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Queen Victoria

Sir Samuel Cunard Meets His New Queen

October 8, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Victoria


What a week it’s been in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this week with two Cunard Queens visiting this historic city. The name Cunard resonates around the city and nowhere more than at the Statue of Sir Samuel Cunard himself, which is the focal point for any Cunarder. Queen Mary 2 made her call three years to the day after Cunard Line and The Halifax Foundation unveiled the bronze statue of Samuel Cunard, and for Queen Victoria it was her maiden call and what a celebration it was.


Before I take you through the events of the day I would like to thank you again for all the comments on the Blog this week. I know you have many questions about Queen Elizabeth and as soon as announcements are made I’ll definitely pass them on to you, but as I mentioned in previous Blogs, the naming details probably won’t be confirmed until about three months before her maiden voyage. I’ll have more pictures soon as well, thanks to Simon in Monefalcone, which show the incredible pace of her progress.


Now it’s time for this week in Cunard’s history for the week 9th to the 15thth of October.


October 7 2006

Cunard Line and “The Halifax Foundation” unveiled a bronze statue of Sir Samuel Cunard, prominently presiding over the Port of Halifax waterfront, the towering bronze statue appropriately depicts Cunard standing beside a ship’s telegraph, an iconic symbol of steamship travel. Joining the celebration were Sir Samuel Cunard’s great, great, great, great grandsons Benjamin and Samuel Paton.


October 9 1967

Captain “Pip” Read was advised that Caronia was to be sold.


October 10 2007

Cunard announces the building of the new 92,000 ton Queen Elizabeth that will enter service in October 2010


October 11 1973

QE2 makes her maiden call at Halifax, Nova Scotia


I really do love New England and it’s such a great itinerary for our guests to enjoy; mind you the crew seem to love it too! On this voyage, it was my first time to visit Portland, Maine and it was a perfect sunny autumn day. The leaves are just turning and the picturesque town gave us all a great welcome.



Another first was trying Blueberry Beer; yes a new one on me and I am now officially a convert to the idea so have even brought a bottle back for the landlord of my local!


The following day was another inaugural visit for Queen Victoria, and this time it was to what I consider the home of some of the best lobster you’ll ever find; Bar Harbor, Maine. You could say this small and very charming town has a thing about it; well who else would have lobster ice cream.



Yes that is lobster ice cream and for reporting purposes I did try some. Having just enjoyed a fantastic lobster lunch this was a strange experience when I discovered chunks of lobster in vanilla ice cream. I think it must be an acquired taste so I’m afraid I won’t be rushing back too quickly to get some more, but am very happy I’ve tried it!


The town is delightful and along with all the ports we have visited this week, they gave us a tremendous welcome and Queen Victoria certainly provided a very elegant backdrop for the town that day.



Friday the 2nd of October will always be an import date for the for the ship  and the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia as it was the first time Queen Victoria visited the home town of Cunard’s founder Samuel Cunard. It was here where his ship, the Britannia arrived for the first time, on the 17th of July 1840 having completed her maiden 14 day voyage from Liverpool.


Halifax was a very different city when Queen Victoria arrived 169 years later, and we are thankful to Andrew Langley for taking this picture from the Dartmouth shore.


Picture by Andrew Langley

Picture by Andrew Langley





The celebrations started as soon as Queen Victoria docked as reporters from the local press and television stations interviewed Captain McNaught in front of the magnificent Sir Samuel Cunard monument. Our on board photographers were able to join in and take this picture of Captain Ian McNaught with members of the 78th Highlanders.



Then it was time to show off Cunard’s latest addition to the press and distinguished guests, as they came aboard for a special reception.  It is traditional that when a ship visits a port for the first time that an exchange of plaques takes place.  However as a new Cunard ship was visiting Halifax for the first time Queen Victoria was afforded something even more special. Pipe Major Andrew Bruce, played a specially composed piece of music written to mark the occasion. David Danskin, representing the Halifax Citadel National Site, then presented the Captain with a framed picture of the music score.


Photographed from left to right are: John Langley Q.C., Chairman of the Cunard Steamship Society, Mark MacDonald, Chair of the Halifax Port Authority, Margaret Wittingham-Lamont from the Mission to Seafarers, David Danskin from the Halifax Citadel National Site, Captain Ian McNaught, Minister Percy Paris, Nova Scotia Minister for Tourism, Culture & Heritage, David Hendsbee, Deputy Mayor for the Halifax Regional Municipality and Pipe Major Andrew Bruce.


