RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE
RMS QUEEN ELIZABETH 2
Queen Elizabeth 2 is
one of the most illustrious ships ever built. She has loyally served as
floating ambassador for Britain for over 40 years and
draws huge crowds wherever she goes. She is truly a British Icon and is
the longest serving Cunard flagship and indeed Cunard ship. Sadly on
the 18th June 2007 it was announced by Cunard Line and Carnival
Corporation & PLC that she would be retired from service in
November 2008 and would be preserved in Dubai as a hotel, museum, and
retail & entertainment destination at a specially built pier at The
Palm Jumeirah in honoured retirement. So 2008 will be her final
season before the world famous and legendary QE2 bids farewell for the
last time and sails from Southampton and Britain's shores bound for
retirement in Dubai never to return.
She was built by the famous John Brown & Co. (Clydebank) Ltd shipyard on the River Clyde that had built her predecessors the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth and she was launched in 1967 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. However she didn’t have the easiest of introductions and her early years were plagued with difficulties. However she has improved with age and by the 1980s had build up a strong reputation as one of the finest cruise liners in the world. In 1982 she, like her predecessors, was called up into military service as a troopship during the Falklands War. The QE2 also uniquely developed a partnership with another transatlantic legend, the supersonic Concorde of British Airways, from 1983 until the retirement of the airliner in 2003. However Cunard Line’s travel partnership with British Airways still continues to the present day with both the QE2 and the new RMS Queen Mary 2.
legendary QE2, as
she is affectionately known, is a world famous maritime icon and
treasure. Since her introduction she has been the flagship of the
merchant fleet. During her long career she has broken many records and
renowned for her World Cruises as the RMS Empress of
Design and Construction (1958 – 1969):
beginning of the 1960s,
the quest for the
December 1958 the
question of a replacement for Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth had
Originally the plan had been to build two new liners with the help of
Government subsidies. A Government committee, under Lord Chandos, was
set up to
examine the economic viability of this. The result was that the
provided a grant of £18 million towards the building of one 75,000 ton
known as the 'Q3 Project', to be ready for service in 1966. These plans
for a ship with classic lines and divided in three classes, intended
transatlantic trade alone. There was opposition to the plan as more and
passengers were crossing the
the scheme was
cancelled. A new “Q4 project” was created to build a slightly smaller
which could traverse the
contract was awarded
to John Brown & Co., Clydebank,
"I name this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second. May God bless her and all who sail in her."
Words of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at
the Launch Ceremony, 20th September 1967.
welcome the opportunity you have given me to launch this splendid
successor to those two famous Cunarders Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
I suppose these two ships were better known and loved, both in peace
and war, by all of us living in these islands, than any other
merchantman in our history. I have always had a special affection for
them because they were named after my grandmother and my mother, and it
does not seem so very long ago that I was present with my sister when
my mother launched the Queen Elizabeth.
Every great enterprise has an element of risk and
uncertainty about it, and I am sure no one can predict the future
career of the new Cunarder. I am equally certain that, in the
experienced and capable hands of the Cunard company, she will stand the
best chance of a happy and profitable lifetime.
We have all read, with a touch of nostalgia, that the name of John Brown is to disappear from the list of great shipbuilders. However, this does not mean that the very special skill and spirit of this yard will be lost to Clydeside or to British shipbuilding. In wishing the Queen Elizabeth the Second a long life and good fortune on all her voyages, I add my best wishes for success and prosperity to the new consortium of Clydeside shipbuilders."
Post Launch Speech by Her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II, 20th September 1967
November 1968, the QE2
went through her sea trials. These couldn’t have turned out much worse.
ship suffered from serious problems with her turbines, and was forced
to her builders for immediate reparations. Cunard refused delivery.
were made, but soon other problems emerged and once again Cunard
take over the QE2. It is reasonable to assume that John Brown and Co.
lost money in building the third Queen, and Cunard lost more money when
were forced to cancel the scheduled maiden voyage, which was booked
The Early Cunard Line Years (1969 – 1982):
last, in mid April
1969, the QE2 officially joined the Cunard fleet and departed from
a mini-cruise to the
dramatic incident of the ship's career occurred in January 1971. Whilst
cruising in the Caribbean it received an SOS call from the French liner
Then whilst QE2
was travelling from
connected with the
two previous Cunard Queens by name, there were many things that made
different from her older sisters. No one ever thought that the new
ever come to serve her country in times of war. Modern warfare seemed
quite good without requisitioning merchant vessels and instead using
for transport. But in 1982 something happened that proved that this was
case. In April, Argentinean troops landed on the shores of the
Government quickly faced a serious problem. There were no friendly
within a thousand miles of the
requisitioned QE2 for service as a troop transport vessel. Conversion
began immediately with the addition of helicopter flight decks and a
communications system. On May 12
the name that was
written on the bows of the QE2 would protect her from immediate danger.
ship bearing the monarch’s name was sunk, this would be very
the British government. So the real dangerous task would be given to
The Final Years as a Steamship (1982 – 1986):
arrived safely back
"Captain P. Jackson
I am pleased to
welcome you back as Queen Elizabeth 2 returns to home waters, after
your tour of duty in the South Atlantic. The exploits of your own
ship's company and the deeds of valour of those who served in Antelope,
Coventry and Ardent have been acclaimed throughout the land, and I am
proud to add my personal tribute.
Elizabeth Regina, Queen Mother"
Captain Jackson immediately replied as follows:
"Please convey to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, our thanks for her kind message. Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 is proud to have been of service to Her Majesty's Forces.
docked work immediately began on
refitting her for commercial service. As if to honour tradition, Cunard
decided to repaint the ship's funnel in the traditional Cunard colours
hull was painted grey. The ship is honoured by a visit from HM Queen
the Queen Mother before her re-entry into service. The following years
with the QE2 sailing on her regular schedule – transatlantic crossings
summer and cruises during the winter. In 1983 Cunard inaugurates the
QE2 and Concorde package on the transatlantic crossing whereby you can
one way on the QE2 and return on Concorde, thus combining two 1960s
transatlantic legends. This unique travel package continued until 2003
Concorde was retired from service. In 1985 Cunard chartered Concorde to
passengers out to
Cunard decided that
she would be refitted with diesel engines to save the company £12
year in fuel costs. That year HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The QE2 Reborn & the Final Years as a Transatlantic Liner (1986 – 2004):The following year, in 1987, the QE2 was back in service, not only with a brand new set of engines, but also sporting a new funnel of different design, the new stack being wider than the previous one. The refit seemed to have been exactly what the Queen needed. She was now both faster and more efficient than ever before. Her relaunch into service was marked by a visit from HRH Princess Diana and a flypast by Concorde. Later that year, she won The Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. She also had a new livery of black hull and traditional Cunard funnel colours. This went down very well with her passengers and the public. In 1988 HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited the ship again and lunches on board to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her launching the RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1938. In her speech she said:
"Throughout the years that followed the Queen Elizabeth was a symbol of so much pride in our country. For me and for many who travelled in her it was a sad day in November 1968 when the Queen Elizabeth sailed from Southampton for the last time, leaving a legacy of memories. I am sure it is a name that will live on in history, just like the Golden Hind, Victory and Cutty Sark. Like her predecessor the Queen Elizabeth 2 is a fine ambassador for this country."
Speech of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother during a special luncheon in 1988 on board the QE2 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of her launching the RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1938.
In 1989 she was chartered by a consortium of Japanese companies for 72 days to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the city of
now, it seemed that
the QE2 would live through a long career with no mishaps (if one does
her turbine problems). But in August 1992, she had her taste of bad
well. While cruising in the Vineyard Sound off the coast of
the QE2 led a
flotilla of ships commemorating the 50th Anniversary of D
is reviewed by HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of
(as well as other world leaders) from on board the Royal Yacht
ship also sails past the
in December 1994,
Cunard took the opportunity to let her go through an extensive refit.
was made to renovate the relatively old ship, and bring her up to date
passenger comfort and safety regulations. HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of
guest of honour at lunch on board in
In 1994 as
part of this refit two royal portraits were relocated onto the QE2. One
was the royal portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (painted
when she was still Queen), painted by Sir Oswald Birley, which had hung
in the Main Lounge of the RMS Queen Elizabeth was moved on board the
QE2. It had been unveiled on board the RMS Queen Elizabeth on the 28th
July 1948 by HM Queen Elizabeth when she paid a royal visit to the
liner in Southampton with HM King George VI and HRH Princess Margaret
Rose. That day Her Majesty also presented the ship with her personal
standard which was framed and hung in the Main Restaurant on board the
RMS Queen Elizabeth. Since the retirement of the RMS Queen Elizabeth in
picture had been
given on permanent loan to Southampton City Council and had been
displayed until 1994 in the Mayor's Parlour.
Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth by Sir Oswald Birley
(This painting originally was displayed in the Main Lounge on board the RMS Queen Elizabeth)
The Royal Portrait of
Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh by Edward
(This painting originally was displayed in the Main Lounge on board the RMS Caronia)
The other portrait moved onto the QE2 was that of HM Queen Elizabeth II when, as Princess Elizabeth, she had married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten RN. This painting was done by Edward Halliday. The painting, mounted in a contemporary, specially carved frame, showed them arm-in-arm as the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and had been originally hung in the Main Lounge on board the RMS Caronia since her entry into service in 1949. Again when the RMS Caronia, famously known as the Green Goddess, had been retired from service in 1967, the painting also was handed by Cunard Line on permanent loan to Southampton City Council and had been displayed until 1994 above the magnficient stairway in the Southampton Civic Centre. Today the two paintings continue to hang on board the QE2 either side of the forward main stairwell between the Upper and Quarter Decks.
momentous year for the QE2; she made her first call at
On the 11th September 1995 during a westbound transatlantic crossing the QE2 encountered Hurricane Luis and got hit by a 95 ft wave. On the 2nd January 1996 she logged 4 million miles at sea.
