August 13, 2013
Posted in: Interactive Transatlantic Crossing
I can’t believe how quickly the last few days have gone. I boarded Queen Mary 2 last Thursday and it’s already Tuesday!
I’ve had an exciting few days at sea. Since we last spoke, I have had the opportunity to do something very few guests get to do, and that is to go behind the scenes, and in fact some of the things I have done are things guests never get the chance to do – and I’ve done it all for you guys.
When I arrive back in Southampton, its fair to say I will have a lot of work to do to bring together a series of blog posts on what goes on behind those private doors on board.
On Sunday, I had lunch with Glenn, the Food & Beverage Manager in the crew mess, and I can guarantee that our crew are looked after just as well as our guests. Nicholas Oldroyd, our Executive Chef, was in the crew mess working hard to make sure everyone that works on board is catered for. The layout of the food is the same in principle to that of the buffet, but there are two sides to it – one that caters for the Asian population on board, and one for European tastes. There was plenty to choose from, and all the food cooked is to the same standard as what we serve our guests – it’s fair to say we like to make sure our crew are happy!
Later on Sunday I attended the behind the scenes tour, which takes in some fascinating parts of the ship that very few guests get to see. On every Transatlantic Crossing, guests can sign up for the tour, but there are limited spaces and it is on a first-come, first-serve basis. 16 guests attend the tour – and on this occasion I made the numbers up to 17. On the tour we were taken to see the mooring deck, the medical centre (which we hope very few guests get to see on a day-to-day basis), Burma Road where you find the crew mess, the incinerator, the Engine Control Room, the fire department, the Britannia galley as well as the freezer rooms and butchers shop, backstage at the Royal Court Theatre, and of course, the Bridge. The tour took just over three hours and was incredibly insightful and guests were offered the opportunity to ask questions to the various key crew members as we went around.
For me the thing that stood out the most was just how big everything is behind the scenes. Queen Mary 2 is a big ship, and when you’re on board that is clear to see, and I still don’t think I have learnt my way around completely. But what makes everything all the more fascinating is that aside from what guests see in front of them, there is a whole other world behind those doors marked ‘Private’ and there are hundreds of members of crew working to make everything run smoothly. It really is incredible.
The behind the scenes tour always sells out quickly, so you don’t need me to tell you that if you’re embarking on a Transatlantic Crossing in the future, to make sure you put your name down quickly to avoid disappointment! Over the coming weeks, I will be bringing you a series of blog posts to let you in on what goes on in the places you otherwise don’t get to see, so keep your eyes peeled on We Are Cunard!
Yesterday started with a walk around the promenade deck where Windsor and I met several guests and stopped to chat about what they had all been up to on board. Later in the day, I met with the Spa Director and shortly after, the Executive Housekeeper to have a chat for my series of behind the scenes blog posts. The Executive Housekeeper, Colin Watson, also took me below deck, below sea level, to the laundry room, where I was once again left fascinated at the size of the operation that goes on. It’s not really surprising that the laundry room is vast, especially when you think how much gets washed on board, from the towels and tablecloths used on a daily basis, to crew uniforms, to all of the bed linen that gets cleaned following disembarkation. While I was down there, Windsor helped out by overseeing some of the work that was going on in the laundry room.
Later that evening I attended the Cunard World Club cocktail party, hosted by Captain Kevin Oprey, before having dinner in the Queens Grill.
Today has been another busy day – I met Insights Lecturer and Astronomer Charles Barclay for a chat about what he has been doing on board, followed by a whistle-stop tour of the Kennels, before heading up to the Bridge to put your questions to Captain Oprey! While up on the Bridge, Windsor got behind the wheel of Queen Mary 2 – so if we don’t make it to New York, we all now know who to blame!
This evening, after going back to the galley for some behind the scenes photos, I have another cocktail party to attend before I join Captain Oprey for dinner in the Britannia Restaurant. I’m also looking forward to seeing our signature show in the Royal Court Theatre, Apassionata!