June 14, 2011
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Guest Stories
Freda Singleton, Social Hostess & Marc Wilkinson, Sports Director; Queen Elizabeth
Welcome to the latest news of Queen Elizabeth’s travels. From the warm shores of Italy we headed north for our maiden visit to the Norwegian fjords…. it was something of a shock to be surrounded by snow dusted mountains and near freezing waters!
Our first stop was Stavanger and as Norwegian ports go, one of the more populated. A good chance to begin to acclimatise to the change in temperatures; as the locals walked around in shorts and t-shirts, crew and guests alike donned thermals and woolly hats!
Next call took us to the charming port of Flaam with a population of around 300, so Queen Elizabeth guests multiplied this almost 8 times over as they made their way to the steepest railway network in Europe for the morning tours – some of the more energetic taking bicycles with them for the magnificent ride down hill through the lush, verdant countryside.
Now – a little challenge for you – what do you think is the question most commonly asked of the Captain at cocktail parties? Probably – ‘If you’re here, who is driving the ship…..?’
Amongst our Captains’ witty replies are often variations along the lines of: ‘Some yoof….’ or alternatively ‘Microsoft’! After our early morning meandering entrance between the waterfalls and the snow-capped mountains into the beautiful fjord of Geiranger, the ‘yoofs’ properly got to play with Microsoft! Unusually for this area, the wind was too strong and gusty to drop anchor. If there is a sudden gust, the process of retrieving the anchor and resetting position would be time consuming and risky in such a narrow bay, captured beautifully in this photograph.
‘Hmm, so how shall we handle this, boys?’ ….time to fire up the high tech ‘Dynamic Positioning’ system. More often used for specialised operations such as offshore drilling or oceanographic research missions, the system works to enable the ship to maintain its position by using her thrusters and pods to counteract the effects of forces such as wind, current and wave action. The computer programme contains a mathematical model of the vessel that includes information relating to the wind, current drag of the vessel and the location of the thrusters. Combining this with sensor information, allows the computer to calculate the required steering angle and thruster output for each thruster. Dynamic positioning may either be absolute in that the position is locked to a fixed point over the bottom, or relative to a moving object like another ship or an underwater vehicle. It can also position the ship at a favourable angle towards wind, waves and current, which is called weather-vaning.
Providing an ideal solution to the conditions, the Bridge team enjoyed a day monitoring the efficiency of the DP system and were delighted to report it held us beautifully within 17 metres of our initial position. Meanwhile and blissfully unaware of the technology in play, our guests were ferried ashore on the tenders to experience this breath-taking scenery.
Moving on to the light-hearted side of crew life; here you can see our multi-talented senior officers swapping their stripes for aprons and getting hot in the galley, cooking for a thousand hungry crew. Always up for a challenge, it was no surprise to find Captain Chris Wells in charge of flambéed strawberries under the watchful eye and careful pouring of Executive Chef, Nick Oldroyd, whilst Dr Dale Thorne undertakes the task of taster in the background:
Two other dodgy looking characters were spotted in charge of ice-cream……. Food and Beverage Manager, Stefan Engl and Hotel Manager, Robbie Howie. Of course this is how all officers dress below decks – it helps other crew members pick them out when they are not wearing their stripes! According to Robbie, it helps him relax at the end of a busy day, though we’re not sure what the squirty cream has to do with the outfit!
Finally, we are delighted to feature two of our guests following in their parents’ footsteps. Back in November 2010, Miles and Lisa Wilshire featured in our blog as they joined us for their honeymoon, poignantly as Miles’ parents had done the same voyage on QE2 many years previously for their own honeymoon. And now, 6 months later they were repeating the same pattern, Miles’ parents retuned to QE2 6 months after their honeymoon voyage, so Miles and Lisa followed in their footsteps this time back up our new Queen Elizabeth’s gangway. It was hardly a surprise then to hear we have a new generation of addicted Cunarders, now planning their next voyage, perhaps on Queen Mary 2.
Stay tuned for our next instalment.
Marc & Freda