May 3, 2011
We Are Cunard
Last Friday millions of people gathered to watch the televised ceremony of the Royal Wedding, including guests on board our three Queens in the Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea! What a wonderful day it was and how special and lucky we are at Cunard Line to have such links to our Royal Family. Today we have guest blogs from each of our Queens to share the celebrations from that very proud day:
It would be hard to imagine a more Royalist and inexorably devoted to Cunard individual than the legendary Thomas Quinones, so it will come as no surprise to anyone who knows him to hear how excited he was to be combing a wonderful Royal Wedding with a day on Cunard’s newest addition to the fleet, Queen Elizabeth. Talking to him the day before, he said he was as nervous as if he was getting married himself and had not been able to sleep in the anticipation. So, he took himself off to rest in the early evening of 28 April and set his alarm for just after midnight to get started on his big mission – to create Cunard’s own Royal Mile along deck 2 of Queen Elizabeth.
And what a magnificent job he did of it too, with flags adorning the walkway all through from stern to stem, from the Britannia restaurant, past Café Carinthia, through the Queens Room and past the Golden Lion, leading guests on to the Royal Court Theatre. There were Union Jack flags, hats and bunting everywhere:
Not least, of course surrounding Her Majesty herself!
Early on the morning of 29th, all that remained was to await the crowds’ arrival at both Westminster Abbey and deck 2…….
Knowing this was certainly the next best thing to being at Buckingham Palace for the occasion, Thomas was determined to uphold Cunard’s standards and dressed to befit the event. This is how Queen Elizabeth’s guests were welcomed into the Royal Court Theatre boxes……
Eagerly anticipating the arrival of first the handsome princes and then the beautiful, elegant bride and her sister, the burning issue was the world’s best kept secret – ‘The Dress’: Who had designed it? What would it be like? A collective gasp of delight could be heard around the ship as the beaming Kate Middleton emerged and the jaw-droppingly gorgeous dress was revealed, the audience was rapt, the atmosphere punctuated only by cheers and applause as first Prince William said ‘I will’ and then Kate. It was as if no-one dared to move for fear of missing the magic of the moment, or the much anticipated kiss – it was almost a relief to stand for the National Anthem!
The bonhomie continued through the rest of the day adding a touch of poignancy to the end of the voyage for the guests who were almost all disembarking in Southampton on 30th, but who nevertheless managed to find time to fit in their last afternoon tea with the extra special touches for this very extra special day.
After tea followed the last frenzied packing and putting out suitcases for collection, all valuable activities to ensure an appetite for the celebration Royal Wedding dinner, with congratulations sealed by Captain Chris Wells inviting all guests to toast the happy couple and take home the traditional piece of the spectacular wedding cake.
Executive Pastry Chef, Romualdo Rebello poses here by his masterpiece which was displayed complete with a complementary bridal train!
And finally for those who still had some energy left, an elegant Royal Dance in the Queens Room with none other than the fabulous Thomas leading the way with the Gay Gordons (we could well imagine the Royal Family partying to Scottish music). For the band break – what else could be more appropriate than the Catherine Waltz and Balmoral Blues!
In Thomas’ own words; “A truly legendary, elegant and magnificently memorable day!”
Queen Mary 2
Preparations for the big day began in back in New York when bunting was delivered ready for decoration, provisions arrived ready to make a celebratory meal fit for royalty, and cases of champagne were stored in the ship’s hold ready to be put on ice for a toast to the happy couple.
In the early hours on the day itself, the Entertainment Staff were up at the crack of dawn to prepare the ship’s public areas for the day’s festivities. Festive bunting was hung around the Queens Room, and at the entrances to the Royal Court Theatre, Illuminations and Golden Lion Pub where guests could watch a live feed of the events taking place in London, around 1,500 nautical miles away. Queen Mary 2 was on her Eastbound Transatlantic crossing and two hours behind London time. Time and distance differences aside, the atmosphere on board was transformed and by the time Afternoon Tea was served talk was on little other than the dress, the carriage and of course the kiss.
The order of the day soon switched from observation to celebration, after eating their beautifully prepared Royal Wedding Dinner, Guests in the Golden Lion pub tested their knowledge of all things Royal with a themed trivia, followed by a traditional British sing along that raised the rafters. The focus of the evening was in the Queens Room, where a Royal Wedding Reception was held. Resident International Band Vibz provided the party music
Social Hostess Gun provided the party spirit, culminating in a special red white and blue balloon drop over a packed dance floor.
Celebrations lasted into the night, but as a final touch, and in British wedding tradition, guests returning to their staterooms discovered that a piece of wedding cake had been delivered by Cunard Royal Mail in a commemorative box. A luxurious end to a lengthy day.
One Guest commented to me ” It was amazing, just as if we were at the Royal Wedding itself!”
Proud to be British! 29 April at 1pm Ships time saw 1400 of our guests all gathered in the Royal Court Theatre, Queens Room and Golden Lion Pub to watch the Royal Couple tie the knot. Many more chose to enjoy Room Service and relax in their Staterooms.
The champagne was flowing and the atmosphere a mixture of pride, excitement and anticipation!
As prince Harry cast a cheeky look down the aisle at Kate and reassured his big brother a ripple of laughter and applause erupted from the Theatre followed only moments later by the dabbing of many eyes as vow’s were exchanged and promises made. Several hymns later you could almost feel Queen Victoria roll slightly as 1400 people stood in unison for the National Anthem proud to share in this special moment with the 2 billion people worldwide.
Our guests enjoyed a celebratory menu in the evening, complete with wedding cake baked on board by our wonderful chefs:
In the evening our signature show Victoriana had the packed auditorium calling for more as hundreds of Union Jacks swayed back and forth to Land of Hope and Glory!
In the Queens Room Jamie our Social Host added a touch of fairy tale magic into the Victoriana Ball with a special Cinderella Waltz and traditional Bridal Bouquet toss!
There were many lovely comments as guests headed back to their staterooms with their commemorative menu tucked under arms and the phrase uttered by almost all was that today was a day they were proud to be British and what better way than to spend it on board a Cunard Queen, launched by member of our Royal Family.