September 23, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 19 days
Not only does today mark exactly one week before Queen Elizabeth is handed over to Cunard, this week it’s also the second anniversary of this Blog. After over 220 posts, over 1,800 photos and over 20 Vlogs, we are now entering our third year of blogging with over 250,000 visits to this site! Thank you so much for your comments from all over the world over the last two years and mostly for logging on giving us record viewing figures. Also big thanks to Richard, Matthew, Shelley and Lisa who do such a great job in supporting this Blog back in Southampton.
Last weekend was another milestone in the delivery of our new Queen, when the crew moved on board for the first time. This was a huge logistical operation which I’ll tell you about after this week in Cunard’s history from 17 to 23 September:
The “We are Cunard Blog” goes on line for the first time.
Lusitania’s keel is laid.
Mauretania is launched by the Duchess of Roxburgh at the Swan Hunter yard. She is named after a Roman Province and passengers called her the Maury.
Job number 736 – Queen Elizabeth 2 is launched and named at Clydebank by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Mary 2 makes her 100th Transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York. During this time she had logged nearly three-quarters of a million miles, and had carried more than 229,000 guests across the North Atlantic, who had consumed 97,000 pounds of lobster, 2,700 pounds of caviar, 206,200 bottles of Champagne and enough tea to fill nearly five Olympic-sized swimming pools! Queen Mary 2 had also carried more than 450 pets across the North Atlantic as well!
Friday 17 October was an even busier day than normal at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, starting at 6am with the first crew members arriving by bus at the dockside, with their luggage ready to move on board their new home.
The crew had been in hotels and apartments around the town of Monfalcone for the past few weeks although in some cases this was months. Crew were picked up from seven different locations and brought to the ship in a carefully timed operation, with all 390 crew on board by 9am.
Meanwhile we have had crew arriving at the airport every day, with 40 arriving last Friday alone. They were met by our White Star Training Team as well as our Personnel and Training Manager, Brian Lynch. Here Queen Elizabeth’s White star Trainer, Rishi Chada, waits to welcome newly arriving crew at Trieste airport:
Amongst the familiar faces walking up the gangway were crew from Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2 and of course many who had served on QE2 and Caronia. Here is a face I’m sure many of you will recognise:
Yes of course that’s Thomas Quinones of the Entertainment Staff. Cunard staff and contractors have been allocated their own gangway with the shipyard workers using two others. All our crew were welcomed by our wonderful Security Team at the top of the gangway.
Although the ship still belongs to the Fincantieri shipyard, many of the areas have already been accepted by Cunard such as crew cabins, galleys and mess rooms which has enabled us to move on board thanks to the hard work by the yard to get the areas ready in time. The Food and Beverage team headed up by Food and Beverage Manager, Glenn Milway (on the right of the below picture), had been very busy ensuring the galley was ready to serve the crew their first meal on board.
Here’s Executive Chef Nicholas Oldroyd pinning up the menu for the first ever meal to be served on board.
All the various departments are now busy preparing their areas, such as the Purser’s Staff behind their new desk, which is now just waiting for the artwork. Pictured here from left to right are Moses, Jennifer, Vicky, Tania (Purser Guest Services) and Judith.
Meanwhile as I mentioned in my last post, the storing of the ship is a massive operation for both the Hotel and Technical Stores Managers. In the main hotel warehouse all the stores arrive by truck on a daily basis:
Here Rex, Queen Elizabeth’s Hotel Stores Manager, oversees every pallet that arrives and is then sent to the ship according to a carefully timed schedule:
Every day stores leave the warehouse on trailers pulled by fork lift trucks ready for loading by crane from the dockyard on to various points of the ship:
Everything is being loaded from food to linen to furniture; even the pianos!
Here one of the pianos has come on board, and is being set up by a team of specialists, with the help of the Queens Room Production Manager, Jesse McKensie:
Meanwhile the sets, props and technical equipment are arriving in the Royal Court Theatre through a special Scenery Dock Door:
In addition to our regular team of stage crew and technicians we have teams of specialists helping to prepare the entertainment venues, ready for our first guests in just three weeks time. This includes commissioning the sound, lights and also building the sets for our brand new shows that will be performed by the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company:
Every department is very busy receiving their stores, unpacking and checking them before putting them in place or in on-board stores. Here Queen Elizabeth’s Principal Medical Officer, Sue Dring, is unpacking some medical equipment:
The crew lifts are the only ones being used to transport stores up and down the ship as well as all the ship’s company and yard workers, so sometimes a human chain has to be formed such as the team here from the Accommodation Department loading duvets and bed linen:
Final touches are also being added to the huge amount of artwork around the ship. It’s an enormous task overseen by Cunard’s Art Consultant, Amy Lucena, who is busy here placing Cunard memorabilia in one of the cabinets by the entrance to the Queens Room:
There are so many paintings all over the ship with a dedicated team carefully placing and mounting the artwork, like these paintings outside the Britannia Club Restaurant:
We now have over eight hundred, of our thousand crew, onboard our new Queen. There have been up to two hundred crewmembers joining on a daily basis from every department, such these members of the Bars and Accommodation Teams:
With the first performances by the Royal Court Theatre Company just over two weeks away, our cast have arrived and will be going on stage for the first time tomorrow to continue their rigorous rehearsal schedule. Having said that the Musicians have already been practicing in the Queens Room, managing to concentrate with all the work going on around them!
Well that’s it for now but I’ll be back on Monday with a tribute Blog to Captain Nick Bates, and some more news from Queen Elizabeth on Thursday as she is handed over to Cunard before heading off to Southampton. We are also hoping to post another Vlog from Monfalcone as well.
Cheers for now, Alastair