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Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth Begins Her Maiden Voyage

October 14, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Elizabeth

As Queen Mary 2 heads back to Southampton on her Transatlantic Crossing and Queen Victoria enjoys the Southern Mediterranean, what an incredible few days we have had on board Queen Elizabeth, as we celebrated the huge build up towards her naming and then the sail away on her Maiden Voyage.

Thank you again for all the comments on the Blog and in person. I have met so many of you while we were in Southampton and now on board, and I’m delighted to hear how much you have been enjoying all the Blogs we’ve posted.

As you saw in Peter Shanks’, Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Blog yesterday, it was a remarkable day on Monday when her majesty named Cunard’s newest Queen. I’ll share some more pictures of that day and our amazing sail away in a moment, after this day in Cunard’s history for the week, 8 to 14 October:

9 October 1967 Captain “Pip” Read was advised that Caronia was to be sold.
10 October 2007 Cunard announces the building of the new 92,000 ton Queen Elizabeth to enter service in the Autumn of 2010.
11 October 1973 QE2 makes her maiden call at Halifax, Nova Scotia

It’s incredible to think that just over three years ago Cunard announced that Queen Elizabeth was to be constructed and here we are on our way to our first port of call on our Maiden Voyage

Today we crossed the Bay of Biscay and just like our time in Southampton, we have been blessed with fantastic weather.

Going back to the naming day, it was such a privilege to be able to see the Queen on board and looking so radiant. For me to be introduced to her by the Royal Box, as she watched the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company rehearse Twelfth Night, was a moment I’ll never forget. She seemed amazed by the Royal Court Theatre and showed a lot of interest in how it was managed, staying longer than we had expected.

She was then escorted down the grand staircase in the Royal Arcade, by Peter Shanks and Captain Wells, where she admired the new Dent Clock.

 

Not only were our distinguished guests enjoying the tour on big screens in the main auditorium by the ship, but the residents of Southampton were also able to enjoy it on giant screens erected throughout the city, including this one at Guildhall Square.

They had a double sided screen to accommodate the crowds, so thank you to Craig from Southampton City Council who was kind enough to send me this photo of the live screening. Her Majesty was greeted throughout the ship by an enthusiastic cheering crew, especially in the Grand Lobby, where she looked at the stunning marquetry piece of artwork, created by her nephew, Lord Linley.

Before long we were all in the auditorium waiting for her Majesty to say those all important words, as the bottle waited to be released.

As Peter said yesterday, the bottle was indeed obliterated as the ship blew her horns and confetti cannons shot streamers out over the bow of Queen Elizabeth to a massive cheer on board, in the auditorium, and no doubt all over the world.

With the formal part of the ceremony over we all went back on board to prepare for the Gala Evening, and it was so good to see the ship literally alive with guests; a moment we had waited to enjoy for a long time.

As our Naming Ceremony guests left the following morning, the ship’s company worked tirelessly as always to ensure we were ready for our very first guests to arrive shortly before noon. It’s quite something to be the very first guests to board a ship on her maiden voyage, and here you can see Captain Wells and our White Star Bellboys welcoming Ms Erma Klindt and Dr Doris Lorz, both from the United States and well travelled Cunarders. In fact Dr Lorz will be our most travelled guest on this voyage, and I’ll tell you more about that next week.

By 4.30pm, we had completed our safety drill with all 1,957 guests aboard, and Captain Wells prepared Queen Elizabeth for her Maiden Voyage. It was a very emotional moment for everyone as guests lined the decks with Union Jacks listening to the wonderful music, provided on the quayside by the Prince of Wales Regiment Band.

The music choice was excellent; I particularly enjoyed One Moment In Time as a poignant salute to our new Queen’s departure. Then at just after 5.00pm on a beautiful autumn day, Captain Wells ordered that the last of the lines were let go, and Queen Elizabeth moved gently away from her berth.

It was great to see all our guests celebrating on the open decks with the band still playing and numerous people in the terminal building and on the quayside itself. As Queen Elizabeth moved further away we started some great music on the open decks which included, Jerusalem, Pomp and Circumstance as well as Rule Britannia and Fantasia Of British Sea Songs. We were also joined by a flotilla of small boats all blasting their whistles.

Walking along the decks it was like a big family reunion constantly bumping in to guests who I had sailed with many times before. It was also a great opportunity to chat to many guests who had been following the Blog. I was delighted to see amongst all the Union Jacks, the St. Pirin’s flag (Cornwall’s national flag), waved by fellow Cornishmen, who were quick to tell me they had been following the Blog for the last eighteen months. Peter and Margaret Housegood from St. Kew in Cornwall were also celebrating their 42nd Wedding Anniversary.

