Peel Ports welcomes three Queens to Liverpool
JUNE 4, 2015: The Queen Mary 2, the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria- paid a historic visit to salute the city of Liverpool, the original home of their owners, cruise-line company Cunard, which this year celebrates its 175th anniversary. Over a million people gathered to watch the massive ‘Three Queens’ as they returned to the birthplace of the Cunard dynasty, which revolutionised transatlantic travel in the 19th century. Founded in Liverpool in 1840 by Samuel Cunard, a Canadian businessman who won the first British steamship contract to deliver mail across the Atlantic, the company then started to welcome passengers and grew rapidly. Within 30 years, it was employing some 11,500 people and had amassed a fleet of 46 ships. Queen Mary 2, the flagship of the fleet, was the longest and largest passenger ship ever built when she entered service in 2004 and cost £550 million to build. In July this year, the majestic liner will again return to Liverpool to begin a transatlantic cruise that recreates the first ever Cunard cruise across the ocean, calling at Halifax, Boston and then New York. She has a maximum speed of just over 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph) and a cruising speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph). Welcoming the visit, Mark Whitworth, chief executive of Peel Ports, said, “Liverpool has a long history and important shipping heritage with strong links to destinations around the globe. It is the first time these iconic ships have been together in Liverpool – a huge mark of respect for the city.Peel Ports are committed to continuing this legacy, investing in and developing impressive new facilities at our ports, not only to develop the passenger cruise line market but to significantly expand international trade opportunities for importers and exporters in the midlands and north of the UK.” Celebrations included a ‘water ballet’ where the Three Queens simultaneously carried out a 180 degree manoeuvre opposite the Cunard building, one of the famous ‘Three Graces’ – a trio of historic buildings on the waterfront in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pier Head, Liverpool. This was accompanied by a digital light projection show, spectacular firework display and flotilla of small boats. The three day event, from 24 – 26 May, ended with a special musical sail-away performance to say goodbye to the Queen Victoria as she departed the city.