It was great to see John Langley again and I’m sure many readers will know him not only as the Chairman of the Cunard Steamship Society, but also as a frequent a lecturer on our ships.  I asked John how he felt about this amazing day. He told me:


‘The feeling was almost tangible…. a presence felt among guests gathered at an onboard reception to celebrate Queen Victoria’s inaugural visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia this fine autumn day. Not far from where the ship lay berthed, the larger than life-size bronze statue of company founder Samuel Cunard gazes out over the waterfront, admiring the new Cunarder. On closer examination one could almost perceive a look of satisfaction on his face. Now, at last, ‘Cunard’s Line’ has a ‘Queen Victoria’ in its fleet. The company’s historic connection with Halifax dating back to 1840 is reborn yet again with the arrival of this newest of Cunard liners. The Cunard tradition continues…long live Queen Victoria!’


As we sailed that night everyone was excited to have been able to be a part of another great day in Cunard’s rich history. We had a day at sea before sailing up the St. Lawrence River and the stunning port of Quebec, but that deserves a blog of its own! So thanks again for logging on and cheers for now – Alastair

  1. Jennie Harper says:

    Hi Alistair. Thankyou for your updates of the current Cunard fleet. but what news of QE2?? You did say a while back you would keep us all posted. Last I heard our beloved ship is still sitting abandoned in Dubai facing an uncertain future and possible relocation to Cape Town? Please keep us updated on her future if you know anything… she was the best and we miss her dreadfully. thank you. Jennie and Walter.

  2. Lawrence J White says:

    Just reading the blogs on the Queen Elizabeth.
    I note it was just over 36 years ago that the QE visited Halifax.
    My wife and I had just arrived in Halifax in May of that year, after being transferred from Edmonton, Alberta and we took a trip down to Pier 21 to see this magnificent Lady. She stood so proud and stately above those beloved piers, in Halifax Harbour.
    We could only dream as we watched all the guests in their finery go on board as they prepared to sail over to Come-By-Chance Nfld, for the official opening of the oil refinery then.
    We have now been living on the West Coast, in the Vancouver area for the last 15 years and hope some day soon to be able to take a cruise on one of the new Queens!
    Thank you for the reminder!
    L J White

  3. Paul Wilson says:

    Hi Alistair
    Thank you for a great voyage to the USA and Canada.
    We met in the Cruise Critic meetings and the fact that Captain Ian McNaught and yourself gave up time to meet us made our gathering so memorable.
    Guess what … we are arranging another meeting of the Cruise Critic members on the Queen Victoria’s voyage to the Canaries 23rd November 2009.
    We would like to meet in the Commodore Club (Starboard side) at 3.00pm on Tuesday 24th November. Could you arrange for the date to be put in the daily programme. If it is advertised as a meeting of ‘the cruisecritic.co.uk message board members’ that should avoid any confusion.
    Looking forward to meeting you again
    Paul Wilson

  4. Christian Reay says:

    In a response to a comment regarding the QE2 I would like to confirm that the ship has been given a fresh coat of paint, her propellers polished and air conditioning system overhauled – as reported on the BBC News website (August 2009)

    QE2′s iconic funnel has also been given a refresh and still retains the famous ‘Cunard’ red and black bands.

    As far as I am aware QE2 is still in Dubai and that she is going to go to Cape Town, South Africa though it is not known when this transfer will take place. It is known that QE2 will stay in Cape Town for up to 18 months as floating hotel during the 2010 World Cup.

  5. june kirby says:

    Hi Alistair
    Just like to say it was lovely to meet you on the USA/Canada cruise we had a wonderful time and we are looking forward to meeting up with you and your wonderful staff again in January when we join for the full world cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding aniversary. Cunard had quite a part to play in our lives as we were both working for them when we met all that time ago. Enjoy the birthday trip and your ski holiday in January. Meanwhile keep blogging!!!

  6. iain macinnes says:

    I was on qm2 Oct. 14 and saw the statue.Please,can you send me the wording of the inscription beneath his statue.Thank you.

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