More and more craft joined us as we sailed up the Solent, including the Isle of Wight ferry, which had been chartered for the occasion.

I then went to the other side of the ship to see even more pleasure boats, and cruisers joining us with every inch of deck space filled with cheering onlookers enjoying seeing Southampton’s newest ship leave for the first time.

It was such a moving sail away between the rousing music, the escorting flotilla and meeting up with old friends. It was so good to bump in to Dennie Farmer again, as I hadn’t seen her since she became Queen Elizabeth’s Madrina back in January.

If you didn’t catch the story at the time you can click on this link:

http://splashsandbox.com/2010/01/meet-queen-elizabeth%e2%80%99s-madrina/

Denny told me that she found the whole occasion simply overwhelmingly wonderful. Then as the sun began to set, it was time to get ready for the first evening meal on board and our brand new Welcome Aboard show, but it was so beautiful up on deck I had to take just one more photo:

We will be in our first port of Vigo, Spain when you read this, but throughout the voyage I’ll make sure I bring you lots more news as well as news from our two sisters next week. Thanks again so much for all your comments and for reading the Blog. Cheers for now, Alastair

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  1. Gloria Bullen says:

    Once again it fills us who still await to sail on our new Queen a great sense of excitment and anticipation to see these pictures for when our day comes. I hope you who were lucky enough to get on her maiden voyage are having a wonderful time enjoying the ship and all her delights treasures and service.

  2. Charlotte Neuberger says:

    Our anticipation for our spring trip to the Mediterranean just grows and grows. How exciting!

  3. Ok—I’ll type my comments again. Really enjoying your blog. It’s a great idea—great way to introduce the ship. She is fantastic. My wife and I have sailed only with Cunard—-three times—–twice in the 80′s on QE2 and in the summer of 2004 on QM2. We love the QM2 and want to sail on her again—-but it looks like we are going to try to sail on Queen Elizabeth this summer—–one of the trips to St. Petersburg. We have limited means and time but we want to try to make it work to sail again with Cunard. We love the sea, Cunard and your wonderful ships. God bless the Queen Elizabeth and all who sail on her.

  4. jackie bailey says:

    Hi Alastair, Thank you so much for your blog with all the lovely pictures of your new Queen Elizabeth. My husband and I travelled to Calshot last Friday morning, 8th October, from Essex at 2.00am to get some photos of her as she passed us at Calshot Castle, it was well worth the 3hr drive! I have friends on board with you in stateroom 5100, if you could say hello to them that would be great! I have had a lot of “texts” from her telling me how wonderful it all is and my husband and I are looking forward to meeting you all again on the 14th Dec 2010! thanks again for all your hard work and great photos. all for now Jackie Bailey

  5. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    Thanks once again for a great blog.
    Whilst we are not on the maiden voyage you are bringing to life
    for us!
    Have a great voyage.
    We can’t wait to join her in January at Fort Lauderdale.

  6. Sheila Hedderick says:

    Hope everyone on board is having a great time, you are making me so jealous, my sailing is getting ever closer…sheila

  7. Michael and Margaret Kent says:

    Alaistar

    We were one of the first to book for QE’s second voyage and sitting here in Sydney, Australia awaiting next Friday [22 Oct] to fly to London to join the ship is almost too hard to bear. can’t wait to get on board and have a special drink to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. Regards Michael and Margaret Kent

  8. Val McGovern says:

    Hi Alastair,

    Your Blogs and Vlogs have been especially welcomed by us all in Australia. I felt like I was actually there with you. See you in LA in January.

  9. Robert - Hunter Valley says:

    Perhaps some of the Passengers were from the Land of the Golden Urn. Noted the Russian influence in the coda of the Christening – tribute to The Firebird Ballet of Igor Stravinsky. The work dates from 1910 – worthy of being remembered at the Christening a century later.

    When in Sydney, perhaps the voices of Florence Austral, Marjorie Lawrence and Joan Sutherland.

    Safe voyaging to all and may the ports, aka luggage/baggage, be a reminder of unpacking and then unwinding.

  10. Ann Wilkinson says:

    Hi Alastair

    The photo’s are lovely thank you for sending them. I cant wait for the 25th October 2010 when my friend and I are joining the ship for the mediteranian cruise.

  11. mark napier says:

    What a stunning ship you have. Fingers crossed be on next summer to the Baltic.

