The legendary Cunard Queen Elizabeth 2 on the Hudson River in New York City, October 16, 2008, as she departs for the final time.

26 January, 2010

The Queens Meet Again

Queen Elizabeth 2 currently sits idle in Port Rashid, Dubia, all polished up by the current owners Nakheel.  She's all dressed up with, sadly, nowhere to go. Her nine MAN diesel engines, which have provided ship's power and power for her two massive electric motors to turn her props since the conversion from steam to diesel-electric power in 1987, are continually run in rotation, maintaining their operational condition.   Air conditioning, which has been a concern with her continued stay in Dubai, is running well, having been maintained and modified with supplementary equipment to handle the constant intense heat of Dubai.

Unfortunately, the plans to send the ship to Capetown, news which were so eagerly cheered by QE2 fans when announced this past summer, to act as a floating hotel for the World Cup have been shelved indefinitely due to concerns of Capetown.  Nakheel, the development arm of Dubaiworld is also experiencing financial difficulties after a previous spending spree in which the QE2 was aquired and the subsequent worldwide economic resession.  Nakheel, nevertheless, has not neglected their investment, investing money on the past summer's drydock, exterior repainting, air conditioning upgrades, and other maintenance necessary on a 41 year old ship.  This should offer some solace for all her fans, who are justified in their concern of her fate.  A hired crew, unfortunately without Cunard employee experience, is currently onboard to oversee the ship while plans are revised for her fate.

Today, Queen Mary 2, the replacement for Cunard's Flagship Queen Elizabeth 2 has met up with her in Port Rashid while on her 2010 World Cruise.  Unfortunately, QM2 has been docked at a considerable distance from QE2 along the pier negating a closeup view from the QM2 bridge cam.  Nevertheless, it must be a welcome sight for crew and passengers alike with deep affection for QE2.  Hopefully, at QM2's departure, the captain will sneak QM2 up close to QE2 and will begin an exchange of Tyfon horn salutes again, similar to the 2009 meeting of the two Queens.  QE2's signature voice will be heard once again.

For continued updates on the status of QE2 and spirited discussion of the most famous ship in the world, or in the galaxy, as she was refered to in a Star Trek episode, check out

06 January, 2010

Captain Ian McNaught Leaves Cunard for Seabourn Cruise Line

Former Master of Queen Elizabeth 2, Captain Ian McNaught, has "resigned" from Cunard Line and will be transferred to a position at the ultra-luxury brand of Carnival Corporation's Seabourn Cruise Line.  This news was first reported here and later confirmed when questioned on the Cunard Facebook page. 

While disappointing news, this really should not come as a shock.  You could hear the difference in his voice in the noontime captain's reports from Queen Victoria posted to YouTube.  That energy so evident while onboard QE2 was missing.  Things just did not seem to be the same as demonstrated by a recent report of an interview while onboard Queen Victoria that ended quite abruptly, very uncharactaristically for the Cunard captain that personified all things Cunard. 

That particular cruise out of New York was not going well in the first place, having been delayed due to a problem with the pod propulsion of Queen Victoria.  This problem resulted in missed ports without the reserve speed available, such as would have been the case on QE2, to make up time.  I am sure this thought did not escape him at that time.  Then there was the naming of the master of the new Queen Elizabeth and the apparent snub by Cunard.  It has been speculated that he was deeply disappointed that he was passed on this appointment.  I too was disappointed, having booked the Maiden Crossing of Queen Elizabeth with the utmost certainty he would be appointed her command.  In fairness to Cunard, they appointed fellow Captain Chris Wells, who has previous experience in the fitting out of Queen Mary 2, who will oversee the completion of the ship in the yard in Italy.  On the otherhand, to help ease the pain of the retirement of QE2, having Captain McNaught at the helm of her replacement would have eased the pain for many, myself incuded, and would have been a nice bridge from the past to the future. 

Those who have had the pleasure to sail with Captain McNaught saw firsthand his deep affection and respect for the significance of QE2 and what she meant for so many loyal passengers, fans, people of the UK, and others throughout the world wherever she sailed.  Without a doubt, he has been the most accessible Captain we have sailed with which combined with his personality, has earned him many loyal fans.  We were even contemplating switching our booking next January on QE to QV for our tandem Atlantic Crossing just to be onboard with him and recapture some of the spirit of our past cruises with him.  There is a palatable difference with him at command throughout the ship.  His energy and demeanor transferred throughout the ship. Without him, it just seemed like everyone was just going through the motions. 

Captain McNaught will fit into the more intimate ships of Seabourn quite easily, where he will shine in his interaction with passengers.  Unfortunately, the "Yachts of Seabourn" as they are billed, are very small, exclusive cruise ships, which are out of my price range at this time.  At first, I took this news similarily to hearing the news that QE2 was sold; total shock.  Now, seeing that he is still within the Carnival group of cruise lines, I see this a bit differently.  Captain McNaught belongs at the helm of a true OCEAN LINER.  I am confident we will see his return to Cunard in the future for the ultimate command of Cunard's new flagship, Queen Mary 2.