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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Left hand down a bit



Oh dear. The Queen Elizabeth 2 ran aground coming into Southhampton this morning before her final voyage to Dubai. We know there was a strong wind (force 7) this morning but even so. How many times has the ship come into Southampton? We used to see it at least 2 or 3 times during our summer holidays in Cowes so it must be quite a bit.

It is the end of an era as liners today are built for taking as many old Americans as possible on cruises not passage making across the Atlantic. The QE2 was the last liner running the transatlantic route; soldiering on alone for over thirty years after the Holland America Line and Norddeutscher Lloyd Line withdrew from transatlantic voyages in September 1971, Canadian Pacific Line in November 1971, French Line withdrew the France from service in 1974, Swedish America Line withdrew in December 1975 and Italia Line stopped in June 1976.


The SS France, later the SS Norway and finally the SS Blue Lady in India for scrapping last year

We are lucky to have seen some of the great liners of the past sailing: the France (sadly, scrapped in the last year), the United States, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. We have even been on the QE2 as a boy.

So, unlike many, Agent Triple P is glad to see the Queen Elizabeth 2 sailing off to be docked as a floating hotel in Dubai rather than ending her days on an Indian scrapping beach. Frankly she was showing her age and could not have been renovated to modern standards easily. At least she will be preserved as a monument to a time before air travel conquered the globe. Only eighteen months ago we enjoyed lunch in the Winston Churchill restaurant on board the Queen Mary in Long Beach so must try and do the same on the QE2 next time we are in Dubai. Actually, we had the chance to go on board when she arrives in Dubai in a couple of weeks but have to go to California instead.

A final point. The Queen Elizabeth 2 is, of course not named after the Queen (if she had been she would be Queen Elizabeth II) but is just the second Cunard ship named Queen Elizabeth (hence the Arab numeral).

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