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Queen Victoria


November 27, 2008

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Victoria

I am writing this as late as possible this week to get you all the latest news from Queen Victoria. However I am sat in the Golden Lion Pub with the Radio 2 team (I’m such a name dropper!),enjoying traditional fish and chips whilst watching the emotional arrival of QE2 in Dubai on the news. I apologise I haven’t been able to get you much news yet from the farewell voyage but I promise I soon will. I did receive a message this morning from Carol Marlow saying that everything had gone well and QE2 was, at the time, being escorted by H.M.S. Lancaster, Royal Yacht Dubai as well a flotilla of other ships and yachts on her final approaches. Her arrival was amazing and I did go to Queen Victoria’s Internet Centre and watch on the link to the QE2 Bridge cam. (Thanks Chris for posting that idea). What a great reception she had and yet again it shows what a legendary and much loved ship she is and I know we will all watch with keen interest as she embarks on her new life in Dubai. You can’t help thinking what is going through guests’ minds today as they disembark and for the crew leaving her for the final time tomorrow. We’ll do our best to get you some reports soon. Meanwhile Queen Mary 2 has arrived in Fort Lauderdale for her brief Caribbean season before beginning her second World Cruise in January.


Before I bring you up to date with what’s been happening on Queen Victoria over the last few days – here is our weekly look at this week in Cunard’s history for the week 21st to 27th of November


November 21 1787

Samuel Cunard is born in Halifax, Nova Scotia


November 22 1955

Sylvania II  is launched at John Brown Yard at Clydebank, and along with the Carinthia III they become the last liners to be built purely for the North Atlantic market. She eventually becomes the last Canadian emigrant ship


November 24 1967

Cunard’s first cruise ship, the RMS Caronia II, comes to Southampton for the last time after a distinguished career.


November 26 1968

QE2 leaves Greenock, Scotland for her first set of sea trials


November 26 2007

Cunard accepts delivery of Queen Victoria


November 27 1920

Samaria II is launched



Meanwhile back to Queen Victoria…………..


You’ll know from my last Blog on Monday that we have a host of guests from BBC Radio 2 on board as part of the TOGS voyage. On Sunday we were joined by Canon Roger Royle, Janet & John Marsh and the voice of BBC’s National Lottery Balls: Alan Dedicoat.  It’s been a very busy few days for our Radio 2 personalities as we got them to work. Firstly they have spent a few hours each day helping to man the hospitality desk and having their photos taken as well as signing CD’s and frankly anything that has been put in front of them. On Monday night the Golden Lion Pub was packed to the rafters in anticipation of Canon Roger Royle’s “Loose Canon Karaoke” and guests and TOGS were never going to be disappointed although at times they were surprised.



I have never heard karaoke begin with a rendition of “All Things Bright and Beautiful” but this, we soon discovered, was going to be karaoke with a difference. John “Boggy” Marsh and his wife Janet were enrolled to assist, with John on the piano and Janet providing vocals. Not wishing to miss out on the excitement Alan “Voice of the balls” Dedicoat had been ashore in Alexandria, not to see the sights, but to purchase props. He joined Roger Royle and Kell (from the TOGS hospitality desk), in their version of the Sand Dance. It’s impossible to describe the performance but put it like this; I don’t think “Strictly Come Dancing” will be offering them a place in the next series!



Roger did an amazing job entertaining an eager audience who clearly loved the evening taking away a multitude of unforgettable memories. The next morning over 400 guests came to see Alan Dedicoat in his lecture “The Best of British”. It could easily have been called “Broadcasters’ Worst Nightmares” as he played out takes from the BBC archives which illustrated how difficult the job can be. Of course like all professionals, broadcasters can make the job seem effortless, but we soon gained a whole new level of respect for these very talented individuals.  Not only was it very entertaining but it provided an amazing insight in to the workings of the BBC. I know one of my challenges as an Entertainment Director is making sure I pronounce people’s names correctly. The BBC are one ahead of the game  on that one with a Pronunciation Unit who work busily in Bush House in London, ensuring all the broadcasters get the most accurate information – not that all that preparation always worked – as we found out. We also discovered some of the tricks of the trade used by both broadcasters and interviewees. For example did you know that politicians like to be interviewed at five to eight in the morning so they know the interview will be stopped in time for the eight o’clock news, thus curtailing the possibility of suffering from foot in mouth disease!


