This Summer the CunardCritic Kids were lucky enough to be able to visit all three vessels bearing the name ‘Queen Mary’ during July and August 2016. For my last blog of the year we’ll take a look at their fantastic journey through the history of an auspicious name in the shipping world.
They began their voyage through the history of ‘Queen Mary’ with a visit to the former Cunard Liner Queen Mary , now a permanent hotel and attraction in the city of Long Beach, California.
At The Queen Mary, we were greeted by our old friends who had flown down for the day, before being greeted by the genial Commodore, Everette Hoard.
Commodore Hoard graciously showed us around his charge, and allowed the CunardCritic Kids to ‘drive’ his ship. We had a fun day exploring the liner, this year celebrating her 80th birthday, and learning all about her and her name.
The Cunard liner wasn’t the first vessel to bear the name, which was something of a problem at the time of her construction (the early 1930’s). At that time the name ‘Queen Mary’ was begin carried on the river Clyde by an excursion steamer. Cunard needed the name for their newest ship, hull 534, and in exchange for a picture of HRH Queen Mary, the plucky excursion steamer was renamed as TS Queen Mary II and her name given to the vessel that became synonymous with the glamorous age of ocean travel. Amazingly this vessel also is still with us and has recently returned to the river of her Liner namesakes birth. Which is where the CunardCritic Kids visited her in August 2016.
Thanks to a dedicated band of volunteers, corporate sponsors and friends,TS Queen Mary has recently been brought home to Scotland. Work has begun on her restoration. In a continuation of Cunard and the TS Queen Mary’s links, furniture from the QM2 was donated to the trust by Cunard following QM2’s 2016 remastering. The weather was slightly less kind than the Californian sunshine in late July, but nevertheless to see this wonderful old lady of the river back in her proper home was certainly emotional and worth the trip.
To complete the set the the lucky CunardCritic Kids completed a summer crossing from New York to Southampton on the newest ship to bear the name Queen Mary, the world famous Queen Mary 2.
Enjoying a summer sailaway from New York.
In a strange twist, all three Queen Mary’s were (at the time of their launch) the biggest vessels constructed for their respective roles. The ties that bind them are carried through to today, with Queen Mary 2’s remastering taking its design cues from the Long Beach vessel. The donation of furniture from QM2 to TS Queen Mary and onboard QM2 a picture of the original vessel to bear the name Queen Mary. That we still have Queen Mary’s spanning the centuries is very lucky, let us hope the name remains with us for many, many more years to come.
So there we have it, the three Queen Mary’s in three weeks. The CunardCritic Boys are certainly very lucky and I hope will appreciate their shipping education and history of these wonderful ships as they grow up.
From all of us at CunardCritic we’d like to wish al of you a very Happy 2017, full of calm seas and following winds!