Back to the floor on Queen Mary 2 – Cunard Careers
Crew Christmas Traditions
20 December 2023
Captain’s Log, February 2024
26 February 2024

Back to the floor on Queen Mary 2

Last month Katie McAlister, President at Cunard, spent four days on Queen Mary 2, sailing from Southampton to Tenerife on the first leg of her world voyage. The object of the visit was to deepen her understanding of how our ships operate by spending time in all areas of the ship.

“I last sailed on Queen Mary 2 before her refit, so I was lucky enough to compare the ‘before and after’ of our investment and appreciate the result of the team’s hard work at the dry dock in Rotterdam. She is looking more beautiful than ever!

This time though, I wasn’t on board for a holiday… With so many new crew joining us this year to support the arrival of Queen Anne, I was keen to experience the new starter induction and training for myself. So, I took myself ‘back to the floor’ and wanted to fit in as much as I could across the four days!

I was lucky enough to spend time in all areas of the ship, from the Engine Room (climbing to the top of our all-new funnels was certainly a highlight), to the Recycling Centre. It was super interesting to see how we use spare parts to replace and repair equipment as we sail around the world, and how we treat and store waste to minimise our environmental impact.

Next was onto Housekeeping. I wanted to learn how to create those perfect corners on the bed linen, so our guests have a fantastic sleep on board!  

The Housekeeping Team are dependent on the Onboard Technical Team, to help them fix any small defects that arise in rooms and across the ship. This is an area where you can really see how our different departments collaborate, working together to make sure we provide our guests with the White Star Service we are so renowned for – which was great to see.

I also spent time with our Butler Team, very much part of our White Star Service for Grills guests. It was interesting to see the types of requests they are fulfilling and how they really anticipate our guests’ needs.

I loved spending time in Food & Beverage (probably because I love eating and drinking!) and the food and drink on our ships is fantastic. I was keen to understand the end-to-end process, from loading food onto the ship and storing it, to how menu creation, preparation, and service works.

The Galleys on board are truly a spectacular operation, something that has to be seen to be believed! I spent time in each area and even put together some hors d’oeuvres and starters. Despite a step-by-step guide, mine looked significantly worse than those created by our experts, but I did find that I had more success with cocktail making in the Commodore Club. Perhaps I’ve had more practice with that!

On my last night on board, I was lucky enough to spend time on The Bridge with the Captain and his team, planning the detailed arrival into Tenerife and then the onward journey into Namibia and Port Elizabeth. It’s fascinating to understand the different characteristics of each arrival port, and how the team work together to prepare to navigate into these – not just across technical and deck teams, but also how we work with our agents shoreside to make sure our guests can get on and off the ship quickly and make the most of their port days.

I loved being with the crew onboard, either working alongside them on the tasks I was allowed to do (!), or having lunch in the crew mess, catching up and chatting as I made my way around the ship. I completed my induction training alongside crew members and even managed to fit in the modules of White Star Service training to earn my pin, which Captain Hashmi presented to me.

I was really impressed by the quality of the training and the how engaged the crew were in their learning process. The diversity of our teams on board is something to be celebrated. It makes for a unique and interesting experience for the crew and our guests, and the sense of pride in working for Cunard is something that comes across in every interaction.

It was pleasing to see how we have improved the crew cabins and mess areas through the refit process too, and how the Seafarers’ Welfare Committee (SWC) is working to bring everyone together through crew events and initiatives.

I didn’t have time to focus too much on the guest experience proposition on this trip, but I did host some dinners with a small number of our most loyal world voyage guests and spoke at two cocktail parties for around 600 guests too. This voyage was a real mix of newcomers and those who use the legs of the world voyage to visit friends and family across the world, to those who are absolute veterans of world cruising. The guests who choose to spend over 100 nights on board with us can be called our true super fans! It was great for me to hear their feedback, likes and dislikes first hand, rather than through our surveys onboard.

I also spent some time with the Onboard Sales team. For Cunard 10% of our sales come from guests who book their next cruise whilst onboard enjoying their cruise, so it’s a major part of our commercial operation. It was really good to understand what our guests are looking for in their next voyage and how well we do at cross selling to other ships and other parts of the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time onboard Queen Mary 2.  It was incredibly helpful for me, and I want to thank all the crew for making me feel like a member of the team, and so welcome. I can’t wait to get back on board and meet more of you soon!”

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