March 24, 2011
We Are Cunard
Firstly thank you for all of your lovely comments about our most recent Stars of the Month; we are very proud to be able to recognise them for doing such a great job, and I know their families at home will also appreciate reading your kind feedback on this blog. I’ll be back in a few weeks with three more Stars but today I wanted to highlight some of the events and people that make a World Voyage so special and unique; but that’s after this week in Cunard’s history for the week of 24to 30 March:
|25 March 1975||QE2 makes her first transit of Panama Canal, making her the largest ship to travel through the canal to date.|
|25 March 2010||Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call at Cape Town, South Africa|
|27 March 1989||QE2 is chartered for 72 days by a consortium of Japanese companies|
|28 March 2008||Queen Victoria makes her maiden call at Mumbai|
|29 March 1950||Caronia completes her first “Great African Cruise”, arriving back in Southampton|
|29 March 1998||Nelson Mandela sails on QE2 from Durban to Cape Town. This is the first time a Head of State has travelled on board since HM The Queen in 1990.|
|30 March 1923||After a 130 day voyage, the Laconia returns to New York as the first ever passenger ship to complete a World Voyage|
There are so many highlights during a World Voyage but one evening that is truly special for our guests who are on board for the whole World Voyage, is the World Voyage dinner. The venue for the 2011 World Voyage Dinner this year was Sky City, The Auckland Convention Centre which opened in 2004. For the first time, both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth enjoyed their dinners at the same venue, just over a week apart from each other.
After a cocktail party on board our Full World Voyage guests were met on a red carpet by their tour guides who would escort them by coach to Sky City. The guides did a great job in giving a quick background to the city of Auckland, and all were dressed as someone who should know; Captain James Cook. Here they all are with Queen Elizabeth’s Captain Julian Burgess.
Guests were met at Sky City by a traditional Maori welcome, before entering the grand ballroom which looked magnificent with a special set and stunning floral and table arrangements. Just before dinner the Captain welcomed guests and introduced Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks who talked about the history, present and future of Cunard. Then it was time for the meal, served with New Zealand wines, which looked and tasted wonderful. Just look at this beautifully presented dessert:-
During the meal the photographers were able to capture the moment and in this picture you will get an idea of what a wonderful event it was and how stunning the venue looked.
Then it was time for dancing the night away before the coaches took everyone back to the ship in time for a Sailaway Party overlooking the night sky over Auckland.
A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to meet 91 year old Mr. Joseph Russell from Melbourne, who told me all about one of his first voyages when he crossed the Atlantic on Queen Mary in October 1937. Here we are with Mr. Joseph and Captain Burgess and members of his family, Beverley Bird and Courtenay English;
The Russell family company was established in 1908 making pressure gauges, and given the impending World War, production was about to be increased as their gauges were a vital component for Depths Charges.
Mr. Russell’s family took a ship to Southampton and continued the journey to New York on Queen Mary. The purpose of the trip was to source new machinery for the business, and we were lucky that Mr. Russell had kept all the paper work from that journey;
Equally fascinating was the Itinerary paperwork which was in remarkable condition. In it you could even see the price of the whole trip although this didn’t include their passage on Queen Mary!
Another brand new event for Cunard has taken place on Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden World Voyage. Guests took part in four heats in the Golden Lion Pub, and the team with the highest accumulative score were invited to play against the Officers in a new game show called The Ultimate Quiz Challenge.
On the day I acted as Quizmaster in the Royal Court Theatre, as our Officers battled it out with a team of guests. There were nine rounds of questions from Cryptic Connections to Movie Music and fastest on the buzzer.
Team Sam for the guests comprised, Sam Kutner, Charles Meson, John Taylor and Tim Anderson. Meanwhile for the officers we had Dr. Baljit Chhokar, White Star Trainer, Emma de Wilde, Technical Stores Manager Paul Edwards and Captain Julian Burgess. In the end the guests won by just one point………. or so we thought! It turned out after a recount that in fact the competition was a draw, so we’ll have to have a rematch before the end of the World Voyage! Anyway here are the teams at the end of what was a really good afternoon.
Another World Voyage event is the Float Your Boat competition. This is where guests are invited to build craft that will carry six cans of beer from one end of the Pavilion Pool to another. They are given a relatively free reign on what they build, but on the day the contestants are not allowed to touch their craft or use any mechanical means of propulsion.
This turned out to be a competition with national and personal pride with many guests going to incredible lengths to ensure success. Here’s one of the heats with Wacky Noodle (we’ll come back to them in a while), against 13 year old Luke Gregg with his boat Zoned Out.
One or two guests went a bit far with their ingenuity, which meant they had to be disqualified, such as this boat called No Sweat. It appeared upon closer examination that the boat had a propeller that was controlled remotely. As you see in the pictures below the judges decided to see how it would sail……. well not so well.
There is some justice in the world! Then there was Roger’s Jolly whose owners had rigged up a remarkable pulley system to help their boat, but again that had to be disqualified. Good try though!
After four heats it was down to the final between Chin Tan from Singapore, with his craft Q’Nard’s Dream, propelled by table tennis bats creating waves under the water, against Graham Dubben from Weymouth, England, and his hose propelled boat Wacky Noodle. I know; what imagination and probably only just within the rules! Here they are under starters orders and then mid race;
There had to be a winner and in the end Wacky Noodle crossed the finishing line first, and here’s Graham with a bottle of champagne and his team mates wearing purple sashes cheering him on.
Congratulations to all involved, especially DJ Mark Rawlins and Sports Director Marc Wilkson for organising a great afternoon of fun.
There are also many extra Royal Nights in the Queens Room on a World Voyage with themes celebrating St.Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day as well as the regions we visit such as the South Pacific, Asia and India. We also have other themed nights including the Carnival Ball and the Roaring 20’s Ball.
It’s always great to see people getting dressed up for the occasion, and I couldn’t resist this photo with Helen Boskemper & Thelma Fitzpatrick from Adelaide, Australia, all dressed up in their wonderful outfits for that night;
There’s so much more to tell you about the World Voyage and what’s going on, but that’ll have to wait for another day. Tomorrow I’ll be back with some photos from Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden calls in Vietnam and Singapore and next week some more news from Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. Cheers for now, Alastair