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Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria’s Dry Dock – The Final Touches

January 6, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Victoria, Updates

Firstly thank you for all the comments over the Christmas and New Year period. I’m glad you enjoyed the Blogs featuring the celebrations and in fact I have one more to post next week which will show the Cunard Queens bringing in 2011. On behalf of the team in California, thanks for your congratulations for Cunard’s Float A Celebration At Sea, which rather appropriately won the Queen’s Trophy in the 122nd Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, and I’ll be posting a special Blog about this either tomorrow or next week.

Yesterday was an amazing day as Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria left their home port of Southampton, to a fantastic firework display and began their very first Tandem Crossing. This event also marked the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden World Voyage. I’ll post some pictures from that next week.

In this Blog we go back to Hamburg and the final part of the series of posts featuring Queen Victoria’s recent refit, that’s after a busy week in Cunard’s history for 6 to12 January:


6 January 1951  The Caronia departs New York on her first World Voyage which lasts 111 days
6 January 2008 Queen Victoria commences her maiden 106 night World Voyage crossing the Atlantic with the QE2 as she begins what will be her final World Voyage
8 January 2004  Queen Mary 2 is named by Her Majesty the Queen after 20,000 people have worked with 300,000 parts, 1,000 miles of welding in just 2 years of construction
8 January 2007  Cunard announces the new Commodore of the Cunard Fleet as Bernard Warner
10 January 2007  QE2 and Queen Mary 2 depart on simultaneous World Voyages. The first for Queen Mary 2 and the last full World Voyage for QE2
12 January 1950  Caronia makes her first “Great African Cruise”, from New York with 556 passengers
12 January 2004  Queen Mary 2 sails on her 14 day Maiden Voyage to Fort Lauderdale.


I’m delighted to post the third Guest Blog by Queen Victoria’s Deputy Captain, Andrew Hall, who I’m sure you’ll agree has done a fantastic job in giving us an insight in to the refit process. To answer a couple of questions first though regarding the process, about three years is the norm for ships to go in to a dry dock to complete various jobs that cannot be done in service such as repainting the hull. And as far as the question about the anchor chain is concerned Andy told me that although he hasn’t personally counted them, the chain certificate says each link is 570mm by 342mm so he reckons if his maths is right that’s 48 links per shackle.

Now here he is with his next Blog:

Guest Blog

 Andrew Hall

 Deputy Captain

 Queen Victoria

 Welcome again to Hamburg for this final instalment taking a look behind the scenes at what goes on during a ‘refit’, but first news of an arrival at the shipyard.

Every year it is tradition that a local Christmas tree seller, in association with the local police authority, donates a Christmas tree to every ship in port. On this occasion a kind invitation was received for some of Queen Victoria’s officers to embark the boat delivering the trees and in doing so they were treated to a cruise of the harbour and lunch! Here’s a picture of Captain’s Secretary Emma Prangle and Personnel and Training Manager Orla McCreesh, with none other than Father Christmas himself just prior to making that special delivery!



The highlight of the harbour cruise was of course the delivery of the tree for Queen Victoria, and with the assistance of the yard’s crane our tree was hoisted from the delivery vessel to deck 9 where I was on hand with Eike Bayer from Blohm and Voss to take receipt of the tree and dispatch a Queen Victoria lifebuoy as a gift in return.



Back to the work now, so let’s return to the dock bottom first of all to see how work is progressing. In the previous blogs we have seen the work going on to replace the Azipod bearings and to blast away the marine growth on the hull. With the blasting work complete, work continued with the preparation of the ship’s bottom for the first full layer of antifouling paint, the application of which you can see below. It is amazing how quickly they can cover such a large area.



At the forward end of the ship, while work continued to repair and overhaul the anchor cables, work was also progressing on the ship’s bow thrusters. These are the propellers mounted in tunnels through the ship’s bow and which provide the sideways movement of the bow when docking.



Queen Victoria has three bow thrusters, each of 2.2 megawatts in power which operate together to deliver 6.6 megawatts or around 8850 Horsepower. They operate using a controllable pitch propeller system which means when running the propeller is continuously turning and the direction of thrust is changed from port to starboard and vice versa by changing the pitch of the propeller blades. Although there was nothing wrong with the thrusters they have received a full overhaul of the working parts to ensure they remain serviceable until the next refit.



