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Three Elizabeth’s in Dubai……..

April 4, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Updates


Guest Blog

Peter Shanks

President & Managing Director

Cunard Line

I took the opportunity to pop over to Dubai to spend 24 hours on Queen Elizabeth. I last saw her in Sydney as I wanted to say hello and see how things were going on the world voyage. It is over two years since I was last in Dubai for the emotional handover of QE2. It looks as though many of the new buildings are now finished, the Metro is finished and the city is beginning to look more like a city than a building site. The most remarkable sight is the recently opened Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. It is ridiculously enormously tall. I don’t like heights – unless I am on skis – so there is no attraction for me in going up that thing. But, well done Dubai – they clearly have been through tough economic times, but their vision of a modern city is now looking like reality.

So rather than playing with tall buildings, and after an overnight flight, I arrived at the dock just as Queen Elizabeth was making her approach. As I waited on the dock, just behind me was another ship. A beautiful, sleek, famous and striking ocean liner – the QE2. From the outside she looks exactly as we had left her two years ago – as these terrific pictures show:

Queen Elizabeth approaching QE2:

The old world meets the new world:

How tall is that building behind QE2?!

So here we were with another royal rendezvous on our hands – and what a great experience for our guests. We often talk of the experiences our guests have on a Cunard voyage. On this World Voyage they have seen Two Queens in Southampton, Three Queens in New York, Two Queens in Fort Lauderdale, Two Queens in Sydney – and today a very special rendezvous with QE2 in Dubai. Whistles went – and it was lovely for us to hear the famous QE2 whistle again.

So how is QE2 – well she looked very good from the outside. She has a small crew onboard to keep things going and I understand that she has been well kept on the inside – despite the very high temperatures in Dubai. Given the tough economic situation in Dubai – they have not yet commenced their extensive plans for the ship and we all wait to hear what lies ahead for QE2. But for today she looked magnificent.

I took this shot myself on my Blackberry as I stood on the aft deck of Queen Elizabeth with our Red Ensign flying proudly with the famous QE2 profile and funnel in the background:

I was able to spend the rest of the day with the ship’s company – hearing how the ship is doing and having a good look around. Our guests had found briefing and drills in advance of going through the Suez Canal fascinating. Those guests who were completing their sector from Hong Kong to Dubai were on their way home and I spoke with a number of them. Another 750 guests were boarding that day for the sector from Dubai to Southampton and they were looking forward to their adventure. And of course I saw many of our full world voyagers who I last saw in Sydney were in rude health and very relaxed. Of course they should be relaxed – how could you not be after spending so long on Queen Elizabeth.

Here’s a couple of chaps relaxing – I suspect their wives may have gone ashore shopping – but here they were playing English Garden Bowls on the top deck of Queen Elizabeth against a background view of QE2 and the city of Dubai. Where else can you do that……..

I mentioned ‘Three Elizabeths’ – so where was the third? Well as I was walking round the ship I paused outside our new Clarendon Fine Art Gallery. It is doing very well by the way – we have stopped Art Auctions and instead have a wonderful gallery as you might find in your local high street and we sell beautiful and popular art. We also sell the famous Black and White photographs nicely framed of many of the famous people who have travelled with us in the past. And there was our third Elizabeth. The reason I noticed was because very sadly she passed away recently – a true British Star and much loved. Here she is – taken whilst sailing on board the original Queen Elizabeth:

Yes – it is the much loved actress Elizabeth Taylor – they just don’t make them like that anymore, but we will cherish her forever and are touched that she once sailed with us.

A long way to go for 24 hours, But I managed to speak with many guests and many of the ship’s company. As I walked through the Queens Room that afternoon, one of our Entertainment Staff walked past me and said – ‘Welcome Home Peter’. Marvellous – I was actually a long way from my family home but I do always feel at home when I am on board one of our ships.

