The QE2’s nerve centre is the bridge, high up on Signal Deck. For security reasons, there is only one staircase leading up to the bridge – and only one entrance door, which can be opened only from the inside. The bridge bristles with the latest navigational equipment, including automatic steering. However, the wheel is still regularly used when there is a heavy traffic, or whenever the liner is leaving or entering port. In addition, there is a collision avoidance system, which can show the course, speed and direction of up to 20 ships at a time. There is also a satellite navigator, the first to be fitted to a passenger ship, which is linked to various satellites orbiting the Earth. It plots the QE2’s position at intervals of from 35 to 100 minutes. The readings are accurate to within 110yds (100m).

As the ship’s control headquarters, the bridge is in close communication with the engine room – by direct-link telephone – and other key areas. To cut errors and misunderstandings to a minimum, important orders are given to the engine room by means of a panel of labelled buttons. So when one of the buttons is pressed on the bridge, the equivalent button in the engine room’s main control section lights up – and the engineer knows exactly what is required of him. Even so, the engines can also be controlled directly from the bridge.

The crew includes six girl dancers, and everyone, from the captain downwards, receives a regular check-up. Anyone who is overweight is sent ashore until the excess weight has been shed.

The liner’s hospital is situated midships near the water line, where the movement of the 963ft (292m) long ship is hardly noticeable. The hospital is staffed by two doctors, three sisters and three medical attendants, who can deal with anything from dental work to removing an appendix in the fully equipped operating theatre.

As night begins to fall over Southampton the passengers have all boarded the liner – and everything is ready for yet another crossing. So at 8pm the Queen Elizabeth 2 steams majestically out of port and heads for the Atlantic.

Wining and dining

For the crew, there are busy hours ahead. The waiters – at least two at every nine passengers – get ready to serve dinner in the ship’s four restaurants.

The a la carte menu is crammed with delicacies such as smoked salmon, caviar, lobsters and oysters – as well as cordon bleu creations of beef, lamb and poultry. By the time they reach New York the waiters will have served up some 12,500lb (5650kg) of beef, 11,000lb (5000kg) of fresh fruit, 750lb (340kg) of lobster, 50lb (22kg) of  de foie gras – and brought in about 4800 jars of jam and marmalade and 100 bottles of sauces and pickles.

In addition, they and the barmen will have uncorked 600 bottles of assorted wines and 500 bottles of champagne – and opened 500 bottles of whisky, 300 bottles of gin and 120 bottles of brandy. In the bars themselves, the staff will have poured 6000 bottles of beer and 3000 gallons (13,650 litres) of draught beer.

Altogether, some 25,000 items of glassware will have been used and washed, as well as 32,000 items of crockery, 18,000 items of cutlery, and almost 3000 tablecloths will have been laundered and laid.

After dinner, the ship’s 60 entertainers – musicians, croupiers, dancers and singers – provide the passengers with a wide-ranging choice of amusements.

The night life does not end until dawn – shortly before the first sitting for breakfast, stewards and stewardesses offer the luxury of breakfast served in bed.

Whatever the hour, in whichever part of the ship, there is always work for the crew to perform.

From the bridge – manned around the clock – to the darkroom – where overnight the photographer develops pictures taken as functions such as the Captain’s Cocktail Party – the bustle builds up again as another day abroad the world’s most regal liner gets under way.


Picture Credit : Google