April 14, 2011
(8:55 a.m. EST) -- It's a situation cruisers hope never to face: an attack by pirates. But what happens if you're on a world cruise and must sail through a dangerous area? Cruise Critic forum members have been buzzing about a recent posting by member dc-farer, who reprinted an advisory placed in all cabins aboard the ongoing Queen Mary 2 world cruise. He'd spotted it on a blog recounting the voyage.
Here's the text, which was dated March 30 and signed by Commodore Bernard Warner: Between the 30th March and the 6th April, from Cochin to Dubai and onto the Suez canal, we will be transiting an area well documented in the world's media for piracy, in particular the Gulf of Aden, which we will transit on the 5th and 6th April. Onboard Queen Mary 2, we have put in place a security plan in order to protect the ship. As part of this plan, I would like to request your assistance and cooperation with the following: Deck 7 external promenade deck and Deck 6 aft will be closed on both sides at night and no Guests or crew will be allowed access for the duration of the transit. During hours of darkness, only essential open deck lights will be on as it is important to reduce the ship's external lighting. With this in mind I request that you turn off your cabin lights when not required and close the curtains of your window or balcony. In order to familiarize you with these additional measures prior to transiting the Gulf Of Aden, there will be a Guest and Crew drill at 10.30 on the morning of Monday 4th April. This Drill will be conducted in the interests of your personal safety and security and I respectfully request your full participation in this important exercise. In the event of pirate activity, announcements will be made from the Bridge and the initial actions required by our guests will be as follows: Guests are to proceed to their staterooms Guests with a window or balcony should proceed to the corridor outside their stateroom and sit on either a chair or on the floor and close their stateroom door. If you are in an inboard stateroom please remain inside your stateroom. Your Stateroom Steward will do a check of their section area to ensure everyone is accounted for. During this time Guests are not to remain on any open decks or near any external windows. I must emphasise that the safety and the security of every individual on board is my highest priority and the implementation of this procedure is an important part of the ship's security plan.
It's chilling stuff. We reached out to Cunard, which verified that the memo was indeed distributed to guests. In addition, Warner provided us with this happy news: "The information is accurate and these are the precautions which the Company takes in this region. The notice was delivered to all guest staterooms and is backed up with announcements and TV appearances from me. I can confirm there were no incidents."
--by John Deiner, Managing Editor