January 14, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 271 days
It was lovely to see Queen Victoria in New York’s Manhattan, as I arrived to join the ship on a very cold but sunny Tuesday Morning. In fact it was so cold; there was ice in the harbour!
It was great to meet many readers of this Blog, as well as so many familiar faces amongst our guests who were either joining Queen Victoria on that day, or had joined in Southampton. After a brief hand-over with Amanda Reid, she left that evening on a flight to Lisbon to join Queen Mary 2.
Thank you for the amazing feedback from the first Queen Elizabeth Float Out video. I am pleased you enjoyed it and am delighted to enclose the video from the second part of the day, along with some great photos, but first here’s Cunard’s history, for the week 15 to 21 January:
15 January 1972
QE2 makes her maiden call at Norfolk, Virginia, USA
15 January 2007
Queen Victoria floats out of her dry dock
16 January 2002
The first steel is cut to mark the formal start of construction of Queen Mary 2
20 January 1950
Caronia crosses the equator for the first time travelling south to Brazil
21 January 2008
Queen Victoria makes her maiden transit of the Panama Canal
Looking at our history, it’s incredible to think that less than three years after Queen Victoria was floated out of her dry dock for the first time, we were celebrating her sister, Queen Elizabeth, also floating out.
After the coins were welded to the ship’s bulkhead, our Madrina, VIP’s, officials and guests moved to the dock side for the next stage of the ceremony. After speeches from the Shipyard Director, Paolo Capobianco, and Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks, the Fincantieri Chaplain, Padre Gildo, was invited to bless the ship for the next stage of her construction.
Our Madrina, Dennie Farmer, was then given a special small axe to cut the wire, releasing the bottle of Prosecco.
The bottle then smashed against Queen Elizabeth’s hull.
This was the signal for one of the shipyard’s staff to open the valves on the massive dry dock gates to let the water in, so that Queen Elizabeth could float for the very first time.
It was quite moving realising the significance of the event, when the water came rushing in to the dock towards Queen Elizabeth’s hull.
So here is the video which captures the event perfectly:
The whole process takes some time, so we were grateful to receive these pictures of the latter stages of the filling of the dry dock with this first picture showing the aft section;
This is a fabulous shot of the bulbous bow in an almost full dock:
You’ll notice there is still a lot of paintwork to be completed on Queen Elizabeth’s hull which will be taking place soon. She will also go in to a dry dock one more time, after her first set of sea trials which are expected to be in about 18 weeks time. During that dry dock Queen Elizabeth’s hull will be completely repainted and treated ready for delivery a few months later.
We still have more videos from the day including some special interviews and we’ll post them over the next week or two. In the meantime I’d like to thank our cameraman Andrew for this stunning footage, as well as Simona and everyone at the Fincantieri shipyard for all their help and patience during the filming.
Also coming up is some news of the World Voyages from Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. I’ll be back on Monday with the first of the interviews filmed at the Float Out Ceremony. Cheers for now, Alastair