"I remember this ship rising from the floor of John Brown's shipyard in Clydebank and finally towering over the town and the momentary silence when the Queen launched her and the name was finally revealed. I was lucky to be taken on the ship before she sailed as my uncle was one of the managers in the yard. It was an experience I'll never forget, and I'll always regret not having sailed on her. My aunt and uncle were on the maiden voyage and they brought us all a small gift with the ship logo. As a 'Bankie' I will always feel that she should stay in this country -- preferably on the Clyde. Did plan on sailing on her before she went to Dubai, but circumstances overtook me -- had an accident and unable to travel. Unable to go to Greenock today to say a final farewell to a grand old lady, but maybe I'll see her one day in Dubai."
To: Cruise Critic From: Margaret Gradwells
"Our family has said goodbye to a wonderful lady and stood with a tear in their eye as she posed in the sunset on the tandem sail Eastwards across the Atlantic, just one week ago. We had stood shoulder to shoulder with fellow passengers on the top deck of the Queen Mary 2 as the horns sounded, the QE2 with is low resonance and the QM2 with the Cunard history in her whistle from the first Queen Mary.
"The QE2 has been the catalyst for many friendships, made on her decks and beautiful rooms, with people of a like mind in their love of something so iconic, so British. We won't be traveling to Dhabi as the Atlantic was her stomping ground.
"One daughter says she has a wonderful memories, also, of her last sighting of the QE2 on the 'Time to say goodbye' visit to Newcastle she stood on the Tyne Ferry and watched at the ship sailed passed the Groin at South Shields and into the darkness of the North Sea with the lonely light being provided by the symmetry of the firework display.
Farewell my lovely.
To: Cruise Critic From: Phillycruiserbear
"Thursday October 16, 2008 was a day I had been planning for some months. I had been on the World Ship Society's New York Branch Web site (a very handy site indeed) to view all the passenger ship arrivals and departures for New York City.
I wanted a place to be to take some great photos of the QE2 and the QM2 ... [the first was] next to the Alice Austen house [in Staten Island]. It is a great location to get ships going under the bridge on the way into New York Harbor ... The pictures taken though in the early morning of the moving ships was disappointing. The video came out good. But the night time setting on the camera and the movement of the ships just didn't work so well ... I was contemplating what to do with the departure. I was planning to take pictures of the ships from this vantage point. But they wouldn't be there till 7 p.m. Darkness would have already fallen, and I would confront the same issues. I had taken Circle Line excursions in 2004 for the QM2 maiden departure and the tandem departure of the QE2 and in of this year for the 3 Queen's, the pictures were also not really good because of the darkness and movement of both our boat and the three Queens, so figured a site on land would be better.
"I took the Staten Island Ferry over to the city and scouted out a place in Battery Park. Then headed down Broadway and across the throngs of folks on Wall Street to the South Street Seaport Museum. I decided to eat lunch on Pier 17 before going through the museum. I was wearing my Queen Mary shirt that I bought in Long Beach in 2002. As I walked up the steps to ... the restaurant, I was greeted by a woman who asked me if I had sailed or was sailing out that day. She was hosting a gathering of people who were Cunard enthusiasts. She was correct in assuming I was an enthusiast. I wasn't officially part of her group, but I had a nice time chatting with some of the group. They asked me to join them, but they were busy socializing and I wanted to eat. So I settled into a seat on the deck looking over the East River and the QM2 berthed in Red Bank. At the museum I kept running into people who were there for the QE2. A young man was there from Dallas, he had come to NY just to see the Queen off. By 4 p.m. I had headed back to Battery Park. I met a wonderful couple of ladies who had crossed over on the QM2 and were there to see off the QE2. We had tea together at the cafe and waited and chatted.
"The QM2 was looking splendid as she waited with us for the older more seasoned QE2. We listened to the bagpipers play as the fireboats arrived with the Queen. It was a magnificent day. Best photos of any of the Queen Rendezvous I had ever taken. Back on the ferry to Staten Island met another person who had come over on the QM2 and was riding the ferry back and forth to see the Queens off. I got a last video from the Staten Island ferry of the ships near the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge.
"What a wonderful day. It had the flavor of meeting old cousins who you hadn't seen in years. Everyone was so nice and everyone had one thing in common. They love the QE2. God's speed to her in her new role."
