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Forever Cunard

Just another day making history…

May 31, 2013


Posted in: Forever Cunard

Hello All

After working at this for 173 years – it’s no surprise that at Cunard we have a lot of history and a lot of anniversaries to take care of and have pride in. On Saturday 1 June our Queen Mary 2 arrives in New York after her latest crossing from Southampton. But it is not just another arrival – it just happens to be 77 years to the day that our first Queen Mary arrived in New York in 1936. It is wonderful to have such an enduring tradition and I thought you may like to read about it in the below press release.

31 May 2013




Queen Mary arrives in New York on completion of her Maiden Voyage in June 1936 while Queen Mary 2 completes another Atlantic crossing

When Queen Mary 2 sails in New York tomorrow, Saturday 1 June 2013, she will be arriving on the 77th anniversary of the maiden call of the original Queen Mary in New York in 1936.

It is interesting to compare the prices for these two voyages:

Queen Mary

Queen Mary 2

Lead-in fare £18 10 shillings(Third Class Cabin) £1,199(inside Britannia cabin)
Highest Fare £102(Main Deck Suite) £9,016(Balmoral Duplex Suite)

Queen Mary’s Maiden Voyage began in Southampton on 27 May 1936 and she left to the sounds of bands and ecstatic crowds. On board were the famous bandleader, Henry Hall, scheduled to give a series of live radio broadcasts during the crossing; the virtuoso harmonica player, Larry Adler; and a well-known singer of the time, Frances Day, who performed a song written specially for Queen Mary by Henry Hall, ‘Somewhere at Sea’. And, much as she may have liked being at sea, Miss Day did not trust the ship’s eggs to be fresh by the end of the voyage so she took along her own chickens. Queen Mary received a rapturous welcome in New York.

Peter Shanks, Cunard President and Managing Director, said:

            “Since her launch to great acclaim in 2004, Queen Mary 2 has proudly continued the Transatlantic legacy of elegance and glamour that Queen Mary personified during her long reign of service – the legend lives on.

“On this special anniversary, we are also pleased to continue to call New York our homeport in the USA, a city which has embraced our ships through the centuries and played a prominent role in many of Cunard’s historical milestones.”

77 years on, Queen Mary 2 left Southampton last Saturday (25 May) for New York. Onboard to speak is Jeffrey Weinberg, adviser to seven US Presidents, and passengers are enjoying our legendary entertainment including presentations from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). Today the eggs – all 45,000 of them – are fresh and plentiful and our legendary experiences live on.

Queen Mary would cross the Atlantic another 1,000 times during her 31-year career before being retired in 1967. Queen Mary 2 will make her 200th crossing on 6 July during this, her ninth year on the Atlantic.


Not sure that these days the Public Health authorities would be too pleased if we carried chickens to provide the fresh eggs – and sadly for all of you these days we charge a touch more that 18 pounds and 10 shillings for the crossing. Needless to say – my advice is that if you have yet to take one of our legendary crossings then it is certainly something you should consider as there is nothing quite like it.

I trust you are keeping well and looking forward to summer!

Best Regards


  1. Kenneth Eden says:

    Funny thing about the live chickens – on the SS FRANCE live canards were carried for a spell, health inspections probably put an end to that.

    It is the very history and that Cunard keeps it alive and well that is the important issue here, and to have the grandest liner to date sailing in splndor, is Cunards legacy.

  2. judith says:

    I agree, nothing quite like the trans-atlantic crossing. Our first trip was one from New York to Southampton, and last one was in conjunction with trip to Quebec last September. The sea can be calm , it was flat the first trip for us, or a little choppy, but Queen Mary 2 slices through with no problems. Wonderful experience.

  3. Roger Hallett says:

    Peter, I think you do Cunard and QM2 an injustice. If you look at the relative buying power of a weekly wage in 1936 vs today, I think you will find that a Trans-Atlantic voyage on QM2 is far more affordable now than then.

  4. While I couldn’t make the first crossing, after three crossings and the fourth coming up on August 15, I insist that it is the most restful and gorgeous way to “cross the pond”. And since jet-lag affects me horribly, it is marvellous to arrive kin England with no jet-lag to suffer through for the first week. The sea air is wonderful and the complete rest is something I never get to experience anywhere else. God bless the Queen Mary and may she sail on foreverQ!

    Anne G.B.

  5. Diane Warren says:

    Hi Peter, We always enjoy reading your ‘blogs’ – please keep them going! Today, June 1st will be such a special one in New York and we would have loved to have been on board Queen Mary 2 to be part of the Celebrations. We have Cruised on all 3 Queens and have also visited Queen Mary in Long Beach where we enjoyed a super lunch with friends who live at San Diego and whom we met on a Round Britain Cruise on Queen Victoria a few years ago! We are still in touch as we are with many ‘Cunard Friends’, as we call them! We always enjoy the Celebratory Cruises and have been very fortunate to be Guests on some of them, including the meeting of the 3 Queens in New York and Southampton. The tandem Atlantic crossing with Queen Elizabeth while we were on board Queen Victoria was very special and then to meet up with Queen Mary 2 in New York in the evening was even more special. We have so many fond memories of our Cunard Cruises and have booked to sail on Queen Victoria next May when all 3 Queens will be in Southampton again to celebrate Queen Mary 2′s Tenth Birthday. Wonder if we will have a Red Arrows display this time! We were unaware of today’s Celebration in New York and although we try to read all of Cunard’s literature and keep an eye on the website, we missed this one! Would it be possible to give advance and wider coverage of forthcoming Celebratory events like the one today? We understand that 2015 is going to be a big year for Cunard. Any details yet? Look forward to hearing from you. Hope you all have a fantastic day in New York today. Just going to look at the webcam!! Take care and thank you. Kind regards, Diane & David.

