New Kingston woman traveling around the world in 90 days
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — On Tuesday, Jan. 13, New Kingston resident Fran Faulkner and her sister, Sandy Holsten of Landenberg, Pa., boarded the Queen Mary 2 at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a 90-day cruise around the world.
Faulkner and Holsten’s accommodations aboard the liner are located in the central part of the ship, ensuring a smoother ride, and include two beds, a loveseat, desk, closet space, bathroom and a sheltered balcony. Upon arriving in their cabin, the women reclaimed their luggage, which they had shipped with the Cunard White Star Luggage Service a week prior to embarking.
“We have buffet breakfast and lunch at King’s Court on Deck 7 and have dinner at the 6:00 seating in the upper section of the Britannia Restaurant on Deck 3, where we alternate formal, semi-formal and elegant casual dress for dinner,” Faulkner and Holsten wrote in correspondence to the Catskill Mountain News. “We enjoy talking to the waiters and the room stewards.”
The ladies’ days at sea consist of walks around the desk when it’s not too windy, walks through the ship’s corridors on more windy days, games of ping pong and cards, swimming, soaking in the hot tub, deck lounging, writing in their journals and e-mailing family members. In addition, they have been to a movie, seen every evening show in the onboard Royal Court Theatre, and explored the various cafes and recreational activities available onboard.
“We plan to revisit the G32 (Nightclub) because the deejay there plays Fran’s kind of dancing music,” they said.
Three days after embarking, on Friday, Jan. 16, the ship docked at St. George’s, Grenada, the Caribbean’s “Isle of Spice.” The island, which was heavily damaged by 2004’s Hurricane Ivan, is still in the process of rebuilding, as the tour group witnessed during its motor coach tour of the island. The tour took them through several small villages and a park before making stops at a black sand beach and Lake Etang, which was formed by a volcano.
“There we were given a drink and were able to take photographs of two women balancing huge baskets of fruit and plants on their heads. This cost us $1 for each photograph,” they said. “On the return trip, our guide pointed out several varieties of trees: banana, cocoa bean, coconut, breadfruit and nutmeg, to name just a few. Grenada’s chief export is spices and nutmeg and many natives tried to sell us spice necklaces when we made our stops. We saw the only ‘rainbow tree’ on the island and a 150-year-old banyan tree.
“Our last stop before heading back to ship was to see Annandale Falls, where we watched local young men jump from the height of the falls to the pool below. Since this was their livelihood, they asked visitors for money to watch them. We returned to the dock where we had to go through security before a tender took us back to the ship, where we went through security again.”
The ship continued its trek through the Atlantic before docking Monday in Rio de Janeiro from where this dispatch was e-mailed, Brazil’s second-largest city renowned for its fusion of Latin and African culture.
“We were disappointed that it was a rainy day and the pictures we took were not the best; however, the city of Rio is magnificent, as well as the beautiful beaches and mountains that jut up from the sea,” they said. “We were amazed by the amount of graffiti on the buildings as high as second-story windows. The buildings were varied between old architecture and modern design. As we drove out of the city toward the mountains and beaches we went through several tunnels. When we exited the tunnels we were on the highway that paralleled the beautiful, famous beaches of Rio – they seemed to go on for miles and miles. We were able to stop and get out at Copacabana (we think) beach.”
Despite the rain, a number of people were enjoying the beaches of Rio, and on the journey back to the ship the group stopped at the famous Sugarloaf Mountain and watched the well-known glass-paneled cable car. The group also visited Rio’s modern cathedral, which stands 246 feet tall and has no interior columns to support it. That evening, the show on board featured local Brazilian musicians and dancers.
“From our own sheltered balcony, we watched the ship get ready to leave port,” Faulker and Holsten wrote. “The harbor was a spectacular sight – the lights, the water, and the pointed mountains that are scattered throughout the water of the harbor. We will long remember this incredible experience.”
The Queen Mary 2 is a 150,000-ton ocean liner operated by the Cunard Line. Upcoming stops on the ladies’ tour around the world include: Montevideo, Uruguay; Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; Acapulco, Mexico; Los Angeles, Calif.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Pago Pago, American Samoa; Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; Yokohama (for Tokyo), Japan; Hong Kong; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore; Cochin, India; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Salalah, Oman; Cairo, Egypt; Athens, Greece; Rome, Italy; Cannes, France; Barcelona, Spain; Le Havre (for Paris/Normandy), France; Southampton, England. The liner is scheduled to disembark in New York on April 14.
Fran Faulkner has regaled Catskill Mountain News readers with tales of her travels before; in 1965, she chronicled her cross-country trip with her husband, Doug, and their children June and Lee, and friends Willis and Ginny Marks and their children, Cathy, Vicki and Gary, in letters to the News. Their six-week trip took them to the west coast and back; along the way, they stopped at a variety of tourist locations, including Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Disneyland and Universal Studios.