March 15, 2011
We Are Cunard
Before I start this Blog, thank you, for all your messages of concern after the tragic events in northern Japan. As many of you were aware Queen Mary 2 was about 450 miles the epicentre at the time and naturally our thoughts were with her guests and crew as soon as we saw the news reports unfold. The weather where Queen Mary 2 was at the time was calm, and it was a relief to hear that the sea area and route the ship was on was also unaffected by any after effects of the earthquake. The Commodore kept the guest on board fully informed with the developments and fortunately the news got through quite quickly that everyone on our flagship was fine.
Over the weekend I received this message from Rachael Fish, the Assistant Entertainment Director on Queen Mary 2 with this update: -
On March 11th, we were crossing between Osaka and Nagasaki, Japan when we heard the news about the earthquake. Fortunately being at sea at the time, we were completely unaffected but there were 33 Queen Mary 2 guests ashore on an overland tour through Tokyo. They were due to rejoin the ship in Nagasaki on March 12th and were being escorted by Iva from our Tour Office.
We very soon heard they were all fine but with the Japanese ports all being closed we were not sure how they would rejoin the ship. I am delighted to report that the group were returned to us safely by pilot boat from Nagasaki yesterday, (12th March), at 3:00pm, along with Iva, who according to all her guests, did a truly fantastic job.
Thank you Rachael for that reassurance; of course our prayers and thoughts are with the Japanese people and everyone affected by this terrible disaster.
While Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth are in Asia on their 2011 World Voyages, I was delighted to receive two Guest Blogs from Queen Victoria, with some great pictures from their time in Hawaii and Mexico.
Firstly I would like to introduce Adam Ritchin, who is the Guest Computer Services Manager on Queen Victoria. Adam looks after the guest Internet Centre and teaches some great classes, where guests can hone their computer skills from the basics through to learning how to Photoshop holiday photos and more. In the first of a series of Guest Blogs, here he is with a pictorial review of the Hawaiian Islands;
Guest Computer Services Manager
Greetings from Queen Victoria! I’m Adam Ritchin, the Guest Computer Services Manager on board, and every week or two, I’ll be posting some blogs to give everyone a sense of the Queen Victoria experience.
Recently, we were on our second of two voyages to Hawaii. If you’ve never been, let’s put it this way; it was truly paradise. The weather was ideal at around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) with a fresh sea breeze. We stopped at four ports, and each one offered something unique.
Honolulu offered the charms of a large city, a welcoming oceanfront, tons of great shopping and restaurants, and world famous beaches. From the famous Aloha Tower next to our ship…………
……….to remembering fallen heroes at Pearl Harbor………..
…….to the delightful beach at world famous Sunset Beach; the nirvana for serious surfers.
Honolulu is unforgettable. There’s a lot more to see than just high rise hotels and famous beaches. Did you know that in Hilo, there’s a Buddhist temple that’s set in the mountains?
…….enjoy a meal at the historic Pioneer Inn.
You can also hop on a boat and watch whales in their natural habitat. I went on a whale watching trip and saw at least eight whales, but sadly the whales were quicker than my camera!
Finally, there’s Nawiliwili, with rustic charm and modern amenities.
In late December this year, Queen Victoria returns to Hawaii for her festive voyage. I suggest you escape the snow, ice and misery, and whatever you choose to do, even if you’re just a turtle lying on the beach………
………..you will have a tremendous time. Bye for now!
Thanks Adam for a great post. We look forward to your next one and more news from Queen Victoria. Meanwhile in the same week I also heard from Anand Ramakrishnan who is Queen Victoria’s White Star Trainer. Anand is responsible for the White Star Training on board and this has kept him particularly busy recently with so many new crew members joining the ship. In his first Guest Blog he tells us about a wine tasting tour taken by some of the Queen Victoria crew in Ensenada, Mexico;
White Star Trainer
When we were in Ensenada, Mexico, I had the opportunity to join our Chief Sommelier Vijay Kumar and his team on a wine tasting tour to the Vina De Liceaga Winery. There were fourteen of us and here we are at the beginning of our day:
It was a 45 minute coastal drive towards the hills of Ensenada, and once we arrived Alejandro, Sommelier of the vineyard, welcomed us and explained in detail the viticulture and vinification process in wine making in their vineyard. He apologised that he was unable to show us the actual cellar on that day as they were in the process of bottling their wine. However to compensate for that, he offered us a tasting of their homemade Grappa at the end of the tour. This is the initial stage of the vines being grown.
Alejandro took us inside a well decorated tasting room overlooking the vineyard. We sat around the tasting tables which were resting on aged wooden wine casks, and the tables were laid out with wine glasses, bread, cheeses and three different types of olive oil.
We tasted six different types of wine, Chenin blanc, two types of Merlot, two types of Cabernet Sauvignon and a blend of Syrah and Merlot. Below you can see Alejandro explaining each wine, and of course he insisted we tasted each of them!
You can also see below our Chief Sommelier Vijay to the right of this next photo with his team. The Sommeliers asked quite a few technical questions which Alejandro explained in detail which gave our newly joined Sommeliers extra knowledge on wine making.
After we tasted all six wines we went down to the first part of the cellar where we saw wines in aged barrels. The barrels were from new French oak and new American oak. Alejandro also explained the whole process of ageing wine in barrels, explaining that they age their wine for between 6 and 22 months, depending on the blend and the wine maker’s decision.
Then he offered us two kinds of Grappa which they make in their vineyard which were very different from the wines we tasted, and I shall leave it at that!
Thank you Vijay, it was a great wine tasting experience, and I am sure this will further enhance our Sommeliers knowledge and will help them provide our guests with even better service. On the way back to Queen Victoria we also got to see some beautiful scenery.
Thank you, Anand for that fascinating Blog. It reminds me of the wine tasting I enjoyed in Maclaren Vale last year and it certainly is great experience for our Sommeliers.
After this very busy week of Blogs I’d like to thank again all our guest Bloggers and will be back next week with more news from Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden World Voyage and from around the fleet. Cheers for now, Alastair