November 19, 2009
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 327 days
As promised I have some great pictures from my visit to the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy where Queen Elizabeth’s construction is progressing at a staggering rate.
Firstly though; it’s a pleasure to respond to some of your comments and questions from this week. Thanks for the lovely poem Ann, which was a fitting reminder of our much loved QE2 that is so much a part of our history. Also regarding your enquiry about Elaine McKay, Mark, Thomas Quinones introduced me to her when she came on board for the day when Queen Victoria called at New York in September. It was her first time on board and Elaine loved the ship, and she spent the day reminiscing with old friends. I hoping she’ll be able to write a guest Blog some time as well; it’s always great to keep up with fellow Cunarders. As for speculating who will name Queen Elizabeth, I’m afraid we’ll have to wait, as none of us will know until much nearer the time, probably in July.
I’ll have some more nostalgic stories on the way, as well as what is happening on board at the moment. Meanwhile here’s this week in Cunard’s history, for the week 20 to the 26 November:
November 21 1787
Samuel Cunard is born in Halifax, Nova Scotia
November 22 1955
Sylvania II is launched at John Brown Yard at Clydebank, and along with the Carinthia III they are the last liners to be built purely for the North Atlantic market. She becomes the last Canadian emigrant ship
November 24 1967
RMS Caronia, comes to Southampton for the last time after a distinguished career.
November 26 1968
QE2 leaves Greenock, Scotland for her first sea trials.
November 26 2007
Cunard accepts delivery of Queen Victoria
So as we celebrate Samuel Cunard’s 222nd birthday and the anniversary of Queen Victoria joining the Cunard fleet, our attention is drawn to Italy, where in under eleven months, her new sister Queen Elizabeth will become the sixth Cunard Queen.
As you know I went to the ship yard in Monfalcone last Sunday while Queen Victoria was making a call to Venice. For the first time I could see Queen Elizabeth from a distance, as I approached the yard as she had grown so much. On this visit Cunard’s Director of Entertainment, Martin Lilly, joined me as well as Andrew, our cameraman, who took some great video footage that we will hopefully bring you on Monday. They had arrived the previous day as there was quite a bit more of the ship to film on this visit. They stayed in the yard until it got dark and Martin took this amazing shot of the ship, looking at a cross section of her bow.
You can make out the Bridge which was only added a few days ago. The section below the Bridge is where staterooms will be, and below that is the back stage area of the Royal Court Theatre where the scenic elements of the shows will be stored and, believe it or not, the dressing rooms.
Martin and Andrew were also able to get in to the dry dock and look at the hull of the ship, and here is a great picture of the port side Stabilizer Fin in its housing.
The next morning they arrived just before me, and were already busy filming as I came in to the yard. As it was a Sunday there were very few ship yard workers on the site, but there was some work taking place, including one very important job that was fantastic to be able to witness.
Yes these are metal letters that are being welded to the bow, so our new Queen can proudly bear the name of the two Elizabeth’s before her. What a great sight!
So what does she look like now? I think this gives you a pretty good idea of how much she has advanced since you saw the last pictures:
There are only a few blocks left to add, mainly to the aft section but still a few more on the bow as well. She has nearly reached her full height with the addition of the Grills area, and certainly she is looking very recognizable now.
So what about inside I hear you ask; well I’m afraid that will have to wait until next time, but I know you’ll be equally amazed when you see those pictures. I’ll be back on Monday with more pictures and hopefully some video for you, and there are lots of other Blogs on the way as well. Special thanks to Simona and Antonio in the yard for their patience and help and Martin for helping with these great pictures. Cheers or should I say Ciao, Alastair