You know World Voyages – either all the way round or just on a sector – are unique ways to see the world. One of the guests said to me ‘It has been remarkable. We have been to Vietnam, to China, to India – places that we have never been and were daunted to travel to. But doing it by ship is the best of both worlds – you see the real world, so many local cultural experiences but your safe home goes round the world with you’ I thought I might use that quote in a blog one day. Oh – I just did….

Best Regards

Peter Shanks

President and Managing Director

Cunard Line

  1. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Thank you, Peter, for the marvellous pictures of both the Queen Elizabeth and QE2.
    On my last visit to Dubai we flew over QE2 as were were coming in to land.
    She still looks magnificent!
    Very best regards

  2. Pam Towart says:

    Oh my, the pictures of the Dubai dock with skyscrapers in the background spectacular! Have a British friend with a home in Dubai & have seen many photos but not of the port/docks areas – a completely different perspective. The Queen Victoria Caribbean/Panama Canal cruise in March was wonderful – the ship “splendiferous”, Canal AWESOME(heat FIERCE), Phil in the Todd English restaurant (where we ate almost every night)a sweetheart, Quentin in the Veuve Clicquot Bar a DARLING (he really knows his subject & I sampled a fair amount of it) & Justin in the midships bar one of the best (his Cuban rum mojitos a knockout!). Hoping Cunard will have QV or the new QE sail from Florida again in future……

  3. tony mac says:

    i understand she on her way to capetown.

  4. Rob Holloway says:

    Thank you very much for the pictures and the explanations as it always informative to get these updates from Cunard.
    I do apologize though as I thought this update was from Alastair until I got to the end of your note and saw your signature.
    Not quite the way to introduce oneself to you

  5. Elaine King says:

    How lovely the Q E 2 looks have sailed on her 5 times and i miss her .there is little to compare ,she is still the best looking ship ever built.

  6. Beryl Moss says:

    A great blog Peter with fantastic pictures. I found it a very sad day witnessing QE2 sailing down Southampton Water for the last time. However its great to see that she still looks in good shape from the outside. I hope that when the new plans take shape she will not loose her identity and she will still look the same QE2 from the outside that we have all come to love.

  7. Thank you Cunard for arranging for the amazing photos of the 2 Queens together in Dubai to be taken. No matter what the future holds for QE2, these photos will prove to be historic, and show a stark contrast between these 2 “Queen” ships, built for different requirements, in different times.

  8. Sheila Hick says:

    Thankyou for your photos of the two Queens in Dubai…what a nostalgic sight.My husband & I are very much looking forward to our trip on the new Queen in April 2012 from Dubai back to the UK…will try to get similar photos.

  9. Rupert Bazeley-White says:

    what a wonderful sight – An iconic meeting – if only the QE2 still had proudly ‘CUNARD’ on her superstructure. In many ways we have the great ship (QE2) to thank for the very existence of the ‘new’ Queen Elizabeth. Hoping there will be many more of these meetings in the future as they make you proud . As for the QE2′s whistle, there is nothing quite like it!! her sound is truly something, which can never be repeated. I’m sure there was many an emotional moment aboard the QE ( for regular passengers who remember the iconic Queen ) as she spoke in her distinguished tones . How she is truly missed. Whilst she still remains in her current form ( as a true Cunarder ) she can enjoy these wonderful meetings. Fabulous and thank you.

  10. judith sayers says:

    Great pictures of the two Elizabeths in Dubai. And the quote at the end is so true, the ships do provide that safe home at the end of day ashore. Roll on the 14th April.

  11. James says:

    Thanks for the wonderful pictures! as an avid ship enthusiast and sailor / Passenger i will only travel with Cunard. The QE2 will always be my first ship i traveled on when i was 18 and will always be one of my most cherished ships! It is good to see her looking well! I have yet to travel on the New “Lizzie” but as nice as she may be on the inside you cannot beat QE2 for her beautiful exterior. I wonder if Cunard realised their mistake in getting rid of QE2 how many people would have loved to have started or finished their cruise with an over night stay onboard QE2 in her home port of Southampton?

