hurricane devastated the place.

Bucket List tshirt in a shop in Philipsburg
Bucket List tshirt in a shop in Philipsburg

Our first stop was "That Yoda Guy" movie exhibit. Nick Maley was a makeup artist who worked on *heaps* of films including Star Wars, and he retired to St Maarten and setup a little museum of memorabilia. It was pretty cool, well except for the temperature which was stifling, and we were melting by the end of it.

Stu outside That Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit
Stu outside That Yoda Guy Movie Exhibit

Yoda behind the scenes photos
Yoda behind the scenes photos

Script page from Return of the Jedi
Script page from Return of the Jedi

Ewok model
Ewok model

Star Wars storyboard
Star Wars storyboard

The Emperor and Salacious Crumb
The Emperor and Salacious Crumb

Tusken Raider
Tusken Raider

Terminator 2 storyboards
Terminator 2 storyboards

Star Wars storyboards
Star Wars storyboards

David Bowie lifecast
David Bowie lifecast

Original storyboard from Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back
Original storyboard from Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back

Six puppeteers controlled Yoda
Six puppeteers controlled Yoda

Original mold of Yoda's skin
Original mold of Yoda's skin

Model of Yoda
Model of Yoda

Kaz and Nick Maley
Kaz and Nick Maley

Then we had a smoothie. Cause we were hot. Then wandered down to the beach and walked along a bit.

Philipsburg Boardwalk
Philipsburg Boardwalk

St Maarten Court House
St Maarten Court House

Great Bay Beach
Great Bay Beach

Then we decided to head for the airport, but didn't know where to find a taxi. We were just walking down the street and saw a minibus that said Maho and decided that would work. It was only $2 per person which was great value, so took that all the way to the north end of Maho Beach.

Then is started to rain. Hurrah. Poured this time. We had borrowed the Cunard umbrella from our room, and it helped a little but not much.

Headed for the south end of the beach, with the idea of sitting in the bar and drinking while waiting for the planes. Except because it was raining, everyone else was in there and the place was packed. Le sigh. Found a bar stool for the sweetie and got him a drink, then I stood out in the rain waiting for planes.

Had to wait about half an hour, in the rain, then they came thick and fast. It was so totally awesome. Bucket list item: tick.

And the rain did stop for a while too, so everyone hit the beach and it got really crowded. Still got some good shots I think.

Sunset Bar surfboard showing airline arrivals times
Sunset Bar surfboard showing airline arrivals times

Sunset Bar at Maho Beach
Sunset Bar at Maho Beach

Crowds on Maho Beach
Crowds on Maho Beach

Bombardier Global Express-BD-700-1A10 PP-GUL landing at St Maarten
Bombardier Global Express-BD-700-1A10 PP-GUL landing at St Maarten

American Airlines N198AA Boeing 757-223(WL) landing at St Maarten
American Airlines N198AA Boeing 757-223(WL) landing at St Maarten

United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten
United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten

United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten
United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten

United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten
United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten

United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten
United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten

United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten
United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten

United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten
United Airlines N39728 Boeing 737-724(WL) landing at St Maarten

VP-LNB King Air 100-A100 landing at St Maarten
VP-LNB King Air 100-A100 landing at St Maarten

VP-LNB King Air 100-A100 landing at St Maarten
VP-LNB King Air 100-A100 landing at St Maarten

Jetblue N566JB Airbus A320-232 landing at St Maarten
Jetblue N566JB Airbus A320-232 landing at St Maarten

Jetblue N566JB Airbus A320-232 landing at St Maarten
Jetblue N566JB Airbus A320-232 landing at St Maarten

Stu having a rum punch at Maho Beach.  Can you tell how thrilled he is to be there? :)
Stu having a rum punch at Maho Beach. Can you tell how thrilled he is to be there? :)
Photo by Stu

Ran into John the Scottish dude and his wife, who I've now heard her name twice and I *still* can't remember her name :(

By this time the sweetie had had enough (he *still* feels like crap poor thing :(:( ), and he wanted to go straight to the ship rather than Philipsburg (the minibus taxis are a lot cheaper but probably only go into town). So paid $20 for a taxi.

Philipsburg from the taxi
Philipsburg from the taxi

Queen Mary 2 at St Maarten
Queen Mary 2 at St Maarten

Had a late, light lunch, then headed back to the room.

Found out the book I'd taken got a bit water damaged in the rain :( Which is probably why they have notices all over them not to do what I just did for that very reason. I suck.

17:00 and we heard another ship leaving. But we were facing the container terminal, so couldn't see them, and it would have taken entirely too much effort to see them, so sat there doing nothing.

Sat around doing nothing for a while. Eventually I got ready and went to dinner by myself while the sweetie went to Kings Court. Dinner was nice enough, but actually a repeat menu from our first night on board. I didn't have anything for entree, had the beef and short ribs again because they were pretty good last time, and yoghurt panna cotta for dessert.

Roasted beef tenderloin and braised short ribs, celeriac puree, speck potato rosti and red wine sauce that I had for mains
Roasted beef tenderloin and braised short ribs, celeriac puree, speck potato rosti and red wine sauce that I had for mains

Yoghurt panna cotta, rhubarb compote, strawberry flim and basil pain de genes that I had for dessert
Yoghurt panna cotta, rhubarb compote, strawberry flim and basil pain de genes that I had for dessert

After dinner I went with Bryan and Jan to the early show. The act was comedy juggler Pete Matthews. It was all a bit silly but fun.

Pete Matthews juggling show
Pete Matthews juggling show

Then collapsed into bed.


Broken sleep from 4am. Hurrah.

