Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Gyst of the Trip.

The ship on which we will be traveling, the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, has quite the story herself.



She has a beam 105 feet, a length of 963 feet, a draft of 32 feet and a height of 204 feet. Her gross tunnage is over 70,000 tons and her combined guest and crew capacity is 2,796 (larger than the population of Clio, MI). According to the Cunard line website, she is powered by "9-cylinder 58/64 medium speed turbo-charged diesels driving two 400-ton GEC electric motors" and "Four Denny Brown" stabilizers. The site also boasts that she initially cost £29,091,000, and has cost roughly than £450,000,000 in refitting and maintenance. (This is reflected in the prices of her lodgings.)

The pricetag from our excursion comes to a grand total of $321,631.97, which includes fares and taxes, but not any hidden fees Mr. Fushigi may have not disclosed. But perhaps this is a distortion... We have, for example, accomodations in the Grand Suite which balcony, which itself cost $248,605. But Cunard cannot book more than two people to the Grand Suite, and requires the reservation of a stateroom for each additional three or four people. To that end, we have also reserved two M4 staterooms. Mr. Fushigi hopes that we use these only for storing additional luggage or for occasional needed privacy. It is an appreciated luxury.

For the "traveler on a budget" the trip could be somewhat more reasonable. I figured that the best deal overall would be for a family of four to book passage in an M7 stateroom for $35,005.32, or $8,751.33 per person. In the same accomodations, one personal could travel for $19,841.33, or two for $20,000.66. Not chump change.

So what is the 300+K going for, anyway? Well, we are on a world class cruise ship in a suite larger than just about any Chicago apartment I've ever lived in (specifically 1,184 square feet). Personally, I'm most excited about the half-bottle of Bon Voyage champagne (though I don't know why they couldn't go the whole hog and just get a full bottle). There are a lot of VIP amenities, however. Evidently we check in separately with "priority embarktion," we receive fresh fruit and flowers daily, and a bar stocked with spirits and wine. We have the option of regular dining options, or we may dine in-suite or at single tables in the Queens Grill. And a butler.



And here are our mandatory M4s:



How these bonuses pan out in reality, we'll have to wait and see. I'm more than a little concerns that we're outside of the norm from the "typical" residents of these suites. We might even be considered a "wild bunch" by their standards. Myself, I'm going to call and see if the bar could include a bottle of Old Overholt. I've only ever found it in one bar in Chicago and two and New York, but for 321K, I expect an exception.




Let's talk the voyage for a moment.

We'll depart at 5 PM on Monday, although I'm wondering if the nine of us might meet for a modest, American-style dinner before hand at the Hope & Anchor. It's a great little diner just a few blocks from the ship and I ate there a couple times this summer. In fact, since Mr. Fushigi is covering the trip, I'll say that dinner's on me.

As for the itinerary, we sail thus:



One Wednesday, the 10th, we'll put in at Fort Lauderdale for the day. From there, we'll spend a couple weeks puttering around Mexico and California. On the 25th we'll set out across the Pacific, hit Hawaii and Tahiti, Tonga and Fiji, and land in New Zealand on February 11th. The rest of February will be spent in and around New Zealand and Australia. During March we'll sail to Papua/New Guinea, Japan, southeast Asia, and ultimately, India. April 1st we'll put in at the Seychelles, circle South Africa, arrive at Southampton, England on the 21st and back in New York on the 27th. Which is good, because I think Sky is coming to visit me that week.

The voyage includes optional shore itineraries and onboard lecture series called "enrichment programmes." Certainly with this much going on, it's going to be difficult to find time to work on my thesis, but since this is why Mr. Fushigi is sending us off, I'll just have to find a way.

4 Comments:

At 4:21 PM, Blogger CIRI ISSUES 2006 said...

Conner: Do you have to do your own laundry? We're in M-4, boarding in SF, and we have to do ours.

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger Connor said...

I sure hope so. I don't like to trust strangers with my laundry. :)

 
At 6:12 PM, Blogger Meridith said...

Oh yeah; strangers handling your underwear is creepy!

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger Connor said...

Sumara says anyone can have their laundry done and bill it to their account, but I'm not planning on it. I'm with Meridith's underwear argument.

 

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