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Golden memories! Cunard prepares to celebrate QE2’s 50th Anniversary

Cunard is honouring the 50th anniversary of its longest serving ocean liner, QE2, with a special voyage on Queen Elizabeth that sets sail on Friday (8 September).

The anniversary of this iconic ship will be remembered as Queen Elizabeth sets sail from Southampton for a 17-night voyage that takes in Venice, Mount Etna and Corfu.

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The QE2 carried 2.5 million passengers more than 5.6 million miles

Among those on board will be Captain Ian McNaught, the ship’s last Master, who said: “QE2 has been gone for nearly a decade now, however on her 50th anniversary the memory of her is strong. 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 more than 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.”

He added: “What I remember most as her Master were the passengers. Everyday people who saved up to experience life onboard the world’s best loved ship. Many came back time and time again.”

Other guests on board will include Commodore R W Warwick, who served as QE2’s Captain for 13 years; QE2 social hostess Maureen Ryan, who served onboard the original Cunard Queens as well as Queen Mary 2; and maritime historian Chris Frame, author of a series of books about QE2 and Cunard.

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

“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 onboard our newest ship, Queen Elizabeth.”

Celebrations focus on five special 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.

Celebrations culminate on QE2 Day - 20 September - exactly 50 years since the ship was launched. Events will include a QE2 ball, and a historical retrospective of the ship’s service life to be hosted in Queen Elizabeth’s 850 seat Royal Court Theatre.

Posted on 6th September 2017 at 09:10 am in Cruise News | Cruise Ships | Cruise Lines | Cunard Line |

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