To: Cruise Critic From: Anonymous
"It had been 18 months since I had sailed on the QE2 when I boarded in Southampton for a transatlantic crossing to New York. The first evening I went to the Chart Room for my pre-dinner drinks. When I entered the Chart Room there were only two other people seated at the bar. I took my usual seat next to the waiter's station and engaged the couple next to me in conversation. The bar tender was fixing their drinks and he kept looking at me again and again. The drinks were delivered to the British couple and a vodka martini was placed in front of me. The British gentlemen said, 'He bloody didn't even order.' The bar tender smiled and responded with, 'Mr. Robert always has a two-olive vodka martini, stirred not shaken, before dinner every evening.' Now that is Cunard's White Star Service."
To: Cruise Critic From: George Huxhold, CAPT. USN (Ret.)
U.S. Navy Air Show for the QE2
"In the spring of 1973, I was the Assistant Navigator onboard the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) operating in the Western Mediterranean. The QE2 was completing a visit to Palma Majorca and would get underway in the morning. The Admiral onboard the JFK knew several very important people who were cruising on the QE2 and he wanted to give the QE2 passengers and crew an experience they would not soon forget.
"After obtaining permission from the Captain of the QE2, we set about planning a rendezvous south of Palma where we would provide them with a stunning air show at sea.
"When the QE2 came over the horizon and into sight, we signaled her to steer a straight course that would be the axis for our air show. The Captain of the JFK told me to 'take the conn' and I began giving rudder and engine orders to the helmsmen to close on the QE2. I approached the QE2 from her port bow as the flight deck readied jet aircraft on our catapults. I aimed for her stern, and at just the right moment, ordered a tight left turn around her stern and ended up close aboard on her starboard side.
"Just as we were steady on the same course as the QE2, about 500 yards off her starboard quarter (which put her 500 yards off our port bow), we fired all four catapults nearly simultaneously and four fighter jets took off right over the QE2. The roar was deafening. I pulled up alongside the QE2 maintaining my 500 yard distance (which is extremely close for two very large ships) and we continued to launch the rest of the aircraft.
"After all planes had been launched, I slowed to take a position directly astern of the QE2 as fighter jets flew by low and supersonic. Then A-7 and A-6 aircraft approached parallel to our course from stern to bow, about 2000 yards off the port side, and dropped 500 pound bombs in the water. This was a very safe distance but near enough so the passengers and crew could see, hear, and feel the explosions. That was quite a sight.
"I resumed my position alongside the QE2 so the passengers and crew could get a good view of the aircraft landing on the flight deck. After the planes were aboard, I ordered 'all engines ahead flank' and we accelerated away from the QE2 in a wide sweeping starboard turn that left a beautiful white wake in the blue Mediterranean waters."
To: Cruise Critic From: Art & Bonnie Friedman
"We sailed the QE2 on the 1979 New Year's Eve cruise. At the time the ship was divided into first class and coach or whatever it was called. We decided to splurge and booked the lowest first class cabin. Our cabin was the largest and most luxurious we have ever had. We had a full width dressing table and tub bath as well as a real walk-in closet. I think it was bigger than our home!! At the time the crew was all British -- very British! We had both a stewardess and steward assigned to the cabin. There were several places in the cabin with green and red buttons -- to summon either of the staff. (Remember this was the lowest first class cabin!). My wife is a little messy and the stewardess would come in each day and align all of her makeup and lipsticks in neat rows -- regardless of how my wife left them.
"The staff was dressed to the nines all of the time, not the casual attire of today, and were very formal. Our fondest memory, however, was our returning to our cabin after the New Year's Eve party in the Queen's Room to find our steward coming down the corridor -- clothes all askew, singing something British and completely to the four winds! It is a sight we have never forgotten -- after all these years, over 60 cruises and 7 more New Year's Eves at sea. Of course the next morning all was back in place and formality returned!
We actually stopped and laughed together for a few minutes. I doubt that he had any memory the next morning!"
To: Cruise Critic From: Rose Ursino
"In May of 2002 I crossed the Atlantic on the QE2 together with my daughter Sunny who had just graduated from Medical School. I wanted my daughter to experience a trans-Atlantic crossing as I did as a child when my family immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1956. And so for her graduation gift we cruised to Italy from Florida on another cruise line that rocked and rolled for seventeen days -- but we still had a lot of fun and it was a wonderful experience.
Then after spending a month in Italy we returned home with the QE2 from Southampton. Needless to say the ship was impeccable. The service was outstanding, the food, well, let's just say, superb, the Old World charm unmatched.
We were in the middle of the North Atlantic and we encountered a storm. This storm was unbelievable. The waves looked like they were coming over the ship. I have to say I was really frightened and sat by the window in the bar all night to look outside and keep watch over the power of nature.
