February 10, 2011
We Are Cunard
It’s been another busy week on board our ships, and another busy one for the Blog. Thank you as always for all your comments and questions, as well as your messages for guests currently on board our Queens. Between myself on Queen Elizabeth, Ray Rouse on Queen Mary 2 and Amanda Reid on Queen Victoria, we are passing them all on for you on our Morning TV shows, so please feel free to keep them coming.
Going back for a moment to my last Blog, thank you to John Lang for pointing out that there is in fact another Royal Mail Ship called, RMS Segwun and she has been operating since the 1920’s.
After leaving Hawaii Queen Elizabeth headed south west across the Pacific, and at 11.45am on Monday 7 February, she went from Winter to Summer in a second, by crossing the equator in to the southern hemisphere. More of that story after this week in Cunard’s history, for the week of 10 to 16 February.
|10 February 1977||QE2 makes her maiden call to Nagasaki, Japan|
|10 February 2010||Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Vung Tau, Vietnam|
|11 February 2008||Queen Victoria crosses the International Dateline for the first time|
|12 February 1949||Caronia begins her first Caribbean Voyage|
|13 February 2007||Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Pago Pago, American Samoa|
|16 February 2006||Cunard announces the first details of Queen Victoria, including her maiden voyage|
One of the really great things about being on a new ship is being involved in activities and events that the ship will do for the first time. The Crossing the Line Ceremony is always a fun day as the ship seeks permission from King Neptune to proceed across the equator. In a centuries old tradition the King arrives with his court and Pollywogs (people who haven’t crossed the equator before) are brought before the King to answer any allegations of heinous crimes they may have committed. After a swift punishment for all concerned the ship is then granted safe passage. Here is the court in session for the first time on Queen Elizabeth;
Over 200 guests signed up the previous day to be involved and the first part of the ceremony is when all the Pollywogs are brought out to kiss a fish although some were keener than others!
After their crimes are read out the King orders a suitable punishment, which in days gone by would involve all sorts of extremely unsavoury objects and substances, but these days we are a bit kinder and apply whatever the chef manages to find in the galley. Mind you it’s still fairly messy as Allan Hutchinson discovered;
Once the Pollywogs have been thoroughly covered, they then cleanse themselves in the pool to make them fully fledged Shellbacks, as Cheryl Champion from Queensland, Australia is about to do in this photo.
After five guests received the full punishment, we found some crew who were also crossing the equator for the first time and we saved some extra unpleasant items for them as Greg Ashton, a member of the Production Staff from Leeds, found out:
Despite the huge demand we were not able to give every guest the full treatment, but those who had asked to get messy certainly had their wish and having got completely covered, they decided to take an impromptu dip in the pool:
Our thanks as always with these events go to firstly all those who were great sports to get involved and also to our Food and Beverage team for all the wonderful items they provided, but most of all to the deck and accommodation department who had the huge task of cleaning up after us!
And of course we’ll be doing it all again in a month’s time when Queen Elizabeth heads back to the northern hemisphere on 5 March!
The first port of call in the southern hemisphere was Apia, which is the capital of the Independent State of Samoa. The city is located on the northern coast of Upolu, Samoa’s second-largest island.
Writer Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last four years of his life here, and is buried on Mt. Vaea, overlooking both the city and the home he built, Vailima, which is now a museum in his honour, and also gives its name to the local beer.
As this was our first call to the island there was the traditional Plaque Exchange Ceremony, where Captain Burgess met the Prime Minister, the Honourable Tuilaepa Malielegaoi Sailele, and other dignitaries in traditional dress, including Miss Samoa.
Among the gifts the Captain received were a Too Too which is a staff used in Samoan culture and is held by the speaker at a public meeting. He was also given a Fue which the speaker waves across his shoulders to give him more confidence.
Going in to the town of Apia itself, one of the landmarks is the Aggie Grey’s Hotel, which was founded in 1933.
It became a renowned club in the South Pacific for American servicemen stationed in Samoa during the Second World War. Its grounds are beautiful with gardens, restaurants, bars and bungalows.
We were then treated to a fabulous send off from a team of local singers and dancers, who wanted to make sure that Queen Elizabeth’s first visit to their island would end on a very memorable note.
Overnight we sailed the eighty five miles and one time zone to the nearby Island of American Samoa and the port of Pago Pago (pronounced Pango Pango). I’ll be back with more pictures from Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden World Voyage next week as well as other news from around the Cunard Fleet. Cheers for now, Alastair