October 12, 2010
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Elizabeth
Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – Today!!
Queen Elizabeth has been docked alongside Southampton’s new Ocean Terminal, since her arrival last Friday and already, an estimated 3,500 visitors comprising the world’s press, past guests, travel agents, and shore side staff, have had a glimpse of the latest Cunarder. It was great to walk around over the last couple of days and meet so many of our regular guests, many of whom have been following this Blog. And before her Maiden Voyage today, yesterday was a phenomenal day when Her Majesty officially named Queen Elizabeth.
Before we look at the last few days, I thought you might like to watch a special video that was made for the Inaugural Ship’s Company to celebrate the introduction of Queen Elizabeth to the Cunard fleet. The film, which shows the crew at work in the shipyard back in Italy, has special messages from Officers and Crew Members on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, as well as our shore side staff in Southampton.
Thanks to Eric Allen and his team for putting together this great video and all the film crews who brought together this great footage. Everyone on board really enjoyed watching it a couple of days before we left Monfalcone and a special celebratory crew event.
That all seems a long time ago, as Queen Elizabeth prepares to begin her Maiden Voyage. The celebrations in Southampton began early last Friday, as Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Peter Shanks escorted a group of press on a special launch to come and meet us at 6am.
It was such a stunning morning to watch Southampton appear on the horizon, and it was exciting to see all the various boats, ships and helicopters that had come to welcome us to Queen Elizabeth’s home port.
This boat was one of the first to greet us and stayed close by right up until we docked.
We were also joined by tugs who gave us their traditional welcome, as the sun started to rise on a beautiful autumn day.
I was lucky enough to be on the bridge for part of the sail in, where I was able to watch Captain Wells and his Officers bring Cunard’s new Queen to Southampton docks for the first time.
Meanwhile many crew came out on to the open decks to join in the excitement, and wave to the numerous helicopters that were carrying photographers and news crews to capture the day.
And what stunning pictures those photographers took from the helicopters, like this one looking down on Queen Elizabeth’s the upper decks
What a magnificent sight she was sailing up the Solent.
And here’s another great view showing the tugs in the morning light.
And again the tugs leading the way.
Captain Wells showed off Queen Elizabeth’s superb manoeuvrability, as he made a turn, to bring Queen Elizabeth to the new Ocean Terminal, where she was named.
Here she is having just been tied up alongside the Ocean Terminal, where work had already begun on constructing a stage and grandstand for the naming ceremony.
I took this photo the day before yesterday, where you can see the grandstand and performance area along the dockside where the naming ceremony began yesterday afternoon.
The canopy in this next picture is where Her Majesty officially named Queen Elizabeth during the ceremony.
Yesterday was a remarkable and historic day for both Cunard and Southampton, and the excitement in the city was evident with numerous film crew, press and local residents all awaiting the big moment. It’s impossible to miss the huge banners throughout the city, and the big screens in the parks will mean our homeport will feel very much a part of the celebrations.
And here she was just before the ceremony yesterday; Cunard’s gracious new Queen now ready and waiting to be named.
I’ll of course keep you posted with pictures, news and stories from the naming day and throughout Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden Voyage. I will also keep the news coming over the next few weeks and months of her Maiden Season as well as our regular features and news. In the meantime thank you again for all the kind comments you have posted and all the good wishes for the ships company as they bring the latest Cunarder in to service. Cheers for now, Alastair