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  • JOSHUA Schwartz

SLING, SWING & SING

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

DAY 37 - 16 February 2023

CURRENT POSITON: ENROUTE TO LAEM CHABANG (BANGKOK) THAILAND)

Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage

102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.

Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting live from Queen Mary 2


QUICK-TOUR OF RAFFLES + THE DANCE TEAM & HOSTS ONBOARD QM2

Port of Singapore- Part 2


There may be other contenders for the title but Raffles Hotel in Singapore truly deserves to be known as one of the most iconic hotels In the world. The epitome of style, elegance, luxury and colonial aggrandisement. The hotel dazzles with pure white exteriors and perfection of design taking up a whole block on one of the busiest intersections in the island city.



White columns reflect in white marble floors polished and glazed so they shine like lakes. The balustrades and corridors link entryway doors fashioned with small gleaming windows and balconies gleam with black and green painted woodwork.



No guest who ever arrived at the double-fronted colonial style hotel will ever forget the liveried Sikh doormen and their spotless white turbans. Better still is the reaction when this doorman opens the door of your vehicle and greets you like you really are the most important guest he has received on the forecourt of the hotel today. The hotel looks like a film set and it is no surprise that famous writers like Hemingway returned again and again.


Declared a National Monument on 4th March 1987, Raffles Hotel is a treasure that Singapore embraces and cultivates. The outer walkways lead to expensive specialist boutiques and classic restaurants around a central courtyard landscaped with sky high palms trees.


Opened on 1 Dec 1887, Raffles Hotel began as a 10-room hotel run by Armenian brothers by the name of Sarkies. Thanks to the expansion of global travel in the late 19th century, the hotel grew in popularity and became synonymous with Singapore. The venue has hosted prominent figures from all the world. Today Raffles Hotel is upheld by Singapore as a testament to Singapore’s Transition from a British outpost into an important global port.


The Hotel lobby is bathed in light from a sparkling rainbow crystal chandelier and old-fashioned ceiling fans are still used in the bars and balconies. The Writer’s Room, Tiffin Room and La Dame de Pic offer imaginative menus and immaculate service. The hotel also has two Ballrooms.

Perhaps the most famous bar in the hotel is The Long Bar. It was here that in 1915 the classic Singapore Sling was invented. In colonial times , ladies could not be seen to drink alcohol in public and an enterprising bartender named Ngiam Tong Boon invented a drink for them that looked like a fruit cocktail.

The drink looked innocent enough, being pink and sweet, but was in fact alcoholic, The etiquette that dictated ladies could not drink alcohol in public led to the creation of the original cocktail.


Singapore Slings are offered in bars all over the world – indeed in the bars on Queen Mary 2 the bartenders will happily mix a Singapore Sling for you – but you can’t beat drinking a Singapore Sling sitting in the ambience of the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, Singapore.


An experience you will remember – a Singapore Sling in Raffles Hotel will transport you back in time and envelop you in a pleasant pink haze – even if it does cost an eye watering $50 US. It’s the right time in the right place, and on Valentine’s Day, a pretty pink cocktail is all the more special.


The Singapore Sling recipe; Take a measure of London Dry Gin; Dom Benedictine; Cherry Liqueur; Dry Curacao: Pineapple Juice, Grenadine Syrup and Bitters. Cheers.




* * * * *






 

SWING & SING - ONBOARD QM2

It’s Showtime.


Guests are invited to dress to impress by wearing elegant gala evening attire and to enhance it with embellishments which embrace the spirit of the Roaring 20s. Tuxedos or dark suits for men and evening or cocktail dress for ladies. A range of gentlemen’s formal wear is available to hire on board.


LET'S DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY !!!


Barnaly Pande and Danny Lerer are the professional dance instructors on board QM2. A highlight of gala night is a dance presentation from the couple in the Queen’s Room, following the theme of the evening, their dance on Roaring 20s gala night is Flappers’ Foxtrot.


Guests at the couple’s lunchtime dance classes will already have practised the steps in the lesson that takes place every sea day. Classes are for all guests, leads and followers, those with partners or those dancing solo. All levels are welcome.


Before joining Cunard, Barnaly managed three dance studios and owned and ran a studio in Sacramento, California. She has been awarded Top Female Instructor and US Top Ballroom Instructor, the only female instructor to achieve the title in the 40-year history of the championship. Her background was in academia and she qualified in molecular genetics. As a PhD student she began taking lesson in everything from tap to Scottish folk dancing.


“How much I love to dance is only matched by how much I love to teach,” says Barnaly. “I enjoy working with beginning dancers to help them find their feet, as well as dancers who are serous about getting results – as I was!”


