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Queen Elizabeth’s Grand Welcome to Travemunde

June 8, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Guest Stories, Updates

Hello All

You have heard me talking before about the special relationship we have with our German guests and with the special place Cunard has in German Maritime history. Having so many different nationalities sail with us is partly what makes Cunard such a special experience. We are always surprised and humbled by the welcome given to Queen Mary 2 in Hamburg.

Well – last weekend we had a very pleasant surprise on Queen Elizabeth as she visited Travemunde in northern Germany for the very first time. On board was one of our valued and loyal guests Richard Smith from Southampton, England. Having experienced the event from on board Queen Elizabeth he wrote to us with his blog of the day. So it gives us great pleasure in sharing Richard’s account of the day:

Guest Blog

Richard Smith

Cunard Guest On Board Queen Elizabeth


I have a particular attachment to Queen Elizabeth because my father, the late Captain George Smith was one of only three men who were Captain of both the original Queen Elizabeth and the QE2. My wife and I were aboard Queen Elizabeth for her maiden voyage in October and are now enjoying the voyage to the Baltic capitals and St Petersburg.

I am reporting on our visit to Travemunde, it was not in the original itinerary but it was an inspired addition. It was a maiden call and at 7.00 am as we approached land the sun was shining and the sky was clear and blue. There were beaches to the left and to the right of the river and there were vast numbers of people on the beaches welcoming our arrival.

As we began to travel up the river to our berth there were thousands of people at every vantage point waving and shouting. Those aboard quickly realised that something very special was happening and it all became very emotional when ‘God save the Queen’ rang out from the shore on both sides of the river over and over again.

We reached our berth on time at 8.00 am and enjoyed a wonderful day in Travemunde and the surrounding area of Lubeck. Travemunde is immaculate – a resort town with boutiques, shops and bars and is clearly a popular holiday spot.

 Throughout the day, boats of all shapes and sizes sailed by Queen Elizabeth, which we were told later was the largest passenger ship to have visited the port.

Our departure proved to be more emotional than our arrival. Captain Christopher Wells told us that it had been estimated that 20,000 people had greeted our arrival and that in the early hours of the morning there had been major traffic jams in the town. In the evening there must have been 3 or 4 times that number watching our departure.

 As we proceeded down the river there were people crammed on to every vantage point. Jetties were packed and people were 10 or more deep along both river banks for miles. And it was a joyful occasion with those ashore and those on the ship waving and clapping. Again ‘God save the Queen’ rang out from both sides of the river.

Hundreds of boats formed a flotilla which followed us out to sea, gently kept under control by police boats.

It was clear that the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Travemunde was a stunning success. It brought great joy to the people of Travemunde and the surrounding area. It was a very emotional day for us and for those in that northern part of Germany.

Thank you Richard for sharing your thoughts on the day – you captured the experience perfectly. And a special thanks to the people of Travemunde for coming out to see Queen Elizabeth in such force – we hope to see you travelling with us in the future.

That is all for now. Back soon with some more stories to share. By the way – we are seeing very strong interest in this Summer’s voyages at the moment and if you are as yet undecided as to whether to sail with us – now is the time to make your mind up. What could be better – old friends, three beautiful ships to choose from, fine wines, best dining at sea, plenty to do on board, fabulous destinations and all with our wonderful ship’s company waiting to offer you our legendary White Star Service….. We are Cunard and we look forward to seeing you….

Best Regards

Peter Shanks

  1. David A. Walker says:

    Peter, Peter, Peter,

    Yes me again!

    Nice piece, except for that “. . . special place Cunard has in German maritime history.”

    Could theses specials be all the Cunard ships they sank in WWI & II? Think Lusitania and Lancastria . . . and the rest, then stop thinking. Or is it better to think of all those German Euros?

    Sorry Peter some of our memories are too long I suppose,


  2. tony mac says:

    We will neaver forget the men lost on Merchant ships in two wars unarmed and easy targets,Cunard may have recieved conpencation by the payment of capured German ships but not for our graet loss,the real heros ,the crews of the Merchant navy both British and German.

  3. Roger Hallett says:


    Perhaps you could explain what you mean by your comment:

    ” … the special place Cunard has in German Maritime history… ”

    before this blog gets out of hand.

  4. Roger Waterfall says:

    Wonderful photos of the unexpected Travemunde call.

    We visited Travemunde during a short break to Lubeck and were most impressed with both places, would love to re-visit them.

    We are booked on the Queen Elizabeth ‘St. Petersburg and Baltic explorer 111′, departing 14 August.
    Peter, will we also be lucky with this extra port visit, or was it just a ‘one off’?

