Cunard's 175th Anniversary celebrations are still underway after their meetings of the Queens in Southampton and Liverpool. The Queen Mary 2 will be heading across the Atlantic to commemorate the line's beginnings in the birthplace of its founder, Sir Samuel Cunard. The journey will also pay tribute to the company's original voyage by the Britannia in 1840.
Sir Samuel Cunard was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1787 and soon rose to success in the shipping business. The company he helped to establish, Cunard Steamships Ltd, won the rights to a transatlantic mail service between the UK and North America, and that was the beginning of countless transatlantic sailings - for which Cunard is still known today!
On the 10th of July, Halifax will host not only the QM2 but a series of commemorative events, beginning with a ceremony during which part of the waterfront development in the city will be named after Sir Samuel. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic will re-open their Cunard portion of the Age of Steam exhibition and also launch a new exhibit focusing on the founder. Called Cunard 175: Engine for Change, it is designed to take visitors through his vision for an "ocean railway" and how his business acumen and advanced ships made a significant impact on global business and transportation.
When the Queen Mary 2 departs her berth at 8pm, she will tour the harbour and then join a convoy for a sail-past close to the Halifax waterfront - giving the public a chance to witness the occasion. A naval artillery salute will see her on her way.
The day will also include a prize giving ceremony for the first Samuel Cunard Prize presented by Cunard Line and partnering organisations. The recipient has been named as James D. Irving, an entrepreneur who has helped lead his family business to become a world class performer in a number of industries - one of these being shipbuilding.
Cunard's North American president, Richard Meadows, said of the planned celebrations: "We look forward to honouring Sir Samuel Cunard in his birthplace of Halifax, and to celebrating the company's first North American port of call. Cunard is honoured to be one of the few companies who can claim a 175-year history and Halifax plays an instrumental role in that story."
The Queen Mary 2: A grand tradition
The presence of the QM2 in Halifax is a nod to the significance of the celebration, as she is the fleet's flagship and a treasure trove of nautical history and tradition. Designed as a true ocean liner rather than a cruise ship, she proudly sports classic features and design touches like a wraparound promenade deck, teak finishes, understated decor, a black hull with red waterline, works of art throughout her public spaces and a grand ballroom. It's the feeling of being on a ship rather than a floating hotel which appeals to many loyal Cunard passengers.
It's what passengers can't see, however, which really sets the Queen Mary 2 apart. Although she takes a break from crossings each year for a Cunard World Cruise and one or two shorter Caribbean itineraries, she is built primarily for crossing the mighty Atlantic. Her top speed is faster than your regular cruise ship, and her fine hull means that her block coefficient is much lower. Seawater desalination plants allow her to spend a long time at sea, and a constanzi stern provides both the transom space required for mounting the modern propellor pods and good sea holding characteristics for a following swell, which was a requirement for ocean liners of old.