Cruise Line History – Cunard Line’s QE 2 – Dates with Royalty Commemorative “Farewell” Menu



Front menu cover picture: Her Majesty The Queen, with Captain Warwick and Cunard Chairman Sir Basil Smallpiece, inspects the Britannia figurehead in the Britannia restaurant (now Mauretania Restaurant). 1 May 1969

(Thanks to Dan Cottle and his interesting website

To recognize the 2008 Farewell Season of QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, Cunard’s UK Public Relations Department presented to passengers commemorative and informative menu covers detailing some of the special events and history of the ocean liner. For the next several days, while the ship is enroute to her final destination in Dubai, I would like to share the information found within the pages of the menu. These menus were presented during her 806th and final transatlantic crossing, 17 October – 21 October 2008.

Queen Elizabeth 2:

Dates with Royalty

The Royal Family has shown a great interest in QE2 throughout her life from before her  launch right to a farewell visit paid to the ship in June this year by Her Majesty The Queen. And not many ships can claim to have a prince as its first “passenger”!


14 July HRH The Duke of Edinburgh toured the uncompleted liner and lunched with the Cunard and John Brown Chairmen.

20 September QE2 was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the presence of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Princess Margaret.


20 February HRH Princess Margaret opened the QE2 Exhibition at the Design Centre in London.

19 November HRH Prince Charles sailed on board from the shipyard in Clydebank to drydock in Greenock.


1 May HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visited in Southampton continuing the tradition set by Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

16 May While outward bound through Spithead on her second westbound voyage QE2 passed through the assembled multi-national fleet of NATO which HM the Queen was reviewing from the Royal Yacht Britannia. QE2 blew a loyal greeting as she drew abreast of the Royal Yacht.

29 May HRH The Duke of Edinburgh again visited and toured the ship in Southampton while presenting the 1969 Council of Industrial Design Awards.


5 March HRH Princess Margaret paid an informal visit in Barbados. Accompanied by Lord Snowdon and a party of 13 she toured all the public rooms, lunched in the Grill Room and enjoyed refreshments in the Captain’s Cabin and Midships Bar.


May For QE 2’s tenth anniversary, HM The Queen sent a message to QE2’s Captain which read:

“I wish her God speed and you and your officers and crew every success in adding to the one million five hundred thousand miles already sailed”.


11 June QE2 was welcomed home in Southampton following service in the Falklands War by HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on board Royal Yacht Britannia.

2 December HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother lunched on board in Southampton and unveiled a Falklands Plaque.


3 May HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother lunched on board in Southampton to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Queen Mary’s maiden voyage in 1936.


29 Apri HRH The Princess of Wales sailed on board to attend a children’s party and Concorde made a special flypast to mark the ship’s successful re-engining.


14 December HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother lunched on board to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of her launching the Queen Elizabeth in 1938.


27 July Royal review of Cunard and Royal Navy ships at Spithead by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh on board Royal Yacht Britannia. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh transferred to QE2 by Royal Barge. The Queen then became the first reigning monarch to sail on a commercial liner with passengers.


15 June HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Prince Edward attended a Royal Ball on board in Southampton.


12 June HRH Prince Edward lunched on board to celebrate 40th Anniversary of The Queen’s accession. He sailed on the ship and left by helicopter.

5 August HM The Queen and HRH Prince Andrew visited in Southampton to join the 175th anniversary of the British Sailors’ Society. After the service Her Majesty boarded the Royal Yacht Britannia and accompanied by HMS York and Patricia she reviewed various units of the Merchant Fleet including QE2.


4 June HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh reviewed QE2 from the Royal Yacht Britannia as part of the 50th Anniversary of ‘D-Day’ Commemorations. Also on board Britannia for the review: HM The Queen Mother; HRH Princess Margaret and HRH Princess Anne.

17 December HRH Prince Andrew was guest of honor at lunch on board in Southampton to mark return to service after major refit.


17 July HRH Princess Anne lunched on board in Edinburg prior to QE2 leading the Tall Ships out of the Firth of Forth.


28 September HRH Prince Edward attended a Boyal Ball on board in Southampton.


1 May On the day that QE2 handed over flagship status to  QM2, Buckingham Palace set the following message:

“Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh remember with pleasure their many visits to the ship and send their best wishes to you for a memorable event”.


28 July HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh reviewed QE2 from HMS Endurance as part of the Trafalgar 200 Celebrations off Spithead.


2 June HM The Queen lunched on board as part of her farewell visit.

11 November HRH The Duke of Edinburgh is scheduled to visit QE2 on her last day in the UK.



About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…