April 9, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Updates
Welcome to this week’s Blog which features a special report from Queen Mary 2 as she arrives in Southampton on the 8th April, marking the end of her second World Cruise. Actually that’s not entirely true as some of her American guests will be taking Queen Mary 2’s first transatlantic crossing of the season, to complete their World Cruise in New York. Meanwhile thank you for all the comments; it’s been great to read so many this week and lovely to hear from those of you who have sailed with me recently. Thank you David Cunard, for the question regarding Queen Elizabeth’s record breaking 29 minute maiden voyage sell out. As you can imagine these events are choreographed carefully so that both sides of the Atlantic go on sale at the same time, this way everyone has the same opportunity.
Before we get to this week’s guest Blog, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 10th to the 16th of April.
April 14 1999
On 14 April a lunch is held on board QE2 in Southampton to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the ship’s maiden transatlantic crossing (2 – 7 May 1969).
April 15 2006
Queen Mary 2 docks at the Brooklyn Terminal in New York for the first time, marking the opening of the new terminal.
April 16 1982
QE2 makes her maiden call at Arrecife, Lanzarote
April 16 2004
Queen Mary 2 departs Southampton on her first Transatlantic Crossing to New York.
As Queen Mary 2 arrived in Southampton yesterday it seemed the perfect opportunity to look back at her second World Cruise. The Social Hostess on board Queen Mary 2, Jennifer Schaper, was kind enough to be a guest Blogger and she has done an amazing job in being able to condense the incredible circumnavigation in one Blog. Before we get to that here’s a bit about Jennifer who I am sure many of you will know: –
For Jennifer Schaper, going to sea has become somewhat of a family tradition. Her family often needed to cross the Atlantic and thanks to her aunt, who worked for Cunard for many years, they were able to do this on Queen Elizabeth 2 frequently.
Born in the historical city of Mainz, Germany, she moved to the USA with her family at the age of 5, living in New Jersey and Vermont. After three years the family moved back to Germany and both Jennifer and her older sister Kristina continued their education at German schools. With an American mother and a German father, both she and her sister were brought up bilingual, and went to both German and American schools. After acquiring her high school diploma, Jennifer went to the University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, Germany and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Media Production in July 2006.
Jennifer’s sister started working on Queen Elizabeth 2 and then Queen Mary 2 and even her mother has worked on both Queens. During Jennifer’s studies she occasionally worked on both ships as Librarian in her semester breaks, Jennifer followed in her sister’s footsteps as the Programme Coordinator and Entertainment Administrative Assistant onboard Queen Mary 2 in October 2006 and was promoted to her current position of Social Hostess in 2007. When on leave she travels a lot, visiting family and friends in Germany, Seattle and New York City.
So now you know Jennifer, here’s her Blog.
Jennifer Schaper – Queen Mary 2 Social Hostess – Guest Blog
Queen Mary 2 embarked on her second ever world cruise this year on January 13th in Fort Lauderdale after a friendly reunion with Queen Victoria, and 300 of our guests came all the way around the world with us.
We may not fit through the Panama Canal (yet!), but in a way that actually benefits us because it forces us around the fascinating continent of South America. So after a brief visit to the Caribbean, we were able to marvel at the Corcovado, Sugar Loaf Mountain and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, stock up on plenty of leather handbags and coats in Montevideo, and watch in awe as we passed Cape Horn and follow along the Beagle Channel. On the western side of the continent we were able to enjoy Santiago, follow the Inca trail in Lima and relax on the beach in Acapulco. This was longest leg of our world cruise and we were sad to see so many of our guests leave in Los Angeles after nearly one month.
