RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE
RMS QUEEN MARY 2
The RMS Queen Mary 2 was introduced in 2004 and is the largest, longest, tallest and widest passenger liner in the world today. When she entered service she took over the mantle of the transatlantic ocean liner tradition from the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2. Remarkably she is the first true transatlantic ocean liner to be built for over 30 years since the introduction of the QE2.
She is a
dual role ship
combining the transatlantic crossing (Southampton to
Design and Construction (1998 – 2003):
It took 33
years from the
maiden voyage of the RMS Queen Mary for Cunard to finally commission
replacement ship to the original
Since her entry into service till 2000 the QE2 had exceeded all expectations in her unique dual role, attracting an unrivalled reputation as a cruise ship and proving without a doubt that there is still a continuing interest in scheduled transatlantic crossings, albeit only in the summer months.
The QE2’s passengers, rather than arriving dishevelled, disorientated, stressed and unprepared for their business meetings, they can adapt gradually to changing time zones, relaxing in the vibrant ocean air, while connected to the outside world via modern telecommunications. They also have plenty of time to prepare for demanding business meetings without distraction and without irritating their fellow passengers. Also transatlantic crossings by sea are scarcely longer than a long weekend, causing little impact on work schedules. The QE2 also has demonstrated that on cruises with the right mix of itinerary accompanied by impeccable shipboard service will overcome any impediment that size may have in restricting her operations. Besides today the QE2 is a comparatively small ship when compared to today’s giant cruise ships.
In the mid
1990s the climate
was still unsuitable for considering a successor to the renowned QE2.
when Cunard was purchased by Carnival Corporation in 1998 the financial
changed and it became possible to seriously contemplate a new Cunarder.
1998 Cunard Line announce Project Queen Mary to build a successor to
to create the world’s largest and most expensive liner ever but one
be a true transatlantic liner and not a cruise ship. In May 1999 Cunard
unveiled preliminary plans for the new ship and announced that the ship
be bigger than the previous Cunard Queens, the France, and the
was always anticipated that any new Cunard Queen would be impressive.
resulted was the largest passenger liner ever built. She would also be
with the most technologically advanced propulsion, stabilisation and
environmental protection systems. She would also be lavishly appointed
style that evoked memories of the previous Cunard Queens but yet had a
modern flavour). She would also introduce amenities and features never
seen on board a ship. She would be a record breaker in every aspect
her maximum speed. The record of the
Line and Carnival
Corporation declared their firm intention to build a new Cunard
the 8th June 1998 and later on the 10th March
order for the new giant was confirmed when the letter of intent was
her builders – Alstom Chantiers de l’Atlantique, St Navaire, France.
the 6th November 2000 the formal contract was signed. This
would not be British built like her predecessors as
ship was given the
yard number G32, but unlike the old RMS Queen Mary there would be no
to her name. She would be known as the RMS Queen Mary 2, and like the
was the second ship of the name and was named to honour her illustrious
After completion of model tank tests in February 2001 her construction
accelerated and in June 2001 the general arrangement plans for the
the new Queen Mary 2 are completed and announced by Cunard and on the 16th
January 2002 the first steel for the ship was cut. As a modular
method was used, as is typical in today’s modern shipbuilding industry
many modern cruise ships, her construction was rapid in comparison to
predecessors with a total construction time of just 33 months. On the 26th
April 2002 the QE2 departs
designer, the British
marine architect Stephen Payne, built her to be a true transatlantic
liner with classic hull lines and is designed to cope with the heavy
Her main engines comprise two General Electric LM2500+ aeroderivative gas turbine generators and four Wartsila diesel generators in a CoDaG (Combined Diesel and Gas) configuration, the powerplant providing 118 MW of electrical power for the propulsion equipment and for all on board services. Propulsion is by four hydrodynamically shaped Rolls-Royce Marine “Mermaid” pods (the first ever installation of this number on one ship) – two fixed and two of the azimuth or 360 degree rotation variety. This arrangement removes the need for a conventional rudder while delivering maximum manoeuvrability along with low noise and minimal vibration. Weighing 250 tons, each pod, generating 21.5 MW of propulsive power, is heavier than a fully laden Boeing 747 airliner.
