Category Image Sydney, Australia 

Sydney has to have the most beautiful harbor in the world, and is certainly one of the world's most beautiful cities. We arrived on February 24, disembarked from the ship on February 25, and then caught a plane back to New Zealand on February 27. This gave us 3 days to spend some time investigating the city and we made the most of our time with a 3-day Explorer Pass that let us use two different Hop-on tour busses, ferries, regular busses, and some trains. 

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Category Image Dining in the Queens Grille

One of the joys of sailing on the QE2 is the quality of the food, and the Queens Grille is considered the best dining room on the ship. I don't know if the quality of the food or service is any better than in the Princess Grille, but you do have more choice in that the daily menu is a bit more extensive and you can request a lot more dishes to be cooked for you at your table. We did this on a couple of occasions. 

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Category Image The Passing of the Queens, Sydney

One of the highlights of the trip was to be the passing of the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Queen Victoria, as we changed piers in Sydney. The Vic arrived in Sydney one day before us so she claimed the best pier at Circular Quay. When we arrived, we had to dock for a day at Garden Island Pier in the Woolloomooloo section of Sydney. On Sunday, February 24, the Vic would leave Circular Quay on her way out to Brisbane and we would leave to take her place at Circular Quay, passing each other at approximately 6:30 pm just a short distance from the Opera House. 

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Category Image Auckland, New Zealand

Having been to Auckland in 2005 on the World Cruise, we didn't feel the same need to race around the city seeing all that we could pack into a day. We decided not to book a shore excursion, not to rent a car, and not look at a guide book. Instead, we booked a ride on a harbor cruise of the city (after all, this is the City of Sails) and then took a short ferry ride across the harbor to the small town of Devenport. This proved to be a good decision as it was a lovely, relaxing day. 

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Category Image Nuku'Alofa, Tonga

Well, what can I tell you about Tonga that you don't already know - probably anything and everything. I suspect that Tonga is not very high on most people's list of must-see destinations. Now that I have been there, I don't feel the burning need to go back again, but I am glad that I did have the opportunity to go once. Even though they share a common heritage, Tonga is very different from the Polynesian Islands. 

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Category Image Papeete, Tahiti

Tahiti is the largest of the 115 French Polynesian Islands and Papeete is the capital and the only real city on the island. And yes, there are traffic jams, even in paradise. Having been to Tahiti before, on the 2005 World Cruise, we decided that we didn't need to tour the entire island again, so opted for the afternoon inland tour by jeep that would take us to a part of the island that we hadn't seen before. We saw more than we bargained for. 

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Category Image Pitcairn Island

You lose some, you win some. I guess Captain McNaught decided to throw in a bonus stop for us after missing two ports, because today we made a very slight detour over to Pitcairn Island, of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. Although we couldn't go ashore, we did circle the island twice and many of the island's 50 inhabitants came onboard to sell us t-shirts, postcards, ship models, and other souvenirs, and to talk about life on this remote island. 

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Category Image Party, Party

One of the nice things about having a nice, spacious cabin with a balcony is that it is a great place to give a party instead of having to ask people to meet for a drink in one of the bars. We have been invited to a number of parties by people we have met and by our friends on board, and we have another on February 15. We decided that it was time we reciprocated, so we invited our new Australian friends, Jan and Hildegarde, our new English friends, Audrey and Jim, and our Grosse Point friends, Marty and Lynne, to come to our cabin for a pre-Easter Island party. 

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Category Image Easter Island

The chances of our being able to tender into Easter Island were announced as being 50-50. Seeing as we had not been able to do the previous two tender ports, we were expecting the worst. What a terrific surprise when we awoke on February 10, anchored in Cook Bay, to find a clear, sunny day with big, white, puffy clouds and most important of all, a low ocean swell. Yahooo!!! Down went the tender boats, and excitement reached a fever pitch as the passengers crowded into the theatre, waiting to be called for their chance to go ashore. We were going to see a magical place that few people ever get a chance to visit. It was what woman called a "pinch me" moment. 

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Category Image Valparaiso, Chile

We divided our time in Valparaiso into two parts, the morning on our own in the resort town of Vina del Mar and then the afternoon on tour in the city itself. There is not much room between the high cliffs and the ocean, but these two places combined comprise Chile's third largest metropolitan area after Santiago and Concepcion. Valparaiso has a population of 150,000 and it is still the country's main port. 

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Category Image Strait of Magellan

I have always believed in the old saying that "Every cloud has a silver lining", and the silver lining for having to miss the port of Punta Arenas is that we got to sail through the Strait of Magellan during the daytime instead of at night. To say that the weather was blustery would be a vast understatement! The winds were blowing at about 60+ knots and it was darned cold, but the scenery was magnificent.

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Category Image The Great Pancake Race 

To celebrate Shrove Tuesday, the different restaurants and departments of the ship fielded teams of 6 to race in the annual pancake race. Passengers can pledge money for their favorite team and all proceeds go to the various charities that the QE2 supports. The waiters from our dining room fielded a team called "Happy Feet" and one of our waiters was on the team, so we had to go out to give our support. 

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Category Image Flying Fish

You may think that flying fish are a joke, but they really do exist. If one has patience, one can see them flying out from the ship in our bow wave. Here's a little bit of information about these unique fish and a couple of photos. 

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Category Image Port Stanley, Falkland Islands, Punto Arenas, Chile, and Cape Horn

Well, as our Australian friends would say, Buggaah! Or, bugger as we'd say in Americano. The two ports where we could expect to see penguins, and not much else from the advance information, are no shows. Actually we are the no shows because the winds have been too strong for us to tender ashore.  

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Category Image Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo, pronounced montay-vee-day-o, not montee-vid-e-o as I heard one woman say it, was a really delightful stop. We spent 1 1/2 days in port here and I could easily have stayed for another 2 days. Uruguay is probably the most stable of all the South American governments, and has been democratic almost since the country's conception in 1808. It is quite a wealthy country with a high literacy rate. Compared to the cities we visited in Brazil, the capital city of Montevideo is quite a safe place to wander around in. Rather than take a guided tour here, we decided to explore on our own and we had a great time doing so.  

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