In Los Angeles we welcomed new guests for our second leg with a South Pacific flavour. Our first stop on the way to Sydney was Honolulu, a favourite for many. Understandably so, for who can resist the allure of beautiful Waikiki Beach, the historic Aloha Tower or even just the expansive shopping opportunities this great port has to offer. Three days later we found ourselves in a very different place – Pago Pago in American Samoa, a great port for relaxing on the beach or just strolling and admiring this lush green island while slurping on some coconut milk. The next day, well…never happened! We lost a whole day as we crossed the dateline and so only two days after Pago Pago we were in the exciting city of Auckland. Here, many went to see the film sets from “Lord of the Rings”, others went shopping or to the top of the sky tower. In the evening there was plenty of time for a meal at one of the many fantastic restaurants. During this leg of our world cruise, the terrible fires in Australia were ruining many lives, directly affecting some of our guests. To support the Australian Red Cross as they help those in need, on February 18th, we auctioned off many exclusive items, including the Commodore’s epaulettes, bridge visits and much more.There were many fantastic donations from our guests and Carol Marlow, Managing Director and President of Cunard, offered the grand prize in a raffle from which she drew the winner personally on February 24th – a stateroom on a transatlantic voyage of the winner’s choice! Altogether we raised USD $60,488! In Sydney we said good-bye to many guests that had become friends during our inspiring second leg.
For our world cruisers, Sydney was a very special port because this is where we had our world cruise dinner. And what a beautiful event it was in such a great city! We all enjoyed the beautifully decorated ballroom, the Aboriginal entertainment, the wonderful dinner and the dance music afterwards.
On our third leg we visited exciting Asian ports on our way to Dubai, including Yokohama – our first call ever in Japan. This is where everybody realised that they had forgotten it was still winter in the northern hemisphere! This was a great chance to see Tokyo or have some real Japanese sushi. Next was Hong Kong – the shopping capital of the world, and that’s exactly what most people did! After two days at sea we reached Laem Chabang, the port for Bangkok, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, although many went to the beach in Pattaya. In Singapore there was plenty to see, do and buy in this modern city, followed by Cochin where we got a taste of India with many of us looking forward to returning to this fascinating country.
Dubai was our next embarkation port and one of the fastest growing cities in the world so this day our guests found out that this truly is a city of superlatives. Two days later, in Salalah, many of our guests went on the ‘Frankincense Trail’ or enjoyed a relaxing lunch in the sun and the afternoon on the beach. After leaving Oman, we headed towards the Suez Canal, but just before we entered it we stopped in Sukhna, Egypt. Only two hours from Cairo, this was our stop for the amazing Pyramids of Gizawhere 1600 guests went to see the last remaining of the seven wonders of the old world and came back with plenty of souvenirs, especially the popular gold cartouches. The next day we spent heading north through the Suez Canal which was a very interesting day for all. Our following two ports allowed us to directly compare the two capitals of the old world, Athens and Rome. These amazing cities are like living museums, where you learn so much just by strolling amongst the ruins. These great cities were followed by the ritzy city of Cannes and multi-faceted Barcelona after that.
The fourth leg of our world cruise saw some more successful charity events. The crew performed for our guests in a show we called “Stars in Your Eyes”. Six contestants performed as famous singers and the guests voted for their favourite. Congratulations to ‘The Zone’ Supervisor Marion, our very own Charlotte Church! And on the 4th of April we had our traditional World Cruise Charity Fair – A fun event for guests and crew. Many of our guests volunteered and worked hard, making posters and using their creative minds to make this event a big success, raising a total of USD $8533.96. Our last port of call before Southampton was Cherbourg where we said good bye to some of our full world cruisers.
Finally, after 90 days, we reached Southampton, the end of our voyage around the world although we do have 121 guests who will stay with us until New York.
The last three months have certainly been fascinating, we have seen and learned a lot. Many of us were able to fulfill lifelong dreams of seeing world renowned sights we have heard so much about since childhood. This was my first time around the world and I’m now looking forward to the next World Cruise in 2010!
Thank you very much Jennifer for your Blog, it’s always great to hear from our big sister! That’s it for now but I’ll be back in a few days time with some news on Queen Victoria’s call to Jordan and her second Transit of the Suez Canal. Cheers for now – Alastair