    Roger Waterfall

  5. Chris & Margaret Rose says:

    Hi Peter,
    What a great blog and a marvellous account of her maiden port visit.
    Richard Smith did a fantastic job describing the visit.
    I appreciate the comments above reagardin WW2 but I guess we really do
    have to move on.
    Many thanks and as always very best regards

  6. Peter Shanks says:

    A response for David and Tony Mac. Many thanks for your comments. All of us at Cunard are very sensitive to the events in past times of strife – indeed in Sydney earlier this year we paid our respects to those many Australians who travelled to conflict on Queen Elizabeth and just recently we did the same on Queen Mary in Long Beach. Commodore Warner and I laid wreaths in Cobh two years ago to respect those who perished on the Lusitania and I will do so again later this summer. On the blog, my referral to German Maritime History was meant to be taken in the context of the many great British, German and American Liners that travelled to and from North America from Hamburg over many years. Hamburg has the river running right through the heart of the city and through that has developed a real connection with ships and in particular with the Cunard liners. It is something we are very aware of and respectful of – and when our ships visit Hamburg it is very special. The maiden visit of Travemunde created the same sense of history. In our busy and fast changing world – recognising and feeling part of history and tradition still has an important role to play for many people and that was very evident with the bond between Queen Elizabeth and the people of Travemunde last weekend. I hope that helps to context my comments – and to reassure you that we will always remain respectful of the sad events that have taken place over the years during times of strife, especially as Cunard ships often had a role to play. Best Regards. Peter

  7. Kenneth Eden says:

    As an American, I like to think that the USA has a very soft spot in their hearts, or at least, a kinship for big liners with black hulls, thus, Cunard ships.

    The very special relationship between our two countries is rare, enviable and possibly totally unique on our planet. It is not warm and fuzzy with the Germans, as pointed out above with the sinking of so many British liners, not to mention – let me leave it there – this is not a polical sight.

    I did personally experience the sail in to Hamburg with the flotilla of small ships etc.., and it was something to see.

    I was born after WWII, but, the history is there, hot and grating. Maybe they, Germany, should build their own liner.

  8. Manfred Müller says:

    Well said, Peter! Thank you. I´m sure we Germans will go on showing our admiration to things we like, in this case the marvelous ships of the Cunard fleet.
    To some of the other commentators: When QUEEN MARY 2 visits Hamburg, btw the most anglophil city in Germany, nobody points out to the Union Jack saying that they were the ones who destroyed our city and killed our families only so Mr. Harris could get even. None of us all started that damn war, so let it rest in peace and enjoy maritime matters.
    Best regards,
    Manfred from Hamburg

  9. David says:

    Peter. I think you should ease off on the PR/Marketing chat for a while and let us enjoy the pictures and form our own memories– it can be that simple. I never met my grandfather because he was killed in WW1.Not really a special memory for me. I am sure you meant no harm but sometimes it better not to say anything.

  10. John S Bolin says:

    Dear Peter:

    In your introduction you write “sale”! I thought it was “sail.” John

  11. judith sayers says:

    Travemunde looks delightful, and with a welcome like that perhaps it should be included in future itineraries, just to give some variation to regular trips in the area. 3 weeks 1 day to go and we join the QE.

  12. Keith says:

    Please can you ask cruise sales to tell guests that Most service are CLOSED when they dock in hamburg and how about a Cunard ship for the German market only as the 2012 brochure is a mess.

  13. Keith says:

    Great to see Cunard getting back to the 1990s when the cruise director was around All guests and not just around guests in the bars.Five stars to Keith the cruise director on QV out in the cold at EACH port for hours and is new young side kick from Southampton.Keith has got loads of Good feedback on a couple of cruise review sites.

  14. Robert Guy says:

    My wife ands I were on the maiden call to Travemunde last week. The welcome and accorded to the QE was unbelievably moving and a sight we will never forget. Thank you Travemunde for your welcome (and farewell) it was truly magnificent. We were so glad to have been a part of this cruise.

  15. Eleanor Jolliffe says:

    My friend Morag Thomas and I were there and what a sight it was, very emotional, and never to be forgotten, altogether a fabulous experience. Previously experienced some excellent sailaways but that one was the best.

  16. Mick Loxdale says:

    Like some above I had the pleasure of being on Queen Elizabeth for this cruise and was particularly looking forward to the visit to St Petersburg. At the time Travemunde meant nothing to me and I even had to look the place up on a map to view it’s location. What is now certain is that the visit to the town was, in my humble opinion, the highlight of our cruise and it’s people will always be remembered for the greeting and farewell the Ship received. Simply magic!

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