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Queen Elizabeth


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:

September   19   2008

The “We are Cunard Blog” goes on line for the first time.

September  20 1904

Lusitania’s keel is laid.

September  20 1906

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.

September  20 1967

Job number 736 – Queen Elizabeth 2 is launched and named at Clydebank by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

September  21 2008

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

  1. Gerrie and Mike Lambert says:

    It is all so exciting and seeing the staff and crew come onboard makes it seem real. Roll on next June

  2. Val McGovern says:

    Lovely to see Thomas. He has been with us on both of our cruises so far and it wouldn’t be the same without him when we cruise LA to Fremantle early next year.

  3. Lesley Meyer says:

    Hi Alistair,

    This is just a short email to thank you for keeping us all up to date with all the news regarding the Queen Elizabeth. It is especially interesting for me as my daughter Tara, who works in the Housekeeping Dept. as a PRS was one of the first crew members to join the ship in Malfacone. She only started working for the Cunard Company in August and was first on the Queen Victoria and two weeks ago transferred to the QE. She is really enjoying the work and the excitement of getting the QE ready for it´s maiden voyage.

    I wish the Queen Elizabeth and all it´s crew members all the very best for the future.

    Best wishes,

    Lesley Meyer

  4. I can’t wait! I feel as if I am there already and am right at home with so many familiar faces onboard.

  5. mary murdoch says:

    Hi Alistair and all the Gang. Great vlog and pictures, gets more exciting every blog. Good luck to all the crew, they all look very happy, may that continue. What date will Queen Elizabeth enter the Solent?Thanks once again to you and all your wonderful team for these great blogs/vlogs.Keep them up.

  6. mary murdoch says:

    Ps forgot to mention the wonderful portrait of our Majesty the Queen. congratulations to Isobel.

  7. Jeff Towns says:

    Well it is great to see some familiar faces from QE2 and QM2 as well as some new faces as well. I last saw Thomas on the QE2′s last voyage. See you guys real soon. Jeff

  8. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    Once again what a range of photographs!
    It is absolutely fascinating to see how everything is progressing.We are sure most of us just don’t understand the sheer logistical exercise of getting all the crew settled in their new home,
    let alone all the other facets of this fabulous ship.
    Thanks again so much for all this information.
    Chris & Margaret Rose

  9. Ian Chorley says:

    Happy Anniversary. I hope you and all the other crewe and staff are settling into their new home!

  10. jackie bailey says:

    Hi Alastair, Thank you so much for your updates on the beautiful Queen Elizabeth. You must already be a very busy man and it is great that you still find the time to take the pictures and update us all!
    The time is ticking away so quickly now and it is wonderfull how she is now all coming together and on time! My husband and I are so looking forward to our Christmas and New year with you all, I am sure it will be very memorable time. My friend will be on the first cruise on the 12th October both she and her partner are counting the days! We hope to get some photos of this lovely ship as she arrives on the 8th so it will be great if you can post some expected times of her arrival! Thanks again for all your hard work and we look forward to watching your morning program on our stateroom TV as we have do on both the QV last Sept and the QM2 previous years. Have a safe and troublesome journey back to the UK see you all soon Jackie and John Bailey

  11. John & Sheila Laurence says:

    “Friday 17 October . . . the first crew arrive on board . . . ”
    Guess you must be a fortune teller, Alistair!
    Do the crew really arrive after we’ve set sail?!?

    We read your blogs with avid interest . . .
    We’re getting very excited about the Maiden Voyage on 12 October . . .
    Keep up the good work.
    John & Sheila.

  12. Roger Hallett says:

    Hi Alistair, I am getting excited about our forthcoming QE departure from Southampton. The ship looks fantastic from your photos, but I am concerned that there is no quiet space such as the informal games areas on QM2 where passengers can enjoy board games, cards – or just read a book and watch the water passing by from those fantastic windows on deck 3. Thanks again for your Blog – great reading.

  13. Hi, I do so enjoy your blog. I have taught art as part of the enrichment program for the past four years, once on the QE2, and three times on the Victoria, so I did recognize Thomas. I will be teaching watercolor painting again this coming month on the Queen Mary on her transatlantic and subsequent cruise up the New England Coast. I am looking forward to my first time on this Queen, thank you again for your emails. Janice Schafir

  14. S. Nicol says:

    Wish I was a member of the crew, even though it must be hard work! So exciting though!

    Waiting eagerly for the webcam to be up and running.


  15. julie says:

    Can’t wait …soon be November 8th……………….

  16. Donna says:

    I have just stumbled across this blogg! Seems I’ve been missing some really interesting info. Well done, it’s an exciting countdown…

  17. Dawn Melloy says:

    Can’t wait to see the portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth in place on 12th. It looks fantastic. Would love to be at the naming ceremony too. Will be watching for the next vlog.

  18. judith appleton says:

    What a wonderful job you are all doing. Seeing duvets being taken on board really brings the reality home for us. Looking forward to sleeping under one on October 12th!!!!!!.

  19. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    Once again a great blog.
    We sailed on QM2 from Southampton to New York last summer to
    achieve a lifetime ambition and met Capt Bates.
    Can’t wait to see more pictures of Queen Elizabeth.
    Many thanks
    Chris & margret Rose

  20. Mrs J Innes says:

    Eagerly looking forward to our cruise on the new Queen Elizabeth on 8th November.

    Have been on QM2 and Queen Victoria.

    Both were superb I am quite sure Queen Elizabeth will live up to my expectations.

  21. Mrs J Innes says:

    Eagerly looking forward to our cruise on the new Queen Elizabeth on 8th November.

    Have been on QM2 and Queen Victoria.

    Both were superb I am quite sure Queen Elizabeth will live up to our expectations.

  22. Suzanne Pite says:

    My Nephew (Duncan Nicol) is on the new Queen and we are going to travel to southampton ready for the big day on the 11th Oct can you please tell me on what day the Ship will be coming into southampton

    Suzanne Pite

  23. Jon Mower says:

    I for one cant wait, we are booked on the maiden cruise, and when we get home we have a few days to get sorted and packed before we are back on board for the third cruise, it has been great reading Alastair’ Blogs/vlogs over the last months, seeing how she is progressing, we will be down in Southampton the night before we sail, so will be wandering along the road to look….

    Well excited is an understatement

  24. Silvia Szep says:

    Hello Alastair
    This is so great.
    I’m so happy to see the crew that I’ve sent over the years to Cunard are there on QE and I’ll have the chance maybe to see the in person at the inaugural ceremony.
    Well done!
    Silvia Szép

  25. nigel lewis says:

    Hi Alister ,
    great to see thomas Quinones he’s a great bloke and a wonderfull person

  26. nigel lewis says:

    hi alastair ,

    i hope the new Elizebeth will have good deals for singles after the much loved QE2 , because the new Elizebeth has no single cabins , us singles has to suffer on big suppliments , hope the cunard world club members gets a deal love to come back we all miss Thomas Quinones

    all the best


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