  12. Luke says:

    Great pictures but I go back to that radio interview Mr. Shanks did as QE2 left us here in the UK for the last time and had nothing nice to say about QE2 or ocean liners in general. Based on those disapraging remarks he made way back I along with others were surprised he then went to work for Cunard. Anyway, great pictures but empty words from Mr. Shanks.

  13. Paul Chafer says:

    Good to see QE2 again,have sailed on her 3 times.Hoping to sail on QE later this year,then I will have sailed on 3 queens.

  14. What a lovely site, seeing the QE2 still looking so splendid. We had our first cruise on the QE2 and were converted to Cunard as a result. She is a different vessel from the new Cunarders. We have now been on the other 3 Queens and loved them all but the QE2 has a special place in our memories. The contrast in the QE2 and the Queen Elizabeth is clear to see. Wonder if the Queen Elizabeth will one day have the same affectionate following enjoyed by the QE2?

  15. Paul Chafer says:

    Correction make that 4 queens

  16. Maiden Travellers says:

    Hoping a passionate lady aboard QM2 sees her favourite and much loved Queen moored in Dubai and rather than mourning a loss sees her as ” a butterfly in her cocoon” awaiting that special day to come when she has transformed for all to see.

  17. Liz says:

    The Dubai skyline as the backdrop to QE2 is amazing, but I love this setting for her – entering Grand Habour, Valletta last autumn. This is one for all those QE2 enthusiasts out there. And the ship has a special place in Malta’s mind as the Queen lived here as Princess Elizabeth in her early married life for a couple of years as Prince Philip’s service ‘wife’! From Dubai and its modernity to Valletta with its history… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9OYzHpEwTI

  18. Anthony Jr says:

    That is awesome, I think it is great that QE(3) can finally have the chance to meet QE2, and the spirit of the original QE through Elizabeth Taylor. Very awesome blog and day indeed.

  19. Chris Frame says:

    What wonderful photographs of QE2 with Queen Elizabeth.

    QE2 proves that even in retirement she can still attract much attention. She is an icon that will be remembered for centuries to come.

    I hope all those aboard Queen Elizabeth, and later Queen Mary 2, enjoyed this historic moment.

    Best regards,


  20. Kenneth Eden says:

    SHE LOOKs GORGEOUS – I wonder who pays to keep the QE2 looking so lovely – she looks as though she was there in Dubai docked during an active cruise. She surely holds her own in todays market. I sailed her several times, and saw her interiors change with redocoration from mod, ugly, the ’70′s era, to elegance.

    Those that have not sailed the QM2, aside from the photo of Elizabeth Taylor, there are many, many other screen notables throughout the ship, Judy Garland, Clark Gable, and many, many more.

    Together, both the QE2 and QM2 show off their true cunard Liner good looks.

  21. mary murdoch says:

    Thank you all for this wonderful blog .I could hardly see the pictures for tears, so emotional when I see QE2, but she still looks good and for both Queens to meet, must have been great for all the passengers on board.Hopefully some day we can do this section of the world cruise on QE just like the last section of QE2′s last world cruise. Thanks again, Mary.

  22. Alex &Barbara Craig says:

    I agree with Elaine King “Best Built Clyde Built” the newer Cunarders are fantastic but QE2 was in a clas of her own sailed on the last leg, QM2 of her last World Cruise from New York to Southampton fantastic a trip never to be forgotton, QM2 is fabulous look forward to QE in July Love the Photo bring her back home

  23. Mark Rosenfeld says:

    QE2 a very good looking boat but not in the “modern” style.

  24. Kenneth Eden says:

    Hardly a boat, the QE2 was built specifically for dual transportation of passengers, a first, I believe in her day. Transatlantic liner,AND cruise ship, allowing both equal spaces and both enclosed, transatlantic and open, cruising in warm temps, public rooms and out door spaces.

