October 25, 2011
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
In January 2012 Queen Mary 2 will celebrate her 8th birthday. She is recognised in the new 2012 Berlitz Cruise Guide as the top large resort ship in the world. I was looking through our guest questionnaires recently and when we ask our guests to rate ‘Appearance of Stateroom’ and ‘Condition and Cleanliness of Public Rooms’ they have been averaging around 95% which is a good score. We have through every year of her life continued to invest in her upkeep and I have always been especially impressed by how well the Deck Department have looked after the extensive teak decks and outside areas.
Well in late November Queen Mary 2 will be taken out of service, and out of the water, for a planned refit in Hamburg, Germany. She will be out of service for 14 days. I have had a number of questions on the blog as to what we plan to do during that time. We will release that news later this week – but I promised to reveal the news through our blog first so – here goes;
Staterooms – We will refurbish every stateroom on board Queen Mary 2 – all 1,310 of them. Each of the Queen’s Grill Grand Duplex, Master and Penthouse Suites will receive a fresh individual design. All of our Queen’s Grill Suites, Princess Grill and Britannia Staterooms will receive new carpets, curtains, bedcovers, linen and some will also see new soft furnishings. The designs will be very much in keeping with the current designs and with the overall ship – but with a fresh look. I am really pleased with how they will look and our returning loyal guests will I am sure be delighted. I have always recognised just how important it is to feel comfortable in your stateroom – a home from home. The designs on Queen Mary 2 are very enduring and when the ship returns to service in December her staterooms will be more appealing and comfortable than ever.
Golden Lion Pub – our guests have worn the Pub out. The Pub lunches are more popular than ever, the bar area is always busy and sport and musical events are increasingly popular. So we have completely redesigned this room. Below are a couple of shots of how the new Pub will look. It recreates the best of British Pubs as well as the comfortable American Country Club feel. We will achieve more comfortable seats and more of them. We will have new and improved screens for sporting events and we will still be able to have our famous Jazz evenings and daytime activities.
Canyon Ranch – goes from strength to strength on Queen Mary 2. One of the highlights of our Canyon Ranch is the wet area and Spa Pool. Well we are completely refurbishing the teak surrounds of the pool and doing a lot of work in other areas of the spa. We will have a range of new exercise machines in the gym area and some new and improved features in the salon. Canyon ranch are one of our most prized partnerships – when it comes to health, relaxation, exercise and wellness – they are the real thing and I am so pleased we are investing in further improving the facilities.
Commodore Club – one of the most iconic bar locations at sea up on deck 9 forward. No radical changes here – but as you can see form the design layout below we are investing in new carpets and refurbishing and adding to our beautiful white leather furniture.
Children’s Club – one of Cunard’s best keep secrets. We have excellent facilities – but although they were industry leading in 2004 it is time for us to invest further in the facilities. We will refurbish the area, including the very latest in electronic gaming and entertainment – I am looking forward to trying them out for myself.
Sir Samuel’s – Originally designed when the ship came into service as a venue to offer the very best in classic wines. The advent of Cappuccinos, Lattes and Espresso has changed our approach and the room is very busy day and night. So time for new carpets and some new chair covers which will give the room a real lift.
Grill Restaurants – We will lay down a new carpet design for both the Queen’s Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants. These will be very much in keeping with the overall design but I think will give a lighter feel to both restaurants – which remain amongst the best restaurants at sea or on land.
Carpets – We will be refreshing the carpets in many areas of decks 2 and 3 both in public rooms and through our wonderful central walkways and landings. In one or two areas – and our guests have mentioned this on the blog – we have some wear and tear of the flooring under the carpet. We refurbished much of this in the last refit and will complete the work this time round.
What are we not doing – One area that I have received questions on is Kings Court – the equivalent to The Lido area on Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. Given its location, and the fact that it covers such a large area with many sections – some of our guests have in the past found the area can be quite confusing – especially the first time you visit it. To make significant changes to the actual structure of this area would be very difficult and prohibitively expensive given its scale. So we have been tackling this in different ways. We have been looking carefully at customer flow, our food and beverage offering and in particular how we best manage the service in Kings Court. We have plans to increase the alternative dining opportunities and themed evenings, and removing possible confusion by not having too many different serving stations at breakfast. This has significantly improved the situation and we will continue to focus here and make sure we create the appropriate experience for our guests.
By the way and a small tip – when I travel on our ships I always choose to have breakfast in the Britannia Restaurant. It is a lovely place to eat, the service is impeccable, you have a wide choice, you don’t help yourself so the portions are smaller and better for you, you sit up straight, you can converse with our wonderful staff and the whole experience is a lot more relaxing. I normally have Grapefruit Juice, Bircher Muesli (nobody does it like Cunard), Scrambled Egg with American Bacon (yes some of us Brits do prefer the crispy American bacon) and a toasted English muffin (worth asking for it to go through the toaster twice) and fresh coffee. Marvelous.
Down Below – as ever we will take the opportunity to complete the regulatory and necessary checks and works below deck and that program is in place. Interestingly part of the technical work will be to add a Skycon to the ship. What is a Skycon I hear you say? You may have seen them on other ships but surprisingly Queen Mary 2 did not have this feature. It is a small rail that goes round the higher decks of the ship, to which you add a cage for the deck crew to clean and maintain many of the external railings and windows. When in port you will often see Cherry Pickers around Queen Mary 2 – tall extended cage like cranes to reach those parts that man simply cannot reach. With the addition of a Skycon we will be better able to maintain these areas of the ship and not have the expense of Cherry Pickers in port, so there you have it – some inside knowledge on what we have to do to make the ship look as she does.
To make this happen we will be adding enough carpet to cover 10 football pitches. We will be adding 18 miles of fabric – and we will have a team of thousands of workers to make it happen.
In these tough economic times it remains very important for us to continue to invest in both the technical and hotel areas of our ships. With Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth we are fortunate to have two very young ships that provide a fabulous experience for our guests. In Queen Mary 2 we have something very special, the most famous ocean liner in the world and a ship that still turns heads everywhere she goes – she is unquestionably the pride of our fleet. And that is why we will be investing in the ship and in our future guests experience through the upcoming refit.
I hope this exclusive sneak peak at some of the things we will be doing has been of interest. We will be announcing some new on board experiences nearer the time for when she comes back into service and during the refit we have plans to keep you up to speed with the refit through a series of videos and blogs.
I trust you are keeping well.