Cunard Line changed
ownership when Trafalgar House was bought by the Norwegian company
year she began her 20th World Cruise from
included work in passenger areas and maintenance behind the scenes.
by now invested more than 10 times the building cost of QE2, including
massive re-engineering in 1987 and a major interior redesign in 1994 to
she would remain the most prestigious ship in the world. This time,
upgradings in passenger areas include the Princess Grill and the
largest of the
five restaurants, the
transatlantic crossing time was extended from five to six days and
departure times in Southampton and
the QE2 welcomed yet
another famous passenger on board when South African President Nelson
(accompanied by his future wife Graca Machel) sails from
the QE2 celebrated
the 30th anniversary of her first transatlantic crossing with a special
birthday party in
"The QE2 is our flagship vessel, she embodies the essence of British heritage and all that is Cunard," said Deborah Nathansohn, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Cunard Line. "With more than 160 years of tradition it is important that we retain that all-but-vanished experience that defines luxury ocean travel. We are preserving a piece of history that is the foundation for what has become the explosive growth of the cruise market."
announces that the QE2 will sail four transatlantic voyages out of
the 7th January 2002 the QE2 docked in
On the 13th
2002 Cunard announce that the 2003 season will be the QE2’s last on the
transatlantic crossings route from Southampton to
the QE2 continues
to break yet more records and continues to be a living legend. On the 22nd
August 2002 the QE2 broke another record when she achieved 5 million
sea which is the most mileage of any ship in history. On the 5th
January 2003 the QE2 departs
"From one British icon to another: QE2 and Concorde have been an improbable, unique and successful transatlantic partnership for the past 20 years. We are sorry to see you go."
Words of Captain Ray Heath (Master of the
QE2) to the Captain Mike Bannister on Concorde G-BOAG on the 24th
October 2003 as the Concorde made its final transatlantic flight from
New York JFK to London Heathrow.
In 2002 Cunard had announced that 2003/4 will be the QE2’s last season on the transatlantic service however before this, one last epic event in the story of the Atlantic Ferry would take place. On the 19th April 2004 the Queen Elizabeth 2 sailed from Southampton Docks on her final Transatlantic Crossing Westbound voyage prior to handing over to the new RMS Queen Mary 2. This voyage was designed so that the QE2 could meet up with the Queen Mary 2 in
QE2’s reign on the
On the 12th
November 2004 the QE2 reached yet another epic milestone in her
history as she becomes Cunard Line’s longest serving express liner
years 6 months and three days afloat. Thus smashing the record
by the venerable RMS Aquitania which served from May 1914 to December
the 16th April 2005 the QE2 meets the Queen Mary 2 for only
second time in Southampton when the Queen Mary 2 passes her berthed at
Terminal while bound for
On the 28th
2005 the QE2 participates in another epic event, the International
On the 4th
September 2005 yet another remarkable milestone is passed in the
history of the
legendary QE2 as she becomes Cunard Line’s longest serving ship after
surpassing the previous record of 36 years 4 months and 2 days. Thus
the record set by the
18th November 2005 Cunard Line confirmed to the Daily Echo newspaper in
Southampton, that the legendary QE2 will be refurbished in Spring 2006
to meet the new SOLAS 2010 safety requirements and therefore will
continue in service for at least another 10 years. The ship is
outstandingly popular and it is not uncommon for it to be nearly
impossible to get berths on board for love or money. A consortium in
Southampton is being set up to work up plans and put together finance
to eventually preserve the QE2 in the city when the time comes for her
to be retired. The consortium is headed by Terry Yarwood and welcomed
the statement that Cunard will keep her in service for many years to
come. However they stated that they would continue with their
consortium so as to be ready for the day when the QE2 is eventually
retired from service. Soon discussions are to be held with the Heritage
Lottery Fund to explore whether they would be supportive of plans to
save the QE2 for Southampton and the UK.
On the 3rd
January 2006 the legendary QE2 departs Southampton on yet another of
renowned World Cruises via New York, Fort Lauderdale, Willemstad
Panama Canal, Acapulco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, American Samoa, Fiji,
Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle, Bali, Keelung
Kobe, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Penang, Phuket, Colombo, Cochin,
(Bombay), Dubai, Suez Canal, Alexandria, Piraeus (Athens),
(Rome), Valencia, Lisbon and finally Southampton where she arrives on
April 2006. During this one she makes her maiden call at
April 2006 marked another notable
occasion in the life of the two Cunard Queens when once again they were
together in their home
Departures were as follows:
Departures were as follows:
11:30 – 12:30
QE2 departs Western Docks bound for refit in
departs the Mayflower Cruise Terminal in
Western Docks bound on a cruise to the
17:00 Saga Rose
departs the City Cruise Terminal in Western
Docks bound on a cruise to
18:00 Queen Mary
2 departs from the QEII Terminal in Eastern
Docks on a transatlantic voyage to
18:30 Saga Ruby departs the City Cruise Terminal in Western Docks bound on a cruise to the Atlantic Isles.
Her 40th Anniversary Year (2007):
The QE2 is
renowned for her
legendary World Cruises and is considered by many to be the Grande Dame
World Cruising having undertaken more of them than any other ship
However in 2007 she will depart
20th February 2007: The Meeting of the Two Cunard Queens "The Royal Rendezvous"(Sydney, Australia)Website: www.queenmary2.com.au
QE2 helped to
induct the new RMS Queen Mary 2 into the tradition of world cruises
did on the transatlantic crossing in 2004. The QE2 arrived back in
after her momentous Silver Jubilee World Cruise and two “Meeting of the
10th June 2007, a special luncheon for Falklands Veterans was held on
board the QE2 while she was docked in Southampton to mark the 25th
Anniversary of the Falklands War. In 1982 the QE2 had arrived in
Southampton on the 11th June with survivors of the HMS Ardent, Antelope
and Coventry that had been sunk during the conflict.
18th June 2007 there was the shock announcement that an agreement had
been reached to sell the QE2 to Dubai World (a holding company of the
Dubai Royal Family and the Dubai Government) for £50 million for use as
hotel, museum and retail & entertainment destination at a specially
built pier at the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai from 2009. The Palm
Jumeirah is a "Palm Island" being built off Dubai, one of three along
with one in the form of a map of the World! This is said to be the 8th
Wonder of the World. This means that the QE2 will be retired from
service with Cunard Line at the end of her current booked cruise
programme in November 2008. Sadly it seems that Britain has been denied
the opportunity to even bid for the QE2. There bidding
process for potential buyers of the ship, Dubai simply approached
Cunard behind the scenes
and a deal was made, thus denying Britain the opportunity to even bid
for the ship alongside Dubai's bid. This is a great shame that
the QE2 was sold in this way without a fair bidding process. In the
late 1960s Britain lost the Queen Mary because we submitted a bid for
the ship but it was unsuccessful. Sadly this time we have lost the QE2
not because our bid was unsuccessful but because Britain was not even
given the opportunity to bid for the ship. Shame, but instead she will
this is very disappointing for Britain as the QE2's home country and
her British supporters, like it was in the late 1960s when the Queen
Mary was retired. However Cunard Line have to accept the deal that is
best for them as a business. So seeing it from their perspective the
QE2's sale to Dubai probably was inevitable as the United Arab Emirates
has a huge amount of money and has an available berth, resources and
acquire and look after the QE2. While Britain and the British interests,
despite their love for the ship, did not. Also it is probably good for Cunard
Line and Carnival from a business perspective as the QE2 would become a
permanent advert in Dubai for Cunard Line and the Carnival Corporation
& PLC group and will help to open up this new wealthy market for
them. Similarly the sale of the Queen Mary in the late 1960s to Long
Beach in California gave Cunard Line a permanent advert in the United
States and so from a business perspective surely helped to retain and
grow their American market. Also both America and Dubai have a strong
fondness of all things British so maybe they wanted a bit of Britain
for themselves in the form of the Queen Mary and QE2 respectively.
Dubai is in many ways the new California. Finally there is the obvious,
both places are immensely wealthy and could afford to purchase these
ships when they were retired from service and then pay to keep them
maintained as floating hotels and tourist attractions. Disappointing I
know for British fans of these two British maritime icons but sadly it
may be inevitable, money talks and that is how business works.
Cruise partnering the
new Queen Victoria in 2008 will be her final World Cruise. Her final
roundtrip Southampton cruise will be the "Mediterranean Odyssey" cruise
on the 27th October 2008 and returning to Southampton on the 11th
November 2008. Following this the QE2 will depart
Britain's shores for the final time on the "QE2 Final Voyage" one-way
voyage bound for her new home in Dubai.
After a brief refurbishment at Dubai Drydocks, returning some of her
interiors to their original splendour, she will be installed at a
special jetty in the Palm Jumeirah and her permanent new home ready for
opening in 2009. She, as well as being a hotel, will also feature a
museum celebrating her long and rich history and thus become a tourism,
retail and entertainment destination at The Palm Jumeirah. Thus future
will be able to continue to visit the QE2 and enjoy the legacy and rich
history at her new home in Dubai.
"Queen Elizabeth 2, the most famous ship in the world, will be leaving the Cunard fleet in autumn 2008. QE2 has sailed the world's seas for almost 40 years, and has travelled over 5 million miles in the process; that is further than any other ship in history. She is the longest serving ship in Cunard's 168-year history, and she has outlasted all other transatlantic liners.
After such an illustrious career, we feel that the time will be right for her to leave the fleet next year. However, she will not disappear. She has been purchased by Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World and a wholly owned company of the Government of Dubai. She will be delivered to Dubai in November 2008, where she will cease her role as an ocean going passenger vessel, and be refurbished and adapted to become a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination at The Palm Jumeirah.We think it very important that QE2 should end her ocean going career with dignity. We are, therefore, very pleased to have secured a permanent home for her that will enable future generations to continue to experience fully both the ship and her history.
This is clearly going to be an emotional farewell. QE2 was launched by Her Majesty The Queen in September 1967, forty years ago this year, and since she came into service in 1969, she has carried over 2 million passengers, undertaken 25 World Cruises, and crossed the Atlantic over 800 times. And like many of her Cunard predecessors she has been a major attraction at ports around the world. She will remain with the fleet until 11th November 2008, when she will leave her homeport of Southampton for the last time, to commence her final voyage to Dubai."
Words of Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line) on the 18th June 2007 when the shock announcement was made saying that the QE2 would be retired from service in 2008 and was to be sold to Dubai as a hotel and museum.
"The QE2 is without doubt one of the wonders of the maritime world, and is easily the most famous serving liner in the world today. I am delighted that we will be able to create a home for her on the newest wonder of the world, The Palm Jumeirah. The QE2 at The Palm Jumeirah will become one of the must-see experiences of Dubai and of the Middle East. We are investing in creating a truly global tourism destination. Dubai is a maritime nation and we understand the rich heritage of the QE2. She is coming to a home where she will be cherished. "
Words of Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayen
(Chairman of Dubai World) on the 18th June 2007 when the shock
announcement was made saying that the QE2 would be retired from service
in 2008 and was to be sold to Dubai as a hotel and museum.
