Author Topic: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004  (Read 464 times)

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Online Andy Holloway

QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« on: Apr 05, 2020, 10:54 AM »
With all this time on my hands, in between my real job as 'gardener's assistant' i've been trying to sort through dozens of memory sticks i've collected over the years that are packed with various photos from around the world.

Among them are a couple relating to the 3 weeks i was loaned to QM2 during her time at the 2004 Olympics.

Of the several cruise ships berthed in Piraeus for the games ONLY QM2 was actually chartered by ATHOC, the others being private private deals between various organisations and the individual cruise companies. For instance Sports Illustrated had a Silver Seas ship next to, and protected by the same boom as, QM2.

Being chartered by ATHOC meant that QM2 was covered by the Olympic Games regulations as it was considered an Olympic venue. Ie no alcohol to be brought into and no intoxicated admittance. A point missed by a young chef who, the second day we were there returned back onboard plastered! He was arrested in the terminal and taken to a police station. The ship was informed and, later on that morning, the Chief Security Officer was dispatched to visit him.  The police did not wish to pursue charges, but wanted mainly due to the relationship already built up between Cunard, ATHOC  and the Greek police he was left to stew for some hours before being released into the ship's charge around 1600, very hung over and embarrassed. But the lesson to the crew was learnt, don't come back onboard plastered!

As i work my way through the memory sticks i'll post a series of  photos and explain what they are, most of them have never been seen before.


Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #1 on: Apr 05, 2020, 01:02 PM »
Brilliant - looking forward to seeing the pictures
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Isabelle Prondzynski

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #2 on: Apr 05, 2020, 03:36 PM »
Great story, Andy. I am enjoying the memories which this down time is unearthing for you... and us!

Were the bars on the board QM2 also closed during this time in Athens, or did the rule only apply to people returning to the ship?

Online Andy Holloway

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #3 on: Apr 05, 2020, 05:33 PM »
The regulations state that you cannot ENTER an Olympic site intoxicated, hence the terminal and apron in front of QM2 were classified as part of the 'site', but the crew bars onboard were allowed to remain open by special permission of ATHOC. I can't remember exactly but, i think the passengers bars remained closed.

Online Andy Holloway

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #4 on: Apr 05, 2020, 06:00 PM »
To try to keep to some sort of chronological order i'll start my photos with our arrival in Athens on 11th August 2004.  To comply with crewing regulations i had joined QM2 a few days before in Rome, hence i was onboard for her arrival.

For those who have visited Piraeus by sea, you'll be familiar with this terminal, well since 2004 anyway.

The 4th picture was taken from outside the perimeter fence looking towards QM2, behind the tree just underneath the CUNARD name towards her stern is the port fire station, more about that later.



Online Andy Holloway

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #5 on: Apr 05, 2020, 06:06 PM »
In the arrival photos please note the length of the two gangways on the dockside, when we were on one of our planning meetings in Athens the subject of gangways came up and it was soon established that they didn't have any long enough to service QM2!
In the true spirit in which ATHOC solved problems, they had two especially made for the task in a matter of  few weeks.

Also in the first two photos you can see the new port fire station on the left hand side, we'll return to that in a couple of days, but possibly not for anybody with vertigo!!

Online Chris Thompson

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #6 on: Apr 05, 2020, 10:37 PM »
I was working on the Vistafjord when she went to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She was used by Time/Life Magazine as a floating hotel for their staff and reporters. We were given leave for two weeks as the Casino could not operate, when we came back we found a lot of promo material including Barcelona olympic music CD's, sports lapel pins etc had been dumped in our cash desk, great souvenir haul! ;D

That trip made even more memorable as when returning through Heathrow there were tons of newspapers showing a certain luxury liner holed off Martha's Vinyard! ;D ;D

Online Andy Holloway

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #7 on: Apr 06, 2020, 05:26 PM »
So to move onto the Fire Station.  When we were on one of our pre games visits the ATHOC team were very keen to show us the 'New' Fire Station and told us all about this new 'all singing, all dancing, vehicle they were going to get shortly, but definitely in time for QM2's arrival!

