Saturday, 10 March 2012

QM2 (2012)

I joined Queen Mary 2 in Sydney on 14th. February for a 22 night circumnavigation of Australia cruise, disembarking back in Sydney on March 7th. Ports of call were Sydney, Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns (Yorkey's Knob), Darwin, Padang Bay (Bali), Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney. The ship was sparkling inside from a very recent refit in Germany, the food was very good and the service was excellent. Although these elements of my 2007 cruise aboard her were good, I thought they were much improved on this cruise. As usual, I had a great time aboard.

Sydney embarkation - Feb 14
As on her 4 previous calls at Sydney, the ship berthed at the Garden Island Naval Base as the mooring arrangements at Circular Quay meant she was too long to berth there. Initial embarkation procedures were carried out at the Barangaroo terminal (Darling Harbour) with the passengers then transferred to the ship by ferries.

P&O Australia's Pacific Jewel at Circular Quay, taken from the ferry en route to Garden Island. I think a couple of our Australian passengers would have been much more at home on this ship.

QM2 at Garden Island Naval Base. The heart decoration was on the funnel because it was Valentine's Day.

Embarking the ship from a ferry.

Other shipping at the naval base.
Brisbane - Feb 16
As QM2 is way too large to navigate the Brisbane River to the cruise terminal, she berthed at Fisherman's Island, near the mouth of the river.

Berthing at Fisherman's Island.

Alongside the Grain Wharf.

Container shipping at Fisherman's Island.

Loading stores.

Early evening departure from Brisbane.

Torres Strait transit - Feb 20

 Darwin - Feb 22

Early morning arrival.

The ship's bridge front in the dawn light.

Sightseers on a neighbouring wharf for the afternoon departure.

ms Discovery (ex Island Princess) at anchor in Darwin harbour during our call.

Fremantle - Feb 28
As usual, we had glorious weather in Fremantle, one of my favourite ports. These pictures are from our early evening departure.

The German owned Albatross was also in port during her world cruise. Originally Royal Viking Sea, she was later cruising out of Australia as Norwegian Star. I had 3 most enjoyable cruises aboard her in 1999.

Adelaide - Mar 3

QM2's bulk can be appreciated from this view at Port Adelaide's cruise terminal.

 Departure from Adelaide involved a very tight swing off the container berth, 1/2 mile upstream.


Rendezvous with barque Endeavour - Mar 4

A wonderful surprise for all on board was that a rendezvous at sea with the replica of Captain Cook's barque Endeavour was arranged. This took place off Portland, Victoria and was quite a treat.

Melbourne - Mar 5

 This was the ship's maiden call at Melbourne - an event previously widely thought impossible because of the narrowness of the channels compared to the breadth of the ship. The Port Phillip Sea Pilot who took the ship both in and out was my very good friend, Captain Brian Liley.

There were many people out early on the charter vessel Lady Cutler to witness our arrival. Among them were several of my World Ship Society (Victoria) colleagues.

Swinging the ship with little room to spare off Station Pier.

On the bridge during berthing, (L-R) QM2's staff captain, Port Phillip Sea Pilot - Captain Brian Liley, QM2's Master - Commodore Christopher Rynd.

All fast at Outer West Station Pier, Port Melbourne.

Approximately 120 tonnes of stores (food and drink) were loaded at Melbourne.

Some of the thousands of people who flocked to the port to see the ship.

Friends of mine, Port Phillip Sea Pilots Captains Rob Buck and Brian Liley joined me for afternoon tea in the ship's ballroom.
The bunker vessel Zemira leaving after spending all day pumping fuel aboard.

Hordes of sightseers on the shore to watch the ship sail.

Likewise, on the ship.

Sydney - Mar 7
We were advised prior to arrival that Sydney Ports had made modifications to the mooring arrangements at Circular Quay meaning that QM2 would berth there for the first time on our arrival. A great plus for all concerned given the messing about needed to embark / disembark at Garden Island. Even so, the Sydney Port pilots told me that there would be only 30cm of water under the ship at low tide at the berth.

Photos from around the ship
Although my cabin was one of the lower grades aboard, it was very comfortable and had full room service provided.

The main dining room. At dinner there was always a harpist or 4 string quartet playing to add to the ambience.

The dining room from my table.
My senior table steward Christina from the Philippines and my wine waiter Irena from the Ukraine.

My favourite bar aboard, the forward facing Commodore Club.
The Commodore Club at night.
One of the ever obliging bar staff.
One of my night time haunts, the Cigar Lounge, adjoining the Commodore Club.
This small lounge provided a comfortable quiet spot for reading etc.

The ship's library is the largest aboard any ship at sea.

The view looking forward from one of the armchairs in the library.

The Chart Room Bar looking towards the Champagne Bar.

The Champagne Bar looking back towards the Chart Room bar.
Nightly ballroom dancing (with Gentlemen Hosts provided) is a Cunard tradition.

These layout boards are at every lift foyer.

The ship's Atrium.

The Queens Grill lounge is reserved for passengers in Queens Grill or Princess Grill suites.

The Winter Garden lounge.

The English style pub is very popular on sea days. Pub style lunches (e.g. fish and chips, cottage pie, bangers and mash, ploughman's lunch etc.) are served here each day.

I paid extra for admission to this spa facility for the duration of the cruise. I regularly used the luxurious spa (above) and relaxation lounge (below). The facility also provided several types of saunas and massage / treatment rooms.

Predictably, the gymnasium didn't see much of me though I did enjoy the mountain bike race simulator (below).

The forward end of the promenade deck, looking into the gym.

There was an excellent West Indian band aboard which played poolside at luchtimes and sail aways.


The extra tariff Todd English restaurant.

I was invited to a French dinner in the Chef's Galley - a cooking demonstration retaurant.


  1. What a fantastic series of shots documenting your trip on this marvellous cruise ship, Tim!
    I really liked all of them, but some of the morning and evening light shots are superb.
    This is certainly a magnificent ship.

  2. It is wonderful to see so many nice pictures of this trip of yours on this biggest ever cruise ship.