August 1, 2012
Entertainment Team – Queen Elizabeth
At approximately 5.40pm on Tuesday 26 June Queen Elizabeth passed 66 degrees 33 minutes north, crossing into the Arctic Circle. That morning the sun had risen at 3.54am, and we would not see it set again until 12.02am on Monday 2 July. Traditionally sailors who cross the Arctic Circle must face a series of gruesome tests to be granted the status of ‘Bluenose’ by King Neptune. However, while we would have no doubt had several intrepid and enthusiastic volunteers, dousing our guests with cold water out on deck at temperatures of less than 0o centigrade was not deemed in keeping with the luxurious experience we aim to provide and is unlikely to be met with approval from the medical centre. Instead a great nautical tradition was celebrated with one of Cunard Line’s finest traditions – a night of dancing and excitement in our fabulous Queens Room.
One of the things that always has and always will set Cunard apart from other lines is the rich experience and expertise throughout the ship that can come together to make an event a unique and wonderful experience for our guests. Our passage towards our northernmost port of call, Ny Ålesund, was celebrated with the creation of Entertainment Director Amanda Reid’s fabulous Arctic Vikings Dance Night – and it gave several departments the chance to really go all out.
Executive Chef James Abhilash and his team created a delicious array of canapés presented in a spectacular display that included a fierce butter Viking and ferocious ice sculpture polar bear – fortunately guests were not too frightened to tuck in.
Public Rooms Manager Vando Bilandzic and his team created a special Viking Punch – with every purchase entered into a raffle to win a bottle of Champagne fit for a Norse king.
While the band took a short break King Neptune, Queen Aurora Borealis and their Seaweed Court, known on the ship’s manifest as the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company, took to the stage with very special guest Commodore Christopher Rynd to perform a ‘traditional’ welcome to the Arctic circle for Queen Elizabeth, and to officially bestow the title of Bluenose to her guests and crew.
With passage through the Arctic Circle successfully granted, it was time to invite guests back to the dance floor. This time for a less traditional but exceptionally fun line dance created by James and Rachel from the Entertainment Team – suitably dubbed ‘The Arctic Roll’ and set to ‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice, a very full dance floor grapevined, shimmied and shivered in the company of Viking Warriors and our very own polar bear – a new Cunard tradition may well have been born.
The persistent daylight outside did nothing to dampen the party atmosphere, aided by the Entertainment team dressed in Viking finery, accompanied by possibly the warmest polar bear inside the Arctic Circle. The team took a brief break to kidnap Entertainment Director Amanda Reid for a photograph before returning to the Queens Room to dance the night away.
After a busy night of pillaging and plundering it was time to get some rest ahead of a very special day – a morning of scenic cruising in the picturesque Magdalenefjord followed by an afternoon call to Ny Ålesund, one of the four permanent settlements on the on the island of Spitsbergen.