Cunard establishes the
British and North
American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company - known as the Cunard Line -
principally to carry the Royal Mail to Canada
and the USA.
1,154-ton paddle steamer Britannia, and three near sisterships,
Acadia, Caledonia and Columbia,
service. These vessels make the Atlantic voyage in 14 days at 8.5 knots
maintain weekly departures from Liverpool.
screw-driven vessel, the Andes,
but not used in the transatlantic service.
Cunard ships are requisitioned
for the Crimean War.
Persia built as the company’s first
iron-hulled transatlantic vessel.
Cunard created a Baronet in
of the Company’s service in the Crimean War.
The China enters service - the company’s first
Admiralty permission required to use the ship to carry the Royal Mail
Mail Contract stipulates ‘paddle steamers’.
Samuel Cunard dies on 28
April at the
age of 78.
The Servia enters service; Cunard’s first steel
vessel, the first ship in the world to be lighted with electricity, and
first vessel Cunard intended to rely solely on passenger revenue.
launched. The latter holds the Blue
Riband for the fastest Atlantic crossing for 22 years.
April the Carpathia rescues all the
survivors from White
The Aquitania launched;
the first Cunarder with an
indoor swimming pool.
interrupts Cunard’s fleet development as Cunard called into active
Cunard carries over one million troops and ten million tons of cargo
war cause. 22 ships - including the Lusitania -
The Cunard Building
the company’s Head Office until the 1960s, completed.
awarded the German
liner, Imperator, by the British Government to compensate for the loss
The vessel renamed Berengaria.
1920s / 1930s:
shipping, when Cunard’s slogan “Getting there is half the fun!” becomes
undertook the first-ever world cruise.
80,744-ton Queen Mary launched and after entering
service in 1936 soon gains the Blue Riband. The Queen Mary
is the first merchant vessel to be launched by a member
of the Royal family (Her Majesty Queen Mary).
The Queen Elizabeth - the largest liner ever built - launched
Majesty Queen Elizabeth, now the Queen Mother.
Mauretania (II) enters service.
once more for war. The Queen Mary
and Queen Elizabeth carry between
them over 1.5 million troops; Churchill remarks that the two ships
shorten the war in Europe by at least
begin their transatlantic
shuttle, carrying tens of thousands of guests, from film stars and
businessmen and tourists.
first cruise ship,
the Caronia, enters service. She is
known as the ‘Green Goddess’ because of the colour of her hull.
carrying one third of all passengers crossing the Atlantic.
jet airliner crosses
the Atlantic. Air crossings continue
passengers at the expense of the great liners. It is in this year when,
first time, more people cross the Atlantic
air than by sea.
The Queen Elizabeth 2 launched by Her Majesty the Queen.
voyage of Queen Elizabeth 2, now the only ship
offering a scheduled transatlantic service.
Steamship Company taken
over by Trafalgar House PLC after an independent existence of 131
world cruise of QE2.
Elizabeth 2 requisitioned
by the British Government for the Falkland Islands
campaign. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
welcomes the ship home. Cunard Countess
also chartered for use in the conflict.
purchases top-rated Sagafjord and Vistafjord,
from Norwegian America Cruises, to bring the fleet to five
charters Concorde for
the first time, thus making use of the company’s greatest competitor on
the Atlantic, the jet aircraft.
Cunard becomes the biggest
charterer of Concorde in the world.
Sea Goddess I and Sea Goddess II vessels,
bringing the fleet back to seven ships -
the largest number for 25 years.
six-month £110 million
re-engining and refurbishment programme on the QE2,
the largest such refit in the history of the merchant marine,
undertaken and successfully completed in 1987. HRH the Princess of
on the ship’s return to Southampton.
In May Her
Elizabeth the Queen Mother boards QE2
to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Queen
Mary’s maiden voyage.
Majesty Queen Elizabeth
the Queen Mother boards QE2 for the
third time - celebrating the launch of the Queen
Elizabeth 50 years earlier.
celebrates its 150th
anniversary. QE2 sent on special
Round Britain voyage including her first call at Liverpool and her
to the Clyde since her launch and
culminates in a rare Spithead Review with Her Majesty the Queen,
Prince Philip, going on board.
Princess chartered to
the US Government for use in the Gulf War as a ‘rest and recuperation
Thatcher boards QE2 to commemorate the 10th
of the Falklands War.
