This week we hear from Paul O’ Loughlin, Entertainment Director, covering the Hotel General Manager role on board Queen Mary 2 in December and January during our Operational Pause.

I went to sea in 1980 then joined the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) in Beaufort House, London, in February 1982 as an Entertainment Officer. Entertainment Officers and Radio Officers were interviewed by the same department at the time. Those were the days! This began my journey with P&O, Princess and Cunard. I’ve sailed on over 30 ships, seven new builds and spent time in Corporate Offices conducting projects. Today I’m very proud to be a Cunarder and have been since joining Queen Mary 2 in 2005.

I disembarked Queen Mary 2 in April 2020 in Southampton when we returned from our cancelled Round World Voyage. It was quite emotional rejoining by tender in Babbacombe Bay.

This is my ‘A Day in the Life of…’

7:30 Open the office and check emails and plan for the day. Note the model Spitfire on the desk… my quarantine project. I recommend everyone going into the two week quarantine to bring a project with them. Time for Coffee number one.

8:00 My day begins with a meeting of the Hotel Seniors to plan the day ahead and what we need to achieve. Today we discuss the upcoming call to Southampton including timings, storing, crew changes, Covid-19 Company protocols for joining crew members, and preparation of quarantine cabins. Also the arrival of the Crew mail which always brings a smile from our Teams onboard!

8:30 Second coffee of the day!

9:00 Depending on the day normally a meeting could consist of SMT, Ops Team, HESS or the weekly SMT Fleet Situation Brief call with the office. It’s Tuesday while I’m writing this which means running of water in Guest and Crew areas. All departments get involved and we complete the task in one morning. Great Teamwork!

11:30 Catch up with Environmental Officer John and Chef Reggie to discuss environmental tasks. Today we concentrate on Food Waste and meet in the Kings Court Scullery.

12:00 Lunch in the Kings Court. Check all the Galley Team are ok then enjoy my lunch.

13:00 Exercise time! I’m not a great gym person – like most of my colleagues I’ve never been on a horse or a treadmill, they both frighten me greatly! I do like to walk the decks. Then I take my midday break.

15:00 Ship Rounds. I like to walk a different area of the ship each day with Public Health rounds once a week. Today it’s back to my old haunt the Entertainment areas of QM2. Checking all venues, stores, back stage and all Production areas. The Royal Court Theatre is dark at the moment and I can’t wait for it to be full of all the joys of music and performance for our Guests once more.

16:30 Check in with the Team and see if they need any support.

17:00 Finish up any outstanding emails and tasks.

18:00 Meeting of the Book Club in the Library.

19:00 Dinner in the Kings Court with the ship’s company.

20:00 Quiz night or another social event with the ship’s company in the Carinthia Lounge. I’m getting help from the crew on improving my gaming skills! Then back to the Cabin and maybe watch a movie which I always enjoy.

On New Year’s Eve at anchor in Babbacombe Bay, we adhered to the time honoured tradition of, at midnight, along with Captain Hashmi and Captain Hall, the wisest member in years of the ship’s company rang out the old year and the youngest rang in the New Year on the Queen Mary 2 official bell. A time of reflection of the year past and the hope of positive change for the coming year. We rang the bell for all our shipmates at sea and ashore. We’re thinking of you!

Our Bell ringers Antonio, Fitter/Mechanic and Jordan, Elec-Tech Cadet reunited at the bell for this article.

Next week we will hear from Queen Victoria!


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