St Lucia flag on Queen Mary 2
St Lucia flag on Queen Mary 2

Seabourn Odyssey arriving at St Lucia
Seabourn Odyssey arriving at St Lucia

Had to leave early so just got some takeway breakfast and had it in the room while doing all the things.

The sweetie was feeling worse than ever, so he decided to stay in the room and I went on the shore excursion alone.

A few months ago I did a jigsaw of the Pitons in St Lucia, and so that decided the shore excursion for us. Well the "cruise" on a big catamaran was nice enough, but it was first thing on the morning, off the west coast of the island. So our view of the island was looking straight into the sun.

Queen Mary 2 tender boarding area
Queen Mary 2 tender boarding area

Queen Mary 2 off St Lucia
Queen Mary 2 off St Lucia

Top of the tender
Top of the tender

Carnival Sailing catamaran that we took a tour on
Carnival Sailing catamaran that we took a tour on

The sails on the catamaran were just for show
The sails on the catamaran were just for show

Queen Mary 2 and St Lucia
Queen Mary 2 and St Lucia

St Lucia from the catamaran tour
St Lucia from the catamaran tour

Pod of dolphins off St Lucia
Pod of dolphins off St Lucia

When we got to the Pitons we just had a brief look and then turned around and came back.

St Lucia and the Pitons from the catamaran tour
St Lucia and the Pitons from the catamaran tour

My view of the Pitons - lots of people in the way
My view of the Pitons - lots of people in the way

St Lucia from the catamaran tour
St Lucia from the catamaran tour

Sea bird nesting cliffs on St Lucia
Sea bird nesting cliffs on St Lucia

Soufriere, St Lucia from the catamaran tour
Soufriere, St Lucia from the catamaran tour

The Pitons from the catamaran tour
The Pitons from the catamaran tour

The Pitons from the catamaran tour
The Pitons from the catamaran tour

The Pitons from the catamaran tour
The Pitons from the catamaran tour

Passion catamaran and the Pitons off St Lucia
Passion catamaran and the Pitons off St Lucia

Passion catamaran and the Pitons off St Lucia
Passion catamaran and the Pitons off St Lucia

On the way back I got chatting to a dude from Fife in Scotland whose wife hadn't really felt like coming on the trip so he was alone too.

When we got to the swimming spot we pulled up on the beach which was all very pleasant, but when I asked where the snorkels were they were like oh no you don't get snorkels, it's just a swim (after telling us we couldn't have any rum punch til "after the snorkel"). So that was all quite disappointing. But then this dude in a kayak sourced me and Scottish dude (John) a facemask, and then dragged us out to deeper water where we could see all sorts of fish swimming around, so that was lovely. John gave him $20USD and I told him I owed him haha.

Anse Cochon Beach
Anse Cochon Beach

Fish at Anse Cochon Beach
Fish at Anse Cochon Beach

Fish at Anse Cochon Beach
Fish at Anse Cochon Beach

Fish at Anse Cochon Beach
Fish at Anse Cochon Beach

Fish at Anse Cochon Beach
Fish at Anse Cochon Beach

Carnival Sailing catamaran at Anse Cochon Beach
Carnival Sailing catamaran at Anse Cochon Beach

Anse Cochon Beach
Anse Cochon Beach

Scuba St Lucia boat at Anse Cochon Beach
Scuba St Lucia boat at Anse Cochon Beach

Deeper water and fish that we saw when the paddleboarder took us around
Deeper water and fish that we saw when the paddleboarder took us around

Deeper water and fish that we saw when the paddleboarder took us around
Deeper water and fish that we saw when the paddleboarder took us around

Deeper water and fish that we saw when the paddleboarder took us around
Deeper water and fish that we saw when the paddleboarder took us around

Deeper water and fish that we saw when the paddleboarder took us around
Deeper water and fish that we saw when the paddleboarder took us around

Paddleboarder that took us for a quick trip around the rocks
Paddleboarder that took us for a quick trip around the rocks

We made the most of our lack of snorkels by drinking up the rum punch. So the rest of the trip passed by very pleasantly. ;)

Star Clippers' Royal Clipper and Queen Mary 2 off St Lucia
Star Clippers' Royal Clipper and Queen Mary 2 off St Lucia

Star Clippers' Royal Clipper off St Lucia
Star Clippers' Royal Clipper off St Lucia

St Lucia from the catamaran
St Lucia from the catamaran

St Lucia from the catamaran
St Lucia from the catamaran

Oh, except for when a towel blew off a big blue drum on the back of the boat and the drum was full of face masks and snorkels!! WTF!?!?! Apparently they were for the "snorkel" trip for one of the hotels (the stoopidly expensive one - Sandals or something) not for our "cruise". Was actually pretty annoyed with the whole thing.

Snorkelling equipment we didn't get to use
Snorkelling equipment we didn't get to use

But did I mention there was rum punch?

Sandals resort from the catamaran
Sandals resort from the catamaran

Queen Mary 2 off St Lucia
Queen Mary 2 off St Lucia

St Lucia from the catamaran
St Lucia from the catamaran

John from Fife on the catamaran
John from Fife on the catamaran

Tapion Shoal, at the entrance to Castries harbour
Tapion Shoal, at the entrance to Castries harbour

John and I made the most of it, and we were discussing how it's too expensive to drink on Queen Mary 2, and I said you can bring one bottle of wine per person per port, so after we got back we went looking for wine. There was a couple of duty free places near the wharf, but we also had a wander through the local markets. That was quite fun.

At one point someone called us to sit down and have some lunch, so we did! Way way way too much food for me and I'm not sure if the price they quoted us was for one or both of us, but I gave them $20USD for the both of and they didn't complain, so I guess it was ok. Reminded me a lot of something Anthony Bourdain would have done hehe.

