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Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria’s Historic Tandem Crossing

January 13, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, Updates

As you read this I’m sure many of you will have been watching the Webcams, seeing the three Cunard Queens make history, as they gather in New York for a very special celebration. As you know I am currently on Queen Elizabeth, and we have just enjoyed a fabulous commentary in to the Big Apple from Maritime Historian, Bill Miller. I’ve sailed in to New York numerous times but I defy anyone not to be moved as you pass landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan Island itself.

I’ll be posting a special Blog next week on our time in New York and this evening’s celebrations, as Cunard brings together her three new Queens with the New York skyline and a fabulous fireworks display as a dramatic backdrop.

For today’s Blog I’m going to bring you pictures from Queen Elizabeth’s maiden crossing between Southampton and New York, but that’s after our regular feature; this week in Cunard’s history for the week of 13 to 19 January:

13 January 2008 Queen Victoria makes her maiden call to New York
15 January 1949  Caronia leaves New York for the first time.
15 January 1972  QE2 Makes her maiden call to Norfolk, Virginia, USA
15 January 2004  Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Funchal, Madeira on her 14 day Maiden Voyage to Fort Lauderdale.
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.
19 January 2010 Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call at Port Said, Egypt


It may have been a cold January evening as Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria prepared to begin their first Tandem Transatlantic Crossing, but the atmosphere around the ships was fantastic. Soon after Queen Elizabeth moved away from her berth at the Ocean Terminal towards her sister at the QE2 terminal, the night sky lit up with a stunning fireworks display, captured by our on board photographers.


What a great way to begin Queen Elizabeth’s Maiden World Voyage. As she drew closer to her sister, there were cheers from both ships’ guests and crew wishing each other Bon Voyage.



Then we were on our way with seven days at sea before arriving in New York. Each day Captain Burgess on Queen Elizabeth and Captain Olsen on Queen Victoria changed sides, enabling guests to have a great view from both sides of their respective ships. It was wonderful to look out each day to see our sister only a few miles away. One day as I was walking along the promenade deck I managed to capture a great photo of Queen Victoria and a stunning rainbow.



Fortunately one of our guests, Mrs Claxton on Queen Victoria captured a somewhat more professional shot of Queen Elizabeth, and an equally stunning rainbow.

There were plenty of photographs being taken throughout the crossing and we were delighted to receive this beautiful picture of Cunard’s newest Queen:



Mind you our photographers also took some great shots of Queen Victoria as well.

As night time fell it was wonderful to see our sister all lit up and this picture of Queen Victoria was captured at dusk one evening, again by our on board photographers.

Of course like all artists the photographers manage to get just the right pictures, and I thought you would enjoy this beautiful picture of Queen Victoria silhouetted against the clouds with the evening sun producing some stunning light.

While we were crossing the Atlantic we managed to keep our guests busy with the usual array of activities including our Cunard Insights Programme. On Queen Elizabeth it was a delight to be able to welcome Terry Waite. Many of you will know Terry from when he was brought to the public’s attention in the early 1980s for successfully negotiating the release of several hostages from Iran.  In 1983 he negotiated with Colonel Gaddafi for the release of British hostages held in Libya and again was successful.  In January 1987 while negotiating for the release of Western hostages in Lebanon he himself was taken captive and remained in captivity for 1,763 days, the first four years of which were spent in total solitary confinement. Since his release he has been in constant demand as a lecturer, writer and broadcaster.

You could hear a pin drop in the packed Royal Court Theatre, as he talked about his days in solitude and how he was able to cope under such incredible duress. His talks were nothing short of incredible, and his frank yet poignant stories were an inspiration for us all. He has the amazing ability to see positivity and humour through immense adversity. Being a huge cricket fan of course the recent Ashes series in Australia was mentioned on occasion!

Terry again showed the audience his great sense of humour when he took part in our game show, The Liar’s Club, which is where a panel give different definitions to obscure words, with just one panellist telling the truth. Here he is in full flow with comedian Adrian Walsh enjoying the moment as a fellow panellist.


We will never forget his turkey stuffing definition which was apparently inspired by his culinary guide Chef Crudite! Terry is a truly remarkable man and it was such a pleasure to spend time with him during the crossing.

As regular readers know we like to hold get-togethers with guests who have travelled on all three Queen Elizabeth’s. It’s always a pleasure to hear their stories and memories as both guests and crew. This voyage we broke the record with eighteen guests at the meeting, which is the most so far. In fact three of them told us they had in fact travelled on all six queens.


For the more observant of you, the gentleman second from the left on the back row is indeed Commodore Ron Warwick, who is sailing with his wife Kim all the way to Los Angeles. He has kindly agreed to be interviewed so I’ll bring you that sometime in the next couple of weeks.

That’s it for this week, but of course I’ll be back soon, with lots of pictures from the three Queens event and other news from around the Cunard Fleet, as they all head towards warmer climes. Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Geoffrey Palmer says:

    G’Day Alistair
    Fantastic article and pictures of the QE2 and Victoria. I have written previsouly you may recall I told you we fly to Singapore and board the QE2 there on 19th March.(We can’t wait!)
    Was wondering whether you will be travelling on the QE2 on for the whole round the world voyage on the QE@. Would be great to meet you if you are.
    Wife and I will be celebrating 49 years of marriage as well as her birtday while on board.
    Keep up the good reports – they are most intersting.
    Regards Geoff Palmer – from the Gold Coast Queensland AUSSIE! (I just hate cricket – silly game eh?)

