Top selling Cunard travel agents joined celebrities and loyal customers at the Queen’s fourth and final visit to the QE2 today.

The Queen, dressed in purple, was on board to bid farewell to the ship before it retires to become a floating hotel in Dubai in November.

On board, the Queen met former and current staff and nine QE2 captains and unveiled a painting of the ship to be given to the city of Southampton later this year.

Cunard invited 300 guests to the reception and lunch, including 15 agents, among them The Co-operative Travel, Thomson and First Choice, Gill’s Cruise Centre and chairman Andrew Gardner said: “It’s a real privilege to be here. The QE2 is a grand old lady and it will be sad to see her go.”

Complete Cruise Solution sales director Giles Hawke was one of those to meet the Queen. He said.  “She said to me there must be a lot of interest in this ship and I told her that made it an easy one to sell.”

Hawke added: “The publicity from today and its association with royalty will help endorse the product and raise awareness of the brand and cruising.”

During the lunch Cunard president and managing director Carol Marlow presented the Queen with a photograph of the ship from 1967.

She said: “The QE2 is a legend in her own right and it seems very fitting that I present to Your Majesty an aerial photograph of the day your first visit to the ship when it first entered the Clyde. The ocean liner will forever be part of British maritime history.”

The QE2 has travelled more than 5.6 million nautical miles and carried more than 2.5 million guests.