Lunch at Castries Central Market
Lunch at Castries Central Market

Went back to one of the duty free places and John picked up some wine and I saw some local spiced rum for $10USD for a litre bottle. I was so in.

Then to the tender. It started raining, and it was hot and stuffy and it was all a bit miserable, until we asked to sit in the front row, which was empty, and then they opened the front window to let some air through so that was quite nice. Well except for sitting around waiting for the "storm" to pass the ship. And waited. Eventually got to go back. Getting off was slightly rough but it was fine.

Queen Mary 2 from the tender
Queen Mary 2 from the tender

I was fully expecting them to take my bottle of rum off me, but they didn't! Win!

Came back to the room and had a shower and washed my hair.

St Lucia from Queen Mary 2
St Lucia from Queen Mary 2

Rainbow off St Lucia
Rainbow off St Lucia

I think I'm sunburnt. Hrmmmm.

Had a "life planning meeting" with the sweetie where we talked about work and health and the house and friends and such things. Was nice to have some nice quiet time with the sweetie.

Went down to the pub for a drink to see if that would help the sweetie feel any better, but it didn't really.

Then I went upstairs to dinner alone. Got there a bit before 19:00 I think, but was the only one there for a while heh. I ordered caesar salad and salmon scallopini off the static a la carte menu. Once again I was too full for dessert so just had a few of the chocolates.

Table 51 in the Princess Grill
Table 51 in the Princess Grill

Classic caesar salad from the a la carte menu that I had for entrée
Classic caesar salad from the a la carte menu that I had for entrée

Pan-seared salmon scaloppini, roasted almond and haricot vert orzo, roasted shitake mushrooms, cherry tomate etuvee from the a la carte menu that I had for dinner
Pan-seared salmon scaloppini, roasted almond and haricot vert orzo, roasted shitake mushrooms, cherry tomate etuvee from the a la carte menu that I had for dinner

Urgh. Broken sleep from midnight on account of too soft a bed, and too hot a room, even with the aircon on max cold, and not even a sheet. I think I'm dying.

Watched the arrival in Barbados which was pretty cool.

Sunrise over the North Atlantic and Barbados
Sunrise over the North Atlantic and Barbados

Barbados flag on the Queen Mary 2
Barbados flag on the Queen Mary 2

Barbados from Queen Mary 2
Barbados from Queen Mary 2

Download photos and GPS and blogged, then got ready to go.

We had a fairly late start - didn't need to meet til 9:30 at Queens Court. We walked the two ship lengths down the wharf to the terminal and met up with the tour group outside the terminal.

Queen Mary 2 at Barbados
Queen Mary 2 at Barbados

The tour took us through the main part of Bridgetown, and then out into the countryside. The tour guide pointed out all sorts of things along the way. Interestingly, Barbados is not volcanic, but primarily made of coral limestone.

Gun Hill Signal Station
Gun Hill Signal Station

The Lion at Gun Hill
The Lion at Gun Hill

Our first stop was St Johns parish church, an old gothic church which was quite nice. Had about twenty five minutes at the first stop. I think.

St John Parish Church
St John Parish Church

Ferdinando Paleologus Tomb at St John Parish Church
Ferdinando Paleologus Tomb at St John Parish Church
Photo by Stu

Sundial at St John Parish Church
Sundial at St John Parish Church

View of the countryside to the North Atlantic ocean
View of the countryside to the North Atlantic ocean

View of the countryside to the North Atlantic ocean
View of the countryside to the North Atlantic ocean

Cemetery at St John Parish Church
Cemetery at St John Parish Church

St John Parish Church
St John Parish Church

Interior of St John Parish Church
Interior of St John Parish Church

Red and white flowers for Christmas
Red and white flowers for Christmas

Our second stop was at Bathsheba on the north east coast, which was quite pretty. I think we only had about fifteen or twenty minutes there, but we did share a beer that went down very nicely in the heat.

View to the North Atlantic over Bathsheba
View to the North Atlantic over Bathsheba

Rock on Bathsheba Beach
Rock on Bathsheba Beach

Bathsheba Beach
Bathsheba Beach

Bathsheba Beach
Bathsheba Beach

Stu at Bathsheba Beach
Stu at Bathsheba Beach

Bathsheba Beach
Bathsheba Beach

Small part of Barbados geology that is rock not coral
Small part of Barbados geology that is rock not coral

Our last stop was at Highlands Adventure which had a lovely view, and free wifi, and an included drink, and free wifi!! So much faster than the ship's wifi which is practically unusable.

View north over Barbados from Highlands
View north over Barbados from Highlands

Birds at Highlands
Birds at Highlands

A rum punch and the view north over Barbados from Highlands Bar
A rum punch and the view north over Barbados from Highlands Bar

Monkey at Highlands Bar
Monkey at Highlands Bar

Highlands weather station
Highlands weather station

View north over Barbados from Highlands
View north over Barbados from Highlands

St Thomas Parish Church
St Thomas Parish Church

Kensington Oval cricket ground (Wello told me I should see cricket there if there was anything being played)
Kensington Oval cricket ground (Wello told me I should see cricket there if there was anything being played)

Then just back to Bridgetown.

This was at 13:30, and I didn't just want to get straight back on the ship, so we took a taxi to Independence Square. Across the river was a nice looking pub, so we thought we'd have a drink. And it turned out they did food as well, so decided to have lunch there. Except the service was abysmal. Even the manager was hounding his staff to actually give us some service. It was a good hour and a half before we got any food. He did give us each a free beer for the wait though, so that was nice.

