Monday, 25 May 2015

The Three Queens

The Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria line abreast in the River Mersey on Bank Holiday Monday
A unique event took place on the River Mersey at Liverpool on Bank Holiday Monday 25th May. To celebrate the 175th Anniversary of Cunard Line, all three of Cunard's ships were due to meet on the Mersey in a spectacular coming together of the whole fleet, which is unlikely to be seen again in Liverpool for a very long time. RMS Queen Mary 2 had arrived in the port on the morning of the preceding day, Sunday 24th May. At 1045 on Bank Holiday Monday, the Queen Mary 2 departed from the Pier Head and made its way down to the mouth of the River Mersey, where it performed a 180 degree turn to await the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. While the Queen Mary 2 remained on station at the mouth of the Mersey, she was passed by the Queen Elizabeth, which had sailed from the Orkney islands in Scotland, and the Queen Victoria, which had arrived from Guernsey in the Channel Islands. The Queen Mary 2 took up her position at the rear of the flotilla and all three ships sailed line astern along the River Mersey towards the Liver Building, they then slowed to a stop adjacent to the Echo Arena and performed a choreographed 180 degree turn until they were facing north. The ships then slowly manoeuvred into a line abreast formation in the centre of the river opposite the Liver Building. As the ships held their position mid-river, the RAF Red Arrows aerobatic display team made a flypast overhead on their way to a perform a display at Blackpool. At 1410 the Queen Mary 2 departed the city to continue with her cruise to Guernsey, while the Queen Elizabeth berthed at the Pier Head landing stage and the Queen Victoria remained anchored in the centre of the River Mersey. A few facts about the three Queens, the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are both cruise ships that weigh around 90,000 tons and have a capacity of just over 2000 passengers. The Queen Mary 2 is a full ocean going liner and weighs in at 148,000 tons with a capacity of 2,600 passengers. The Queen Mary 2 is the last major ocean liner to be built since the QE2 back in 1969, and was constructed with 40% more steel than an equivalent cruise ship in order to be able to withstand the rigours and storms of regular transatlantic crossings.

The Mersey ferry Snowdrop in a WW1 style dazzle camouflage scheme approaching Seacombe landing stage
The Queen Mary 2 leaving the Pier Head at Liverpool in order to make its way towards the mouth of the River Mersey
The Queen Mary 2 performing a 180 degree turn around at the mouth of the River Mersey beyond New Brighton
Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria passing the Queen Mary 2 at the mouth of the River Mersey near New Brighton
The Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, with the Queen Mary 2 passing by Seaforth container terminal
The Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 being led up the River Mersey by the tug Svitzer Bidston
The Queen Elizabeth leading the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 up the River Mersey in line astern formation
The Queen Victoria leading the Queen Mary 2 up the River Mersey towards the Liver Building
The cruise ship Queen Elizabeth leading the flotilla of three Cunarders up the River Mersey
The Queen Victoria passing the similarly named Victoria clock tower at the entrance to Liverpool Docks
The Queen Mary 2 bringing up the rear of the flotilla of three ships

The RAF Red Arrows display team performing a flypast over the three Queens and the Liver Building
The Queen Mary 2 leaving Liverpool in order to continue with her cruise towards Guernsey
The Queen Mary 2 departing for Guernsey as the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria remain on station in the river
The Queen Mary 2 passing the Seacombe landing stage as she heads off down the Mersey bound for Guernsey
The Queen Elizabeth draws up to the Liverpool Pier Head landing stage as the Mersey ferry Royal Iris passes by

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