Mary 2 undertook
her first sea trials on the 25th September 2003 and she
the shipyard on the 28th September 2003. On the 7th
November 2003 she headed to sea again for her second sea trials which
until the 11th November 2003 when she returned to the
These trials took place off the French coast and she consistently
knots on three runs along a 10 mile course and passed with flying
rigorous tests of her power output, vibration levels, manoeuvrability
Sadly on the 15th November 2003 tragedy strikes the Queen Mary 2 when
dock during a ship workers family visit
to the ship a gangway collapses by accident killing 16 people and
The following day French president Jacques Chirac visits the scene to
relatives. On the 22nd Dec 2003 the Queen Mary 2 is officially handed
Cunard and sails from St Navaire bound for Southampton via
"I name this ship Queen Mary 2. May God bless her and all who sail in her."
Words of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at
the Naming Ceremony, 8th January 2004.
26th December 2003,
slightly later than planned, the Queen Mary 2 arrives in Southampton
first time on Boxing Day at 1pm after delivery from her builders Alstom
Chantiers de l’Atlantique at St Navaire,
The Maiden Seasons (2003 – 2007):
celebration and a spectacular fireworks display the RMS Queen Mary 2
on her maiden voyage on the 12th January 2004, unusually
On the 25th
2004 after meeting up with the QE2 for the first time in New York (this
occasion being the first time two Cunard Queens had been seen in New
together since the Second World War) both ships, in an event unparallel
history of transatlantic travel, sailed from New York together bound
Southampton. On the 1st May 2004 both ships arrive in
together and this marks the first occasion since the old Cunard Queens
On the 3rd
2004 the Queen Mary 2 set sail from Southampton on a special
to Piraeus / Athens in Greece to position her for use as the flagship
ship during the Athens Olympic Games from the 12th to 30th
August 2004. Former
year on the 19th
September 2004 the Queen Mary 2 departed
On the 12th January 2005 the Queen Mary 2 celebrated her first birthday. On the 15th May 2005 she made her maiden call at Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival and the renowned film director, George Lucas, was presented with the “Trophy of the Festival” in a special ceremony on board the Queen Mary 2. On the 11th July 2005 the Queen Mary 2 continued the tradition of carrying Royal Mails on the transatlantic service when she carried the first author signed copy of J.K. Rowling’s new “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince” book from Southampton to New York for its US launch.
On the 29th
2005 during an extended call in
On the 15th
August 2005 (VJ Day), the RMS Queen Mary 2 was berthed in
8th November to the 19th November 2005 the RMS Queen Mary 2 was
drydocked and overhauled for the first time since she entered service.
She was drydocked at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany and
classification work and repainting was carried out and the propulsion
units, anchor winches and the four stablizers were all overhauled.
12th January 2006 the Queen Mary 2 celebrates her second birthday. Her first two years
have seen her complete 39
Atlantic crossings, sail 276,000 nautical miles, visit 67 different
ports in 27 countries and carry almost 230,000 passengers of over 70
nationalities. She has been a crowd-puller at every port she has
visited for the first time; almost three million turned out when she
sailed up the east coast of England at close range, followed by half a
million in Hamburg in August 2005.
On the 15th
January 2006 the Queen Mary 2 made a historic voyage when she
sail from New York on her “South America Odyssey” cruise bound for Los
via Cape Horn and thus became the largest ever ocean liner to
South America. The last Cunard Queen to sail these waters was the RMS
Mary on her Last Great Cruise in 1968 to her permanent home in
23rd February 2006: The Meeting of the Queen Marys "The Royal Rendezvous"(Long Beach, California, USA)
Royal Rendezvous with the Queen Mary in Long Beach, the Queen Mary 2
returned to Los Angeles on the 25th February 2006. That day the RMS
Queen Mary 2 departed Los Angeles on her "Royal Hawaiian Liner"
cruise to Hawaii amid great fanfare, returning to Los Angeles on the
8th March 2006. On the 8th March 2006 she departed Los Angeles
back around South America bound for New York where she arrived on the
15th April 2006 after another historic and momentous voyage.
On the 15th
April 2006 the RMS Queen Mary 2 shifts her New York terminal from the
Passenger Ship Terminal in Manhattan to the new Brooklyn Cruise
Terminal. The QE2 will also call at the new terminal on her
annual World Cruises instead of at the Passenger Ship Terminal in
Manhattan. Sadly this will mean that these ships no longer sail up the
River Hudson past the Manhattan skyline to the Passenger Ship Terminal
there in central Manhattan.
