August 27, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
Welcome to another Blog, and as always thank you for all your comments and questions. I’m looking forward to meeting quite a few of you on Queen Victoria when I return for my next contract on 2 September. In the meantime I know I promised the video interviews with Sir Terry Wogan and our new Managing Director and President, Peter Shanks. Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about them; we are still working on the Sir Terry interview, which is on it’s way, and the interview with Peter Shanks will be posted at the beginning of next week.
Before we get to the celebrations on Queen Mary 2, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week, 28 August to the 3 September:
August 29 2002
QE2 completes five million nautical miles – a world record and a world first
September 1 2007
Queen Victoria begins her second set of sea trials
September 2 1994
QE2 makes her maiden call at Waterford, Ireland
September 2 2008
Queen Victoria makes her maiden call at Izmir, Turkey
Many of you will know John Maxtone-Graham as one of the world’s most articulate maritime historians. He is as knowledgeable as he is entertaining and has enjoyed a long relationship with many Cunard Line ships. Amongst his numerous best-selling books that serve to preserve the legacy and history of ocean liners and maritime heritage, he has written three Cunard histories over the years as well as a stunning book about Queen Mary 2. In 2007, he became one of only five recipients awarded the Silver Riband, a rare honour bestowed on those who have dedicated themselves to this worthy endeavor.
Above all, Maxtone-Graham is and always has been a dedicated guest with a passionate interest in the great liners. He and his wife Mary spend about seven months a year at sea sailing all over the world. The last time I sailed with John on Queen Victoria I saw his latest presentation which celebrated Cunard’s fifth Queen. He gave his audience a retrospective glance back at the maiden voyages of four predecessor Queens and the present fifth, together with a fond recall of Queen Victoria’s reign. I’m sure many of you who have enjoyed his lectures will remember his finale where he is joined Mary in an hilarious programme of skits and stories, sub-titled: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Passengers but Were Too Polite to Inquire”.
30 July was quite a festive day on board our flagship, Queen Mary 2 as not only did she welcome guests from the prestigious James Beard Foundation, (more on that in a future Blog), the ship also played a major role in celebrating John Maxtone-Graham’s 80th birthday while the ship was in New York.
Surrounded by family and close friends, Maxtone-Graham received congratulatory sentiments from Cunard’s new Managing Director and President Peter Shanks in a letter read out during the special luncheon event. “We at Cunard find it most fitting to fete you aboard the world’s grandest ocean liner as you have diligently and passionately kept alive the history and legacy of ocean travel throughout the years. Your invaluable contributions enrich all of us who work in the cruise industry, and we are grateful for the unique and prominent place you hold in the maritime arena,” Shanks wrote. “Over the years we have been proud to have you witness many of our famous events and ship namings. It is appropriate that today Cunard Line is equally proud to be at such a celebratory occasion of yours,” he added.
Many of you will know Bill Miller, who is a very well known maritime author and a frequent lecturer aboard our ships. You can see an article Bill wrote about QE2’s farewell sailing from New York, on this Blog in the 18 December 2008 posting. Here he is with Maxtone-Graham having proposed a toast to his fellow maritime aficionado
Maxtone-Graham sailed and lectured aboard Queen Mary 2, on her Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton and here he is pictured just before sailaway.
In my last week at home I’ll be preparing to return to Queen Victoria and will be having lunch with Maureen Ryan, who I know many of you will remember, and she will be writing a guest Blog with some wonderful pictures and this will be posted next Thursday. And as for the other articles I have promised – they are on the way too!
Cheers for now. Alastair