Recalling Queen Mary’s Maiden Arrival in New York

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When Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 sails into New York harbour on Saturday 1 June, at the conclusion of her current Transatlantic Crossing from Southampton, she will arrive on the 77th anniversary of the maiden call of the original Queen Mary in New York in 1936.

Queen Mary’s Maiden Voyage began in Southampton on 27 May 1936 when she departed to the sounds of gleeful bands and ecstatic crowds. On board were the famous bandleader, Henry Hall, scheduled to give a series of live radio broadcasts during the Crossing; the virtuoso harmonica player, Larry Adler; and well-known singer, Frances Day, who performed a song written especially for Queen Mary by Henry Hall. Interestingly, Miss Day was doubtful of the ship’s ability to provide fresh eggs throughout the voyage, and so brought along her own chickens.

Seventy-seven years later, flagship Queen Mary 2 left Southampton last Saturday, 25 May, for New York. On board to speak is Jeffrey Weinberg, adviser to seven U.S. Presidents; and passengers still enjoy Cunard’s renowned on board entertainment, including presentations from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Today, the eggs – all 45,000 of them – are fresh and plentiful, and the Line’s legendary Transatlantic Crossings live on.

“During her nearly 10 years in service, Queen Mary 2 has proudly continued the Transatlantic legacy of elegance and glamour that Queen Mary so beautifully exemplified during her long reign of service,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.

“On this special anniversary, we are also pleased to continue to call New York our U.S. homeport, a city which has embraced our ships throughout the decades and played a prominent role in many Cunard milestones,” Shanks added.

Queen Mary in New York in 1936 Photo courtesy of Cunard
Queen Mary in New York in 1936 Photo courtesy of Cunard

Queen Mary would cross the Atlantic another 1,000 times during her 31-year career before being retired in 1967. Queen Mary 2 will sail her 200th Crossing on 6 July – from New York – during this, her ninth year on the Atlantic.

For more information about Cunard, and to book a voyage aboard Queen Mary 2, contact your Travel Agent, call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6273, or go to www.cunard.com.

Cunard gives North American Military Personnel a great deal on cruises

Cunard announced a new benefit for those who serve in the armed forces in North America. The new programme grants On Board Credits of up to $250 per person to members of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves, and the Canadian National Defense. Military personnel who are active, retired or disabled veterans are eligible with proper documentation.

The credits apply to all published voyages aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth and are combinable with other On Board Credit offers. The amount of each credit varies with cruise length: $50 per person for a cruise of six days or less; $100 per person for cruises of seven to 14 days; or $250 per person for those 14 days or longer.

Under the terms of the programme, retired status applies to enlisted personnel or officers with a minimum of 20 years of service, medical retirees and the 100 percent disabled. Veterans with an honourable discharge and a length of service that meets certain minimums also are eligible to apply. Military status must be confirmed prior to embarking on the voyage to be eligible for credits.

Cunard has a distinguished history with the military. During World War II, the Queen Mary served as a British Royal Mail Ship and, along with the original Queen Elizabeth, as a troopship. In addition, Winston Churchill credited Cunard with ending the war one year early because of the troop transfer services that both ships provided.

For more information go to Cunard.com

Cruise lines celebrating the royal wedding at sea

Royal Caribbean is offering royal wedding packages so you can feel like a prince or princess. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

By Jackie Roseboom

Many businesses are celebrating the Royal Wedding by offering their guests a viewing party and special offerings, and the cruise industry is no exception. From small viewing areas to lavish parties, it will all be available at sea.

Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean is celebrating the upcoming British royal wedding by offering an exclusive Royal Caribbean wedding package for couples looking to tie the knot at sea.

“Royal Caribbean’s full fleet of ships around the world will broadcast the royal wedding live so that guests may join in the ceremony’s excitement,” said Betsy O’Rourke, senior vice president of marketing. “Inspired by the pending royal nuptials, the Royal Wedding package and honeymoon registry offers guests the royal treatment on their special day and honeymoon cruise.”

