November 25, 2008
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Victoria
Firstly thank you for all your feedback about the QE2 Farewell from Southampton and especially to Andy for all his links. We are hoping to get you some news from QE2 as she approaches Dubai in a few days, with pictures and video from the legendary voyage. When she arrives in Dubai most of the crew will be leaving the next day and I’m happy to report that after a well deserved rest you’ll see most of them on either Queen Victoria or Queen Mary 2 and indeed Queen Elizabeth when she enters service in 2010. I am aware that Captain McNaught and Thomas Quinones (who many of you will know for his brilliant heritage trail on QE2) are planned to be joining us on Queen Victoria in the spring along with many other familiar faces. Talking of familiar faces it was interesting to hear that my fellow Entertainment Director has been recognised as a “Bradley Walsh” lookalike. It made me think we could do a ship’s crew lookalike competition on this blog, so if you have any ideas we’ll start a gallery! Thanks Anne for the idea – keep them coming.
Meanwhile back to Queen Victoria…………..
During the TOGS voyage we have managed to persuade many Radio 2 personalities to take a few days away from the BBC studios in London, to join us for a few during the voyage . We said goodbye to Charles Nove in Istanbul but were joined by Lynn Bowles. Lynn is best known for her traffic reports on the Radio from very early in the morning right up until Noon, looking after the reports for three DJ’s (Sarah Kennedy, Terry Wogan and Ken Bruce). Having never been on a ship like this before, on joining she exclaimed she was stunned by the ship’s beauty and facilities.
Lynn loved her time on board and was amazed by the amount of activities on offer, especially on the sea day after Kusadasi. She said she rather liked the idea of combining two activities on board – Fruit Carving and Fencing. Although we all agreed this would have been quite an interesting spectator sport, we decided instead to try something new – “Bowling with Bowles”. This was actually a first, where we invited guests to join the Entertainment Staff in the Golden Lion Pub for a virtual game of 10 pin bowling on the Nintendo Wii. It was a huge success with over 40 people entering and even more watching Lynn and fellow guests’ battle with technology. It takes a little while to get used to (and one or two never did quite get it!), but when they did, it seemed quite addictive and very entertaining for all concerned.
Each day we have been hosting a TOGS hospitality desk as a way for TOGS to get together and meet our Radio 2 personalities. One visitor to the desk was the ship’s Security Officer Andy Holloway who invited Lynn to ring the noon bell in the Grand Lobby. In fact I think Andy really came down to the desk to buy a Pudsey bear, but Lynne was delighted with the offer. This is a long standing tradition where on days when the ship is at sea, the ship’s bell is rung to mark noon.
That night we invited Lynn to join a few of us in one of the Royal Court Theatre’s private boxes to watch the signature show Victoriana. She couldn’t resist a regal wave just before the show began and was quite surprised to see how many of the audience returned the compliment! Again she couldn’t help showing her enthusiasm for the Theatre, the show and the ship generally. I think we definitely have a convert here and I don’t think it will take much effort to convince her to come back!
The next day was Port Said which greeted us with a superb warm day – just in the 80’s, sunny and perfect. It was certainly a highlight for all our guests as they headed off to The Pyramids, the Nile, Cairo and the Sphinx. Although it’s a long day it’s one of amazing memories – I think there were only a handful of guests left on board who wasted no time in getting up on deck to relax by the pool and get a little bit of colour. Matt & I also stayed on board as we said good bye to Lynn Bowles and awaited new Radio 2 personalities to join us. It wasn’t long before we heard the contagious laugh of Canon Roger Royle, Janet & John Marsh and the voice of the Lottery Balls: Alan Dedicoat. After a late night in the Commodore Club singing along with Barrrington Barty Brown we realised the pace of things was picking up. There’ll be a host of new TOGS activities for me to report from so watch this space if you want to see what happens at Loose Canon Karaoke and the Deadly Pub Quiz. We’ve been told to prepare ourselves for……….. well, log back on Thursday and we’ll tell you everything.