January 12, 2008

A Tandem Crossing

The famous QE2 on the tandem crossing with the new Queen Victoria, January 7, 2008. Picture used with permission from the splendid Yahoo LinersList List Owner.

As their most famous ship and the last true liner on the North Atlantic, the 43 year old Cunarder Queen Elizabeth 2 powers her way to her 2008 retirement. Cunard has positioned the QV and QM2 to replace her in the public’s mind. The new Queen Victoria was accepted by Cunard Fincantieri's yard near Venice in November of 2007. She sailed for Southhampton in the midst of a great publicity campaign by Cunard. And today she and her much older sister, the QE2, are sailing tandem across the Atlantic.

For over a century, if you wanted to go to another continent, Liners offered the only way to cross the oceans from one point to another on what were called line voyages. Many counties financially supported the companies that waved their national flags worldwide. Millions migrated on these subsidized liners in Third Class or Tourist, while the First Class passengers dined above them in dinner jackets and diamonds while sipping fine wines.

In the early sixties, air travel began to whisk travelers from country to country in hours where before it took days. Only slowly did companies like Cunard adapt to the changes and many went out of business when the subsidies were cut off. The QE2 did not begin making world cruises until 1975. Her uneconomical steam turbines were changed to diesel in 1986. This change was one of the reasons she has had such a long life.

QE2 had the latest in 1960’s technology and design when she was launched. There was nothing traditional about the brilliant new technologies such as her bulbous bow and the dramatic new shape of her funnel. The “swinging design” of her Mod interiors targeted the young and was planned to display the best and most modern of British design.

Over the years, this three class ship has been converted to one class, most of her Mod design has been superseded by more contemporary design in several much publicized refits, and there have been continual mechanical and technological updates. The bottom line remains that she is still a 40 plus year old classic liner in an age of cruise ships.

The QE2 and the Queen Victoria left Southhampton and are now sailing in tandem at about 20 knots, says Doug Newman, cruise ship historian and blogger. They did encounter some rough seas on the 7th, but they will arrive on time in New York January 10th. On January 13th, there will be a historic meeting of QE2, QM2, and the new Queen Victoria near the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. Maritime Matters says Cunard recommends the “viewing locations at Battery Park on Manhattan's southern shoreline and Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park, overlooking the Hudson River.”

In November 2008, the QE2 will make her last voyage to Dubai World where, after a massive refit, she will begin her new life as a hotel at The Palm Jumeirah.

Duck: Last night he asked, “Who else visits me?” G answered truthfully but by tomorrow he will have forgotten what G said.
Me: Knee continues better. Hip still with me. Dislike being nonfunctional intensely. Dinner with Carrie was wonderful. It was the first time we had seen her since her husband died, and this beautiful, creative woman is slowly adapting to a new life of retirement by herself. She’s been busy but she has discovered the joys of going to bed when ever she wants and living how she wants for herself. For the first time, her car is garaged. His has been sold. She’s not selling the house. Where else can she live so inexpensively, but she has plans to remodel. She looks wonderful and stress free.
G: Delightful. What a difference a little light makes in his life.
Weather: 65 for the high. 48 for the low. WW: Fri: Breakfast, Peas and coffee; Lunch, turkey and no fat cheese half sand with carrots et al. No BBQ…Phil’s is closed for a month’s vacation. We ate at Guadalajara, and I had a chicken salad with little dressing. G regretted his fattening dinner as soon as he got home. Sat: B, coffee and beets. L: ½ ham and no fat cheese sand with veggies.


  1. Mage,

    I really enjoyed reading about the Queen Victoria and the QEII.

    I remember seeing the old Queen Elizabeth in Fort Lauderdale in 1968 and the beautiful Queen Mary in Long Beach in 1970.

    I would give anything to be in Battery Park tomorrow (1/13) to see the big three together for the last time. What a sight that will be. The QEII, the QMII, and the Queen Victoria.

    When I was a little kid the Normandy burned in New York Harbor and my Dad took the family to see the smoking ruins of that beautiful ship. I can still see the tears in his eyes as he looked at that awful scene. So sad.

    I wonder if I will ever get to Dubai and stay the the Palm Jumeirah ???

  2. Oh Nancy, why not. I'll count my pennies and you count yours, and maybe someday we will meet in the middle.

    I'm just posting a brand new link from "Cruise Critics" and Ben Lyons who is on board the QV. He's kept a blog of the trip. Wit pictures.

  3. Hi Mage,

    I read a lot of Ben Lyons logs aboard the QV. So interesting.

    I heard from a friend of mine in England that over 70 people were very ill on the Queen Victoria. I hope they have conquered that illness now.

    My friend also told me why the QEII has Roman numerals and the QM2 does not. It seems that Roman Numerals denote a Monarch. Of course, there was a Queen Elizabeth I and now the current Queen is Queen Elizabeth II but for there to have been a Queen Mary II, Mary ,Queen of Scots, would have had to be crowned Queen of England, and that would never do. I hope I have that straight.

    Mr. Thompson, my old History teacher in 1945 would be very proud of me.

    Yes, let's save up and meet in Abu Dhabi.....

  4. She's not 43 years old - where did they get that from? She entered service in 1969, the most common way of expressing a ship's age, which maked her not even 39 years old yet.

    Also amazed that no mention was made of how much faster she is than the QV - dramatically so. She has made New York in under 4 days, but QV struggled to make it in 7!

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