Cunard will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the line’s flagship, Queen Mary 2, on Friday 9 May 2014 with the arrival of the whole three-ship fleet in Southampton. This will be a rare occasion to see Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth together, and Southampton will be the only place in the world to have hosted the Three Queens three times.
The ships will arrive together at first light to begin a day of spectacular celebration, with an early morning Birthday Salute, a special reception and lunch on board Queen Mary 2 for invited guests in the presence of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, and a spectacular fireworks send-off in the evening before Queen Mary 2 leads the three ships in convoy down Southampton Water.
Key local timings for the day are as follows:
Three Ships Arrival: 5.00 – 5.30am
Sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will take the lead up Southampton Water, followed by a fire tug with water jets to herald the arrival of birthday girl Queen Mary 2.
Three Queens Birthday Salute: 5.30 – 5.45am
As Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria take a bow-to-bow position just 30 metres apart by the Queen Elizabeth II terminal, Queen Mary 2 will slowly sail past her sister ships. As a 10th Birthday Salute, “Happy Birthday” rendered on ships’ whistles will sound out across the water and 10,000 balloons will be released from the Pavilion Pool on Queen Mary 2’s top deck.
Three Queens move to their berths for the day: 6.00 – 6.30am
After the Birthday Salute, Queen Mary 2 will continue on to Ocean Terminal where she will be based for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s visit. Queen Victoria will sail from Queen Elizabeth II Terminal to City Terminal, and Queen Elizabeth will move into her final position at Queen Elizabeth II Terminal.
Three Ship Formation: 8pm – 9.30pm
At 8.00pm, with all passengers embarked, Queen Elizabeth will move down the berth at Queen Elizabeth II Terminal while Queen Victoria sails from City Terminal to take up position behind her, so that the sister ships are bow-to-stern just 30 metres apart. Then at 9.30pm, Queen Mary 2 will reverse out of her berth by Ocean Terminal and will hold her position in the water, creating a curved array of the Three Queens, ready for the first fusillade of fireworks.
Queen Mary 2’s 10th Anniversary Fireworks: 10pm- 10.10pm
In a 10 minute display – one minute for each of Queen Mary 2’s 10 magnificent years – the night sky will be lit up by spectacular fireworks, fired from the Hythe side of the river opposite Queen Elizabeth II Terminal, as the grand finale to a very special day.
Three Ships Departure: 10.15pm approx
As the climatic fireworks explode overhead, Queen Mary 2 will make ready to lead the way down Southampton Water, followed by Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.
Public viewing vantage points to be part of Queen Mary 2’s special 10th Anniversary fireworks are Town Quay, Mayflower Park and Hythe Marina.
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Balloon releases are littering and very harmful to marine life. Plans to release 10,000 balloons into the Solent is littering on a massive scale. Please encourage the organisers at Cunard Line to consider an alternative celebration.
Wish I were sailing on the lovely QM 2