The east wing of the Parliament of Barbados, completed in 1873
The east wing of the Parliament of Barbados, completed in 1873

The west wing of the Parliament of Barbados, completed in 1872
The west wing of the Parliament of Barbados, completed in 1872

Christmas trees in National Heroes Square
Christmas trees in National Heroes Square

Bridge House building where we had lunch
Bridge House building where we had lunch

Interior of Marina Bar and Restaurant, Bridge House
Interior of Marina Bar and Restaurant, Bridge House

View from Marina Bar and Restaurant, Bridge House
View from Marina Bar and Restaurant, Bridge House

We were both a bit over things by now, so just had a quick look at the arch, and the nearby cathedral, then walked down main street, then along the waterfront back to the ship.

Independence Arch, Chamberlain Bridge
Independence Arch, Chamberlain Bridge

Cenotaph in National Heroes Square
Cenotaph in National Heroes Square

St Michael Anglican Cathedral
St Michael Anglican Cathedral

Interior of St Michael Anglican Cathedral
Interior of St Michael Anglican Cathedral

St Michael Anglican Cathedral
St Michael Anglican Cathedral

Lord Nelson Statue
Lord Nelson Statue

Barbados foreshore on the walk back to the ship
Barbados foreshore on the walk back to the ship

Barbados foreshore on the walk back to the ship
Barbados foreshore on the walk back to the ship

Queen Mary 2 at Barbados
Queen Mary 2 at Barbados

Touch up painting the Queen Mary 2 at Barbados
Touch up painting the Queen Mary 2 at Barbados

We both had showers, then I put on some washing.

Watched some tv while waiting for washing, then went to dinner.

Queen Mary 2 departure party
Queen Mary 2 departure party

Arcardia departing Barbardos and Queen Mary 2 departure party
Arcardia departing Barbardos and Queen Mary 2 departure party

The poor sweetie is still feeling utterly miserable, so we just went to Kings Court. I was just going to have dessert, on account of not having lunch til around 3pm. But there was rack of lamb. Whoops.

Dessert in Kings Court
Dessert in Kings Court

Then back to crash around 20:30.

3:30 wakeup. Hurrah. Broken sleep til about 6am. Then it was watching us arrive in St Kitts.

St Kitts from Queen Mary 2
St Kitts from Queen Mary 2

St Kitts from Queen Mary 2
St Kitts from Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 flying flags, including St Kitts flag
Queen Mary 2 flying flags, including St Kitts flag

We weren't meant to go to St Kitts. We were meant to go to Antigua. In fact we were orginally meant to go to St Thomas (USVI) but it got bumped to the end so we could get a parking space. But last time (and apparently the first time) they came to Antigua they cancelled due to "bad weather" making the tender process unsafe. So they decided to preempt it a week ago and cancel Antigua and go to St Kitts instead. So we'd done no research whatsover. They gave us the tour options and we decided to do "Best of St Kitts".

So just breakfast in Kings Court.

At around 8:30 we headed down to the Royal Court Theatre to wait for our group to gather, then we headed to a tender.

We'd never done a tender landing before so that was a bit novel. It was pretty cramped and quite steamy which wasn't much fun. The trip to shore was relatively quick, although we did have to wait for ages to disembark.

Boarding tender 12
Boarding tender 12

Tender loading area
Tender loading area

Side of the Queen Mary 2 from the tender
Side of the Queen Mary 2 from the tender

Queen Mary 2 in Basseterre Bay from the tender
Queen Mary 2 in Basseterre Bay from the tender

Welcome to St Kitts
Welcome to St Kitts

Then it was straight onto a minibus for our day's tour.

We drove along the southwest coast watching other cruise ships arrive - the Norwegian Gem, and the Carnival Sunshine.

Carib Brewery
Carib Brewery

Looking north west to Brimstone Hill
Looking north west to Brimstone Hill

Our first stop was a batik "factory" (just a tourist attraction) that had some quite nice gardens, and some pretty batik stuff (didn't buy anything). They gave us about half an hour there which suited it.

Wingfield Estate sugar refinery
Wingfield Estate sugar refinery

Romney Manor grounds
Romney Manor grounds

View of the Caribbean from Romney Manor grounds
View of the Caribbean from Romney Manor grounds

Tree in Romney Manor grounds
Tree in Romney Manor grounds

Caribelle Batik worker showing people the creation of batik
Caribelle Batik worker showing people the creation of batik

Caribelle Batik piece
Caribelle Batik piece

Wax and ink pots at Caribelle Batik
Wax and ink pots at Caribelle Batik

Caribelle Batik showing the different stages of the batik creation process
Caribelle Batik showing the different stages of the batik creation process

The second stop was at the Brimstone Hill Fortress. This place was pretty cool, built by the British to defend the commerce going on on the island. Problem is they only gave us three quarters of an hour there, and we could easily have done with *at least* double that.

Walking up to the top of Brimstone Hill Fortress
Walking up to the top of Brimstone Hill Fortress

Fort George at Brimstone Hill Fortress
Fort George at Brimstone Hill Fortress

Looking down to the lower parts of Brimstone Hill Fortress
Looking down to the lower parts of Brimstone Hill Fortress

Prince of Wales Bastion
Prince of Wales Bastion

Magazine bastion
Magazine bastion

View northwest from Brimstone Hill Fortress to Sandy Point Town and St Eustatius Island
View northwest from Brimstone Hill Fortress to Sandy Point Town and St Eustatius Island

Stu and canons and view northwest from Brimstone Hill Fortress to Sandy Point Town and St Eustatius Island
Stu and canons and view northwest from Brimstone Hill Fortress to Sandy Point Town and St Eustatius Island

The Citadel at Brimstone Hill Fortress
The Citadel at Brimstone Hill Fortress

Canons at Fort George
Canons at Fort George

Canons at Fort George
Canons at Fort George

Bake house in the Citadel at Brimstone Hill Fortress
Bake house in the Citadel at Brimstone Hill Fortress

Room in the Citadel at Brimstone Hill Fortress
Room in the Citadel at Brimstone Hill Fortress

Reconstructed room at the Citadel at Brimstone Hill Fortress
Reconstructed room at the Citadel at Brimstone Hill Fortress

Artillery Officers Quarters at Brimstone Hill Fortress
Artillery Officers Quarters at Brimstone Hill Fortress

Brimstone Hill Fortress
Brimstone Hill Fortress

Then we just headed back to the port.

