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Cunard Team

Jubilee Celebrations On Board Queen Mary 2

June 8, 2012


Posted in: Cunard Team, Queen Mary 2

Hello All

It’s been a busy week here with the jubilee celebrations and our Three Queens event in Southampton. Despite the British weather, it was a truly magnificent day and hundreds of people were out on the Solent early on Tuesday to welcome Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth home for the first time together! We’ll have more of that later, with photos and videos from the day’s events, first we have a blog from Entertainment Director Keith Maynard with a look at how guests celebrated the jubilee weekend on board QM2.

Executive Chef Nicholas Oldroyd, with assistant F&B Manager Terry Merewood, F&B Manager Stefan Engl, myself, Hotel Manager Robert Howie and Senior Matrie’d Patu Kerei and four of our famous Cunard White Star Bell Boys!


Executive Chef Nicholas Oldroyd, with assistant F&B Manager Terry Merewood, F&B Manager Stefan Engl, myself, Hotel Manager Robert Howie and Senior Matrie’d Patu Kerei and four of our famous Cunard White Star Bell Boys!

It is a fact that The Queen’s association with Cunard dates back to 27 September 1938 when she, aged 12, and her sister Margaret accompanied Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to Clydebank and watched as their mother launched the then biggest ship in the world – Queen Elizabeth.

Therefore if will come as no surprise that the celebrations upon our flagship reflected both our proud connection with Her Majesty and the tremendous tide of good wishes felt from both the crew and guests alike during this special time in British history.

With live coverage of the Thames Diamond Jubilee river pageant broadcast into the Royal Court Theatre and Illuminations everyone on board was soon cheering the royal procession as they sipped their celebratory Pimms and maybe enjoyed a slightly warmer experience than the masses gathered in London!

As the procession neared its conclusion, over 4 days of preparation sprung into life as our Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Theatre Company opened our grand jubilee street party with a very well recieved performance of “The Thames London 2012” by Poet Laureut Carol Ann Duffy. Standing in the Grand Lobby surrounded by guests as far as the eye could see I announced those magic words – I declare our jubilee street party open and as if by magic the doors of the deck 2 Grand Hallway swung into life as Cunard Bellboys and immacuately presented waiters filed out in a formation. It is a fact that The Queen’s association with Cunard dates back to 27 September 1938 when she, aged 12, and her sister Margaret accompanied Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to Clydebank and watched as their mother launched the then biggest ship in the world – Queen Elizabeth.


Executive Chef Nicholas Oldroyd and his team had laid out a feast worthy of our Monarch and amongst the flash of cameras and with plates piled high with sandwiches and mini Victoria sponges our guests sung their way to the Britannia Restaurant to the sounds of a live dixieland band.

The following day over 600 guests gathered once again in the Grand lobby for our jubilee sing along and with enthusiastic waving of flags we rolled back the years with renditions of Land of Hope and Glory, The White Cliffs of Dover and When You’re Smiling. Well we were all certainly smiling as we finished with a patriot performance of Rule Britannia – it was all the perfect warm up for the Royal Rendezvous in Southampton and a fitting royal finale to a fantastic Eastbound crossing on Queen Mary 2.

Keith Maynard

Entertainment Director

Queen Mary 2

  1. Great to read about what was happening on the QM2 for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations as it headed to the great day in Southampton when all the Queens were together. Great to get that personal view!
    I have blogged about the day in Southampton: http://www.tipsfortravellers.com/2012/06/queen-elizabeth-iis-thames-diamond.html

  2. Pamela Davies says:

    How I wish we had been there, as usual nobody does it better thab Cunard,Well Done xxx
    We will be back on board in March 2012. Can hardly wait.

  3. Beryl Moss says:

    A very interesting blog. Well done Cunard. It was great to see how the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated aboard Queen Mary 2 but it would be nice to see the celebrations on the other 2 Queens. We were in Sothampton for the 3 Queens celebrations which although the weather prevented the Red Arrows fly past it was still a memorable day with the culmination of the fireworks in the evening

  4. I’m sure it was a magnificent happening ! Wish we could have been there to join. The meeting of the “three Queens” was very moving, I bet. we were allowed to experience the “three Queens” in 2008 when the QE2, QV and QM2 met in Southampton for the first and last time in CUNARD’s history. That time we were on the QV. Ach… hmmmm… Yes, our best thoughts were with you all there on the ships that day !

  5. The departure for the 5 day cruise on QM2 was so different from the above. This was our 6th Cunard cruise and the worst ever. The “jubilee” bit had been exhausted by the incoming cruise. There was nothing anyone could do about the weather and the cancellation of the Red Arrows and the low cloud for the firework display. However 2 lecturers on 6th plus a sing song in the grand lobby and one dinner was it – oh I forgot the regurgitation of “Royal” films eg The King’s Speech. I really looked forward to this short cruise but have never been so disappointed. The overall standards on this ship have declined so much since we were last on her 2 years ago. I would need a lot of persuading to return. Obviously negative comments are not what you want so this comment will go nowhere. I am not the only one unhappy – many people thought likewise.

  6. An interesting perspective from Keith of what things were like on board Queen Mary 2. I was on Queen Victoria and here’s my account of the arrival:

    Early on the morning of Tuesday 5 June 2012, all 3 Cunard Queens came together in Southampton to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. Though not the first time that 3 Queens had been together in their home port, the first occasion being on 22 April 2008 when Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria met up with Queen Elizabeth 2 for the final time, this was the first time the Cunard fleet had arrived together.

