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Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth Makes her Debut In The Southern Hemisphere

February 10, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Elizabeth, Updates

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!

If you want to read more about the Crossing the Line Ceremony; we did a post on Queen Victoria’s second World Voyage in 2009 and you can read all about it here

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

  1. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    As always a fascinating blog.
    As we have never crossed the equator by sea we found the ceremony very interesting!!
    Certainly, the participants appear to have thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
    Your visit to Samoa looks amazing!
    Very best regards

  2. Lucy and Mike McNulty says:

    Hi Alistair
    We have just discovered this blog! Please send our love to Nell and John McNulty, who are sailing with you on the Queen Elizabeth. By the looks of it, they are having the most amazing adventure!!!
    Wish we were there.
    Mike and Family

  3. Pam Towart says:

    I remember crossing the Equator some yrs. ago on a very small cruise ship (now defunct Ocean Pearl)so the King Neptune ceremony was on a much smaller scale & much less messy! However, it was fun for us 1st timers, have never crossed the line since (by sea) & mostly likely never will again….

  4. Phil Whitaker says:

    Hi Alistair. That Crossing the Line ceremony looked great fun. It brought back many happy memories of our time on Queen Victoria’s maiden world cruise in 2008. All the best to you and your team and please say hello to Barbara and Graham Dubben and Ed Moffat from us, Thank you. Best regards. Phil and Jim

  5. tony mac says:

    i have achart that says i went through the panama canal on the Q.e.2 jan 2003 signed by capt Warwick. Do you give one out for crossing the line?

  6. Susan & Stephen Darlington says:

    Hellooooo Alistair, Australian Darlingtons here,.. we remember all this fun with you on the Queen Victoria. Our very good friends Linda & Marty Weissman are on the QE with you,.. Marty golfing up a store with your captain,.. Linda facebooking all the fun bits,… brings back wonderful memories from last year.
    Love your blogs…

    Susy and Steve Darlington
    NSW Australia

  7. Geoff and Hilary Ashton says:

    We have been following the progress of Queen Elizabeth with great interest since our son joined the crew in Southampton for her maiden world cruise. Your blog is so interesting and fills us in on the events on board; we were therefore very surprised (and delighted!) to see that Greg has now been initiated into the Shellbacks. We’re so proud that all his training, hard work and perseverance has paid off and that he’s now part of the Cunard family working in a job he tells us he loves!

  8. mary murdoch says:

    Hi Alistair. Great blog and wonderful pictures yet again. Looks like everybody is having a great time and the sunshine looks marvellous, still frezing in Scotland.


    It is so good to be able to keep up with your journeys without having to move out of the armchairs! We went round the World via Cape Horn in 2007 on QM2 and through did the same but through the Panama on Queen Victoria. What wonderful times these were and how many great friends we made and still keep in touch with. Sadly our travelling days are now over so we have to rely on the internet to find out where you all are.

    Please will you pass on our good wishes to Amanda. We hope she is enjoying her first World Cruise as Cruise Director. The last time we saw her was as she left Victoria to transfer to QM2 to cover illness on the 2009 World Voyage.

    Please will you also say hi to Richard and Pat Donahay on QM2 and to all Rotarians on any of the three ships. How we enjoyed Richard’s Rotary meetings. We also say a fond hello to anyone else who might remember us. Peter is a full time wheelchair user so we used to be seen pushing round the ship and struggling up gang planks.

    Love to all Cunarders who read this blog.

    Kay and Peter Bradley from Buckingham, England

  10. Gordon Macmillan says:

    Just discovered your blog as my friends, John and Jane Carracher, are sailing with you on the Queen Elizabeth and I wanted to try and see what they are getting up to. Sounds wonderful. Pass on my best regards please.

    Gordon from a wet and cold Carnoustie

  11. Beryl Moss says:

    What fantastic pictures of the crossing the line ceremony which looks good fun. Its great following the Queens as they make their way around the globe. Makes me feel very envious but hey ho will have to make do with your blogs and the great photographs which you include in them. Amyway May is getting ever closer when we will again board Queen Victoria for a Mediteranean cruise,

  12. Hello Tony Mac
    Thank you for your question.
    Every guest receives a personalised certificate for crossing the Equator and for the International Dateline, it is quite a talking point when returning from a voyage!

    Thank you all for your TV mentions, we have passed them on to your friends and family on the morning show!



  13. Mark Rosenfeld says:


  14. Mark Rosenfeld says:

    what boat is this?

  15. Martyn & Diana Glover says:

    Seeing the pictures of the rendezvous of the QM2 and Queen Elizabeth in Sydney brings back wonderful memories of our cruise on the QM2 and the 2007 rendezvous of the QM2 and QE2 in Sydney as the QE2 sailed past the QM2, Rule Britannia was played and there was not a dry eye in the crowd. It was truly and magical evening! Martyn & Diana Glover

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