Back at the port it was *very* loud - they had music playing very loudly for their Boxing Day celebrations that had been going on all morning. I didn't want to just go straight back to the ship (it was only 12:30). So went for a bit of a wander.

First we headed up to Independence Square. Then to the Anglican church. Then back to the port. People were still out in the streets and there was plenty of street food but the sweetie was still feeling pretty crap so we didn't brave it. Instead we headed back into the tourist shopping street, and there was a bar, in the shade, with beer, for only $5 USD for two beers. So we had some. And a rum punch. hehe. Left the sweetie with another beer and looked in a couple of the shops. Got a polo shirt, and a couple of bottles of booze, because, quarter of the price of anything on board (including Henkell for $10USD - basically same price as Australia, and $10USD for a Yellowtail Pinot Grigio, probably double the price in Australia hehe).

National Museum of St Kitts
National Museum of St Kitts

Fountain in Independence Square
Fountain in Independence Square

Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral
Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral

St George with St Barnabas Anglican Church
St George with St Barnabas Anglican Church

Interior of St George with St Barnabas Anglican Church
Interior of St George with St Barnabas Anglican Church

Treasury Chambers building
Treasury Chambers building

Berkeley Memorial
Berkeley Memorial

Stu with a rum punch at a bar near the cruise terminal
Stu with a rum punch at a bar near the cruise terminal

Port Zante Cruise Terminal
Port Zante Cruise Terminal

Norwegian Gem and Carnival Sunshine at St Kitts
Norwegian Gem and Carnival Sunshine at St Kitts

Headed down to the tenders, and got one back, and even got to sit up top which was very nice!

Stu and Kaz on the tender going back to the ship
Stu and Kaz on the tender going back to the ship

Queen Mary 2 in Basseterre Bay from the tender
Queen Mary 2 in Basseterre Bay from the tender

This was our room (highlighted red)
This was our room (highlighted red)

St Kitts from Queen Mary 2
St Kitts from Queen Mary 2

St Kitts from Queen Mary 2
St Kitts from Queen Mary 2

Back on the ship we got some (very late) lunch. There was even roast pork! The lunch I should have had yesterday haha.

Then we had a shower and a snooze for an hour (I set an alarm so I wouldn't miss the departure).

Watched the world go by for quite a while (Nevis!! - my old team would understand that :) ), then we got ready and went and got a beer in the pub. Went to Kings Court for dinner because the sweetie wasn't feeling up to being sociable, and they had pork belly with crackling!! Soooo good. I went back for seconds. It was the Christmas dinner I wanted last night, and ten times better than the stuff I got in Princess Grill last night.

Nevis from Queen Mary 2
Nevis from Queen Mary 2

In bed by around 8pm.


More broken sleep (bed is simply too soft, hurts my spine; I rage quit on the doona a week ago and every night I fold it aside so I just have the sheet bit so I don't overheat). Slept through til about 6am though.

View from our balcony, day 3 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 3 of cruise to Caribbean

Got up and documented all the ConneXions rooms and all the tender rooms.

Starboard side games corridor
Starboard side games corridor

Deck 1  stairway B lifts, looking into Burma Road
Deck 1 stairway B lifts, looking into Burma Road

Outer door in Chelsea tender room
Outer door in Chelsea tender room

Christmas tree in the Grand Lobby of the Queen Mary 2
Christmas tree in the Grand Lobby of the Queen Mary 2

Christmas decorations in Kings Court
Christmas decorations in Kings Court

View from our balcony, day 3 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 3 of cruise to Caribbean

Got breakfast as takeaway and had it in the room, because the sweetie was feeling crap - coming down with a cold :(:(:(

At 8:30 I went to the protestant Christmas service, which was small but nice.

Gingerbread village
Gingerbread village

Royal Court Theatre ready for Christmas services
Royal Court Theatre ready for Christmas services

At 10:00 I went to the main Christmas service, run by the captain, and readings from various senior officers/heads of departments, and lots of Christmas carols. So that was lovely, but the sweetie wasn't feeling well so he hid out in the room. Got him a late breakfast a bit after 11, and checked out the Princess Grill lunch and dinner menus (no roast pork and crackling boooo).

Christmas service on the Queen Mary 2 with the captain and senior officers
Christmas service on the Queen Mary 2 with the captain and senior officers

The ship is getting hot now that we're so far south (22 degrees north at 11:33am), especially on the upper decks, and our room air conditioning is barely keeping up (ok, it's not). It being Christmas, I ditched the jeans for shorts at lunch time :) Cause who wears jeans in Australia on Christmas day??

Me on Christmas day
Me on Christmas day

View from our balcony, day 3 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 3 of cruise to Caribbean

Had lunch with the sweetie at Kings Court. Sadly no roast pork or crackling for me.

Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day
Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day

Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day
Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day

Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day
Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day

Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day
Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day

Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day
Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day

Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day
Christmas desserts in Kings Court on Christmas day

Christmas lunch in Kings Court
Christmas lunch in Kings Court

After lunch worked on the art jigsaw for a while. Then I watched the day's Christmas movie - Arthur Christmas. It was completely ridiculous but a bit of fun, and full of Harry Potter actors hehe.

