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June 1, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Guest Stories

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 132 days

Thank you for all the continued comments about the Linley Artwork that will be the centrepiece in Queen Elizabeth’s Grand Lobby. In just nineteen weeks to the day, our new Queen will begin her maiden voyage so there’ll be lots more to share with you over the summer as The World Awaits Queen Elizabeth.

I rejoined Queen Victoria yesterday and although it’s a shame to finish my break it’s great to be back amoungst old friends and what a great voyage it’ll be as we head to the Baltic and stunning ports such as Copenhagen, Tallin and St. Petersburg. Today Queen Mary 2 is heading to New York and both Queens will be in Southampton 14 June which is always something to celebrate.

For this Blog I am going back a while to a recent voyage when we were joined by Chris Frame who presented six lectures about the history of the Ocean Liner. His lectures started with the early years of Cunard, the White Star Line, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary and QE2. Chris maintains a popular independent Cunard website www.chriscunard.com, and is currently working on a new book, Queen Victoria: A Photographic Journey, which he is co-authoring with his partner Rachelle Cross.

Guest Blog,  Chris Frame – Author and Lecturer


My interest in Ocean Liners stared young. At age 10 I read a book called “Exploring the Titanic” by Robert D. Ballard, and became fascinated with ships. Titanic, Olympic, Lusitania, Mauretania – I knew them all.

At age 11 my parents surprised my sister and I with a 5 night voyage aboard Queen Elizabeth 2 from Auckland to Sydney. I was in my element. From the very first moment I stepped aboard QE2 I was hooked. The ship, her history, the atmosphere aboard, the crew, the service – it was perfect. Here I am at the wheel as acting Captain!

About a decade ago I started “Chris’ QE2 Page” which has since grown to become “Chris’ Cunard Page”. The website has grown and visitors often email me with anything from queries for information, to booking requests!

I sailed aboard Queen Mary 2 for the first time in 2004 during her maiden season. During that voyage I met noted maritime author William H. Miller Jr and we talked as the ship sailed from Rotterdam. My interest and knowledge in Cunard and the history of the Ocean Liner grew, so I added historical information to my website and considered writing a book about QE2.

Rachelle and I decided we’d undertake this project together. I had often wanted to write a QE2 book and Rachelle loves writing, reading and history, so we thought it was a good project to do together.

In 2007 I was aboard Queen Mary 2 during her maiden World Voyage from San Francisco to Sydney. Bill Miller was also aboard and as we caught up, I told him about the book project. Our idea was to create a QE2 photographic tour that guests could take home with them to remind them of the beautiful QE2. Bill was very encouraging and agreed to write our foreword. He also suggested a publisher, for which we are eternally grateful, so when we returned home we worked on completing the QE2 book.


It was nearing completion when, in June 2007, the announcement came that QE2 was to be retired. Although this wouldn’t take place until November 2008 it meant we had to rethink the book and it became more of a photographic tribute, a journey aboard QE2 that could be relived at home.

We were lucky in that we had already booked aboard QE2’s farewell World Voyage and used this opportunity to re-photograph the ship. It was published in mid-2008 as “QE2: A Photographic Journey” and we were so excited that people liked what we had created, it was an enormous thrill.

When we stepped off QE2, I was determined that we would go back before she arrived in Dubai. As you can imagine, it was as if all our Christmas’ had come at once, when I was invited to lecture aboard QE2 during her September 2008 Mediterranean Sojourn voyage. This is how my new career as a maritime lecturer started.

In February 2009 we sailed again aboard Queen Mary 2 as a guest lecturer and completed the second book, “Queen Mary 2: A Photographic Journey”.

We had heard that Queen Victoria had a fantastic atmosphere and were excited to try the latest Cunarder ourselves. Queen Victoria is a stunning ship. She’s large, but still has an intimate ambiance; very “Cunard”.

