As we join the millions worldwide in mourning the death of our much-loved, highly revered Queen, we are reflective on how much she meant to us and the poignant impact Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had on the cruise industry.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to the Royal Family and all those affected by Her Majesty’s death on 8th September 2022. Her unwavering dedication, loyalty and kindness were demonstrated daily in her role as a monarch, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
She also served as an inspiration for our industry, showing her support and interest from a young age and throughout her lifetime. As many ships worldwide fly their flags at half-mast as a mark of respect, it is clear just how strong an impact Queen Elizabeth II had on our cruise lines.
Queen Elizabeth II christens Cunard Line’s historic transatlantic ships
Queen Elizabeth II’s involvement in the cruise industry started when she was still a princess and yet to marry. Her Majesty travelled to Clydeside to launch Cunard White Star Line’s RMS Caronia on 30th October 1947. Nicknamed “the Green Goddess”, the ship was innovative in its time, being one of the first built for transatlantic crossings, offering first-class cruising. RMS Caronia sailed up until 1967.
Perhaps the most infamous ship to which Her Majesty was godmother was Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2, the QE2. Launched by Queen Elizabeth II on 30th December 1967, it sailed as the flagship for this cruise line for nearly 40 years and was considered one of the last great Transatlantic liners. The ship is now docked in Dubai. Sold in 2008 and opened in 2018 as a hotel, it remains a remarkable reminder of its significant role in maritime history.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II christened two more ships for Cunard Line, Queen Mary 2 in January 2004 and Queen Elizabeth in October 2010, both of which are still in service today.
In 2012, the vessels Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth ‘met’ with their sister ship Queen Victoria for a momentous celebration of the Queen’s jubilee. The three ships arrived and departed in formation at their home port of Southampton, welcomed by a flotilla of smaller boats.
The Queen takes the role of Godmother to two P&O Cruises vessels
It was not just Cunard Line where Queen Elizabeth II showed her support. She also launched P&O Cruises’ Oriana in April 1995. It was the first ship designed for the UK market and sailed many nautical miles over its 24 years of service.
In March 2015, Queen Elizabeth II took the role of godmother once again, this time christening P&O Cruises’ Royal-class ship, Britannia, in Southampton. At the time, it was the largest vessel in P&O Cruises’ fleet, proudly displaying the Union Flag across its hull.
Queen Elizabeth II’s onshore maritime memories
With the UK being the host country of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the Queen also played a significant role here. She opened its new headquarters in 1983 and visited during its 70th-anniversary celebrations.
Ports around the UK have expressed their sadness, too, proud of their strong link to the Queen. One such port is Dover, where Her Majesty opened the two most recent ferry berths in 2005.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s love and interest in all things maritime will be greatly missed and looked back on fondly for many years to come. We unite with everyone in our industry to express our gratitude for this era and sadness in this loss.// END - About the Author ?>