June 16, 2011
We Are Cunard
I have just returned from a few days business in New York. It’s our second home really – with Queen Mary 2 there on a regular basis over the summer. The reason for my visit was to hold a series of meetings with our close travel agent partners, meet with travel media partners and to take part in a Cruise Symposium for many of the ports we visit in Canada and New England. It was a very useful if tiring visit – but every time I travel to New York I bump in to Cunard History and I can’t resist telling you about it – so here goes.
Our travel agent event was held at the very prestigious Harvard Club. It is a beautiful and traditional building – and as we say in England ‘it does exactly what it says on the tin’. The outside of the building says it all;
Inside it is beautiful, wooden panels, grand staircases, libraries, meeting rooms and on the upper floors they have some accommodation, a gym and some squash courts. So we – along with 100 of our close travel agent partners felt very privileged to be there and felt a sense of the wonderful tradition of Harvard. The meeting went very well, we served tea and scones, I presented how Cunard was doing – how we now have the youngest fleet in the world, go to more places than ever before but importantly are still holding firm to the traditional values that our guests rightly expect from us. At the end of the session we held a Q&A and that was most useful – a chance for me to get some feedback on how we are doing, what we could do better and some very useful ideas.
Later that afternoon I had a meeting down at Chelsea Piers. Now Chelsea Piers are where many of our ships docked many years ago. So after the meeting I went for a look round – and found something quite amazing. Between two of the piers there is a wall of large black and white photos. When I say large – each one is about 2 metres high by 2 metres wide. The subject of the photos was primarily about our ship Carpathia. Many of you will know that in 1912 it was the Carpathia that went to the rescue of the Titanic – well she brought the survivors to this very spot.
This is a picture of people standing on the dockside awaiting the Carpathia’s arrival with survivors. Fifteen hundred lives had been lost and many were waiting to see if the Carpathia had brought their relatives to safety. In the picture you can see the old ‘Cunard Store’. It must have been a very moving and daunting time for all those present.
Here you can see Carpathia alongside with Titanic survivors on board waiting to disembark. It is hard to think what it could have been like for those who had experienced the terrible tragedy and to now find themselves arriving in New York – many would have come with dreams and instead now find themselves in such a sad situation.
It was quite something to stand and look at these huge black and white photos and to think that it all happened for real so many years ago on this very spot in New York. One has to have so much respect for all that were involved in the tragic Titanic events and the part that Carpathia played.
So later that afternoon, we took a boat trip down the river to show those taking part in the Cruise Symposium our Brooklyn Terminal. It was quite a menacing evening – it was raining. First up we sailed past a marvelous British sight – Concorde;
I always wonder at the Empire State Building – here she is against the darkening rainy skies;
New York is a city with tremendous spirit – and for the first time I saw World Trade Center One. It is about half way up, and already the tallest building in the financial district. One can’t help being moved by this sign of defiance after 9/11 – here is shot of how it looks today;
So that was a couple of days in New York and I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you. At Cunard we are so proud to still have so many links to this famous city. We estimate that Cunard have brought over 10 million people to New York over the years – many to start a new life in North America. And still today Queen Mary 2 arrives with guests up on the top decks full of excitement and intrigue as they sail into this fabulous city. If you have not done it yet – then please come and join us. I often say that whatever price you pay for a Transatlantic Crossing – just the two hours arriving into this famous city are worth every cent or every penny of your fare.
New York, New York – so good they named it twice…….