The Royal wedding packages include an onboard symbolic wedding ceremony (due to the varying international legal restrictions). Royal Romance Wedding Coordinators will handle every detail so the couples’ special day is a truly regal experience including any legal requirements pre-departure.

Cunard

Cunard’s Royal Court Theatre is very fitting for watching Prince William marry Kate. Photo courtesy of Cunard
Guests onboard Cunard’s three ships — Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth need have no fear of missing one second of the historic union of the future King and Kate Middleton.

Queen Mary 2’s Royal Court Theatre seats over 1,000 guests, who will be able to watch events unfold in plush cinema comfort as the ship sails between New York and Southampton, on a seven-night Transatlantic Crossing (April 26 to May 2).
The Royal Court Theatres on the smaller Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria seat more than 800 passengers, and they too will be used to screen the Royal nuptials live. At the time Queen Elizabeth will be at sea heading for Southampton, and Queen Victoria will be at sea in the Mediterranean.

The day will also be one of celebration on all three Cunard ships, with that evening’s dinner featuring a commemorative menu and a champagne toast.

MSC
With the exception of MSC Sinfonia and Opera, which will not be sailing in European waters, the Royal Wedding will be broadcast in English across the MSC fleet. Bars on board will be serving a great selection of champagnes and prosecco together with a special commemorative Royal Cocktail (sparkling wine, cognac and grand marnier). Guests will be able to raise a glass – or two – to the happy couple.

NCL
The highly-anticipated event will be broadcast across Norwegian’s fleet of ships, with the exception of Norwegian Sky in the Bahamas. Guests will be able to watch the magic of the royal wedding on two-story big screens on Norwegian Pearl, Jewel, Jade, Gem and Epic, as well as in any of the line’s bars and lounges.
After the royal couple say their “I do’s,” guests can raise a toast to the newlyweds with champagne, gin and tonic or a pitcher of Pimm’s and attend street parties held in true British style, complete with music playing tribute to the Beatles. Special dining events will be held throughout the sailing including the Prince and Princess Brunch and an afternoon Royal High Tea.

Princess Cruise Line
Princess ships will be airing the Royal Wedding on the Movies Under the Stars giant screens. Passengers will be able to follow along with full coverage of the pomp and majesty of the historic wedding through BBC World’s broadcast of the event. The onboard viewing parties will add a celebratory flair to the event with British-style refreshments and special royal-themed cocktails. Passengers can also test their knowledge with royal wedding trivia competitions and participate in a William and Kate look-alike contest.

Princess Cruise Line’s first Royal Princess cruise ship debuted in 1984 and was christened by HRH Princess Diana. The ship left the fleet in 2005, the name was passed to one of Princess’ small ships in 2007. This vessel is being transferred to a sister company at the end of April. The new Royal Princess cruise ship will be debuting in spring of 2013. We’ll be waiting in anticipation to see if Princess Kate will also christen the Royal Princess, as the beloved Princess Diana did.

Note: Be sure to follow your Cruise News Weekly columnists as we report live from Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Magic, from May 1 to 10 in Europe. We’ll be reporting from our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Cunard launches Queen Elizabeth

Cruise travel brand icon Cunard launched the 2,068-guest Queen Elizabeth this week in London. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth officiated at the naming ceremony. The Queen christened Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 in 1984 and was on hand in 1967 for the naming of Queen Elizabeth 2. Image courtesy Cunard Line

By Michael Coleman

Cruise travel’s most famous brand name paired with the world’s most famous monarch this week.

Her Majesty The Queen officially named Cunard Line’s newest ocean liner, the 2,068-guest Queen Elizabeth during ceremonies in London. The new vessel — estimates peg the total cost at $634 million – features 1,046 staterooms, 71 per cent of which have balconies.

Look for the ship’s lobby to showcase her grandeur complete with links to Cunard ocean liners of the past. With its finishes of light mahogany and marble, stunning art deco chandelier from the era of the first Queen Elizabeth, cantilevered balconies and magnificent, two-deck high original artwork on the grand staircase, the Grand Lobby is the social focal point of the ship. Plaques detailing the Captains who have served on the two previous Cunard “Elizabeths” celebrate the continuation of the “Elizabeth” name, and a third plaque will record over time the names of the future masters of the newest Queen Elizabeth.

