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From one star to another; With or without the stars, any voyage on QE2 is an unforgettable experience. As she bids goodbye to the Atlantic, here are the memories of the great ship from some of her famous passengers.

SIR JOHN MILLS

'I have had the most wonderful and unforgettable times aboard QE2. She's a unique ship with the most wonderful standards of service, but also with the closeknit feeling of a large family gathering.

'Many years ago, in the 60s, I went across to New York in great style to launch a film with Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer. On another occasion, we were invited up on to the bridge, and my wife Mary was invited to blow the hooter as we sailed into New York.

'I get invited to do one-man shows on board, with stories and memories from my career, and some very interesting questions from the audience. Dining in Queen's Grill is my other great pleasure. It never ceases to be a delight.'

SIR BERNARD INGHAM

'The magical moment is sailing into New York, past the Statue of Liberty and the now sadly diminished skyline around the World Trade Center, and then, on the return journey, sailing down the Hudson River and out into the Atlantic. Truly stupendous views both ways.

'She really is a magnificent ship. I like being on deck, high up at the back, looking for whales or dolphins in our wake.'

ANGELA RIPPON

'I have filmed on the ship many times, and we were in midAtlantic when somebody spotteda whale. So many people rushed to one side as the whale blew water in the air that I wondered if the stabilisers could keep us afloat.

'Although I am quite a good sailor, I remember one fierce crossing where we hit a major trough in the middle of the night, like the Poseidon Adventure. People were knocked out of bed, but that night showed how well the ship handles in extreme conditions.

'The third moment I recall was the wonderful sight of Concorde coming out of a clear blue sky in mid-Atlantic and flying right over the top of the ship, far below usual supersonic height. Passengers were warned to be on the deck to enjoy a glorious and proud moment.'

SIMON WESTON

'Going on board at Southampton, I realised how much of the interior was stripped out for the Falklands. Even the stairs in the main ballroom had been taken away and, of course, all the chandeliers and cabinets. Anything that might have caused injuries if we had been hit.

'We had to stop running round the deck in our boots, because we caused so much damage.

'My memories of our honeymoon, 13 years after our marriage, was a brilliant and funny lecture from Kate Adie, and then sailing under the Verrazano Bridge, which I ran across in the New York Marathon a year or two before.

'We watched the final approach into New York on the bridge of the ship, with Alan Titchmarsh and his family.'

PENNY JUNOR

'I'm a bad sailor, and my first trip on QE2 was interrupted when we couldn't sail from Barcelona because of Force 10 gales in the Bay of Biscay.

'We did get extremely rough conditions around Madeira. Waves lashed lifeboats outside our windows and many people spent the night sitting in the cabins with their lifebelts on. Drawers were flying open and things were really moving.

'Otherwise, I remember the ship with great affection. I love the sheer luxury, the style and service which you don't find anywhere else these days, the way we were treated like royalty -while enjoying the real camaraderie which develops on board.

'You are away from everything, nobody can reach you, andthe only stressful decision is what to have for lunch. Wonderful -like living in a time capsule.'

JUDY CORNWELL

'I am one of a small gaggle of people who get up at 4am, with coffee and croissants, to watch QE2 come into port. It's always an amazing sight. In Palma, Majorca, the smell of flowers wafts across the water on beautiful bright mornings.

'Arriving and departing is always special. New York, obviously, but I recall leaving Rio as Easter bells tolled on a dark, rainy evening and leaving Cape Town with Table Mountain covered in cloud, like a giant tablecloth.

'I also love shopping, and QE2 has fantastic shops. I have travelled on the ship since I was seven, yet every time I go on board, I am excited by the thought of what lies ahead.'

SHERIDAN MORLEY

'I was hooked on transatlantic travel by the first Elizabeth, when my father took me across to New York in 1948 when he was appearing on Broadway. We left dreary post-war Britain and walked into the dazzling glamour of a world cruise with libraries, bars, restaurants -the complete community life afloat. I was amazed.

'Trying to replicate the lifestyle on QE2 will be difficult. I hope Queen Mary 2 can do it, and recaptures the magic, too. That is why it is worth taking six days to cross the Atlantic, when you can do it in six hours.'

CAPTION(S):

Sir John Mills, Sir Bernard Ingham, Angela Rippon and Simon Weston all have a special place in their hearts for the luxurious QE2
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 22, 2003
Words:844
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