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Queen Elizabeth

The Historic Meeting Of Cunard’s Three Queens In New York – Part 1

January 15, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Elizabeth, Updates


Welcome to a very special Blog featuring the first pictures from Thursday’s historic event, as Cunard’s three Queens met in New York. It was a truly magical day that I know all of us felt privileged to have witnessed. The day started very early as all three Queens arrived in New York in the early hours of the morning. Queen Mary 2 arrived at her berth in Brooklyn, while Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth docked at Pier 88 and Pier 90 respectively in Manhattan.

On Queen Elizabeth we were lucky enough to have Maritime Historian Bill Miller on the bridge from 4.45am, giving a wonderful commentary from the bridge as we passed under the Verrazano Bridge and along the Hudson River to our Berth. Having grown in Hoboken, New Jersey, just opposite where all the great liners docked in the heyday of transatlantic travel, there was no one better to talk about the dramatic sail in.


All three Queens were docked by 6.30am, with dawn breaking over the Big Apple a little later; and what a beautiful day it turned out to be. Although it was very cold with remnants of snow still on the ground, there was glorious sunshine all day, so I couldn’t resist taking some photos of the early morning sun. Queen Elizabeth was docked next to the USS Intrepid, and what a wonderful view it was looking towards the New Jersey Shoreline.


Looking ahead of the ship the sun started to make its way through the fabulous Manhattan skyline;



Of course in the next berth to Queen Elizabeth was her sister Queen Victoria, and this was the closest the two sisters have ever been together.


It was an amazing day, as we greeted many new guests and visitors to Cunard’s latest Queen, but as sunset approached it was time to prepare for the evening’s excitement. The light was superb, so I couldn’t resist another great picture of Queen Victoria basking in the early evening sunset.



While Queen Mary 2 left her berth in Brooklyn, Queen Victoria was the first to back out of pier 88, to get ready for the historic rendezvous.


Queen Elizabeth followed, and I was lucky enough to be on the bridge where I had a stunning view of the Empire State Building which had been turned Cunard red in honour of this amazing day.


As we made our way towards our rendezvous point, Queen Victoria led the way with Queen Mary 2 just making her turn in the distance, ready for the line up and the grand fireworks display.


While we were enjoying the terrific view from the Queens, and New Yorkers gathered along the shoreline, Cunard had arranged for a helicopter to take some photographs from the air, and I have to say a massive thank you to Jonathan Atkin who took these beautiful photos.


As the Queens took up their places with Queen Mary 2 followed by Queen Victoria and then Queen Elizabeth, the fireworks began.


What a spectacle it was as the truly impressive fireworks lit New York Harbour.


The Queens all looked majestic lined up in formation for the very first time, with the flagship, Queen Mary 2 leading the way.


Being Cunard, of course there was a lot of red in the display to pay tribute to the proud history between the company and the city of New York. Here are all three Queens being guided by the Harbour Police boats with their blue lights, enjoying the beautiful red glow with the Manhattan skyline providing the backdrop.


This last impressive picture sums up the day, with the Empire State Building to the left of the photo, the three Cunard Queens against the city of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty in the foreground.


It’s difficult to sum up a day like Thursday, but I can guarantee those who witnessed this piece of Cunard History will never forget it.

We’ll be back next week with a special President’s Blog from Cunard’s President and managing Director, Peter Shanks as he reflects on this incredible day. Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Linda Crooks says:

    Hello Alastair….. MY OH MY!! What beautiful pictures of the 3 Queens in New York Harbour. They look absolutely gorgeous. I watched online as best I could. I was on Queen Mary 2 for the first Royal Rendezvous in New York Harbour on January 13, 2008 and this brought back many lovely memories of that night. I’m so glad the weather was better this time, we had rain and sleet back in 2008.
    I enjoy this blog immensely.

