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Ship's Company

Cunard Stars

May 7, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Ship's Company

Welcome to another week and more news from on board. We have held two more Bloggers meetings on board and it’s been fascinating to get your feedback and a special thank you to one guest, who wanted to be known as the original “Kate Middleton” for all her feedback and ideas – please keep them coming. There have been a few comments from guests saying how they love hearing about life on board, and that inspired the topic for this week’s Blog which is about the Cunard “Star of the Month”

But before we get to that here’s what appears to be a popular regular feature; “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week of the 8th to the 14th May:

May 8 1967

In sealed orders opened simultaneously, Cunard tell the Captain and crew of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, that their ships are to be withdrawn

May 9 1975

QE2 makes her maiden call at Bremerhaven, Germany

May 12 1982

Having been refitted, following her requisition by the British Government, QE2 sails to the South Atlantic with 3,000 troops and 650 crew volunteers

May 13 2002

Cunard confirms that QE2 will be removed from transatlantic service in April 2004, and will be deployed on itinerary based voyages out of Southampton. Queen Mary 2 will assume the role of Cunard’s transatlantic carrier.

May 14 2008

Queen Victoria makes maiden call at Valletta

For those of you who have been on our ships, you will have seen all crew members wearing their White Star Pins with this logo on them:

I have mentioned the “White Star Programme” in previous Blogs but briefly, it is Cunard’s guest awareness programme designed to maintain and improve guest satisfaction. The White Star committee on both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria is made up of the ship’s department heads and they meet once a month to decide upon a “Star of the Month”. The committee discusses each candidate who has “gone the extra mile”, and reviews guest and crew “Service Recognition Nominee Cards” and other recommendations from heads of department.

The committee then votes in a secret ballot for their choice of winner and runners up. The name of the winner is kept secret until the monthly White Star awards presentation, where all the candidates are invited to join the White Star Committee and other award winners at a special reception. The excitement builds as the announcement for the “Star of the Month” gets closer, and the winner for this award in April was 27 year old Ryan Latumbo.

If that name sounds familiar, you may remember we featured him on the Blog in March. He was the winner of our on board version of the TV Show “Stars in Their Eyes”. He starred as Jamie Jones and won the competition, (receiving the most votes from our audience of guests); with his rendition of “I Swear” and as a reminder, here he is in action on the night.

Ryan was very shocked to find out he won, so once he had recovered, I had a chat with him about his Cunard Career so far. He told me that he lives at home with his mother and four younger brothers in the “City of Love”, Iloilo in the Philippines. He added “I knew I wanted to go to sea, and then found Cunard on the internet. When my teacher at university said Cunard was the oldest and most successful shipping line, I knew it was for me; I loved the slogan ‘Legendary, Elegant and Memorable’”

Ryan is always incredibly cheerful and articulate and I asked him how he had come to have such a great command of the English language. He says this is because, although he started learning English (the second language in the Phillipines) officially at school at the age of 8, his mother (a midwife) and father (a policeman) were very keen that Ryan and his brothers learned from an early age.

He worked in Pizza Hut in the Philippines as a waiter before going to university. Ryan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Cruise Management at the John B Lacson Maritime Foundation University in the Philippines.

Like his parents he had never been out of his home country until he joined Queen Victoria on November 24th 2007 when the ship was still being finished in the shipyard in Venice. “It’s a day I’ll always remember” says Ryan, “I was prepared for what ship life was about, but as I walked up the gangway for the first time, I felt all my dreams had come true. It may sound strange, but being part of a brand new ship, I felt like a pioneer, something truly special. ”

Ryan is a Bar Utility and currently works as a Bartender in the Officer’s Wardroom but in his limited free time he loves to learn more skills. Currently he is studying a 1 month “Wine and Spirits training course on board with the Chief Sommelier Michael Standen, He is thinking about becoming a Sommelier, but his true love is working behind a bar. He was inspired by the 80’s movie “Cocktail” and he is constantly reading one of his 6 books on cocktails. Here he is, doing what he loves best; mixing a cocktail

Ryan says” I want to stay at sea because it’s my life and I love it” and this has inspired his brothers one of whom is currently working on Queen Mary 2 and another is at Hotel school looking forward to coming to sea as well. About “We Are Cunard” he says, “I am so proud to be working for Cunard; I feel I belong here. It’s a privilege to work for one of the most prestigious companies in the world”

I asked him what his mother felt about him and his brothers coming to sea. “She is very proud of us all and when I became ‘Star of the Month’, she was over the moon for me and so very happy”. I have a feeling this photo will have its pride of place in the Latumbo household.