On the 25th June 2008, in light of the impending retirement of the QE2, Cunard Line announced a series of changes to the ship's final season of cruises following her final World Cruise in tandem with the Queen Victoria. These changes to her cruise programme for 2008 are to ensure that the QE2 had a proper farewell series of voyages. Her Farewell Voyages are as follows:
So Cunard Line announced the Farewell Voyages for the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. Clearly there will be huge crowds at each of her ports of call on these final voyages and Cunard Line are giving this British icon a fitting and surely emotional farewell.
"These voyages will mark the historic departure of the QE2 from the Cunard fleet, in a very special way. The QE2 is a much loved vessel and we wanted to give her many loyal fans a chance to say goodbye, as well as give those to have never had the opportunity to sail aboard her the chance to do just that in her last season with Cunard."
Words of Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line) on the 25th June 2007 when announcing the QE2's Farewell Voyages in 2008 before her retirement from service and preservation in Dubai.
On the 15th September 2007 the QE2 marks another momentous milestone in her long career when she sets sail from Southampton on a special "40th Anniversary Celebration" cruise around the British Isles to celebrate the QE2's 40th birthday. Before setting sail from Southampton on the 15th September 2007 a farewell lunch was hosted on board for 350 invited guests. Notable guests included the former British Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher and her daughter Carol Thatcher. Carol Thatcher then boarded the ship for its special cruise round Britain. Then the QE2 sets sail at 1700 and was played off from the quayside by the Band of the Royal Marines and then was escorted down Southampton Water by two tugs firing water jets. On the 16th September 2007 at 1100 she arrived off Flamborough Head and moved in close to the Yorkshire Coast including Scarborough, Whitby, Hartlepool and Sunderland to enable the crowds to follow her progress up to the River Tyne. Then on the 17th September 2007 she made her remarkable and spectacular maiden call at Newcastle upon Tyne (Tyne Commission Quay). However due to strong winds and poor weather she had to make four attempts to get up the River Tyne and eventually arrived 2 hours late. She was escorted up the River Tyne by a flotilla of boats and a concerto of Northumbrian pipes to the accompanyment of daytime fireworks. As the ship progresses up the river the Tyne was turned into a virtual red carpet by using aqua flares. The 17th September was also notable as it was the 100th anniversary of the Mauretania's departure from the Tyne on her first sea trials. This is one of many anniveraries being marked by the QE2 on this special Round Britain voyage.
On the 18th September 2007 she called at the Firth of Forth and welcomed the Lord Provost of Edinburgh on board. Then she continued her voyage round the top of Scotland to reach the River Clyde on the 20th September 2007 (40 years to the day of her launch back in 1967). Berthed at Greenock a celebratory lunch was held on board the QE2 including as guests of honour 100 workers who helped build the ship. Then the guests of honour and the QE2's passengers were treated to a special 25 minute long display by the Red Arrows over the River Clyde. The exact moment of her launch, 1428, was marked by the sounding of the QE2's whistle and a recording of HM Queen Elizabeth II launching the ship back in 1967 was played over the ship's tannoy.
After departing her birthplace on the River Clyde she sailed to Liverpool where she arrived on the 21st September 2007. Thus becoming the third cruise ship to berth at the new cruise terminal. The arrival of the QE2 also marked the official opening ceremony of the new cruise terminal by HRH The Duke of Kent as the City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal. Liverpool is Cunard's spiritual home where the company was based from 1839 to 1967. After the opening ceremony for the new cruise terminal, VIPs and other dignitaries came on board the QE2 for a celebratory lunch. The afternoon climaxed with a magnificent Cunard QE2 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert which was held at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral and attended by the QE2's passengers and local dignatories. The concert starred, soprano Lesley Garrett, Scottish tenor Nicky Spence, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the Liverpool Cathedral Choir and the Band of the Scots Guards. It was a truly remarkable concert full of patriotic and popular music that stirred the emotions on this historic occasion. Tributes were paid to the legendary QE2 by regular passengers, Sir Jimmy Savile and Carol Thatcher. Sir Jimmy Savile had boarded the ship in Scarborough from a pleasure steamer. That evening there was a spectacular mid river firework display in honour of the QE2.
"Today together we have celebrated the long and extraordinary life of a great ocean liner. An ocean liner which was conceived and planned here in Liverpool. So far the QE2 has visited Liverpool 8 times. The next time, the 9th time, will be her last. After that she will not pass this way again."
Speech of Captain Ian McNaught at the QE2 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
21st September 2007.
On the 22nd September the voyage also marked the 40th anniversary of the Queen Mary's final departure from New York back in 1967. On the QE2's final day at sea on the 22nd September 2007, en route back to Southampton, activities on board marked the last sailing of the Queen Mary and after dinner the QE2 passed her newer sister Queen Mary 2 outbound from Southampton to New York. This historic occasion marked the first time two Cunard Queens had passed at sea since the Queen Mary passed the Queen Elizabeth for the final time in mid Atlantic nearly 40 years before on the 25th September 1967. Passengers crowded the decks of both ships to watch this historic sight. Finally the QE2 arrived back in Southampton on the 23rd September 2007 after her historic and memorable voyage round Britain.
The Farewell Season (2008):
On the 6th
January 2008 the QE2 is set to make history once again as she departs
Southampton on her World Cruise "South America, Pacific and Orient
Odyssey" in tandem with the new Queen Victoria. For the first time in
almost 10 years the QE2 will concentrate on South America and the
Pacific during her World Cruise. The Queen Victoria will
be making her Maiden World Cruise and the two ships will also be making
the first ever westbound tandem transatlantic crossing to New York.
Repeating the role she played when the RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004 and
2007 (in inducting that ship into the transatlantic service and World
Cruises), the QE2 will be inducting the Queen Victoria on her first
transatlantic crossing to New York and Maiden World Cruise. The two
ships will arrive in New York together on the 13th January 2008. The
Queen Mary 2 will also be in New York on that day having arrived from a
Connoisseur's Caribbean cruise. It is
likely that in New York the QE2 and the Queen Victoria will meet the
Queen Mary 2 in a maritime first the Three Cunard Queens will be
together for the first and maybe last time.
13th January 2008 New York witnessed maritime history as fireworks and
fanfare marked the first and only meeting of the Queen Mary 2, Queen
Elizabeth 2 and the new Queen Victoria. The regal fleet departed at
6.30 pm and Queen Mary 2 will depart from her American home port,
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, while the QE2 will depart from Pier 92 and
Queen Victoria will depart from Pier 88 both at the Manhatten "New York
Cruise Terminal". Then the three mighty Queens will rendezvous and sail
past the Statue of Liberty during a spectacular fireworks celebration
at around 7pm. This is the first time in Cunard's long history that
three Queens have been in service at the same time and with the QE2
retiring in November 2008 it will be the only time they will be in
service together. It was truly maritime history in the making.
a historic occasion for Cunard and New York, marking the only time that
the three ships will be together ever! More history will be made as our
grande dame QE2 departs on her 26th and final World Cruise and the
Queen Victoria will depart on her maiden World Cruise."
Words of Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line)The Queen Mary 2 meanwhile departs on the 13th January 2008 on another Connoisseur's Caribbean cruise. While from there the two Cunard Queens then sail in tandem to Fort Lauderdale where they arrive together on the 15th January 2008. From there they take different routes before reuniting in Sydney on the 24th February 2008 in a spectacular "Meeting of the Queens" similar to the occasion when the QE2 and RMS Queen Mary 2 arrived in Sydney in February 2007. The QE2 returns to Southampton after her epic World Cruise on the 18th April 2008. Thus two Cunard Queens are to make epic simultaneous World Cruises once again in 2008! Sadly in light of the announcement on the 18th June 2007, that the QE2 will be retired from service in 2008, this will be her 26th and final World Cruise.
On the 22nd April 2008 a remarkable and historic sight not seen in Southampton before and one that will never be repeated again will take place when all three Cunard liners are in port together.This once in a lifetime event will bring together the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth 2 for a unique event on the Southampton waterfront.At about 5.30pm the QM2 leaves her berth at the QEII Terminal in Eastern Docks and travels astern to a position close to her sister ships when all three bows will be pointing down Southampton Water. Originally the ships' timetable of voyages meant many Southampton people were disappointed they would be denied this one-off sight, but last minute changes to QE2's schedule has resulted in the city having the unique opportunity of seeing the three Queens together. Earlier this year, in January, the three Cunard ships did all meet up on the same day in New York in what was then thought to be a unique occasion but now, unexpectedly, Southampton will also have the opportunity to witness this dramatic sight. On the day, QM2 will be at Cunard's normal berth in the Eastern Docks, Queen Victoria will be at the City Cruise Terminal, next door to Mayflower Park, while QE2 will be further up the Western Docks at berth 105. All three ships will sound their whistles in salute before Queen Mary 2 departs on her first transatlantic crossing of 2008 (her 81st crossing) followed by Queen Victoria embarking on her first voyage to Iberia and the Canaries. After both QM2 and Queen Victoria leave the docks, QE2 will remain in port for the following nine days undergoing a maintenance period and refit in preparation for the final part of her cruise programme. QE2 is expected to remain alongside 105 berth until April 27 when she leaves on a cruise to Spain and the Canary Islands.
"We are delighted that this unexpected opportunity for Southampton to host our three ocean liners arose after we took the recent decision to have QE2’s scheduled 2008 refit in her homeport. We would like as many people as possible to witness this historic spectacle”.
Words of Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line)
On the 2nd June 2008, the QE2 will receive a special royal visitor. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will visit the ship in Southampton Docks for the final time to say a fond goodbye to the legendary Cunard liner, Queen Elizabeth 2, before the ship is taken out of service to become a hotel and tourist attraction in the Middle East. For the ship and her crew the royal visit will be a historic occasion as the Queen is reunited, after a gap of 18 years, with QE2, a liner which has a special place in her affections ever since the day, now more than 40 years ago, when she officially launched the Cunarder. It was in 1967 that the Queen travelled to the John Brown shipyard on Clydebank to perform the traditional ceremony, during which she revealed the vessel's long-awaited name, then one of the best-kept secrets of the time. The Queen has visited QE2 twice since the 1967 launch; on May 1, 1969, immediately prior to the liner's maiden voyage and on July 27, 1990 to mark Cunard's 150th anniversary. This farewell visit is reminiscent of a similar visit the Queen's mother (HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) made to the RMS Queen Elizabeth prior to that ship's retirement from service on the 6th November 1968.