The staff was so wonderful, they were so concerned, and always came by to check up on me, bringing me a pillow, a blanket, tea, etc. One thing that I must say: Even though we went through a frightening storm, the QE2 did not move at all. It cut through those gigantic waves like silk ... my daughter and I were very impressed about the stability and the strength of the ship.
By morning the sea was glistening and as smooth as a sheet of ice. I am now happy that I experienced that storm because now when I cruise and people get all crazy about a few rain drops and ripples ... I laugh as I recall the experience on the QE2, and everything else is a piece of cake!!
The QE2 is a remarkable vessel and I'm sure it will be a treasure for a long time to come, as will the memories my daughter and I made in May of 2002.
I am also submitting a copy of my poem about a cruise experience of my youth for your viewers. Read the poem here.
To: Cruise Critic From: Patti Sauro
"My parents took my sister and me on a crossing during the 1969 maiden season! What a thrill! I was 14, my sister was 10. My folks participated in a trivia contest in the then Double Down Room. We sisters sat up on the 2nd level to watch them. They won, and received a nice bottle of champagne. When they popped the cork to celebrate, it flew all the way up to the 2nd level and landed on our table! I still have that cork.
They've since passed away, but the great memories of that voyage are with us to this day."
To: Cruise Critic From: Jill Erickson
"I remember my husband and I pedaling our bicycles down to the New York docks to see the QE2 -- and then we got the opportunity to sail on her. It was a wonderful voyage from Southampton to New York. We made many friends on that voyage. My fondest memory was watching the many Europeans with their faces pressed against the windows of the ship in total wonderment as we sailed into New York harbor. I'm sad to see her go."
To: Cruise Critic From: Karin de Brauwere
"My husband and I went on the QE2, sailing from Cape Town to Southampton during April 2004. We were the youngest couple onboard, aged 30 and 33, but we had the time of our life!
"Upon our return we had another surprise, I was pregnant with our first (and only) child!
"Needless to say, she was baptized Chloe ELIZABETH, as we had to recognize the QE2's role in her existence.
"Thank you QE2, even though you won't be sailing anymore, your legend lives on in our beautiful daughter, now aged three and a half."
To: Cruise Critic From: Norma Straw
"I remember the day she was launched. I was attending Dunoon Grammar School in Scotland, on the Firth of Clyde. Everyone in the school (about 800 pupils) got to go to the assembly hall to watch her being launched on the Television. So it had to be an important occasion for everyone to gather to see the launch!
"She will be in Greenock October 5th for her last visit to the Firth of Clyde and I am sure she will have a big send off when she leaves!
"I have been lucky to take several cruises on her and really enjoyed the cruise through the Panama Canal."
To: Cruise Critic From: Kathy
"When only a teen I was privileged to be with my Gram on a crossing. To my memory, the Queens Dining was unlike any that I have seen elsewhere, the service was beyond all I could have imagined. Tea was just the best. Talks were like college lectures. The music quality was concert perfect. All the wait staff went above and beyond. Smiles were always in place and everything was perfect. I am hoping to take my granddaughter at 16 on a crossing and can only pray it will provide her with some of the same wonderful memories. I am sorry to see her sold but do understand economics and change."
To: Cruise Critic From: Chris
"I was onboard for an Atlantic Isles cruise in October 1977 (Madeira and the Canaries) when there was a big fire in the engine room, and we drifted for more than one day, as the ship had lost most of its propulsion power. It was not unpleasant since everything was working properly on board and so we had a complimentary extra day onboard enjoying the warmth of the Atlantic, (we were just off Madeira); but rumors were wild, and it was slightly unsettling since we did not know if the ship would go back to Southampton. She did eventually. Where it was less pleasant though was to make new shore arrangements as, back them, to place a phone call to shore, you had to take an appointment and be in your stateroom to place the call at the time slot given to you. Clumsy.
"Also the crossing Southampton/New York following the cruise was cancelled, so all American guests, many having planned to sail home with the ship, had to disembark and fly back to the USA. This was a bore although Cunard graciously offered two nights at the Tower hotel in London which was managed by Cunard at the time."
To: Cruise Critic From: Karen McRobert-Thompson
"I am very sad to hear of the news of this beautiful ship being sold. I was on the QE2 in 1972 with my parents. I was a young child of thirteen, what a wonderful experience that was, something I shall never forget. This was the time when it was discovered that several bombs had been planted on the ship, and we watched the bomb dispersal men being dropped in the middle of the Atlantic to then watch the ship being stripped down internally.
