Cunard Line celebrated the 10th anniversary of its grand flagship Queen Mary 2 with the arrival of the whole three-ship fleet in Southampton, England on May 9.
This was a rare occasion to see all three Queens – Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria – together, with the homeport of Southampton the only place in the world to have hosted the three Queens three times.
The ships arrived at first light and began a day of spectacular celebration with an early morning birthday salute to Queen Mary 2 – “Happy Birthday” in ships' whistles (foghorns in common parlance) sounding out across Southampton Water.
This was followed by a special reception and lunch aboard Queen Mary 2 for invited guests in the presence of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who last visited the ship when accompanying Her Majesty The Queen to name her in 2004. Prior to the reception and luncheon, His Royal Highness visited several behind-the-scenes areas to meet with crew who perform different roles onboard. After meeting officers, he was given a tour of the largest Bridge at sea and was invited to sign the Visitor’s Book.
At the special reception, His Royal Highness unveiled a portrait of Queen Mary 2 by renowned maritime artist Robert Lloyd that was commissioned by Cunard Line to celebrate a decade of service by the flagship.
“We are honoured that His Royal Highness visited our flagship Queen Mary 2 on such a special day in the history of the world's only ocean liner,” Cunard Line CEO David Dingle said.
“For him to have spent time with many of our 1200 staff was very exciting and highly appropriate, for it is they who have made Queen Mary 2 the great success she is today,” Mr Dingle said.
As we reflect on her first decade of excellence, we look forward to the next ten years and are delighted to have had His Royal Highness taking part in these celebrations with us, as he was also present at her entry into service in 2004.”
Since entering service,Queen Mary 2 has sailed 1.5 million nautical miles on more than 400 voyages including 213 transatlantic crossings. She has called at 182 ports in 60 countries and carried more than 1.3 million guests.