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

16 October, 2010

QE2 Final NYC Departure - October 16, 2008

Two short years ago to this day, QE2 departed the Manhattan pier she called her second home over her 39 years of service, for the final time.

This video montage was taken with the Nikon D90 in video mode, unfortunately without a monopod for stability.

08 October, 2010

QE2 Final Time in Scotland - October 7, 2008

  October 7, 2008, QE2 anchored off Queensferry, Scotland.  This would be her final port call in Scotland and the last time the flag of Scotland would be flown from her foremast.

Here we see two icons of Scottish engineering, the QE2, built in Clydebank, Scotland, and the Forth Rail Bridge.  The Forth Rail Bridge opened for service in 1890 and was the largest cantilever bridge in existence until 1917, while it remains the second largest to this day.  This engineering feat had it's history in a previous rail bridge disaster, the Tay Bridge, designed by Thomas Bouch, who was also working on a design for a bridge to span the Firth of Forth.  After the Tay Bridge famously failed, sending a complete train into a stormy sea with massive loss of life, the designer was fired and the design for the Forth Rail Bridge scrapped. 

The Glasgow based company of Sir William Arrol and Company was hired to redesign the bridge.  The result is a massively overbuilt structure built entirely of steel, the first of its kind.  Sir William Arrol and Company are also famous for designing and building the Titan Crane, which was used to build the three great Queens as well as other famous ships such as the H.M.S. Hood.

Touching the hull for the last time.

QE2 as viewed from the tender.
Getting ready to leave.
Forth Rail Bridge at sunset from the bit beneath the bridge of QE2.

QE3 Arrives in Southampton

QE3 arrives in Southampton.  Photo courtesy of Cunard

Almost tied up at the pier in Southampton.  Photo courtesy of Cunard.

Turning around, unaided by tugs.  Photo courtesy of Cunard

Photo courtesy of Cunard

Queen Elizabeth (3) made her maiden call to her homeport of Southampton, UK today.  From at least these photos posted on the Cunard Facebook page, she looks rather stunning.   Other angles, particularily of the stern area are less flattering.  In a few days, the Queen will name the ship.  She better not go off message and name the ship Queen Elizabeth the Third!  All the names have been welded to the hull with no room to add a "3" and the ship fully stocked with Queen Elizabeth merchandise.  As Cunard says, "the world awaits!"

06 October, 2010

QE2 Isle of Skye - October 6, 2008

Two years ago, QE2 passed by the Isle of Skye while on the Farewell to the British Isles cruise. The day began dreary, but the sky opened up as we passed by the ancestrial home of the MacLeods.

QE2 Officer's Noon Position Report

Ryan wanted pancakes for breakfast so we headed to the Mauretania Restaurant.  I joined him with an order of pancakes as well, but made my blueberry, with American style bacon.  Ryan's came with the thicker British style bacon, which was the only time we had any meal "cock-up" on our cruise.

In honor of my Scottish heritage and the fact that we were off Isle of Skye, I ordered a second course of kippers, a decision that would haunt me for the rest of the day.  I love fish and will occasionally have a tin of smoked kippers that we can get at our local supermarket.  What came from the kitchen of QE2 was far different and more potent.  In fact, the second course came up the dumbwaiter at the waiter's station near us and I could immediately smell the order of fish for breakfast. 

Someone at another table commented that I was brave and wondered if I knew what was in store.  THey obviously could smell the dish from their table.  They suggested that I add butter to complete the dish and temper the fish flavor.  With the butter, the fish was quite tasty, but I think it was a bit overcooked around the edges.  I finished most of it, but the taste of fish would remain with me for most of the day, at least until I had a hamburger at lunch!

After the meal, I ventured out on Boat Deck to grab some pictures of Skye.  Despite the distance maintained by QE2 from the rocky shore, the scenery was breathtaking.  I could make out a lighthouse on a peninsula, which I would later determine from Google Earth to be the Neist Point Lighthouse.

Neist Point Lighthouse

The Outer Hebrides in the distance.

Trawler at work with a village in the distance.

Skye in the distance.

Outer Hebides, Isle of Lewis and Harris in the distance.

Later that afternoon, the QE2 Cabin Cavalcade was scheduled and those that chose to participate in showing off their unique cabins were to meet in the Midship's Lobby.  Commodore Warwick stopped by at the beginning and spoke to us all for a bit, before heading off.  More on the tour in a future post.

Silver model of QE2 by Asprey, located in the Midship's Lobby, which now resides in the Yacht Club of QE3.

05 October, 2010

New Queen Elizabeth 3 Video Posted

Cunard President Peter Shanks with the keys to the new QE3.  Photo from

Cunard, having accepting delivery of QE3, finally has posted a decent video of the ship.  Thank you Cunard for this excellent video.  Now that I have seen the ship in action, you have saved me money!!!  I can cancel my maiden transatlantic trip and go on a real liner, QM2. 

Actually, the decision was difficult to switch the booking to QM2's Caribbean Calypso cruise, but was mainly an economic decision and not a reflection on the ship.  The interiors are stunning and we will sail on her someday, but for now it will be QE2's replacement and Flagship of Cunard, the Queen Mary 2.  The countdown to the cruise begins!  This spot, beneath the bridge, similar to that on QE2, will be our favorite spot to view the sea.

In fairness, I cancelled yesterday before the video came out and the decision had already been made.  Now, what is the obsession with the bulbous bow in the QE3 video????

01 October, 2010

Cunard Takes Ownership of New Queen Elizabeth 3

Stunning Britannia Restaurant close to completion in a modern Art Deco theme - Photo courtesy of Cunard

Not the most flattering view. Photo courtesy of Cunard

Cunard Press Release
30 September 2010 - Cunard Line has taken delivery of Queen Elizabeth - the second largest Cunarder ever built and the third new liner for the luxury cruise vacation company in six years.

The Handover Ceremony took place today on board the new 92,400-ton vessel at the Fincantieri Monfalcone shipyard. The event included a speech by Cunard President Peter Shanks. The Italian flag was ceremonially lowered and the Blue Ensign was raised, marking the entry of another magnificent Cunard liner into the Register of British Shipping.
"This ceremony to mark the completion of the Queen Elizabeth and our acceptance of delivery, is just the first of a number of significant events over the next few weeks - including the ship's official naming by Her Majesty The Queen in Southampton on Monday 11 October," said Shanks. "I'm certain the British will take this truly magnificent ship to their hearts, as they have all the Cunard Queens."
Queen Elizabeth is due to leave the shipyard today and sail to Southampton, where she will berth at the Ocean Cruise Terminal on Friday 8 October.
Queen Elizabeth will depart on her Maiden Voyage at 5:00pm on Tuesday 12 October.

Queen Elizabeth 3 - Photo courtesy of Cunard

Queen Elizabeth 3 - Photo courtesy of Cunard

Southampton Sailaway - September 30, 2008

Two years ago today, QE2 left on the farewell lap of the UK.  We were onboard and it was the perfect trip to say goodbye to the world's most famous ship.  Here's a video of the Sailaway, compiled from the first video I took with the new Nikon D90 as well as stills.!