"We are delighted and honoured that Her Majesty The Queen has chosen to visit QE2 to wish her farewell. Her Majesty has taken a close interest in the ship over the last forty years, having launched the ship, visited twice and reviewed the ship four times, including during the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of D Day. I am certain this final visit will be a memorable occasion for all involved."
Words of Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line)
Her Majesty The Queen was initially greeted by Cunard president and managing director, Carol Marlow, who escorted the Royal party on board and into the ship's lobby where she was welcomed by QE2's last ever masters, Captain Ian MacNaught and Captain David Perkins. During her visit Her Majesty The Queen toured the vessel, meeting many crew members, some of whom have served on board since QE2 entered service in 1969 and others who went with the ship when she was requisitioned as a troop carrier in the Falklands Conflict. In the Officers' Wardroom another small part of the liner's life came to an end when Her Majesty was invited to sign the ship's visitors' book. Hers was the first name on the first page, recalling the day of the ship's launch, and now this same signature was written on the last page. Later she attended a Reception and Lunch on board with 300 guests, including the former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher. Other notable guests included Lesley Garrett, Terry Waite, Sir Jimmy Saville, Jenny Bond and Esther Rantzen. For the Queen it was the chance to pay a personal and affectionate tribute to the ship she launched so many years ago while at the same time to officially recognise, on behalf of the country, a liner unequalled in maritime history.
Both the newest and longest-serving female crewmembers played a role in the visit. While on the bridge, The Queen gave a signal to Cadet Jennifer Haynes, who joined QE2 in April 2008, to sound QE2’s whistle to salute Cunard’s current flagship Queen Mary 2, which was also in port on 2 June and was named by The Queen in January 2004. Queen Mary 2 responded by sounding her whistle in salute of Her Majesty’s visit. After disembarking, Her Majesty was presented with 55 red roses by QE2’s Executive Housekeeper Roz Price Evans who is the longest-serving female member of crew; this was to mark 55 years to the day since The Queen’s Coronation. The Queen also met nine QE2 Captains including Captain Peter Jackson who became Master of QE2 in 1973 and who took the ship to the Falklands in 1982.
One of the most memorable moments came when the Her Majesty unveiled a large painting by the renowned marine artist Robert Lloyd depicting QE2 taking her leave from Southampton to begin her one-way voyage to Dubai. The painting of QE2 flying her long, trailing paying-off pennant - traditionally the same length of the ship plus one foot for every year of service - would later be presented to the people of Southampton by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh as a lasting reminder of the great Cunarder once the ship was retired from service in November 2008.
QE2, the most famous ship in the world, and for 35 years the flagship of the Cunard fleet, was launched by The Queen at Clydebank on 20 September 1967 – forty years ago in 2007.
Since then the ship has travelled over 5.6 million nautical miles, more than any other ship; has carried over 2.5 million guests; has completed 25 World Cruises; and has crossed the Atlantic 803 times. She leaves Cunard service in November 2008 prior to starting a new life in Dubai as a first class hotel and entertainment destination.
Her Majesty The Queen has visited QE2 twice since the launch – on 1 May 1969, immediately prior the Maiden Voyage, and on 27 July 1990 to mark Cunard Line’s 150th anniversary.
Fresh from a recent refit in Southampton, QE2 had never looked better with her distinctive Cunard livery in pristine and immaculate condition, rich woodwork was polished to perfection, while an army of white-gloved Cunard stewards glided between the 300 specially invited guests with silver salvers of champagne and canapes. So despite her advancing years, QE2 was a magnificent sight alongside her usual berth in the city's Eastern Docks. It was as if the ship knew that this was one day she had to look her best and the grand old dame of the sea carried it off with grace and distinction.
The Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has always been close to Cunard and it was in January 2004 that she came to Southampton to inaugurate another of the company's liners, this time by naming the shipping line's huge Queen Mary 2. Since she first entered service QE2, for 35 years the flagship of the Cunard fleet, has travelled more than 5.6 million miles, more than any other vessel, has carried in excess of 2.5 million passengers, has completed 25 world cruises and crossed the Atlantic 802 times.
Her Final Farewell:
Finally she begins her season of farewell cruises. It was a truly emotional time as this much loved icon sailed on its final voyages.
23rd September 2008 the QE2 made her final call to Halifax, birthplace
of Cunard Line founder Sir
Samuel Cunard, on Sunday. Accompanied by the city’s maritime ambassador
Theodore Tugboat and a traditional fireboat display, the iconic ocean
liner was celebrated during her final voyage to New England and Canada,
part of her Farewell Tour before completing service to Cunard in
QE2 Captain Ian McNaught and local dignitaries, including the Honourable Lenard Goucher, Minister of Immigration, Dawn Sloane, Councillor of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Lieutenant-Colonel John Woodgate, Vice President of the Halifax Citadel Regimental Association, John Langley, Chairman of the Cunard Steamship Society, Margaret WIttingham-Lamont, Missions to Seafarers, and Mark MacDonald, Chair of the Halifax Port Authority Board of Directors, gathered onboard for a reception and luncheon to mark the occasion. From Halifax, the ship went on to call at Quebec City before sailing to her homeport in Southampton, England.
On her final visit to Halifax the QE2 flew a 39 ft long Paying Off Pennant. This pennant was then presented to the Port of Halifax by Captain Ian McNaught to honour the city where Samuel Cunard was born. The pennant was accepted by John Langley (Chair of the Cunard Steamship Society) on behalf of the Port of Halifax.
The British Isles Farewell:
E817N: British Isles Voyage
30 September 2008 - 10 October 2008
30 Sep 2008 Southampton, England Depart 1700
1 Oct 2008 Cherbourg, France (in the event this call was missed out due to bad weather)
2008 Cobh (Cork), Ireland
0900 - 1800
3 Oct 2008 Liverpool, England 1200 - 2200 (en route from Cork to Liverpool, QE2 stopped in Douglas, IoM)
4 Oct 2008 Belfast, N. Ireland 1230 - 2300
5 Oct 2008 Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland 1200 - 2200
6 Oct 2008 Cruising the North Sea
7 Oct 2008 South Queensferry (for Edinburgh) 0800 - 1800
8 Oct 2008 Newcastle upon Tyne, England 1030 - 2200
9 Oct 2008 Cruising the North Sea
2008 Southampton, England
30th September 2008 the QE2 sailed from Southampton on a
the British Isles" voyage. The 10-night
voyage included maiden calls to Dublin and Belfast and a call to
the Clyde (Greenock) where she was built, as well as calls at Cobh,
Liverpool (Cunard's ancestral home), Edinburgh (South Queensferry) and
Newcastle. This historic voyage enabled the QE2 to say farewell
to the UK and her home country. She arrived in Cobh (Cork) a day early
on the 2nd October 2008 having been forced to miss out the Cherbourg
call due to bad weather. However she was instead able to pass Douglas
Bay on the way into Liverpool.
Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line) said the following about the QE2's final visit to Liverpool:
"The QE2 was
conceived and developed in Liverpool, within the walls of the
magnificent Cunard Building on the Pier Head, so it is true to say that
this great city and the most famous ship in the world have a very close
bond. The QE2's welcome when she has visited Liverpool has been
legendary and this final call will be no exception."
from Cobh (Cork) to Liverpool on the 3rd October 2008, the QE2 paused
in Douglas Bayfor the first time. Then at 12:00 it arrived on the River
Mersey and berthed at the City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal at Pier
Head. It was flying its 39ft long paying off pennant. 1ft for each of
its years in service. During the day all three Mersey Ferries were in
service and kept busy ferrying the crowds to view the QE2 as thousands
turned out to see her for the final time in Liverpool.
the crew and passengers of the QE2 had a special farewell service at
Liverpool Anglican Cathedral attended by notable dignatories including
the Rt. Hon. John Prescott MP, Dame Beryl Bainbridge, Simon Weston
(Falklands Veteran), Sir Jimmy Saville and Robin Woodall (former QE2
Captain). They were treated to music from soloists Natasha Marsh and
Jon Cristos, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Cathedral
choirs. The Band of the Welsh Guards also performed, under the baton of
Musical Director Anthony Inglis. Everyone in the cathedral was handed a
Union Jack to wave during the grand finale of Jerusalem, Rule Britannia
and Pomp & Circumstance. A lone horn played the Last Post as the
orchestra struck up with Auld Lang Syne. During the service the Paying
Off Pennant was taken down from the ship and paraded down the
Cathedral's central aisle and presented to the Rt. Hon. John Prescott
MP who in turn presented it to the Lord Mayor of Liverpool (Councillor
Steve Rotheram) as a gift to the people of Liverpool. It was a fitting
celebration of the QE2's remarkable career.
The Lord Mayor of Liverpool then spoke of the QE2's long connections with the City of Liverpool:
"Although Cunard left
Liverpool 41 years ago, it has never really gone away. Represented
still by that solid, central ediface of our world famous "Three
Graces", it is woven into the very fabric of this city. Today, 40 years
on, everybody knows somebody who used to work for Cunard or who still
does. Wherever Cunard may be, the company's heart will always be in
Liverpool. This is a celebration of the life of the most famous ship in
the world, a ship that was conceived and designed here in Liverpool."
"The QE2 stands for all that was and remains good about Inverclyde. She is what we now call a 'design classic' and has gained iconic status. The quality of her finish is tribute to the skills of all those people who worked on her. She is Clydebuilt which means she's built to last. We are sorry to see her go and we'll never see her likes again but Inverclyde is a major cruise stop and we look forward to welcoming other vessels from around the world."
Statement by Michael McCormick (The Provost of Inverclyde) on the occasion of the QE2's final visit to Greenock and the River Clyde, 5th October 2008
The Painting of R.M.S. Mauretania leaving the River Tyne in October 1907 by T.M. Hemy
(This painting is owned by Jaap Kroese, owner of Swan Hunter, and for many years was loaned to Cunard Line and displayed on board the world famous RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. However on the 8th October 2008 on the occasion of the QE2's final visit to Newcastle upon Tyne, it was returned to its owners by Captain Ian McNaught on behalf of Cunard Line. It now in turn has been placed on loan to the Tyne & Wear Museums and is now displayed in the Discovery Museum).
