Jubilee at sea – how Britain’s cruise fleet will celebrate this weekend

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The three Queens of Cunard’s cruise fleet will be leading the way in celebration of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee this holiday weekend.
After Saturday’s Epsom Derby, Sunday’s pageant on the river Thames, and the Jubilee concert in the Mall on Monday the ships will line up in Southampton on Tuesday to be saluted by a Red Arrows flying display and a fireworks farewell as they leave together at the end of the day.
Sadly Her Majesty will not be in attendance – she will be otherwise engaged in a procession through the streets of London and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. But there will be special events throughout the day on the ships.
First of all they will sail in single file up the Solent, and (as long as I get up early enough) I will be on board an escort boat to greet them as they round the Brambles and head into Southampton Water.
As they arrive in port, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will tie up bow-to-bow near City Terminal, to be saluted by Queen Mary 2 as she passes each ship, with officers and crew lining the foredecks before berthing at Ocean Terminal. All three ships will be disembarking and embarking passengers throughout the day.
From 8.00 am Cunard will be broadcasting a dedicated radio station, available on 87.7 FM within about a three-kilometre radius of their Southampton offices. As well as music and celebrity interviews it will include a commentary by Squadron Ldr Mike Ling as the Red Arrows fly over between 18:20 and 18:45, and then the music soundtrack to the fireworks at 22:20. From midday there’s a festival and funfair in Mayflower Park with live music, choirs and dance demonstrations.
Speakers booked for the ships’ Jubilee voyages include the BBC’s Jennie Bond (Queen Mary 2), Royal reporter Robert Jobson (Queen Elizabeth) and Professor Herbert Kerrigan QC (Queen Victoria).
A collection of rare Royal art, including eight original watercolours by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, 31 lithographs by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and 20 limited edition boxed sets of photographs by Lord Snowdon will be displayed on all three Queens, with limited edition prints available for purchase.
Guests need not miss out on any of the events taking place in London, which will be screened live as they are broadcast on the BBC News channel, and on Wednesday they will sit down to a commemorative dinner followed by a grand ball.
And they will be able to drink a toast to Her Majesty with a glass of a special 1952 edition Graham’s tawny port – but they will have to be quick, there are only three bottles on each ship.
Cunard are not the only ones celebrating – there are special events on lots of cruise ships with British links.
Fred Olsen’s familiar red, white and blue menus will have a special Jubilee flavour and there will be street parties aboard ships bedecked with patriotic bunting.
orianaflags.jpgP&O Cruises sailaway parties are usually infused with flag-waving loyal fervour (as above on Oriana). They will be holding Royal gala dinners on each of their seven ships, with a Loyal Toast and a return to the days when the National Anthem was played at the end of theatre shows and cinema screenings.
Grand Princess will get a brass band send-off from Southampton on Saturday and a special British Invasion show has been devised for the ship’s theatre. Films for the week include The King’s Speech and The Queen.
Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, also leaving Southampton on Saturday, will host a giant street party in the appropriately-named Royal Promenade on June 3, and a Rock Britannia show on June 4. Menus will feature British classic dishes such as roast beef, fish and chips, steak and kidney pie, and sausage and mash.
Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo, on a British Isles discovery cruise between Tilbury and Edinburgh, has a Royal heritage lecturer on board, and Ocean Countess will – weather permitting – be in Fort William on Monday with a former officer from the Royal Yacht Britannia as a guest lecturer.
Swan Hellenic’s Minerva will be hosting a Royal quiz, and the Shakespeare Revue Company will be performing extracts from some of the Qieen’s favourite shows. Voyages of Discovery’s Discovery is promising patriotic bacon butties during its June 5 sailaway party from Portsmouth.
hebprinroyal.jpgFinally, one ship with more reason to celebrate than most is Hebridean Princess, recently awarded a Royal Warrant in recognition of the Queen’s two charters for her own summer holidays. The plaque was unveiled this week by (from left), Chief Purser David Indge; Roger Allard, chairman of parent company All Leisure Cruises; sales and marketing director Ken Charleson; and Captain Ian Stevenson.
To everyone sailing on a cruise this Jubilee weekend, a hearty Three Cheers, a regal wave, and a Royal bon voyage.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:48+00:00 1 June 2012|Cruise Entertainment|1 Comment

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.

One Comment

  1. Sandra Daniells 5 June 2012 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Onboard the qm2 for the jubilee celebrations with my sons, we were all disgusted that the cruise director refused to propose the loyal toast to her majesty and so my eldest son asked for the mic.in the ballroom to do it himself . He was refused and had to do it without, which meant not everyone heard it properly. He was reported for this! Then to add further insult, as we sailed in this morning past the other ships, flags waving, they decided to play loud pop music! Abba instead of Elgar was just inappropriate. Disappointed with Cunard to say the least.

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