Duke of Edinburgh
and HRH Prince Edward attend an overnight ‘Royal Ball’ on QE2
to raise money for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
enters into a joint
venture agreement with Crown Cruise Line involving Crown
Dynasty, Crown Jewel
and Crown Monarch.
becomes the first ever ship to be awarded Five Stars by the RAC.
celebrate the 40th
anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation, HRH Prince Edward lunches on
board QE2 as she sails out of Southampton.
celebrates her 25th year of service.
QE2 and Vistafjord take part
in the ‘D’ Day
Monarch leaves the Cunard
purchases the world’s
highest rated cruise ship, the Royal
Viking Sun, for $170 million.
undergoes a £10 million refit and refurbishment.
completes her £30 million refit which saw dramatic changes to the
launches the ship into the next century.
commences her 20th World Cruise.
Princess and Crown
Jewel leave the
Dynasty taken by Cunard on
a long-term charter.
Viking Sun, Sea
Goddess I, Sea Goddess II and Cunard
Countess undergo a comprehensive programme of refitting and
completes one thousand voyages.
20th World Cruise QE2 achieves her four millionth mile
- the equivalent of 185 times round the world.
Kvaerner acquires Trafalgar House for £904 million and assumes control
Cunard - this is the second major ownership change for Cunard in its
Viking Sun is ‘relaunched’
after significant repairs following her grounding.
withdrawn from Cunard service and chartered to Transocean Cruises of
subsequently sold to Saga Cruises.
Countess sold to Awani
Cruises of Indonesia.
a £12 million refit in Southampton, the first time a UK
yard had been used for 13 years.
become the first
cruise line to reveal their Millennium itineraries.
commences six (instead of five) day Atlantic crossings allowing the
take the more leisurely route between Europe and America.
management / charter
contract of Cunard Dynasty is ended
and the vessel transfers to Norwegian Cruise Line. This complete
strategy of offering minimum five-star ships and positions the company
top cruise line in the world.
fund-raising event for the
Red Cross, which was to have been attended by the late Diana, Princess
Wales, held on board QE2 in Southampton.
Guests include Cherie Blair, Elizabeth Dole
and Lord Attenborough.
and Sea Goddess I complete
relocates its global
headquarters to Miami after being based
in New York
for 30 years.
receives the highest ratings by Berlitz ‘Complete Guide to Cruising and
Ships’. Four ships are ranked number one in their respective
celebrates the 30th Anniversary
of her launch by HM The Queen on 20
Mandela sails on QE2 from Durban
to Cape Town
the first time a Head of State has travelled on board since HM The
In May, a
Corporation-led consortium purchases Cunard from Kvaerner for $500
merges the company with Seabourn Cruise Line to form Cunard Line
the new company
announces ‘Project Queen Mary’ – a proposal to build the biggest
September Royal Viking Sun completes her
refurbishment programme, followed by Sea
Goddess II in October.
October the company
announces the reorganisation of the two fleets and the renaming of Vistafjord. The reorganisation,
effective from December 1999, includes:
renaming of Royal Viking Sun, Sea Goddess
I and Sea Goddess II as Seabourn Sun,
Seabourn Goddess I and Seabourn
Goddess II and their transfer to the Seabourn fleet.
renaming of Vistafjord as Caronia.
Together with QE2, Caronia forms the
basis of the ‘new’ Cunard Line fleet.
Line Limited sweeps
the board in the 1999 Berlitz ’Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise
with the top seven places being taken by either a Cunard or Seabourn
ship. QE2 Grill accommodation receives the
April a lunch is held
on board QE2 in Southampton
to commemorate the 30th
Anniversary of the ship’s maiden transatlantic
(2 – 7 May 1969).
acquires the 32% of Cunard it did not already own, thus taking control
of the company.
Line Limited once
again triumphs in the 2000 Berlitz ’Complete Guide to Cruising and
Ships’ with the top six places being taken by either a Cunard or
takes place with major refurbishments being completed on QE2,
Caronia and Seabourn Sun.
November, the Seabourn Sun arrives in Southampton.
December, the Caronia is renamed at a ceremony in Liverpool
December, the Seabourn Sun is renamed at a ceremony
in Fort Lauderdale.
completes her £19.5 million refit.
March, Cunard signs
letter of intent with Chantiers de l’Atlantique (France) for Queen
November, Cunard signs
final contract for Queen Mary 2 and
unveils key design details. QM2 will
be the largest, longest, widest and tallest passenger ship in history
enter service in 2004.
By the end
of 2000, the $27
million programme of refurbishment of Seabourn
Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn
Legend is complete. All three
ships received unique ‘French Balconies’.
