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BBQ and Stars in Vietnam

March 19, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Updates

Well what a week; it’s certainly been busy on the Blog and of course the big news this week was the unveiling of our new Cunarder on Tuesday – Queen Elizabeth. In fact you can see a video of the press launch in London, with Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line), by clicking on this link: -


Thanks for all your comments regarding this breaking news and it’s great to hear that you are as excited as we are on board. Mind you I do have an apology to make to some of our Cunard World Club members, who have alerted me that they had not received communications about Queen Elizabeth’s “on sale” date. Sorry about that but in my excitement I made a mistake. These communications are in place and I can confirm that these details are currently being distributed globally and you can rest assured the “on sale” date is the same for all past guests no matter where they live in the world!

Meanwhile we will be welcoming Carol Marlow to Queen Victoria today, for our World Cruise Dinner tonight (more on that next week), and she’ll be sailing with us for a couple of days so I’ll keep you posted if I get any more news. Meanwhile we are about to start our final leg of our 2009 World Cruise – was it really 74 days ago that we started this adventure? Wow time does fly when you are at sea enjoying yourself! We have had a great week on board with visits to Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as finding “Stars” amoungst our crew in a special show – so lots to tell. Firstly though, as usual, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 19th to the 25th of March.

March 22 1921

Scythia II is launched and enters service later the same year

March 20 1950

Caronia II makes her maiden call to Algiers, Algeria – 1 of only 2 calls she ever made there

March 19 1975

QE2 makes her maiden call at Los Angeles, USA

March 25 1975

QE2 makes her first transit of the Panama Canal, making her the largest ship to travel through the canal

March 21 2003

Queen Mary 2 is floated out of the building dock

Hong Kong is frequently described as a city where east meets west, and it has always been a highlight of the World Cruise for guests and crew alike and if you have ever been there you’ll know why. Whether it’s shopping on Nathan Road, taking a ferry across to Hong Kong Island or enjoying a stunning meal at the renowned Peninsular Hotel, it’s still one of the most exciting cities in the world. This is the former British dependency that boasts the largest double-decker tram fleet and more Rolls Royces than anywhere else in the World. It was a great day, with a perfect ending, when Captain Wright announced that the ship had been granted permission to sail through Hong Kongharbour on way to our next port in Vietnam. It was a real treat to see the night skyline from the best vantage point in the harbour! We all had ample opportunity to take some great pictures but there are times when it’s best left to the professionals; so I’d like to thank our on board photographic team for this superb picture of Hong Kong Island

Vietnam was our next stop and the beautiful scenery of Nha Trang which gave our guests a relaxing time on a stunning sun drenched beach before the excitement of Ho Chi Minh City the following day. It was a bit of a drive to get there (and this turned out to be an adventure in itself) from the port town of Phu My. It is the largest city in Vietnam and is located near the Mekong Delta with a population of more than nine million people – most of whom it seems own a motorbike. I have never seen so many bikes and many of them seem to be competing on how much it’s possible to fit on one bike. We saw livestock, fridges and even a washing machine balancing precariously on the back of what were questionably roadworthy vehicles. Perhaps one of the winners of this competition could be this chap managing to balance all sorts of building materials on his bike – complete with scaffolding!

Of course this was another opportunity to shop, and where better? Here you could buy anything with a designer label and even a painting of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” which we weren’t allowed to touch as the paint was still wet – and you think I’m kidding! Wood work was also very popular here and I went with our Senior Doctor, Peter Hawthorne, to help him buy a fully rigged model sailing ship he had promised himself the last time he was here. Mind you we were surprised by this model which had clearly lost a little in translation being called “Mery II”.Does it look familiar? Well I suppose we can’t all be perfect!

That night our guests were treated by another World Cruise favourite, a deck BBQ. As usual this was a huge success and I just had to take this photo of the food & beverage team who got in to the spirit of the day in their Vietnamese headwear already to begin service!

By the way talking of the food and beverage team, huge congratulations must go to them as I heard today, that according to Cruise Critic voters, Cunard was voted fine food flagship, in a recent survey amoungst British Cruise travellers. Cunard beat the nearest competition by 6% which particularly impressive as sixty percent of those taking part in the survey, said that a cruise line’s overall reputation for quality cuisine would affect their choice of line.

Meanwhile they were also celebrating success in another way, as the winner of a crew competition was announced as one of their bar staff. In a tradition started last year on Queen Victoria, we held auditions amoungst our crew to look for great singers who could perform as someone famous. Some of you may remember the TV Show “Stars in Their Eyes”; well this was an opportunity for budding singers to show off their talents and I have to say there was stiff competition. Many departments were represented including Engineers, Shop Staff, Waiters and even a member of the Medical Team, as nine singers battled it out in a special show. Not only did our guests get to see this one off very professionally presented performance, but they decided on the winner when they were asked to vote for their favourite performer. The result was so close that we had a recount and found our Champion for 2009.

Playing the part of Jamie Jones, Ryan Latumbo did a fantastic rendition of “I Swear” and he won his audience over with his great voice and charm. He was a star for at least a day any way, with an interview on the ship’s morning TV show and now there are even rumours of him releasing an album! Meanwhile Ryan, from the Philippines, said he loved every minute and is ready to defend his title again next year.

Well that’s about it for another week – unless there is any breaking news in the meantime so please keep logging on and posting your comments. Cheers – Alastair

  1. Chris says:

    I can’t wait to see the new Queen Elizabeth. Thank You Alistar for keeping us up-to-date!

  2. Chris Frame says:

    Hi Alistair,

    Thanks for the update. I was recently aboard Queen Mary 2 as she sailed through Hong Kong – it was a fantastic sight which I am sure all the passengers aboard Queen Victoria will remember for a very long time.

    Been keenly watching QM2 and QE2 rendezvous in Dubai today via the Bridge Cams – a great series of shots here:


  3. Chris Frame says:

    Hi Alistair,

    Thanks for another great entry! Just wanted to share some images of Queen Elizabeth 2 alongside Queen Mary 2 in Dubai taken on Saturday:


    Soon it will be Queen Victoria’s turn to rendezvous with her former sister.

    Thanks again,


  4. Tom Ecker says:

    Hi Alastair,

    Carol and I are going to have our first Cundard experience in May, sailing on the QM2. We want to join you on your ship soon. Let us hear from you.

    All the best,
    Tom E.

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