It’s book review time, again! I have had a copy of “175 Years of Cunard” sitting on my desk for a few weeks, just waiting to be picked up and read and last weekend, I finally got that chance!
I am sailing with Cunard – aboard Queen Victoria – for the very first time on November 13 and although this book is mostly a look back at the lines history, it has put me in Cunard cruise mood. I am very excited to sample this amazing brand and yes, I am counting down the days. I am also counting down the days to my two Transatlantic crossings aboard Queen Mary 2 next year, but for now, back to the book…
“Cunard’s first ship, Britannia, set sail across the Atlantic on 4 July 1840, inaugurating a service that has endured for 175 years. Cunard’s success is in part due to its continuous technological advances; from the early years of wooden paddle steamers to steel-hulled leviathans, electric lighting to steam turbine engines. But it is the ships themselves, the shipbuilders, managers, crew and guests that have had the greatest impact on the success of the line, creating unique environments full of personality.
The Cunard fleet answered the call of duty during the two world wars and transported thousands of troops to fight for the Allied forces. Cunard’s QE2 was a much-beloved liner and the most famous ship at sea, participating in the Falkland’s campaign and sailing more than 2.5 million miles during her 40-year career.
Today the three current Queens are a celebration of Cunard’s heritage and are considered to be some of the greatest ships in the world, providing luxurious accommodations, excellent service and lively entertainment whilst their passengers travel the world.”
Lusitania was sunk in May 1915 by a U Boat during World War I – Image credit: Henderson & Cremer
Mauretania was built at Swan Hunter. Newcastle upon-Tyne – Image credit: Henderson & Cremer
Queen Elizabeth held the record as the world’s largest passenger ship until 1996 when she was finally eclipsed by Carnival Destiny – Image credit: Henderson & Cremer
The book also features a selection of “did you know” fact boxes and these are some of my favourites:
- During her maiden voyage in 1883, Cunard’s Aurania suffered a major incident when her engines exploded. Fortunately, there was no loss of life.
- Lusitania and Mauretania’s names are longer when compared to earlier liners. This was done as Cunard felt their size and scale deserved an extra syllable.
- Queen Mary suffered from a significant rolling problem in her early career. It was said that the Queen Mary could ‘roll the milk out of a cup of tea’.
- When Queen Elizabeth made her first transatlantic crossing, she still had her launching gear attached under the waterline.
- QE2 remains the longest-serving express liner in history, travelling more than 5.6 million miles over thirty-nine and a half years.
- Lucania caught fire while in Liverpool in 1909. Despite initial plans to refurbish her, it was decided the damage was too great and the ship was scrapped.
Queen Mary 2 – Image credit: Chris Frame
The book ends with a look at the modern Cunard fleet and it is fair to say the line has certainly evolved its vessels, but I do often wonder what it would be like to really go back to the golden age of cruising: when a ship was a ship and not a floating theme park.
If you are interested in Cunard history or vessels of yesteryear, then this is the ideal book for you. It is available to buy online from Amazon.
All the information within my blog today is taken from 175 Years of Cunard by Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross.