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Queen Victoria


December 16, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Victoria, Updates

As the Christmas song goes, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas aboard our Cunard Queens. Joining Queen Elizabeth for her first Christmas on Tuesday it was lovely to see the ship looking magnificent in her festive decor. I’ll have a special Blog Next week with all the ships decorations as well as keeping you up to date with the festivities on board. In this Blog we go back to Hamburg and the second part of the series of posts featuring Queen Victoria’s refit, that’s after a busy week in Cunard’s history for the 10th to the 16th of December:

10 1999 The Vistafjord is renamed Caronia at a ceremony in Liverpool
10 2007 Her Royal Highness, The Duchess Of Cornwall, names Queen Victoria as she enters service as Cunard’s 147th ship to sail under the Cunard Flag – 167 years after the first ship – the Britannia
12 1946 The Media is launched at John Brown Shipyard at Clydebank, and will become the first new passenger ship on the Atlantic after the war. Although originally designed as a freighter she was converted to be part cargo part passenger.
14 1954 Ivernia is launched and goes in to service on the Canadian emigrant run a year later
14 1955 Carinthia is launched at John Brown Yard at Clydebank, and along with the Sylvania they are the last liners to be built purely for the North Atlantic market. She beomes the last Canadian emigrant ship
16 1899 The Saxonia is launched at the Clydeside yard of John Brown and Company shipyard. She will eventually be 14,200 tons and have the tallest funnel in the world at a staggering 106 feet from deck to cowl.

Now I’m excited to post the second Guest Blog by Queen Victoria’s Deputy Captain, Andrew Hall, looking at her refit in Hamburg.

Guest Blog

 Andrew Hall,  Deputy Captain

 Queen Victoria



Since my last Blog, there has been a lot happening here in Hamburg. The refit work continues to progress well and it is pleasing to see some work already nearing completion. We have had our challenges though with the weather. The temperature here has barely risen above freezing which has made it very hard to wash the ship down. The snow has caused additional difficulties, not least for the logistics team in getting much needed supplies to us.

Whilst it may be cold outside, inside the ship it is warm. With the weather forecast in the days leading up to arrival, we always knew that keeping everyone on board warm, and as a consequence happy, would be one of our greatest challenges. Despite the refit work requiring so many open entrances into the ship, the technical team have been doing a great job in the circumstances. We’ve even had hot and cold water – well for most of the time at least!

 With the dry dock empty the first major work to start in the bottom of the dock was to our main propulsion system. Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth are fitted with two Azimuthing Podded Drives more commonly known as Azipods or more simply as Pods. These pull the ship through the water rather than push, and of course provide excellent manoeuvrability when combined with the bow thrusters for docking.

The Pods do require an overhaul though at regular intervals, which includes changing the roller bearings for new ones, rather like having new tyres on your car! However unlike a tyre change a pod bearing change takes rather longer and a significant amount of labour as well as a lot of heavy machinery and equipment!


Whilst the pod overhaul continued, work finally started on the high-pressure water blasting of the underwater part of the hull. Water at 650 bar pressure was used to clean away over 3 years of weed, slime and the majority of the old paint.


Right up at the forward end of the dock both of the ship’s anchors and chain cables were ranged in the dock bottom. This is very much a routine job in dry dock. Queen Victoria has three anchors, each 11.2 tonnes in weight. Two are the ‘in service’ anchors on each side of the bow, and the third is a spare, which is carried on the forward crew deck. The anchor cables on each side of the bow consist of fourteen shackles port and thirteen shackles starboard (a shackle being a section of chain cable measuring 27.5 metres in length). Once ‘ranged’ in the dock, shackles one and two were disconnected from their anchors and moved to become shackles thirteen and fourteen respectively leaving shackles three and four to become one and two. Are you with me? Don’t worry if you are not! Essentially all this moving around of chain pieces is just to ensure it wears evenly over its lifetime.


We’ll come back to the dock bottom in my next Blog; meanwhile let’s take a look at some of what is going on on board.

