One of the most highly anticipated new-builds of 2007 has inched closer to entering the ranks of British royalty. On Saturday, November 24, the 90,000-ton, 2,014-passenger Queen Victoria officially became part of the Cunard family in a handover ceremony at Venice's Fincantieri Marghera shipyard.|
Notable British and Italian guests in attendance for the handover included the Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, and Britain's Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport, Jim Fitzpatrick MP. More British flavor was provided in the form of the Band of the Scots Guards, who performed during the ceremony.
The Italian flag was ceremonially lowered, and the Red Ensign of Great Britain was raised.
With this symbolic gesture completed, the next two weeks will be busy indeed for Queen Victoria. The ship is due to leave the Marghera shipyard on November 30, arriving at Southampton's City Cruise Terminal at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, December 7. Queen Victoria's christening will take place on December 10, with The Duchess of Cornwall, the former Camilla Parker Bowles, serving as godmother.
Cruise Critic will be on hand both for the christening and the ship's inaugural sailing, a 10-night Christmas markets cruise departing on December 11 -- so stay tuned for our extensive coverage between now and the end of the year.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor