January 10, 2012
We Are Cunard
Hello all, I spent the day last Sunday in Hamburg on board Queen Elizabeth. We were hosting a press conference on board for the Hamburg Cruise Centre and it was pleasing to hear of the substantial growth of cruising in the German market and appropriate that Queen Elizabeth was hosting the event given our own growth in the number of German guests we now have sailing with Cunard Line.
It struck me that as both Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth leave Southampton today on their World Voyages, just how international Cunard Line is these days and how interesting it must be for our guests to be able to spend time with so many different people from different parts of the world.
Queen Elizabeth was on a short five day voyage from Southampton calling at Le Havre in France and Hamburg, Germany. We partly designed this voyage so that we could offer our French and German guests the opportunity to sail right around the world from one of their home ports. So we picked up a group of French guests in Le Havre on Saturday and on Sunday I was able to help welcome over 175 German guests who were joining in Hamburg to set off around the world. At the end of the World Voyage, Queen Elizabeth will return to Hamburg and therefore what a great experience for those guests to be able to see the world from their own doorstep.
When Queen Elizabeth sets off today her first port of call will be New York. And of course there she will pick up many of our valued North American guests.
Queen Mary 2 is off the other way around the world and will be heading down towards Cape Town. And of course when Queen Mary 2 gets to Australia this time, she is undertaking her maiden Royal Circumnavigation of Australia with many of our valued Australian guests on board.
The World Voyages are always a wonderful mix of those who are travelling right around the world and those who are joining the ship for either long or short sectors. We also look forward to welcoming many of our Japanese guests on board.
This is what leads to one of the most interesting differences for Cunard Line. Having so many people from different parts of the world just adds to the flavour and interest for everybody. Often when sitting at dinner our guests can discuss world events, politics, and sport, and to have a table where British, American, Australian and Japanese guests can sit together and apply their different experiences and interests just makes it so much more interesting.
Of course, when you add in our marvellous ship’s company to the mix then the international nature really comes to the fore. We pride ourselves on working with our wonderful staff who come from many different parts of the world including the Philippines for example and Eastern Europe and they, along with our British Officers and other nationalities, gel on so well together to give the White Star experience for our guests. So whilst we remain proudly British and offer that wonderful British experience, we are actually providing people with a very cosmopolitan and varied experience. This is the case on many of our voyages, but it is mostly the case on our World Voyages.
I bumped into one of our German guests on board Queen Elizabeth. In fact he is a keen reader of our blog and therefore well versed in everything Cunard Line. He was returning for his second Round the World Voyage on Queen Elizabeth. I thought what a marvellous feeling it must be to arrive on board one of our ships, be welcomed in White Star style, settle into your stateroom and then be invited up for a glass of champagne to meet the Senior Officers, prior to setting sail for three months or more right around the world.
The ship, of course, was busy preparing itself for the World Voyage. Many, many meetings have taken place over recent months to make sure everything is in place on both of our ships. You can imagine all the logistic planning that needs to take place from a storing perspective and to make sure we are able to pick up fresh produce, often in parts of the world that we only visit infrequently. I had a brief chat with our Spa Director in the Royal Spa and she has been busy preparing the different packages that we offer for our World Voyage guests. We pull together many opportunities for them to purchase a package that gives them an extended ability to use the Spa facilities. I remember last year meeting a lady who congratulated me on the World Voyage as she had become a “New Woman”. She had actually gone on a World Voyage to change her life from a health perspective. By working with our chefs to make sure she ate carefully and by spending a lot of time with our fitness instructors on a programme over three months she was both successful and very emotional at the way in which she had managed to make such a change to her own personal health by being on a world voyage. So there you go – that puts an end to the myth that cruising can lead to putting on weight and being unhealthy and what a great way to set about making a life change by spending three months surrounded by everything you could possibly want to make you feel good and stay healthy.
When our guests join today there will be speculation as to where we will hold our World Voyage Dinners. These have become famous events over the years, where we take all of our full World Voyage guests off the ship one evening to a spectacular location for a Gala Dinner and this is our way of thanking them for choosing to sail around the world with Cunard Line. Of course I know exactly where and when the dinners are going to be – but I am not going to tell you. It is always a surprise and we always work hard to make sure the first to find out are those on board our ships.
No doubt we will have fun in Australia, where our ships are always welcomed so well by our Australian friends. We will see the maiden call of Queen Elizabeth into San Francisco sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. One can never tire of arriving into Cape Town on Queen Mary 2 – it is quite an awesome sight to see Table Mountain coming out of the clouds in the early morning sunrise as you approach the city. Cunard will again visit Japan – another special welcome as we have enjoyed a very close relationship with our Japanese guests over many years. The Far East, India, New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands and of course European ports on the way back – it all makes for a great experience and we look forward to treating our full World Voyagers in the way that they have quite rightly been accustomed to.
In early 2013 we have all three ships on World or Exotic voyages. Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria are doing full World Voyages. Queen Elizabeth, as you may have seen, is doing something different. We offer our UK guests the opportunity for a 91 day voyage from Southampton going right down to the Pacific, round New Zealand and back to Southampton. That also allows our North American guests to take a 37 night voyage from Los Angeles through the best of the Pacific and round New Zealand back to Los Angeles. So if for any reason you have not been able to join us on the World Voyages in 2012, or indeed if you’ve yet to sail with us at all on a World Voyage, then we are up and running and have some cracking offers available for the 2013 World Voyage options. Do come and join us.
To those guests who will be joined us today to set off around the World, or indeed joining us at any point during the World Voyages, then thank you so much for choosing to sail with us and I am sure you will be well looked after and do enjoy that international, cosmopolitan experience.
Lastly, I should wish all of our ship’s company the very best as they set off around the World. They, too will be away from their friends and families and working extremely hard to look after our guests. I have seen many of them over the last few days on Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 and nothing gives me more pleasure than to be able to chat with those incredible people who work so hard to make Cunard Line the success that it is.
That’s all for now. I hope you are keeping well.