Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, we’re bringing you blogs from colleagues taking part in the month’s activities to help everyone learn a little more. If you missed it, catch up on Tanzin’s post here

In our second blog, we hear from Captain Hashmi onboard Queen Mary 2:

The Holy month of Ramadan is fast approaching and final preparations onboard the ships in the fleet are also taking place, such as arranging specific fasting mealtimes to fit both individual work schedules across various departments and shipboard operational requirements.

When I joined the Cunard Line over 28 years ago, there were probably less than 10 Muslim crew out of 1,000 on Queen Elizabeth 2 – a couple from Türkiye, Malaysia, Russia, France and Egypt. On the smaller ships like Caronia, I remember there were only two or three Muslim crew out of 450.

Those of us who chose to fast had to arrange our “out of hours” meals on our own by making individual arrangements with the chefs or stewards to save a meal for us in the oven for later. I remember, as a junior Officer, I would break my fast on the Bridge by eating a Mars bar and then have my main meal after my watch. Colleagues in the restaurants would be excused for around 15-20 minutes to quickly have their meal in the galley before returning to service.

Fast forward a couple of decades and the ships are just as diverse as they were nationality-wise, but perhaps more inclusive now, with more Muslim crew onboard, particularly in the last five to 10 years or so, with shipmates from Malaysia, Indonesia, Türkiye, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Mauritius, Argentina, Bosnia, France, Tunisia, Morocco and of course the UK. We all have different work  patterns, but nowadays, better awareness of each other’s faith and respective celebrations has also enabled a better appreciation and understanding of how we can cordially integrate individual faith needs into our onboard work and life routines.  

Nowadays our crew who are fasting have special meals freshly prepared at the time (not left in the oven for hours as in years gone by); both for early pre-dawn breakfast and the Iftar (breaking of the fast) meal at sunset. Almost without exception, everyone fasting is able to join together for these two special meals per day, which adds to the sense of fellowship and amity. What is also very endearing is that colleagues who are not fasting or of the Islamic faith, also join in with the special meals to show both support to their fasting colleagues and an expression of camaraderie.

Ramadan is about patience, reflection and a sense of community which is personified by shipmates and colleagues onboard – from all the 35 nationalities we represent.

As a Captain and on a personal level, I do try and fast whilst onboard, but generally on sea days only and not on port days. Particularly where there may be long or challenging navigational passages or maneuvers. One can always make up any “lost days” afterwards. 

During our current temperate latitudes on the World Voyage, the fasting periods is not too long relatively speaking, approximately 0600-1800, however, during the northern hemisphere summers, up in Norway and the Baltic, fasting can be up to 18-20 hours which can be very difficult, so the crew onboard remain flexible on whether they can/should fast.

Every year Ramadan starts around 11-12 days earlier as it’s based on the lunar calendar. This year the three Abrahamic faiths will all celebrate their respective religious events around the same time, so in the coming weeks whilst fasting, I will find myself conducting the onboard Sunday Interdenominational church service during the Christian fasting period of Lent, and also attend the Jewish Seder dinner during Passover (fasting on the eve of Passover) and that just exemplifies what a diverse and wonderful place working at sea is for us all!

“Ramadan Mubarak – Happy Ramadan”.

Share a good deed to WIN a goody bag!

During the month of Ramadan, together with fasting, prayer and reflection, Muslims also increase their generosity and good deeds to support those less fortunate, and express higher levels of thanks and gratitude for the things they have been able to benefit from.

With this in mind, our employee-led network REACH would like you like you to get involved and tell us your good deed, act of kindness, or gratitude statement for the chance to win a Ramadan goody bag! Click here to enter

Prize draw is open to all Carnival UK employees and closes on 28 March 2024. Winners will be drawn at random and announced week commencing 1 April 2024.

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  1. Mohamed Ismail Habib Shaikh on

    Thankyou Captain Hashmi for wonderful words and even I remember those days when you was captain on ship Arcadia and that period of time we were on world cruise and celebarated month of Ramadan together ALHAMDULLIAH. Chef had organised very good meal for us and today I am on Ship Aurora celebrating Month of Ramadan in Norway Enjoying fasting and from deepest of my heart I would like to thanks P&O Cruises and Carnival UK for providing us such a good meals and looking after all the crew who are fasting and taking care of us. Happy Month of Ramadan and Ramadan Mubarak to all the crew and officer’s of Carnival UK. Thank you very much for supporting Us.

  2. Chloe Brazendale-White on

    Another really insightful blog! I loved hearing how crew who’re fasting join together for the two special meals a day and some who aren’t fasting join them.

  3. Emma Petterson on

    A really interesting read, thank you so much to Tanzin and the REACH team for these wonderful blogs, talks and activities during Ramadan.

    • Fantastic the way that we have all pulled together on Queen Mary 2 to make Ramadan happen for our Muslim colleagues. Great also to see none Muslim colleagues coming along to join together with those who are fasting.
      Having worked for the company now for over 11 years this year will be the largest group i have witnessed coming together sharing meals during the month of Ramadan. With such a diverse workforce amongst our Crew it is important we do what we can to share each others cultures.

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