Good Evening,

This is going to be an “instant blog.” It is 10:30pm and the ship is in Civi tonight and it has already been a long day. However, I wanted to quickly tell you that tonight I spent 45 minutes of pure joy and excitement….no…I wasn’t driving an Aston Martin….nope…I wasn’t sharing a mud bath with Angelina Jolie and Catherine Zeta Jones….nope…I was on the phone with…MR.JOHN CLEESE.

The interview went very well. Ok, that’s my opinion…but I think it really did. We chatted like old friends and ….Oh, hold on…I just got a news flash on my Raspberry from PA 007….I will be right back.

Here I am….and what a news flash it is….lets get back to John Cleese in a minute because I now need you to read this from the Super Spy PA 007.

Hello John,

I had to work today as my boss “M” has an important lunch meeting with two VIP’s on Tuesday so I had to help prepare for that and guess what I found out?….This is big as the official press release is not due out until Monday lunchtime…I am a bit nervous about sending you this but it certainly is more exciting than my country line dancing classes….check this out.

Cunard
10 September 2007

HER ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUCHESS OF CORNWALL
TO NAME CUNARD’S NEW QUEEN VICTORIA

Cunard Line is delighted to announce that Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, will attend a ceremony in Southampton on 10th December 2007, to mark the introduction of Cunard’s new 90,000-ton liner Queen Victoria. At this ceremony, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall will perform the naming of the ship.

This naming will be a milestone in both Cunard and British maritime history, and will be a major event of worldwide interest, with over 2,000 VIP guests from around the globe in attendance at the prestigious ceremony.

Carol Marlow, president and managing director of Cunard Line, comments:

“This will be an historic occasion. We are most honoured that Their Royal Highnesses have accepted our invitation and that Her Royal Highness will name our newest Cunarder. Every one of our Cunard Queens has been named by a member of the Royal Family and we are therefore delighted that Queen Victoria will follow in that tradition. In addition, this particular ceremony will mark the beginning of a new era, as it will be the first time in our 168-year history that we will have three Cunard Queens in service at the same time.”

Queen Victoria will not only be a classic Cunard ocean liner, offering the very best of our heritage and traditions, but will also be the second largest Cunarder the company has ever built. She will be in Southampton for four days, during which time over 7,000 guests from around the world will visit the ship. She will depart on her maiden voyage on Tuesday 11 December 2007.

– Ends –

For Further PRESS Information

Contacts
Eric Flounders, Corporate Communications Manager: 0207 940 5390
eric.flounders@cunard.co.uk
Michael Gallagher, Corporate Communications Executive: 0207 940 5391
michael.gallagher@cunard.co.uk
Or visit the Cunard website: www.cunard.co.uk
Notes to Editors

Royal Connection

There is a strong tradition of Cunard liners being launched by members of the Royal Family.

* Not only did Her Majesty The Queen name QE2 in 1967, but as Princess Elizabeth in 1947, she performed the ceremony for Caronia, “The Green Goddess.”

* The late Queen Mother, as Queen Elizabeth, launched Queen Elizabeth in 1938.

* Queen Mary, wife of King George V, launched Queen Mary in 1934 and in so doing became the first monarch ever to launch a merchant ship.

Features of Queen Victoria

From outside, her distinctive black and red livery will hint at what differentiates a Cunard liner from a standard cruise ship. This will be most evident in the ship’s adherence to liner traditions of the past, with elegant public rooms, many on a grand scale two or three decks in height, featuring rich wood paneling, intricate mosaics and gleaming chandeliers. There will also be a grand, colonial-style conservatory complete with a retractable glass roof.

Queen Victoria will also feature some exciting innovations. These will include the first traditional West End-style private boxes at sea in the Royal Court Theatre; the first floating museum, Cunardia, housing Cunard artifacts and memorabilia; and a two-storey, spiral staircased library at sea. The ship will also feature the line’s celebrated luxury Grills accommodation and dining, further enhanced on Queen Victoria with an exclusive al fresco dining option, “The Courtyard.”

Queen Victoria’s maiden voyage is a 10-night Christmas Markets voyage. She will leave from the company’s homeport, Southampton, and will call at Rotterdam (for Amsterdam), Copenhagen (overnight call), Oslo, Hamburg and Zeebrugge (for Bruges), enjoying the pre-Christmas decorations and traditional gift markets. After spending her first Christmas in the Canaries, Queen Victoria will embark on her 106-night maiden world cruise, which will call at 37 cities in 23 countries. Every call, with the exception of Lisbon, will be a maiden call for Cunard’s new Queen. Queen Victoria will circumnavigate the globe in a westbound direction and, after calling at New York, will transit the Panama Canal before making maiden calls at some of the world’s most famous cities including Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Dubai, Athens and Barcelona. Queen Victoria will also transit the other of the great canals, the Suez, before returning to her homeport of Southampton on 22 April.

Going back to my cubicle now before M sees I am gone.hello… to all the bloggers….PA 007 – over and out.