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.
On the 5th May 2006 the Queen Mary 2
departs Southampton bound for Hamburg for dry docking to have her
damaged propulsion pod removed for repair. She returns to service on
the 11th May 2006 with a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords from
Southampton. On the 13th May 2006 while on this cruise to the Norwegian
Fjords a Filipino crew member was injured during a fight on board. He
was airlifted to hospital but sadly died en route. A team of British
detectives from Hampshire Police was flown out to the ship to
investigate the death. Hampshire Police are conducting the
investigation as the ship is registered in Southampton. The ship
continued its cruise as planned and is due to arrive back in
Southampton on the 17th May 2006.
In 2006 she also commences transatlantic crossings from Hamburg to New York via Southampton and Southampton to Fort Lauderdale as well as the traditional Southampton to New York route. The first "eastbound transatlantic crossing" from New York to Hamburg via Southampton departs on the 8th July 2006. The first "westbound transatlantic crossing" from Hamburg to New York departs on the 16th July 2006. While the first "westbound transatlantic crossing" from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale departs on the 18th November 2006.
On the 31st July
2006 Commodore Ronald Warwick OBE, LLD, FNI retired after 36 years
service with Cunard Line after hosting his final crossing on board the
RMS Queen Mary 2 from New York where they departed on the 24th July
2006. During the voyage the Commodore and his wife, Kim, hosted a
variety of functions during the 6 day voyage. Special lunches were held
in the Commodore's honour in both New York and Southampton and all the
passengers took part in a "Commodore's Dinner" during the voyage
complete with commemorative menu. Captaining the Cunard Queens is
something of a Warwick family tradition. Commodore Warwick holds the
unique distinction in Cunard Line's long history of notable Captains by
following in the footsteps of his late father, Commodore William
Warwick CBE, who sailed as master of the RMS Queen Mary and the RMS
Queen Elizabeth, and then the first master of the QE2 in 1968. He also
was promoted to Commodore of the Fleet in 1970. Commodore Ronald
Warwick joined Cunard Line as a Third Officer in 1970. He first sailed
as Captain in 1986 on board the Cunard Princess, and also sailed in
command of the Cunard Countess and Cunard Crown Dynasty until his
appointment as Master of the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 in July 1990. From
April 1996 he sailed permanently as senior Master on board the QE2
until his appointment as Master-designate of the new RMS Queen Mary 2
in 2002. He continued as Master of the RMS Queen Mary 2 since then. In
December 2003 he was promoted to the rank of Commodore of the Fleet. In
June 2005 his service to the Merchant Navy was recognised by his being
awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Commodore Warwick
also holds the rank of Captain in the Royal Naval Reserve and is a
Fellow of the Nautical Institute. Once the Queen Mary 2 arrived in
Southampton a traditional bagpipe procession signalled a jubilant send
off for Cunard Line's Commodore Ronald Warwick on the 31st July 2006
following the conclusion of his farewell transatlantic crossing in
command of the RMS Queen Mary 2. Cunard Line's President Carol Marlow
escorted the Commodore after distinguished guests and crew gathered
aboard the Queen Mary 2 to celebrate in his honour. Departing in style
the Commodore and his wife waved goodbye to the hundreds of QM2 well
wishers before being flown home by helicopter to their cottage in
nearby Somerset. The revered seaman and Cunard legend has sailed into
virtually every port in the world, navigating the QE2 and the Queen
Mary 2, the most famous ocean liners in the world. Happy retirement
On the 10th
August 2006 a traditional Royal Mail postbox was installed on board the
RMS Queen Mary 2. The postbox on the Queen Mary 2 is located outside
the Golden Lion Pub. Stamps, including an exclusive QM2 stamp available
only onboard, can be purchased at the Pursers Desk. The postbox recalls
Cunard Line's unique place in history as the first provider of
transatlantic mail service between England and the USA. When Samuel
Cunard was awarded the rights to the first transatlantic mail shipping
contract it gave his company the right to use RMS (Royal Mail Ship) as
a prefix to the ships' names. This tradition continues today in the
21st century as the Queen Mary 2 is also a Royal Mail Ship and hence
has RMS before her name. The Queen Mary 2 is not alone in having a
postbox, as the QE2 also has a Royal Mail postbox located outside the
library on Quarter Deck. This tradition is set to continue when the
Queen Victoria enters service in 2007 as she too will have a Royal Mail
2006 the Queen Mary 2 sails from Southampton to Hamburg for dry docking
to have her damaged propulsion pod that was removed in May 2006 for
repair refitted. She returns to service on the 18th November 2006 with
a cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale.