The main dining room, the Britannia Restaurant, spans two decks at the stern of the vessel and offers an art deco feel. It evokes memories of classic ocean liner restaurants with a unique sweeping staircase and marbleized backlit decorative ceiling among the focal points. Breakfast and lunch are served by open seating and guests have the option of either early or late sitting for dinner.

Both the Queens Grill and Princess Grill Restaurants are located on top of the ship (Deck 11), enclosed by graceful and gently curving panoramic glass walls on the seaboard sides, and cantilevered out over the side of the vessel above Deck 10. Both Grills offer a single seating, so guests can enter at a time of their choosing, and the restaurants themselves, although architecturally similar, are decorated distinctly to create an individual feel. Grills guests also have exclusive use of their own private bar and lounge conveniently located next to the Grills restaurants, and complete with resident Concierge.

The ship also features a number of alternative dining venues: The Garden Lounge hosts occasional evening ‘Supper Clubs’ with musical entertainment and dancing; The Lido Restaurants, up on Deck 9, offer breakfast and lunch buffet style; Café Carinthia continues the popular venue introduce on Queen Victoria – furnished in art deco touches and rich décor – offering guests sweet pastries, fine teas and coffees; Golden Lion Pub offers English pub food for lunch in a traditional British pub setting.

The ship’s three-deck Royal Court Theatre, with tiered seating for 832 guests, is the focal point for evening entertainment. Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth’s two-deck Queen’s Room ballroom, another Cunard signature feature, is designed for dancing, cocktail parties and traditional English afternoon teas complete with finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones with jam and cream.

Look for a host of bars and clubs to suit a wide variety of tastes.

The ship’s outdoor space on Deck 9 aft, meanwhile, will feature garden parties reminiscent of those held at British country houses, while the forward Games Deck, named after the same deck on the original Queen Elizabeth, offers paddle tennis and introduces croquet and bowls under a canopy to shield players from the sun.

On the web: cunard.com

Queen Elizabeth to name the next Cunard ship

Cunard Line just announced that her majesty the Queen will name the company’s new Queen Elizabeth, the third Cunard ship to bear the name.

The naming will be a milestone in British maritime history and is sure to spark interest worldwide.

Her majesty was present at the age of 12 at the launch of the first Queen Elizabeth on Sept. 27, 1938, when she accompanied her mother, Queen Elizabeth, to Clydebank for the launch.

“The naming of a Cunard Queen is a very special occasion and this will be a historic event in the true sense of the word,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The Queen launched Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967 and named our current flagship, Queen Mary 2, in 2004. We are both honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name our new liner, Queen Elizabeth,” added Shanks.

The Naming Ceremony will take place in Southampton on Monday, Oct. 11 and Queen Elizabeth will set sail on her maiden voyage on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010.

Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company to debut on Cunard’s new ship

By Matt Roseboom

The Cunard line will further enhance their reputation for high-class entertainment when their new ship, Queen Elizabeth, launches in England this October.

An original concept will debut on the ship — the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Company. A group of 29 actors, dancers and musicians will perform a brand new repertoire of shows in the majestic Royal Court Theatre. Cruisers will be able to see a variety of musical productions and abridged versions of popular plays.

New shows include the hit “Slice of Saturday Night.” The play, which features a popular medley of ‘60s music, has been staged in London and toured extensively. Adapted for the Queen Elizabeth by its original writers, the Heather Brothers, the show will feature all of the Theatre Company members. It will be the largest production show Cunard has ever staged.

Abridged versions of popular plays such as a Neil Simon triple bill and Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” will also be performed. The Simon show will feature three scenes, one each from some of the playwright’s best-loved shows — “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” “Plaza Suite” and “The Odd Couple”. At the conclusion of each show, the audience may take part in an informal Q&A session with the actors.

