Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2, the most famous ship in service, made a special fifth birthday call to Cobh on Wednesday 21 October 2009, as part of a maiden Round-the-British Isles voyage, thus becoming the longest liner ever to visit Ireland. Cunard and Cobh have shared a long and eventful history that dates back to the middle of the 19th Century when emigration from Europe to the United States and Canada began in earnest. Cunard Line celebrated the 170th Anniversary of its founding in 2009 – so this was a double celebration for the company and its flagship.
The 151,400-ton Queen Mary 2 arrived in Cobh mid morning and sailed at 6pm .
Cunard Managing Director Peter Shanks and Commodore Bernard Warner, Master of Queen Mary 2, took part in a special ceremony at the Lusitania Memorial at 1430 hours. The Cunard liner Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk in 1915 with the loss of 1,119 lives.
Other ports on the voyage, which departed Southampton on 15 October, included South Queensferry, maiden calls to Greenock and Liverpool and a visit to Cherbourg. Great crowds welcomed Queen Mary 2 at each port.
Commenting on the visit, Cunard’s Managing Director, Peter Shanks, said:
“In the hundred years from 1848 over six million people emigrated from Ireland to new lives in the New World and of these 2½ million departed from Cobh – many on Cunard vessels – so it is fitting for our flagship Queen Mary 2 to make this call during such a special voyage”.
The voyage commemorates the introduction into service of Queen Mary 2 five years ago in January 2004. Still the largest, longest, tallest, widest, most expensive ocean liner ever built and, since the retirement of QE2, the fastest passenger ship in the world. Queen Mary 2 entered service just four days after being named by Her Majesty The Queen during the most spectacular naming ceremony Southampton, her home port, had ever seen. Since that historic entry into service Queen Mary 2 has sailed almost 750,000 nautical miles, completed over 120 Atlantic crossings (the route for which she was specifically built, the first passenger ship to be built for that trade in 35 years), and made calls to 115 ports in 45 countries.
Since becoming Cunard flagship in May 2004, taking over the mantle from QE2, Queen Mary 2 has also become one of the most celebrated ships in the world and successfully continues the Cunard passenger liner tradition established 170 years ago.
Look out for the visit of Queen Victoria to Cobh on Saturday 24th July 2010.