    A loyal Cunarder, Linda Crooks
    Sarnia, Ontario, Canada

  2. Carol & John Kaye says:

    Well what can on say? The photographs speak for themselves, it must have been a sight to remember for the rest of your days.
    Looking forward to our “small” trip in April

  3. paul clayson says:

    breathtaking is the only way to describe it
    Beryl & Paul Clayson, Huntsville Ontario, Canada

  4. Keith W Brotherton, Gemma's Dad says:

    Dear Alastair. I thank you and all the crew on Queen Elizabeth for my first ever cruise over Christmas, but this latest event is a truely fantastic heart warming sight, giving good news to all, when we are somewhat surround by so much bad… Stunning work Cunard. Very well done. Keith W Brotherton.

  5. Janet Rendle says:

    Fantastic Pics,

  6. Andy says:

    Great Pictures and a wonderfull send off for the Three Queens

  7. Gloria Mix says:

    Thank you so much for this blog. Our son, the music director on the Queen Mary 2, told us about this great celebration in New York with the three Queens. He was very excited to be apart of it. He sent us a picture, via email, which I couldn’t open. We are so elated to have your photos to share in this monumentous day. Congratulations and thank you again. Happy sailing!

  8. tony mac says:

    out of this world

  9. Fantastic photos and a dramatic fireworks display. What an occassion.

    Eddy and Ann

  10. Pauline Vella says:

    Amazing photographs, we had no idea about this event or we would have gone down to the pier to see this extravaganza. We’re sorry to have missed it. We loved sailing on the Queen Mary II the year of her maiden voyage or perhaps that was the year after, and we look forward to being able to sail on the Victoria in the near future.

  11. Ann says:

    Lovely photos …what a pity Cunard didn’t think to have hired a helicopter for this purpose in the previous years when this happened in particular when QE2 was still sailing. This is all we wanted at the time. But its not a one off any more . This will happen every year. But how much better it would be if all 3 ships docked at Manhattan just for this one day. It is possible …QM2 docked here a good few times prior to that Brooklyn terminal….miles from anywhere. It takes all the romance that Cunard want to promote for this yearly get together of the 3 Queens away…
    How about a different venue for this next time…..why always NEW YORK….lets see the 3 Queens docked together!

  12. Sarah Morris says:

    What spectacular pictures! Night time photography is difficult at the best of times but those are amazing. What a treat to see the Empire State Building lit up like that. Sorry I missed it.

  13. Sue Adcock says:

    Truly amazing photos of a fantastic occasion – so glad my husband Alan and friend Terry were able to be part of it – can’t wait to show them these photos!

  14. Alex &Barbara Craig says:

    Alistair these photos are fantastic, brings back memories of leaving New York on the QE2 on the last leg of her last world tour,she was late in sailing and we got to see New York at night while sailing away fabulous bonus

  15. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Aloistair,
    As expected the photographs are awesome!
    Thanks so much posting such a great array of spectacular pictures.
    The video from Karl Junkersfeld is also brilliant…thanks Karl.
    Well we are nearly there!
    Looking forward to boarding tomorrow.
    Very best regards

  16. Sheila Hedderick says:

    Thanks for the photos, I am truly jealous of all those lucky enough to be on board for this amazing event. I was on board in 2007 when Queen Mary 2 left Fort Lauderdale on her maiden world cruise with Queen Elizabeth 2 following en route to Sydney, Australia, excitement was huge but obviously did not match this historic day. Roll on March….when we sail on Queen Elizabeth!

  17. Sheila Hedderick says:

    Does anyone know where i can obtain a gold charm in the shape of QE2?

  18. Vera Cover says:

    Wonderful photos – wish we could have been there.

    Look forward to joining you in Sydney next month.

  19. jane francis says:

    thank you for the spectactular show of elegance at its best…and the narrative was so inkeeping with the elegance of the moments….cheers…

  20. jane francis says:

    thank you for the spectacular boat and light show….the elegant naration was so enjoyable…cheers

  21. Ronald Wolniewicz says:

    What more Can I say except beautiful. You should make some prints available suitable for framing. I just wish I was there in person.

