October 29, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
Among the many celebrations on Queen Mary 2’s Around The British Isles Voyage, was the naming of the latest Star of the month. This is always a prestigious occasion where crew members are recognized for their outstanding White Star Service. This month Queen Mary 2’s winner was a member of the housekeeping department, who do such an amazing job looking after guest staterooms and the public areas of the ship. Before we get to that I’d like to thank you again for all the comments that we keep getting. We have been receiving more than ever, so please do keep them coming. Queen Mary 2 is on her way across to New York while Queen Victoria heads back to the sunshine of the Mediterranean and Queen Elizabeth – well she’s growing fast in Italy! I’ll be heading back there in a couple of weeks and can’t wait to see her progress and share that with you along with new pictures and video.
Now it’s time for this week in Cunard’s history for the week 30 October to 5 November
Andania II is launched
Queen Mary 2 undertakes her second set of sea trials and achieves a speed of 30 knots.
QE2 makes her maiden call at Luanda, Angola
QE2 becomes longest serving Cunard Express Liner surpassing RMS’s Aquitania’s 35 Years 6 months 1 day (1914 – 1949) by 2 days
As regular readers will know, we like to feature a “Star of the Month” from either Queen Mary 2 or Queen Victoria, each month. The title is awarded to just one crew member per ship each month as a result of guest and crew feedback and then consideration by our on board White Star Committee. The “Star of the Month”, also has their photo displayed prominently in the Grand Lobby for guests to see and it’s now a great pleasure to talk to Queen Mary 2’s latest star; Raul Dematera who leads the crew Housekeeping team.
His official title is Crew Housekeeping No.1, and he is responsible for a team of 16 staff, who between them ensure the highest standards of cleanliness in all the crew areas.
Raul is from the Philippines in the province of Sebu, in a city called Mandaue. He has a small knit family which consists of his wife Joseline, his son David as well as his mother in law.
He started his career at sea in 1992, with our sister company The Yachts of Seabourn. His first job on board was as a Picolo No.1 in the housekeeping department. Although the department is structured differently these days, they used to assist the bedroom stewards by cleaning and setting up the pantries, as well as collecting all the linen for the bedroom stewards. After fourteen years with The Yachts of Seabourn he decided to join Cunard, and joined the opening team of Queen Mary 2 in 2004. He began working as a utility in the crew housekeeping team and has worked his way up to Crew Housekeeping No.1.
He reports to Jose Afonso, the Crew Housekeeper, and he told me that they have been working together for the last twelve years. Here he is receiving his award with (from left to right) Hotel Manager, David Stephenson, Executive Housekeeper, Colin Watson, Jose Afonso and Commodore Warner.
As you can imagine Raul has a busy day which begins at 7.30am in the morning with a meeting with all the crew housekeeping team to discuss the work of the day, which he then allocates accordingly. Queen Mary 2 has very large crew areas so this keeps them occupied for most of the day and into the evening although they get a few hours break at lunchtime.
Raul and his team are particularly busy during embarkation and disembarkation as they are also involved with guests’ luggage. Raul has also been trained to use one of the ship’s forklift trucks (yes we do use them on board!), and helps move luggage cages and stores on embarkation days. He also helps out in the Crew Office (the equivalent of the Purser’s Office for the crew), helping new crew members to settle in.
During the voyage he and his team get involved in many of the crew events by decorating the venues. This doesn’t leave that much free time, but when he does get time off on sea days Raul likes to relax and watch movies and call home to speak to his family. On port days he likes to go out for a walk to get some fresh air; as he says “so I get to feel what it’s like to walk on land again!”
Raul is very proud to be working for Cunard and on Queen Mary 2 and says “We are Cunard means one big happy family to me. All 1240 crew members are like my brothers and sisters whom I love and look forward to seeing each and every day. I work in the back of the house but my mission is to support all those who work in the front of the house so they can give the best White Star Service to each and every Guest on board Queen Mary 2.”
When Raul is at home he loves to play basketball with his son and understandably likes to spend as much time as possible with his family. In fact he has already sent the winnings, from being awarded “Star of the Month”, to his wife to put towards his son David’s education.
As for the future Raul says “I am looking forward to seeing my son growing up and getting settled in life. Also I wish to work on the new Queen Elizabeth; that really would be a dream come true”. Raul also added “I would like to thank my team and all the crew members on board for all their help and support they have given and shared with me. Salamat – Thank you”
Thank you Raul for taking the time to talk to us and again our congratulations; the award sounds very well deserved. That’s it for another week but I’ll be back on Monday with a very special Guest Blog and of course more news from the fleet. Thanks again for logging on. Cheers for now – Alastair