More than a thousand boats are expected to take part in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant along the River Thames on June 3. The other major maritime event of the weekend will involve rather fewer vessels – the three ships of the Cunard fleet.
Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, which were both christened by Her Majesty, will be joined by Queen Victoria, named by the Duchess of Cornwall, as they arrive in the Solent at dawn on June 5 for a day of tributes and celebrations.
A performance by the seven jets of the Red Arrows will be followed by a spectacular fireworks display in the evening before the ships set off in formation for their next cruises.
QM2’s five-night summer getaway to Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre is sold out; but there are still a few cabins available on the other two ships. Victoria is off on a 17-night Adriatic cruise taking in Dubrovnik, Venice and Split, with inside cabins at £999, outsides £1,199 and balconies at £1,799. Elizabeth sets out to the Baltic for 14 nights – inside and ocean-view cabins £949, balconies from £1,299.
A month later, on July 3, Southampton will host an even bigger gathering of cruise ships, when all seven vessels of the P&O fleet are assembled together for the first time to mark the 175th anniversary of the founding of the company.
This, too, will be a Royal event, as it was announced this week that Princess Anne will review the fleet in her capacity as Master of Trinity House, the historic charitable organisation responsible for the UK’s lighthouses. And it will see another display by the Red Arrows.
There are still cabins available on Adonia’s 21-night cruise to the central Mediterranean (from £1,999), the 17-night Baltic voyage on Aurora (£1,099), and the 17-night Ventura cruise to the Med (£1,099).
This update on Cunard ‘s forthcoming Three Queens salute to the Royal Diamond Jubilee, and the P&O Grand Event a month later, is expanded from the version in today’s print edition.