March 18, 2011
We Are Cunard
Firstly thank you for all your comments and concern regarding the tragic Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Although it’s wonderful news that none of our guests or crew were affected by the disastrous events, our thoughts and prayers remain with the Japanese people as they struggle to come to terms with what has happened. All three Queens are of course taking donations from guests and crew to pass on to the relief agencies, and we’ll let you know about some of the fund raising efforts in forthcoming blogs.
While Queen Victoria enjoys being back in the Caribbean, Queen Mary 2 is heading to Hong Kong after her calls at Shanghai and Xingang (the port for Beijing and the Great Wall of China). Queen Elizabeth made her maiden call to Hong Kong last week, and I’ll tell you all about it after our weekly feature, this week in Cunard’s history from 17 to 23March:
|17 March 2007||Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Alexandria, Egypt|
|17 March 2009||Cunard reveals the first information about the new Queen Elizabeth due to be launched 18 months later|
|18 March 1839||Samuel Cunard agrees to a tentative contract with the British Admiralty to “Convey mail from a point in England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and back twice a month”|
|19 March 1975||QE2 makes her maiden call to Los Angeles, USA|
|21 March 2003||Queen Mary 2 is floated out of the building dock|
|22 March 1921||Ausonia is launched and enters service the next year|
|23 March 1921||Scythia is launched and enters service later the same year.|
|23 March 1950||Caronia makes her maiden call to Lisbon, Portugal|
|23 March 2008||Queen Victoria makes her maiden call to Chenai, formerly known as Madras, India|
Another highlight of any World Voyage is coming to the Fragrant Harbour otherwise known as Hong Kong. In fact I wrote a blog about Queen Victoria’s visit last year which you can read by following here
This year we were very lucky to be docking at the Ocean Terminal in the heart of this amazing city. Hong Kong Island is famous for its lights, but that’s at night. Queen Elizabeth arrived very early in the morning, so the lights were not as colourful as they would be later, but it’s still an unmistakably impressive skyline.
As the ship swung round to her berth at Ocean Terminal, we could see the famous Star Ferry terminal right next to us. You can see the tug standing by to assist if necessary, and it even had a clean white sheet on its bow so that it wouldn’t mark our beautiful Queen!
Meanwhile as we were docking, dawn was breaking over Hong Kong Island behind us and in this next photo you can see in the background, the impressive Two International Finance Centre building, which was designed by Cesar Pelli and opened in 2003. At 88 floors it is now Hong Kong’s second tallest building.
It was certainly a very warm welcome for Queen Elizabeth’s maiden call, and if any of our guests were hoping for a lie in that morning the drummers on the quay side had other ideas!
The local authorities were clearly keen to impress with music and the traditional Chinese Dragon running along the top of the terminal building.
Once docked it was great to get ashore to enjoy the bustling city, but as I left the terminal building I had to take this picture of our Queen looking majestic at her berth with one of the most famous skylines in the world providing the backdrop.
Hong Kong is a wonderfully vibrant city which is dominated by impressive modern architecture. There are still some old colonial buildings remaining which are being carefully restored, and this is where there is a wonderful contrast of the old and the new. This is a photo of the newly redeveloped 1881 complex of hotel, restaurants and chic boutiques in the foreground, and One Peking towering behind it.
Opening in 2003 and standing at 30 floors, it has a commanding position overlooking Hong Kong Harbour. On the top two floors, restaurants and bars offer an amazing view and I managed to take this picture of Queen Elizabeth at the heart of the city at Ocean Terminal.
That night at 8.00pm, Hong Kong offered its nightly laser show and Queen Elizabeth probably had one of the best views of this spectacular light show from the comfort of her open decks and balconies. Fortunately there was a professional photographer there to capture the moment, so thank you again to our Chief Photographer, Petar Pecanac for this great picture.
The following day Queen Elizabeth moved to Junk Bay and used shore side tenders to take everyone to Hong Kong Island. It was, as always in Hong Kong, a fantastic two days before the ship headed off for her Vietnamese ports of call and I’ll post those pictures next week.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a Guest Blog from Author and Lecturer, Chris Fame, who many of you will know. He sailed with us from Melbourne to Fremantle so tomorrow’s post will be about his stay on board. Next week we will celebrate Cunard’s latest Stars as well as news from our Flagship, Queen Mary 2.
Please do keep these comments and questions coming and thanks as always for logging on. Cheers for now, Alastair