Captain’s Log, September 2023 – Cunard Careers
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13 October 2023

Captain’s Log, September 2023

In the latest instalment of her Captain’s Log series, Captain Inger Thorhauge reveals what’s been happening at the shipyard over the summer, and tells us more about the senior team who’ll be joining her for Queen Anne’s maiden voyage…

If you missed it, you can read the previous blog here. 

Tens of thousands of tasks will be assigned and completed to create our new ship, Queen Anne, and, with less than a year to go before she is delivered to Cunard, work is continuing at a great pace at the shipyard near Venice.

Each time I board, I remind myself that at the heart of this immensely complex process there are two basic requirements.

The first, of course, is to build a safe and seaworthy ship to the highest achievable standards.

The second, and just as much a priority as the first, is to create a hotel operation to give our guests sailing on board the most comfort and pleasure, making sure our ship and her crew create those lasting and unique memories synonymous with a Cunard voyage.

When I first arrived at the shipyard the technical and marine part of the build was all to the fore.

It is a massive undertaking.

Right now, many thousands of metres of cabling is being pulled through the ship, space by space, deck by deck. The complexity of all the systems onboard, and the countless connections they each require, make this one of the biggest jobs currently being undertaken by the teams at the yard.

I stood, surrounded by giant cable reels and spools, watching a tiny part of this process underway, and, when you consider every cable and every connection being made must be thoroughly tested, it was clear to me just how big a part of the project this is.

Elsewhere, with the clock ticking towards the day when I can take command for the first time, huge resources and attention are being channelled into how we will operate the hotel side of our new ship.

In the broadest sense, this is everything contributing to the onboard experience our guests will enjoy.

So, if we have welcomed you on board before, you will know just how big this aspect of the ship’s operation is going to be.

And, I am thrilled to say, the experience awaiting guests on my new ship will be truly wonderful!

Alongside all this activity at the shipyard, we have been very busy ashore back in Southampton too.

Together with colleagues there, I have been assembling the senior team who will be responsible for bringing Queen Anne into service next year, and to serve you on board our new Queen.

My Deputy Captain will be Yuliyan Kostov.

The role of our Deputy Captain is critical. They ensure the highest standards of maintenance on board in line with all safety regulations and are a pivotal link between the teams bringing Queen Anne into service.

Deputy Captain Kostov has been with Cunard since 2012. His experience with us includes service as ship’s Safety Officer. Since last April, he has been based at the shipyard managing critical aspects of compliance with international regulations and the operational readiness of the ship.

Taking delivery of a new ship is a momentous milestone. And when that day dawns next spring, we’ll know exactly what the next major mark in our timeline will be: welcoming guests on board for the first time.

Reaching that point will be the culmination of years of planning and preparation for every team on board, not least the hotel department.

It’s here, where every aspect of the work undertaken by the Food & Beverage team, the Housekeeping team, the Entertainment team, the Purser’s team, and lots more besides, will determine the experiences our guests savour and the precious memories they will take ashore.

And that’s why the selection and appointment of Queen Anne’s Senior Management Team is such an important part of the new-build and commissioning process.

I am very, very pleased that one of the most experienced Hotel General Managers at sea will be part of my team when Queen Anne enters service next year.

Robert Howie will, I am sure, be known to many of our Cunard World Club members.

Robbie has over three decades’ experience in the cruise sector, including the commissioning and entry into service of five new-build ships for one of our sister lines. I am sure the wealth of knowledge he has amassed will be invaluable as we prepare Queen Anne for service.

My crew on board Queen Anne will be around 1,225, and each one of them has a very important part to play in making sure the ship sails safely, with the comfort and experience of our guests our priority.

One of the most important ways to ensure we meet and exceed the expectations of all our guests, is to look after our crew, and we go to great lengths to do this.

Assisting me on board with this important job will be Human Resources Manager Stuart Smart.

Stuart has more than 18 years’ experience in HR across various sectors including construction, manufacturing, and professional services. His role in the cruise industry started in 2014.

I know he is excited to be both reuniting with many former crew colleagues as well as welcoming new crew members on board Queen Anne. He will provide expert knowledge and guidance on all HR aspects from performance and training to all-important crew welfare, ensuring Queen Anne’s company stay safe and well while living and working onboard.

Queen Anne is being fitted out to the very highest standards and will operate with some of the most sophisticated systems ever installed on a Cunard ship.

With that in mind, we have appointed highly experienced Chief Engineer Jon Cammish to the team.

Jon has 32 years’ experience and is proud to have fulfilled a personal ambition to sail as Chief Engineer of all three Queens. He has also previously been involved in four new-build commissioning projects – experience I know will be invaluable in the coming months.

We have an enormous amount of work ahead, but I know that by the time Queen Anne arrives in Southampton for the first-time next May, our team will all be ready to welcome you on board.

And that’s what we are all looking forward to.

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