May 2015 saw a unique event – the gathering of all three of Cunard’s Queens on the River Mersey, Liverpool – spiritual home to the Cunard shipping line. The event, to mark the 175th anniversary of Cunard’s first transatlantic sailing.
Here we see the Three Queens, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2, presenting themselves before the former Cunard head office, one of Liverpool’s famous Three Graces, at the Pier Head.
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The RMS Queen Mary 2 (QM2) is the flagship of the Cunard fleet. When she entered service in 2004, having assumed the Queen Elizabeth 2’s (QE2’s) mantle of Cunard flagship, she was the longest passenger ship ever built and, at 148,528 tons, the largest too.
She is currently the only transatlantic ocean liner in service between Southampton and New York and has had the honorary title ‘RMS‘ bestowed on her by Royal Mail because of Cunard’s history in transporting transatlantic mail.
The MS Queen Victoria (QV) was the second of the Three Queens to enter service in 2008, alongside the QM2 and QE2. She was constructed as an enlarged Vista class of cruise ships built by Fincantieri in Italy. Weighing in at ‘just’ 90,000 tons, she is the smallest vessel in the fleet.
The MS Queen Elizabeth (QE) is the third liner in Cunard’s fleet to bear the name and is the latest of the three Queens to enter service (2010). Also a Vista class cruise ship, at 92,00 tons she is the second largest ship in the fleet and is distinguished from her sister ship by a more vertical stern.
Interestingly, the original Queen Elizabeth ploughed the Atlantic at the same time as HMS Queen Elizabeth, the highly successful World War 1 and 2 battleship, just as the current name-bearer will when the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, enters service in 2016.