October 21, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
Welcome to part two of our special Blog from Queen Elizabeth, on her Maiden Voyage to the Canaries. Thank you again for all your comments; it’s great to hear from you as always. Many of you have mentioned the Bridge Cam, so we have passed this on to our IT team who are working hard to get the location details up on the screen as soon as they can.
Today we will be in Madeira which is always a favourite port, but is particularly special this time, as we are very excited about welcoming Lulu to Queen Elizabeth to perform in the Royal Court Theatre tonight. I’ll tell you what else has been happening over the last few days after our regular feature; this week in Cunard’s History for the week of 15 to 21 October:
|16 October 2008||QE2 makes her final Transatlantic Crossing from New York|
|17 October 1843||Hibernia comes in to service|
|19 October 2009||Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call at Greenoch.|
|20 October 1910||The Olympic is launched for White Star Line at Harland & Wolf in Belfast. She becomes part of the Cunard fleet on the 1st of January 1934.|
|21 October 1922||Franconia is launched at John Brown’s shipyard, Clydebnank|
Back on board Queen Elizabeth, there was a tremendous response to Sir David Frost’s lecture, and he was kind enough to do a follow up interview with me on the Morning TV show, where he shared some more fantastic stories. He is such an engaging speaker; I could have chatted to him for hours and it was certainly an honour to interview a man who has interviewed over 4,000 people.
On the evening before Sir David and Lady Carina Frost disembarked, Captain Wells invited them to join him on the bridge for the sail away. While there Captain Wells invited Sir David to be the second person to sign the visitor’s book, after Her Majesty the Queen.
Every port we have visited, on this Maiden Voyage, has given us a tremendous welcome such as fire tugs guiding Queen Elizabeth to her berth with huge sprays of water. There has been a lot of excitement from the various region’s press and media as well as locals.
Each time a ship visits a port for the first time, it is traditional to invite the local Port Authorities and Dignitaries to a Plaque Exchange ceremony. The press are also invited so it’s quite an occasion.
The ceremony begins with me inviting the Captain to say a few words of formal welcome to the guests. Then the various associations, agencies and VIP’s from the port present their plaques to the Captain, which will eventually be placed in a special area outside the Commodore Club for guests to see.
The Captain then responds with a specially designed plaque from Queen Elizabeth, to commemorate the ship’s maiden call.
Then in each port we have visited, the press and media have conducted interviews with Queen Elizabeth’s first Master, whose secretary, Eli Iniesta was fortunately on hand to translate into Spanish.
There has also been a special send off from each port as well, with many fascinated locals and tourists watching the proceedings from the shore side. This is the view from Queen Elizabeth looking across the harbour and Santa Cruz in Tenerife.
We were treated to a wonderful parade of classic cars in Gran Canaria, and in Santa Cruz, there was a special display from soldiers in traditional uniform presenting arms to our guests looking from the decks and stateroom balconies.
Mind you I think we were all slightly taken aback when they actually fired their muskets which let out a huge bang!
Back on board in the evenings we have been presenting a new show in the Royal Court Theatre each night and it’s been great to try a few new ideas such as jazz nights in the Garden Lounge which have worked out really well.
We have also held our first Cunard World Club party, but as we have nearly 1,400 Gold, Platinum and Diamond members, we will be hosting three parties! Our Cunard World Club representatives on board, Rebecca de Reus and Wendi Hardy added up all the years our members have sailed, and if you put them all together it would add up to over ten thousand voyages totalling 365 years. That’s a lot of experience and as Captain Wells said in his speech, it also represents tremendous loyalty, for which all of us at Cunard are extremely grateful.
During his speech Captain Wells also showed the guests something rather special. He told them that the gentleman responsible for the logistics at the Naming Ceremony, had given him a special gift; the button pressed by her Majesty to release the jeroboam of Cunard Graves, Baron Philippe de Rothchild 2009 against Queen Elizabeth’s hull.
He then passed the mounted wooden button around the Queens Room for guests to look at. It was a perfect photo opportunity for guests like Mrs Patricia Pavaro from Cheshire, who was on the Farewell Voyage of QE2, the Maiden Voyage of Queen Mary 2 and the Maiden World Voyage of Queen Victoria.
Then it was time to announce the most travelled guest on board this Maiden Voyage. As I think I mentioned last week, that accolade was awarded to one of the very first guests to board Queen Elizabeth, Dr Doris Lorz from Springfield, Missouri in the United States. By the end of this voyage Dr Lorz will have completed a staggering 2,786 days (120 voyages) with Cunard, and here she is receiving her award from Captain Wells with Rebecca and Wendi.
96 year old, Dr Lorz is originally from New York and is a Doctor of Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry as well as a Professor Emeritus of Missouri State University. She told me that her first voyage with Cunard was on the Cunard Princess in 1979, and the picture of that ship is amongst the many Cunard ships of the past, on Queen Elizabeth’s A Staircase:
Dr Lorz said her first time on QE2 was in 1985 when she was celebrating her 50th Wedding Anniversary. She told me she was married just before her 21st birthday, and in those days she had to have permission from her father as she was under 21 years old!
On board QE2 in 1998 she took up dancing, and says she hasn’t stopped since, adding “It’s what I live for”. Every night she dances in her favourite venue, the Queens Room, and here she is with Thomas Quinones on the dance floor.
There’s so much more to tell you about Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden Voyage, that I’ll be back with the third and final part next week. In the meantime I’ll be back tomorrow with a great Guest Blog from our flagship, Queen Mary 2. Cheers for now, Alastair