When QM2 arrived at the berth, as promised, there was the shiny new vehicle parked outside the fire station, we were impressed. The next day the agent took us down to take a look at this impressive item of fire fighting and rescue equipment, and it was once more parked outside.  Then the agent's face turned red when he told us that the vehicle was too big to fit into the NEW fire station!!
When they had ordered it they had been told the length of the vehicle, and built the fire station accordingly, however, they hadn't taken into account the length of the folded down extending ladder! Fully extended the ladder was a whopping 83 metres!
The fire crew were keen to show us their new 'toy' and we arranged for them to bring it across the next day and extend it next to QM2.

A 'volunteer' was required to accompany the fireman in the basket, a show of hands was taken and [now Capt.] Aseem Hashmi, the Safety Officer, was the 'winner'!

These are the photos i took of the event.
 

Offline Thomas Hypher

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Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #8 on: Apr 06, 2020, 05:36 PM »
I'm getting vertigo just from the photos! Great photos and memories though!
First sailed on QE2 in August 2003 aged 6 years old. Last stepped foot and sailed on QE2 in July 2008. Last saw the seagoing QE2 in person from the decks of QM2, on QE2's last Transatlantic crossing (Eastbound tandem) in October 2008. Visited QE2, in her new life, in Dubai back in January 2020.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #9 on: Apr 06, 2020, 06:03 PM »
Another great story about the QM2 at Athens Olympics Andy. I can imagine the response from those responsible when they realised the wrong calculations for getting the equipment into the Fire Station. 

Good to hear the link with Captain Hashmi.  He was the Captain this year when we are onboard QM2 and I think he is in line to be Cunard's new favourite Captain. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Andy Holloway

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #10 on: Apr 20, 2020, 03:13 PM »
Passengers onboard for Olympics.

Overall i think there were around 1000 passengers onboard, at any one time during the 2004 Olympics, this number was made up of a mixture of competitors, a few officials, national Olympic committee members and members of representing governments. One of the latter group who stood out, for all the best reasons, was The Prime Minister of one of the smaller Caribbean islands, Denzil Douglas, who came across as a really friendly and humble man, certainly to QM2 crew anyway. The day he arrived i was duty Chief Security Officer and was called to the gangway, we used the port - fwd tender lounge for screening and embarkation. As a head of Government he was afforded full Greek Diplomatic protection, which entailed Greek Special Branch accompanying him while he was ashore and then returning him back  safely onboard, hence my requirement to be present.
The main reason for having two Security Officer's onboard QM2 for the Olympics was, an agreement between HMG/Cunard & Greece/ATHOC that these police officers would be allowed to carry their side arms with them when onboard, but they had to be signed in & out, by the Chief Security Officer, whatever time of day or night they arrived. I must say here that these guys were excellent, never any problem, polite and incredibly professional in all they did. 

Among the competitors were the USA Ladies Beach Volleyball teams, Kerri Walsh & Misty May-Treanor, Holly McPeak & Elaine Youngs.  4 nicer 'girls' you would find it hard to meet anywhere. Every time they used the gangway they were just so pleasant to the Security Staff, never Billie big **** it at all, always happy to wait in line for checking and always with a smile of their faces.
The morning after the final they all arrived back onboard about 05.30/06.00, after what had obviously been a super night of celebrations, but they were still more than happy to stop, show the gangway staff their Gold & Bronze medals, plus have their photo taken by some 'weird Brit' !!

The first photo is of Holly McPeak with her bronze medal and the second is of the Gold  Medal winners, Kerri Walsh & Misty May-Treanor. Note the huge grin on the face of the Security lad in the background.


