August 5, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 67 days
Welcome to another special Blog with news, pictures and video footage from Monfalcone, Italy where Queen Elizabeth is less than ten weeks away from her maiden voyage. Thanks again for all your questions and comments; they are always great to read. I know you are all waiting to hear who’ll name our new Queen, and I assure you I’ll let you know on this Blog as soon as I find out. Also Ian; yes there will be a harpist on Queen Elizabeth; in fact we’ll have 28 musicians on board, which is the same number as we have on her sister, Queen Victoria. Before we get to those latest pictures from Italy, here’s our regular feature; this week in Cunard’s history from the week of 6 to 12 August:
August 6 1929
The Britannic is launched at Harland & Wolf in Belfast and becomes part of the Cunard White Star Fleet in January 1934
August 8 1922
The Doric is launched at Harland & Wolf, Belfast and becomes part of the Cunard White Star fleet in 1934
August 9 1990
QE2 completes her 500th Atlantic crossing
August 9 2007
Cunard introduces its new lecture series called “Cunard Insights”
August 12 1914
The Ultonia is among many ships that takes the B.E.F. (British Expeditionary Forces) from Southampton to Le Havre at the beginning of World War 1
August 12 2008
Queen Victoria returns to Venice for the first time since leaving the Marghera shipyard over 8 months earlier
As you may know, I spent a couple of fantastic days in Italy last week to see how Queen Elizabeth was progressing at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone. Although like you I had seen pictures of her progress, I was excited to see her again for myself, as this was the first visit back to the yard since her float out ceremony at the beginning of January. I was also lucky enough to be accompanied by our cameraman, Andrew, and you’ll be seeing a total of five Video Blogs over the next couple of weeks, with the first at the end of this post.
Arriving at the yard early on Thursday morning, there was a huge amount of activity surrounding Queen Elizabeth, but despite the rain and all the busy cranes, delivery trucks and shipyard workers, our new Queen was looking fantastic.
Once aboard, I could actually find my way around as everything had begun to look quite recognizable and so different from my last visit. I just couldn’t believe how much progress had been made since January. With the ship now powering herself the Grand Lobby had been dramatically transformed:
This was just one area of the ship where there were so many people working; it was incredible how they all managed to work in such a busy area. Our staff at this Purser’s desk will be welcoming guests in less than ten weeks time!
Moving up to deck 2, this is a view I have taken a shot of quite a few times; it’s looking across the Grand Lobby from Café Carinthia:
The ship is probably now at it’s very busiest, with so many specialists working on everything from marble, wood, glass, metal, artwork, plasterwork, lighting to the furnishings and carpets. Mind you as soon as something is completed, it is immediately covered and protected. To give you an idea of how much is going on at the moment all over the ship, this is the lobby by the C Staircase on deck 2.
The library, which will soon be receiving its 6,000 books, was looking very advanced with many of the finished decorative elements already covered, but it’s still instantly recognizable.
The distinctive and elegant Royal Arcade staircase was beginning to receive it’s Art Deco flourishes, and in the second of next week’s Blogs, I’ll be talking to Cunard’s President and Managing Director about the artwork that will be the centrepiece of this area.
Up on deck 10 in the Commodore Club, a lot of the lighting fixtures were already in place. The parquet floor was also being laid while we were there, (to the left of the picture), as the finishing touches were added to the marble work.
espite the weather, they were still working outside, with teak being fitted around the Pavilion Pool, by a team of specialists under a temporary cover.
And now here is the first in a series of Video Blogs; firstly giving you an overview of how Queen Elizabeth is looking.
Don’t forget all our Video Blogs are available on YouTube at WeAreCunard or simply click on this link:
That’s it for now but I’ll be back on Monday with the first of two Blogs, which followed members of the press who joined us on our second day. There’ll be more pictures and two more videos, along with interviews with the press as well as Peter Shanks. We’ll then have posts (and videos) featuring the progress of the Dining areas and Entertainment Venues.
That’s all to come, along with answers to your questions and all the regular news from around the Cunard World. Cheers for now, Alastair