In what may be the largest Diamond Jubilee celebration outside of London, Southampton cruise port was the host to all three of the Cunard ships, as the once in a lifetime celebration began on Tuesday.
For the first time in Cunard history, the Queen Mary 2, the Queen Victoria and the newest ship, the Queen Elizabeth sailed in formation as they approached the port in tribute to Her Majesty The Queen who is celebrating sixty years as the ruling monarch of England.
Queen Elizabeth, the monarch, is the only person to have attended all three namings for each of the three Cunard Queen Elizabeths. The first Queen Elizabeth ship was christened in 1938, followed by the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1967. Two years ago, the monarch pressed the “button” on the podium that simultaneously released the champagne bottle to crash against the hull, christening the newest Queen Elizabeth vessel.
“Cunard is delighted to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in a way that gives everyone, especially our guests, a truly remarkable day that they will feel proud to talk about for years to come, taking part in history and marking the sixty glorious years of Her Majesty’s reign in fitting, legendary and memorable Cunard style,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line.
As dawn broke on the morning of the Diamond Jubilee celebration, the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and the iconic Queen Mary 2 sailed up Southampton Water, greeted by a welcoming committee of dozens of small boats.
While the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria docked at the terminal, Queen Mary 2 pivoted in the turning basin and joined her fleet-mates in a photo-op formation. As the Queen Mary 2 moved past each ship, a banner with “Congratulations Ma’am” was revealed near the funnel. Whistles blew, thousands of crew members on all the ships cheered and the festivities and commemorative events continued throughout the day.
Late in the evening there was a spectacular display of fireworks as the three ships approached each other again in yet another historical flotilla.
At the conclusion of the extravaganza, the Queen Mary 2 led the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth in single file down Southampton Water and out into the sea as all three ships set out on their celebratory Diamond Jubilee voyages.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.