    With Queen Mary 2 arriving from New York, Queen Victoria from Bergen and Queen Elizabeth from Barcelona, the 3 ships met up in the Solent with Queen Mary 2, under the command of Captain Kevin Oprey, leading fleetmates Queen Victoria (Capt Peter Philpott) and Queen Elizabeth (Commodore Christopher Rynd) on a stately procession homeward.

    A little after 3.30am, I was out on Queen Victoria’s deck and could see Queen Mary 2 ahead of us but no sign of Queen Elizabeth and it was not until we made the turn into the River Test, marking the start of Southampton Water, that the latest Cunarder finally came into view some distance behind. Around 4am, we made our way out onto 5 Deck forward, which along with Decks 6 & 7, had been specially opened up for passenger use and as the 3 ships made their stately procession up river, a new dawn was breaking to the east; the vivid purple/red hues a portent of things to come.

    Nearing Dockhead, one of the local tugs was waiting, her fire hoses trained in salute, while a number of small craft and local ferries had gathered to escort us in. Despite the early hour, crowds could be seen lining Town Quay and Mayflower Park, while helicopters hovered overhead filming the event.

    Queen Mary 2 made her way towards the Upper Swinging Ground where she would turn, while some way behind, Queen Victoria proceeded to turn and lay off City Cruise Terminal to anxiously await the arrival of the star of the show. Escorted by a flotilla of small craft, the latest Cunarder made a majestic sight as she slowly advanced towards her waiting fleetmates, before coming to rest bow to bow with her sister Victoria. No more than a 100 feet now separated the 2 Queens and with both ships foredecks packed with guests and crew waving union flags as each tried to outshout the other. On Queen Elizabeth’s port mooring platform, crew members could be spotted waving a giant yellow hand, while not wishing to be outdone, one of Queen Victoria’s waiters had acquired a megaphone and was broadcasting to the assembled guests, including an announcement that breakfast was cancelled as the entire galley and waiting team were out enjoying the celebrations!

    After a prolonged period of noisy celebrations with each ship trying to outdo the other, it was now the turn of the flagship, which to now had remained patiently in the shadows and largely out of sight as her younger fleetmates hogged the attention. All eyes were now upon Queen Mary 2 as she slowly came into view, passing very close off Queen Victoria’s starboard beam. On her foredeck, a group dressed in period costume were assembled waiving union flags, while below, another ‘big hand’, this time a red one, could be spotted being waived by members of the ship’s company from the mooring deck. Meanwhile, up atop the mast, the Royal Mail pennant could be spotted flying proudly alongside the red ensign and Cunard house flag, together with what appeared to be the ship’s callsign (ZCEF6), spelt out in signal flags while further aft, a giant banner in the style of a union flag and bearing the legend ‘Congratulations Ma’am’, could be seen covering the name board.

    The open decks of all 3 vessels were crowded with guests and crew alike, braving the cold to wave flags and cheer but above all, to savour the moment and witness history in the making. As the 3 ocean Majesties’ came together in formation, the ensuing whistle exchange reverberated long and loud across the city in a fitting and final tribute to Her Majesty before each ship headed towards its berth.

    The 3 ships would depart again later that evening, with Queen Mary 2 bound for Rotterdam, Queen Victoria for La Corũna and Queen Elizabeth heading to Hamburg. Unfortunately, work commitments meant that I was unable to remain in Southampton as would usually be the case so I had to head for home upon disembarking. The celebrations planned throughout the day however, were sadly hampered by the deteriorating weather conditions unfortunately as the planned display by the Red Arrows was cancelled, while the fireworks for the departure were largely obscured by low cloud that sat over the area throughout the day, which made the early morning arrival of the 3 Queens even more special.

    Cunard are to be congratulated in putting together this fitting tribute to Her Majesty. The Company may no longer be British owned, the ships no longer built or registered in Britain but the feeling of ‘Britishness’ is still very much alive.

    It was certainly a most memorable occasion and to be part of the celebrations is something that shall remain with me for the rest of my days. All around me, a great sense of occasion was unfolding and the emotion could be felt. I will readily admit that more than once my eyes were watering (though I put that down to the wind you understand!), but the event, along with others held over that weekend, demonstrated the depth of affection held for Her Majesty, not just by us Brits, but also by many the world over and rejuvenated a sense of pride that put the Great back into Britain.

    As a footnote; in conversation with a fellow guest over breakfast, I was somewhat taken aback when they asked what all the fuss been about earlier. Despite frequent announcements, both before and during, and the information that was left in each stateroom in the days beforehand, it would appear they were totally oblivious and slept through the entire event! I kid you not…

    A selection of photographs of the arrival can be found here http://www.flickr.com/photos/andyfitzsimmons/sets/72157630094860496/

    Kind regards

    Andy Fitzsimmons

  7. Val McGovern says:

    Wish we had been there. Love to see Mel in the photo she ia a special favourite of ours!

  8. Judith Sayers says:

    We were on Queen Mary 2, on the 5 day trip to Rotterdam, and for us it was the end of the weekend of celebration, quite happy with one day of events, having endured t.v. coverage at home. Did not bother with the lectures, watched repeats on t.v. in cabin (and decided it was a good decision), enjoyed being in the groovy choir, and appreciated the dinner. Thought the sailout was good, great atmosphere even though we did not see the red arrows,(seen before), and fireworks a bit soggy!. The service was excellent for us, the weather was good compared with what was going on at home – downpours all week, we had a nice 5 day break which was what we wanted, and we will be back again in September for our next adventure.

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