March 30, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Victoria
Welcome to this special Blog update on our World Cruise on Queen Victoria. Having left Singapore and Phuket we enjoyed two great ports in India. Firstly Cochin which is less developed than Mumbai and you certainly feel you are seeing the real India. Taking one of the “Tuk Tuk’s” is an adventure in itself, especially when you start to realize there are no “Stop” signs or traffic lights! Then you also discover that the tour must include a stopover at the driver’s cousin’s souvenir shop and another; and another! This was a great picture which gives you a good feel of the city with Queen Victoria towering over the buildings in the background.
Some of the greatest Cunard traditions we have continued with on Queen Victoria are the events which raise money for charity. In addition to the money we raise for The Prince’s Trust on every voyage, we also raise money for charities chosen by the ship’s officers and crew on World Cruise, and this year they include: Mercy Ships UK, The Rose Road Appeal Southampton, Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation Philippines and the Good Shepherd Hospital Swaziland. There are many events which help to raise money for these very worthwhile organisations. I have asked Kerry Spencer who works in our Library and Bookshop to write a Guest Blog.
Guest Blog – Kerry Spencer – Queen Victoria Librarian
When I came to Queen Victoria last year I thought it would be nice to carry on the traditional World Cruise Charity Swim that the Librarians started a number of years ago on QE2. To get the ball rolling I sent an email out to all the ships officers and crew to ask if anyone would be interested in taking part in this year’s charity swim, I was instantly swamped with replies. After much deliberation the lucky, (if that’s the right word!), swimmers were selected – and what a line up it was to be.
I was going to be joined by Gaynor Van De Venter, the World Cruise Concierge looking after our full World Cruise guests and Rebecca de Ruus, who is one of the On Board Voyage Sales Specialists and is well known by many of our regular guests. The final member of our team was Nicola Edwards, who although she is a lovely lady we do hope that as few as guest as possible get to meet her as she is our senior nursing officer!Here she is with one of the charitable organisations we are supporting this year; the Good Shepherd Hospital in Swaziland
The day came but Nicola was unable to get away from work so Liz Williams, travelling on board with her partner Staff Engineer John Camish, was kind enough to step in at the last minute. We decided that we wanted to make an entrance poolside on the day, the Chief Officer was kind enough to loan us some immersion suits that would normally be used by the deck department. We were advised that we should be able to don the suits in just one minute. Well after a lot of pulling, squeezing and giggling, we were all suited and booted and ready to waddle our way to the pool. As you might have guessed this process took considerably more than a minute!
We swam for one hour and managed a pretty impressive 274 laps between us, and yes we were all staggering when we got out of the pool!Fortunately we were joined by Nicola in the end and she swam with us for moral support which was very welcome. Here we all are at the end of the event, trying not to look too exhausted!
After some very generous donations from guests on board we reached a total of over $1600 which will be added to the World Cruise Charities fund. I am now looking forward to next year when I can again take my annual dip in the pool!
Thank you very much Kerry and congratulations to you all for your achievement in swimming so many lengths and raising a tremendous amount of money for the World Cruise Charities. Meanwhile Queen Victoria was heading for her second Indian Port and this time it was the bustling city of Mumbai. One of the most recognisable landmarks is the “Gateway of India” which is located on the waterfront in Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai.
The Gateway is a basalt arch 26 metres (85 ft) high and in earlier times, it was the monument that visitors arriving by boat would have first seen in the city of what was then called Bombay. This area has been undergoing a lot of refurbishment over recent years and looks almost complete. Opposite the Gateway is the very impressive Taj Hotel.
Following the tragic events last year, it was fantastic to see that despite the damage, the building is open again for business having been painstakingly restored to its former glory. They have done an amazing job and the only indication of that day last November is a fitting memorial by the main lobby.
After a wonderful day which included the purchased of Saris by many of the ladies, everyone celebrated at the “Night at the Raj” ball the following evening. Well that’s about it for now but I’ll be back on Thursday with more news and regular features. Cheers for now – Alastair