  6. Ship Cruises says:

    The power of time and the mighty of such ships as QM and QM2 through time create cults and provoke worship. Even in black and white on the old photos they bring colour in our lifes.

  7. David Burgess says:

    Talking about nostalgia, the only reason that I recently booked a MSC fjords cruise from Southampton is that they were offering the option of a pre-cruise, dedicated British Pullman “boat train” service from London Victoria, with luggage check-in at the station.

    Given the current nature of the cruise industry as well as the number of comments from American passengers on various websites, enquiring about travel between London and Southampton, I am at a loss to understand why Cunard / Carnival are not looking at a similar schemes. This would surely to boost sales as well as add to the classic travel experience.

    I live in Southampton and am (just !) old enough to remember when there were “Ocean Liner Express” trains from Waterloo which directly connected to the liners sailing from Southampton.

    Just a thought.

    Kind regards,

  8. Sarah Heffernan says:

    Congratulations on the auspicious occasion of the 200th Trans Atlantic journey .Having been across the Atlantic on board this Beautiful QM2.am very aware that your guests are about to have an experience of a lifetime

  9. History in the making and a great comparison.
    QM2 is still the only and best way to arrive or depart from New York!

    The Lancashire Cunarder.

  10. Every cloud has a silver lining…I was in hospital recovering from a heart attack in early 2007 when I saw an ad for QE2′s ‘Autumn Colours’ cruise to North America. I showed this to my wife when she visited that afternoon and it was most definitely a time for re-appraisal of our life. “If we don’t go now, there may not be another opportunity” was our feeling.

    In September we sailed for Quebec, and thence down the eastern seaboard to New York. Truly a magnificent experience which we repeated two years later aboard Queen Victoria. Not only that, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed Cunard voyages aboard Queen Elizabeth to The Mediterranean, The Caribbean and last year to Norway and north of the Arctic Circle to Spitsbergen.

    We’re probably preaching to the converted, but we can wholeheartedly recommend Cunard voyages – they are for us supremely enjoyable, excellent value for money and the food and service are superlative.

    Roll on QM2 and The Big Apple Reprise!

    John & Jenni Watts

  11. Grahame Capron~Tee says:

    Lyn and I love the QM2 and were on board for the 77th anniversary trip to New York. The voyage was great as usual, however the celebrations were totally underwhelming. The sailaway from Southampton was non existant, apart for a few brave souls on outside deck 8. No rousing music over the PA, just as quiet as a mouse as we crept away! We were aware of no welcome in New York, no fire boats, which we thought were going to be a given. No whistle sounding, nothing!!! What a let down!! The leaving of New York the same day was equally as underwhelming, no rousing music, no sounding of the whistle, even as we cleared the Verizano Narrows bridge by the usual few feet. Come on Commodore Rynd, lets have more glitz and razamataz and meeting of the passengers, we wondered if you were even on board on the trip back home!!! So sad, luckili this did not diminish our love of QM2, the greatest ship ever!!! But don’t hype the dates without adding the support!!! it grates!!

  12. judith says:

    A comment on the train links. We use the train to get to Southampton when we haven’t got free parking, it is very good, arrival in Southampton there is a queue of taxis, and you are at the terminal in no time. Vice versa, to the station, although you need to do your homework on train times, and changes. It should be publicised more for the American market, and links to Heathrow explained, and perhaps best value train tickets obtained for the clients as part of the package, with explanation on what trains to catch etc. It would also enable them to enjoy the countryside from the train.

  13. Rupert Bazeley-White says:

    Peter… Thank you for your wonderful blog and indeed for your tenureship as President and Managing Director of the infamous Cunard Line. You will be sorely missed and I can only but wish you every success. I am sure it will be a sad time to let go of the helm. You continued to bring the Britishness to Cunard which I sincerely hope will not be lost once you step down. It is a sad day as many of the old Cunard folk have now gone!!
    Best wishes and thank you again for keeping Sir Samuel Cunard’s dream alive.

  14. S. Nicol says:

    Hello Peter. I have just heard from a friend who is also a lover of ships that you are leaving Cunard.
    Although I hope you enjoy ‘new horizons’ I am sorry to hear that you are leaving.
    I also hope that in trying to reach ‘younger cruisers’ Carnival don’t forget those who love the history and traditions of Cunard as a unique UK shipping company.

  15. Never before seen photos of the maiden voyage can be seen on this website. They were taken by my grandfather.

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