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Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Cunard

Posted on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 by

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s:

Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Cunard

Cunard funnel triptych. Photos Shawn J. Dake.

Cunard Line, for the first time in history, has no ships registered in the U.K., having transferred the home port of all three Queens from Southampton to Hamilton, Bermuda.  This is, perhaps, in reaction to the newly-implemented U.K. Equality Act, which requires foreign crew to receive the same wages as U.K. nationals.  The QUEEN ELIZABETH, while docked in Amsterdam on October 24, became the first Cunard Queen ever to be registered outside Great Britain.  The QUEEN VICTORIA followed suit three days later, with the QUEEN MARY 2 making the change December 1st.  Officially, the reason given for the switch in registry was so that weddings could be performed on board (as they are on the Bermudian flagged ships of Princess Cruises).

Three Queens Meet. Photo © Tom Rinaldi, New York, January 13, 2011

Cunard Line kicked off their year with a spectacular rendezvous of all three Queens in New York City on January 13, 2011.  Cunard has had three liners together before, but this was the first time the brand new QUEEN ELIZABETH joined her near-sister QUEEN VICTORIA and the QUEEN MARY 2 for a Royal Rendezvous.  Later in the month, Los Angeles hosted two of the ships in two days, with the maiden arrival of the QUEEN ELIZABETH on January 29th and the QUEEN VICTORIA on the 30th.  The latter operated a series of four cruises from the West Coast port.  On the final departure, March 3rd, the QUEEN VICTORIA sailed into Long Beach harbor for another Royal Rendezvous, this time with the first Cunard Queen, the original QUEEN MARY of 1936.

The QUEEN MARY 2 was off the coast of Japan when the devastating 9.0 earthquake struck that country.  The ship had made a call at Osaka the previous day and was heading toward Nagasaki.  The port call there was cancelled while the ship remained in deep water off-shore, but managed to pick up 34 passengers who had been on overland tours.  The QM2 then proceeded to Xingang, China.  An earlier scheduled stop at Christchurch, New Zealand also had to be cancelled due to the earthquake there.

QUEEN MARY 2 seen leaving Los Angeles on March 8, 2006 has left Southampton registry behind. Photo by Shawn J. Dake © 2006.

Carnival Corporation was awarded $24 million by a jury in their lawsuit against Rolls Royce over the faulty pod-propulsion system on the QUEEN MARY 2.  Carnival had sought $100 million, but said it was pleased with the verdict giving them $16 million for eight counts of fraud and another $8 million for breach of repair warranties.

QUEEN MARY 2 was in the news again in June when the ship failed a CDC sanitation inspection by receiving a score of 84 (the minimum passing grade is 86).  It is rare for a newer mega ship to fail and the CDC’s list of infractions was scathing.  A retest on July 27th resulted in a passing, but less than stellar score of 92.  The ship underwent extensive refurbishment during a three-week dry docking that was completed in December.  Most public areas and all 1,310 staterooms were fully renovated at the Blohm + Voss Shipyard in Hamburg, Germany.

Cunard Line has a new Commodore for its three-ship fleet.  Christopher Rynd,  a longtime veteran of P&O, began his passenger career on the 1951-built ORONSAY and joined Cunard in 2005.

In Long Beach, the former Cunard liner QUEEN MARY underwent yet another change in management when the Delaware North Corporation was fired in mid-April.  Their replacement is Newport Beach, California-based Evolution Hospitality.  It has been a turbulent decade for the rock-enclosed ship that celebrated her 75th birthday in May.

QE2 © Rob Lightbody 2011 (Where QEII bust once stood)

The QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, fleetingly seen in the backdrop of the current “Mission Impossible” film, will be the setting for an exclusive New Year’s Eve party in Dubai, marking the first public event since the ship was retired in 2008.  Future plans for the vessel are still undecided amidst deep financial difficulties for Istithmar and their parent company Dubai World.

Special thanks to Tom Rinaldi, Rob Lightbody (www.theqe2story.com)

Next up: Princess

7 Responses to Cruise Ships 2011, The Year In Review: Cunard

  1. Kenneth Eden

    January 5, 2012 at 5:29 am

    The darn “weddings at sea” is possibly the one thing that makes no sense with Cunard. Princess has chaples on their ships, small, nicely done up. There are non on the Cunarders. Latest word from Cunard is “renewing wedding vows” not actual weddings. New brochures bear that up.

    Fine pictures Shawn. I really like the QM2 from 2006, where the gal shows off her rounded stern and wedding cake tiered decks.. A liner for sure.

  2. Bob Graham

    January 6, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Bermudian registry: think “Flag of Convenience”

  3. Kenneth Eden

    January 7, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Flag of conveinece, Shawn spelled the ramifications out quite clearly.

  4. Jon Davies

    January 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Well, what has always made CUNARD popular in the UK, is that it’s BRITISH.

    I hope the many, many passengers whom travel with CUNARD realize, that in light of the changes outlined on each of the Ships registry, they really are, no longer British…..

    It’s also a widely held view that since the ‘ever so convenient ‘weddings at sea announcement’, and since the UK equality act came in, CUNARD as a consequence, have no association with the UK (other than sailing from here) and as a consequence of their actions, certainly no association with the British Monarchy!

    A very sad day for CUNARD indeed…

    The very association which made CUNARD ‘exclusively special’, they’ve chosen to sever ties with!…..

  5. Kenneth Eden

    January 9, 2012 at 5:56 am

    As an American, do I whine about the total disgrace that now has befallen on American passenger ships? I merely wish to point out one thorn in a dead bouquet, NCL/America.

  6. Kenneth Eden

    January 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Today at my door I noted a package, posted Royal Mail. Upon opening it I noticed the cover letter inside was from Cunard Line. The box contianed the first Cunard World Yearbook, a book printed for members of the Cunard World Club, of which I am a Diamond Member.

    The book is beautifully presented, printed on luxe stock, the photos are magnificent, with one years worth of news from all things Cunard.

    The crew and staff members, not nealry all of them with tenure, are saluted, with pix and bio, and number of years sailing with Cunard. Many I know, having sailed with them on many sailings.

    The QUEEN MARY 2 shall maintain her status RMS, and, as noted in the cover letter, lest we all think that Americans soley own Cunard, Carnival PLC is a coporation charted and licensed in the UK, quite different than the Carnival, Miami USA, as found on their brochures.

    Cunard will not lose its Britishness, in fact, it actually bolster it, and have it further enriched.

    No other cruise line has ever cared enough to make a passenegr as happy asea or at home than Cunard Line. They stand alone in a very congested world of todays cruise lines, worlds apart.

  7. Kenneth Eden

    July 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

    The QUEEN MARY 2 is featured in an article in the Weekender Wall Street Journal Edition, dates Saturday/Sunday June 30-July 31, 2012.

    Travel section, there is a nice article written by passenger ship novice Sara Clemence. Photo credits as follows, the excellent photo of the ship provided by Cunard, the promenade deck, baked Alaska, pool and stateroom photos by Ms. Clemence.

    There is no listing of the ships GRT, nor is there any mention of the Grills dining rooms, in short, is a very well presented short and sweet article about taking the ship on the transatlantic run as opposed to flying. Floors rather than decks I found to be a common error by many, even experienced cruisers.

    For readers unfamiliar with the ship, Cunard and a crossing, it is an informative, not at all snobby, and well written article. Not one mention of Bermudian registry, and nothing about weddings at sea and no mention of Carnival. It is purely about the ship and the experience, and it rings as true for today as it did decades ago.

    the site and article are free at http://www.wsj.com

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