October 20, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
This is a truly a very special Blog as it marks the 100th posting as Queen Mary 2 makes an historic Around The British Isles Voyage. Before I pass over to Peter Shanks (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line), I would like to say a big thank you for everyone’s support over the last 100 postings, including Richard, Matt and Shelley, but most of all to you for logging on and sharing your comments; here’s to the next 100! Now it’s a great pleasure to pass over to Peter on Queen Mary 2
I write this from Queen Mary 2. We are just leaving Greenock, with many thousands of people waving goodbye to what has been a spectacular day. Just twenty minutes ago – I pushed the hallowed red button on the bridge to sound our famous whistle and that in turn triggered an awesome firework display to celebrate the occasion. As we left – we heard the sounds of thousands of people singing ‘Happy Birthday’ from the shore – a very emotional, spontaneous and fitting tribute from the people of Scotland celebrating the 5th Birthday of the finest ocean liner in the world.
Today – Queen Mary 2 sailed up the Clyde towards Glasgow for the very first time. Over 120 Cunarders were built in this part of Scotland – including Lusitania, Aquitania, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, QE2 and our first ever ship Britannia over 170 years ago this year. We were all bursting with pride – our crew, our guests – all of us making history together as the largest ship ever to sail up the Clyde. And yes – we were welcomed by Scottish Pipers.
It was also a special moment for me personally as I am a proud Scotsman myself – born in Glasgow. Our lap of honour started in Southampton and over the last few days we have experienced;
· A voyage up the East Coast of England coming close to some famous towns and beaches as we did so. We said a warm hello to Whitby, to Scarborough and Sunderland. You know the coast of the UK is actually very beautiful and the sun shone.
· As we came into Whitby – Commodore sounded the ship’s whistle in tribute to a friend of his who sadly passed away earlier this year and who had been very active in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution – it is really marvellous when Cunard can play a small and humble part in recognition of things like this.
· The day in Edinburgh was indeed spectacular with the ship anchored just off the famous bridge – a wonderful sight.
· We travelled right around the top of Scotland yesterday, through the Pentland Firth, past Scapa Flow, past Old Man of Hoy – this coastline is rarely seen and to see it all the way round was a real treat for all of our guests.
· Lesley Garret – a delightful and famous British opera singer, performed two concerts to a packed Royal Court Theatre
· I was able to deliver a presentation to guests on the forthcoming Queen Elizabeth to a packed theatre. The response was very warm and there is a real sense of anticipation for our next Liner.
On board we have 2,600 guests of which over 1,500 are our very loyal and valued Cunard World Club Members. Last night in the Queens Room we were able to thank them for their valued support – it was a real pleasure for us all to see so many familiar faces. I was also able to ask them in turn to give a warm round of applause for the people who lie behind the success of everything we do at Cunard Line – our valued ship’s company.
Well – that is all for now. Tomorrow is the big day – we take Queen Mary 2 up the Mersey into Liverpool for the very first time. As though today on the Clyde was not exciting enough – to take Queen Mary 2 to Liverpool, where Cunard Line was founded 170 years ago should be very special indeed. I will of course let you know how we get on. We will also post some of the marvellous pictures of events over the next few days.
I just wanted to share with you the excitement and pride of today. More to come tomorrow I am sure. Since I started writing this – I have heard our ship’s whistle sound 9 more times – with the last one being to say goodbye to the famous Waverley Steamship as she escorted us back down the Clyde – packed with what I hope are hundreds of very happy Scots. We certainly made our mark today……………………….. Thank you Scotland – we will be back!
Best Regards – Peter Shanks
President and Managing Director – Cunard Line
Thank you Peter, this sounds like an amazing voyage so we look forward to hearing more from you soon. In the meantime I’ll be back on Thursday with the interview with Sir Terry Wogan. Cheers – Alastair