I asked about his dreams for the future. “I’d love to be Hotel Manager one day, but for now I would love to travel the world and hopefully save up enough to buy a plot of land at home to build a house for my mother and brothers”.

Ryan is such a wonderful example to us all; his passion, dedication and enthusiasm for his job and Cunard is fantastic and certainly makes him a worthy winner of “Star of the Month”. We’ll keep you posted on how he progresses in his career, but of course in the meantime, we wish him all the best for his future which I think will be a great one.

Well this is the last Blog I’ll be writing from on board for a while, as I hand over to Amanda Reid on Queen Victoria and head up the A34 and home. Packing after 4 months at sea is always a challenge but trying to pack a full sized didgeridoo…well that’s another matter!

So that’s it for another week but we’ll be back soon with more news, interviews and some guest Blogs as well as updates on Queen Elizabeth. Thank you again for logging and please keep those comments and questions coming in. Cheers Alastair

  1. Benedict Montgomery says:

    I was on Queen Victoria last May when she had her maiden call in Valletta, I miss QV so much im only 14 but I miss it and Also I like the white star program as it gives the employees something to be extra proud of. I love cunard and yes Cunard is the best!

  2. Hi Alistair,

    Tammy and I were pleased to have met you in person in the Golden Lion on Queen Victoria this week. If you want a copy of the photo, let me know. I’m also informed that you were quite good at Karaoke that night!

    Have a good break and we look forward to meeting you onboard again in the future.

    Christian Holliday

  3. Kate Middleton says:

    Hi Alastair…greetings from the original Kate Middleton..Have so enjoyed my introduction to the `Blog`.. it makes good reading… and I`ve already diary dated for the next episode..think its a realy good idea for you to get our there as the new Queen Elizabeth develops and take some real time photos on our behalf..there is nothing like the real thing!enough of artists impressions…In the meantime Iam pursuing the Burma Road and the naming of ships as promised.. Hope you had a good break..and got you land legs back quickly.. regards. Kate

  4. Julia Holliday says:

    Alastair Hi,

    My recent trip on the Queen Victoria “The Spring Adventure” was amazing,the staff were fantastic, the food was fabulous especially the minature cakes for afternoon tea.The cabins were gorgeous and the ships interior decor can only be descibed as a Palace on sea.The friendly atmoshere on board was the best and I cant wait to sail the sea with you all again.


  5. jim winkley says:

    we have been on 4 cunard cruises,all 4 have been enjoyable but all the 15 we have done have been enjoyable.we are not cunard devotees however.we thought the QE2 was shabby on our first visit but it was much nicer when we were on its last world cruise.We enjoyed the Queen Victoria much more than the Queen Mary which we sailed on from Dubai to Southampton this year.They are both lovely ships but there are aspects of life on cunard that we do not appreciate.
    as we generally speaking like americans we probably prefer Princess ships but where a ship is going is the decisive factor in our decision making.

  6. Bob Strunz says:

    Hi Alistair,

    I requested that my son (8 years of age) be allowed to visit the Bridge of the QM 2 and possibly the engine room. Customer service got back to me and said :

    “I regret that for security reasons, we have had to suspend all visits to non passenger areas such as the Engine Room or the Bridge, for the foreseeable future”.

    Thats just nasty, not the Cunard Line Service that one would expect. Rules are for fools and a guide to wise men and women. I am very surprised, I can’t imagine that too many of the Nintendo generation would make such a request and they should be encouraged.

  7. katia white says:

    hi alistair

    i think the white star service is a great opportunity for staff to shine on the cruise and make everyone happy and enjoy themselves. as we get to choose the staff, it makes it harder whether to let staff win or not because if we choose and we don’t get that person we want to win, it would unfair.

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