White Star Service logo

Queen Mary 2

Looking Back On A Splendid Voyage……………………

October 27, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Mary 2

Here as promised is the final instalment of Peter Shanks’ reports from Queen Mary 2 having just completed her historic round Britain voyage. So it’s back over to Peter:  

 

Thank you so much for the positive comments on my Queen Mary 2 Around The British Isles Blog. I last updated you as we left Liverpool on our way to Cobh in Southern Ireland – a famous port near Cork and a stop-off point for many famous liners over many years.

Our arrival into Cobh was beautiful – sailing past the lighthouse into the natural harbour entrance and coming nicely alongside despite a lively 25knot wind. After all the buzz and excitement of Liverpool our guests were looking forward to a restful day seeing all that Ireland has to offer. The welcome was indeed an Irish one – they are such a friendly bunch. There is a very impressive museum at the port which brings back all the history of the many liners that have called there, including The Titanic, they used to stop briefly in the bay whilst on their way to New York. The history and heritage of the Irish leaving their shores to find a new life in North America is fascinating and I always think of that when in New York which has such a wonderful link to Ireland even today.

But we had a different job to do in Cobh today – more of a time for reflection of the past and the part that The Lusitania played both for Cunard, for Ireland and literally for the free world, as her sinking played a major role in the course of the First World War. In 1915, 1198 lives were lost just off Cobh with the sinking of Lusitania by a German U-Bout submarine. We had decided it would be only fitting and appropriate if on behalf of Cunard, Commodore Warner and I were to lay wreaths at the Lusitania Memorial in the town.

As we walked down to the town, we were not sure what to expect. I had in mind a small gathering, a few onlookers and a small memorial. When we turned the corner into the town square I was stunned. In front of us were hundreds of local people, old soldiers lined up proudly wearing their service medals and bearing flags from their regiments. As we arrived, the crowd went silent and we stood before the magnificent and very moving memorial to those that perished on The Lusitania. We were each handed a beautiful floral wreath and then one by one called forward to lay our wreath at the base of the memorial. I was taken a back – I had not considered the heavy responsibility of the moment and both the Commodore and I found it very moving indeed. Once we had laid the wreaths it was time for the local Reverend Father to say a few words of prayer. As he opened his mouth the heavens literally opened and we stood there getting soaked – you know that made it all the more poignant. This was then followed by a warm round of applause. I was so pleased we were able to pay our respects and decided on the spot that we would repeat this in July next year when Queen Victoria makes her maiden call to Cobh.

 

Then we invited the local dignitaries back to Queen Mary 2 for a White Star Afternoon Tea and they certainly enjoyed the hospitality.

Each of the ports of call has been very special on this Around The British Isles Voyage – but you have to award the ‘friendly warm welcome’ prize to the Irish. I did say that the only way we could improve the call next year would be to stop for a pint of Irish Murphy’s at the pub on the way back to the ship.

I left the ship late that afternoon to fly back to the office. The ship continued with a marvellous call to see our good friends in Cherbourg before returning home to Southampton. As I sat waiting for my flight I could not help reflecting on the many special and incredible events all of us – guests and staff – had witnessed during the voyage. The feedback from our guests was some of the best we have had this year so I am pleased we were able to make the voyage so special. It also proved as a timely reminder for me that Queen Mary 2 really is very special indeed – she is of course now the most famous ocean liner in the world and deservedly so.

But the last line has to go to the 1,250 members of the ship’s company for this very special voyage. Over the five days I had spent on the ship, I was able to see the effort and the pride that each member of the ship’s company puts into looking after our guests. Fireworks , Opera Singers , Command Performances, Concerts, The Beatles , Special Welcomes , Historic Moments – yes they were pretty cool – but the staff on board Queen Mary 2 are my heroes every time.

Next year Queen Victoria will go on her Maiden Around The British Isles Voyage on the 22nd July – not one to be missed and I look forward to seeing you on board.

Best Regards

Peter Shanks

President and Managing Director

Cunard Line

Thank you again to Peter for another great post and I know all of us on Queen Victoria are looking forward to what will be a truly remarkable voyage. Meanwhile I’ll be back tomorrow with the regular weekly Blog featuring one of those Queen Mary 2 Stars. Cheers Alastair

.
  1. Steve says:

    Honestly…who thought it would be in good taste to do something like this? Since when is a memorial a good photo op? Very tacky..very poor taste.

  2. Dave Meineck says:

    Thanks Peter, a very good report on our QM2 trip, you missed a lot out, but i suppose you can not mention all that what went on. Even Sir Jimmy Saville enjoyed the trip. Very good Lectures on board, very good entertainment, and having our own last night of the proms was great, full house on both sessions, (the passengers from the USA were a bit taken aback when we stated waving our union flags and singing out very loud.) Clydeport issued a very special newspaper ref our visit including photos of the last cunard ship to berth, ie QE2 on her farewell visit last year. Thanks to all the crew and officers on board.

  3. PHILIP STEVENS says:

    “Steve” sounds frightfully steerage.It’s not about “photo ops” but honoring the souls that perished in this dastardly,impactive event in 1915. Thank you,Cunard,for your dignity in participating in this touching ceremony in such a moving way.

  4. Kenneth Kane says:

    Obviously Steve has a ‘unique’ appreciation of what is tasteful or not in his eyes. I totally found the wreath laying and photo op to be fitting and moving. This event might have been anywhere we honor those who perished at sea during wartime or tragically like those aboard the TITANIC.

    Steve, move on to other photo ops that YOU find in good taste. I’ll follow the Commodore anywhere!

  5. Jeff Towns says:

    This was yet another fabulous voyage. I was able to relax on the transatlantic crossing after 8 exciting days and many maiden ports of call for the Queen Mary 2 and me as well, and arrive in New York with splendid weather and just in time for the New York City marathon. The trip Around the British Isles was one of the best trips I have had with Cunard (and there have been many), and it was hard to top the last Voyage of the QE2 to Dubai last year, but I think that the Cunard team on the ship and ashore did accomplish just that. I am on the maiden voyage of Queen Elizabeth next year, but had so much fun that I will have to book something else before then, as I cannot wait to get back onboard and relax. The Canyon Ranch Spa was a little bit of heaven in the middle of the North Atlantic. To the ship’s company: thank you for another grand adventure.

  6. Lady Vivien Kinch-Jameson says:

    Personally I found nothing tacky about ANY aspect of the cruise and all that it entailed. BUT this was a personal view which should be respected. A fabulous event and congratulations to all involved.e

  7. PHILIP WINSTON STEVENS says:

    I disagree with Lady Vivien that any “personal view should be respected”.One needs tolerance but not at the expense of discernment.The probability that “Steve” was actually on this cruise is about zero.He probably can’t even afford the bus fare to the park bench.

  8. david archer says:

    I travelled on this wonderful voyage, it truely was a very memorable 8 days and nights. The wonderful sail up my native Yorkshire Coast started the ball rolling, and to view the coast of Britain from such a magnificent ship as the QM2 is something i will always remember.The welcomes and farewells we received at each port was special, the concerts onboard, the service , the wonderful crew members and the ship its self- fantastic.

    I stood and watched the memorial service at Cobh, its was very moving and i would like to congratulate Cunard on undertaking this,its vital that we do not forget the horrors of war, and if you had have been there at the time you would be left in no impression was this “a photo opportunity”- Well done to all involved for a very moving and memorable ceromony that honoured the tragic lives lost back in 1915

Leave a Comment