Folks that work at Cunard were quite thrilled last week to discuss the "coming home" of Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2, which met for the first time ever in Southampton. Underneath all the festivities, however, QE2 has a messier story to tell.
As reported by an Edinburgh newspaper, a staff party held onboard as QE2 made the final crossing of its 2005 world cruise resulted in extensive damage to the venerable ship. A priceless tapestry of the Queen, which had been commissioned to mark the launch of the ship, was thrown overboard by drunken crewmen. An oil portrait of Queen Elizabeth 2 (the monarch, not the ship) was damaged as well during what The Scotsman describes as "a wrecking spree which left the cruise liner with thousands of pounds worth of damage."
Two other tapestries were also damaged as was part of the ship's entertainment area, toilets and a lifeboat.
The three crew members involved were detained onboard -- and then arrested when the ship docked at the end of the three-month-long world cruise. They were (obviously) dismissed and charges are pending.
In England, police have asked fishermen to keep an eye out for the precious lost tapestry, and the public has been asked to monitor beaches in case it washes up.
At Cruise Critic, where just last week we published Princess "Takeover" of Cunard Spurs Intriguing Evolution, we were curious if the crew party was part of the cruise line's new initiative to spur relationship building via the White Star Program. White Star Service was slated for launch on QE2 this month.
Alas, Cunard's U.S.-based public relations agency failed to respond to our request to confirm details and provide further information.