Other onboard performances:

– “The Piccadilly Line” features speech, song and prose as characters get on and off a train journey on the world’s oldest underground rail system.

 – “Hotel Royale” is a musical production featuring the story of a hotel with a quirky staff and unusual guests.

 – “Sing” is based on the popularity of “Singers in Concert” performed on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. The show will feature familiar contemporary musical theater, pop and classic songs.

 – “La Danza” is a cutting edge dance production showcasing the virtuoso talents of the dance ensemble. 

The Theatre Company will also present its own take on topical news and entertainment stories as guests take part in a fun panel quiz show.

Queen Elizabeth will continue their tradition of presenting Cunard’s Royal Nights with the debut of “The Cunard Ball,” “London Swings,” “The Starlight Ball” and the “Elizabethan Ball.” “London Swings” will be featured on the same evening as “Slice of Saturday Night,” with its inspirations taken from popular British ’60s icons such as Twiggy, Mary Quant and Carnaby Street.
New for Queen Elizabeth will be the introduction of Professional Insights, a series of expert workshops on diverse subjects including antiques, auctions, sculpture, movie reviews, performance poetry and even weather forecasting.

In addition, Queen Elizabeth will offer Cunard’s Insights enrichment program which allows guests to attend lectures, workshops and the like with personalities of notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, arts and literature. Cunard feels onboard entertainment should offer guests a provocative and rewarding experience.

Cruise Guide: Cunard’s QM2 to host filmmakers

The Queen Mary 2, as part of its onboard enrichment programming, will host acclaimed filmmakers Griffin Dunne and Gary Winick on an upcoming voyage.  Image courtesy Cunard
The Queen Mary 2, as part of its onboard enrichment programming, will host acclaimed filmmakers Griffin Dunne and Gary Winick on an upcoming voyage. Image courtesy Cunard

By Michael Coleman

Acclaimed filmmakers Griffin Dunne and Gary Winick will be featured speakers on Queen Mary 2’s Transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York, Nov. 11.

The duo will participate in Cunard Insights, the line’s award-wining onboard enrichment program, and will screen one of each of their films: Dunne will discuss “Practical Magic,” starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock; Winick will screen his feature film, “13 Going on 30,” starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo.

In addition, they will engage in a panel conversation with the ship’s entertainment director where they will share stories about their multi-faceted careers and the many roles they play in the entertainment industry — from director and producer to writer and actor. All programs will be held in Queen Mary 2’s 450-seat, stadium-style theatre, Illuminations, which is also the only planetarium at sea.
 
Dunne has been involved in the film business for almost 30 years. Beginning as an actor, Dunne starred in John Landis’ cult favorite, “An American Werewolf in London” (1981). A few years later, he had the leading role in Martin Scorsese’s “After Hours” (1985), which is among the many movies that Dunne has produced with partner Amy Robinson through their company, Double Play Productions.

Dunne has continued to appear on both sides of the camera, taking supporting roles as an actor in films such as “My Girl” (1991) and “I Like It Like That” (1994). He made his directorial debut with a short film, “Duke of Groove” (1996) (TV), which was nominated for an Academy Award. Dunne then made the leap to feature films with “Addicted to Love” (1997), “Practical Magic” (1998), “Famous” (2000) and “Fierce People” (2005). Dunne is the son of the late notable writer and investigative journalist, Dominick Dunne, and Ellen Griffin Dunne.
 
Film director and producer Gary Winick has directed films such as “Tadpole” (2002), for which he won the Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival; “13 Going on 30” (2004); and the live-action remake of “Charlotte’s Web” (2006). His most recent film, “Bride Wars,” was released in January 2009. Through InDigEnt, which he founded in 1999, he has produced such films as “Pieces of April” (2003), for which Patricia Clarkson was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress; “Land of Plenty” (2004); and “Starting Out in the Evening” (2007). He won the 2003 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for producing “Personal Velocity.”
 