  22. Pam Towart says:

    Gosh,these have to be the best blog photos EVER – the vistas are absolutely spectacular! Having lived in Manhattan for 3 yrs. I was used to the N.Y. skyline etc. in all seasons (& could see the Empire State Bldg. from our apartment) but I never got to see such a large display of the night sky scenery + the 3 ships & fireworks were just icing on the cake! A truly memorable occasion of the best kind & we former & future Cunard passengers are lucky to have you do such a good job of sharing the experience with us, THANK YOU.

  23. Chris Frame says:

    What a wonderful report from a wonderful day!

  24. Carol kane says:

    Great photos Alastair,
    cant wait to join in sydney. Photos brought memories of the last time QE2 I left from Manhatton, wish I had been there this time.Looking forward to meeting old friends again on board
    Well done as usual Cunard. I expect nothing else from you.

  25. Jenny says:

    Wow what else can you say ! such gorgeous photos and very emotional too. Thank you so much, my mum and dad are aboard the Queen Elizabeth for the world voyage so it was wonderful to find the blog and be able to see some of the things they are seeing. Thank you again cant wait till next week’s, have a fantastic week.

  26. Gail Herbert says:

    what wonderful photos. After getting off the QE, a whole load of us went to Battery Park in the freezing weather to watch this spectacle. Truely awesome!!!! Look forward to getting home to see whether any of my photos actually come out.

    Best of luck to all the Queens as they continue round the world.

  27. Corinna & Jim Bush says:

    Alastair – Good job! Best of blogs. Joining QE in Ft. Lauderdale Jan 16 – exciting!

  28. Corinna & Jim Bush says:

    Alastair – Good job! Fabulous blob. Joining QE in Ft Lauderdale. See Jan 16.

  29. Corinna & Jim Bush says:

    Alastair – Great blob! Best ever. Joining QE today. Regards.

  30. Kenneth Eden says:

    This is special to Sheila Hedderick – try Cardow, in St. Thomas, they have a web site, and they large may be able to help you, also, try Diamonds Inernational, as they have dozens of stores in the Caribbean.

    WOW upon WOWS – the pictures are amazing – will Cunard make sonme use of them, post cards or something? Making prints at home does not capture the real and special beauty of this event.

    Just a spectacular well done job!!!!

  31. David & Margaret Jackson says:

    Fabulous , brings back Happy Memories of when we sailed out of New York in Tandem with QE2 on Queen Mary 2′s maiden voyage in 2004

  32. mary murdoch says:

    Hi Alistair. Thanks again for this wonderful blog and the pictures are just great it must have been a wonderful site to see. Like Alex and Barbara Craig ( 14 ) we also have wonderful memories of the late sail away from New York on QE2′s last world cruise. Keep up the great work Alistair and the team. Mary

  33. Vicky says:

    We really enjoyed the tandem crossing onboard queen Elizabeth and the sail into new York was fantastic, sadly we had to leave in new York but were in battery park for the big sailaway and fireworks , as the fireworks finished and all three ships sounded their horns itwas a very emotional moment which I’m sure I will remember forever

    Thanks for such a wonderful trip and I’m counting down the days to the next one

  34. Jonathan Atkin must be recognized for his exceptional photographs that where made under conditions of substantial danger….from a helo at high winds, freezing cold and in the dark of night! Three cheers and Bravo Zulu to The Ship Shooter http://www.shipshooter.com
    Ulrich Rudofskt

  35. Pauline Sutherland says:

    Wondeful photos although they don’t really do this amazing sight justice. We sailed to New York on the Queen Elizabeth and were lucky enough to be at Battery Park to witness this great event. It was breathtaking, watching these 3 great liners sailing away together, despite the freezing temperatures.

  36. Jeanne E Pacheco says:

    What beautiful pictures, I wish I had been there in person…….I had been on the Queen Elizabeth II 8 years or so ago, I plan on going transatlantic to Southampton, England on the Queen mary II perhaps this Spring, Summer or Fall. Then onto the Queen Victoria II the following year! Love Your Queens!I

  37. Gary Tolley says:

    Wow! No others words…. just WOW!

