Cunard sailing to mark 50th anniversary of QE2 launch

The 50th anniversary of the launch of former Cunard flagship QE2 is to be marked on a special cruise next month.

Former captains of the ship will be on board the line’s newest vessel Queen Elizabeth for the Mediterranean voyage.

Celebrations will focus on five theme days, each of which will be accompanied by QE2 inspired menus, talks from special guests, historical snippets in the daily programme, past-passenger gatherings and QE2 quizzes.

Queen Elizabeth sets sail from Southampton on September 8 for a 17-night voyage.

Due on board are QE2’s last master Ian McNaught and Ron Warwick who served as QE2’s captain for 13 years.

QE2 made it maiden voyage in 1969 after being launched in September 1967 and left the Cunard fleet in 2008.

Cunard vice president Angus Struthers said: “This Mediterranean cruise is perfectly timed to pay tribute to QE2’s launch and naming by HM Queen Elizabeth II 50 years ago.

“When QE2 came into service in the 1960s, many critics said she wouldn’t last a decade in the age of the jet but her unique design as a dual-purpose ship meant that she was versatile enough to operate both as a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship.”

He added: “Given how famous and loved she was, we felt this was a great opportunity to pay tribute to this Cunarder’s remarkable life on board our newest ship, Queen Elizabeth.”

McNaught said: “This voyage is a significant and timely tribute to the world’s best loved ship.

“QE2 remains the longest serving express liner in history. She carried 2.5 million passengers over 5.6 million miles; that’s further than any passenger ship – ever.

“This remarkable ship sailed alone on the North Atlantic for most of her career. She carried the Cunard tradition from the bygone era of the ocean liner and sustained it into the 21st century.

“The QE2 carried royalty, celebrities and served in the Falklands war.

“QE2 has been gone for nearly a decade now, however on her 50th anniversary the memory of her is strong. It is very fitting to be acknowledging the QE2’s remarkable career here on board Queen Elizabeth.”

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