QE2 A 50th Anniversary Celebration

Chris Fame and Rachelle Cross have done it again. They’ve brought us another book detailing and honouring the life of yet another remarkable vessel, the great QE2.

I received a copy of the new book recently, titled QE2: A 50th Anniversary Celebration and I wanted to give you an idea of what you can expect, as I know there are many people out there who would love to read it and reminisce about this wonderful vessel.

Fifty years ago, the last British-built transatlantic liner was launched. Christened by HM the Queen on 20 September 1967, the 963ft-long vessel was named Queen Elizabeth 2. By the end of that same day, she was already known by her famous nickname: QE2. Fast, smart and sleek, the QE2 sailed over 5.6 million miles and carried more than 2.5 million passengers, during a magnificent career spanning nearly forty years. Put simply, she carried more people further any ship before her and remains the longest-serving express liner in history.

Having sailed as both a liner and as a cruise ship, served her country in the Falklands conflict and undergone multiple makeovers, she also has one of the most fascinating histories of any vessel and remains one of the best loved and most celebrated.

With stories from captains, crew and passengers, and an unparalleled collection of photographs, Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross bring the majestic QE2 to life in the commemorative tribute.

QE2 on her final World Cruise Frame/Cross

QE2 departed on her first passenger service on 22 April 1969. The voyage was an eight-day round-trip cruise to the Canary Islands. Following her return to Southampton, she was made ready for her first transatlantic crossing.

The day before QE2 departed on her first transatlantic voyage, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the ship. They were shown around by her captain, Bill Warwick, and also partook of lunch.

The next day, QE2 departed Southampton bound for Le-Havre and then New York. Many fireboats and other small craft congregated to celebrate the occasion. She was given a warm welcome in Le Havre with many onlookers turning out to see the new Queen.

The crossing from Le-Havre to New York was accomplished at an average speed of just over 28 knots. The total time was four days, sixteen hours and thirty-five minutes – a not unimpressive feat. Her arrival in New York did not go unnoticed. Dozens of pleasure craft, a coastguard ship and a navy destroyer came out to meet her. Press photographers were in evidence and various dignitaries, including the mayor, paid the ship a visit. QE2 spent two days in New York before setting sail for Southampton. 

Cunard could finally breathe a sigh of relief. Its new ship was a success.

QE2 in her Project Lifestyle livery in 1996

The book is truly a fascinating look at the life of the QE2. I’ve always been a big fan of the traditional ocean liners of yesteryear and she was undoubtedly one of the best and most interesting. The collection of images within the book is superb, I wish I could share some of them with you in my blog, but unfortunately, I can’t, so you’ll have to grab yourself a copy and you can do that by clicking –> QE2: A 50th Anniversary Celebration. You’ll find mentions from Captain McNaught (QE’2 final master), Captain Chris Wells, Commodore John Burton-Hall and Captain Nick Bates. You can follow the QE2’s story all the way from her construction to her final voyage and where she is today. It’s a fascinating journey, but one that I also found quite sad. To think that such a magnificent vessel is just sitting, waiting for what might come next.


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