Then at Newcastle upon Tyne on the 8th October 2008 she was given a magnificent welcome as she returned for her second and last visit to the River Tyne. The Swan Hunter shipyard had for many years loaned a painting of the Mauretania to Cunard Line and this had been displayed on board the QE2. The painting shows the Tyne-built Mauretania departing the River Tyne in 1907 and it was painted by T.M. Hemy. On her final visit to Newcastle it was decided that the painting should be returned. So Captain McNaught handed over the painting to Jaap Kroese (owner of Swan Hunter), who in turn passed it on loan to the Tyne & Wear Museums and their Discovery Museum. As a result the Mauretania painting will now be put on public display at the Discovery Museum for future generations to admire and in memory of the QE2. The QE2 then returned to Southampton.
This British Isles Farewell was a voyage many will never forget as a legend bowed out for the final time.
The Transatlantic Farewell:
E818N: Westbound Transatlantic Crossing
10 October 2008 - 16 October 2008 (Voyage
undertaken in tandem with the Queen Mary 2)
10 Oct 2008 Southampton, England Depart 1700
11 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
12 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
13 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
14 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
15 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
16 Oct 2008 New York, USA Arrive 0700
E818P: Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing
16 October 2008 - 22 October 2008 (Voyage
undertaken in tandem with the Queen Mary 2)
16 Oct 2008 New York, USA Depart 1700
2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
18 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
19 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
20 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
21 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
22 Oct 2008 Southampton, England Arrive 0700
On the 10th October 2008 the QE2 sailed from Southampton in tandem with the RMS Queen Mary 2 on a final tandem westbound transatlantic crossing to New York, USA. This voyage is the "Final New York Arrival Crossing". The 6-night crossing ended in New York on the 16th October 2008. This voyage went down in history as only the second ever tandem westbound transatlantic crossing to be undertaken. The first, of course, was the tandem crossing from Southampton to New York undertaken by the QE2 and Queen Victoria earlier in 2008 while on the first leg of their tandem World Cruises. This enabled the QE2 to say farewell to New York, her North American homeport for many years.
The sun shone on QE2 as the ship welcomed a host of dignatories for a celebratory lunch, including Sir Nigel Sheinwald (the British Ambassador to the USA), Sir Alan Collins (Her Majesty's Consul General to New York), travel agents, maritime historians, past Cunard staff, media and dignitaries from the Port of New York and the Coast Guards. Speeches brought a tear to the eye, as Captain McNaught Commodore Warner and Carol Marlow told of QE2's life with Cunard Line and the baton passing on to Queen Mary 2.. The British Ambassador also paid tribute to QE2, the most famous ship in the world.
"This is the last visit that QE2 will make to New York and also the final visit that QE2 will make to America so it is doubly important and doubly poignant for us. This wonderful ship, QE2, the best loved ship in the world, has travelled nearly 6 million nautical miles. She has circumnavigated the world 25 times and she has delighted over two and a half million guests. She is still the fastest ship in the world even though she was built back in 1967 and re-engined in the 1980s. And, of course, this is her 710th call to New York. She has been a wonderful ship for us and I am so pleased that you have joined us in paying this great tribute.
It is very fitting that the final call in America for this ship is made in New York. New York has been a very important port for us at Cunard. We started coming here back in 1847 when the Hibernia came in. We changed the routing of our very historic transatlantic voyages from Liverpool to Boston to Liverpool to New York. And, we have been coming back ever since. So, it really is a wonderful occasion that we can have here in New York.
The transatlantic crossing itself has been happening with Cunard since 1840. We have been back and forth between one continent and the other and this journey has played an important part in the history of our two continents. We have brought over at Cunard over two and a half million emigrants from the Old World to the New to start a new life. We have in the 1920s and 30s and in the 50s and 60s - The Golden Age of Ocean Travel - we have brought across celebrities, luminaries, stars of stage and screen, politicians, royalty - they have all travelled with us. Of course, during the Second World War, our ships were converted to troopships and we carried troops to and from the battlefields in Europe.
We are still, I am delighted to say, travelling between our two continents and we are bringing discerning travellers to and from our great lands. And, of course, QE2 has played her part in the transatlantic history of Cunard from 1969 to 2003. In 2003, she handed over that transatlantic baton when she handed over the flagship baton to her new sister Queen Mary 2, which continues that tradition. QE2 continued to delight guests on the European trade and on her world cruises and she does still do the occasional transatlantic. The final one, which she is setting off to do this evening is her 808th so she knows the way.
We also made history back here in January this year when we had three Cunard Queens in New York Harbour for the very first time - Queen Mary 2, QE2 and Queen Victoria, our new ship. We were just delighted with how many New Yorkers came out to watch as our ships progressed one behind the other, saluting Lady Liberty and they left the harbour to skies that were a little bit grey but to a lot of fireworks, which were fabulous.
This time we have two Queens here. We have QE2 and we have Queen Mary 2, our new flagship, which has come over and escorted QE2 on her last transatlantic voyages. She is based in her new homeport in America in Brooklyn and we are delighted that she is there and we are delighted to see Marty Markowtiz here, the Borough President of Brooklyn.
I am also delighted to see so many other familiar faces around the room. .....
For the last 100 years or so, each generation has taken one ship out of all the ships of the day to their heart. In the early 20th century, it was the beautiful, wonderful, four-funnelled Mauretania. She was one of the new floating palaces, one of the first floating palaces that Cunard ever had. She was the fastest ship around - she had the Blue Riband for some 22 years. When she left Cunard's service, she went slowly up the east coast of the United Kingdom to the breaker's yard in the Firth of Forth and she was watched by thousands of people that came out to see her and pay their respects.
The next ship was really Queen Mary, the ship that King George V said was the "stateliest" of all ships. She had a wonderful life in peacetime and in war serving her country and was seen and travelled on by many, many millions. When she finally made her last trip, it was not to the breaker's yard but down to Long Beach, California where she still is today as a hotel ship and a visitor centre, she is admired by generations to come.
This last 40 years, the baton has fallen to QE2. She has become the most famous ship in the world, she is the best loved ship in the world and she is really an icon of her age. She is loved all around the world and she has done so many world cruises and I am delighted that you are here today so that we can pay tribute to this great ship on her last visit to New York and her last visit to America."
Speech at the "Queen Elizabeth 2 Farewell to America Celebration" held on board the QE2 on the occasion of the QE2's final visit to New York, 16th October 2008, by Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line)
"It is great for us to be able to represent the government at this important and poignant moment. For four decades, this ship has represented something rather special in our special relationship. It represents I think three things: First of all, the importance of human links between Europe and this country and particularly between the UK and this country. This ship has nurtured a huge number, millions as you say, of human relationships and has done so over the years with great distinction.
Secondly, this ship is part of our fantastically successful trade relationship. The trade and investment relationship between the UK and the US is one of the jewels in the crown of our overall relationship and a very, very important part of it is travel trade and tourism.
Lastly, that indefinable something which is part of transatlantic life which this ship expresses and that is something about transatlantic style and character and policy. I think that you have done that remarkably.
So, over the past four decades, this ship has been a very visible, distinctive, inextricable part of transatlantic life. Although I have never set foot on the ship before, it is an instantly recognisable part of that relationship. We will all miss the ship but I think it is very appropriate that it is going out to a market and a country which is incredibly important to both of us, to the United Arab Emirates. As an emerging market and a partner and an ally of both the United States and the United Kingdom, I'm sure she'll find a very happy second home."
Speech at the "Queen Elizabeth 2 Farewell to America Celebration" held on board the QE2 on the occasion of the QE2's final visit to New York, 16th October 2008, by Sir Nigel Sheinwald (British Ambassador to the USA).
"After all those facts and figures from Carol Marlow, I am just happy to be able to say that I played a very small part in this ship's tremendous history. I have been here now for over half of the ship's life and it has been a great honour, in fact a boyhood ambition realised, to finally end up as Master of this fine vessel.
Today, is a little bit of an occasion which is full of mixed emotions. Arriving in New York is always a fantastic experience, especially in the company of Commodore Warner and Queen Mary 2. But, as we leave tonight, there will be a few tears, I'm sure, shed both on the shore and inside the ship as we leave this great port for the last time.
We have had many adventures here in the Port of New York and one of them concerns a visit we did here several years ago during the July the Fourth celebrations when President Clinton very kindly gave us a sail past. After the day at anchor we came up to the berth here at Pier 90, expecting the slip to be empty. There is not a lot of space when you are attempting to fit something this big in one of these slips. As we turned the corner, there were two warships parked in our spot. So, we had to quickly move across to the other side. However, we did manage - how should I say - to lean on one of the warships as we were coming in.
At the time, I was Staff Captain. Captain Paul Wright was here and he very quickly delegated me to go and apologise to the other two ships. The British guy was alright on HMS Manchester. He offered me a stiff gin and tonic and said "Don't worry about it."
The Japanese ship where life is a little more formal perhaps was a different story. I was shown to a waiting room and the Japanese admiral would call on me when he was ready. I just sat there absolutely terrified for about ten minutes. Then the door finally opened and I was ushered in. He bowed gentlemanly-like and said "Welcome aboard my ship." I said, "I do apologise, sir, for the slight mishap this morning." "Think nothing of it, Staff Captain. It was a pleasure to be kissed by a queen."
Some of you may have noticed that we are flying a special flag today - our paying off pennant. This is a flag that a ship flies in the final days of her service to mark the years of service. We have a paying off pennant flying from the mast that is 39 feet long, that is one foot for every year of service. I have actually had six of these pennants made and we are presenting them to places which are very special to the heart of QE2 and to Cunard Line. The first pennant was presented to the Port of Halifax where Samuel Cunard was born. The next pennant went to the City of Liverpool in England last week which was where our head office was for over 100 years. Then the next pennant went to the City of Glasgow where the ship, of course, was built. This next pennant is going to be presented to the Port of New York where, as Carol says, we have been coming now for many, many years."
