December 10, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 306 days
We always enjoy showing off our Queens and there is always a huge amount of interest from the residents of the ports we visit. Recently on Queen Mary 2, the Officers and crew were delighted to host a very special group of youngsters. Before we get to that special guest Blog, thank you again for all the great comments; I know I say that virtually every post but it really makes a difference hearing from readers and having the opportunity to respond to your comments and questions. Talking of which; thanks Jeff for your message, I know many others will feel the same about our friends and colleagues who were affected by the floods in the Philippines. We don’t have a specific charity for this purpose; however in talking to crew on board and our head office in Southampton, we suggest that if anyone wishes to donate something, perhaps the International Red Cross would be a suitable organisation, as they do such an amazing job all over the world where such disasters strike.
Meanwhile back on board, Queen Mary 2 is continuing her Caribbean season and Queen Victoria is celebrating the festive season with a voyage to the Christmas markets in Norway, Germany, Holland and Belgium. Although I am writing this from Queen Victoria, I will be disembarking this afternoon and heading back up to Wiltshire where I’ll be until January 12th, when I rejoin Queen Victoria in New York. Amanda Reid will be taking over from me again while I’m away, but fear not I’ll be staying in touch with my colleagues on both ships over the next five weeks, so I’ll still be posting lots of Blogs. So on to this week in Cunard’s history, for the week 11th to the 17th of December:
December 11 2007
Queen Victoria begins her Maiden 10 day voyage to the Germany and Norway
December 12 1946
The Media is launched at John Brown Shipyard at Clydebank and becomes the first new passenger ship on the Atlantic after the war.
December 14 1954
Ivernia II is launched and goes in to service on the Canadian run a year later
December 14 1955
Carinthia III is launched at John Brown Yard at Clydebank, and along with the Sylvania II they are the last liners to be built purely for the North Atlantic market. She becomes the last ship doing the Canadian route.
December 17 1970
QE2 makes her maiden call at Castries, St Lucia.
On Queen Mary 2’s recent round Britain voyage, Cunard received an interesting request from St Agatha’s School in Glasgow. It transpired that the children are writing a project on White Star Line and they had requested to come on board to see what a real liner actually looked like. Our White Star Academy Trainer Rishi Chadha takes up the story:
Guest Blog – Rishi Chadha – White Star Academy Trainer – Queen Mary 2
“I met all 22 children and 3 teachers in the terminal who were eagerly but patiently waiting to come on board, in a neat straight line.
All of them were totally amazed to see Queen Mary 2 close up as the biggest ocean liner. The children started taking pictures and were so excited to climb up the gangway, greeting our delighted guests with huge smiles. The children were really very attentive and very anxious to know all about Cunard and its history in their brief visit.”
The children walked down the Burma Road (the name Cunard uses for the main crew working alleyway on deck one), to see some of the crew areas, getting a brief taste of life as a crew member on board. Rishi said that everyone on board was impressed by the children’s nautical knowledge as they were familiar with words such as deck, forward , aft and the galley.
As they walked around the ship they met many of the ships company including Commodore Warner, John Duffy (Hotel Manager), Ronnie Kier (Chief Engineer) and were delighted to be able to meet Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks.
Peter spent quite some time with the children sharing his experiences with them. He also asked them if they could find Homer Simpson on the massive piece of bronze artwork between the Britannia Restaurant and the Grand Lobby. All the children got very excited and ran to see if they could solve the mystery. It was only a few seconds before some of them screamed “I found it. I found it”
As part of our on board safety culture, our ships hold regular crew drills, to exercise the crew in their emergency duties and the children found it really exciting to see all the crew in their life jackets performing their safety duties . Rishi explained the reason for the frequent drills and importance of safety on board
As they continued their tour, Rishi continues the story; “During our tour, I told the children that in another few seconds they would be in the biggest ballroom at sea, called the Queens Room. All of them started a loud countdown to a big round of applause from passing guests. When we entered the magnificent room and the sheer expanse as well as standing on the biggest dance floor at sea made them feel like stars.
Then they met Tracy Jessop, (Director for Hotel Operations), who welcomed them again and told them briefly about the ship’s operation and Cunard’s history. She asked the children if any of them might like to work or sail on Queen Mary 2 one day, to which many of them screamed: “I’d love to”.
In the Britannia Restaurant they were shown the Commodore’s table and met Mark Oldroyd (Executive Sous Chef) who told them about the galley’s operation.
They asked how many meals were prepared in a day and when Mark told them it was around 16,000, they were totally amazed saying “Wow…”
Then it was the time to visit the Bridge, where they met Jonathan Ward (Senior Watch Keeper). Known to everyone as Johnny, he gave them a detailed tour of the Bridge and each of them were given the opportunity to wear Johnny’s cap and have their picture taken, while pretending to drive the ship.
Before they left the Bridge there was just time for one more photo opportunity.
By this time the children were bit hungry, so Rishi took them to the ConneXions meeting rooms where they enjoyed fresh warm assorted biscuits from the ship’s bakery and a selection of juices. It wasn’t long before everything had disappeared. The tour then continued, as the children were taken to the White Star Academy training room, where Rishi talked more about his job as the White Star Trainer.
He explained about the different training that is conducted on board, for all our crew and officers, for their personal and professional development. Rishi said “The children were happy to see that it wasn’t only them who have to study!”
As the children left they were extremely appreciative of their day out, with comments like “It’s like a dream come true” and “This was incredible; thank you all so much”. Rishi thinks we may have some future Cunarders in the making, with a few candidates for the positions of Entertainer, Dancer, Navigation Officer, Chef and quite a few looking to the top position of all, Captain. The teachers said they would love to come back on board Queen Mary 2, but as guests rather than for work.
A couple of days later Rishi received a wonderful message of thanks from the school which read “Thank you to the Captain, Staff, Crew and Passengers for a wonderful day on board Queen Mary 2. Wishing you all a safe and pleasant voyage! From Primary 5/6 at St Agatha’s Primary School” They also sent this photo which is displayed prominently in the White Star Academy Training room as a memento of the day.
Thanks to Rishi for sharing this great story; who knows if in a few years time one of these youngsters will return to Queen Mary 2, but as crew and see their picture on the wall. Meanwhile I’ll be back on Monday and we’ll be celebrating Queen Victoria’s latest “Star of The Month”.