In January last year I stood on the terrace of the Ritz-Carlton hotel at the southern tip of Manhattan to watch a historic meeting of Cunard’s three Queens – the veteran Queen Elizabeth 2, the magnificent Queen Mary 2, and their new sister, Queen Victoria.
QM2 put on an extra-special display, performing a 360-degree pirouette right in front of us (above).
It wasn’t quite such a historic event as billed, because a repeat meeting took place a few months later in Southampton. It could never happen again now, because the QE2 has since sailed off to retirement in Dubai.
But Cunard are promising another three Queens gathering in January 2011, when QM2, Victoria, and the next Cunard liner, Queen Elizabeth, will be together for the first time – again in New York harbour.
Elizabeth will be on her maiden world voyage, which departs from Southampton on January 5, sailing across the Atlantic in tandem with Victoria.
The Queen Elizabeth voyage goes on sale on July 1, with fares starting at less than £10,000 – less than £97 a day. It will even be possible to sail from Southampton on Queen Victoria, switch over to the Queen Elizabeth in New York, and then transfer to Queen Mary 2 in Sydney to come home. That would be a 104-day voyage to remember, visiting 38 ports of call.
Just a shame that the royal get-together couldn’t be held here in the UK rather than across the Pond.