December 20, 2010
We Are Cunard
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