Speech at the "Queen Elizabeth 2 Farewell to America Celebration" held on board the QE2 on the occasion of the QE2's final visit to New York, 16th October 2008, by Captain Ian McNaught (Master of the QE2)
Captain McNaught then presented the New York Paying Off Pennant of the QE2 to Mr Grover Sanschagrin (a retired berthing pilot who not only brought QE2 into New York many times but also beginning in 1943 piloted all of the great Atlantic liners including the earlier Cunard Queens in and out of the piers of Manhattan) who accepted it on behalf of the Port of New York.
"I have just popped over from Brooklyn where we moored Queen Mary 2 this morning. I have to say that I came into port with Captain Ian McNaught this morning. We have enjoyed a fabulous crossing of the North Atlantic. We had some lovely weather all the way across - just a little bit of a pitching motion as we started out. The ships were very close to each other all the way across. Just last evening we moved to within about a third of a mile of each other and we gave Queen Elizabeth 2 three rousing cheers and she gave them back to us. I think that was a great moment.
I am very pleased to be a part of these celebrations here today and to be aboard what has been the most famous ship in the world for the past 40 years. She has been held in affection by millions and millions of people all over the world. She has captivated countless generations of travellers over many, many years. And indeed, we are proud of her for her outstanding and heroic achievements during the Falklands Campaign of 1982.
She has resolutely carried the North Atlantic mantle for all of this time bringing the Atlantic traditions back to life with splendour and unmistakable glamour. Thanks to Queen Elizabeth 2, the Cunard brand goes hand in hand with luxury ocean travel.
I have to say ladies and gentlemen that although Queen Elizabeth 2 is retiring and we are all here to celebrate that moment here today, Cunard Line goes on. In actual fact, when the QE2 eventually leaves us, we will have the youngest fleet in the industry - Queen Mary 2 is not quite five years old and Queen Victoria, of course, is only 10 months old already being very successful all around the world. But, the greatest news is, I think, is that in 2010, a new Queen Elizabeth will be with us, named after RMS Queen Elizabeth, which was, of course, named after Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who was the consort of King George VI. So, that I think is the great news for the company. The future here is very bright."
Speech at the "Queen Elizabeth 2 Farewell to America Celebration" held on board the QE2 on the occasion of the QE2's final visit to New York, 16th October 2008, by Commodore Bernard Warner (Master of the Queen Mary 2)
Later in the afternoon crowds gathered in Battery Park to bid the ships farewell. At 5pm Queen Mary 2 left her berth at Brooklyn and made her way across the harbour, turned on a sixpence and waited for the star of the show to arrive. QE2 made her entrance at 6pm led by a spraying New York fireboat. The two Queens sounded their whistles to each other and to the substantial crowds, and as a Pipers band played Auld Lang Syne QE2 passed her young sister, and then led her out of the harbour, each Queen saluting Lady Liberty as they sailed by. The crowds watched as they glided off into the distance under the Verazzano Bridge.
On the 16th October 2008 the QE2 departed New York, again in tandem with the RMS Queen Mary 2, bound for Southampton on her emotional "Farewell to America Crossing". Thus she departed from New York and America for the final time, never to return. This was the QE2's 806th and final transatlantic crossing and both ships arrived in Southampton on the 22nd October.
Final Autumn Getaway:
E819: Autumn Getaway
22 October 2008 - 27 October 2008
22 Oct 2008 Southampton, England Depart 170023 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
24 Oct 2008 Bilbao, Spain 0700 - 1800
25 Oct 2008 Le Verdon, France 0700 - 1700
26 Oct 2008 St Peter Port, Guernsey 0900 - 1800
27 Oct 2008 Southampton, England Arrive 0700
She then undertook a final short round trip Southampton cruise to Spain and the Channel Islands departing on the 22nd October and returning to Southampton on the 27th October 2008.
The Final Roundtrip Cruise from Southampton:
E820: Mediterranean Odyssey
27 October 2008 - 11 November 2008
27 Oct 2008 Southampton, England Depart 170028 Oct 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
29 Oct 2008 Lisbon, Portugal 0800 - 1700
30 Oct 2008 Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
31 Oct 2008 Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy 1200 - 1800
1 Nov 2008 Naples, Italy 0700 - 1800
2 Nov 2008 Messina, Sicily, Italy 0700 - 1700
3 Nov 2008 Dubrovnik, Croatia 0900 - 1800
4 Nov 2008 Zakinthos, Greece 0800 - 1800
5 Nov 2008 Piraeus (for Athens), Greece 0600 - 1745
6 Nov 2008 Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
7 Nov 2008 Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
8 Nov 2008 Gibraltar 0800 - 1400
9 Nov 2008 Vigo (for Santiago de Compostela), Spain 1300 - 2000
10 Nov 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
11 Nov 2008 Southampton, England Arrive 0700
the 27th October 2008 she set sail on her final roundtrip
"Mediterranean Odyssey" calling at Lisbon, Sardinia, Naples, Sicily,
Dubrovnik, Piraeus, Gibraltar and finally Vigo before arrival back in
Southampton for the final time on the 11th November 2008. But her ocean
going career was nearly at its end, she had just one last voyage to
The Final Voyage:
E821: Voyage to Dubai
11 November 2008 - 27 November 2008
11 Nov 2008 Southampton, England Depart 1930
12 Nov 2008 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
13 Nov 2008 Lisbon, Portugal 0800 - 1700
14 Nov 2008 Gibraltar 0900 - 1700
2008 Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
16 Nov 2008 Cititavecchia (for Rome), Italy 0700 - 2200
17 Nov 2008 Naples, Italy 0700 - 1900
18 Nov 2008 Valletta, Malta 0900 - 1800
19 Nov 2008 Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
20 Nov 2008 Alexandria (for Cairo), Egypt 0700 - 2000
21 Nov 2008 Cruising the Mediterranean Sea
22 Nov 2008 Transiting the Suez Canal
23 Nov 2008 Cruising the Arabian Sea
24 Nov 2008 Cruising the Arabian Sea
25 Nov 2008 Cruising the Arabian Sea
26 Nov 2008 Cruising the Arabian Sea
2008 Dubai, United Arab
final day in British waters and in her home port of Southampton on the
11th November 2008 it was a day of celebration, drama and sadness. This
day was marked by a series of special events celebrating the QE2. On
her final arrival into Southampton unfortunately she had a mishap. After four decades of successful entrances
to her home port, on the
726th and final time she ran aground on the Brambles, a well-known
sandbank in the Solent. Although she was refloated on the rising tide,
and helped in by 5 tugs, everyone on board took it as evidence that the
liner really did not
want to leave Southampton. Even her owners Carnival UK / Cunard Line
noted and remarked on this as a sign that the ship had a soul and was
reluctant to leave British waters.
"She clearly does not want to leave Southampton."
Remark by Peter Shanks, Chief Commercial
Officer of Carnival UK (Parent Company of Cunard Line) on hearing that
the QE2 had run aground briefly on the Brambles, a well-known sandbank
in the Solent on her final arrival into Southampton.
docked at her home berth "The QEII Terminal" in Southampton for the
final time. All that day she flew her paying off pennant. This was
later presented to the Mayor of Southampton by Captain Ian McNaught.
that morning was honoured by a farewell visit from HRH The Duke of
was making his seventh visit to the most famous
ship in the world. During the visit, His Royal Highness observed
the two-minutes’ silence at 1100 hours prior to meeting crew members
who went down to the Falklands on the ship. At 1100 hours a million
dropped over the ship from a Tiger Moth to commemorate Remembrance Day
(the 90th Anniversary of the end of the First World War),
mark QE2’s role in the Falklands Campaign, and note the fact that her
departure is on 11 November. His Royal Highness then undertook a tour
of the vessel, including visits to the Wardroom,
Bridge, Engine Control Room and Hospital before attending a Reception
in the Queens Room. There he presented a painting of QE2, which was
unveiled by Her Majesty The Queen during her farewell visit to the ship
on the 2nd June 2008, to the Mayor of Southampton, who accepted it on
behalf of the city and its people. At the Reception he met long-serving
as well as the former Captains of HMS Ardent, Antelope and Coventry
whose ships were lost in the Falklands Campaign and who returned to the
UK on QE2. Then after lunch at 1340 hours His Royal
Highness watched from the aft decks of the QE2 a flypast of a Harrier
which hovered and bowed to QE2 approximately 500-feet off her stern.
There was also a sail past by the RFA Mounts Bay and three patrol boats
which all sounded their whistles in tribute to the QE2. The QE2
responded with her deep booming whistle.
QE2 then sailed that evening on the 11th November 2008 on her final
"QE2 Final Voyage" bound for Dubai and thus leaves the shores of the UK
forever. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh made a final visit onboard the QE2
and led the festivities as Southampton and the UK bade this ocean
legend farewell forever as she left her home shores.
"We are delighted and honoured that His Royal Highness has agreed to visit the QE2 on her last day in the UK. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has taken a close interest in the ship over the last forty years, and I am certain this will be a memorable occasion for all involved."
Words of Carol Marlow (President and Managing Director of Cunard Line)
At around 1915 she set sail from her berth and then proceeded astern to take up position off Mayflower Park. Thousands of people had come from all over the UK and the world to see her off for the last time and were crowded into vantage points along the shoreline such as Mayflower Park, Town Quay, Hythe, Fawley, Hamble, Calshot, etc. There was a spectacular fireworks display as the QE2 said farewell to the people of Southampton. A farewell message from Captain Ian McNaught was broadcast to the public via a BBC live webcast and also via the big screen in Mayflower Park. His farewell message was as follows (full text):
"For 40 years
the QE2 has been acclaimed all over the globe as a symbol of British
excellence. And throughout her life, imprinted firmly on that symbol of
excellence, is one word and that word is - Southampton.
QE2 belongs to Southampton, this is her home, just as it will be home to Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. She has put into her homeport more times than she has visited any other port in the world. And after every voyage this is always the port that she comes home to - Southampton. But the day has come, today, which had to come. And this time, her 726th time, is the last time. For when the QE2 sails tonight, she will not come home again. For 40 years QE2 has striven to serve Southampton and the country to her best. But now her sea days are done and she passes on to a new life in a new home.
On behalf of QE2, I bid Southampton farewell and thank you for all the affection you have shown her in all those years.
Southampton, I salute you."
