06/06/2012...12:06 pm

Cunard’s Queens gather to celebrate in spite of the rain

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QM2 pulls alongside Queen Elizabeth in preparation for the fireworks to mark the meeting of the Three Queens in Southampton yesterday.

There’s no denying it, despite Cunard’s valiant attempts to turn yesterday’s Three Queen’s Event into a magnificent occasion – it was ultimately a washout.

It all started off so well, with a break in the clouds in the early morning when Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria made their stately way past the Isle of Wight into the Solent and onto Southampton.

But after that brief respite, the rain came in and got progressively worse throughout the day.

In fact, the weather was so bad that one of the highlights of the day – a Red Arrows display – had to be cancelled.

But the lads – fresh from putting on a breathtaking fly-by for the main Jubilee Celebrations earlier in the day – did come onboard Queen Elizabeth for a meet and greet.


And what a welcome they got – no doubt helped by the fact they looked as if they had stepped out of Top Gun, all of them replete in red jumpsuits.

They were mobbed by passengers, jostling to get their photos and autographs and really seemed to be enjoying all the attention.

The only thing that was slightly worrying was the sight of them sat in the VIP lounge a little later knocking back the champagne (as someone said: “I hope they won’t be flying home tonight”).

There was a smattering more glamour in the forms of Jennie Bond and Michael Buerk, who were both delighted to be onboard.

Jennie had come fresh from covering the Royal events over the weekend on 5Live, and was about to set sail on QM2 for a series of lectures; Michael is a long-time fan of Cunard and also a former lecturer onboard.

Cunard managing director Peter Shanks apologized for the weather and revealed his long-term ambition: to get HM The Queen on board for a cruise, rather than just a look round. He also assured us that the firework display planned for later that evening would go ahead, come what may.

It did, but even though the rain stopped, it was replaced by fog, so sadly what was billed as a spectacular display – for the 7000-odd passengers watching from the three ships and countless more on shore – was a damp squib.

But history was made and full points to Cunard for such a valiant effort to make this a day to remember.

–Adam Coulter

1 Comment

  • What an absolute shambles this day turned out to be. What should have been a memorable Jubilee celebration occasion turned out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons. This was the case for the cruisers on board Queen Victoria who had to queue in the rain, board in the rain and then watch the firework dispay in the rain, which was then blocked by the Queen Mary II !!!!! All the hype evaporated into nothing but a damp squid for those on board Queen Victoria and no apologies from Cunard for what happened. Thank goodness the comedian on board took them to task on this several nights and no compensation from Cunard (as usual) for the disappointment experienced by most on board. Come on Cunard, it is about time you cleaned up your act and give your clients’ their 5 star value for money service instead of what has not become no more than 3 star at a push.

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