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Sunday, February 13, 2005; Page P10

Queen Mary 2

JOHN DEINER captured the essence of the Queen Mary 2 ["Queen for a Year," Feb. 6]. The criticism heard on board may be due to unreasonable expectations created by all the publicity. His decision to remain on board during port calls illustrates how the huge ocean liner is not perfectly suited to conventional Caribbean itineraries. Tendering is an annoyance when yours is the only cruise ship at anchor.

Port days limit participation in on-board enrichment programs for which Cunard is famous. I barely had time for a screenplay-writing course and computer training, while my wife managed watercolor classes.

Comparison with other large ships (in the "Big Ship-O-Matic") should highlight the vast public space that sets the QM2 apart. Cunard carried 2,546 passengers per voyage on the QM2 in 2004, while the smaller Royal Caribbean Voyager Class averaged 3,423 (34 percent more).

In a word, the ship was magnificent. William B. Ebersold

Upper Marlboro

CONTRARY TO what your article said, on our 10-day excursion to New England and Canada, we did indeed witness an ice sculpture demo by two kitchen staff, and our delightful cabin stewardess amused us on several evenings with towels twisted into animal shapes. She even found my reading glasses and perched them on the "heads" of the animals.

Dick Schmidt

Arlington

I SAILED from Southhampton to New York on the QM2 in July. Having lots of time at sea, I read about the building of the ship. G32 is the number the shipyard assigned to the hull of the ship when it was being built -- they then used it for the disco.

We were told when we would pass over the site of the Titanic. Lots of people were on deck at 7 a.m. with flowers (taken from centerpieces in the dining room) clutched in hand to throw overboard. It was a Kodak moment.

Pat McGeehan

Arlington

Carrier on Board

TO THE WOMAN on the Greyhound bus from Pittsburgh to D.C. on Dec. 27: It was obvious you had the flu and should have been home in bed. But instead you got on the bus and spread your germs all around. A few days after my return home, I developed full-blown flu and was in bed for two weeks. I missed several parties and get-togethers, as I was too sick to go out and (as a considerate person) did not want to spread my flu germs around to others. What a pity that you did not feel the same way when you chose to take a public bus and cough all the way to D.C.

Mary Graham

Arlington

Flying With Pets, Cont'd

I READ the article about the woman who wanted to travel by plane with her small dog [Travel Q&A, Jan. 30]. You should know that the compartment they put the dogs in are not insulated from noise. It is very loud in there. My dogs and others have come out so distressed it brought tears to my eyes (vomiting and diarrhea are not uncommon). It also is hard on the animals spending time on the tarmac in very hot or cold temperatures.

I would not recommend taking your pet on a plane unless it's a short flight and they are in the cabin.

Bobbie Bruzdzinski

Alexandria

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