Author Topic: Queen Anne’s Maiden Arrival Southampton 30 April 2024  (Read 197 times)

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Online Cunarder Man

Queen Anne’s Maiden Arrival into Southampton 30 April 2024

As a fellow fan of cruising and, in particular, Cunard, you will appreciate the thrill of witnessing the ships on special occasions. For me, I was enthralled at the elegance and majesty of Queen Elizabeth 2 and I was struck that she pulled spectators from near and far at most of the ports she visited.

When Queen Mary 2 was scheduled to arrive in the UK I enquired of Blue Funnel Ferries in Southampton if they would be running a trip to welcome her into port. Having driven down from Scotland on Christmas Day 2003, my son and I joined the short trip on Boxing Day when witnessed the great arrival along with a flotilla of vessels.

Queen Victoria launched in 2007 and in November my family and I were again welcoming the ship into her home port. In 2010 Queen Elizabeth came along and by this time I thought I may have been Blue Funnel’s best customer!

In 2008 I was one of only a few who witnessed Queen Elizabeth 2 as she was blown onto the Brambles in the Solent.

It was a historic morning in June 2012 for the rendezvous of the three Queens to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee; once again Blue Funnel hosted the cruises both in the morning for arrival and their departure to a fine fireworks display.

With the 249th Cunard ship under construction you can imagine where I was planning to be for her arrival. Leading up to Queen Anne’s arrival the schedule changed no less than three times. Weather and refuelling were given as reasons for the delay. However, on Tuesday 30 April 2024 at 5pm, I stood at Town Quay waiting to board Ocean Scene for a journey to welcome and accompany the new ship into port. There were  about 100 fellow enthusiasts all set with cameras; like me many fellow cruisers and some who were fortunate to be joining her on her maiden voyage on 3 May.

As we sailed south our Captain offered a good commentary with points of interest being highlighted as well as technical information about maritime protocols in the area. It was interesting to hear that there are only two areas in Southampton Water where large vessels may pass. He had received notification the Queen Anne and Ventura were set to pass at Fawley at 7:30pm, one of the designated areas.

Thankfully the cloudy grey conditions cleared and the new Queen Anne could be seen on the horizon. Binoculars and cameras to the ready! As Queen Anne passed Cowes with a good breeze behind her, it was quite a sight to see her make the turn and list to port as she progressed into the Thorn Channel. She soon approached Calshot and began her manoeuvres into Southampton Water. There she lined up centrally between two tugs who began their powerful fire pumps providing that traditional grand water spray in salute.

Queen Anne gracefully made her way whilst acknowledging the accompanying flotilla of small vessels with her deep base sounding fog horn. As we approached Fawley, excitement grew as the Ventura was heading between us and Queen Anne. Ventura’s passengers could be seen and heard in their excitement offering the new vessel a welcome to the UK.

A helicopter circled above no doubt relaying pictures to Cunard for their live coverage. Friends started sending me messages as they watched the live coverage on YouTube channels. The crew on board Queen Anne looked as if they were preparing for the welcome ahead at Town Quay and at her berth at Mayflower Terminal. Along the waterfront I had noticed the vast displays of Queen Anne flags adorning lamp posts along the roads. Clearly a party atmosphere is expected as she departs on her maiden voyage to a fireworks display on Friday evening.

Our vessel held off as Queen Anne prepared to turn in the turning basin at the Western Docks. Smoothly her azepods and bow thrusters swung the great ship to starboard and, when around 180 degrees, she began forward movements to tie up alongside Mayflower Terminal. It appeared there was a crowd in the terminal waiting to board for their first experience of the pristine new Cunarder.

It had been a memorable evening, although a cold and breezy one. Queen Anne settled into her berth and we made our way back to Town Quay. This my seventh Blue Funnel trip to witness history in the making; who knows, will I make it to see the 250th Cunard vessel arrive in similar splendid style? The order has yet to be placed!
« Last Edit: May 03, 2024, 09:06 AM by Cunarder Man »

Online Lynda Bradford

Re: Queen Anne’s Maiden Arrival Southampton 30 April 2024
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2024, 08:58 PM »
Fabulous review and photos.  Thanks for posting
I was proud to be involved with planning QE2's 50 year conference in September 2017 in Clydebank

Offline June Ingram

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Re: Queen Anne’s Maiden Arrival Southampton 30 April 2024
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2024, 01:36 AM »
Thanks very much for the review and photos !
QE2 - the ship for all of time, a ship of timeless beauty !

Offline Joann Scott

Re: Queen Anne’s Maiden Arrival Southampton 30 April 2024
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2024, 06:00 AM »
I have been watching the building of Queen Anne and how lucky her Captain is Danish from the Faroe Islands. She is a beautiful ship and may she make lots of history like  the QE2 and other Cundars. Thank you for the nice pictures of arrival in Southampton.
Thank you also to QE2 Forum staff and our monthly Newsletter done by Lynda Bradford. We are also lucky to have 2 ships QE2 and RMS Queen Mary that we can visit.
Joann Scott


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