January 15, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Updates
Thank you again for your continued feedback. It’s great to hear from you and of course this helps me look at different topics to discuss on future blogs. It’s another eventful week for Cunard Queens as they embark on their World Cruises, and for both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, it will be their second time to circumnavigate the globe. Before we get on to that story here’s: “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 9th to the 15th January.
1972 January 9
Several fires break out on Queen Elizabeth, while she is in Hong Kong Harbour as a floating university. Arson was suspected but never proven. By the next morning she was on her side where she stayed for 3 years before eventually sinking.
2004 January 12
Queen Mary 2 sails on her 14 day Maiden Voyage to Fort Lauderdale.
2007 January 15
Queen Victoria Floats Out Of Her Dry Dock for the first time.
Regarding the “This week in Cunard’s History”, I have to apologise and make a correction for last week’s typo and thank you to Peter Stevens, the Caronia II Timeline Webmaster, for putting me right in that January 4th 2009 was the 60th Anniversary of Caronia’s Maiden Voyage from Southampton to New York, arriving there on 11 January 1949. Interestingly he also added that RMS Caronia was named the Green Goddess by the people of Liverpool, her home port, because her livery resembled that of the local trams at that time.
Meanwhile I returned to Queen Victoria on Monday after my holiday, (yes I know many may suggest that being on board is so great so why would you need a holiday?), and it was lovely to see so many familiar faces amongst the crew and guests. In fact this started on the plane when I happened to find myself sitting next to guests who were joining Queen Mary 2 and recognised me from a previous voyage. Oh yes fame at last!
Queen Victoria was in Fort Lauderdale on the 12th day of her World Cruise and her guests and crew were delighted to be greeted by the warmth of 80 degree temperatures after the cold and even snow of New York just two days earlier. She was docked right next her big sister, Queen Mary 2, on the adjacent pier, so it was lovely to see the sisters reunited again. This provided a great news story for the press and TV who were taking photos of the ships from helicopters hovering above the port.
It’s always great when our ships are in port together – an event that doesn’t happen that frequently. Not only is it a great photo opportunity it also gives colleagues an opportunity to spend some time together and catch up. Having said that it was a very busy day for both ships, especially for Queen Mary 2 who had a big crew change and of course all her guests joining for the first leg of her World Cruise. As we left our berth there was the traditional exchange of the ship’s whistles with each attempting to out do each other with the last blast – I’m not sure who won that one! The occasion was also almost reminiscent of the grand farewells of days gone by, with guests leaning over their balcony and promenade deck hand rails, waving and shouting “Bon Voyage“ messages to each other as their different sea adventures began. After a call at one of my favourite Caribbean islands, Grenada, Queen Mary 2 was of course heading south to circumnavigate Cape Horn, whilst the Queen Victoria set a course for the Panama Canal once she had visited the Dutch Antilles island of Curacao.
That night around the ship it was almost like coming to your second home meeting up with old friends amongst the guests and crew, catching up on all the news and looking forward to the voyage ahead. Sometimes for us working at sea, we feel as though we lead a bit of a double life with our time with friends and family at home and then our friends on board. Walking in to the Golden Lion Pub was also a bit like walking in to your local at home, with so many guests that I recognised. In fact in just the couple of days since I have returned, I have already bumped in to at least 30 guests from last year’s maiden World Cruise on Queen Victoria, and countless more who I have met during my time with Cunard so it feels like a grand reunion about the ship already.
There’s not much more to tell you at this stage, and I’m afraid no pictures, but I will have lots for you over the coming weeks as we progress around the world starting next week with our second transit through the incredible Panama Canal. I’ll also be in touch with my counterpart, Warren Smith on Queen Mary 2 and try and get some pictures of Cape Horn and her travels.
Also, many of you have been asking about Queen Elizabeth, whose launch is now just over 18months away so I can assure you there’ll be some news about her coming to you quite soon, along with some construction pictures in due course. In the meantime I’ll be back next week with more Cunard news.