Amidst fireworks and fanfare in New York Harbor on January 14, Cunard Line’s flagship RMS Queen Mary 2 and RMS Queen Victoria joined the new RMS Queen Elizabeth during her maiden visit to New York.
The meeting of the Queens marked only the second time in Cunard’s 171-year history that all three of the company’s ships have met simultaneously in New York. The first “Cunard Royal Rendezvous” took place in January 2008, celebrating Queen Victoria’s maiden call to New York, and involved the famous RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (widely known as the QE2) as well as the Queen Mary 2.
(Cunard subsequently retired the aging Queen Elizabeth 2 and sold the ship in late 2008 to Dubai World company Nakheel Properties for planned conversion to a floating hotel in Dubai, where the liner is now moored awaiting conversion. However, the QE2, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria had time for one last meeting in Southampton harbor in England, on April 22, 2008.)
On the evening of January 14, thousands of New Yorkers lined the shores of Manhattan from Battery Park to Hudson River Park to see the new fleet gather for the first time.
During a celebration that began with a 21-gun fireworks salute, the three Cunard Queens made a procession into New York Harbor illuminated by a Grucci fireworks show and then departed on their respective luxury-cruise vacations.
“Cunard’s Queens have always been regally greeted in our US home port, and we are thrilled that our newest Queen has been met with an equally exquisite celebration,” says Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The City of New York is a core part of our legacy and a significant landmark for Cunard, and we’re delighted to celebrate the very rare and momentous Royal Rendezvous in The Big Apple.”
As a salute to the Cunard Royal Rendezvous, the Empire State Building was lit in Cunard’s red company color.
Shanks, along with Cunard’s Commodore Bernard Warner and Micky Arison, CEO and chairman of Carnival Corporation, which owns Cunard Line, rang the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange on January 14 using the ship’s bell from the original Queen Elizabeth, which was launched in 1938 and for many years was the world’s largest ship in terms of gross and displacement tonnage.
Most recently, the new Queen Elizabeth was the subject of a royal naming ceremony on October 11 2010, attended by Her Majesty The Queen in Southampton, England. Following her maiden call to New York, she embarked on her maiden world voyage of 103 days.
Meanwhile, flagship Queen Mary 2 begins her fifth World Voyage (also 103 days) and Queen Victoria begins her debut Americas Season, traversing between the east and west coasts through the Panama Canal.
For more information about Cunard’s three Queens or to book a voyage, consult a travel agent, call toll-free 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com.