November 2, 2011
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Updates
After a business trip to North America I found myself with a day to spare prior to boarding a flight home to England. A good excuse to go and pay my first visit to Queen Mary in Long Beach, California – and I am so glad I did. It was fascinating – and a story best told in pictures……..
Open Decks…you can really get a sense of what she must have been like from the wide open spaces and from the famous three red funnels. The funnels are so dominant when compared to our current fleet.
The Bridge …I found this fascinating. On the Queen Mary 2 Bridge we have carpets, tea and coffee facilities, heaps of technology, comfy chairs and enclosed bridge wings. Here on the Queen Mary – you slide back a heavy wooden door and move into a very sparse bridge. The controls are marvelous and just as you would expect them to be – gleaming with brass. It must have been freezing in those days – no wonder we see so many pictures of the officers in their thick coats.
Just behind the bridge are the senior officer cabins. Here I am sitting at the Captain’s desk, As I sat there I could not help thinking of the responsibility our Captains had in those days – in many ways the same responsibilities today but with so much less technology and information to guide them.
Engine Room… some of the areas down below are very well preserved. Just look at all the brass instruments – difficult o imagine the noise and steam that the crew had to put up with.
Propeller…there is one area where they have cut through the hull and you can see one of the original props in its rightful place.
Strange gym machines …very different top what you find today in Canyon Ranch on Queen Mary 2 – have a look at the rowing machine.
Beautiful cabins…here I am in a First Class cabin – and it is wonderful to be surrounded by so much polished wood. You can get a real sense of what it must have been like – this particular cabin had a small maid’s quarters.
Feeling at home in the bathrooms…in the UK there is a very famous bathroom manufacturer called ‘Shanks’ – or these days ‘Armitage Shanks’. The Shanks factory was based at Barrhead in Scotland and was started in the late 1800’s – going on to be one of the most famous bathroom names in the world. The Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary and even QE2 was fitted out with many ‘Shanks’ baths, basins and toilets. So I thought it would be fun to share a picture of a ‘Shanks’ basin in a first class cabin on Queen Mary.
Actually – it was more than fun – it was quite an emotional and proud moment for me. It was one of my ancestors who started ‘Shanks’ in Barrhead in 1865 and my father spent his whole career there and went on to be Chairman of the company. So I feel that as a Cunarder today I am able to have some personal links to the past – the past of two famous brands, two brands that serve customers in very different but invaluable ways.
The Verandah Restaurant…I was very pleased to be able to see this, it was the inspiration behind the new and very popular Verandah Restaurant on our new Queen Elizabeth. I was able to look at the original artwork. The artist had to renew some of the artwork – and in doing so left a very small but interesting signature mark of a small mouse – you can see it below.
Crows Nest..I am not sure if that is the right name for it but on the forward deck there is a look-out post. I am told that it was often used – and that as the ship would heave from side to side it must have been a very uncomfortable place to be – the crew on that watch certainly earned their keep.
Main first class dining room…here you can really get a sense of the scale of the public rooms and wonderful art deco designs. I was able to see one of the most famous pieces of Cunard art showing the transatlantic route. We have carefully copied this piece of art for the new Queen Elizabeth – but here I was looking at the real thing.
I found out that many if not all of the beautiful mirrors on board were made with a gentle pink tint of the glass. This was so that when guests looked at themselves – whilst feeling somewhat seasick and looking somewhat green – they saw themselves with a healthy pink glow on their cheeks – marvelous.
I was shown around the ship by the Captain and by a wonderful chap by the name of Everette Hoard. Everette has been associated with the ship for over 30 years and manages a very good memorabilia store on board Queen Mary. He is also one of the foremost collectors of Cunard memorabilia. I was struck by how proud he – and colleagues – are at being associated with such a historic ship. That is the same sense of pride that all of us lucky to be associated with the brand feel today. Everette asked me to sign his prized visitor’s book – and I was very happy to do so. Well done to Everette and all of those involved in Queen Mary – not last the city of Long Beach – for all they do to keep the spirit of Queen Mary so alive still today.
The Queen Mary is run as a hotel and conference centre. If you find yourself with time to spare in Los Angeles then it is well worth this trip down memory lane. I left enthused that – yet again – I had experienced another part of our proud history and determined to do everything I can with my colleagues to ensure the continued success of Cunard Line.