February 19, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Victoria
What a week of romance it’s been on Queen Victoria on her World Cruise. I’m sure everyone who has ever been on board any ship will agree it is a very romantic experience (well perhaps not on an oil tanker but you know what I mean!). Our guests and crew certainly made the most of it with lots of celebrating going on for both our guests and crew, so I thought I would share a few of those stories this week as we officially arrive “Down Under” with visits this week to Auckland and Lyttleton in New Zealand and Hobart, Tasmania. I also have to apologize to Phillip regarding my omission of our visit to Los Angeles in last week’s blog. You are right it wasn’t deliberate and of course our guests had a great time in the City Of Angels with many taking the opportunity to visit Queen Mary in Long beach. There are always so many things to chat about on the Blog that I’m afraid some things do get missed – but thanks for reminding me. Also a big hello to those of you who are reading this at home having spent time with us on the World Cruise so far, and thank you for saying you’ll be watching us as we continue our circumnavigation.Let me know if there is anything you want to hear about in particular.
Meanwhile before I get in to this romantic week on board Queen Victoria, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 20th to the 26th February.
February 20 2007
QE2 meets Queen Mary 2 on world Cruise in Sydney – first time Queens together in Sydney since the Originals of each in 1941 as troop ships. QE2’s visit to Sydney is nearly 29 years after her maiden call.
February 21 1905
Carmania (sister ship to the Caronia) is launched and together they are known as “The Pretty sisters”.
Carmania is the first in a generation to have turbines (as opposed to quadruple expansion engines).
February 21 1920
The Imperator has her first sailing under the Cunard flag from Liverpool making her the largest passenger liner to ever enter the Mersey.
February 24 1925
Carinthia II is launched. She was originally going to be Servia but the name got changed to Carinthia at the launch
February 25 1947
The Parthia is launched at Harland & Wolf Shipyard, Belfast
I will come to a bit of news of where we have been and what we have done this week, but firstly here are three tales of romance on board Queen Victoria.
As Valentine’s Day was going to be on the day Queen Victoria was visiting Lyttleton, (the port for Christchurch); we decided to have the Valentine’s Ball the night before so that guests could have the whole day to prepare. The Queens Room looked fantastic and set the tone for a wonderful evening. During the voyage we had spent some time chatting to a couple, Malcolm Pearson and Pat Kettle, from Kingswinford in the West Midlands, but none of us had any idea what he was planning. In one of our earlier Caribbean ports, Curacao, he had gone ashore and bought a ring so it was just a case of when and how to pop the question. Not wishing to be superstitious, Malcolm decide against proposing at the ball as this just happened to be Friday the 13th! So Malcolm took Pat to Hemisphere’s Nightclub and at one minute past twelve he borrowed a microphone from one of the band members, went to the middle of the dance floor and got on one knee. As with all great stories she said yes and I took this photo of them the next day by the magnificent clock in the Royal Arcade.
They leave us in Sydney but I know they’ll be reading this back at home so again our congratulations to you both from all of us on Queen Victoria.
Valentine’s night itself was a very big celebration and all our guests were greeted by a fabulous display as they entered the Britannia that night.
Then in true White Star Service style all the ladies were presented with a red rose by our Bellboys which was clearly very much appreciated.
It was also a very special night for two of our crew members. Shelly Young, from Toledo Ohio, is a Nail Technician working in the Royal Cunard Spa, and eighteen months ago, whilst working on Queen Mary 2, she met Arlo Fuller, from Gillingham in Kent, who was the ship’s Computer Services Officer. However they soon found themselves working on different ships but were reunited in October last year and have subsequently managed to be together now on Queen Victoria. On Valentine’s night Arlo surprised everyone, and most of all, Shelly, by arranging for a ring to be delivered to their dining table as they began desserts and I was there to capture the moment with my camera just a few moments later!
So love can blossom on board for the crew as well and of course we are delighted for Arlo and Shelly who haven’t stopped smiling since!
Wishing to make the most of the romantic season we made one of our regular features even more special this voyage. It’s always great to see couples take part in the “Renewal Of Vows Ceremony” and this voyage it was particularly busy and was made even more special as guests were entertained by our Queens Room singer; Paul Ritchie.
One of the many extra activities we did for Valentine’s Day is to invite guests to write poems and messages to their loved ones and this was then put together on a special sheet to go with that morning’s Daily Programme. We also decided this was a great opportunity to raise some more money for our World Cruise Charities, so we invited guests to add a contribution to their ditty with the guest contributing the most, having their dedication printed on the front page of the Valentine’s Day Daily Programme. I’m pleased to say this year we had a lot of creativity from our guests and raised over $300 for the charities.
On that subject I have just found out some great news from the gentleman whose dedication appeared on the front page last year; on our maiden World Cruise. Marc and Wanda Winchester were on board last year and I am not sure how inspirational the poem Marc wrote was, but baby Zsa Zsa Winchester was born on the 22 October last year so we are thrilled to announce that we believe she is probably the first Queen Victoria baby!
Fantastic news and it was lovely to hear from Marc and Wanda who made so many great friends last year and we all wish them the very best for the future and look forward to welcoming the newly expanded family back on board soon.
Amoungst all this romance we continued with our World Cruise and last Thursday arrived in Auckland and were incredibly lucky with the weather with storms arriving almost on cue as we left. It’s a great city and as usual we were greeted very warmly and our guests loved “Haka the Legend” a special performance of Maori songs and Poi dancing which was staged that afternoon in the Royal Court Theatre. After a day at sea we arrived in the South Island and the port of Lyttleton which is the gateway to Christchurch. Lyttleton itself is a lovely port and is surrounded by stunning scenery.
Christchurch is just 20 minutes away and is a beautiful town which is claimed (by the locals), to be almost as English as England! Well it must be – they even have their version of “Punting on the Avon” with one side being called Oxford and the other Cambridge!
After a couple of days crossing the Tasman sea which many of you know has the reputation for being a little lumpy, (though I am pleased to say it was quite well behaved this time), we docked in Hobart Tasmania on a beautiful sunny day. Again we were lucky as this was apparently the best day they had enjoyed for a while and it was certainly appreciated by all of us. What a great place Hobart is, not only very friendly but there’s a lot to do from visiting the historic Port Arthur or enjoying the city’s “Salamanca” district with its superb restaurants, shops and pubs – I can personally recommend the local beer – Cascade Ale!
Oh and just before I sign off I have heard that love is definitely in the air on Queen Victoria, as another guest Terry Martinelli from Torrington in Devon, has this evening proposed to his sweetheart, Lynda McLaughlin who also said yes, so congratulations to both of them as well.
That’s it for another week and I know I still have the interviews I promised which will hopefully be next week along with a report from the stunning city of Sydney. Thanks again for reading and for all your comments – keep them coming! Cheers for now, Alastair