The Age of the Three Cunard Queens (2007 -
the Queen Mary 2 is
set to make history again when on the 10th January
20th February 2007: The Meeting of the Two Cunard Queens "The Royal Rendezvous"(Sydney, Australia)Website: www.queenmary2.com.au
arrive in Southampton on the 26th February 2007 at the end
epic Maiden World Cruise during which she will have made her second
of South America and maiden calls at numerous ports around the world
made her maiden passage through the
2007 the Queen Mary 2 is chartered by an American tour company, RSVP
Vacations, for the first ever transatlantic crossing for gay and
lesbian passengers only. The voyage departs from New York on the 29th
May 2007 and arrives in Southampton on the 4th June 2007.
On the 22nd September 2007, the Queen Mary 2 while outbound from Southampton bound for New York passed the QE2 inbound to Southampton during her 40th Anniversary Voyage around the UK. This was the QE2's final day at sea 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 40 years ago on the 25th September 1967. Passengers crowded the decks of both ships to watch this historic sight. It was a truly momentous sight.
On the 13th January 2008 another remarkable historic moment occurs in the history of Cunard Line when the RMS Queen Mary 2 meets the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Victoria in New York. The RMS Queen Mary 2 was returning from a "Connoisseurs Caribbean" cruise while the QE2 and Queen Victoria had arrived from Southampton on the first leg of their tandem World Cruises. Indeed it was the Queen Victoria's Maiden World Cruise and the QE2's final World Cruise in light of her impending retirement in November 2008 which was announced on the 18th June 2007. So the Three Cunard Queens met for the first and perhaps last time.
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.
is 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)
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)
Later in 2008 the RMS Queen Mary 2 made her farewell to the QE2 with two tandem transatlantic crossings with her iconic sister. On the 10th October 2008 the RMS Queen Mary 2 departs from Southampton in tandem with the QE2 bound for New York. The QE2 was on her "Final New York Arrival Crossing" and the QM2 was on a "Westbound Transatlantic Crossing". The two ships arrived in New York together on the 16th October 2008 with the QE2 making her emotional final farewell to New York, her North American homeport. 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.
On the 16th October 2008 the two ships again departed New York in tandem once again bound for Southampton. The QM2 sailing on a "Eastbound Transatlantic Crossing" and making her final farewell to the QE2 on its last transatlantic crossing. The QE2 was making her final departure from New York on a "Farewell to America Crossing" and her 806th and final transatlantic crossing. Thus the QE2 bade farewell to New York and America for the last time, never to return.
Indeed their arrival back in Southampton on the 22nd October 2008 was the last time the QE2 and the RMS Queen Mary 2 met before the QE2 is retired from service in November 2008 and heads off to retirement in Dubai. A truly sad occasion.
The New Cunard Age (2008 onwards):
retirement of the legendary QE2 in November 2008, Cunard Line entered a
new era with a modern two ship fleet consisting of the RMS Queen Mary 2
and the Queen Victoria.
In 2009 both the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria will undertake their second World Cruise. Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will circumnavigate the globe during voyages of 84 and 107 days, meeting in Ft. Lauderdale for a spectacular Royal Rendezvous on the 13th January 2009. The Queen Mary 2 will depart on her second World Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, simultaneously with her sister ship Queen Victoria, on the 13th January 2009. She will then set sail on a 84-day Epic Expedition to 24 ports on five continents. Included is a port call to Alexandria (for Cairo/Giza) affording visits to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. The ship will journey in a westward direction, sailing around South America to Los Angeles, across the Pacific to Honolulu, Hawaii. From there, stops include Pago Pago, American Samoa; Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Her journey ends in Southampton on the 8th April 2009.
It seems that the RMS Queen Mary 2 is fast becoming a most remarkable ship and is sure to be a legend like the QE2 before long.
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