March 26, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Updates
Welcome to another week’s blogging and I have a lot of variety for you including a blog from Captain Nick Bates onboard Queen Mary 2 and a report from Queen Victoria’s second World Cruise Dinner. Thanks for all the comments and posts regarding Queen Elizabeth, it’s great to hear from so many of you and as promised I will keep you updated with all the news as soon as I get it. Also thank you to those of you who sent links to pictures of Queen Mary 2 next to QE2 in Dubai – I hope to post some pictures of us next to our former sister on next Thursday’s Blog. Before we get any further though, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 26th to the 2nd April.
March 29 1950
Caronia completes her first “Great African Cruise”, arriving back in Southampton
March 27 1989
QE2 is chartered for 72 days by a consortium of Japanese companies
March 29 1998
Nelson Mandela sails on QE2 from Durban to Cape Town – This is the first time a Head of State has travelled on board since HM The Queen in 1990
One of the main highlights for World Cruisers is the celebratory “World Cruise Dinner” This is where we invite all our full world Cruise guests (this year we have 752 on board Queen Victoria) to a special gala evening in an exciting shore side venue. It’s always a challenge for our organisers to build upon the previous year’s successes, but with this year’s venue of the prestigious Shangri La Hotel in Singapore, they certainly achieved it. Our guests were greeted to the venue by our President and Managing Director Carol Marlow, Captain Wright and his senior officers, at the head of a petal strewn red carpet. At the reception we were offered drinks including the traditional “Singapore Sling” and treated to some wonderful local entertainment including fire eaters, artists, singers and a variety of interactive street performers. We were then ushered in to the sumptuous surroundings of the grand ballroom which was decorated beautifully for the occasion with stunning floral arrangements on each table.
We were also able to enjoy the music from a fabulous orchestra, and being Cunarders the dancing started right away! I had the pleasure of introducing Captain Paul Wright who talked about the voyage so far before going on leave the following day for a well deserved holiday. He welcomed Captain Ian McNaught to Queen Victoria who will be on board until Captain Wright returns in May. Carol Marlow then officially welcomed World Cruisers to the gala dinner with a short presentational preview of Queen Elizabeth. Then just before dinner was served, we were treated to a special performance of Chinese Opera. The performer was Madame See Too Hoi Siang and it was great to enjoy music from a performer who had won “The Outstanding Young Person in the World Award” for cultural achievement.
After a wonderful dinner the dancing continued where even yours truly took to the floor, for what I would describe as more of a shuffle than a dance, but I think most of my dance partner’s feet remained relatively intact throughout the evening!
Meanwhile Queen Mary 2 has passed us on her World Cruise and as I write this is heading towards the Suez Canal. It was great to hear from Captain Nick Bates who recently rejoined, while Commodore Warner takes a break.In case some of you have not had the chance to sail with Captain Bates I thought I would first share his background with you.
Born in Northern Ireland, Captain Bates is the offspring of two traditional seafaring families. His father spent most of his adult life at sea and his grandfather was a traditional sailing shipmaster. Brought up in the small fishing village of Ardglass and educated in the farming town of. Downpatrick, his academic achievements could at best be described as average. He did however go on to attend the Nautical College in Belfast, where he graduated top of his year. From there he joined the cargo ship subsidiary of Cunard Line, Port Line and began learning his trade on the UK to Australia, New Zealand run. He obtained his masters “Ticket” in the winter of 1975 and shortly after was offered a position as Junior Navigator onboard Queen Elizabeth 2. This short term contract soon turned out to be a lifetime commitment as he since remained with Cunard Line. He received his first command in 1995 onboard the Cunard Countess, cruising around the Caribbean. Since then, he has been in command of the Crown Majesty, Seabourn Goddess II, Caronia and of course Queen Elizabeth 2. He currently resides in Edinburgh and lists his hobbies, among other things, as Golf (badly), Scuba Diving (warm water only) and sport of any kind.
He was kind enough to send this message to the Blog this week:-
Since my return to the magnificent Queen Mary 2 in Hong Kong, it has certainly been extremely busy, but I must say that this ship is truly an icon of the 21st century and not only is it is a pleasure to be her Captain but in reality an honour. As we start the 4th and final leg of our world cruise we are fortunate to have my old friend Patrick O’Shaugnhessy travelling with us once again. In case you were not aware, Patrick is the seventh son of the seventh son of an Irish Peat Bog farmer. This unusual combination has endowed Patrick with great wisdom and fortitude, as all our world cruise guests will testify. It has been my pleasure to share some of that wisdom during our daily Noon time broadcasts. Probably best to come and hear his wisdom for yourself.Yesterday we left Dubai having berthed just astern of our famous sister QE2, and like so many of us, all those fond memories of my time there came flooding back. Looking at her as she awaits her new life, I also felt the time had come to move on and look forward to the excitement that hails the new Queen Elizabeth in 2010.
Thank you Captain Bates for the message and we look forward to hearing more from Queen Mary 2 again soon.
Meanwhile back on board Queen Victoria we were fortunate to have Carol Marlow sailing with us for a couple of days during which time she told me how much she had enjoyed meeting many guests and crewmembers.
Many of you will be familiar with our famed “White Star Service” which enables Cunard to deliver a level and comfort unique in today’s world. Every Cunard vessel has a White Star Service committee made up of the department heads of our guest service areas. The committee meets regularly to discuss guest service and to respond to suggestions made by members of the ships’ crew for improving service. Our guests are encouraged to recognise crew members, who have gone out of their way to provide outstanding service, by completing “You Have Been a Star!” Service Recognition Nominee Card. As a result of these cards, and other recommendations, the onboard committee votes for a “Star of the Month” and Carol Marlow hosted a cocktail party for our White Star winners and runners up.
This was followed by an exclusive dinner for the winners with Carol in the Britannia Restaurant, and those attending told me afterwards how much they enjoyed it. We also had a lot of guests who mentioned what a great idea it was and how they enjoyed seeing the very best crew members being recognized in this way.
Well time and space has beaten me again, so thanks again for logging on and please do keep those comments and questions coming in. Meanwhile I will be back twice next week (Monday and Thursday), with a guest blog and another update on Queen Victoria’s World Cruise with pictures from India . We also have some news regarding the activities on board to raise money for our World Cruise Charities – so until then. Cheers – Alastair