The Royal Court Theatre is a superb and regal venue, and I felt very proud to stand on that stage and present my lectures. We also loved the Royal Arcade with the classic Victorian clock – a nice touch!  One of the most wonderful aspects of QE2 was her heritage (and the Heritage Trail) so I was very pleased to see this tradition continued with Cunardia aboard Queen Victoria.

We had a fantastic table with great companions in the Britannia Restaurant, including our friend Barry Brown, who gives Film History lectures, (we met him in 2009 aboard Queen Mary 2). The food and service was superb, just as one would expect from Cunard.

I was delighted with the response of my lectures and really enjoyed meeting all the people who had connections with Cunard, White Star and shipping. People love to tell me their stories of their time at sea, and both Rachelle and I enjoy hearing these firsthand accounts very much.

My first lecture aboard QE2 was “Number 736” and covered the early history of the ship. After the lecture one gentleman asked me what grade of steel was used to construct the rivets that joined Quarter Deck to One Deck (this is where the steel and aluminium join occurred aboard QE2 and required not only rivets but also a special epoxy resin to stop the two metals corroding).

I had no idea as to the exact grade of steel used, but lucky for me, another man who had worked on those exact rivets during the construction stood beside me, and started answering the question. Afterwards, I asked him to come to all of my talks in case I got any other tough questions! He said he’d be only too happy. If he’s reading this now – thank you! Here I am with Rachelle afterwards at the book signing.

While on Queen Victoria, we managed to photograph the entire ship during our 18 nights aboard for the new book. It meant a lot of walking around the ship in the wee hours to get just the right shots, but we are excited to see them coming in to print.

Thank you Chris for a great Guest Blog, it’s always fascinating to hear experiences from another perspective. You can find out more about Chris and his new book at his newly refreshed website www.chriscunard.com or at www.queenvictoriabook.com. The book is a 120 page colour tribute to Queen Victoria and will be available from July on board, in major book retailers around the world, and this is what it will look like.

I’ll be back on Thursday with the final Blog from the TOGs voyage on Queen Victoria including an Video Blog interview with Sir Terry Wogan himself. I’ll also have some more news about Queen Elizabeth coming soon, as well news from our flagship, Queen Mary 2. Cheers for now Alastair.

  1. Linda Crooks says:

    Hello Alastair…..thank you for having my friend Chris Frame as a guest blogger. I have been a follower of his website now for about 7 years and finally met up with him when he was lecturing on QE2′s Mediterranean Sojourn Sept 2008. I enjoyed his lectures immensely. He had a great feeling for the QE2. I have his book QE2 A Photographic Journey signed by him and Rachelle and when I sail on Queen Mary 2 this July, I will be picking up QM2 A Photographic Journey in the bookshop….the only thing different about this one will be that it won’t be signed by the authors. Congratulations to Chris and thank you Alastair for this wonderful Cunard blog.

    Linda Crooks, Ontario Canada.

  2. Janine Curry says:

    Happy to read your article. My family has an interesting history aboard Cunard.
    My Grandfather came to this country in 1872 on a mail ship “The China”.
    He crossed back and forth to England 21 times in all , every trip aboard Cunard.

    In 1987 my husband and I had the pleasure of sailing on the QEII.

    I hope we will be sailing again in the next year or so.
    Cunard is the only way to sail for my family.

    Janine Curry

  3. George says:


    I have all these books and find them superb coffee table books that remind us of the wonderful cruises on these great ships. Also the books are a great way to show the ships to friends.

    Can’t wait for the QV one!

  4. Jack says:

    Chris: interesting blog. May I point out that the phrase should read “my parents surprised my sister and me”.