As you step on board into the Grand Lobby you immediately see and hear what looks to be quite an upheaval! Work continues apace to rip out the old carpet and dig up the concrete screed from the deck below. Men with Kango hammers dig away at the deck in scenes you would normally associate with digging up the road outside your house in order to fix a water main. This work continues through the Grand Lobby and aft into the Chart Room.


Further aft though, in the Britannia Restaurant, work is nearing completion already with the new carpet having already been laid. There is still some tidying up to do and of course the furniture has to be returned to position, but it is great to see it taking shape and experience that special new carpet smell.


Meanwhile in the Queen’s Room, the wooden dance floor has received a makeover, having been sanded down and recoated. In the photograph work continues as the specialist craftsmen touch up the detail in the floor. At the same time a team of French Polishers give similar attention to the furniture.

Aside from the refit work there is another story to tell. We were approached by Blohm & Voss Mechanical Field Engineer, Anja van Eijsden, who asked us if we would consider supporting the shipyard’s sponsored charity by donating any unwanted items from the ship. We were, of course, happy to help! With the kind assistance of Environmental Officer John Newlyn and the team within the Hotel Department, we were able to find a good selection including linen, clothes and books. Amongst other miscellaneous items, we were able to donate an old computer desk, which although was no longer needed on board Queen Victoria, would definitely be appreciated by its new owner.


For our readers in Germany, you can find Anja’s website at www.der-hafen-hilft.de. That’s all for now but join me again next time for a further update on how things are progressing here in Hamburg.

Thank you so much Andrew for another great Blog and it’s great to see Queen Victoria being spruced up ready for her next few years of service. We look forward to the final instalment next week. I’ll be back on Monday with more news, from around the fleet as our Queens begin their Christmas Voyages.

Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. David Allioson says:

    Andrew Hall’s blogs have been excellent,keep them coming.

  2. Bob says:

    Thank you for the very informative blog, Deputy Captain Hall! I was fascinated to read about what is happening to the Queen Victoria while she is in drydock.

    Those anchor links are huge! Question: how many links are in an anchor’s 27.5m long “shackle?”

  3. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    A great blog from Andrew Hall.It is fascinating to see and hear what goes on at a refit.

    I agree with other comments that putting the map on with the Bridge Cams is great.
    It really is marvellous to follow the three Queens around the world.

    Can we wish you personally, and all the crews on the Queens a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy 2011.
    Very best regards

  4. Gerrie and Mike Lambert says:

    how come web cam says Victoria is in Zeebrugge and yet your blogs say she is in dry dock ???? are there 2 QVs

  5. del says:

    having photograph ships at speed underwater, the prop is best seen as turning in a curd ,so is pushing the ship, forwards

  6. Kenneth Eden says:

    Fascinating information on the refit, as I have heard about “ships being refurbished” and dry docked, however, I had never seen any coverage of the actual job being done. Splendid commentary and pictures.

    Several cruise lines send their ships to Norfolk, Virginia for dry dock and refitting and can be seen quite often for the short time they are here.

  7. Kenneth Eden says:

    Dear Alastair,

    I am anxiously awaiting the Holiday decoration photos. I have enjoyed three Christmas time cruises with the Queen Mary 2, and she is somethng to behold during the holidays, stunning to see and photograph.

    Was a snow machine installed, as one was installed on the QM2?

    I await your blog, comments and pictures!!!

  8. Beryl Moss says:

    Andrew Hall’s blogs on Queen Victoria’s refit are fascinating to read. I also agree that the itinery and map on the ship’s web cams are great as we can follow the Queens around the world on their voyages.

  9. Iris Eason says:

    Didn’t realise Queen Victoria would have a refit so soon – do all ships have them every three years?

  10. George Dunn says:

    Great Blog, when is the next one due up?


  11. Rob H says:

    Very informative information on the refit. Perhaps we will see one of the ‘Queen’s’ refitted one year in our dockyard at Victoria BC , Vancouver Island Canada.
    Our yards have done refits on Holland America and Princess Ships in the last few years.

    Not being an engineer , my question is does the ship actually rest on the floor of the dry dock or on on pilings.

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