November 11, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Updates
Thank you as always for the great response to the various posts over the last week or so; it’s great to hear how much interest there is in our three Queens. We also love reading your questions and as always I’ll do my best to answer them.
Firstly on the subject of Queen Elizabeth’s Bridgecam, our technical team are still working on this and I understand that will be completed in the next few weeks. At the moment Queen Elizabeth is heading for the Mediterranean on her third voyage going to ports including Malta and Dubrovnik. Monday 15 November will be very special, as we arrive in Venice at about 8am (local time), that morning and this will of course be our first visit and well worth watching on the Bridgecam.
To answer a question in yesterday’s Blog, which included a section about Cunard’s traditional afternoon tea, I’ve spoken to our Food and Beverage Team and you’ll be delighted to hear we do have gluten free cakes, pastries and scones. There will normally be a selection available every tea time, but it’s always worth letting the staff know in advance so they can ensure the very best in White Star service.
Before I bring you more news from Queen Elizabeth and her meeting with Queen Mary 2, here’s this week in Cunard’s history for 5 to 11 November:
|5 November 2004||QE2 becomes longest serving Cunard Express Liner surpassing RMS Aquitania’s record of 35 years 6 months 1 day (1914 – 1949).|
|6 November 2000||Cunard signs the final contract for Queen Mary 2 and unveils key design details. She will be the largest, longest, widest and tallest passenger ship in history and will enter service in 2004.|
|10 November 1970||QE2 makes her maiden call to Cape Town, South Africa|
|10 November 2008||Queen Victoria makes maiden call to Alexandria|
|11 November 1922||The Laconia undertook the first ever world voyage.|
|11 November 2008||QE2 begins her final voyage, which is 16 nights from Southampton to Dubai.|
Towards the end of Queen Elizabeth’s second voyage, she called at the beautiful port of Cartagena, which is in south east Spain. Thanks to its strategic position; it has been inhabited by many different cultures which have left their mark on its rich heritage. The view of the city from Queen Elizabeth’s bridge was superb:
And the reason I was on the Bridge that morning, was because Captain Wells had invited Lord Howard, (see the blog posted on the 4th of November), to sign the visitors book.
As I hadn’t been there before, I managed to get ashore for a couple of hours in the afternoon to do my favourite thing; explore and have lunch in a local restaurant. I soon discovered that Cartagena is a naval station proud of its heritage and displays one of the world’s earliest submarines.
Looking in the opposite direction I was rather glad I was on the much more spacious Queen Elizabeth! Our new Queen looked wonderful amongst all the yachts and the hills of the Murcia region behind.
The city was larger than I expected and had some wonderful pedestrian areas, and it was probably the best weather day of the voyage, so it was lovely to walk past the beautiful buildings bustling with shops and restaurants.
This was one of the most stunning buildings which has recently been renovated according a to a local tour guide. It was once the Gran Hotel but now contains a bank and apartments.
Although there are some ruins from the Carthaginian era, most of its oldest monuments date from the Roman Empire, when Cartagena flourished. The city is understandably very proud of this magnificent amphitheatre right in the centre.
The day after, we docked at one of the most popular ports of call, and the gateway to the Mediterranean. Gibraltar is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, and is located on the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula at the Strait of Gibraltar that links the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, placing it between Europe and Africa.
It’s an amazing place and the growing demand for space is being increasingly met by land reclamation, which comprises approximately one tenth of the territory’s total area. The Rock itself is made of limestone and is 1,396 feet (426 m) high and is said to contain many miles of roads, most of which are closed to the public. Most of its area is covered by a nature reserve, which is home to around 250 Barbary Macaques, the only wild monkeys in Europe. One of our Tour Staff, Zoe, took this wonderful picture of one of the monkeys surveying the new area of the Rock and the latest visitor.
After a patriotic Sailaway it was time to make our way back to Southampton and the following morning I was walking along the promenade deck and saw one of those very special moments at sea, a beautiful sunrise and for a change I had my camera with me to capture the moment!
8 November was another historic day for Cunard as Queen Elizabeth passed the flagship of the Cunard fleet for the first time at approximately 7am. Queen Mary 2 welcomed the latest addition to the fleet with a blast of her ship’s whistles. Later that evening with guests who had embarked for her third voyage on the open decks, Queen Elizabeth passed her again. They all waved their Union Jacks while some wonderful music was played over the ships speakers.
It was very moving indeed and great to see the flashing cameras from both ships and we were even close enough to hear the shouts and cheers from Queen Mary 2’s guests who were getting ready to sail to Cherbourg straight after us. What a great sight it was and a very special evening.
I understand one of our facebook fans Grant Thomas took a video which he has posted on YouTube, which you may enjoy watching.
Then just yesterday we were sent this amazing picture by Andrew Cooke who was on a small craft to witness this great event, showing Queen Elizabeth just about to pass Queen Mary 2.
That’s it for the moment but I’ll be back again soon with another Blog from Queen Mary 2’s recent Transatlantic Crossing and of course news from around the fleet. Cheers for now, Alastair