FOILS, RINGS & NOTES
Updated: Mar 23
DAY 69 - 20 MARCH 2023 (SHIP'S date)
BUSSELTON / ENROUTE TO PERTH
Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage
102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.
Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting from Queen Mary 2
ENGUARDE - FOILS AT THE READY !
Looking every inch, the part, in a brilliant white padded protective jacket, mesh encased helmet and wearing one white glove, an enthusiastic band of men and women are eager to face-off their opponent in a duel. Foils are held out at attention in front of the body until the order is given to engage. A polite “Salute, Enguard” and the game is on. Rules state that the foil, a long thin weapon with a rubber tip on the end, must only be pointed at the main chest area. However, no one is going to die from mis-direction of one of these elegant three-foot long steel swords.
All Cunard Queen ships offer fencing on their sporting activities schedules and at every session, passengers are keen to sign up for an opportunity to experience the noble art of fencing. For some guests it is not their first time and muscle memory kicks in as they follow instructions, “attack” “parry” and “riposte” as they advance towards their opponents and quickly retreat when a strike is inflicted.
In this introductory class, scores are not counted but it doesn’t stop attention-attracting shouts of “ouch”, ‘steady there’ and “take that.” Teams are split into Queen Mary and Queen Victoria. One man recalled that he fenced at school from the age of 11-14. So, what did this Class teach him?
“That’s easy,” he answers, “I learned how energetic you have to be to fence. Also, it’s boiling hot inside that mask, I’m exhausted but I enjoyed it. When they ask back home “What did you do on your world cruise. I’ll tell them, I took up fencing. Another tick on the bucket list. Well done to Cunard for coming up with this great entertainment.”
On Queen Mary 2 the Introductory classes are held in the Queen’s Room , a large Ballroom space, and for the World Voyage, the instructor is Entertainment Host, Charlie Stewart, from Edinburgh. She has been trained in the British Fencing Association regulations and is excited by how many passengers want to take part in the sport.
“The top priority in all physical activities is health and safety,” says Charlie. “We have to keep the guests safe but also ensure they have a good time. Fencing is a fun sport and it’s something out of the ordinary to try on Cunard cruises. Only once did I have to referee, it was between a husband and wife who were getting a little too competitive.
Each one was determined to be the best even though they had only just started learning.” Charlie has been at Cunard just over a year and has served on all three Queens. Her parents were employees of Cunard for many years, father was a Cruise Director, and it is in the family DNA that she should have joined Cunard straight from University after completing a degree in International Tourism Management.
Passengers are recommended to sign up early for the fencing classes, wait-lists fill up Quickly, and to realise it is very much an Introduction to the sport. After class, the real posing begins, everyone wants a photo in their full fencing gear brandishing weapons to send home to loved ones. “Look what I got up to on my cruise today.”
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What is art? Maybe it is the Perfect Dollar Ring. An invention of YoYo in Queen Mary 2’s Voyage Sales office on board. During lockdown, YoYo, who has worked for Cunard for 31 years, began an experiment. Not to make money but to make money, make a jacket using dollar bills.
Perfectly folded and interlocked paying attention to pattern, colour and style, the jacket was finished and contained 1,296 dollar bills. YoYo has made a YouTube video showing how she goes about designing dollar bills into wearable items. Her unique invention, The Perfect Dollar Ring, always attracts attention and many colleagues and passengers ask where they can buy one.
In the Voyage Sales office, her job is working out how much passengers will pay for their next cruise but now YoYo has a problem. How much should the Perfect Dollar Ring cost?
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MUSIC IN THE AIR
Queen Mary 2's World Centenary Voyage choir of guests did not disappoint, and never does.
The Grand Lobby is filled with music in the air.
Happy Sailing... Ellen
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NEXT PORT OF CALL:
21 MARCH 2023
Current position of Queen Mary 2: Under way from Busselton (Margaret River) to Fremantle (Perth)
Departure was 7 hrs 51 min ago. (at 18:00 h local time)
Arrival will be in 9 hrs 9 min. (at 08:00 h local time)
Traveled distance since Busselton (Margaret River): 46.13 nm (85.43 km)
Remaining distance to Fremantle (Perth): 53.76 nm (99.57 km)
Traveled distance since Sydney: 2,523.62 nm (4,673.74 km)
Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)
Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.