White Star Service logo


A New Year’s Day Grand Celebration

December 30, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Updates

As we come to the end of an amazing and very busy year at Cunard, the plans are all set for New Year’s Eve on our Queens. Queen Mary 2 is in St Thomas today and will be celebrating New Year’s Eve heading north to New York, while Queen Elizabeth will be at sea on her way to the Azores as the New Year begins. Queen Victoria will be in the wonderful port of Madeira where there’ll be a stunning firework display as she sets sail shortly after midnight.

Then on New Year’s Day while everyone recovers after all the parties on board and ashore, another celebration in California will begin. More of that after This week in Cunard’s History for the week from 29 December to 5 January:

30 December 1964

The contract to build QE2 is signed between Cunard and John Brown Shipyard. The project is known as Q4

30 December 2007

Queen Victoria makes her maiden call to Gran Canaria

1 January 1934 

Cunard White Star formed under the control of  the Cunard Steamship Company to operate the transatlantic fleets of both companies.

4 January 1949 

Caronia embarks on her Maiden Voyage to New York. She leaves at 3.00pm and arrives at Cherbourg at 8.30pm that night before leaving for New York. She becomes known as the ‘Green Goddess’ because of the colour of her hull.

4 January 1975 

QE2 sails from Southampton on her first World Voyage – a journey of 38,000 miles

5 January 1841 

Cunard’s fourth ship Columbia begins her maiden voyage

5 January 2010

The Float Out Ceremony Of Queen Elizabeth takes place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.  The Madrina is Florence (Dennie) Farmer whose husband Willie had served as Chief Engineer on both the original Queen Elizabeth and QE2. Three coins are welded to the bulkhead on the Games Deck (representing the year of each Queen Elizabeth’s launch), and a bottle of Italian Prossecco is smashed against the ship’s hull before the dry dock gates are opened for her to move to her outfitting dock.

In this special Blog I wanted to update you on the Cunard Float, A Grand Celebration at Sea, that will take pride of place on Saturday’s New Year’s Day Rose Parade. You may remember we posted a Blog about it on 29November:


 Now with just two days to go we are very excited about the debut of Cunard’s inaugural float, A Grand Celebration at Sea, in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade presented by Honda. In a longstanding American tradition, the Rose Parade is in its 122nd year and has been called “America’s New Year’s Celebration.” Featuring world-class florally magnificent floats, equestrian units and marching bands from throughout the United States, the parade is broadcast to more than 50 million viewers in 220 countries and more than 20 languages worldwide, so hopefully you’ll be able to find coverage of the event wherever you are.

This year’s Rose Parade theme is “Building Dreams, Friendships and Memories,” and it perfectly connects to Cunard’s 170-year history and the notion that friendships and memories are created by our guests from around the world through the experience of sailing with Cunard.

Preparations for this grand celebration are well underway as float designer Raul Rodriguez and the crew at Fiesta Parade Floats bring to life the spectacular Cunard float. Recently, she went for her second and last test run before debuting on the streets of Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day.

You’ll be excited to hear that there is a follow up Vlog on the float’s progress, and in it Brian O’ Connor, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Cunard North America, gives us a preview of our first Rose Parade float.

Terry, a journalist and photographer for The Pasadena Independent newspaper in California, also shares his passion for Cunard, which truly celebrates this year’s Rose Parade theme and our Cunard heritage.  As a young boy, Terry emigrated to the United States from Britain with his family aboard the original Queen Mary. He remembers his journey fondly and shares his story and some memorable photos with fellow Cunarders:



I’ll be bringing you pictures from Queen Elizabeth’s first Christmas Day next week and, as promised I’ll post Deputy Captain Andrew Hall’s final instalment of Queen Victoria’s recent refit in Hamburg. Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Denise MacKinnon says:

    Happy New Year to all Cunard Staff and Passengers. This will be the last blog we will receive before we fly from Australia to LA tomorrow then onto New York to embark on the new Queen Elizabeth, and how excited are we! See you on board

  2. Susan & Stephen Darlington says:

    I sailed the Queen Victoria this year, leaving Ft.Lauderdale January 18th and arriving in my new country, new home of Australia February 19th. My Australian husband and this very excited American,.. traveled 35 days on this amazing ship,.. meeting some wonderful new friends, seeing some amazing sites and never forgetting that this American immigrant, arriving in Sydney, in the early hours, passing thru the heads,.. some of the early risers wanting to experience the arrival of Sydney with us,.. singing Waltzing Matilda for me,.. yes,.. a trip of a life time, especially for me, in my new home/country. Thank you Cunard,.. what a wonderful move home.
    Susan & Stephen Darlington, NSW Australia

  3. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    Great news on the Rose Parade.
    Does anyone know where there might be coverage on TV in the UK?
    Happy New Year to eveyone

  4. Louise says:

    Hi Chris and Margaret
    The Rose Parade will be on the Travel Channel on 13th Jan at 9pm

  5. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Thanks so much,Louise.
    Happy New Year

  6. Kenneth Eden says:

    Just saw the float on TV – it was gorgeous. Cleverly and expert;y a mini depiction of the Queens Room and a Queens Room chandelier, all covered in florals and natural ingredients, and the bell boys, in their red Cunardia, and pill box hats. What a proud day for cunard!

    The float won the Queens Trophy, how fitting!!!!!

  7. Michael says:

    Cunard Float won Queens Trophy. “Best use of roses in a float!!!!!!”

  8. Pippa Ashley says:

    Hi Alistair and all Cunard staff,
    I hope you had a very happy time over this festive season. I sailed on the Queen Elizabeth on her second sailing. We went from Southampton to the Mediterranean. To me, a semi-disabled pensioner who had never been on a cruise before,it was everything I had ever dreamed of and more. Fourteen days of ultimate luxury, kindness and hospitality. I could never thank all of the staff enough for making it the holiday of a life-time.I too, felt really special. May Cunard make lots more passengers feel the same. I hope that 2011 is a brilliant year both for the staff and ships.
    Pippa Ashley

Leave a Comment