Cunard President, Simon Palethorpe - 16 April 2020.

Update covering the return of Queen Mary 2, crew repatriation plans, and how to share your #CunardDreams.

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Video transcript for Simon Palethorpe's 16 April update.

Hello to you all. I’m Simon Palethorpe, President of Cunard.

Once again, I’m recording this from my home as much of the world continues to live a new life under self-isolation. As little as a few weeks ago, how many of us would have thought our lives would change as fundamentally as they have?

We’re all having to adapt, from the ways we work, to the way we spend our ‘down time’. Personally, I find the days are blending more one to the other and am grateful that technology enables me to see the faces of family, friends and colleagues. Staying close and connected is more important than ever.

For Cunard, I am delighted to say that Queen Mary 2 has now returned to her homeport of Southampton, and the small number of guests who were on board are now making the final legs of their journeys to their homes.

All ships in our fleet now only have crew on board, as we continue the pause in our operations, along with the entire cruise industry around the world.  

I would like to say a big thank you to Captain Aseem Hashmi and his incredible crew who have made Queen Mary 2’s passage back to Southampton possible – and for navigating some truly challenging circumstances to get our guests home safe and well.  As the world has closed in, these last few weeks, in particular, have provided considerable challenges to secure basics such as fuel and essential provisions.  It’s testament to the crew that I've received some delightful letters, telling of the wonderful care the ship's company has given them throughout.

I would also like to extend this thank you to the captains and crews of Queen Mary 2’s sister ships, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, which are currently in Asia Pacific and Southampton respectively. I continue to be in daily contact with both captains and they have assured me that the crew are well and being kept in good spirits via a variety of activities on board.

I was particularly pleased to hear that Queen Victoria’s Entertainment Director, Neil, has been holding regular Zumba classes for crew, which he is also live-streaming via his facebook page, so anyone can join in!  I’ve received some heartening feedback from several of those class participants, some of whom are self-isolating alone and take great comfort from Neil’s broadcasts.  

Similar classes are also taking place on board Queen Elizabeth, where crew are enjoying fencing tournaments and team quizzes, while on Queen Mary 2 crew celebrated the Easter weekend with a special menu featuring a chocolate buffet.

We hope to keep you connected to the Cunard family through videos we will be recording and sharing.  In our latest, whilst we currently are unable to enjoy the splendour of a Cunard Afternoon Tea in the elegant settings of the Queens Room on board, one of our Executive Chefs, Nick Oldroyd, has created a ‘How to bake a perfect scone’ guide, filmed on board Queen Mary 2. This video, along with the once tightly-guarded recipe, will shortly be available on our social media channels and website.

We hope we can play a small part in keeping you entertained whilst you may be in lockdown, while also providing some insightful travel inspiration, along with some signature Cunard touches you can recreate at home. We’d love to continue to hear from you too.  Do share your favourite Cunard moments or holiday experiences that inspired you and that you dream of.  Reading these stories really lifts spirits.

Visit our social media pages to share your Cunard dreams and for the latest updates, trivia, stories and more.

As always, if you have any questions about your future holiday, a recently cancelled voyage, or the changing situation, please refer to our website, which we are keeping updated as developments unfold.

In the meantime, please do stay safe and well, and continue to take great care of yourselves and your families.