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It Was the Night Before Christmas On The Cunard Queens

December 29, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Updates

Firstly, from all of us at We Are Cunard, we hope you have had a wonderful Christmas wherever you spent it, and no doubt you are now excited about the New Year’s celebrations to welcome in 2011. Thank you again for your comments and questions as well as your lovely Christmas greetings.

Because of all the Christmas celebrations, we didn’t feature This week in Cunard’s History last week, so here it is for the extended week from the 17th to the 28th of December:

It’s always an exciting and busy time for all of us working on board over the festive season with plans being made many months in advance.

One big job is decorating our Queens ready for the Christmas voyages, and the lady responsible for our beautiful decorations is Debbie Gilmore. You may remember reading about Debbie in the set up of Queen Elizabeth as the lady who coordinated the installation of all the plants on board. The decorations are installed by a professional team in the first week of December, and it’s a huge task involving numerous decorations and on Queen Elizabeth, over 300 Poinsettias!

Before I get to Queen Elizabeth, I was delighted to receive some photos of Queen Victoria in her beautiful Christmas decor from Queen Victoria’s Assistant Entertainment Director, Keith Maynard. The first shows the ships stunning Grand Lobby:

There are so many beautifully decorated Christmas trees all over the ship, each with its own colour scheme like this one by the stage in the Winter Garden.

Like all our Queens every guest venue is decorated with wonderful detail such as the fireplace in the Golden Lion Pub adorned with garlands and Poinsettias



Christmas is a very busy time of year for the Galley teams, not just in preparing all the extra menus, but also in the numerous displays around the ship. This one is by the entrance of Queen Victoria’s Britannia Restaurant;

And this is the stunning display by the Lido Buffet;

Thanks very much Keith for those really great pictures. Meanwhile the Galley Team on Queen Elizabeth have also been incredibly busy creating some amazing displays all over the ship, and each day in the run up to Christmas the team added more and more, creating a really festive atmosphere around our new Queen. This Christmas Village was just one of the displays in the Lido Restaurant which was created under the guidance of Queen Elizabeth’s Executive Chef, Nicholas Oldroyd, with the collaboration of the carpentry team;

The Carpenters first cut out the ply board templates and assemble the houses and then, the Executive Pastry Chef, Sigfredo Satin and his team in the Pastry Galley decorated the frames with gingerbread and other assorted treats. Each house took up to eight hours to build and decorate. Adding to the display is the incredible talent of Chef de Partie, Catalino Paje, pictured next to the village, who crafted individual St. Nicholas themed scenes out of Styrofoam. These very detailed pieces take up to twelve hours each. Here are some more his characters adorning the Lido;


Just like her sister Queen Elizabeth’s lounges, restaurants and bars look stunning with the festive decorations such as the Britannia Restaurant

Again every venue has decorations to suit the style of the room as you can see here in the Yacht Club with the beautiful picture of QE2 in the background:

Two days before Christmas Queen Elizabeth arrived in the picturesque Caribbean port of St. Johns on the Island of Antigua, where she towered over the main shopping street.

It was great to be in the Caribbean, away from all the freezing temperatures in Europe and Queen Elizabeth has received a wonderful welcome at each port with Steel Bands, greeting guests as they headed to the beaches and island beauty spots. Here she is again in Antigua, providing a stunning backdrop for guests and locals in the nearby shops, bars and restaurants.

On Christmas Eve in St Lucia Queen Elizabeth could see her sister Queen Mary 2 anchored just outside the harbour and it was a great opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues. Then it was soon time to continue the festivities on board as we continued the Cunard tradition of the carol singing in the Grand Lobby. It’s a very special part of the evening when members of the ships company from all departments, including Captain Julian Burgess, (standing next to me in the front), join guests in singing carols;

Later that evening we held the traditional Christmas Eve church services and then of course it was the big day, and I’ll be back on Friday with photos of our Christmas day on Queen Elizabeth. Tomorrow I’ll have a Vlog and news about Cunard Float, A Grand Celebration at Sea, which will feature in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.

