August 22, 2011
We Are Cunard
Posted in: Queen Mary 2
At Cunard we are blessed with a very special relationship with the people of Hamburg in Germany. Along with Southampton, Liverpool, Halifax and New York – Hamburg has a special place in our hearts. So today we have a very special blog of the event that transpired last week on the river in Hamburg as Queen Mary 2 made her 20th call to the city. We had planned a ‘flag parade’ – a chance for all of our guests on board and many thousands in Hamburg to celebrate this joyous event together. And as you will read – enjoy it they did with over 200,000 people coming down to wave flags at Queen Mary 2. Here is a short video clip of Queen Mary 2 on the day (please do not adjust your computer – there is no sound):
I am delighted that Alexander, one of our valued German speaking hosts , has written the story for us all with some great pictures. We had some wonderful comments from all of our international guests on board and we certainly made our mark with the people of Hamburg;
Guest Blog: Alexander Vollmert, German Host, Queen Mary 2
13 August 2011 marked the 20th passenger call of RMS Queen Mary 2 in the port of Hamburg since the legendary maiden arrival under the command of Captain Paul Wright on 19 July 2004, when more than 500.000 spectators lined up on the banks of the river Elbe to see the arrival of the ship. Ever since, the departures of Queen Mary 2 from Hamburg brought huge numbers of people to the “St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken” – the main waterfront area in the port of Hamburg. To commemorate the 20th passenger call (excluding the dry-dock calls), the city of Hamburg organised a grand “Flag Parade”. All major newspapers as well as TV and Radio stations reported days in advance to promote the celebrations that would take place during sailaway. 150.000 flags with the Union Jack and the Coat of Arms of the city of Hamburg were printed and distributed all over Hamburg. The major department stores were key partners to promote the event. The ship received flags as well and all guest staterooms were prepared for the big event.
When Commodore Christopher Rynd stopped Queen Mary 2 in front of the “St. Pauli-Landungsbrücken” that sunny and warm summer evening, Susi Salm, a famous singer from Hamburg, who performed in the Queens Room on board Queen Mary 2 in May, warmed up the crowds on the piers and three songs were performed that reflected the Westbound Transatlantic Crossing to New York: “New York”, “Rule Britannia” and “In Hamburg sagt man Tschüss.” After each song ended, large flags of the “Star Spangled Banner”, the “Union Jack” and the Flag of the City of Hamburg were lowered down the side of Queen Mary 2 – under the applause of the tens of thousands of spectators ashore.
As during past calls in Hamburg, also on this sunny Saturday evening thousands of people lined the banks of the Elbe down river as Queen Mary 2 was accompanied by a large flotilla of Harbour Cruise boats .
The famous “Louis C. Jacob” hotel on the Elbchaussee had its traditional waving with white bed linen and towels, the “Queen Mary 2 Canon Salute” was fired and “Land of Hope and Glory” could be heard all over the river. Also in Blankenese – Hamburg’s most iconic suburb – the crowds lined the river and private fireworks were fired when the ship sailed past
The NDR 2, the most popular radio station in the North of Germany, had organised a large open Air Festival that evening in Wedel, where Mike and Mechanics, Nathasha Bedingfield and Sunrise Avenue performed. Days in advance the Radio Station promoted the Open Air and announced that “one guest already agreed to attend: Queen Mary 2 will sail past on the Elbe river”. When the ship approached Wedel and the Festival site, the big screens on centre stage already showed the ship arriving and Queen Mary 2 greeted the audience of 20.000 by prolonged and repeated sounding of her famous whistles – each time a wave of applause came back from shore.
Once again it proved that Hamburg salutes our Flagship Queen Mary 2 in the most wonderful way – and many successful and memorable calls in Hamburg will follow in 2012.
Thank you Alexander. I have been on Queen Mary 2 a number of times as she has sailed up and down the river to the heart of Hamburg. It is always a spine-tingling experience. There are several opportunities for our guests to experience this in 2012 – specifically I would look at the very first meeting of two Cunard Queens in Hamburg on 15 July. You could either book the Queen Elizabeth 14 day St Petersburg and Baltic Explorer Voyage from Southampton on 13 July or the Queen Mary 2 departing on the same day for her 14 day Fjords voyage. Alternatively a shorter Hamburg-Hamburg voyage is available on 15 July on Queen Mary 2. It will be a special event in Hamburg and we would love you to be with us for another chapter of Cunard history.
One last thing – I put another 25 miles under my belt over the weekend as part of my training for the Princes Trust Palace to Palace Bike ride. I have also sensibly bought a pair of those fancy cycling shorts that have extra padding in the right place. I would not win any fashion parades with them – but rather have padding than not for the upcoming 47 mile ride. Many thanks to those who have already sponsored me – very kind – to those who have not – the link is up at the top of this page.
That is all for now – back later in the week with news of the Queen Mary 2 ‘refit’ in November.