Online Rob Lightbody

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Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #11 on: Apr 22, 2020, 02:55 PM »
Thanks for your story about QM2 at the Olympics

I tend to forget about it now, but I avidly followed the news of Queen Mary 2 from conception through to the Olympics, she was very exciting at the time, and it was before it occurred to me to be concerned about QE2 being pensioned off!

https://www.roblightbody.com/qm2-news-when-new.html
Passionate about QE2's service life for 37 years and creator of this website.  Worked in IT for 27 years and created my personal QE2 website in 1994.

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #12 on: Apr 23, 2020, 09:54 AM »
I'm loving these stories about QM2 at the Athens Olympics, Andy and looking forward to hearing more.

What a fantastic experience to meet the athletes. 

Thanks for your story about QM2 at the Olympics

I tend to forget about it now, but I avidly followed the news of Queen Mary 2 from conception through to the Olympics, she was very exciting at the time, and it was before it occurred to me to be concerned about QE2 being pensioned off!

https://www.roblightbody.com/qm2-news-when-new.html

Like your page on QM2 Rob, lots of memories. 
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank
www.qe2event.com

Online Andy Holloway

Re: QM2 at Athens Olympics 2004
« Reply #13 on: Apr 24, 2020, 10:47 AM »
Fairly early on during our stay in Athens i was called to the gangway to speak to the ATHOC liaison persons, they were really nice people and a pleasure to work with, and in a round about way for.
Anyway they informed me that Queen Sofia of Spain had expressed an interest in visiting QM2, you have to remember that she - QM2 - had only be christened in Jan 2004 so every where she went she was an 'A' List celebrity that everybody wanted to see. I was informed that it would be in about a couple of hours, but they would let me know an exact time when they had one, right!!!!! Before i had chance to contact Commodore Warwick to inform him of the impending visit, my ATHOC friend received a phone call to say that she was on her way and would be with us in about 10 minutes! A quick phone call to the Captain's Cabin found Mrs Warwick 'at home' so i asked her if the Commodore's cap was there and, if so, would she please bring it down to the gangway ASAP!
I then nipped around to the Wardroom where i knew the Commodore was chairing a meeting, made my apologies and passed on the information. To prevent him panicking, i told him that his wife was on her way to the gangway and was bringing his cap - phew! We quickly nipped around to the gangway, at the same time as Mrs Warwick appeared, as elegant as ever and looking like she'd just spent 3 hours in the Spa!

A quick route plan was arranged and i found one of my Security Staff to clear the route for us. Shortly afterwards Queen Sofia arrived with her entourage and Greek Police escorts, the Commodore welcomed her and the ATHOC group all were introduced by their leader. A quick introduction to QM2 was given and off we went. Fortunately, not long after arriving we had realised that there were gonig to be many, many visitors during our 3 weeks in Athens and between  us, Phil, the other Chief Security Officer and myself had worked out a simple, but informative route that took about an hour. We could make it slightly shorter if you were rushed or, slightly longer if you had interesting guests and the time.

As with all visits, we ended up in the main lobby where the attached photo was taken.

Th ATHOC lady on the left is wearing the official Athens Olympics 2004 Officials Polo shirt, these were/are very sought after and 'officially' hand to be returned at the end of the Games. However, as a way of saying 'thank-you', the day of our departure, one of the senior managers, with whom we had had an excellent relationship since our first meetings back in April, arrived at the gangway and handed me a parcel. With a wink of his eye he said not to open it until we were at sea! On opening it i found that he had 'acquired' two of these shirts, on a note inside he'd written saying one was for me and the other he would like given to the Crew as a memento of their time in Athens. In conjunction with the Personnel Manager we had the crew shirt framed and it was put up on the wall in the crew mess. I would like to think that it is still there to this day as a memory of that momentous time in QM2's life.
As to my wife's shirt, she wore it for her twice weekly tennis sessions for a few years, then decided that it was too good an item to wear any more and it is now safely stored in her 'mementos' box!

 

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