April 18, 2011
We Are Cunard
In this special blog we have news from all three Queens starting with some more signature World Voyage events on Queen Elizabeth. The Annual Tug of War competition is always an exciting day and for Queen Elizabeth’s first, it was a fantastic contest. Traditionally the teams dress up in all sorts of costumes and the Kitchen Cannibals won the best dressed team award:
Sport Director Marc Wilkinson invited guests to draw at random which teams would go against each other, and it ended up with both teams from the Entertainment Department competing against each other. The Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company, complete with cheerleaders, narrowly beat the Production Staff to secure their place in the next round;
Of course it’s harder than it looks and it takes tremendous strength as the Purser’s Staff mixed team, the Front Line, found out. They were out matched by the Chateau Pull de Rope team of the Sommeliers who went on to win the mixed team contest;
The men’s final was between the Maitre D’s team and their staff from the Lido called the Lido Giants. In the end the winners of the overall competition were the Lido Giants, and here they are being congratulated by Captain Chris Wells;
That night it was time for another special event when we invited all our guests on the full World Voyage to a special cocktail party. This takes place each leg of the voyage and being the final one, our Executive Chef James Abhilash and his team had excelled themselves with a stunning display.
While we were enjoying our last few days of Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden World Voyage I received a great Guest Blog about a special reunion from Ed Moffat, who is currently the Assistant Entertainment Director on Queen Mary 2;
Assistant Entertainment Director
Queen Mary 2
Recently we held a very successful gathering of guests who were either former guests or crew of the original Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary. Each of the attendees in the photo had very special memories of their time on board.
Dr John Carlyle, travelling with his wife Grace, spent their honeymoon on Queen Mary in November 1966 and in this photo they are being introduced to the Master, Captain Bil Warwick.
Mrs. Mabyn Nichols from Cornwall had travelled on Queen Mary In 1953 and still had some of the menus, Daily Bulletins and guest lists from her trip.
In October 1961, Derek Lamplough sailed on Queen Mary on an eastbound Transatlantic Crossing in Tourist Class as an exchange student. He especially remembers trying to get into the First Class areas, to take a look around. Simon Claxton also sailed Tourist Class in 1961 on Queen Elizabeth, and he told me he was interested in seeing “the pretty girls” in First Class. He recalls being escorted back to Tourist Class by an officer after several attempts. Another Student Exchange, Erik Pfister from Switzerland sailed on Queen Mary in October 1961 from New York to Le Havre and he had a similar idea to Mr. Caxton, but realised that if he dressed up in his best suit he would never get caught. His plan must have worked as he never did.
Mr. Godwin travelled First Class on board Queen Mary on a Transatlantic Crossing during 1962 and Mrs. Elizabeth Kelly sailed on Queen Elizabeth from Southampton to New York. Her British visa had just run out and she was emigrating to the United States. She recalls paying £75 for her fare which paid for her to share a bunk with a stranger in Tourist Class. Mrs. Kelly recalls paying 30 bob (£15) for her train fare from Waterloo Station to the waterside (direct to the ship) in Southampton.
During the Second World War Geoff Collier served in the Fleet Air Arm based at HMS Daedlus in Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire. What makes his story interesting is that he sailed twice on board Queen Elizabeth as a serviceman during the ‘Battle for the Atlantic’ in 1942, and remembers three torpedoes from enemy U-boats launched towards the liner.
Anne Chapman sailed on Queen Elizabeth approximately one year before the ship was retired, travelling around the Mediterranean. There were also some former Cunard Line crew members at the gathering, including Stanley Fitzgerald who worked as waiter on board Queen Mary from 1959 to 1961. He also worked on Saxonia, Franconia and Mauretania, serving 10 years in all with Cunard. John Wilkinson joined Cunard Line as a fireman greaser, working his way up through the ranks to Assistant Engineer Writer until the seaman’s strike. He served on Queen Mary for four tours of duty during 1966 as well as the final refit of Queen Elizabeth.
Roger Jones, from Fareham in Hampshire, served on Queen Mary from 1963 to 1967 joining as an Assistant Engineer Junior 7th working his way up to Engineer Senior 5th. He was also on Queen Mary for her final journey to her current home in Long Beach. Here’s Mr. Jones on the forward deck of Queen Mary;
Here he is again by the funnel of Queen Mary with Cape Horn in the background
I also received a wonderful Blog from Queen Victoria’s Deputy Captain, Simon Love who told me all about a special visitor they recently had on board Queen Victoria as she was sailing from Bermuda to Ponta Delgada in the Azores.
Albert was first sighted on Queen Victoria by guests on deck 8 around 8pm on the second evening after leaving Bermuda and it’s believed that two adult Ospreys where seen earlier that evening circling the ship.
Albert was found at about 6.00 am the next morning, tucked under a life-raft for shelter from the wind. The ship’s Bosun, Auxi Abanador, and Marine Supervisor Shaun Buist, then prepared to catch the bird in a net. As they approached him, Albert walked out from its shelter and settled at their feet and allowed himself to be picked up.
If Albert hadn’t been picked up he would probably have perished at sea, as he would have had to fly back over 1400 nautical miles to Florida or 500 nautical miles from Bermuda. We carried him for the remainder of our voyage a distance of 1470 nautical miles
Albert was taken to our forward mooring area, a sheltered area in the bows of the ship, where he was initially placed on one of our spare mooring ropes, which he could dig into with his very large talons. He was tired and possibly in shock, as he didn’t move much until four hours later when he took off and did a circuit of the forward mooring deck which he did several times afterwards.
The deck seamen fed Albert raw white fish from the galley. He was offered tuna but he didn’t seem too keen on that. In fact, Albert devoured large amounts of fish along with fresh water. The sailors worked quietly on one side of the mooring deck whilst the Albert watched on. Our seamen were proud of their “bird” as they called him, and conscientiously kept guard on the mooring deck, keeping away any unofficial visitors.
Albert appeared as an interest item on the ship’s morning television programme “Catch up with Keith”, in which our Entertainment Director Keith Maynard interviewed me, and we showed video clips of Albert in action. The idea of a naming came up at this show and a competition to select a name was launched. I banned Oscar from the start and the name ‘Albert’ won for its connection with our vessel’s name Queen Victoria.
I am pleased to say that having talked with our agent in Ponta Delgada, who checked with the relevant authorities, he confirmed that they were happy for the bird to be released on the island. He also mentioned that there would be other Ospreys on the island, so Albert wouldn’t be lonely.
When our Ponta Delgada agent saw the bird he told us that he thought we had what they call the “Milhafre”. He told us an interesting fact that when the Portuguese discovered the Azores, they found lots of these birds and wrongly called this Archipelago the Azores because they thought these birds were northern Goshawks, (Azores) when they were, in fact “Milhafre’s”!
When we arrived at Ponta Delgada pilot station the deck crew prepared the ship for mooring whilst Albert watched on with interest. When the main doors were opened he flew towards the entrance, initially flying into the steel wall. He landed on the deck near the door. Shaun, the Marine Supervisor, offered him the brush end of a deck broom. He jumped onto the broom which was then taken to the open door; he spread his wings and took off, flying silently along the starboard side of Queen Victoria before sweeping up and away.
Thank you, Simon for telling that lovely story and it’s great to hear that it all ended well. I’ll be back tomorrow with the pictures I promises of Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth in Civitavecchia and some news from the last few days of Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden World Voyage. Cheers for now, Alastair