QE2 Farewell Message (11th November 2008), Captain Ian McNaught
Click Here to hear the QE2 Farewell Message by Captain Ian McNaught (11th November 2008)
farewell message, with Rule Britannia playing out from her decks, the
QE2 then proceeded down Southampton Water surrounded by a vast flotilla
of small boats and excursion vessels and sounded her booming whistle
many times as she went. Her mighty hoots were answered by the many
boats and ships in the vast flotilla that surrounded her. At around
2000 she sailed past the QEII Terminal for the last time and briefly
paused as another fireworks display took place as she said farewell to
her home berth for the last time. Many Cunard Line staff and dock
workers were gathered at the terminal to say their final farewell to
this legendary British Icon. She then steamed off and headed down
Southampton Water for the final time, her lights twinkling in the
darkness and surrounded by her vast flotilla of boats and ships that
were wishing her farewell. Together the procession headed out to the
open sea and into the night. By 2115 she had passed down Southampton
Water and was lost from view.
Line has lost its flagship, Southampton has lost a legendary
name-bearer, and as with Concorde, the UK has lost a legendary ship and
a British Icon from its shores never to return. Now the mantle and
spirit of Cunard Line passes to its new modern generation of ships and
the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and the soon to be launched Queen
Elizabeth. But none of them can ever replace truly the worldwide legend
and British Icon that is the QE2. She is a ship like no other and is
truly embodies the title "The Most Famous Ocean Liner in the World".
Farewell QE2, you will be remembered forever as a legend and British
Icon and thus will always hold a very special place in the hearts of
the British people and indeed people around the world. Adieu.
It was the end of an era as she sailed gracefully from Southampton for the final time bound for Dubai calling at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Civitavecchia, Naples, Malta, Alexandria before transiting the Suez Canal before arrival in Dubai on the 26th November 2008 and the end of her seagoing career. Many waved a fond farewell to her as she departed Britain's shores forever bound for her new home in the Emirate of Dubai.The arrival of QE2 captured the hearts of individuals and organisations across Dubai as she arrived in her new home on the 26th November 2008. A massive flotilla including over 120 local yachts, boats and leisure-craft led by MY Dubai - the mega-yacht of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai - and Royal Navy Frigate, HMS Lancaster, captained by Commander Rory Bryan, greeted QE2 at The World at 3pm this afternoon. The welcoming flotilla, with the UAE Navy also taking a leading role, accompanied QE2 through the Arabian Gulf to Mina Rashid.
As QE2 passed The World islands an Emirates A380 Airbus, piloted by Captain Abbas Shaban, performed a fly-past in honour of her arrival. Joining the A380 Airbus in the skies was a Royal Naval helicopter from HMS Lancaster, piloted by Lieutenant Commander Mike Currie.
"Nakheel is proud to be the custodian of such an historic treasure. Dubai, with its wealth of maritime heritage, is providing the warmest of welcomes and a new homecoming for this icon of the seas. It is fitting that QE2 will arrive at Mina Rashid, a site that has been pivotal in the growth and development of the emirate and commemorates the memory of His Highness Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the father of modern-day Dubai. It is also apt that refurbishment work on QE2 will take place within the Dubai Dry Dock, which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, escorted by Sheikh Rashid, inaugurated 29 years ago during her first official visit to the United Arab Emirates."
Statement by His Excellency Sultan Bin Ahmed Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World (26th November 2008)
On arrival at Mina Rashid at 1630, QE2 was met by a royal party joined by the Dubai Police Band and traditional Arabic Ayallah performers who entertained the crowds gathered at the port, as well as passengers on board the ship. A fireworks display set against the backdrop of QE2 then followed as dusk set in.
"We are thrilled to be welcoming QE2 to Dubai today. This is one of the most anticipated events of the year and marks a new and exciting chapter in her life. For QE2, we believe that life really does begin at 40. This is not an end, it is merely the beginning for the QE2. There are few vessels in the world that have this kind of future. She will be in the best possible hands. We will recreate the experience of being on board an ocean liner for many more people. Visitors will be proud to come to Dubai to see her. We have planned a unique tribute to a maritime icon. Even down to crossing a gangway to get on board, we want to give guests the experience of walking on to the QE2 and seeing what the great days of transatlantic ocean liners were really like. We have to pull her apart and rebuild her to make her viable as an entertainment venue for at least the next 50 years.
The investment Nakheel will be making in the QE2 will ensure that she continues to be a beacon of sophistication for generations to come and maintains her rich heritage and iconic stature.
QE2 has always been synonymous with luxury, elegance and exclusivity, and these are the characteristics that we are taking as the inspiration for her future. We are proud to be the custodian of such a magnificent British icon and will utilize our resources to maintain the integrity and spirit of QE2, as envisioned by her original design team led by Dennis Lennon, and usher in the next exciting chapter of her rich and dignified life.
The areas that will be restored in the ship's interior are those that have not altered over the past 40 years. All original parts of the ship will be restored, and the funnel is not part of the original ship. The funnel is badly corroded, and it is not original. The engines are not original either. They have no historical value. It will be run like an ocean liner with a ship host and hostess, a ballroom and even ballroom dancing classes. We are creating a very authentic experience. The Queen's Room, Queen's Grill, Princess Grill, Captain's Cabin, Ward Room and Bridge will be restored to their original designs. It will take people back to the grand old days of ocean liners.
The ultimate vision is to bring the QE2 into a precinct that will boast a maritime museum, an art exhibition, business and residential components and a mega-yacht marina.We have not arrived at a budget as we have not had access to the ship while she has been sailing and we do not have a definite timescale. But whatever the cost and however long it takes we have made a commitment.We want to do this absolutely right. We have one opportunity to make this the best hospitality venue and ensure it remains there for the next 50 years.
Our plans include her transformation into an ultra-luxury floating hotel, synonymous with her rich heritage, where she'll form the centrepiece of a luxurious residential, entertainment, marina, and hotel development off the trunk of Palm Jumeirah. A heritage museum displaying artifacts from QE2 and of local maritime history as well as a West-end style theatre capable of staging the very best, full-scale West End and Broadway productions will also feature in the precinct."
Statement by Manfred Ursprunger, CEO of QE2 Enterprises, Nakheel Hotels (26th November 2008)
Nakheel has already commenced construction on the luxury marina development on Palm Jumeirah. QE2 will form the pinnacle of a palatial pier that will stretch 300 metres out from the trunk into the waters of the Arabian Gulf. However Nakheel will not operate the Queen Elizabeth 2 when the former luxury liner is transformed into a seven-star hotel in three years in 2012. Nakheel will not operate the hotel and is in talks with major hotel operators to see which will run the hotel when it is complete. Because there is more than one component to the project, they are planning to sign a contract with a luxury hotel operator, a spa operator and a theatre production operator.
"Nakheel Hotels has been preparing for this moment for some time - and today we proudly watch QE2 arrive into UAE waters and dock at Mina Rashid. We will now do all we can to protect and enhance the heritage of this iconic transatlantic liner as she joins the company of our other iconic international hotels such as Mandarin Oriental in NY, Fontainebleau in Miami, Atlantis Dubai and One & Only Los Cabos, Mexico."
Statement by Joe Sita, CEO of Nakheel Hotels (26th November 2008)
"Emirates Airline is delighted to be a part of this auspicious occasion to welcome QE2 to her new home in Dubai. We are proud that our brand new A380 aircraft will provide a tribute to an icon of the seas from an icon of the air."
Statement by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, which is arranging an A380 flypast for QE2's arrival. (26th November 2008)
Royal Navy Frigate HMS Lancaster, currently on operations in the Gulf, welcomed the opportunity to pay her respects to the QE2 on her ultimate passage. As a mark of respect, HMS Lancaster joined the legendary ocean liner for the last few miles into Dubai in remembrance of the QE2's contribution to national service in her transitional role as hospital ship and troop carrier during the 1982 Falklands campaign.
"She is an honoured veteran of a hard fought battle and another shining example of the versatility of our maritime fleet. Her seafaring role is now complete while that of the Royal Navy continues, and I am delighted that one of our ships was able to take this impromptu opportunity to offer a final salute. I also find it particularly fitting that the duty of escorting the Queen's namesake, fortuitously fell to HMS Lancaster given that the Queen herself is the proud holder of the title Duke of Lancaster."
Statement by Commodore Tim Lowe RN, the UK Maritime Component Commander in the Gulf region (26th November 2008)
On the 27th November 2008 at 2pm (local time) the handover ceremony took place on board the QE2 and finally ended her ocean going career. Thus a glorious era came to a close and another began as developer Nakheel officially took delivery of the QE2. That was the moment when the contract to transfer ownership from UK shipping company Cunard was signed as the world's best-loved liner lay moored at Dubai's Mina Rashid. For nearly 40 years, the QE2 has crisscrossed the globe, the last word in seaborne glamour, speed and style. Now she was to be transformed into a floating hotel offering the ultimate in luxury at The Palm Jumeirah. Then the handover was marked symbolically by the lowering of the British Red Ensign and the Cunard flag and their replacement with those of the UAE and Dubai-based Nakheel respectively.
"The time has come for Cunard to bid farewell to its longest serving vessel. The Paying Off Pennant you see flying proudly from her mast denotes the paying off of a vessel that has sailed further than any other. And a vessel that is about to embark on an exciting new future here in Dubai where she will be enjoyed for generations to come who will marvel at the history of a great ocean liner whose record currently has no equal. We are delighted that QE2 has found a new home here in Dubai – an Emirate with such a rich maritime heritage and a great tourist destination for the world to enjoy."
Speech at the QE2 Handover Ceremony by Carol Marlow, President and Managing Director of Cunard Line (27th November 2008)
Carol Marlow then paid tribute to the QE2's crew and in particular Captain Ian McNaught, the senior officers and crew, and hotel manager John Duffy as the longest-serving four-stripe officer in the Cunard fleet. Captain Ian McNaught, the QE2's last skipper, sounded its mighty whistle on behalf of Cunard for the last time, the low bellow rolling across the waters. This final whistle salute thus signalled her departure from the Cunard fleet and arrival in her new home in Dubai.
"This is a historic day for the UAE as we at Nakheel take over the custodianship of this proud and splendid ship. As we take her gently in our hands we would like to pay tribute to all those who have served her so well since her launch forty years ago, and who have enjoyed her hospitality during the distinguished and glittering career she has had as an ocean liner. On this auspicious occasion we are deeply aware of the rich heritage that is represented by the QE2, a heritage that is both respected and complemented by our own proud history as a sea-faring nation. Without doubt, QE2 has come to a home that will cherish and protect her. Her future has been assured and it is now our responsibility that she remains a beacon of culture and luxury for many years to come in her new home on Palm Jumeirah."