Two Sisters (On the Terrace) (1881), by Renoir, on the jigsaw table, starboard side
Two Sisters (On the Terrace) (1881), by Renoir, on the jigsaw table, starboard side

Back in the room we put on Hidden Figures. Pretty amazing what those girls did, and the fact that they *could* do it.

View from our balcony, day 3 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 3 of cruise to Caribbean

During the end of the movie I had some wine (from room service, cause there's no extra charge) and got ready for dinner. Sadly the sweetie was feeling too sick to go to dinner, so I went by myself. I had pork for entree and duck for mains but the duck was *huge* and dry and just felt full and miserable by the end, and even though everything on the dessert menu looked amazing, I couldn't face it, so ended up just going to bed.

Dressed for Christmas dinner
Dressed for Christmas dinner

My hair done up in a bun
My hair done up in a bun

Table 51 in the Princess Grill, done up for Christmas
Table 51 in the Princess Grill, done up for Christmas

Grilled suckling pig, crispy sage hen's egg, watercress salad, black pudding, garlic and tomato chutney, scrumpy reduction, that I had for entrée
Grilled suckling pig, crispy sage hen's egg, watercress salad, black pudding, garlic and tomato chutney, scrumpy reduction, that I had for entrée

Clementine and spice glazed duck, duck confit croquette, red cabbage puree, root vegetables, jus, that I had for mains (I couldn't finish it)
Clementine and spice glazed duck, duck confit croquette, red cabbage puree, root vegetables, jus, that I had for mains (I couldn't finish it)

Another night of broken sleep. Awake at 1:15, 4:00, 7:22.

View from our balcony, day 2 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 2 of cruise to Caribbean

View from our balcony, day 2 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 2 of cruise to Caribbean

View from our balcony, day 2 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 2 of cruise to Caribbean

View from our balcony, day 2 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 2 of cruise to Caribbean

Pretty quiet day today.

Had breakfast with the sweetie, then watched the end of Love Actually which was playing on repeat on channel 24. Did some washing and jigsaw (sorting pieces on the stoopid art puzzle - they've started Polperro yet again).

Read for a while, finished the middle section of Love Actually, then had some lunch.

Reading a book on our balcony
Reading a book on our balcony

Wandered the ship for a while with the sweetie, then we had a swim on deck 8 (which as it turns out is a very deep pool, I can only just touch the ground on tippy toes at one end), then went in the spa for a bit.

Deck 7 promenade
Deck 7 promenade

Stu and Kaz on deck 7
Stu and Kaz on deck 7
Photo by Stu

The very blue waters of the Bermuda Triangle
The very blue waters of the Bermuda Triangle
Photo by Stu

Commodore's Cufflinks - spare propellor blades on deck 7
Commodore's Cufflinks - spare propellor blades on deck 7

Spare anchor on deck 7
Spare anchor on deck 7

Commodore's Cufflinks - spare propellor blades on deck 7, looking up to the bridge
Commodore's Cufflinks - spare propellor blades on deck 7, looking up to the bridge

Looking up to the bridge of the Queen Mary 2 on deck 7
Looking up to the bridge of the Queen Mary 2 on deck 7

Polished metal on one of the spare propellors
Polished metal on one of the spare propellors

Commodore's Cufflinks - spare propellor blades on deck 7
Commodore's Cufflinks - spare propellor blades on deck 7

Stu contemplating the blue waters of the Bermuda Triangle
Stu contemplating the blue waters of the Bermuda Triangle

Looking into the bridge from deck 14
Looking into the bridge from deck 14

Looking into the bridge from deck 14 - where we went on the behind the scenes tour
Looking into the bridge from deck 14 - where we went on the behind the scenes tour

People enjoying the deck 13 sun deck
People enjoying the deck 13 sun deck

Queen Mary 2 bell
Queen Mary 2 bell

Communications tower on Queen Mary 2
Communications tower on Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2's red funnel
Queen Mary 2's red funnel

Queen Mary 2 sign
Queen Mary 2 sign

Looking aft on deck 12
Looking aft on deck 12

We were going to go to the second pirate lecture, but didn't end up going.

Just did the very hard sudoku, chilled out, then got ready for dinner (had one of the bottles of bubbly I picked at Southampton, which as it turns out is closer to 1/6th the price of the cheapest bottle you can get on board, which is $30USD, plus service charges).

Dressed for dinner
Dressed for dinner

Dinner was nice enough at Princess Grill.

Snackages we got in the Grills Lounge
Snackages we got in the Grills Lounge

Escargot bourguignon with garlic and herb butter, grilled three onion ciabatta that I had for entrée (off the a la carte menu)
Escargot bourguignon with garlic and herb butter, grilled three onion ciabatta that I had for entrée (off the a la carte menu)

Roasted goose breast warm gooseberry chutney, crispy parsnip, duck fat roasted potatoes, red cabbage, cider gravy that we both had for mains
Roasted goose breast warm gooseberry chutney, crispy parsnip, duck fat roasted potatoes, red cabbage, cider gravy that we both had for mains

Gingerbread and butter pudding marmalade ice cream that I had for dessert (think the description was wrong for this, didn't get ice cream)
Gingerbread and butter pudding marmalade ice cream that I had for dessert (think the description was wrong for this, didn't get ice cream)

I wanted to go to the Christmas concert, but we were just too tired after dinner, so we collapsed into bed. But a nice relaxing day which was nice.

Christmas present from Cunard (tea cups and chocolates)
Christmas present from Cunard (tea cups and chocolates)

3:30 wakeup. Broken sleep til 6am.

