LUSITANIA Commemorative Cruise on QUEEN VICTORIA

RMS LUSITANIA

RMS LUSITANIA,  courtesy of Eric Sauder

Cunard Line announced plans to offer a cruise departing May 3, 2015 commemorating the loss of the LUSITANIA 100 years earlier.   On May 7, 2015 it will be exactly 100 years since the Cunard flagship was torpedoed while en route from New York to Liverpool. The ship sank approximately 11 miles off the old Head of Kinsale in Ireland. The LUSITANIA was the first of 22 Cunard ships lost in the First World War.  Noted maritime historian and expert on the subject, Mr. Eric Sauder has been commissioned by Cunard Line to produce a temporary exhibition of LUSITANIA memorabilia that will be displayed on board QUEEN VICTORIA during her special seven-night LUSITANIA Remembered cruise sailing round trip from Southampton.  Eric Sauder has been interested in ocean liners, particularly LUSITANIA, for more than 30 years, with his first job being a tour guide on the QUEEN MARY in Long Beach, California. He has dived in submersibles on the wreck of LUSITANIA and has authored two books on the subject: “RMS Lusitania: The Ship and Her Record” and “The Unseen Lusitania: The Ship in Rare Illustrations,” the latter to be released for the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

Book cover by Eric Sauder

Book cover by Eric Sauder

This special seven-night voyage by the QUEEN VICTORIA will call at Cobh (formerly Queenstown) on 7 May 2015. Cobh will forever be associated with the tragedy. The sinking was a human catastrophe on a scale that this small town had not experienced before or since. People there witnessed first-hand the trauma, tragedy and heartbreak that ensued. The dead, the injured and the bereaved were brought among a community that mobilized itself and responded with courage and compassion to their needs.

“The sinking of Lusitania was a tragedy and we intend to mark the anniversary of her sinking on 7 May 2015 in a fitting and respectful way,” said David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line. “But her story was also one of triumph in the technical achievement of her construction and her glittering career from 1907 until the outbreak of war. We are pleased to be working with Eric Sauder on this exhibition that will recall that triumph and tragedy, and bring an added element on this special Lusitania voyage which the passengers who book this special cruise will experience.”  This voyage will honor the lives lost during the first World War and  commemorate the loss of LUSITANIA and the other Cunard ships in World War One.

RMS LUSITANIA

RMS LUSITANIA first-class lounge, photo courtesy of Eric Sauder.

Eric Sauder said, “I have been fascinated will all things LUSITANIA for many years and am pleased to be working with Cunard on this exhibition that I hope will bring to life the LUSITANIA story in a unique way.”  The on board exhibit will feature china, silver, brochures, postcards, memorabilia and souvenirs that will bring to life the story of Cunard’s one-time flagship.  All passengers aboard QUEEN VICTORIA will be invited to attend a special service ashore as well as witness a number of other tributes occurring that day, and a Commemorative Dinner will be held for them that night on board the ship.

QUEEN VICTORIA making an evening departure from the port of Los Angeles, January 30, 2008.  Photo by Shawn J. Dake.

QUEEN VICTORIA making an evening departure from the port of Los Angeles, January 30, 2008. Photo by Shawn J. Dake.

Ports of call on this special LUSITANIA Remembered voyage will include stops at St. Peter Port (Guernsey), Le Havre, France, Cobh and Dublin. Fares start from $1399 per person for an inside cabin and from $2099 for a balcony cabin.  The LUSITANIA and her sister MAURETANIA were among the first ocean liners to be dubbed as floating palaces and technologically were among the most important ships of their day.  Beautiful four-stackers, they conjured up images of power and speed, while the interiors in First Class represented the epitome of elegance with their grand staircases, Smoking Room, Palm Court, Saloon and Music Room and Verandah Cafe.

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake
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