February Pamela Conover
becomes the first woman at the helm of Cunard when she is appointed
and chief Operating Officer.
announces the transfer of Seabourn Sun
to Holland America Line in April 2002. Seabourn
Sun to be renamed Prinsendam.
structures established for Cunard Line and Seabourn Cruise Line in the
announces the sale of both Seabourn
Goddess I and Seabourn Goddess II
to a group of Norwegian investors.
the redeployment of Caronia to the
British cruise market effective May 2002. The on board product to
British and the currency to be sterling.
undergoes further refurbishment in November / December.
December Cunard announces
the construction of a 90,000-ton vessel. ‘The New Cunarder’ will enter
in January 2005 and be dedicated to the British cruise market.
January the first
steel is cut to mark the formal start of construction of Queen
On 13 May
that QE2 will be removed from
transatlantic service in April 2004 and will be deployed on cruise
of Southampton. QM2
will assume the role of Cunard’s transatlantic carrier at this
Thatcher lunches on
board QE2 on 14 June to commemorate
the 20th anniversary
of the Falklands War.
On 4 July
the keel is laid
for Queen Mary 2.
March Queen Mary 2 is floated out of the
March Cunard announces
that ‘The New Cunarder’ will be named Queen
On 12 July
the keel is laid
for Queen Victoria.
December, Queen Mary 2 is handed over to Cunard
and arrives in Southampton.
January Queen Mary 2 is named by Her Majesty
January RMS Queen Mary 2 sails on her Maiden
On the 5
announce that the ship intended to be the Queen
Victoria was to be instead handed to P&O Cruises to become the Arcadia.
Instead a new Queen Victoria is to
be ordered and enter service in 2007.
Queen Mary 2 departs
Southampton on 16 April on her first transatlantic crossing to New York.
April both RMS Queen Mary 2 and QE2
meet in New York
– the first time that two Cunard
Queens have been berthed in the port since March 1940.
On 1 May
both Queens arrive
in Southampton – the first time two
Queens have been in the company’s home port since 1967. QE2
relinquishes the title of flagship to RMS Queen Mary 2.
the longest serving Cunard flagship.
November QE2 becomes Cunard’s longest serving
express liner having completed 35 years, six months and three days of
taking the record from Aquitania.
June the QE2 participates in the
Fleet Review in the Solent
as part of the SeaBritain2005 celebrations for Trafalgar 200 and the
Bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Lord
This event marked the largest gathering of merchant and naval ships in
waters since the Silver Jubilee Fleet Review in 1977. HM Queen
Elizabeth II and
the HRH The Duke of Edinburgh reviewed the vast fleet from on board HMS
September 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
and 2 days. Thus smashing the record set by the Scythia
which served from 1921 to 1957.
On the 23
February the RMS Queen Mary 2 met up with the
original Queen Mary at Long Beach
for the first time as she called at Long Beach
in the "Royal Rendezvous" during her
South America cruise from New
On the 6th
the keel is laid for the Queen Victoria.
January the QE2 departs Southampton
on her Silver Jubilee World Cruise marking her 25th
of the world. This World Cruise is also special because 2007 is the 85th
Anniversary of the first World Cruise made by the Laconia
back in 1922/1923.
On the 10
January the QE2 and RMS Queen Mary 2
depart Fort Lauderdale
together on their simultaneous World
Cruises after a spectacular Royal Rendezvous. This being the QE2’s
Jubilee World Cruise and the QM2’s Maiden World Cruise. The was the
two Cunard Queens had ever been seen in Fort Lauderdale together.
On the 15
the Queen Victoria is floated out of
On the 20
spectacular Royal Rendezvous takes place in Sydney when the RMS
Queen Mary 2 and the QE2
meet again during their epic simultaneous World Cruises. This was the
time two Cunard Queens have been in Sydney
since the wartime visits of the Queen
Mary and Queen Elizabeth in 1941
and 1942 during their troopship duties in the Second World War.
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.
On the 15
September the QE2 sails from Southampton on a special
“40th Birthday Cruise” around the British
to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her launch in 1967.
This voyage was special in many ways. Her call at Newcastle upon Tyne
on the 17th September marked
the 100th anniversary of the Mauretania's
from the Tyne on her first sea trials.
On the 21st September she called at Liverpool and helped officially
open the new City of Liverpool Cruise Terminal at Pier Head. Her 40th
Anniversary was marked by a special Cunard QE2 40th Anniversary Celebration
Concert which was
held at the
Anglican Cathedral . That
evening there was a spectacular mid river
display in honour of the QE2. On the 22nd September the voyage also
marked the 40th anniversary of the Queen
Mary's final departure from
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
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.
crowded the decks of both ships to watch this historic sight.