    I sailed her once with the two class transatlantic class system, horrid, glad that was done away with, and I was sailing first class.. I much prefered the one class system, which was always part of any cruise she did, be it Caribbean or World Cruise. The tiered “level of dining”, be it Grills, or today, Britannia, on the current three queens is fine by me, as I do not consider it a class system. You want class system? Go to The WallStreet Journal, wsj.com and see what the newest things sailing are doing, it is awful It was in last week, maybe March 3 or 4, in the personal journal section, page D1. Horrid!! President Peter Shanks, Cunard Line, supports Cunards unique dining sytem in this article.

    The QE2 is as modern as ships could get in her day, don’t forget that fact. The comparo between the two Queens shows the advancement of the architecture at sea.

  25. Daryl Cooper says:

    Fantastic photos of QM2 & QE2 in Dubai. When we did the sector Singapore/Southampton in March/April 2009 on QM2 under the captaincy of Captain Bates we docked in Dubai at the stern of QE2 which afforded us some magical photos.In 2009, the Dubai embarkation area was a series of marquees and I now wonder if the ochre coloured building adjacent to QM2 is the “new” embarkation area?

    To all passengers aboard QE & QM2 as you are about to enter the Suez Canal,enjoy the transit as we found it to be the visual highlight of our journey. We are yet to experience a similar journey through the Panama Canal as we look forward to our next Cunard adventure.

    Safe travels to you all.

  26. Sarah Morris says:

    Why don’t Cunard buy QE2 back, or lease her? you just know she would be full to the rafters for any voyages she makes! Gone before her time! Still sad to see her landlocked like that, she needs to be where she was meant to be.. out on the ocean.

  27. Daryl Cooper says:

    Re my comment no.25. I have just enlarged the photo of QE approaching QE2 in Dubai and the marquees are still there. Perhaps, with all the rubble that is evident on QE2′s starboard side she has been moved!
    Beautiful ship with gracious lines. We only sailed on her once, New York to Southampton and that voyage “sold” us on Cunard.Looking forward to our next voyage, the ideal for us would be ex Sydney on one Queen to Southampton and return on another, but this of course could only happen if Cunard staggered the World Cruise departures from Southampton e,g January, as is, for one and the other departure in April when the first “World Cruise” is completed. We can only wish & hope.
    Happy Travels

  28. Daryl Cooper says:

    Once again I have to question the integrity of the “Queen Elizabeth” Bridge Cam. Logged onto my favourite ship’s webcam @ 5:16 pm Queensland time today, 09/04/2011 and the Bridge cam of “QM2″ showed her tied up at Shar El etc @ 09:13 which would fit nicely with the time differential between Egypt & Queensland, Australia which is no longer on Daylight Saving Time so the time is “Australian Eastern Standard Time”. But no! not the case with Bridge Cam from “Queen Elizabeth” which is probably only 200 miles north @ Aqaba but the regular apology appears, ” Due to satelite strength etc” no coverage is available. What absolute rubbish! This has been a constant problem since “Queen Elizabeth” was named back in October but obviously either Cunard in general is not prepared to admit there is a problem and are doing nothing to repair it or they are being “fooled” by their technical staff. Similarly, and it could be my computer, but more often than not when the system from “Queen Elizabeth” is functioning, which is very rare, you do not receive the location markers. Furthermore, why is it that I can receive an accurate location of”Queen Mary 2′s” location as evidenced by the above times but when “Queen Elizabeth” is occassinaly functioning I have to refresh at least 3 times for realistic time locations.
    This process leaves a lot to be desired and I respectfully suggest “fix it” or “remove it”

  29. Carla Louden says:

    Thank you Peter! Stunning photographs ! Brings back lots of great memories aboard QE2.
    Look forward to seeing her in Dubai 2012 World Cruise. My daughter, Danielle & myself
    will be boarding QE…can’t wait. QV was excellent & I’m sure QE will be just as spectacular.
    South Africa is so far from the “Queens” home port but we keep watch & enjoy the updates
    and photographs !

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