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Season’s Greetings From Cunard

December 24, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Updates

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 292 days


As Queen Victoria spends her Christmas in the Canaries and Queen Mary 2 celebrates in the Caribbean, we’ve already had snow falls here in Britain. Who knows whether it will stay or not for Christmas, but it has certainly made things very festive as we think of our colleagues in warmer climes. Thank you again for all your comments and to answer the big question regarding Queen Elizabeth and when she will float out; well read on as Peter Shanks mentions it in his message. Before we get to that here’s this week in Cunard’s history, for the week 25 to 31 December:


25 December 1981 QE2 makes her maiden call at Kralendijk, Bonaire

26 December 1949 Caronia makes her maiden call to Ciudad Trujillo (Santo Domingo)

26 December 2003 Queen Mary 2 arrives in Southampton for the first time

27 December 1930 John Brown Yard Manager, Donald Skifflington, hammers first rivet on Queen Mary

28 December 2007 Queen Victoria makes her maiden call at Madeira

30 December 1964 Contract to build QE2 is signed between Cunard and John Brown Shipyard.


As we reflect on this remarkable year for Cunard, it’s a great pleasure to hand over to Peter Shanks for his thoughts on this last year and a look at the one ahead.



Guest Blog – Peter Shanks – President and Managing Director Cunard Line


Happy Christmas


As we look forward to Christmas and the dawn of a new year, it’s good to reflect a little on the past year and what we have to look ahead to in 2010.  The past year has certainly been a tough one for all of us, whether in business or in our personal lives, given the very challenging economic conditions we have seen around the world. First and foremost, all of us at Cunard Line would like to thank our valued guests for travelling with us over the past year. We are fortunate to have a wonderful sense of loyalty amongst our guests. We have also seen a growing number of guests sailing with Cunard Line for the first time in 2009. Almost every sailing has been full during the year and we really appreciate that support.


As you know, we very carefully measure our guest satisfaction on each and every voyage. Through the year our guests have scored their satisfaction at record levels on both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. Over 98% said they would recommend Cunard to a friend and over 97% said they would return to sail with Cunard again in the future. That is terrific and the credit for that must go to the ship’s company. We pride ourselves on our White Star Service – it’s the most special thing we have.  In a Christmas message to all of our staff who work so hard on board our ships I was able to thank each and every one of them for the marvelous “White Star Service” they deliver to our guests, so rest assured their efforts in looking after all of our guests have been, and will continue to be, well recognised.


I hope you have enjoyed reading our Blog during 2009, it’s really starting to take on a life of its own. From my perspective there have been a number of highlights during the year, many of which have been shared on the blog, but in particular I will remember the year for:


·         Queen Mary 2 Around the British Isles Voyage – this was a wonderful way to celebrate the 5th birthday of Queen Mary 2 – without doubt the most famous ship in the world. The welcome we received in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Cobh and Cherbourg was amazing. It reminded all of us of the proud tradition of Cunard Line.  To be on Queen Mary 2, on the Mersey River, alongside the historic Cunard building, in the Royal Court Theatre, with the 73 piece Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performing “You’ll never walk alone” was very Cunard. Queen Victoria will go round Britain in July 2010 on her inaugural lap of honour and I certainly won’t miss that one!


·         My lapel pin – I never thought a lapel pin could mean so much. All of us at Cunard Line wear the White Star Service lapel pin. It is a small piece of metal, but it represents something which is incredibly special both to all of us at Cunard Line and I trust to our guests as well.  Each time I go on the ship, it acts as a point of reference – all of our staff have their pin and wear it proudly, they also recognise the fact that I have my pin on as well. So even to those staff who I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, there is instant recognition that we are all part of something special.


·         So many awards – it’s fine for all of us at Cunard to be proud of the service we deliver to our guests.  However to receive third party recognition is much more powerful as it salutes the holiday experience and service we offer to our guests.  2009 has been a great year for awards including:


-       “Cruise Line of the Year” – British Travel Awards

-       “Best Cruise Line in four out of five categories” – the first ever Zagat awards in North America

-       “Top two ships in the world” – Berlitz Cruise Guide

-       “Top Cruise Line” – Cruise.co.uk guest reviews

-       “Conde Naste Readers’ Travel Award”


Those are only a few but it was terrific in each case to be able to send a very positive message to our ships’ company for what they have achieved.