"Before it was announced to us what was exactly happening I remember my mother saying to one of these men, "have we sprung a leak?" The reply then, was "not yet" with a chuckle. As a child this was such an exciting time, I had little fear and took it all as a game with some of the things we were asked to do. My parents seemed so anxious and made sure I was not out of their sight for long. I had a man that used to check all was OK with me and the cabin, and on several occasions we were asked to wear as many warm clothes as we could put on ... he cut out a bin liner that could be placed over me once I was fully wrapped up -- something that always stuck in my mind. I have a few treasured memories of that time in 1972. My parents always said that one day we would return on that liner, but sadly that was never to be."
To: Cruise Critic From: Cruachan
"It's not strictly a 'memory' of the QE2, but I recently wrote the lyrics to a song as a personal tribute to the ship." You can hear the tune to which Cruachan penned these words here.
The Great Ship
In Clydebank the crane jibs are lifting and swinging
In the yard, builders' hammers on steel plates are ringing
All over the hull, welders' torches are glowing
Out on the slipway the great ship is growing
The hull is complete and the launch day is nearing,
Her name is revealed now, as thousands are cheering,
The ritual bottle breaks on her bow plating,
There on the slipway the great ship lies waiting
At first, on the 'ways, she seems doomed to remain there
Then, anxious to leave, as the drag chains restrain her
She enters the water, her proud stern lifting
On Scotland's great river, the great ship is drifting
Silver the moonlight upon the sea flashing
Hard 'gainst her bows the great ocean is crashing
Like great Queens before her, her power is unfailing
'Cross the Atlantic the great ship is sailing
Far to the southwards the war hounds are baying
Already the ships of the task force are sailing
Her country has called, flames of war are igniting,
The great ship responds, and sets sail for the fighting
Decks crowded with troops she comes back to her home port
The soldiers' homecoming, their families to comfort
Wives, sons and daughters, their hearts filled with yearning,
laughing and crying. The great ship's returning
To the fjords of Norway, the warm Caribbean,
To far distant islands, around the Aegean,
Her passengers savour what soon they'll be losing,
On the seas of the world, the great ship is cruising
Regally, stately she moves from the quayside,
Away down the Solent she slips on the ebb tide,
Heart-rending and poignant her siren's last crying,
Her faithful are weeping - the great ship is dying.
Her faithful are weeping - the great ship is dying.
To: Cruise Critic From: John F. Guerra
"In the winter of 2000, we sailed on QE2 from Cape Town (eventually landing [in] New York 21 days later). As we sailed near midnight, the fog was spilling over Table Mountain and a crew member in the tug following us out sang several Italian arias from the tug's deck. It was evident he was singing to the ship.
"It was an extraordinary moment and there wasn't a dry eye among those of us gathered on the aft deck at the start of the most memorable of our eight sailings on QE2. She will be truly missed. She is my favorite place in the world."
To: Cruise Critic From: Russ Gibson
"I was 13 and was preparing to sail on QE2 with my parents and 15-year-old sister. We had taken my father's boat from New Jersey and sailed past QE2 on our way to the 79th Street marina. At some point the skies opened and we were drenched in a summer storm. My mother worked overtime to make sure our outfits fit the standards she thought QE2's First Class demanded. We arrived at the pier and posed for our pre-boarding photo, all four of us standing at the life ring. We looked like we had just survived the sinking of QE2....
"Then we spent 6 days in absolute luxury and service. While my cruise tastes have changed, I will never forget the first time my waiter gingerly spooned an ounce of caviar on my plate and, when I asked for a more, happily smiled and spooned more. On QE2 there wasn't anything you could ask for that they wouldn't accommodate."
To: Cruise Critic From: Timothy Johnson
"My hugely fond memory of the Q, as I prefer to remember her, began immediately after my retirement from 28 years in a secondary school classroom. As luck would have it, the Queen sailed into Fremantle, Western Australia on her annual world voyage. Fremantle is about 15 minutes from my home, so I was able to ride down, go through immigration and board the QE2 for my first ever cruise!
"All was not perfection, however, because I was in a wheelchair and my fabulous wife of 34 years was as yet unretired so my trip to Japan was made by myself. My MS hadn't at that stage progressed into both legs, so I had some movement which saved me when I boarded. The gangway was, I suppose, the only way to board and it was pretty steep. My movement forward was nonexistent but my backward movement was good enough for me to walk onto the Q backwards. Not exactly the most royal way to begin my first cruise on the most famous liner in the world, but it worked. One of the stewards brought my chair up for me and so began a standout first ever cruise. I guess if you are going to begin something new you might as well begin it at the top, and the Q was definitely at the top.
