August 25, 2011
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Guest Stories
Our regular guests may recognise today’s guest blogger as a key lecturer for our Insights enrichment programme. Known as “Mr. Ocean Liner,” Bill Miller has written more than 70 books about passenger ships, both past and present. He has prepared the passenger ship database for the Ellis Island Museum and currently serves as curator of 20th Century Maritime History for the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City.
Here are some great pictures of Queen Mary from one of Bill’s books:
From 26 – 30 August we will be sponsoring “Cinematic Passages: Ocean Liners on Screen” at Walter Reade Theater, New York. The Film Society of Lincoln Center will be showcasing the glamour of ocean travel through films of the last 50 years and Robert Neal Marshall’s documentary on Bill Miller will be screened throughout the event. Bill was recently on board Queen Mary 2 and kindly gave us a few words about why Cunard is so special to him:
Mid Atlantic: Feeling at home! There’s something very special for me about Queen Mary 2. I’ve done nearly 40 trips aboard her beginning in Feb 2004, including her third voyage and her maiden cruise to Rio. But even when not at sea, there are links: my 60th birthday party was held on board in August 2008 and, just last July, the “first” premiere of Mr. Ocean Liner. A celebratory 80th birthday luncheon was also held aboard in Jul 2009, and in the Todd English Grill, for John Maxtone-Graham and then in November 2010 to honor Maurizio Eliseo upon receiving the Silver Riband Award. Some ships have, according to the late Frank Braynard, “souls,” a spirit that is not created by designers or built in shipyards. It is something, quite undefined, that caresses, even embodies, you. Coupled with the great familiarity, that feeling of “coming home,” there is for me an added warmth and happiness in being aboard this magnificent ship. Furthermore, and as I quickly observed on this crossing, Queen Mary 2’s“soul” is even more apparent. The ship has a definite magic. And she is in many ways even better than ever. Indeed, maturity has brought near-perfection!
Planning ahead! Cunard has announced its sponsorship of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Cinematic Passages: Ocean Liners on Screen film series in New York, which I will also be a part of. On Friday, August 26 at 7 p.m., I will kick off the series by revisiting the glory days of the grand transatlantic ocean liners in a presentation of Ocean Liners in Fact, Fiction and On Screen.
Cunard itself is of course always a great favorite of mine, and we have already confirmed plans for six cruises in 2012 — five aboard Queen Mary 2 and one on Queen Elizabeth. Two of the highlight cruises for me will be the eastbound voyage to Southampton on Queen Mary 2 on 29 May followed by the cruise to the Baltic cities aboard Queen Elizabeth on 5 June. Both voyages are themed to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and all three ships, including Queen Victoria, will depart in formation from Southampton on 5 June, the very day of the greatest Jubilee celebrations in London. One of my future books, Diamond Jubilee: Queen Elizabeth II & the House of Windsor should be published by then as well.
You can find out more about Cinematic Passages here: http://www.filmlinc.com/films/series/cinematic-passages-ocean-liners-on-screen