·         Meeting our Guests – in my first six months as President and Managing Director of Cunard Line I have really enjoyed meeting so many of our guests whilst on board our ships.  That has been a real highlight for me personally as it is always useful to hear just how our guests feel about their experience as well as ideas for future itineraries and areas where we could further innovate and improve in everything that we do.  So thank you for taking the time to share those ideas and I look forward to meeting many more of our guests during 2010, including when I join Queen Mary 2 in New York in June eastbound Transatlantic Crossing.



Looking forward to 2010, it’s going to be a very special year indeed. The highlight of course will be the introduction of Queen Elizabeth in October. There is a real sense of anticipation and excitement building now and we have much to do and much to announce as we go through 2010. Our Blog has become a really useful way of us communicating how the ship is developing and Alastair has been terrific in terms of the photos and video blogs he has been posting.  We will continue with that starting with the Float Out ceremony on 5 January in Trieste. Rest assured we will share all of our exciting news as we go through each month of 2010.  The one for everyone to watch out for will be the launch of the Queen Elizabeth inaugural Summer Season for 2011 which will go on sale in April. We are currently working on her itineraries to ensure they are the best we have ever had, with a range to suit everybody in all of our international markets. 


In the year ahead Queen Victoria also has some exciting new itineraries as she settles down to fly/cruising in the second half of the summer in the Mediterranean and of course her exciting new programme for Winter 10/11 which includes the Caribbean, Panama Canal, West Coast of USA and Hawaii. And with Queen Mary 2 and her historic Transatlantic crossings we really have an awful lot more to offer our guests than ever before.


So thank you for being one of our “bloggers”. We will be launching a new website in the first part of 2010 and we will continue to make sure that our “We are Cunard” blog plays a prominent part.


It gives Alastair, myself and many other colleagues the ability to tell the many exciting and varied stories that come to us on a daily basis at Cunard Line. It is really very special to have a brand with 170 years of heritage and the youngest fleet in the world.


So a very happy Christmas to each and every one of our bloggers and guests and thank you so much for your interest and support of Cunard Line during 2009.


Best wishes too for the year ahead in everything that you do. We hope that one of the highlights of your own year ahead will be a voyage, or two, with Cunard Line – we would love to welcome you back.


Best regards,

Peter Shanks


Thank you Peter, and when you look back, it’s certainly been an amazing year. It just leaves me to add my personal best wishes to everyone for a wonderful Christmas season wherever you are in the world. I’ll be back next Thursday with the 125th and final post of 2009. Cheers Alastair

  1. Beryl Moss says:

    Just to wish you a Very Happy Christmas to you and your family.

  2. Christopher says:

    Hello Alastair, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I am excited to hear about the new Cunard website under construction and the float out of Queen Elizabeth. Will you be there to take some images? Thank you and if you are attending the event, i hope you enjoy it.

  3. Marci Watson says:

    Peter and Alastair:

    I continue to follow the goings-on at Cunard even now that I am far from the Santa Clarita office. I send my best wishes for the newest addition to the Cunard fleet, and will be seeing first-hand how White Star Service has progressed since my last film project in May 2008 onboard QV, as I will be joining her in New York in January along with my mother. We’re excited to be a part of the maiden call in San Francisco. Carry on in the best tradition!

    Marci Watson

  4. Yay Alastair!

    Thanks for keeping us all up to date during 2009 and looking forward to this continuing as we head into 2010.

    Wishing you and all a very Happy New Year!



  5. Hi Peter and Alastair,

    Thank you for your informative blogs over the past year, we really enjoy keeping up to date with all the news. Looking forward to our trip on the Queen Victoria later in the year.

    Best wishes to all at Cunard for the year ahead.

    Richard and Pam

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