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opened simultaneously, Cunard tell the Captain and crew of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, that their ships are to be withdrawn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