Thank you so much PA 007, that’s dinner at Denny’s I owe you. Congratulations to Cunard for securing a member of the royal family to dedicate a royal ship.and …what a ship she is going to be….and what a day that will be. I have been invited and although I am sure I will be seated on the back row and sleeping on deck I promise constant live blogs from my raspberry every 10 minutes…a live blog…..that will be fantastic.

The interview went very well. Ok, that’s my opinion…but I think it really did. We chatted like old friends and OK – back to Mr.Cleese. Here are the questions I sent him ahead of time so we would have some basis on which to conduct our interview.

1. What was your first impression of the magnificent Queen Mary 2?

Is this what they call a leading question? My first impression of the magnificent Queen Mary 2 was of its magnificent magnificence. My second impression was that it seemed to float very well, which is the important thing.

2. I know you are onboard the Queen Mary 2 to take part in the Insight program. What can you tell us about this and with whom are you sharing the program?

As I joined the ship a relatively late comer, I have only been asked to do one appearance, when Ray Rouse interviewed me about my life and times. Ray and I have done this before, so it was very easy and comfortable, and I was able to tease the audience about being nearly as old as I am.

3. Hopefully you will have a lot of time to relax during the Atlantic crossing. How do you relax? What was the last book you read?

I relax mainly by reading. I just finished reading a Christopher Hitchens book, about religion, which seemed to be good journalism, but utterly lacking in wisdom. I just started a book about recurrence, the strange idea that time may recur.

4. You have traveled the world during your illustrious career. What has been the one place that made the greatest impression on you and is at the top of your list and is there anywhere you have not been that you really want to see?

When I recall the places that made the greatest impression on me, I find that I recall different ones when I am in different moods. But perhaps seeing the sphinx, was the most special moment, I regret very much that the Middle East is not very safe at the moment, so my plans are to see Argentina, Chile, China and South East Asia

5. On a personal note as a cruise director dealing with 3500 people every cruise you meet some “interesting” people. I often find myself muttering my favorite “Basil” phrases under my
breath……………..my favorites being when I say “Good Morning” and receive no reply I am often found muttering “It’s not the Gettysburg Address” or as I am providing information on how to save your life during our Abandon Ship Drill there is always someone who is not paying attention and can be found sitting on the balcony having a glass of wine…..I often feel like saying “I don’t know why we bother, we should let you all burn” over the Public Address System.
Sorry to waffle but my question is this………..Are you aware that even today, Basil’s idiosyncrasies are played out all over the world by people (like me) involved in dealing with the public?

It really tickles me that some of Basil’s thoughts flash into people’s minds as they do their job. I suppose it is inevitable in a service industry that we should have moments of exasperation with our customers! The one that I always recall is “Well whose fault is it then, Dennis Compten’s?”

6. The blog I write has now had 630,000 readers in the five months it has been live. One of the conversations that everyone has been commenting on is the difference between British and American humour…..even the spelling of the word! So, who better to ask than you Sir…………..is there a difference and if so what is it?

Each country displays a wide variation in styles of humour. Think of Little and Large, and Monty Python. But I think the main difference between the US and the UK is that the Brits will laugh at a funny situation, but the Americans need funny lines to trigger the laughter.

7. Just a quick question on your future filming. What can we look forward to seeing you starring in during 2008 and will ‘Q” be making a comeback in the next James Bond Movie…………..we all missed him?

My next movie is Pink Panther Deux, with Steve Martin. I shall be shooting a few days in Boston in the middle of October. I am sure Steve will be very good as Clouseau, but I think Alberto Gonzales would have been even better casting.

As far as Bond is concerned, I think they have decided to move to a grittier style so I doubt that Money Penny and Q will be returning.

8. Back to the Queen Mary 2. I would like you to choose 6 people to dine with alive or not. Who would be at your table and why?

My six diners would include Charlie Chaplin, Carl Jung, Richard Feynman, Cary Grant, Jesus Christ and Alyce Faye Eichelberger. She is my wife and is not quite as interesting as the other five but she’d make my life a misery if I left her out.

The last question…….well, it’s not really a question. It seems to me that in today’s society of the ‘instant celebrity’ that maybe we have forgotten our true heroes.
You obviously were born with this incredible gift of making people laugh and you have shared this gift with all of us for many years and long may that continue. So as your busy days continue and in case nobody else remembers……………I just want to say………….thank you”

Hope this helps.

John Cleese

So, this was the basis of the interview but we spoke about so much more including:

MORE FAWLTY TOWERS STUFF
RELIGION
PRESIDENT BUSH
BOOKS
PSYCHOLOGY
FAMILIES
FISH SHOPS

It was an amazing experience.
The full audio file will be available tomorrow (Monday) sometime for you to downslap as well as one of those video clip thingies as well…..I hope you enjoy.

There will be a full blog tomorrow with the usual Q and A and other sections.

Until then, you find me very happy and Heidi said as I did so well………it’s Thursday!

Goodnight

Your friends,
John and Heidi

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.