March 1, 2012
Guest Blog: David Jones, Corporate Communications Manager, Carnival Australia
In a remarkable reversal of an Australian tradition in which thousands of migrants arrived by ship from the UK, Gary and Charmaine Evans and their three children are instead ‘migrating’ to Britain by sea.
Gary and Charmaine, both aged 40, and children, Jourdan 16, Brittany 13 and baby Sienna 21 months, are doing their family voyage of discovery in style.
Hailing from Maitland near Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales, the Evans family set sail from Sydney last night on board Queen Elizabeth.
They are travelling all the way to Southampton and, after extended touring in Europe and being in London for Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June, they will be setting up home in Brighton.
The irony of travelling by ship to what may become a new life in England is not lost on the couple.
Charmaine’s father, the son of an English father and a Scottish mother, was born in Peru and arrived in Australia with his parents after travelling by ship from England.
“Charmaine and I had a few years in the UK and we always wanted to go back with the kids.” Gary said as he and the family prepared to board Queen Elizabeth at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.
“We thought, why fly when you can travel there on Queen Elizabeth. It is also the itinerary and being able to go to places that you wouldn’t normally go to in a lifetime. Then there is the grandeur of being on a ship in the way they used to do it.”
”There is a range of ships that you can go on and we have researched a lot of them. I think the name and the grandeur of the Cunard brand and Queen Elizabeth will make it a real honour to be on board.”
Charmaine sees the voyage on Queen Elizabeth as “a real family adventure” but is the first to concede that life on Queen Elizabeth will be vastly different from what her father experienced when he sailed to Australia.
“I am looking forward to not having a care in the world and seeing some fantastic sights along the way,” Charmaine said.
“We figure that once the kids have grown up they will be doing their own thing so this is a perfect family time for us.”
As for the children, Brittany is looking forward to continuing her love of ballet and Jourdan is looking forward to the football – he’s an Arsenal fan.
Baby Sienna will be happy just being in the arms of Mum and Dad on the great family adventure.
How long the family will stay in England is an open question and will depend to a large extent on how the children settle into life there.
As Gary says, the rest of 2012 will be taken up with a good deal of touring and 2013 will take care of itself!
“I am an accountant and for the last four or five years I have been building up my own business, which I have just sold,” Gary said.
“For all that time, we didn’t have a holiday so now we’re catching up with this voyage on Queen Elizabeth. It’s a great way to see the world and we wanted to do that with the kids.”
It was an ‘oh my gosh’ moment for Wayne Campbell, manager of Cruise Travel Centre at Westfield Kotara in Newcastle, when Gary and Charmaine came in wanting to book passage from Sydney to Southampton.
“They were really well researched and knew which ships were going and wanted to know more about Cunard,” Wayne said.
“Cunard is my favourite line so I was the right person to talk about Cunard. We went through all the options and kept coming back to Queen Elizabeth.
“We have a lot of couples coming in wanting to sail from Sydney to Southampton but it was unusual for an entire family to be booking for the voyage.”