View from our balcony, day 1 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 1 of cruise to Caribbean

View from our balcony, day 1 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 1 of cruise to Caribbean

View from our balcony, day 1 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 1 of cruise to Caribbean

View from our balcony, day 1 of cruise to Caribbean
View from our balcony, day 1 of cruise to Caribbean

Our balcony chairs
Our balcony chairs

Breakfast in Kings Court with the sweetie. Afterwards I went to the tour office to book tickets for one of the St Kitts shore excursions.

Then spent some time on the Polperro jigsaw and finished that (someone had restored it to the point where I got up to before it was destroyed, so I pretty much did most of that jigsaw at some point by myself).

Completed Polperro jigsaw
Completed Polperro jigsaw

Came back to the room for a bit and then at 12:15 went to the first of Doug Burgess's talks on The Pirate Myth.

For lunch we tried out the Kings Court pizza and pasta bar which wasn't too bad (although the sweetie's bowels did *not* thank him later).

Stu at lunch on Queen Mary 2
Stu at lunch on Queen Mary 2

Went to the 14:00 planetarium show, Dark Universe narrated by Neil deGrasse Tylor.

Spent some time on the horrible art jigsaw sorting pieces by shape.

At 15:30 went to Dr Fred Broder's talk on How to stay sane, happy and wise in an ever-changing world, which reminded me a lot of the two day training course I did once called "From technical professional to manager and leader" which was just sitting around listening to stories for two days. Life motivational type stuff which was all good.

And did a bit of ship wandering

Gingerbread village created for Christmas on the Queen Mary 2
Gingerbread village created for Christmas on the Queen Mary 2

Gingerbread village created for Christmas on the Queen Mary 2
Gingerbread village created for Christmas on the Queen Mary 2

Gingerbread village created for Christmas on the Queen Mary 2
Gingerbread village created for Christmas on the Queen Mary 2

Britannia Restaurant on deck 2
Britannia Restaurant on deck 2

Britannia Restaurant on deck 2
Britannia Restaurant on deck 2

Queen Mary 2 in New York, Gobelin by Barbara Broekman, The Netherlands
Queen Mary 2 in New York, Gobelin by Barbara Broekman, The Netherlands

Britannia Club restaurant
Britannia Club restaurant

Came back to the room (where the sweetie was feeling pretty miserable poor thing) and got ready for dinner. I'd been planning to watch all of Love Actually which they were having on the big screen at 17:00, but we were also invited to Captains drinks in the Queens Room at 18:30. So I watched the first hour and a quarter of the movie before going to that.

Captain Aseem Hashmi welcoming Grills guests
Captain Aseem Hashmi welcoming Grills guests

Captain Aseem Hashmi and senior officers at the Captain's Drinks
Captain Aseem Hashmi and senior officers at the Captain's Drinks

Then to dinner which was all very nice, and bed.

Ballontine of quail, braised button onions, smoked bacon confit and a light quail jus that I had for entrée
Ballontine of quail, braised button onions, smoked bacon confit and a light quail jus that I had for entrée

28 day aged Onley Grounds chateaubriand of beef, gratin potatoes and bearnaise sauce that I had for mains
28 day aged Onley Grounds chateaubriand of beef, gratin potatoes and bearnaise sauce that I had for mains

Iced grand marnier parfait, with orange sauce, that I had for dessert
Iced grand marnier parfait, with orange sauce, that I had for dessert

Moon over the North Atlantic from our balcony
Moon over the North Atlantic from our balcony

Woke up at 4:30. Except with the time change it was actually 3:30.

Sigh.

Couldn't use the ship's internet (as per usual) to see where we were so turned the tv on in the end.

When we got close I went up on deck to watch us come in under the Verrazzano Narrows bridge which was pretty cool, and watch us drift past the Statue of Liberty and New York. Very very cool!

Queen Mary 2 about to pass under Verrazzano Narrows Bridge
Queen Mary 2 about to pass under Verrazzano Narrows Bridge

Passing under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge
Passing under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge

New Jersey and New York from Queen Mary 2
New Jersey and New York from Queen Mary 2

Statue of Liberty from Queen Mary 2
Statue of Liberty from Queen Mary 2

New York from Queen Mary 2
New York from Queen Mary 2

The sweetie was ready when I got back, so downloaded all my photos that hadn't been downloaded, and downloaded and cleared the GPS.

Then we got some breakfast.

New York and Governors Island
New York and Governors Island

Then left the ship around 8:00. Took around three quarters of an hour to get through immigration because of the queue.

Cunard wanted $47 per person for a transfer to midtown so we took a taxi to a station in Brooklyn and took the F train to 42nd Street. I was going to get single tickets on the train as we only needed the two trips, but the machine wouldn't give more than $9 change and I only had $20 notes, so went and talked to a human who sold us a single metrocard which has the equivalent of four trips on it, and we can share the card by swiping it twice in the machines, so that worked out well.

When we emerged from the subway we were next to Bryant Park which was setup with a Christmas market and ice rink, so that was nice.

Winter ice skating in Bryant Park
Winter ice skating in Bryant Park

Then meandered past the library to Grand Central Station.

New York Public Library
New York Public Library

New York Public Library
New York Public Library

Lion outside New York Public Library
Lion outside New York Public Library

Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building

New York buildings and Chrysler Building
New York buildings and Chrysler Building

Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

Then back 42nd street to Times Square. Had a coffee there (outside cause they don't have space for chairs inside).

Times Square
Times Square

Nasdaq building in Times Square
Nasdaq building in Times Square

Times Square Studios
Times Square Studios

Times Square
Times Square

Times Square
Times Square

Started to get cold though so went into the Disney Store to warm up, and have a look. But it was super crowded. They really need crowd control there.

Kept walking north through Times Square.

