Friday, 30 May 2008
Glory, Glory, Glory.
Cunard line was taken over by Carnival Corporation in 1998 who recognised the value of the brand and appreciated such a glorious nautical heritage. Immediately, plans were made for 'Project Queen Mary', a ship to harken back to the glory days of the great Ocean Liners, but what to name such a vessel? There was no equivocation. She was to be named after that great Royal lady of the seas, the Queen Mary.
Queen Mary 2 was to be stupendous. Carnival opened their vaults and a previously unheard of eight hundred million dollars was spent on her construction. This magnificent liner was built at St. Nazarre, in the same shipyards that build the might SS Normandy. This is a wonderful example of 'keeping it in the family', but necessary since, to all intents and purposes, British shipbuilding, once the first word throughout the world, had virtually vanished due to union fecklessness. Nevetheless, St. Nazarre it was and they did a magnificent job.
She was named by the Queen on January 8th, 2004 and it was during her maiden world cruise when QUEEN MARY 2 sailed as close as she dared to the original Queen Mary in Longbeach and gave her a 3 blast salute. Each ocean liner's horn, or whistle as they are more correctly called, is individually hand-built by expert craftsmen, and are as unique as fingerprints. Here is a wonderful video of the occasion when the two Queens Mary met for the first time. Listen carefully for the return salute by the Queen Mary from her permanent mooring at Longbeach. She sounds as glorious as ever here, as history is being made.
In keeping with Cunard tradition, the whistle currently mounted on the starboard funnel of Queen Mary 2, used to belong to the original. It was specially renewed by the original manufacturer, Kockums of Sweden. She can be heard from over ten miles away when at sea and sounds like Poseidon himself gargling lava. Glorious.