September 16, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 25 days
Thank you again for all your comments and questions, it’s always great to hear from you. As soon as I have any announcements to pass on I’ll let you know, especially regarding the time Queen Elizabeth will be in Southampton at the beginning of October. I know so many of you will want to come and watch her arriving, her stay in her homeport as well as her departure on the 12th of October on her maiden voyage. I’ll try and get as much information as I can and keep you posted.
It’s great to be back in Italy with just a few weeks before the latest Cunarder leaves Monfalcone and heads to Southampton. I’ve visited Queen Elizabeth five times since her keel was laid last year, but this time I was coming to stay, so I was very excited to see how she was progressing. I have always been amazed by the speed of progress at the Fincantieri shipyard, but this time the change has been truly dramatic.
In this post I’ll show you the latest pictures outside and then we’ll look inside in more detail next week. Before we get to this Blog’s pictures though, here’s our regular feature; this week in Cunard’s History for the week of the 10th to the 16th of September:
|September||10||1870||The Parthia is launched and was to be Cunard’s finest ship to date. She was the first Cunarder to have baths – one on the port side and one on the starboard side!|
|September||10||1901||Carpathia’s keel is laid at Swan & Hunter’s Wallsend shipyard.|
|September||10||2007||Cunard announces that the Duchess of Cornwall will name Queen Victoria three months later on December 10th.|
|September||11||1995||QE2 sails undamaged through a freak 95-foot wave in the North Atlantic, caused by Hurricane Luis, on her way to New York.|
|September||15||2007||QE2 began her 40th Anniversary voyage around Britain, including Liverpool and Clydebank where she was launched 40 years before.|
Queen Elizabeth has returned to her outfitting dock in Monfalcone following her second set of successful sea trials. I arrived in the evening so had to wait until the following day to see our latest Cunarder, but at the hotel I met a few of the crew who were already here, and there was a real sense of excitement.
I arrived at the Fincantieri shipyard early on Tuesday morning and despite all the work going on, the latest addition to the Cunard fleet was looking fantastic with her new paintwork.
I then walked around to the other side of the yard to get a picture of her starboard side which shows how close to completion she is.
On board though there was a huge amount of work going on, all over the ship. In addition to the 360 Cunard crewmembers there are about 1,800 other people working on board. This is the view from the outdoor chessboard on top of the Yacht Club, looking towards the Pavilion Pool and the Garden Lounge.
The inside of the Garden Lounge is looking magnificent, and I just know this will be an incredibly popular venue, with its beautiful vaulted ceiling.
Standing on deck in front of the Grills Lounge, you get a great view of the other side of the Pavilion Pool and the Yacht Club.
You may have spotted the stunning piece of artwork in front of the Hydrotherapy pool; here it is close up.
Speaking of artwork, I have a special Blog and Vlog that will be posted on Tuesday, which will tell you more about a special unveiling taking place on Monday evening.
Moving further forward and up to the Games Deck, there was a huge team working on preparing the Bowls Green, the Croquet Lawn (below left) and the Paddle Tennis court (below right).
Everywhere you look there are craftsmen working and putting the final touches to our new Queen such as treating the teak:
And then there is a huge team of cleaners to ensure the ship is sparkling before she is handed over to Cunard at the end of the month.
Meanwhile the Cunard crew are busy starting to load the various stores, from furniture to duvets to china. The sets for the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company production shows have already arrived, so Richard Parker and Chris Knowles, who are heading up the Entertainment Production Team, have been busy organising the loading of literally hundreds of set pieces, lights, props and costumes.
The shipyard have been very busy ensuring the crew accommodation and facilities are finished, because we will all be moving on board over the next few days. Our Crew Housekeeper, Thelma Rojas was one of the first to be linked to the computer system, so the crew cabins could be prepared with linen and keys distributed.
Yesterday we had two guests from one of Britain’s most popular newspapers, the Daily Mail. I had the pleasure of showing Christopher Wilson and photographer Murray Sanders, around and we even managed to get out on a small boat to get some great shots, which you’ll be able to see in The Daily Mail in the next few days. Until you see the professional ones, here’s one of mine to be going on with!
And this picture of Christopher been photographed by Murray.
I’ll be back on Tuesday with a special blog and Vlog featuring a special unveiling for Queen Elizabeth and soon we’ll have more news from Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.
Cheers for now, Alastair