January 13, 2011
We Are Cunard
As you read this I’m sure many of you will have been watching the Webcams, seeing the three Cunard Queens make history, as they gather in New York for a very special celebration. As you know I am currently on Queen Elizabeth, and we have just enjoyed a fabulous commentary in to the Big Apple from Maritime Historian, Bill Miller. I’ve sailed in to New York numerous times but I defy anyone not to be moved as you pass landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan Island itself.
I’ll be posting a special Blog next week on our time in New York and this evening’s celebrations, as Cunard brings together her three new Queens with the New York skyline and a fabulous fireworks display as a dramatic backdrop.
For today’s Blog I’m going to bring you pictures from Queen Elizabeth’s maiden crossing between Southampton and New York, but that’s after our regular feature; this week in Cunard’s history for the week of 13 to 19 January:
|13 January 2008||Queen Victoria makes her maiden call to New York|
|15 January 1949||Caronia leaves New York for the first time.|
|15 January 1972||QE2 Makes her maiden call to Norfolk, Virginia, USA|
|15 January 2004||Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Funchal, Madeira on her 14 day Maiden Voyage to Fort Lauderdale.|
|15 January 2007||Queen Victoria floats out of her dry dock.|
|16 January 2002||The first steel is cut to mark the formal start of construction of Queen Mary 2.|
|19 January 2010||Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call at Port Said, Egypt|
It may have been a cold January evening as Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria prepared to begin their first Tandem Transatlantic Crossing, but the atmosphere around the ships was fantastic. Soon after Queen Elizabeth moved away from her berth at the Ocean Terminal towards her sister at the QE2 terminal, the night sky lit up with a stunning fireworks display, captured by our on board photographers.
What a great way to begin Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden World Voyage. As she drew closer to her sister, there were cheers from both ships’ guests and crew wishing each other Bon Voyage.
Then we were on our way with seven days at sea before arriving in New York. Each day Captain Burgess on Queen Elizabeth and Captain Olsen on Queen Victoria changed sides, enabling guests to have a great view from both sides of their respective ships. It was wonderful to look out each day to see our sister only a few miles away. One day as I was walking along the promenade deck I managed to capture a great photo of Queen Victoria and a stunning rainbow.
Fortunately one of our guests, Mrs Claxton on Queen Victoria captured a somewhat more professional shot of Queen Elizabeth, and an equally stunning rainbow.
There were plenty of photographs being taken throughout the crossing and we were delighted to receive this beautiful picture of Cunard’s newest Queen:
Mind you our photographers also took some great shots of Queen Victoria as well.
As night time fell it was wonderful to see our sister all lit up and this picture of Queen Victoria was captured at dusk one evening, again by our on board photographers.
Of course like all artists the photographers manage to get just the right pictures, and I thought you would enjoy this beautiful picture of Queen Victoria silhouetted against the clouds with the evening sun producing some stunning light.
While we were crossing the Atlantic we managed to keep our guests busy with the usual array of activities including our Cunard Insights Programme. On Queen Elizabeth it was a delight to be able to welcome Terry Waite. Many of you will know Terry from when he was brought to the public’s attention in the early 1980s for successfully negotiating the release of several hostages from Iran. In 1983 he negotiated with Colonel Gaddafi for the release of British hostages held in Libya and again was successful. In January 1987 while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon he himself was taken captive and remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement. Since his release he has been in constant demand as a lecturer, writer and broadcaster.
You could hear a pin drop in the packed Royal Court Theatre, as he talked about his days in solitude and how he was able to cope under such incredible duress. His talks were nothing short of incredible, and his frank yet poignant stories were an inspiration for us all. He has the amazing ability to see positivity and humour through immense adversity. Being a huge cricket fan of course the recent Ashes series in Australia was mentioned on occasion!
Terry again showed the audience his great sense of humour when he took part in our game show, The Liar’s Club, which is where a panel give different definitions to obscure words, with just one panellist telling the truth. Here he is in full flow with comedian Adrian Walsh enjoying the moment as a fellow panellist.
We will never forget his turkey stuffing definition which was apparently inspired by his culinary guide Chef Crudite! Terry is a truly remarkable man and it was such a pleasure to spend time with him during the crossing.
As regular readers know we like to hold get-togethers with guests who have travelled on all three Queen Elizabeth’s. It’s always a pleasure to hear their stories and memories as both guests and crew. This voyage we broke the record with eighteen guests at the meeting, which is the most so far. In fact three of them told us they had in fact travelled on all six queens.
For the more observant of you, the gentleman second from the left on the back row is indeed Commodore Ron Warwick, who is sailing with his wife Kim all the way to Los Angeles. He has kindly agreed to be interviewed so I’ll bring you that sometime in the next couple of weeks.
That’s it for this week, but of course I’ll be back soon, with lots of pictures from the three Queens event and other news from around the Cunard Fleet, as they all head towards warmer climes. Cheers for now, Alastair