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Meet Queen Elizabeth’s First Star

December 20, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Ship's Company, Updates

Welcome to another week’s Blogging, and as you know I am now back on Queen Elizabeth for her Christmas Voyage and will stay here until the end of the World Voyage in April, while Amanda Reid has returned to Queen Victoria until March. It’s been great to see friends again amongst guests and crew as well as so many BIoggers on this voyage. Thanks as always for all your great feedback and comments, it’s always good to hear from you. A popular topic recently has been the Webcams and I’m delighted so many of you have noticed the new page, showing the ship’s positions and more information about the voyages they are doing.

Also in answer to Tom Morgan’s question; you may recall the wonderful story about Candace Mohamed who was on board Queen Victoria with the Prince’s Trust. If you didn’t read the story you can catch up by clicking on this link:



Although Candace is not yet on board one of our ships, I understand she will hopefully be joining sometime in the New Year so we’ll keep you posted about her progress.

It’s always a pleasure to feature the Star of the Month, which as regular readers will know is the title awarded to just one crew member per ship each month. The award is a result of guest and crew feedback, and then consideration by our on board White Star Committees. Each month we alternate ships, for which “Star” we feature, and this month it’s the turn of Queen Elizabeth. In fact we are going back a little bit, because I wanted to feature Queen Elizabeth’s very first Star of the Month. With so many deserving crew members who worked so incredibly hard during the set up period of Queen Elizabeth, the task of choosing just one person was a very tough choice. The winner in the end was Arnold Arquintillo, the ship’s Hotel Storekeeper, and as with every “Star” his photo was displayed prominently in the Grand Lobby:

Arnold is from the Capital City of Iloilo Province in the Philippines, which is known as the City of Love. His father was an engineer with a shipping company in the Philippines, so he felt it was natural for him to go to sea as well. He actually joined the same company as his father, but was delighted when his manning agency offered him the opportunity to work for Cunard.

Arnold’ first Cunard ship was the Caronia in April 2004, where he joined as a Galley Utility. His next contract was on Queen Mary 2, and when the position of Provision Utility became available, he applied for the job. His application was successful and he remained on Queen Mary 2 for two years, during which time he was awarded Star of the Month runner-up in October 2006.

Arnold was chosen to be part of the start up team for Queen Victoria; opening the new ship in the position of Assistant Storekeeper. He was soon promoted to Hotel Storekeeper and he told me he considered himself very lucky to be a part of the inaugural team for Queen Elizabeth.

He recently got married to his childhood sweetheart Lalice Joy, who comes from the same town as Arnold.

Anrnold and Lalice are expecting their first baby in May 2011, and to say that he is very happy and excited about it, is an understatement.

There are Technical and Hotel storage areas on board our Queens and it’s a huge operation ensuring the ship has whatever it needs where ever she is sailing. The amount of stores the ships carry is determined by the usage in between storing days. Within the hotel department it’s normal to carry about 15 days worth of consumable stores at any one time from fresh meat and fish to wine, beer and dry goods. Most stores arrive in our home port of Southampton but some fresh produce is picked up in ports the ship visits during a voyage. Each Southampton day the ship will take on about 200 tons of stores for the Hotel Department with 90% coming from Southampton suppliers. This is obviously different on a World Voyage where containers are sent to various loading points around the world

Within the Hotel Department there are 8 Storekeepers who with the Assistant and Provisions Master carefully monitor the stores, consumption and ordering. Looking after the general Hotel Stores means Arnold and his assistant Wilson are responsible for items such as stationery, glassware, galley equipment, housekeeping consumables, china and much more.

All Cunard ships have a highly sophisticated ordering system whereby individual departments will submit orders by a special computer programme. All orders are then checked and approved by the Food and Beverage Manager before Arnold and Wilson issue them. The system will then automatically alert the Provision Master to submit orders shore side, up to three months in advance, to maintain the ship’s store levels.

As you can imagine looking after the ship’s Hotel Stores is a very big job, so Arnold starts the day early at 8.00am. The first thing he does is to check the computer to see what orders have come in, and he then begins to prepare them for the various departments to collect later in the day. Space is limited so Arnold and Wilson work hard at keeping the stores clean and very well organised, with stores coming in when the ship arrives in Southampton and orders going out constantly throughout the day during the voyage. Here’s Arnold busy at work in his storeroom:



In his time off on board Arnold likes to rest, relax and watch TV and on port days he tries to get ashore and go for a walk with friends; as he says: “To sightsee and refresh our minds”. At home he values the precious time with his family and enjoys jogging every morning for about 30 minutes.


When I asked him what “We Are Cunard” meant to him, he told me; “To me it means family. We are one big happy family where we enjoy tradition, elegance and high standards through White Star Service. It is great to work here.”