"Since that first cruise six years ago I have enjoyed other cruises but they are always measured by the standards set on that first journey on that wonderful Queen. She will live in my memory until I go the same way as she unfortunately will be going. Thanks for the memory."
To: Cruise Critic From: Maureen
"I remember watching the QE2 sail out of Southampton on her maiden voyage. The thing that sticks in my mind most about this is that she did not have a red and black Cunard funnel. Little did I know then that I would sail on her - not once but several times. In fact, even now, I often stand on the shore watching her go out. On one occasion, when she sailed out of her berth behind the QM2, I heard a man say, 'Now there goes a real ship.'
"Perhaps two voyages stick in my mind. I can't remember which year it was but I remember the early hours of one New Years Day when we floated on the Carribbean with no lights and no engines. I was not scared as my first thought was, 'This ship was made in Britain.' The other voyage was this year's World Cruise and, in particular, the sail in to Sydney, past the QM2, accompanied by so many small boats and, with what must have been most of the population of Sydney, watching from every vantage point on the shore.
"Of course, on such an occasion, it makes me feel very proud to know that the name of my home city is on the stern. I am sure that the people of Southampton will give her a farewell to rival Sydney. Guess who has already booked a seat on one of the small ships accompaying her out of the port...."
To: Cruise Critic From: Margaret
"The QE2 has always had a special place in my life as it was the ship my family took when moving back to the United States after living in Zambia for a number of years. I was just a toddler when we took the trip in November and we have many stories and memories.
"As a toddler I played in the nursery and my favorite toy there was a wooden push cart that you could ride on. Since it was November and the seas were high, I found that there were 'hills' in the ship's floors. My parents recall me ridding down the 'hill' and picking up the cart to bring it back to the top to ride again.
"There are so many more stories and memories. The QE2 will always have a special place in my life. She really is a beautiful ship."
To: Cruise Critic From: The Friedmans
"My husband and I just loved her and all of her aspects, first, when we sailed out of New York, to Canada, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Newport, and another time picking her up in Southhampton to see Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, other ports. We had such fine times, she lived up to the reputation of "old world" almost as if we were living in "Brideshead Revisited": drinking hot bouillon on a deck chair with a big blanket, tea sandwiches and tea in big pots.... What a sadness to lose her. The newer ships are swanky enough, but the QE2 is in a class by itself ... so long, old friend."
To: Cruise Critic From: Steve Landes Sailed: 2000
"I've seen most of the other Ocean Liners still in existence; I sailed on the maiden trans-Atlantic crossing of the QM2, and have stayed onboard the original Queen Mary in Long Beach many times. The QE2 always seemed like the perfect thing that bridged the gap between these old and new worlds of Cunard history -- a classic like the Queen Mary, yet still at sea like the QM2.
"Ironically, I was staying onboard the Queen Mary when I learned of QE2's retirement, and it was probably the best place to be. For, as sad as the news was, here was a ship that had already met QE2's fate 40 years ago, and yet, (despite what some say, and despite her share of troubles over the years) she still exists, still brings on 'passengers' every day, giving them a glimpse into another time, when ships were built like floating palaces.
"I hope QE2 is so lucky. I hope 40 years from now, I can take my grandkids to Dubai and show them what an ocean liner is supposed to be like."
"I'll be saying goodbye to QE2 when I sail on her last crossing in 2008.
To: Cruise Critic From: Ejbmorr Sailed: 1990
"On the first leg of a back-to-back crossing to Southampton on the QE2, I received word at dinner that there was a phone call for me that I could take in the radio room. It was my daughter calling from the delivery room of the hospital in Pennsylvania to tell me of the birth of my first grandchild (he will be 17 years old in a couple of weeks).
"You can imagine my excitement when I returned to the table and shared the news with the seven others that I had only met a couple of days earlier. Champagne arrived, a special surprise meal ordered 'off the menu' was served and I sat looking out at the mid-Atlantic just trying to absorb the wonder of it all. Nigel Roberts, the ship's doctor, wrote a marvelous entry to my grandson in a copy of his newly published book.
"Needless to say, by the time I arrived in Southampton to meet the folks who were returning to the U.S. with me on the QE2, I was nearly bursting with the news. My grandson still has the book and we still talk about that event from time to time. It's a memory that is very special."