  2. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Alistair,
    You have excelled yet again!
    What fantastic photographs of the tandem sailing across the Atlantic.
    We are currently in Florida and have been watching the web cams daily
    as you travelled across.
    No doubt the weather in New York is rather cold and snowy..just like the UK!!

    We are now very excited at joining Queen Elizabeth on Sunday for the trip to
    Los Angeles through the Panama Canal.
    We look forward to meeting you then.
    In the meantime have a fantastic “send off” in New York, it should be awesome.
    Very best regards

  3. Sarah Morris says:

    I am looking forward to seeing the photos from the 3 Queens in New York. I know it’s late evening when they sail out but could someone make sure there are some good photos? I was disappointed last time 3 Queens met in NY. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could do it in daylight for once!

  4. Paul Clayson says:

    Great pictures Alastair. As you probably know, this is not the first time Terry Waite has given his talks on the Queens. He spoke in 2 instalments, leaving us hanging at the point where he had just been kidnapped. Quite a story
    Beryl & Paul Clayson, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada

  5. Sarah Nicol says:

    We watched the three ships arriving in NY not just with the ship webcams, but with one looking at the Statue of Liberty and one at the USS Intrepid. Fantastic seeing the QE and QV turning into the berths. We could even see people walking on deck of the QM2 as she passed the Statue of Liberty!!

    We’ll be watching the cams tonight hoping to see the fireworks.

    Have a great world voyage!


  6. what wonderful pictures of the newest queens in tandem, en route to new york. we were so impressed with your pictures of life onboard queen elizabeth over christmas period we have booked the christmas cruise around the canaries for 2011 on queen elizabeth. after our first cruise on Q2 in november we realise its very difficult to miss a year on Q2. here’s to the next trip & sheer luxury. jay & martin haywood

  7. Chris Frame says:

    Hi Alastair,

    A wonderful report of a great voyage. Thank you.

    Superb photographs – I need to talk to you about using some of the Queen Elizabeth shots in our upcoming book “Queen Elizabeth: A Photographic Journey”.

    See you aboard soon.


  8. Kenneth Eden says:

    The ships appear sleeker and certainly look powerful. The night shots are most impressive. Can’t wait for more!

  9. Steve says:

    Thank you for a memorable trip on the Queen Elizabeth these last eight days. It was an honour to sail on her maiden transatlantic voyage. Standing in the bitter cold at Battery Park last night watching you all sail away under a clear nights sky with the fireworks saluting you all was memorable and a fitting end to our short but delightful trip. Queen Elizabeth is a beautiful shipw and lived up to our expectations after following her so closely during her build. Thank you so much to all of you for our wonderful voyage. Enjoy your world cruise.

  10. Kenneth Eden says:

    There are several photos taken during the big event with the three queens in NYC – and one of the closing bell of the NY stock exhange, with the QE2′s bell!!!

    These photos arwe gorgeous, and far better than those supplied by AP and local newspapers. Cunard must be so proud, with this, and the Rose Bowl honor.

  11. Pam Towart says:

    The nighttime photos with the ships lit up are wonderful & my Queen Victoria trip only 2 months away. I have a lovely photo which I took from the deck of the QEII leaving New York for Southampton (late afternoon) showing Battery Park & the World Trade Center twin towers – little did we know what was to happen 10 + yrs. later. I will try to remember to take that photo with me for the cruise in March. Will look forward to more news & pictures of the current voyages, thanks.

  12. Thought you might enjoy my film of the departure of the 3 “Maritime Queens” from New York harbor on YouTube:


  13. Karen Stannard says:

    My parents are travelling on Queen Elizabeth at the moment. When I saw your photo of people who have travelled on all three Queen Elizabeth’s (which I presume is the original QE, QE2 and the new QE) I looked eagerly for my Mum. But alas! It appears she did not make it to the gathering (or didn’t know about it). If you have another before Fremantle then you should let her know! I know she has travelled on five of the six queens now, the only one she might be missing is the Queen Mary.

  14. Daryl Cooper says:

    Good Morning Alistair! and it is early a.m. here in Australia and I have just viewed the magnificient pictures of the 3 “Queens” in New York.Are the photos going to be available commercially ?for as you no doubt know the press here is covering nothing else but the floods.Secondly, you had Bill Miller on board giving commentary.Was the journey “up the Hudson” filmed with Bill’s commentary?. If so, will that be commercially available.Reason for second question is that my wife & I did the New York/Southampton sector in 2008 aboard “QE2″ at the end of her last world voyage and Bill Miller was aboard giving commentary but being totally new to cruising and totally overwhelmed by the occassion we were unable to relate his commentary to the New York skyline.We did purchase the DVD from the onboard”camera shop” but unfortunately Bill’s commentary was not included.
    Enjoy your cruise and look forward to Sydney on 22/2. In the meantime I will track your progress via “AIS Maritime Traffic.com

  15. Judith Sayers says:

    Wonderful pictures once again.Well done Cunard, see you soon.

  16. Jo Garth says:

    Gentleman stood 4th from right at the back is my lovely dad !

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