Saturday, 8 November 2008

HEARTBREAK of the last Scottish Ship. The retirement of the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth 2.

Where do I begin with such a glorious Ocean Liner?

Perhaps here, with her whistle, one of the most sonorous in the history of maritime navigation.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Oceans, a ROYAL QUEEN is about to retire.

Look at her bows; look at her pennant; look at her!!!

And a fitting farewell from the NEW Cunard Flagship.

There are few ocean liners left in the world, and fewer still with the reputation and sheer glory of the Queen Elizabeth 2. For those not in the know of such things, including (perhaps ?) the Sovereign who named her, the QE2 was intended to be named after the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth, and not after the present QUEEN of England. In her naming of the ship on the Clyde in 1968, Her Majesty named the ship "Queen Elizabeth the second", and so she is. It was the purpose of Cunard that she be named as the second of the stable in the name Queen Elizabeth, an ocean liner named after Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon; later to become Queen Elizabeth, the mother of the present Queen. If you pay attention to sailors, though, her REAL name is the name she was given by the Sovereign at her christening, regardless of what Cunard, or anyone else for that matter, would have you believe.

No matter, either of Queen Elizabeth 2, or Queen Elizabeth the second; whether she be named after a ship, a Monarch, a Monarch's mother or all three, one thing is for certain. QE2, built of Scottish sweat, tears and blood at the John Brown Shipyard on Clydeside, is a glorious Ocean Liner not likely to be seen again in a very long time.

RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) is a Cunard Line ocean liner named after the earlier Cunard liner RMS Queen Elizabeth, which in turn was named after Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen consort of George VI; the Queen Mother . She was the flagship of the Cunard line from 1969 until succeeded by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004. Built in Clydebank, Scotland, she was considered the last of the great transatlantic ocean liners prior to the construction of the QM2. Before she was refitted with a diesel power plant in 1986, she was also the last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic in scheduled liner service. During almost 40 years of service, the QE2 has travelled the world and now operates predominantly as a cruise ship, sailing out of Southampton, England.

She will be retired from active service in late 2008, to become a floating hotel at Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.


As Queen Elizabeth 2 approached her 40th anniversary with Cunard, questions begun to circulate as to how much longer the ship could stay in service. Cunard had to consider the economics of maintaining a 40-year-old liner in operation, particularly with regard to new SOLAS safety regulations that would apply from 2010 onward.

Both Southampton and Clydebank had offered to take over QE2 after her retirement, but on 18 June 2007 it was announced that the ship has been purchased by the Dubai investment company Istithmar for $100 million. Her final voyage will be from Southampton to Dubai, leaving on 11 November 2008.

After arrival, she will be refurbished and berthed permanently at the Palm Jumeirah from 2009 as a "a luxury floating hotel, retail, museum and entertainment destination", or in other words, a painted harlot. What an ignominious end for so glorious a ship. I'd sooner see her sunk.

Farewell, QE2. Your forty years upon the oceans of the world will not soon be forgotten.

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