Further back in the dock the starboard stabiliser fin can be seen in the extended position. The stabiliser fins are provided to reduce the rolling (side to side) movement of the ship in heavy seas making for a much more comfortable motion is such weather. The fins are effectively ‘wings’ extending from the ship’s side which tilt ‘nose up’ and ‘nose down’ to counteract the natural roll of the ship. Again, even though they had been performing with no issues they have received an overhaul and coat of paint, and the fin boxes in which the fins are housed when not in use, have been cleaned and similarly painted inside. Finally in the dock bottom, work nears completion on the overhaul of the main propulsion pods with the propellers having been remounted and a coat of antifouling pain having been applied to their structure.



From the dock bottom to the dockside where we can also see progress being made, first of all with the painting of the trademark Federal Grey topside colour. This really looks fantastic now as I hope you can see in this shot of the bow section.



Work is also progressing well to paint the white areas between the stateroom balconies.



Over on the starboard side of the dock work continues to give the lifeboats a clean and polish. They have also received new canvas covers, replacing the old ones which had become faded over time. Here’s the Deck team with a spruced up lifeboat number 15, having just received a fresh fall of snow as well!



Returning onboard from the rather chilly conditions outside, many improvements can be seen, although there is plenty of cleaning up to do. This is the scene looking aft along deck 3 towards the photo gallery with the new carpet freshly laid and having been protected alongside quite a pile of carpet off cuts.



Here’s Alex from the Housekeeping Department, with the roller machine laying plastic sheeting to protect the new carpet.



Down on deck 1, adjacent to the Pursers Desk, there is still a little way to go before the new carpet can be laid although it won’t be long. Previously we saw work in progress to dig up the old sub decking which was breaking down; now work is progressing to mix and lay the new screed which is very much like cement, albeit with a latex component.



 Well that’s it from Hamburg where our time in the Blohm and Voss shipyard is drawing to a close. By the time you read this Queen Victoria will again be afloat once more having completed a mini voyage and her Christmas Voyage to the Canaries.  We look forward to inviting you on board soon so you can see for yourselves just how great she looks after her refit. See you soon!

 I’ll leave you with this fantastic picture by night showing an illuminated Queen Victoria sitting on the blocks of the Elbe 17 dry dock against the Hamburg skyline.



Thanks again Andy for a superb Blog and yet another fascinating insight in to the refit process. Hopefully you’ll come and write for the Blog again sometime soon.

Meanwhile I’ll return soon with firstly news from the 122nd Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, and of course pictures from our Queens celebrating the beginning of 2011. Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Beryl Moss says:

    All the refitting blogs have made very interesting reading and gives an insight into what is involved. Looking forward to our next cruise on Queen Victoria in May to see for ourselves the results of the refit.

  2. Pam Towart says:

    Lovely nighttime view of the Q.V.! Can’t believe only a few weeks now ’til I will be on board bound for Panama Canal.

  3. Loved it, Loved it. made my heart flutter seeing all the new for Queen Victoria. We will be on her in the fall. So excited. Your blog is nicely done. The parade and float was beautiful done. Keep up your hard work. Sandy

  4. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    A big “thank you” to Andy Hall.
    What a fascinating blog on the “behind the scenes” blog on the
    Queen Victoria.
    It is quite amazing to see how much was done and in 9 days!!
    See you very soon,
    Very best regards

  5. Anthony Jr says:

    I love seing the Queens get new paint jobs, and when they are finished they look even more beautiful than before! Also, Happy 7th birthday Queen Mary 2!!!!!!

  6. Sandra Tomlinson says:

    Thankyou for being able to keep in touch with the progress of the Queen Victoria. As we sailed on her lest year, and we intend sailing on the Queen Elizabeth next year, it is good to get feedback as to what is happening to the Cunard fleet.
    Many thanks,
    Graham & Sandra Tomlinson.

  7. Kenneth Eden says:

    We’re counting the days ’til we sail the QV from LAX to Hawaii! We,ve had a very rare cold winter here, and the warm tropical breezes will be a nice change. The Queen Victoria, a nice escape!

  8. Carolyn & Tom West says:

    Thank you for this fascinating insite to Queen Victoria’s refit. Now we are even more looking forward to our March 3rd Panama Canal cruise aboard Queen Victoria.

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