Historic Day In Long Beach
As QUEEN ELIZABETH Docks Next To QUEEN MARY
Shawn J. Dake
February 5, 2015, Long Beach, Ca.
First impression, first docking. QUEEN MARY and QUEEN ELIZABETH stern-to-stern.
For the first time in modern cruise history, a ship of Cunard Line has docked at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal adjacent to the permanent berth of the QUEEN MARY. The 965 foot long QUEEN ELIZABETH arrived in the early morning hours of February 5th spending the day in the port, and participating in festivities culminating in a spectacular fireworks show that evening as the ship set sail. Passengers aboard the youngest ship in the Cunard fleet disembarked to pay a visit to the oldest Cunard liner in existence. Thousands of local residents also turned out to witness the rare event and enjoy a day with complimentary admission to the QUEEN MARY, highlighted by the unveiling of a major new exhibit.
The rare sight of four Cunard funnels on only two ships.
A thick morning fog did nothing to delay the arrival of the QUEEN ELIZABETH although it put a bit of a damper on photography. The 90,901 gross ton ship is on the first leg of a 112-day World Cruise from Southampton, England. Once Captain Alistair Clark had secured his vessel alongside the berth he walked over to meet the QUEEN MARY’s honorary Commodore Everette Hoard. Both men would be among those participating in the second major event of the day, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Ship Model Gallery, situated on the starboard Promenade Deck.
Richard Meadows, President Cunard North America, Bernadette Greene, British Deputy Consul-General for Los Angeles, Robert Garcia, Mayor of Long Beach, John Jenkins, QUEEN MARY General Manager and Everette Hoard, honorary Commodore QUEEN MARY, at opening for the new Ship Model Gallery.
The Ship Model Gallery on Promenade Deck of the QUEEN MARY.
A tiny figure of Winston Churchill stands alone on the deck the QUEEN MARY builder’s model.
The centerpiece of the gallery is a spectacular 21-foot long builder’s model of the QUEEN MARY, created by Bassett-Lowke in the early 1930’s. This well-traveled model once resided in the Cunard Building in New York. Since then, it has twice crisscrossed the country, residing in the Queen Mary Story museum aboard the ship in the early 1970’s before being returned to the South Street Seaport Museum. The model is now once again on loan from them and sits among representations of many other notable ocean liners including the NORMANDIE, LUSITANIA and TITANIC, all three meticulously rendered in large-scale cutaways by Father Roberto Pirrone. Cunard Line themselves donated three modern models of the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, QUEEN MARY 2 and QUEEN VICTORIA. Early Cunard history is represented by models of the BRITANNIA of 1840 and the OREGON from 1884. On a much more diminutive scale, 78 tiny waterline models showing the evolution of liners and cruise ships are on loan from the Southern California Chapter of the Steamship Historical Society Of America. The Ship Model Gallery is the first phase of an ambitious plan to develop a new 65,000 square foot museum and science learning center in underutilized spaces aboard the QUEEN MARY. “Having the QUEEN ELIZABETH on-hand for the Gallery dedication makes the day even more special,” said John Jenkins, General Manager for the QUEEN MARY.
The QUEEN MARY as seen from the QUEEN ELIZABETH on February 5, 2015.
A corner of the Britannia Grill on the QUEEN ELIZABETH with the QUEEN MARY visible through the window.
Carnival Corporation developed the $50 million Long Beach Cruise Terminal, opening it in 2003. Ships of Carnival Cruise Lines regularly utilize the pier several days each week and large vessels of Holland America Line and Princess Cruises have also made periodic appearances. But the arrival of the QUEEN ELIZABETH marks the first time one of the new generation of Cunard Line Queens has actually docked in Long Beach. Well before the retirement of the QUEEN MARY from active service, the “Green Goddess” CARONIA used to be a regular caller to Long Beach during her annual World Cruise, berthing at a passenger terminal less than two miles from the present site. That continued until the early 1960’s when most cruise ships switched to the adjacent Port Of Los Angeles. With the QUEEN MARY firmly ensconced at Pier J for the past 45 years, Cunard Line ships have previously paid tribute to their ancestor with sail-by whistle salutes. The CUNARD PRINCESS was the first to do so when she anchored between the city and the Queen for a few hours on September 28, 1983. More recently, “Royal Rendezvous” opportunities with the current generation of ships have included the historic pairing with the QUEEN MARY 2 on February 3, 2006, the QUEEN VICTORIA on March 3, 2011 and the QUEEN ELIZABETH whose previous visit occurred March 12, 2013.
Not quite a classic life ring shot of QUEEN ELIZABETH passing QUEEN MARY, but close.
Cunard Line is celebrating their milestone 175th anniversary this year, since the first Transatlantic Crossing from England to the United States aboard the UNICORN in May, closely followed by the BRITANNIA commencing on July 4, 1840. The QUEEN MARY is marking 80 years since her final fitting out prior to a maiden voyage in May of 1936. The newest QUEEN ELIZABETH and the QUEEN MARY share a few similarities beyond their Cunard orange funnel. Each vessel was christened by their respective namesakes. Much of the artwork onboard the newest QUEEN ELIZABETH carries on the Art Deco style that reached its zenith for Cunard aboard the QUEEN MARY. Several pieces are recreations of those found aboard the original liner. A nice added bonus to the meeting of these two ships was the presence of Arnold Schwartzman, OBE, RDI; author and Art Deco expert who created two beautiful works that adorn the walls of the Purser’s Office and the onboard sales desk and who’s photographs can be found in the aft stairwell. It was his first time revisiting his creations since the ship was christened by Her Majesty The Queen in October 2010.
Art Deco at the Tour Desk aboard QUEEN ELIZABETH, created by Arnold Schwartzman.
Arnold Schwartzman and his wife, with his artwork at the Purser’s Office aboard QUEEN ELIZABETH.
The day-long series of events included musical entertainment that evoked the era of the 1940’s. Guided tours of the QUEEN MARY were offered at reduced rates. As is typical in Southern California, the fog burned off by early afternoon giving way to sunny weather. Cunard Line cooperated with QUEEN MARY management to provide an outstanding day, and the large crowd of visitors seemed well-pleased. Cunard Line distributed red and white flags with 175 emblazoned on a background of three funnels. It was an excellent sales opportunity to cross-promote both the cruise line and the QUEEN MARY with both, no doubt, reaping the benefits of celebrating the meeting of the two ships.
QUEEN ELIZABETH at the Long Beach Cruise Terminal for the first time.
After being docked stern-to-stern at right angles, the QUEEN ELIZABETH backed away from the pier at 6:30pm to take up a position with her bow facing toward the QUEEN MARY. The sound of the ship’s whistles began one of the most extensive displays of fireworks ever seen, set to an eclectic musical soundtrack. When it ended, QUEEN ELIZABETH slowly headed out to sea, bound for San Francisco, where she will embark additional passengers for the remainder of her global circumnavigation. The fascinating itinerary lasts until May 3rd taking the ship across the Pacific, throughout Australia and Asia, then onwards through the Middle East, Mediterranean and home to England. QUEEN ELIZABETH, Voyage #Q503 will create a lot of memories, but one of the highlights will certainly be the visit she paid to her Royal ancestor on a wonderful day in Long Beach.
Cunard Queens together at Long Beach.
All photos by Shawn J. Dake © 2015.
Thanks to Jackie Chase, Johanna Felix and Martin Cox.
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.
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