April 2, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Updates
Welcome to this week’s Blog with details of Queen Victoria’s visit to the incredible city of Dubai including the reunion with QE2. Meanwhile it’s been great to read so many of your comments and to hear from old friends, guests and lecturers who have either sailed with me on one of the three Queens. We did have one question this week regarding single rooms on board Queen Victoria and the new Queen Elizabeth.
Not knowing the answer to that myself I thought I would go to the top and ask Carol Marlow. She said “It’s always a challenge to design a new ship with all the features and amenities our guests would like and the reason we decided not to include single rooms for the moment is to ensure we have the greater flexibility offered by having double staterooms throughout.”
Before we get to this week’s Blog, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 3rd to the 9th of April.
April 4 1951
Caronia makes her maiden call to Pireaus (Athens)
April 7 1976
QE2 makes her maiden call at Alexandria, Egypt
April 9 2008
Queen Victoria makes her maiden transit of the Suez Canal
This week marked another special occasion on Queen Victoria’s second World Cruise, with a reunion with QE2 in Dubai last Sunday. Although no visitors were permitted on board we all got some great views of her and you could see that there were some people working there and as you can see she still looks stunning. This photo from the sports deck of Queen Victoria shows her in all her glory:
I thought you may like this one as well, that shows the differences in the size of the two ships, with Queen Victoria berthed right behind her older sister.
I spent the day in Dubai with Thomas Quinones who many of you will know as the Social Host on QE2 for many years. It was an emotional day for him and for many crewmembers and guests who have fond memories of QE2 but in chatting to him in his new home on Queen Victoria he is also excited about the future. Thomas has agreed to write a special Guest Blog which I will post in the next couple of weeks.
Dubai is changing and at incredible pace with construction cranes everywhere (although it was evident that things have slowed down recently due to the world economic climate). The Port Authorities are looking at a new terminal building to greet visiting ships as they decided to close the old one to create even more land – literally by importing rock and dredging sand! Seeing is believing, because you could literally spend days looking at the amazing buildings which is probably an architect’s heaven! Since we came here last year the Burj Dubai has officially become the tallest structure ever built.
Construction on the Burj Dubai is expected to be completed later this year and to give you an idea of its size, it is 1,000 feet taller than the previous titleholder; the Taipei 101 in Taiwan. The difference is about the size of the Eiffel Tower (which was the tallest structure in the world when it was built in 1889!). The Burj Dubai, has 160 stories and at a reported 2,600 feet, is taller than two Empire State Buildings stacked together and when completed, it will house 5 million square feet of office space, a 175-room hotel, 900 apartments, four swimming pools and the world’s highest observation deck. Construction began in began in September 2004 and so far more than 10,000 workers have logged more than 29 million hours constructing it. Apparently parts of it are now open to the public, but you do have to book in advance.
Another fascinating building that you’ll recognize as a Dubai Icon, is the world’s first seven star hotel; the Burj Al-Arab with its iconic shape representing the sail of a dhow
You have to book to go inside here as well and they charge just over £50 ($70), not mentioning how much it would cost to dine there. To avoid the entrance charge you could choose to stay here but you may want to check your credit card limit first as I understand rooms range from £2,125 ($3,000) to £20,000 ($28,000) a night, not to mention a special cocktail that can be made for a mere £5,000 ($7,000). Needless to say we carried on exploring and managed to get inside the Atlantis Hotel at the top of the Palm Jumeirah which you may remember opened with a spectacular celebrity party last November.
Again the sheer scale of the project is breathtaking when you imagine that before 2001 this was just ocean. It’s even more incredible when you think this is the first and smallest of three such projects; but there again, that sums up the vision of Dubai.
The day ended as it began with magnificent views of QE2 as we sailed away from this amazing port.
I am now off to host the first Bloggers get together on board Queen Victoria, so I’ll let you know how it goes next week. We’ll also let you know how April the first went on board. Traditionally we have always had a bit of fun with our guests and crew on April fool’s day – so log on next week to see who had the last laugh this year! Cheers for now – Alastair