Delving deeply into a variety of compelling and relevant topics, Cunard Insights introduces guests to stimulating experts and accomplished visionaries who reflect the line’s heritage of adventure and prestige. Through a series of lectures, Q&A’s, social gatherings and workshops, guests connect with authors and intellectuals who have achieved notable distinction in areas including history, world affairs, science, politics, arts and literature
 
The crossing is just one of more than 20 six-day voyages between Southampton and New York offered by Cunard this year. In 2010, Cunard will offer more, sailing six and seven-day Transatlantic voyages between April and November.
 
On the Web: www.cunard.com

Cunard announces 2010-2011 sailings for Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria

Cunard has announced the Europe, Transatlantics and Americas 2010-2011 itineraries for Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. Reservations will be open for booking this Friday, April 17. Continue reading “Cunard announces 2010-2011 sailings for Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria”

Singer James Taylor to headline Queen Mary 2 crossing

James Taylor
James Taylor
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter James Taylor and his band will perform during Queen Mary 2’s June 19 eastbound Transatlantic Crossing. Sailing from New York to Southampton, England, Taylor will headline two Cunard Command Performances in the ship’s Royal Court Theatre during the six-day journey.

“I’ve always wanted to take an ocean liner back to Europe. It’s such a civilized way to go, and the Queen Mary 2 is the last word in first class travel. It was a dream to use the passage to transport and rehearse our summer tour: band, crew and family; kit and caboodle. I’m looking forward to the pair of concerts at the end of the trip and, hallelujah, no jet lag,” Taylor said. Continue reading “Singer James Taylor to headline Queen Mary 2 crossing”

Cruise Guide: Cunard unveils onboard museum

By Mike Coleman

Cunard Line’s unparalleled maritime history has come to life in the most obvious of locations: At sea, aboard its latest vessel.

When Queen Victoria was launched Dec. 11, it was the first Cunard vessel to carry an exhibit of company memorabilia, artifacts and vintage souvenirs including Queen Mary’s log book and her historic zig zag clock – that vital timekeeping device that prevented World War II German U-Boat attacks against the famed liner.

The onboard museum – dubbed Cunardia – tells the story of the company’s trio of 20th century Queens: Queen Mary (1936), Queen Elizabeth (1940) and Queen Elizabeth 2 (1969). The exhibit showcases the histories of the iconic ocean liners; trace a ‘typical day’ at sea, from the perspective of both passenger and crew member and feature the role of the Queens as troop carriers during World War II and the Falklands War in 1982.

In addition, retired Commodore Ronald Warwick, former Master of Queen Mary 2 and QE2, serves as honorary curator of the exhibit. Warwick, an avid Cunard historian, was a natural choice, not only due to his own place in the Cunard family, but also because his father, Capt. William E. Warwick, captained Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and QE2. Warwick and his father, by the way, are the only father-and-son captains in Cunard’s 168-year history.

The most significant piece of memorabilia may be the zig-zag clock from Queen Mary during her wartime service. The clock was kept on the bridge to alert navigators as to when to change direction during the operation known as zig-zagging. Regularly changing course was a tactic designed to confuse U-boats. Adolph Hitler had put a price on the ship as a target and as a trophy of war.

Other exhibits include the first log book of Queen Mary (handwritten by Sir Edgar Britten, captain during her maiden voyage); collections of never-before-published images, illustrating the celebrity hey-day of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth; detailed ship models and souvenirs; artifacts and stories related to the “Cunard Yanks,” the young crew who brought the latest New York fashions in clothing and music to post-war Britain.

While focusing on Cunard’s 20th century history, Cunardia also gives a nod to the present, with exhibit references to Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, including the cork from the bottle of prosecco that was broken over Queen Victoria’s bow by Maureen Ryan, as the ship met open water for the first time. With its typical flair for tradition and ceremony, Cunard chose Ryan, the only known person to have served on four Queens, to serve as the ship’s godmother during Queen Victoria’s float-out celebration.

Similarly, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall named the 90,000 ton ship, joining a long line of royals who have launched a Cunard liner. As well as being the second largest Cunard liner ever built, Queen Victoria’s arrival is particularly noteworthy, as it marks the first time that three Cunard Queens have been in service together in the company’s storied history.