opens River Festival as part of 'On The Waterfront 2011'
the Merseyside River Festival, a 6 days of free maritime events,
this year was the arrival at the cruise terminal on Thursday, 8
September 2011, of the Cunard ship, Queen Elizabeth. As usual,
the liner drew many sightseers to the waterfront to observe her
presence, although the sight of such ships is now once again
becoming more common place. Those of us lucky enough to board
her had a chance to study her more closely. Beforehand Cllr Joe
Anderson, Leader of Liverpool City Council accompanied by other
City dignitaries welcomed her to the port. He remarked that
Cunard was a part
of Liverpool’s proud tradition and cultural heritage and that he
"was grateful to Cunard for the visits of Queen Elizabeth
and Queen Victoria for the River Festival", which was
"an event for Liverpool to look forward to each year."
He added that:- "Liverpool is a global
city and this Festival helps to showcase it." In
response to questions, he stated that Liverpool needs a proper
turnaround facility for cruise liners to stay in our port.
People have shown that they want to visit and the cruise lines
want to cater for them. Also he added that although Cunard are
based in Southampton, they are still keen to call and that there
are other cruise lines as well! The money that Liverpool
received from the UK, to help build the Terminal (a current
source of delay) , the City Council has already agreed to pay
back but (importantly) he has been assured that the EU are not
asking for any return, and have told him directly that it is not
required. Liverpool’s provisions are not the business of other
ports and they would, "have to compete on a fair footing".
Each visiting ship contributes to the local economy, and would
be worth up to £ million each year.
Cunard’s President, Peter Shanks and Queen Elizabeth’s Captain,
Christopher Wells gave us more history and information.
Liverpool they reiterated is still Cunard’s spiritual home
although they moved Southampton because as ships grew bigger,
they needed things the Mersey could not provide at the time.
Cunard has other bases across the world although Southampton
remains its home base. Peter Shanks spoke his vision for 2015,
the 175th anniversary of Cunard’s beginnings here in Liverpool.
It would be marvellous to bring all three present cruise ships:
Queens Elizabeth, Victoria and Mary all together in the Mersey.
These are early days and no promises; but it would be a
spectacular sight. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are sister
ships, basically alike only that Queen Elizabeth is slightly
longer. The Queen Mary is the flagship, about twice the size of
the other 2 and incidentally 5 times bigger than Britannia, the
first Cunarder to cross the Atlantic from Liverpool 175 years
ago. She is the only true liner of the 3, the others are flat
bottomed cruise ships. She will be visiting Liverpool at the end
of the River Festival, Thursday, 15 September 2011. An
explanation was given as to why this ship is not the QE3, a
popular misconception. Only one ship can hold a name at any one
time, and at the time of naming her predecessor in 1967 the
original Queen Elizabeth was still sailing, albeit very briefly,
therefore she had to be Queen Elizabeth 2. This is not the case
with the present ship and nor with the Victoria, who can
take their names without a problem. The first QE was named by
HRH Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George and mother of the
present queen. The President of the time told her "this is
your ship" and so began a special relationship. Well,
that’s one mystery solved!
The new Queen Elizabeth incorporates some of the QE2’s features,
plus many new ones. She is more manoeuvrable than the QE2,
thanks to great advances in technology. At only 11 months old,
she is state of the art. However, she is styled in the Art Deco
manner of the thirties and the first QE, but with some very
modern twists. On a tour of the ship, led by Thomas Quinones,
who was a fund of information, we visited many of the public
areas of the ship and were able to witness the tasteful,
understated decor, and to see some of the features and curios on
board. Including a large woodcut mural, the work of Viscount
Linley, situated on the main staircase: also a solid silver
model of the QE2 by Oscar Nemons, various ships’ bells and flags
and other memorabilia. Cunard, we were told, pride themselves on
offering traditional ocean liner experience; a view upheld by
various passengers we spoke to. We had time to view the 3 grand
restaurants; all serving the same menu; and other smaller
eateries and bars; the magnificent theatre, the Queens’s room
with a fabulous chandelier; concert room; 45 degree observation
deck, and numerous sports facilities, including golf croquet and
bowls as well as deck quoits, and swimming pool. For quieter
moments, there is a large library and even the classic, communal
jigsaw puzzle. There has to be a broad spectrum of provision to
meet most tastes of the crew and passengers who represent some
51 different nationalities.
We hope the photographs give a taste, but she really has to be
visited to do her justice. A grand concert was scheduled for the
evening for the passengers, held in Liverpool’s Anglican
Cathedral and involving the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Orchestra and Choir and a military band. A firework display took
place in the evening as she sailed out towards Cobh in Ireland,
continuing her voyage around the British Isles. We will have
photographs in next weeks issue after her big sister’s visit
(Queen Mary 2 - aka 'QM2'), on Thursday, 15
September 2011, also at the cruise terminal.
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2 Years Parts & Labour Worranty