New Queen afloat for first time

//New Queen afloat for first time

It’s a mere six months since the first blocks for the construction of Cunard’s newest ship were laid in the dry-dock at a shipyard in Italy. Today, that dock is being flooded, and Queen Elizabeth floats for the first time.
Unlike her famous predecessor the QE2, which slid down a slipway on the Clyde in 1967 and splashed into the sea in a cloud of dust and smoke, the new vessel sat serenely in dock while lock valves were opened and the water level slowly began to rise.
It will be another couple of days before the ship is gently eased out of the dock and moved to another part of Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard near Trieste for construction work to be completed.
qefloat.jpgNo champagne for this vessel, either. Instead, a bottle of Prosecco was smashed on the hull by the ship’s madrina, or godmother, 79-year-old Dennie Farmer (above left). Her late husband Willie joined Cunard in 1938 and worked as Chief Engineer on both Queen Elizabeth and QE2 until his retirement in 1979.
Together with Cunard President and Managing Director Peter Shanks (above right), Dennie also welded some good luck coins beneath the ship’s mast – a 1938 half crown, and sovereigns from 1967 and 2010.
Shanks said “Even in her present unfinished state, devoid of the carpets and curtains, furnishings and facilities, paintings and porcelain that we associate with a Cunard luxury liner, Queen Elizabeth is awesome.
“Of our 170 years of history there has been an ‘Elizabeth’ in the fleet for over 70 and this ship – the second largest Cunarder ever built – will take the name far into the 21st Century”.
The £400 million ship will be officially named in Southampton in October, and is due to set out on her maiden voyage to the Canary Islands on October 12.
P.S. The picture prompts a question. Why does Peter Shanks need to wear a hard hat, while Mrs Farmer can manage with a beret – albeit one in the appropriate Cunard colour?

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:33+00:00 5 January 2010|Cruise Ships|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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