  5. CJ Gwyn says:

    hey. im a teen from england and canada at the same time. i said that just to confuse you to be honest. i am goin on the qm2 soon and im haveing trouble finding anything much about this teen area which is briefly mentioned in both the massive itinerary book we have got recantly or on the wesite. i’ve been searching and searching on various websites for this teen area and i’ve found out to little to count on. when i found this blog i thought “hey this guy seems to know loads about cruise ships. maybe he’ll be able to help me out.” that is the only reason why im sending you this. i would type my email but i don’t want to be exploited so if you could comment after me that would be fab.
    if anyone else has been on the QM2 and knows anything a younger teen can do on the ship please let me know.
    thank you and have a lovely day.

  6. Christian Reay says:

    What a wonderful story indeed. Like so many who travelled onboard QE2 over the years Chirs captures the very special atmosphere and unique ambiance that QE2 had – a truely great lady fondly rememered and much missed.

    I shall certainly consider putting the three titles on my ‘wish list’ for Christmas. A wonderful way to remember a holiday which is far more than your average cruise.

    I very much look forward to the next blog as always.

    All the best!

    (P.S – I was pleasently suprised by the wonderful new Cunard website – easy to use and much better to navigate)

  7. Adam Scott says:

    A wonderful look into all things Cunard. Fantastic books!

    Alastair an idea – a home button so we don’t have to keep clicking “back”.

  8. Chris Frame says:

    Thank you everyone for the kind comments.

    Jack, you are of course correct. Sorry about that grammatical error.

    CJ Gwyn, having never sailed aboard QM2 as a teenager, I am not too sure of all the facilities on offer. They did have, back in 2004, a video arcade room but this has since been removed. There is a teen area, called The Zone which has computer games (PS3, Wii etc.) and also some other activities, however that is about the extent of my knowledge. Perhaps Alastair could do a short blog about life aboard QM2 and Queen Victoria for teenagers.

    Linda, it was wonderful to meet you aboard QE2 during the Mediterranean Sojourn. Everyone aboard that voyage loved that amazing ship.

    Janine, thanks for the message – for so many people, Cunard was “the only way to travel”. I find so often that people aboard QM2 and Queen Victoria love to talk to me about Cunard because their family had a connection with the company in the past.

    George, Christian and Adam, thank you for the kind comments about the books and the blog. Very much appreciated.



  9. Rosie says:

    ‘Lucky are the Guests who managed to hear Chris sharing his extensive knowledge.
    Sadly – we missed meeting Chris and Rachelle on QE2 by just two weeks!
    Their book ‘The QE2 Story’ is a lovely gift – small, neat and fully comprehensive.
    Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity very soon, to hear Chris speak about the world of the Liners.’

  10. Alastair Greener says:

    Thanks CJ for your question and Chris for your suggestion. Cunard ships have a great Youth and Teen Programme and fantastic facilities so I have asked our Youth Team on Queen Mary 2 if they can write a special Guest Blog on the subject and I hope to get this posted within the next week or so. Cheers and thanks again for the idea, Alastair

  11. Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

  12. Chris Frame says:

    Thank you Rosie and Alastair!

    All the best,


  13. Jacob says:

    Nice article. I’ve read the books. It’s nice. Awaiting for the next books. Thank you.

  14. Yay Alastair!

    Sorry I missed you on the recent TOGS voyage but a most excellent time was still had by both Mrs F and I, while the Togmeister and team was on fine form indeed!

    Good luck with the new book Chris & Rachelle and a great guest blog there. Delighted to report your presentations were still playing during the early part of the voyage and yes, I did enjoy watching them!



  15. Chris Frame says:

    Thank you Jacob for the message, glad you enjoyed the books.

    Andy! Fantastic to hear from you. I am very happy to hear that the presentations were playing during your voyage. It was quite a while between my departure from the ship and your voyage so it is great to see the recordings are used after we have departed.

    Thank you Cunard!



  16. Al Dawson says:

    Message for Chris Frame (I don’t tweet, so using this means)

    One your Cunard page – terrific – I don’t see a fact you may want to add. the “Carmania” left Liverpool, England on April 6, 1912, arriving in New York City on April 14, 1912, having navigated through the ice-field ahead of Titanic.


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