Cunard Line has unveiled plans to mark QE2′s final departure from her home port of Southampton on Tuesday 11 November 2008. After 39 years of service, which have seen QE2 sail 5.9 million nautical miles, complete 806 transatlantic crossings, carry over 2.5 million guests, undertake 25 World Cruises and answer her country’s call during the Falklands Campaign, QE2 will leave Cunard service following this final voyage from Southampton to Dubai where she will become a first class hotel and entertainment center.
The QE 2 docked in Los Angeles (San Pedro, Ca) on her 1986 World Cruise (Grace Collection).
Michael L. Grace – Cruising the Past Editor – main lounge aboard the 1986 QE2 World Cruise (Grace Collection).
The highlight of 11 November will be a farewell visit by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who will be making his seventh visit to the most famous ship in the world. During the visit, His Royal Highness will observe the two-minutes’ silence at 1100 hours prior to meeting crew members who went down to the Falklands on the ship.
The Queen during her farewell visit to the ship on 2 June 2008.
His Royal Highness will then undertake a tour of the vessel, including visits to the Wardroom, Bridge, Engine Control Room and Hospital before attending a Reception in the Queens Room. There he will present a painting of QE2, which was unveiled by Her Majesty
QE 2 Newspaper and Programme – 1986 World Cruise – Photo of Ruby Keller (Grace Collection)
The Queen during her farewell visit to the ship on 2 June 2008, to the Mayor of Southampton, who will accept it on behalf of the city. At the Reception he will meet long-serving staff, as well as the former Captains of HMS Ardent, Antelope and Coventry whose ships were lost in the Falklands Campaign and who returned to the UK on QE2. After lunch His Royal Highness will watch a flypast by a Harrier jet from the aft decks of QE2.
People from all over the country are expected to travel to Southampton to say goodbye to QE2.
A programme from the Final Voyage “The Last Great Cruise” of the RMS Queen Mary – enroute to Long Beach – in 1967 (Grace Collection).
She will arrive alongside her berth at the Queen Elizabeth II Terminal at just after 0630 hours where she will remain until her departure at 1915 hours.
At 1100 hours a million poppies will be dropped over the ship from a Tiger Moth to commemorate Remembrance Day, mark QE2′s role in the Falklands, and note the fact that her final departure is on 11 November.
This will be followed at 1340 hours by a flypast of a Harrier which will hover and bow to QE2 approximately 500-feet off her stern.
QE2 is planned to leave her berth at 1915 hours and proceed astern to be off Mayflower Park where she will remain for a period. A pre-recorded message from her Master, Captain Ian McNaught, will be broadcast on a specially-erected screen in the Park. Immediately after this there will be a brief, spectacular firework display. QE2 will then proceed downriver with her whistle blasting and she is expected to be accompanied by a large flotilla. She will pass the Queen Elizabeth II Terminal just before 2000 hours for the final time and then make her way down Southampton Water en route to Dubai.
“Crossing the Pond” – When getting there was half the fun!
As QE2 leaves the Cunard fleet, the company’s flagship Queen Mary 2 – the largest and grandest ocean liner in the world – spearheads the revival of the Golden Age of Ocean Travel by continuing to offer the regular transatlantic service that the company started in 1840. While Queen Victoria, which entered service in December 1997, is a vessel that has redefined ‘style’ on the high seas, and offers Cunard’s historic European routes. In addition, along with Queen Mary 2, she continues the tradition of World Cruises started by Cunard in1922. And the company will not have to wait long for a new ‘Elizabeth’ for Queen Elizabeth will enter service in autumn 2010. Then Cunard will offer the youngest – and most famous – fleet afloat.