The MS Queen Elizabeth and Long Beach’s own “Grand Dame,” the Queen Mary, previously met in 2013. Photo by John Shearer at Invision via Cunard’s Facebook.
A royal meeting will take place between two noteworthy ships next week when Cunard’s MS Queen Elizabeth will dock near her “aunt,” the Queen Mary.
This event, slated for February 5, will mark the first time a modern Cunard liner will dock and disembark passengers in the Long Beach harbor. According to Queen Mary officials, prior visits by Cunard vessels to Long Beach have been restricted to floating salutes where the modern ships hovered in place while honoring their ancestor.
The two ships previously met in 2013 for the first time after the Elizabeth was completed in 2010.
“The Elizabeth will berth adjacent to the Queen Mary and her arrival will begin a day-long series of events and activities to celebrate the unprecedented meeting of ships. Admission to the Queen Mary will be complimentary that day from 10:00AM to 8:00PM. Public guests are encouraged to come aboard and take advantage of special tours, discounted attractions and live entertainment” said Queen Mary General Manager, John Jenkins, in a statement.
The original RMS Queen Elizabeth was the RMS Queen Mary’s sister ship, and together beginning in 1947, the two crisscrossed the North Atlantic, passing each other as they bounced between Shouthampton, United Kingdom, and New York City. Their last meeting was on September 25 in 1967 when the Queens made their last voyage.
The RMS Queen Mary was eventually sold to Long Beach that year while the RMS Queen Elizabeth was sold to Hong Kong. The latter was destroyed in 1972 when a fire, the cause of which is unknown to this day, set the ship ablaze. The ship capsized due to the water used to fight the fire.
In 2010, the Cunard line introduced its newest ship, the MS Queen Elizabeth, a 92,000 ton giant that accommodates over 2,000 passengers, built and named in honor of the lost RMS Queen Elizabeth.
Public offerings for the February 5th reunion include limited engagement attractions like Vintage Double Decker Bus Tours ($15), Tea with Diana ($39.95 Adult, $29.95 Child) and the Captain’s Art Tour ($12).
The Elizabeth, which will offer no public access, is expected to arrive and dock early in the morning, and is expected to depart at sunset.
In celebration of the event, the Ship Model Gallery will be dedicated with a ceremony. This is the first phase of the Queen Mary’s announced plans to create a museum and learning center aboard the ship, said Queen Mary spokeswoman Johanna Felix in a statement.
The gallery will include large models of ships like the Titanic, Lusitania, Brittania, Oregon, Normandie along with the Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Mary.
“The gallery will debut these impressive ship models – with others on the way. Its centerpiece will be the original Bassett-Lowke shipbuilder’s model of the Queen Mary – a spectacular and historically significant model measuring over 20 feet in length and exact in every detail,” Jenkins added.
The model museum will open to the public at 12:30PM and will be free of charge.
The Queen Mary has released the below tentative schedule of the day’s events:
10:00AM: The Queen Mary Opens to All
11:00AM: Private Queen Mary Model Room Dedication: Promenade Deck
12:30PM: Ship Model Gallery Opens to Public
6:00PM to 7:00PM: Queen Elizabeth Pushes off.
The public is encouraged to gather on the Queen Mary’s stern for a bagpipe salute, brief address to the crowd by Queen Mary Commodore, Everette Hoard and spectacular fireworks display.
From the Long Beach Post