Her partner, Danny Lerer is Vice President of the International Dance Sport Association. He was a judge of the Russian State Academy of Physical Education and participated as a judge in dozens of international championships. In a 40 year period he created 10 dance clubs in four countries of the world. He has four USSR State Awards for service in the special forces in Afganistan and competed in world and European championships.


Both Barnaly and Danny are available for private lessons on board. Guests are welcome to brush up what they have learned in the group dance lessons or practice routines to increase confidence on the dancefloor in the social dancing to a live orchestra that takes place every evening in the Queen’s Room.


SINGERS The Queen’s Room is also the performance place for the versatile vocals of Kirsty Rae and Taisiia. These two superb singers entertain guests every night with a range of music spanning all decades, all styles and all dance tempos. Their choice of evening dresses add dazzle to any evening but on gala nights, they pull all the stops out.



Dance Hosts A highlights of cruising on Cunard for those who love dancing but have no partner or don’t feel their dance levels are up to taking to the floor, the dance hosts are the perfect answer. They are there to give guidance and help build confidence.




Sue and Adrian Wisner are partners in life and on the dance floor. They came onboard QM2 in Southampton, not too far from their home in the town of Rayleigh, in Essex.



Cunard contracts both men and women to be dance hosts, there are four on QM2, three men and one woman - single women are not able to be independent dance hosts. The men and woman are there to dance with any solo quests who requests a partner but the rules of ballroom etiquette are clearly defined.


Guests must not be dancing with a regular partner of their own, the dance hosts are there to accompany solo travellers. Sue dances with both men and women but admits that some men are too embarrassed to let her lead her around the dance floor. Women like knowing that Sue is a married lady and her husband Adrian is also one of the hosts.


“Our job is to make the guests look good on the dance floor, “ says Sue who has shelves full of medals and trophies won in national and international dance competitions in the Ten Dance challenges.


“I started dancing at six,” she says, “and all these years later nothing has ever replaced my passion for dancing.” Before covid, Sue ran her own dance studio in and built up a faithful following but during and after covid many dancers were reluctant to return to the dancefloor.”


Sue can be thanked for bringing Adrian to his position as a Cunard dance host. “I attended dances at her studio and she caught my eye early on, ‘ says Adrian. “ I visited her studio and I always say that I had to pay for a dance lesson to be able to talk to her. “


The chat up lines must have paid off because Adrian and Sue have been together for ten years and married for less than two. “Seven wedding dates were set and cancelled during covid, “ Sue explains. ‘We planned a big wedding and reception and had even practiced for months to do our wedding dance – a fabulous Argentine tango. When we finally were able to marry, like many other people, we had to have a small guest list and the reception was almost non-existent.”


Anytime they not partnering Cunard guests, Sue and Adrian, like many other people on cruises, see a long sea journey as a good time to reassess priorities.


“We have worked on other cruise lines, “ says, Sue, “but of course Cunard is a favourite. We love being onboard to guide the guests and show them that everyone can dance. You may just need a little practice.”


Being a dance host has been described as like parachute jumping with an instructor. You do the doing the jump but have an experienced individual to lead you.


‘Dancing is so social, “ says Adrian, “it’s a great way to meet other guests on a cruise. We have several guests who started as nervous and unsure of their abilities, now they are whirling round the room and loving it. The best advice I offer to nervous dancers is, “Don’t stay quiet, come and tell us you’d like to dance.” We love reaching out to anyone who wants to experience the great pleasure that an evening of dance provides.”


Sue and Adrian are a popular, approachable couple and they make a point of walking around the ship, wearing their badges and uniforms, and encouraging passengers to connect with them.”


Sue explains, “Our job is to make the guests happy and there is nothing better than to see a bright smile on the face of someone who always wanted to dance and now sees, ‘Yes, I can.’ "They experience a feel-good factor that may change their lives enough to seek out a dance studio or class when they at home.


“We love dancing on Cunard ships and with our help, guests can learn to Keep Dancing.:”


Happy Sailing

ELLEN

Singapore Cruise Society Photo used with permission: lovely blog there!

You're welcome to use the QM2 photos. You may credit us in the caption.


 

Current position of Queen Mary 2: Under way from Singapore to Laem Chabang

  • Departure was 2 d 4 hrs 25 min ago. (at 19:00 h local time)

  • Arrival will be in 8 hrs 5 min. (at 06:30 h local time)

  • Traveled distance since Singapore: 715.02 nm (1,324.23 km)

  • Remaining distance to Laem Chabang: 106.25 nm (196.77 km)

  • Course: 325°


Happy Sailing ... The Journey continues... Ellen


 

NEXT PORT - BANGKOK, THAILAND

17/18 February 2023 (Overnight)

 

Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)

"CHOCOLATE"


Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.


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