March 2, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 222 days
Thank you again for all your feedback, it’s always great to hear from you. I know from reading your comments you have been enjoying watching Queen Victoria going around the world, well I’m delighted to introduce a guest Blogger to share Queen Mary 2’s World Voyage with you; and what a great Blog it is, so over to Freda who takes up the story.
Guest Blog – Freda Singleton – Queen Mary 2 – Social Hostess
Queen Mary 2’s 2010 World Voyage is well under way with some fabulous new ports of call as well as some much loved familiar places, a whirl of parties, celebrations, themed balls, charity events, superb speakers and very variable weather!
Our first stop in beautiful Lisbon marked a very wet start. Grey clouds and torrential rain deterred many from venturing ashore, so it was with some relief to move quite quickly from Civitavecchia (for Rome) through the Suez Canal and on to the desert lands. No pause by the pyramids and the Valley of the Kings would be complete without an Egyptian Ball. The Queens Room was inspirationally decorated to remind us of the magnificence and history of the land we had just visited and guests were delighted by the surprise appearance of Freddie Fahrouk, Achamanda and Hot Chick Soup performing the hilarious Sand Dance, much to the amazement of the guest who earlier in the evening had commented that no-one would remember that far back! And here they are supported by Antony and Cleopatra.
With a proudly Scottish Chief Engineer on board, celebrating Burns night in style was not negotiable! Thanks to Ronnie Keir’s enthusiastic dissection of the haggis and Carol Summers’ (Royal Cunard Dance Captain) stunning sword dance, the famous Baird was toasted in style with a packed dance floor of energetic Gay Gordons, Dashing White Sergeants and an officers’ display of Strip the Willow! Here’s Carol dancing above the carefully crafted swords, the handiwork of Ronnie’s team of engineers, as he watches on.
As we moved on to India, the Queens Room hosted the Night of the Raj Ball, with guests displaying their newly honed skills of sari tying with their newly purchased jewel coloured saris. They then enjoyed watching the Royal Cunard Dancers perform their sensual, exotic interpretation of the dance of the Gods, depicting the God of destruction and the God of creation.
Bringing us to the end of the 3rd leg of our World Voyage, all the sensations of the east were brought together at the Oriental Ball with the Sun and the Moon duet sung by our fabulous singers Kris Harding and Hannah Bloch and dramatically illustrated by the beautiful Vasilica Lungu as the love nymph in ‘The Sun and the Moon’.
Despite some very chilly weather as we approached Shanghai, the temperature rose in the Queens Room. Cupid paid us a timely visit as we celebrated Valentine’s Day with love, romance and some steamy passion with the jaw-dropping tango, seen here with Carol and Nazarly.
Amongst the fifteen or so maiden ports of call for Queen Mary 2 in this year’s World Voyage, one that will certainly stay in guests’ minds for a very long time is Nagasaki. As is customary, the ship exchanged plaques with the local officials, but this time the ceremony was extra special. The Mayor of Nagasaki came with his prefecture governors and made individual presentations to Captain Nick Bates, Staff Captain, Robert Camby, Chief Engineer, Ronnie Keir , Hotel Manager, David Stephenson and Entertainment Director, Paul O’Loughlin. The officers, dignitaries and audience were entirely humbled by the tear-jerking graciousness of the exquisite Japanese children who seared their place into everyone’s hearts. The 3 to 6 year olds of Oura Nursery School presented such enormous bouquets of flowers that they could hardly see or be seen; Captain Bates had to brush a tear from his eye. We heard later that they had rehearsed for over a month for their word perfect performance in English of ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’, followed by 2 traditional Japanese dances. No-one could think of more deserving recipients of our Cunard fluffy lions.
Of course, Cunard and Queen Mary 2 have excelled with an array of Insight speakers. Amongst the celebrity speakers so far, we have been educated by John Humphries who hosted a special Queen Mary 2 version of ‘Masterbrain’, as well as a very thought provoking ‘Time for Questions’ with our panel of resident experts comprising Commodore Warner, Hotel Manager, David Stephenson and pianist, Campbell Simpson. We were enlightened by Michael Nicholson and enthralled by Dr George McGavin.
Throughout all of the partying and celebrations the crew have been busy raising money for the four nominated World Voyage Charities: The Royal National Lifeboat Institute, The Haiti Emergency relief Fund, The Prostheses Foundation in Thailand and the Seaman’s Church Institute of New York.
The first event was the Tug of War, with competing teams from the Medical, Deck and Technical departments, the Spa, the Purser’s Office, the Engineers and Entertainment. The medical department under the appropriate title of ‘The Walking Dead’ won the best dressed team:
However, the Entertainment department wiped the floor with the remaining awards winning the ladies, the men and the mixed competitions. No wonder Paul O’Loughlin and Amanda Reid, (Entertainment Director and Assistant Entertainment Director), have such big smiles on their faces!
By way of a complete contrast, the second charity event moved away from raw crew strength to musical expertise and seven superb examples of hidden talent put on two magnificent shows of ‘Stars in the Crew’ to allow fellow crew members and guests alike to judge their skills. The show featured:
· Renier – Purser’s Staff as Gareth Gates with ‘Spirit in the Sky’
· Marion Woolley – Zone Manager as Charlotte Church with ‘To dream a dream’
· Jeffrey Canono – Bedroom Steward as Michael Ball from Miss Saigon with ‘Why God’
· Alex Laxton – Stage Crew as Frank Sinatra with ‘Come fly with me’
· Napoleon Mana – Laundry Man as Bill Medley with ‘Unchained Melody’
· Big Dave Griffiss – Bar Steward as Paul McCartney with ‘I saw her standing there’ (eat your heart out Karl Lornie of the Beatles Celebration, who were also performing with us at that time and were, of course, completely brilliant!)
· Cela Wasserman – Sound Engineer as Linda Perry with ‘What’s up?’
The voting was very close with outstanding performances from all seven stars and many congratulations due to final winner, Jeffery Canono who won himself dinner for 2 in Todd English.
And finally, we say a special thank you to the Masons on board who have done a wonderful job of raising money for our charities through cocktail events and raffles, with a magnificent total of $1745.57.
How do we top all that in the second half??
Thank you so much Freda for such a great Blog, it has given us a wonderful overview of your World Voyage so far. It was also really good to see and hear about our colleagues over on our big sister as well. We look forward to hearing about your next segment.
Meanwhile I’ll be back on Thursday with the regular weekly Blog and some new pictures of Queen Elizabeth under construction in Italy.