I love the outdoors, to the extent that I tend to bypass or overlook exceptional indoor spaces when I’m traveling or recounting a great trip. Fortunately, Lonely Planet author/former Gadling contributor Leif Pettersen’s recent list on LP’s website has reminded me that—as many a grandmother has said—beauty is on the inside.
Pettersen says only in recent years has he developed a special appreciation for the indoors. He had ample time to contemplate his new interest “during two sadistically cold weeks last winter when I voluntarily confined myself to the Minneapolis Skyway System as a livability experiment for an article I was working on.”
He’s since started a list of “singular, practical” indoor spaces (traveloguebookdealforthewin!) of note, including (obviously) Minneapolis’ Skyway System (“The largest contiguous skyway system in the world, connecting what may be the largest contiguous indoor space anywhere.”); Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar; Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure; NYC’s Grand Central Terminal (aka Grand Central Station); St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, and the Queen Mary 2. Here’s to keeping warm indoors this winter.
“Yeah so what?” one might ask. These three queens, Cunard Line ocean liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria, will all meet up in New York today for the first time.
The line’s flagship, Queen Mary 2 will arrive and dock at Red Hook, Brooklyn. The Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth will sail up the Hudson and dock at the Passenger Ship Terminal in Manhattan.
“In January, 2008, Cunard Line’s first Rendezvous of their three Queens took place. It was quite exciting as it was the first time Cunard had three ships with Queen in the name and all three were together.” said cruise industry expert Stewart Chiron CEO, CruiseGuy.com adding “It was the last time for many to see Queen Elizabeth 2, as she would depart the fleet later that year.”
The Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth will have sailed in from Europe, doing what Cunard calls a “tandem crossing” where the ships sail side by side.
All three were expected to be passing under the Verrazzano bridge about 6:00 am today then spend a day in port before sailing by the Statue of Liberty to enjoy a fireworks salute to the famous ships before sailing off around 6:40 Eastern time.
“This time, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria meet the brand new Queen Elizabeth amid fanfare fit for royalty. New Yorkers love these types of events and what’s bigger than three Queens passing by the Statue of Liberty amid a gala fireworks show? QE2 had a very special place in New Yorker’s hearts as the ship made countless visits during her 39 years in service.” said Chiron.
For anyone who would like the experience of a luxury ocean liner vacation without actually leaving land, here are two options.
The Queen Elizabeth 2 has hit forty and is being retired. Instead of ending up in some boat graveyard somewhere like Jeremy has written about in a previous post, the QE2 is on its way from New York City [via Great Britain] to Dubai where it will become a hotel.
The Queen Mary, another retired Cunard ocean liner is already a hotel in Long Beach, California.
If you do stay on the QE2, you’ll be on a ship that has seen some history and mighty fine company. According to this msnbc.com article, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope and Britain’s royal family including Princess Diana have sailed on this vessel.
It was also used to transport wounded soldiers during the Falkland’s War in 1982.
For its last voyage, some of the passengers are folks from the first voyage. Just imagine what a great time they must be having right about now.
In 2010 Cunard is rolling out another luxury liner. The Queen Elizabeth will be even grander than its sea worthy sisters.
Some people seek out golf courses and gated communities for their retirement; others choose the ocean. That’s exactly what Beatrice Muller, an 89 year-old widow from New Jersey, did. She’s spent the last nine years living the life on the high seas, cruising around the world on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. Muller finds this much more pleasant than any old retirement home and she plans to keep up her worldly accommodations, except for one problem: the 41 year old QE2 is retiring in November. What is an old, sea-loving woman to do? Find another ship of course.
Muller says despite her preferred ship’s retirement, she refuses to return to land. “What would I want to do that for?” she was quoted asking The Times. Her cabin costs about $7,000 a month, and according to her estimates, that’s about the same as a retirement home in Florida, just “far more pleasant.”
Actually living on the sea isn’t as strange as it sounds. Magellan offers a Residential Cruise Line, where for $4 million and up you can buy your own on-board condo. The World is another “seagoing community” popular with the financially secure crowd.
We’ll just have to wait and see what Muller chooses as her next home. As for the QE2, it’s headed to Dubai to become a floating hotel.
That’s some weird cruise news. Click the images below to read some weird airline news: