By Michael ColemanÂ
Its a farewell fit for a Queen.
Renowned maritime historians and experts will be among the onboard lecturers during QE2s final transatlantic crossings in October.Â
The iconic vessel will be shadowed from Southampton to New York (Oct. 10, Final New York Arrival Crossing) and from New York to Southampton (Oct. 16, Farewell to America Crossing) by Cunard fleet mate: Queen Mary 2.
After 40 years and some 2.5 million passengers, not to mention over 800 Atlantic crossings, the ship is scheduled to start a new life in Dubai as a first-class, permanently berthed hotel and entertainment destination.
But thats not to say she wont go out without a bang. Passengers lucky enough to be onboard for either crossing will be regaled by a host of memorable guest speakers.
Famed author and maritime historian Bill Miller, considered an international authority on the subject of ocean liners and cruise ships, having written 70 such books, headlines the Oct. 10 voyage. Among his many titles, he is the adjunct curator of the Ocean Liner Council at New York’s South Street Seaport Museum, the assistant editor of Ocean & Cruise News and created the ship database for the Ellis Island Museum.
He received the National Maritime History Award in 1994 and the Silver Riband Award in 2005.Â During the trip he will provide a series of lectures on the great liners of the 20th Century.
Ted Scull, a New York-based author, travel writer and lecturer specializing in maritime subjects, railway history and New York City, and Sir Michael Parker, longtime organizer for Royal and National events including Her Majesty The Queen’s Silver and Golden Jubilees, and the anniversaries of VE and VJ Day, will also be making presentations.
Scull, who hasÂ been sailing on Cunard passenger ships since 1964, will pay special tribute to QE2 during one of his four presentations.
On the return trip to Southampton, meanwhile, Jennie Bond, a BBC broadcaster, journalist and former Royal Correspondent and Stephen Payne, the project manager and lead architect for Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, will speak to guests.
As part of Paynes lectures on ocean liners of the past, he will present an illustrated history of famous Cunard vessels.
Other, prominent speakers will also be aboard Queen Mary 2 during the historic crossings.
QE2, dubbed the most famous ship in the world by Cunard, entered service on September 20, 1967.
Since then she has traveled over 5.6 million nautical miles – the equivalent of traveling to the moon and back 13 times. No ship has sailed further. She has also completed 25 world cruises.
Much loved, an estimated one million people turned out to see her when she called at Liverpool, England, for the first time in 1990.