We also gained a little insight in to what is actually going on in the studio when Sir Terry broadcasts and yes it seems they are all having as much fun as it sounds like. Food apparently plays quite a big part in the daily shows with one of the highlights being “Snorkers Week” (or National Sausage week to you and me), where the team all vie for a spot on the show which involves tastings, and you guessed it a lot more fun.


On the same afternoon Alan hosted The “Deadly Pub Quiz” (oh yes our TOGS got good value from Alan – but he was worth it!). The event actually took place in the Queens Room as the number of teams amounted to 42. Alan Dedicoat was, as you would expect very entertaining and did a superb job despite the banter coming from Canon Roger Royle around the room.  I must admit hearing the voice that normally says “Drop Those Big Money Balls”, asking us what colour a Purple Finch is, was a bit surreal.



It was a great success and our team came fourth – thanks to Barty and Judy who were my team mates. And no I didn’t have a preview of the questions – Alan couldn’t be bribed despite my offers of donations to Children in Need! Congratulations go to the victorious (pun intended!)“Seagulls Team” of Evelyn, David, Clare and 94 year old Betty.



When Alan heard about Lynn Bowles ringing the ships bell – he simply had to have a go and not be out shone by Lynn. Fortunately there was a sea day so he was joined by Canon Roger Royle, Janet and John Marsh for another photo opportunity with Pudsey getting in on the act as well. After another busy morning at the Hospitality Desk we arrived in Malta and said good bye to Alan Dedicoat who had to get back for his National Lottery broadcast that evening. Later in the afternoon it was a real pleasure to welcome Sir Terry Wogan himself and in my next Blog I’ll tell you all about “An Audience with Sir Terry Wogan and of course the live broadcasts from Queen Victoria’s Commodore Club. Don’t forget to tune in to BBC Radio 2 on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th November between 7:30am to 9:30am (on your radio and on line).I have a feeling there’ll be lots to tell you about including an interview with Sir Terry.

  1. Kel says:

    Alastair – I’ve just caught up with all 3 parts of your blog relating to the TOGs voyage, and am eagerly awaiting part 4.

    You’ve captured the moments wonderfully well, and painted a brilliant picture of all that has taken place.

    K xx

  2. Jerry Nuovo says:

    I know that this is off topic but here is 2 news videos from the BBC of the QE2′s arrival in Dubai http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hampshire/7751111.stm and http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/hampshire/7753549.stm Regards,Jerry from New Jersey,USA

  3. Paul Bird says:

    Great blogs, interesting to read that QE2 started sea trials on 26 November ’68, and had her final day as an ocean liner exactly 40 years later. Was this coinicidence or planned?

  4. AnnTique says:

    I may be a TOG, can’t find my specs but I managed to find your blog Alastair!

    Enjoyed reading parts 1 – 3. As Kel said, a great summary of what we have been up to on board and am looking forward to reading part 4.


  5. Doug Newman says:


    Having had the pleasure of sailing with you in 2007 on QM2, I’m happy to see you join the ever-growing fraternity of cruise line bloggers.

    The past few weeks have certainly been very emotional for all of us who are QE2 fans. I thought you might enjoy reading my thoughts on her retirement: http://dougnewmanatsea.com/2008/11/30/farewell-qe2/

    Keep up the good work and I hope we meet again soon on one of the great 21st century Queens. I enjoy all different ships but Cunard has that je ne sais quoi that no-one else can match and so I will always be a Cunarder at heart!

    Doug Newman

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