2018 ball in Times Square
2018 ball in Times Square

Went into the M&Ms store because I thought it would be easy to get some orange or other interesting flavoured M&Ms, but instead it was three floors of merchandise and CHAOS. I thought I'd go to the toilet there but the queue was a hundred years long so didn't bother, just tried to escape. And didn't get any M&Ms.

M&Ms galore
M&Ms galore

Headed for Rockefeller Centre with thoughts of *maybe* going up the tower (it was pretty cloudy, although clear, so it was a bit of a dilemma). Decided not to (the queue most of the way down the block was also a bit of a put off), and instead tried to get a photo of the ice rink and Christmas tree and the gold sculpture, but PEOPLE. Argh. Couldn't move. Didn't really get all the photos I wanted, oh well.

Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall

Christmas decorations off 6th Ave
Christmas decorations off 6th Ave

Golden Prometheus statue and Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza
Golden Prometheus statue and Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza

Golden Prometheus statue in Rockefeller Plaza
Golden Prometheus statue in Rockefeller Plaza

Christmas decorations in the Channel Gardens
Christmas decorations in the Channel Gardens

Also saw the front of Saks, which would have been really pretty at night.

At this point we started heading south. At one point we saw a sign that said pizza, so headed for it and had a couple of slices of New York Style pizza which was pretty cool.

Stu and pizza in Ambrosia Café
Stu and pizza in Ambrosia Café

Kept walking to 34th, and cut across to Macy's to have a look at the Christmas windows, but they weren't that exciting, and PEOPLE.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building

Macys Christmas store window
Macys Christmas store window

Macys Department Store
Macys Department Store

Macys Department Store
Macys Department Store

Jumped on a train back to Brooklyn, and got an Uber to the cruise terminal.

Hippopotomous Sculpture
Hippopotomous Sculpture

Got a super epic awesome photo of the ship with New York in the background :)

Queen Mary 2 and New York skyline at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Queen Mary 2 and New York skyline at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal

America needs to get rid of its penny coins. And they also need to do what Australia got right - include GST *before* the cash register. We literally have no idea how much we are going to pay for things to get out the right money. From Stu's last trip we had a *heap* of American coin, so I've been holding up traffic while I count exact coinage to get rid of it all. Also I've been breaking larger notes every time we spend money to get $1 bills, needed for tipping nonsense.

Room 10082 sign with Christmas decorations
Room 10082 sign with Christmas decorations

Back on ship I froze my fingers off in the wind getting photos of New York from the ship.

Statue of Liberty from Queen Mary 2
Statue of Liberty from Queen Mary 2

Looking up the East River
Looking up the East River

New York from Queen Mary 2
New York from Queen Mary 2

New York and Governors Island from Queen Mary 2
New York and Governors Island from Queen Mary 2

New York Dock Co building
New York Dock Co building

Norwegian Gem departing New York
Norwegian Gem departing New York

Governors Island and New York from Queen Mary 2
Governors Island and New York from Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 departure party and NewYork at night
Queen Mary 2 departure party and NewYork at night

New York at night
New York at night

At departure time (left at 17:26) I went onto the Grills Terrace to document the departure. It was so much prettier departing New York in the evening when all the lights were actually on. And I got a super epic awesome video of us passing under the Verazzano Narrows bridge - we pass sooooo close to it! They said something like 14' but it looks a lot closer than that heh.

New York at night
New York at night

Moon over Brooklyn
Moon over Brooklyn

Verrazzano Narrows Bridge
Verrazzano Narrows Bridge

Then got ready and went up to dinner. The table had been set for eight out of New York. Carolyn and Ray had disembarked and we now had Paul and Sue, and Ray and Helen from Kent. Then collapsed into bed.

Dressed for dinner
Dressed for dinner

French onion soup with cheese crouton that I had for entrée
French onion soup with cheese crouton that I had for entrée

Medallions of pork fillet in bacon with sauteed wild mushrooms, dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and caramelised pearl onions served with a mustard sherry sauce, that I had for dinner
Medallions of pork fillet in bacon with sauteed wild mushrooms, dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and caramelised pearl onions served with a mustard sherry sauce, that I had for dinner

Poached pear, sable biscuits and a caramel ginger butter sauce that I had for dessert
Poached pear, sable biscuits and a caramel ginger butter sauce that I had for dessert


Woke up early, as per usual, but didn't bother to get up and continue documenting the ship. Just lay there not sleeping. Yay.

At 7:30 (when the laundrette "opens") I went to see about putting on some washing, but of course all the machines were in use already weren't they?

Blogged, breakfast.

Sunrise from our balcony
Sunrise from our balcony

Sunrise from our balcony
Sunrise from our balcony

Did a bit of the new jigsaw (of Polperro).

At 10:00 was Seth Gopin's last talk on skyscrapers - The Chic New York Skyscrapers of Today: Green and Lean.

Did the jigsaw some more.

At 12:15 was a talk by a journalist Bryher Scudamore about con artists and scams, which was ok but nothing really new.

Found the sweetie and had some lunch.

At 14:00 was Bill Miller's last talk - Gateway to the World: The Great Port of New York. The silly thing is a lot of it mirrored Seth Gopin's talks on New York skyscrapers hehe.

<<Jetlag-induced ranty paragraph about people snipped>>

Sigh.

At 16:30 we watched Ready Player One, which was a bit of fun. I got plenty of the pop culture references, but I'm sure there was heaps I didn't. Be fun to read the IMDB entry for its references. Some of them are there for only fractions of seconds (eg a gremlin!).

The sweetie didn't want to go to fancy dinner, so we ended up going to the pub for beer and trivia and had a light dinner in Kings Court.

Stu in the Golden Lion Pub
Stu in the Golden Lion Pub