Finally the QE2 arrived back
in Southampton on the 23rd September 2007.
On the 10
December the Queen Victoria is named by Her Royal
Highness The Duchess of Cornwall in a lavish ceremony at the QEII
Terminal in Southampton Docks.
On the 11
December the Queen Victoria sails on her maiden
voyage. For the first time ever Cunard has three Cunard Queens in
January the Queen Victoria will sail on her Maiden
World Cruise from Southampton in
the legendary QE2 in scenes
reminiscent of the QE2's role in
inducting the RMS Queen Mary 2 into
the transatlantic service (2004) and World Cruises (2007). Both ships
sailed to New York in what was the
historic first ever
westbound tandem transatlantic crossing to New York.
On the 13
January all three
Cunard Queens were in New York
together – this
was the first time three Cunard Queens had been in New York. From here the Queen
Victoria and the QE2
sailed in tandem to Fort
where they arrived on the 15 January before setting off on their
World Cruises. Meanwhile the Queen
Mary 2 departed on a cruise to the Caribbean.
On the 24
February the Queen Victoria and QE2
meet again in Sydney while both on their simultaneous World
Cruises in a spectacular “Meeting of the Queens” reminiscent of the
Rendezvous of the RMS Queen Mary 2
and the QE2 in 2007.
18th April the QE2 returned to
Southampton after her tandem World Cruise with the new Queen Victoria. Sadly
with the retirement of the QE2
in November 2008,
this was her 26th and final World Cruise. The QE2 then embarked on a season of
Farewell Cruises prior to her retirement in November 2008.
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.
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
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.
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.
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. 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 27th 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
Thus the RMS Queen Elizabeth
2 sailed into honoured retirement in Dubai at The Palm Jumeirah
and will be remembered as
of the most illustrious ships ever built. The QE2 as
she is affectionately known is truly a maritime icon and national
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
2009 both the Queen Mary 2 and
the Queen Victoria undertook
second World Cruise. Queen Mary 2
and Queen Victoria
circumnavigated the globe during voyages of 84 and 107 days, meeting in
Ft. Lauderdale for a spectacular Royal Rendezvous on the 13th January
2009. Queen Victoria
circumnavigated the globe
in a westbound direction departing from Southampton on the 2nd January
2009, transiting the Panama Canal and Suez Canal
with calls in some of the world’s most interesting ports, including
Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Shanghai, Chica; Saipan, Northern Mariana
Islands and Rabual, Papua New Guinea, as well as an overnight call in
Sydney Australia. Queen Victoria
also called on the port city of
Mormugao in Goa, on the west coast of India, which is known for its
pristine beaches and Portuguese architecture; and the charming port
city of Hobart, Tasmania, Australia’s second oldest city. She made
numerous maiden calls during her epic second World Cruise. Her journey
ended in Southampton on 20th April 2009. The Queen Mary 2 departed on her
second World Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, simultaneously
with her sister ship Queen Victoria,
on the 13th January 2009. She then set sail on a 84-day Epic
Expedition to 24 ports on five
continents. Included was a port
call to Alexandria (for Cairo/Giza) affording visits to the Great
Pyramids and the Sphinx. The ship journeyed in a westward
direction, sailing around South America to Los Angeles, across the
Pacific to Honolulu, Hawaii. From there, stops included Pago Pago,
American Samoa; Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia; and Dubai,
United Arab Emirates. Her journey ended in Southampton on the 8th April
On the 4th September 2009 the Queen Mary 2 delivered a historic item
upon her arrival in New York from Southampton. This unique item was
Wedgwood's "Gift Between Nations". The unique, large scale model of the
world famous Washington Monument was created by the iconic British
pottery company in commemoration of their 250th Anniversary, and
celebrates the long and illustrious links between the two great nations
of Britain and the USA.
Following a formal presentation to Queen Mary 2's Commodore Bernard
Warner in Southampton on the 29th August 2009, the masterpiece was
transported on board the ship for her six day transatlantic voyage to
New York. Lord Piers Wedgwood arrived with the Gift on the 29th
September 2009 and will be prominently displayed in the famous Macy's
Herald Square store in New York CIty later in September before its
onward journey to Washington DC. It will then be the focal point of a
much anticipated anniversary exhibition hosted by the Daughters of the
American Revolution in their magnificent building situated between the
White House and the Washington Monument, and will ultimately be
presented to and reside in the White House.
This special event also helped to illustrate the longstanding
relationship between Cunard and Wedgwood, with an unmatched lineage of
trade and commerce for the two companies across the Atlantic.