Along with the honour of becoming Queen Elizabeth’s first Star of the Month Arnold received some prize money which he told me would be sent straight home to his wife to keep for their baby. Here he is accepting his award from Captain Chris Wells in a special presentation. Also in the picture from left to right are, Stefan Engl, Food and Beverage Manager, Rex Boco, Provision Master and Robert Howie, Hotel Manager

As for the future, Arnold says his dream is simple; to keep healthy and to see his children grow up gracefully, and he looks forward to seeing his children have children.

Thank you Arnold for sharing your story with us, and congratulations again for being Queen Elizabeth’s first Star. I’ll be back later in the week with a Special Christmas Blog showing our beautifully decorated ships celebrating the festive season.  Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Lyn Myers says:

    I would like to wish all Cunard staff, who are so fantastic, a wonderful Christmas and happy New Year. Enjoy your voyage. Wish I could come again! Blessings, Lyn

  2. Gail Herbert says:

    Hi Alistair, thanks for the up dates. Look forward to meeting you on QE during the Southampton/New York leg of the World Cruise. Be nice to meet you in person! My partner and I are on our way to Las Vegas to get married – not bad for a couple of old uns! See you.

  3. Doug Anderson says:

    I enjoy watching the daily progress of the Queens and really appreciate the addition of the itineraries.

  4. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    A fascinating blog as always.
    Great to hear about Arnold Arquintillo and his White Star Award.
    He obviously is quite special and has worked his way up within Cunard.His award is quite obviously well deserved.
    We hope you enjoy the first Christmas on Queen Elizabeth in warmer climates than here in the UK!
    All the best

  5. Roger Hallett says:

    Congratulations Arnold Arquintillo.
    And congratulations also to the IT people for getting the BridgeCam positioning map working so well. It is really informative and will be most appreciated by those land-based people following the voyages of Cunard’s Greatest!

  6. Denise MacKinnon says:

    Congratulations Arnold on your award on Queen Elizabeth. We will be able to appreciate your good work in January sailing from New York.
    Alastair, Has the Air con been fixed yet? Before we pack our bags, how many warm jumpers do we need to bring? So looking forward to our journey on QE.

  7. Geoffrey Palmer says:


  8. We enjoyed the blog again as we prepare for our xmas at home. It is nice to see Arnold the star of the month, we are always amazed at how many nice people are employed by Cunard. Enjoy your time on the Queen Elizabeth and we look forward to seeing you on another cruise in the future. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all Cunard people everywhere. Ann and Eddy

  9. Daryl Cooper( Queensland) says:

    I am not sure where Roger Hallett is receiving his “Bridge-Cam” information from but here in Queensland, Australia we receive only the “so called dots” on a map and according to my ” Introducing Queen Elizabeth” brochure the “Festive Debut” voyage is totally at odds with what is being shown on “Bridge Cam”. Hope all will be sorted by February 22, 2011 ex Sydney.

  10. mary murdoch says:

    Hi Alistair . thanks again for this blog. Just a few comments on our cruise in December. I was so excited about this holiday but there were a few things missing such as yourself, Robert Howie and Colin Black who are fellow Scots, I was looking forward to meeting you all at the cunard world club party but all was on leave, deservedly so, but i was disapointed . The ship is absalutly beautiful and our state room so comfortable. But the entertainment was not so good . Why is there no other entertainment in the lounges or the Queens Room at 8.30pm while the show is in the theatre ? not everyone wants to go to the theatre. The guest entertainers were very good but the Cunard show productions were very poor.

  11. Are we having trouble with air conditioning like the sister company on “CARNIVAL SPLENDOR” and trouble with bridgecam?. Janette and I were booked on 16th January 2011 for a seven nights cruise until the main switchboard ceased to operate. We have everything crossed that everything goes smoothly. Crossed Fingers,Crossed Arms, Crossed Legs and Crossed eyes. Janette has never been out of Australia and I have introduced her to the second cruise as her first cruise (CARNIVAL SPLENDOR) was cancelled to the Mexican Riviera. Second cruise is from Las Angeles to Sydney (29th January to 22nd February)and her third cruise is Sydney to Fremantle (22nd February to 1st March).I am trying to impress Janette so let us all bung it on for her first big (ENORMOUS)cruise on the best liner sailing ( QUEEN ELIZABETH ). Smooth sailing for everyone and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2011 and join you all in Los Angeles. Marek Holden Brisbane Queensland Australia

  12. Tom Morgan says:

    Thanks for the update on Candace and I shall await the news of her posting. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Look forward to seeing you on the 5th for the transatlantic crossing to NYC and the anticipated ups and downs of the waves.

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