Speech at the QE2 Handover Ceremony by His Excellency Sultan Bin Ahmed Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai World
(27th November 2008)
The UAE and Nakheel house flags were then raised to signal the change in ownership of QE2. Captain Ian McNaught then presented the Cunard house flags to His Excellency Sultan Bin Sulayem and QE2’s paying off pennant (which, at 39 feet long, represents the 39 years QE2 has sailed with the Cunard fleet) was presented to Captain McNaught by Carol Marlow.
The flag changing ceremony also included the ceremonial presentation of the QE2 anchor to John Duffy (the QE2's hotel manager and the longest serving officer in the Cunard fleet) from Southampton, who received it on behalf of the English port which has been home to QE2 for 39 years. Nakheel and Cunard will be honouring the town by presenting QE2’s anchor as a gift. This will join the 39ft long paying off pennant and the QE2 painting already presented to the city by Cunard Line as lasting mementos for her former homeport.
With her final voyage over her passengers had disembarked on the morning of the 27th November 2008. Now, having taken possession, Nakheel will send its engineers to assess the vessel and finalise plans for her conversion during the next three months. Nakheel have yet to announce their finalised plans for the ship. After that she will be moved to Dubai Drydocks, where her refurbishment will be undertaken. This is expected to take up to three years and once this is completed the vessel will then take pride of place at a specially built precinct at the Palm Jumeriah.
Thus the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 sailed into honoured retirement in Dubai and will be remembered as one of the most illustrious ships ever built. The QE2 as she is affectionately known is truly a maritime icon and national treasure. She certainly is worthy of the title “The Most Famous Ocean Liner in the World”. She is unique and very special. There will never be another ship with the long career and illustrious history and passenger list as the QE2. We wish her well and hope that she has a long and happy retirement.
Click here to link to our QE2 Legacy section that records some of the mementos gifted by Cunard Line during her farewell voyages in 2008 to places in the United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada that have close associations and links with the QE2 as a lasting reminder for people of this illustrious and famous ocean liner.
The Dubai Refit (2008 - 2012):
During the final months of the QE2's ocean going career many rumours circulated about her likely future in Dubai and what changes may be made to her to adapt her for her new role. However on her arrival in Dubai, things gradually became clearer. As we understand it her refurbishment may involve the following:
are likley to recreate the experience of being on board an ocean liner
for many more people. Visitors will be proud to come to Dubai to see
her. They have planned a unique tribute to a maritime icon. Even down
to crossing a gangway to get on board, they want to give guests the
experience of walking on to the QE2 and seeing what the great days of
transatlantic ocean liners were really like. It will be run
like an ocean liner with a ship host and hostess, a ballroom and even
ballroom dancing classes. They aim to create a very authentic
experience. Being a key
tourist attraction on the Palm Jumeirah and an historic vessel in its
own right, the QE2 will be restored as a seven-star hotel.
her technical support systems (plumbing, electrical systems, air
conditioning etc) are life expired, they have to pull her apart and
rebuild her to make her viable as an entertainment venue for at least
the next 50 years. Also as her new home is in a desert climate, her air
conditioning systems will have to be substantially upgraded or
replaced. Also all windows will be double-glazed to protect the
interior from condensation. This therefore means extensive removal of
her interiors initally to allow this work to take place. However the
interiors will then be reinstated and restored. All her precious Cunard
memorabilia and other artefacts will also be retained on board and will
form part of a heritage tour or heritage museum about the QE2.
QE2 has always been synonymous with luxury, elegance and exclusivity, and these are the characteristics that Nakheel are taking as the inspiration for her future. They are proud to be the custodian of such a magnificent British icon and will utilize their resources to maintain the integrity and spirit of QE2, as envisioned by her original design team led by Dennis Lennon, and usher in the next exciting chapter of her rich and dignified life.
The interior will be designed in keeping with how the QE2 looked in her glory days and many of her original interior designs will be recreated. So there will be an atmosphere of old world glamour. The areas that will be restored in the ship's interior are those that have not altered over the past 40 years. All original parts of the ship will be restored, and the funnel is not part of the original ship. The funnel is badly corroded, and it is not original. The engines are not original either. They have no historical value. Key public rooms and other spaces on board that will be retained and restored to their original splendour include The Queens Room, The Queens Grill, The Princess Grill, The Midships Lobby, The Bridge, The Ward Room, The Captain's Quarters, The Engine Control Room and The Safety Control Room. These original historic rooms and spaces will then probably form part of a heritage tour.
On board there are 11 public decks on the vessel. Once refurbished, rather than the 950 cabins she has currently for her cruise passengers, it is likely to comprise 200 hotel rooms which will all be a minimum of 50 square metres in size. Of these, around 10 per cent will be suites. In addition to the hotel rooms, there will also be 130 one-bed, two-bed and three-bed apartments for sale which will range in size from 80 square metres to 250 square metres. At maximum capacity, the ship will be able to hold 1,500 guests, including guests just visiting for dinner. Capacity for overnight guests will be between 800 and 1,000.
Other features on board will include existing five restaurants (Queens Grill, Princess Grill, Britannia Grill, Mauretania Restaurant and Caronia Restaurant) and the three-star Michelin chef Michel Roux will be in charge of the menus. But due to gambling being illegal in the United Arab Emirates, the on board Casino will be removed. It is not known what will happen to the Synagogue on board. These areas may be replaced with retail or tourism facilities. The only floating Harrods store is likely to stay, but the onboard library containing 6,000 books may have limited commercial value. The existing Cunard Royal Spa facility on board will be retained as a 5,000 square metre indoor and outdoor wellness centre and spa.
The engine will
be removed and replaced by a 500-seat luxury theatre which will host
productions rivaling those in London's West End and Broadway in New
The QE2 will
form the centrepiece of a new precinct and pier at the Palm Jumeirah
will boast a maritime museum, an art exhibition, business and
residential components and a mega-yacht marina. There will also be a heritage museum displaying artifacts
from QE2 and of local maritime history.
are just some of the rumours and speculation about her future in Dubai,
but Nakheel have yet to announce their formal plans as they are still
finalising them. It is hoped that these will be unveiled in the next
couple of months. In 40 years, the ship has had about 2.5 million
guests on board, but
when Nakheel are done with transforming her they expect to see more
double that number in the same period. This project is very much in
line with the overall tourism strategy for Dubai,
and it is thought that the outcome will attract millions of visitors
not only from
Europe, but also from within the Middle East. But she was sold to Dubai
World for £50 million and their subsidiary Nakheel will spend
considerably more than that to refurbish her for her new role. So make
no mistake, at the end of the day this QE2 attraction will be a
business and Nakheel's aim
is to generate profits. Given such a popular brand like QE2, it is felt
that they have already managed to attract a lot of attention.
Preservation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2008 onwards):
11th November 2008 the QE2 sailed from Southampton for the final time,
forever leaving the shores of Britain and the land of her birth, bound
for retirement and her new home in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
There she was refurbished and in 2009 opened as a hotel, retail, museum
and entertainment destination alongside a purpose
built jetty at the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. She had
been purchased by Dubai World, a Government holding company, and owner
of the Palm Jumeirah.
in Dubai on the 27th November 2008, the QE2 was officially handed over
to Dubai World and Nakheel (her new owners). They had appointed V Ships
to oversee her refurbishment and Commodore Ronald Warwick had been
appointed as owner's special representative by Dubai World to keep a
close eye on the refit. So Commodore Bill Warwick had been the QE2's
first Master, his son Commodore Ronald Warwick was also her penultimate
Master before moving on to become first Master of the new Queen Mary 2
and he now will have a role in overseeing her refit for her new
owners, Dubai World / Nakheel as she is reborn for a new life in Dubai
in a static role as a hotel and museum.
Jumeirah development, launched in 2001 is the world's largest man made
island stretching out into the Persian Gulf off Dubai. The Palm is the
8th Wonder of the World. The Palm Jumeirah is intended to be one of
three Palm islands, the other two being Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira.
Now a special berth has been built on Palm Jumeirah as the permanent
home for the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) where she now serves as a floating
hotel and museum. Palm Jumeirah is the smallest of the three Palm
Islands and is intended to be a residential and tourism destination
created by Nakheel (a subsidiary of Dubai World). The three Palm
Islands are the largest man made islands in the world.
amazing city and one of the richest in the world. Since 2002 Dubai has
been experiencing one of the most amazing development phases of any
city in the world as it reinvents itself on an epic scale as a premier
tourism destination. Major developments include the Palm Islands and
the Burj Dubai. It is also home to the iconic sail shaped Burj Al Arab
hotel which is the tallest freestanding hotel in the world. Dubai is
one of the 7 United Arab Emirates, established in 1971. Since
that time it has seen phenomenal growth. Inspired by the vision and
guidance of H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai
and UAE Vice President, Dubai embarked on a journey which transformed
it from a trading post in the Arabian Gulf to the thriving metropolis
that it is today. Often known as 'The City of Gold' or 'The City of
Lights', these days
it seems like it could be known as 'The City of Records'. With the
first 7-star hotel, the largest man-made islands and the richest horse
race in the world.
Strategically located at the crossroads of trade and commerce between East and West, Dubai is in an ideal position to service and access markets that span the Middle East, North and South Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and the CIS. Moreover, Dubai occupies a time zone that gives it an unparalleled advantage in connecting markets as disparate as the Far East and the USA. Dubai enjoys truly global connectivity. Its ultra modern airport handles 13.5 million passengers to over 140 destinations annually; its deepwater port has one of the largest throughputs in the world. Dubai is currently the third largest re-export centre in the world serving a massive regional market. Dubai boasts the award-winning airline – Emirates Airlines and the world’s first seven star hotel, the Burj al Arab. Home to major sporting events including the Dubai World Cup (the world's richest horse race), the Dubai Desert Gold Classic and the Dubai Rugby Sevens, Dubai is also a leading venue for world-class business forums. In September 2003, Dubai hosted the 2003 Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.
amazing city is now home to the world famous Queen Elizabeth 2
purchased for £50 million by Dubai World from Cunard Line. She now lies
at her specially built permanent berth in the Palm Jumeirah development
as a hotel and museum.
We wish her well and hope that she has a long and happy retirement.
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