October 7, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 5 days
The anticipation of our new Queen’s arrival in Southampton tomorrow is incredible, and judging from your comments, you seem as excited as we are to bring Queen Elizabeth to her home port. As you know we’ll be making our approaches around 8am when we will have some press boarding the ship on a special launch, and there is bound to be some great coverage on British TV and in the newspapers. We aim to be alongside at the new Ocean Terminal by about 9.00am and we will then begin to show off the latest addition to the Cunard fleet.
In the week at sea coming across to Southampton the ship’s company and contractors have been busy preparing the ship for our arrival, with the final touches being added and everyone being thoroughly rehearsed in delivering the best of White Star service to our first guests.
More of that and how she’s now looking, after this week in Cunard’s history for the week of 1 to 7 October:
|1 October 1972||Completion of the Queens Grill Penthouses addition to QE2.|
|4 October 2001||On QE2 Captain R.W. Wawrick performed the wedding ceremony of his daughter Rebecca, while the ship was in Boston|
|4 October 2006||Cunard announces the Captain of Queen Victoria as Captain Paul Wright|
|4 October 2009||Queen Victoria makes maiden call at Quebec, Canada|
|5 October 1994||QE2 rescues three seaman who are transferred from fishing vessel ‘Gail Ann’ in Mid Atlantic|
|7 October 2006||Cunard Line and The Halifax Foundation unveiled a bronze statue of Sir Samuel Cunard, prominently presiding over the Port of Halifax waterfront, the towering bronze statue appropriately depicts Cunard standing beside a ship’s telegraph, an iconic symbol of steamship travel. Joining the celebration were Sir Samuel Cunard’s great, great, great, great grandsons, Benjamin and Samuel Paton.|
As you can imagine it’s been a very busy time on board as we head to Southampton. But just before we left Italy, we managed to film another Vlog just before the official hand-over ceremony, which we sent back to Southampton just before we sailed.
The nearly 3,000 nautical mile journey will have taken eight days including a stop off for fuel in Algeciras on Tuesday. This is a port on the Spanish coast just opposite Gibraltar, and while I was on deck, I took this picture of a beautiful day over “The Rock”
That reminds me of the question from Stuart Nicol, who asked about the Red Ensign which is the flag of the British Merchant Navy. Although that was the flag that was raised on the hand-over day, you are quite right that we would normally raise the Blue Ensign off the aft mast when Captain Wells (or any other Captain who is a member of the Royal Naval Reserve and has had permission granted by the British Admiralty), is master of the ship. It was great to see it flying when we were in Algeciras on Tuesday.
As I mentioned the last details are being attended to on board, and that includes everything from polishing all the furniture to vacuuming every carpet; including those long corridors.
As promised I have some pictures of the Guest Staterooms for you today, beginning with a Britannia Balcony Stateroom which shows the beautiful new linen, which is 100 percent fine cotton with a 200/300 thread count.
Working in conjunction with Cunard, Sealy has developed an exclusive mattress which is carefully hand tufted, and features individually nested pocket springs that react instinctively to the weight and motion of the body. And yes I did check; there are drawers under the beds as well!
I then walked along the corridors to find another door open, this time to one of our Princess Grill Suites:
Then I managed to get a sneak preview of one of our top Queens Grill suites, which I’m sure you’ll agree is truly magnificent.
The dining areas have all been finished, and they have also been used by crew and contractors as part of the ongoing White Star Training programme. Here you can see the Britannia Restaurant in all its glory:
Next to the Britannia Restaurant is the Britannia Club for guests in Britannia Club Staterooms, which is another superb dining venue on our new Queen.
For our Grills guests the restaurants on deck eleven are stunning as you can see in these pictures, with the Princess Grill on the Left and the Queens Grill on the right:
A venue which celebrates its namesake on Queen Elizabeth is the Midships Bar, and this features a lot of memorabilia in beautiful cabinets on deck three of the Grand Lobby.
Café Carinthia is also complete, and I’m sure this area of deck two off the Grand Lobby will be as popular as the one on Queen Victoria.
I mentioned last week that a stunning clock designed by Royal Watchmakers, Dent of London, would soon be in place in the Royal Arcade. It’s now in its new home, and I noticed that as I was taking this picture yesterday, our engineers were setting the time.
Talking of the Royal Arcade, I have to say the shopping area is looking amazing. Paul and his shop staff have been working incredibly hard to prepare the displays, and what a great job they have done;
Meanwhile on deck three, the Fortnum & Mason shop has also been fully fitted out and looks terrific:
That’s it for today, but I’ll be back again tomorrow with news about the art on board and also the Royal Spa. As I sign off we’re just one day away from Southampton, so we look forward to seeing some of you there tomorrow. Cheers for now, Alastair