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Saturday, February 25, 2017

grand dames of Cruising Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth meet at Sydney Harbour

Clive Hubert Lloyd has things easy – he had Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards … in his batting line-up and never ending battery of fast bowlers – Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Croft, Garner, Malcolm Marshall and more – he had a very successful streak in Frank Worrel Series in 1984-85 having won 3 in 4 tests – Test no. 1006 in Dec 1984 at Sydney  was his farewell to Test Cricket.

He was not to relish -  Australia won by an innings and 55 runs with more than a day to spare. That was West Indies' first defeat since they lost, also to Australia, at Melbourne 27 Tests earlier in the 1981-82 series. The architects of such a complete reversal were the Australian spinners, Holland and Bennett, who had bowled New South Wales to victory over the West Indians earlier in the season. Bob Holland hailed Sydney bowler was to take 10 wickets trouncing the mighty WI.  A couple of years later,  at the same venue, he suffered at the hands of Indians.   Srikkanth made 116 off 117 deliveries in Jan 1986; years later Ravi Shastri made a double and Sachin 148* on a match when Shane Warne made his debut.

Sydney is a famous tourist spot.  Forty Thousand Horseman,  a 1940 Australian war film directed by Charles Chauvel about the story of the Australian Light Horse (mounted rifleman as distinct from cavalry) which operated in the desert at the Sinai and Palestine Campaign during World War I, was shot here.  We know it too well - the popular Shankar film “Indian” – one of the hit songs was ‘telephone manipol sirippaval ivala – Melbourne malarpol melliya magala” – though the lyrical reference was to Melbourne, it was Sydney and its famous bridge  !!  Surrounded by hundreds of kilometres of shoreline, national parks and historic sites, the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour are synonymous with Australia’s most famous city. Alive with ferries, yachts and kayaks, one of the world’s great natural harbours is also a gateway to other parts of Sydney. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of Australia's most well known and photographed landmarks. It is the world's largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. It is fondly known by the locals as the 'Coathanger' because of its arch-based design.

It was as early as 1815 that Francis Greenway proposed building a bridge from the northern to the southern shore of the harbour. It took some time for this to become a reality with design submissions invited in 1900. The Sydney Harbour Bridge construction started in 1924 and took 1,400 men eight years to build at a cost of 4.2 million. Six million hand driven rivets and 53,000 tonnes of steel were used in its construction. It now carries eight traffic lanes and two rail lines, one in each direction, but at the time of its construction the two eastern lanes were tram tracks. The Bridge has an interesting past including its official opening on 19 March 1932. Before the NSW Premier, the Honourable John 'Jack' T. Lang, could cut the ribbon to signify the opening of the Harbour Bridge, Captain Francis De Groot of the political group The New Guard slashed the ribbon with his sword. Captain De Goot believed that the only person to open the Bridge should be a member of the Royal Family. Captain De Goot was detained, the ribbon tied together, and the Premier then officially cut the ribbon.

Now the news is of the two grand dames of the cruising world, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, meeting in Sydney Harbour in the early hours of Saturday morning. Queen Mary 2 passed through Sydney Heads first arriving at Circular Quay at 6.20am, with Queen Elizabeth following closely behind and anchoring at Athol Buoy near Taronga Zoo. It's reminiscent of another dual Sydney harbour arrival almost a decade ago when the QM2 and the now retired older sister of QE, Queen Elizabeth 2, brought the city to a standstill.

RMS Queen Mary 2  is a transatlantic ocean liner. She is the only major ocean liner built for Cunard Line since Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1969, the vessel she succeeded as flagship of the Cunard Line. The new ship was named Queen Mary 2 by Queen Elizabeth II in 2004 after the first 1936 namesake ship RMS Queen Mary. Queen Mary was in turn named after Mary of Teck, consort of King George V. With the retirement of Queen Elizabeth 2 in 2008, Queen Mary 2 is the only transatlantic ocean liner in line service between Southampton and New York, which operates for part of each year. The ship is also used for cruising, including an annual world cruise.

Queen Mary 2 was intended for routine crossings of the Atlantic Ocean, and was therefore designed differently from many other passenger ships. The ship's final cost was approximately $300,000 US per berth. Expenses were increased by the high quality of materials, and having been designed as an ocean liner, she required 40% more steel than a standard cruise ship. Some of Queen Mary 2's facilities include fifteen restaurants and bars, five swimming pools, a casino, a ballroom, a theatre, and the first planetarium at sea.

Cunard Line is an Anglo-American cruise line based at Carnival House at Southampton, England, operated by Carnival UK and owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. It has been a leading operator of passenger ships on the North Atlantic, celebrating 175 years of operation in 2015. In 1839 Samuel Cunard, a Nova Scotian shipowner, was awarded the first British transatlantic steamship mail contract. 

The QM2 is in Sydney until Saturday night as part of its 118-night world voyage before its maiden five-night round trip to Tasmania with calls to Hobart and Port Arthur. A few days earlier QM2 made another first-time round trip in Australian waters from Melbourne to Kangaroo Island. Remastered in 2016 at the cost of $145 million, new features on the liner included 50 new staterooms, nine of which are Britannia single cabins, catering to the growing solo travellers market. Space is a large part of the appeal for the 345-metre liner that caters to 2700 guests, according to its web. There are five pools, 10 dining options, shops and 14 decks of sporting facilities.

While I thought travelling in a cruise ship is all about merry making and spending money – there appears some dress code too.  In its web it reads : during the day : Casual shirts, shorts, trousers and beachwear are ideal. The main restaurants require a casual wear dress code for breakfast and lunch, however you may wear shorts in either the Kings Court (Queen Mary 2) or Lido Restaurant (Queen Victoria & Queen Elizabeth). Evenings will be split into 2 different dress codes and its guests are to be  notified of the evening's dress code in  their  Daily Programme.  Evening wear consists of an evening or cocktail dress or smart trouser suit for ladies.  A tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit with appropriate neck wear for men or one  may wear formal national dress and military uniform.  It further reads  that after 6pm, shorts and blue or worn denim (for men and women); sandals and sleeveless tops (for men) are not considered appropriate within the ship.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Feb 2017.

With inputs taken from Cunard lines; Sydney morning hearald and 

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