January 19, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
Amongst all the excitement of looking forward to our new Queen joining the fleet in October, our two other Queens had a busy and exciting festive season, before preparing for their 2010 World Voyages. So in this Blog I’d like to take you back a few weeks as celebrating the festive season on a Cunard ship is always very special for guests and crew alike. While I was at home, I was very grateful to Queen Mary 2 for sending me a special Blog, capturing the festive atmosphere of the season.
Guest Blog, Freda Singleton – Queen Mary 2
20 December saw an interesting start to Queen Mary 2’s festive celebrations with Cunard’s flagship docking in New York shortly after 6.30am. Commodore Bernard Warner arrived shortly afterwards to take the helm and to his surprise, found the pride of Cunard’s fleet, the greatest ocean liner of our time, coated in white as her decks were covered in several inches of snow! Had the newly installed snow-making machine gone into over-drive?! No! New York was fully into its Christmas cheer with a snow storm worthy of the North Pole!
Some hours after the Commodore’s arrival, the snow was still piled up alongside the ship, so it was no surprise that our 2,400 guests were anxious to escape to the warmth of the Caribbean! We were all very grateful to the Commodore as he headed south towards our first port of call, Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, to thaw out. Meanwhile, the glamour and elegance of Cunard travel began on the first formal evening of the voyage with our fabulous, traditional, Black and White Ball. The Ball opened with the extra sparkle of the Royal Cunard Dancers in all their brilliant white finery, setting the scene for a glittering voyage.
It wasn’t long before we could all enjoy the sunshine of the Caribbean. The islands of Tortola and St Maarten are known for their beauty, friendliness and typical Caribbean hospitality, not to mention the odd rum punch or two which had everyone in the mood to party. Christmas Eve saw a transformation from the wonderful rhythm of the steel drums to the gentle and festive sounds of Christmas carols as guest, officers and crew gathered in Queen Mary 2’s elegant Grand Lobby for the traditional start of the festivities.
Children and adults alike went to sleep that night anticipating the fun that was to follow on Christmas Day. We were awoken of course, to the sound of sleigh bells…….coming down the chimney? Well, the funnel is certainly big enough – and there indeed was Santa himself making his way through the ship from the Grand Lobby to the Queens Room!
Father Christmas was delighted to have caught up with Queen Mary 2 and to have been able to give so many presents to the fantastic young travellers on board. So much so, he even found time to reward the Commodore for being such a marvellous host, master of the ship, leader of such a tremendous team and fine example of White Star Service! Here he is being congratulated by Santa with Entertainment Director, Paul O’Loughlin.
Merriness continued throughout the day with sumptuous food and a specially written Christmas Show performed in the Royal Court Theatre that night and here’s a photo capturing Edwina Currie and her husband John Jones relating the story of ‘The Night Before Christmas’,
Of course the whole evening would not be complete without a spectacular Grand Lobby buffet prepared by our incredibly talented Chefs.
Enormous credit has to be given to the team who created this beautiful gingerbread display .
The special voyage gave our guests to enjoy visits to the stunning islands of Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Dominica and St Kitts before the countdown to 2010. After a tremendous amount of preparation from the ships staff the countdown for the big night was soon underway in all parts of the ship. From Campbell Simpson at the Piano in the Commodore Club, to our resident DJ Freddie in the G32 nightclub, through the Grand Lobby with our international band Vibz, the Chart Room with the Mark Hodgson Jazz Trio and not forgetting the Golden Lion pub with Gun of the Entertainment Staff where a rousing refrain of the British National Anthem and the ever emotional Pomp and Circumstance had seen in the British New Year at 8pm, and so on to the Queens Room and the elegance of the Queens Room Orchestra. Here there was a very Scottish flavour to the Hogmanay styled celebration with many guests in kilts enjoying the traditional dances such as the Gay Gordons. Meanwhile the clock was ticking on the big screen behind the orchestra.
The ballroom was packed, the excitement was tangible as Evgeny Gnezdilov, tenor sax player from the Royal Court Theatre Orchestra, crouched down to ring 8 bells to mark the passing of 2009, under the watchful eye of vocalist Michel Chartier, poised to begin his rendition of Auld Lang Syne. This was swiftly followed by Alex Laxton, Queen Mary 2’s youngest crew member at just 19 years old, ringing in 2010.
And the beautiful gold and silver balloons fell, hooters squealed, streamers filled the air, everyone cheered, hugged and kissed.
As always Queen Mary 2 celebrated in style that night, with all her fabulous guests joining the ship’s company to mark the beginning of a new decade!
I’d like to thank the Queen Mary 2 for their help in this Blog and to Freda Singleton for sending it to me as it really shows yet again that Cunard certainly knows how to put on an unforgettable party.
Also thank you again for logging on and for all your questions and comments. I’ll be back on Thursday with a Video Blog featuring some interior shots of Queen Elizabeth as well as an interview with Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks. Cheers for now, Alastair