February 28, 2013
Posted in: Forever Cunard
It is a long-held tradition that on our world cruises we take our guests off the ship and treat them to a special event – it is our way of saying thank you. Although the current Queen Elizabeth cruise down to New Zealand is not truly a full world cruise, but an Exotic Discoveries Voyage, we still decided to treat our guests to a special event in Wellington on 23 February. I thought I would share with you a report of the day along with some of the photos – I love the bewildered look on Captain Wells’ face as he is surrounded by a traditional Maori welcome…
During the afternoon event in Wellington, our Full Exotic Discoveries Guests got to combine city sightseeing with an afternoon tea full of savoury New Zealand specialities and Maori culture and entertainment.
The afternoon began with a city drive where our guests viewed the Oriental Parade along Orient Bay and beautiful views of the city from Mt Victoria. After descending from Mt. Victoria, the next stop was The Great Hall of the Museum Building, a signature Art Deco structure in downtown Wellington which was constructed in 1936 – the location for afternoon tea. The Museum Building served as the Art Gallery and Cultural Museum until the new Te Papa Museum was opened on the Wellington waterfront.
Before entering the building and The Great Hall, the Maori group performed a very special and rarely done ‘Maori Welcome Ceremony’ for our guests. Captain Christopher Wells was selected to represent our guests and once they had been ‘approved’ by the Maori as ‘friendly visitors’, Captain Wells guided our guests into the Great Hall accompanied by the Maori ambassador.
Once inside the Great Hall our guests enjoyed afternoon tea – savoury selections that reflect the local New Zealand cuisine – while listening to the music provided by a string quartet. The Maori group then provided further entertainment with song and dance in the Kapa Haka – an exciting and wonderful representation of their culture. Guests also had the opportunity to meet and interact with the Maori performers both during and after the dance, before it was time to board the coaches once more for a short transfer back to Queen Elizabeth.
What a wonderful event – a successful alternative to the traditional formal World Voyage Dinner, as the Exotic Discoveries itinerary doesn’t have any late evenings or nights in port.
The event reminded me of the last time I saw the Haka performed live – it was at Twickenham recently just before the England Rugby Team went on to record a famous victory over the current World Champions New Zealand – Bloody Marvellous!
I will let you know how the forthcoming Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria World Cruise Dinners go – they promise to be just as spectacular and continue our tradition in thanking our World Cruise Guests for being with us. If you have not sailed on a World Cruise yet – then 2014 may be the year for you…
*Photos courtesy of Full Exotic Discoveries Guest Gabriele Gehrmann.