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Queen Mary 2

Keeping The Most Famous Funnel In The World Clean

December 17, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Mary 2

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 299 days


It’s all in a day’s work for the Deck Department keeping Queen Mary 2 pristine, but if you have ever wondered how they paint those hard to reach areas of Cunard’s flagship read on for a guest Blog from Peter Shanks. In the meantime I was hoping to have posted more than one Blog this week but upon returning home, my computer decided to give up on me, so while it is being nursed back to life I am grateful to my neighbour Roger, who has kindly lent me his laptop to post this one!


It’s an exciting time on board as both ships prepare for the festive period with Queen Mary 2 celebrating in the Caribbean and Queen Victoria heading back to the Canaries. I’ll be posting some pictures of their festivities over the next couple of weeks.  Also with the countdown to Queen Elizabeth under 300 days I am pleased to tell you we have just received some amazing pictures from the ship yard in Italy, and I’ll be posting them on Tuesday. 


Thank you again for all the comments especially from St Agatha’s School, it was great to hear how much everyone at the school and on board enjoyed the day and the follow up Blog.


Here’s this week in Cunard’s history, for the week 18 to 24 December:



18 December1948 Caronia is commissioned and leaves Glasgow for her run to Southampton

18 December2007 Queen Victoria makes her maiden call at Hamburg

21 December1918 Carmania becomes one of the first ships to be released by the government and makes her peace time sailing

21 December1971 QE2 makes her maiden call at Port Everglades, USA

22 December2003 Queen Mary 2 is handed over to Cunard

23 December1923 Ascania II is launched at the Armstrong Whitworth yard in Newcastle

23 December1968 QE2 completes her sea trials in the Irish Sea



Just before I get to the title of this Blog, I couldn’t let tomorrow go by without mentioning something here. Many of you in the UK will be aware that tomorrow (Friday 18 December) will be Sir Terry Wogan’s last broadcast of what has become the most popular breakfast radio show in Britain with over eight million listeners every morning. To read more about Sir Terry you can follow this link to an interview I did in the summer before he announced he was retiring from the show. Sir Terry Wogan’s interview.


He will be returning to the airwaves in February in his new Sunday show, and he will still be joining guests and TOGs on board Queen Victoria on 14 May 2010. I had the privilege of meeting him on the TOGs Voyage last November and on behalf of us all at Cunard, would like to wish him a well earned rest from the early mornings and of course look forward to seeing him in May.


Under the leadership of the Staff Captain and Marine Supervisor, the Deck Department have the huge task of keeping the outside of our ships in an immaculate condition. This may not seem too complicated until you think about all the areas that includes, from the waterline to the highest point of the funnel and masts. The highest point of Queen Mary 2 is the top of the funnel and at nearly 204 feet above the waterline, painting it is quite a logistical operation.




Here’s Peters Blog:


Guest Blog – Peter Shanks (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line).


Keeping The Most Famous Funnel In The World Clean

After a very busy transatlantic season and some challenging Autumn weather, Queen Mary 2 is now in the Caribbean. I asked our Captain how the weather had impacted our ability to keep the ship looking at her best. He told me not to worry as he had a plan in place with the deck team and he would keep me up to date.

Yesterday he sent me these pictures of our team working hard to clean the most famous funnel in the world.







I thought I would share the fabulous pictures with our bloggers. We often talk of our White Star Service and everything our ship’s company do to look after our guests. Often it is the hotel team who are seen to be delivering the service. However, as these pictures show, it’s every member of the ship’s company that makes the difference. Of course it also means that we will have a beautiful clean Chimney just in time for Father Christmas!


Thank you Peter for your Guest Blog and to Queen Mary 2’s Deck team for these fantastic pictures. If you are wondering how the crew get there, well they actually climb up ladders located on the inside of the funnel itself. They then lower themselves on ropes secured to special points on the inside of the funnel. The ladders to the ships horns are a permanent fixture so that engineers can service them. As many of you will know one of the horns (or Typhons as they are officially known), is on permanent loan from the original Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. It was put aboard QE2 on a Transatlantic crossing from Fort Lauderdale to Southampton where it was taken to St. Nazaire in France to join its new twin. To give you an idea of how big they are; each one is 7 feet long, 3 feet high and weigh in at 1,400 pounds. However you don’t want to be too close to them when they are sounded as they generate a shattering basso profundo blast keyed to low bass A, two octaves below middle C!



Peter will return soon with a special end of year message and speaking of the Deck Department, Queen Victoria recently named their latest Star of the Month as their Deck Storekeeper and you can read more about him tomorrow. Meanwhile I’ll be back on Tuesday with some stunning pictures of Queen Elizabeth’s progress in Italy and a special festive post for next Thursday – Christmas Eve. Cheers Alastair

  1. Christian Reay says:

    Another excellent blog as always and its nice to hear from Queen Mary 2 – it does take a lot of care and commitment to ensure that this stateliest of liners is kept in pristine condition – and as always the Deck department do an exceptional job as do the housekeeping staff – they are a credit to the company.

    In a response to the loudness of Queen Mary 2′s Typhons here is a video clip that I filmed during my first voyage onboard on departure from Cherbourg, France on 13/07/09. Enjoy!


    P.S I would like to wish everyone aboard Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  2. brogan swan says:

    Merry Christmas to all at Cunard. Cunard always take pride in the appearance of their ships, keep up the good work. Im counting down the days/weeks until my QE voyage.

    Have a safe and enjoyable festive season.

  3. Chris Frame says:

    Hi Alistair,

    I wanted to share the following photographs of ‘the other’ most famous funnel in the world being painted aboard QE2 – you can check them out here (taken in Sydney in 2006):


    Enjoying the blog as always. Looking forward to sailing aboard Queen Victoria in 2009.

    All the best,


  4. Dave Meineck says:

    Very interesting article.
    My Wife and I wish all our friends (Family) on board the QM2 & Q,Victoria a Merry Christmas & a Happy & Healthy new year.
    Awaiting our next two trips in 2110.
    Dave & Margaret M.

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