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Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria’s Momentous Maiden Call To Maui

February 4, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Victoria

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 254 days


As Queen Mary 2 made her maiden call to Cochin in India and headed to Phuket in Thailand, her sister, Queen Victoria had crossed the Pacific to make her maiden call to the port of Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui. It was the ship’s first visit to the island and what a welcome we received, and certainly beyond our expectations. On the same day a couple from Toronto, Canada had decided to make this an extra special day as well. More of that after our regular feature, Cunard’s history, for the week 5 to 11 February:


5 February 1840

Samuel Cunard’s first ship, the 1,154-ton paddle steamer Britannia, is launched at Robert Duncan’s ship yard.

6 February 1924

Aurania III is launched in Newcastle and enters service as the second set of triplets of the A Class liner

6 February 1951

Caronia makes her maiden call to Auckland, New Zealand

7 February 1925

Alaunia II (14,040 Tons) is launched at John Brown’s, Clydbank and enters service on the Canada route

10 February 1977

QE2 makes her maiden call at Nagasaki, Japan

11 February 2008

Queen Victoria makes maiden crossing of the international Dateline


Queen Victoria anchored off the island of Maui at about 8am last Monday, and everyone soon flocked to the open decks to see the most incredible welcome from the marine life of the bay. There were North Pacific Humpback Whales everywhere around the ship with approximately twenty of them on view comprising families with their calves.


We found out that this was no coincidence, as the Whales choose the Maui area and specifically the bay around Lahaina as it is a perfect area for them to spend their winters. Hawaiian water temperatures average around 75 degrees, which is an ideal environment for the newborn calves. The islands shelter and protect the waters and form a shallow basin, as compared to the deep surrounding Pacific Ocean waters with depths of up to three miles. The average depth in the area off Lahaina is only about 300 feet which is perfect for the Humpback Whale. Another reason they come to Maui is that Hawaiian waters are virtually predator free for the Humpback Whales. Their only other predators, besides humans, are Orcas, the Killer Whale, but they are rarely seen in Hawaii as they prefer colder waters. The Humpbacks encounter Orcas on a regular basis when they migrate to the feeding grounds of Alaska in the summer, and as such, about a fifth of Humpback Whales bear scars from Orca attacks. The marine life remained visible throughout the day; it was almost like some of the calves wanted Queen Victoria to join in the fun! Our guests and crew were able to take some fantastic photos from the ship and the tenders which took them ashore; mind you it takes a professional like our Chief Photographer, Marius Botha to get a shot like this.



The name La haina means “cruel sun” in the Hawaiian language, describing the sunny dry climate enjoyed most of the year. It’s a small town compared with the very busy and cosmopolitan Honolulu, with the focus of activity along Front Street, which dates back to the 1820s and today is lined with stores and restaurants. Banyan Tree Square features an exceptionally large Banyan tree planted in 1873 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the missionaries. It has grown by dropping roots from its branches that then become additional trunks, allowing it to cover two-thirds of an acre.



It’s amazing to think that this is just one tree! It now has twelve major trunks and the symmetry of the tree is apparently maintained by volunteers.


While most of our guests were enjoying island tours, two guests from Toronto, Canada were preparing for a day they would never forget, because this was the day they had chosen for their Hawaiian wedding. Corey who recently retired from the Canadian Military, and Amy, who works in finance, met in a nightclub in Toronto just over a year ago. As Amy was already booked on part of Queen Victoria’s World Voyage, the idea of a Hawaiian wedding seemed perfect. Amy’s parents are staying on for the whole World Voyage so they also attended the ceremony on an exclusive beach within a short walk of Lahaina. Amy’s sister and her partner flew to the island for a week’s holiday, so they could also be part of the special day. The setting was idyllic with their honeymoon destination, (Queen Victoria) in the background.



They said that once they had decided on a Hawaiian wedding, the process was actually quite simple and not too complicated. They managed to arrange everything over the internet and all they had to do on the day was arrive at Amy’s sister’s hotel to change, and then walk down to the beach to meet the minister who had arranged their traditional Hawaiian wedding, which they told me involved lots of kissing throughout the ceremony along with exchanges of leis and vows.



After the ceremony they wanted to do something quite different so they hired a paddleboard before returning to the ship later that afternoon. They had a lot of fun on the tender back as they heard guests saying, “Did you see the wedding on the beach – how lovely”. “Little did they know, that it was us” said Amy. Back on board their room steward Rosie had made a special decoration of kissing swans made out of towels, so I am guessing the word was out!


While Amy’s parents continue with their World Voyage after Sydney, the now Amy and Corey McKee-Beglin, will be making plans to move in to their new condominium in September when it is finished. This was Corey’s first voyage and they hope their anniversaries will be back on board; what a great idea! Thanks Corey and Amy for sharing your story with us and we wish you every happiness in your married life.


The following day we were back in Honolulu and now Queen Victoria is heading towards the Southern Hemisphere. I’ll be back on Monday and I have a great Blog for you with video from our day in San Francisco. Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Carolyn Mansell says:

    Hi Alastair!

    Just to let you know I am travelling with you! and enjoying every minute, reminiscing in many cases, loving the horn salutes as you pass under the San Francisco bridge and the wedding on Maui (my son lives in Kailua, HI if you remember)- and reliving the grandeur and elegance of the Queen Victoria . . .


  2. Judith Berry says:

    Hi Alistair,
    We are following the ship on her journey before joining in Hong Kong to sail through to Southampton. Very excited to be starting our 3rd voyage on QV and feeling extremely lucky to be on QE on her maiden voyage on 12 Oct!
    We sailed LA to Sydney last year with you and the Captain. What a superb trip! Looking forward to enjoying 42 glorious days. It feels like coming home. Sorry to be so sentimental!!
    Judith Berry

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