Next week I’ll have more news from around the fleet including Deputy Captain Andrew Hall’s final instalment of Queen Victoria’s recent refit in Hamburg. Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Did any person happened to read feedback item number 11 on 20th December 2010, and if so is there any answers. Remember I am on count down in hours. I have 744 hours left to join the Queen
    “QUEEN ELIZABETH”. I am travelling with a lady that has never had a passport or been out of Australia, so lets kick up our heels for her and give her something Janette will never forget. Competition number one. Quess how many hats will I be wearing and how many badges(PINS)are on each hat(CAP). Is there any ladies that can do OLDE TYME/NEW VOGUE(ENGLISH NEW SEQUENCE) dancing as I know approx. 80 different dances. I love tripping the light fantastic. This will be my tenth cruise. Waiting all you beautiful people.
    Mr. Marek Holden Brisbane Queensland Australia

  2. Paul Clayson says:

    Alastair, great pictures, wish we were there, but after being on Queen Elizabeth’s maiden voyage, we can’t hog it. Looking at the Christmas decorations made us go back and look at our pictures taken on the Queen Victoria’s maiden voyage to the northern capitals just before Christmas a few years ago. While there were plenty of decorations on land, the only thing we could find on board were Christmas trees
    Beryl & Paul Clayson, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada (where we have a foot of snow if you want some)

  3. Kenneth Eden says:

    Lovely, of course. Did anyone capture any pictures of the QM2 all decorated? I have never seen a ship decorated for the holidays as grandly as the Mary, with a real snow machine, no less.

    We too are counting the time as it passees for our next Cunard cruise, this time Hawaiian in February, 2011.

    Speaking of snow, we have 9.5 inches, in an area that SELDOM has more than a trace of it once per winter, and my palm trees did not complain.

    Chesapeake Bay, Virginia

  4. Anthony Gaiani Jr says:

    Happy Christmas Cunard!

    I am anctiously awaiting the Rose Parade this year!

  5. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    As always, a fascinating blog showing how much goes into the preparation
    and the delivery of Christmas on board the Queens.
    All on board must be congratulated on all the hard work which went into the festive season.
    We are sur all the Queens looked absolutely stunning.

    Can we wish you personally, and everybody, both on board and in Southampton, a very Happy, Peaceful and Healthy 2011.

    We are getting so close to our voyage on Queen Elizabeth when we join her in Fort Lauderdale.

    Very best wishes

  6. Sarah Nicol says:

    I love the pictures of all the Christmas decorations – trees and poinsettias and all the creative work of your carpenters and galley teams! Well done to them!
    One of my dreams is to be on board one of your ships for Christmas Eve. After carol-singing on the stairs and leading worship around midnight (I’ll volunteer as a minister of the Church of Scotland!!!) I would go out on deck to look for the brightest star and enjoy the beauty and peace of the skies and the seas.
    As you journey into a new year and visit many harbours may you experience joy and peace!

  7. Geoffrey Palmer says:

    G’Day Alistair
    Looking forward to boarding in Singapore on the 19th March 2011.
    Also noted comments from Marek Holden from Brisbane Aussie – he must really love crusing having done 10 crusises previously.Look forward to meeting with him on board.It will be my wife’s long time dream to travel on a big ship. She couldn’t do any better than to travel on the world’s best – Cunard.
    By the time we board the QE2 we will have gotten over losing teh ASHES!
    Hope you have a great New Year and look forward to reading the comments which I do regularly – keep up the good work with your news letters on all the ships.You are doing a great job.
    Geoff & Nancy Palmer – Gold Coast Australia.

  8. Beryl Moss says:

    The pictures are fantastic and congratulations to all involved in making the Queens look extremely festive. Would love to be on one of them for the Christmas festivities and can only hope that in the not too distant future this will be possible. For now I would like to wish you and all at Cunard a very Happy and Prosperous New Year and look forward to my cruises in 2011 on both Queen Victoria and of course Queen Elizabeth.

  9. Judith Sayers says:

    Lovely decorations. We cruised the caribbean in Dec 2008, on Qm2 celebrating our 40th anniversary. It was lovely to see all the different trees on board. When we married we had a decorated tree in church, so it has always been special to us to have a tree up on “the day”, Qm2 did us proud!! there were lots, as well as those ashore. Looking forward to our 2 trips in 2011.

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