  12. Anthony Jr says:

    this new Queen is just plain awesome. I can’t wait to do an internship with her (wink!)

  13. Freda & Bill Cureton says:

    Thank you Alistair for the spectacular sailaway photos of the beautiful Queen Elizabeth. We look forward to our embarkation in just over 3 weeks. Can’t wait!

    Bill & Freda Cureton

  14. Tom Brown says:

    Having witnessed the new ship in Southampton, I can confirm that it is everything one could dream of. Lavish interiors, and a very proud crew. However, Cunard has once again let itself down with the entertainment. A slice of Saturday night, is the wrong show (60′s youth culture) for a classic 30′s deco liner. The entertainment should reflect the brand and this show grates. It is also badly adapted and sloppily performed. The actors are too young for some parts and just not up to the challenge of carrying a irreverent storyline. Their comedy is underdeveloped which undermines the ironic script. In short, unlike the brilliant Hairspray or Chicago on Royal Caribbean, this low budget effort is the thorn in Cunard’s side. Why do Cunard fail to understand the audiences that their beautiful theatres contain. A Slice of Saturday Night was never a great show in the West End, and this production highlights the worst of it. From the tasteless VoiceOver introduction, to the teenage sexual themes, it’s a case of bad casting all round. I can safely say that I have walked out of every Cunard production show on board every ship in the fleet. And I love musical theatre?!

  15. Absolutely great blogs and many pictures over many weeks. It all helps to build the excitement as we join the wonderful new Queen Elizabeth on November 8th. She looks quite wonderful.

  16. Ross says:

    I have to agree with the above post. Cunard’s theatre company are extremely amateur. Miles behind the other cruise lines and in need of an overhaul. Certainly not West End or Broadway standard as the brochure suggests. Cunard have no class when it comes to entertainment. I hope they read this, as there appears to be no other mechanism for feedback or complaints.

  17. Colin Kirby says:

    Ahoy, nice blog. I hope to say hello on the quayside in Tenerife,I’m a freelance here and doing a piece for http://www.tenerifemagazine.com We will order some nice weather for you. Safe voyage

  18. Len Harvey says:

    Dear Alastair,

    Thanks for some great pictures of recent events from the Queen Elizabeth. We are looking forward to our trip to Norway next July.

    In the meantime we continue to track the voyages of all three ships via the webcams. It would be nice to have the ‘Position’ for the Queen Elizabeth on her webcam to complete the picture!

    Kind regards.

    Len Harvey

  19. Gavin Tippet says:

    Hello Alistair
    I have been following the Queen Elizabeth on her Maiden Voyage via the Bridge Web Cam, but I was wondering why it doesnt say the location. All what it saying is date and time.
    Hope all is going well.

  20. Shirley Warren says:

    I’ve been enjoying your blogs and can’t wait to join the ship in New York. You mentioned the drawers under the beds – will there be other drawers too????????????

  21. Ross says:

    Alistair,
    When will you drop the comedy ties? Why does the entertainments man feel the need to enhance his personality with a hilarious fat multicoloured tie? Please do us and yourself a favourite and switch to something understated and in line with the design culture of the ship. You can’t imagine an employee of The Savoy or even Cunard ships of the past wearing something so inappropriate can you? Sorry to criticise but the devil is in the detail, and that tie is a glaring garish mistake.
    Thank you.

  22. Manuel Mora says:

    Hello Alastair, today in \La Provincia\, newspaper of Las Palmas, there is a one page article about the three Queen Elizabeth at Grand Canary. Tomorrow Queen Elizabeth will be at Las Palmas. Have a nice day!

  23. Congratulations on the arrival (and departure) of the latest Cunarder. Delighted the Gods smiled on Tuesday for the maiden departure, which was reminiscent of QE2′s final day in her home port and an occasion not to be missed. I was on one of the many boats escorting you out (the centre boat in pic 12, where I was almost ‘hanging off’ the port side), and managed to keep up with you as far as Calshot before you outrun us!

    Here’s some shots of the view I had:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/andyfitzsimmons/sets/72157625028690815/

    Until next year!

    Rgds

    Andy

  24. Mark Randall says:

    As my god daughter would say only only 41 sleeps left until our Carribean voyage on this wonderful ship. Can’t wait :-) )

    Regards,

    Mark.

  25. Steve says:

    A shame Carnival Cruise Lines didn’t build Cunard something else other than another overdone Vista…designed and operated by its own comeptition! If I wantt he Vista experience I could sail with Holland America, P&O, costa or Carnival. What an opportunity lost here..”luxury” according to Miami Florida!

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