  38. Nick & Vix says:

    Hi Alistair

    We were on the ship for the Southampton to New York crossing, and had a truly amazing time. The trip was a surprise for my (Vix) 40th birthday on 3 January, and for me it was the trip of a lifetime. The ship, food, staff, entertainment were fabulous – as was sitting in the hot tub up on deck whilst it was snowing!

    To top all of the above, our hotel room in NYC overlooked the dock and we could see the beautiful Queen Elizabeth from out hotel window on the 38th floor, so had the added bonus of seeing the ships sail away in the evening.

    We are both very proud to have been on board for the trip and also to have been part of history.

    We shall be following your blog with keen interest, and will be back for a world cruise sometime in the future.

    Nick & Vix
    Thank you for the excellent blog and stunning pictures.

  39. Armelle Evoy says:

    An experience of a lifetime !! I sailed on the QM2 into New York the morning of Jan 13th after a wonderful 10 day Caribbean cruise with Captain Paul Wright ( always a pleasure ) at the helm. Later that day,I was amidst the Queens ,as I was aboard a dinner cruise to celebrate the event. I was on the top deck proudly waving my Canadian flag along with a Union Jack. Looking forward to hearing Bill Miller’s account of the rendezvous as he will describe it so eloquently because of his passion for ocean liners and cruise ships. I saw the helicopter overhead and thank you for these wonderful photos.
    Alastair, will any of these photos be available for purchase ? Keep up the great work with your blog.

  40. Steve says:

    What amazing photos! Whoever had the idea to get a helicopter needs a PROMOTION!

  41. Keith & Janet Eaton says:

    Many thanks for this update Alastair, and for all your superb enthusiasm as Entertainments Director whilst we crossed from Southampton to New York. After Bill’s infectious commentary on entering NY, and your encouragment to see the colour on the Emire State Building, we then just had to stand by Battery Point and see the fireworks as the back drop to the three Queens. It was stunning, and an evening to remember. There was just one problem on the shore that you wouldn’t have encountered on board – it was absolutley freezing. Unbelievable, and there must have been 50 or 60 of us who had disembarked earlier that day from one of the three ships. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world. See you all again.

  42. Clare Devon says:

    Thank you for posting these photos. I have one sister working on the QM2, and another sister working on the QE, but I never got to see this wonderful evening, so the photos are a wonderful view of it all :-) Thanks.

  43. Sandy says:

    Amazing pictures, special for me to see having 2 family members working on 2 of the Queens! Wish I could be the third!

  44. Beryl Moss says:

    Fantastic photographs of this historic meeting of the 3 Queens in New York and also the photographs of the tandem crossing of the Atlantic were truly amazing.

  45. Debbie Freeland says:

    I was lucky enough to be on the new Queen Elizabeth for the Southampton/New York leg of the maiden world voyage. We had a fantastic 8 days and were proud, as first time cruisers, to be part of this historical event. We froze in Battery Pk as we watched them leave, but it was worth it! Only sad we weren’t still on board!

  46. claire wixon says:

    We have just looked at the pictures of Jan 13th 2011 and how wonderful they have turned out.
    We were on Queen Victoria (Southampton to New York). This was our first cruise and we really enjoyed ourselves…so much that we have booked to go on the Queen Mary 2 this December 12th. Cant Wait!!!
    I will say that we did not want the cruise to end, everything was first class. Just imagine cruising across the Transatlantic and every morning you look out of you balcony window and you see Queen Elizabeth. That was us…a dream.
    We watched the fire works from a sum what smaller vessel from the harbour which we booked for a dinner cruise to watch all of our loyal girls go off on their travels. Though I will say with a tear in our eyes.Some of our friends are still on the world cruises now and due back next week.
    THANK YOU CUNARD and happy sailing to all.

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