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  #1  
Old November 10th, 2008, 07:23 PM
Dan Askin Dan Askin is offline
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Default QE2's Final Departure: Reporting Live from Southampton

Fans of Cunard's iconic QE2 are all quite aware of tomorrow's historic events in Southampton -- and several Cruise Critic members, such as cunard cruiser, will be on hand for the emotional day.

Cruise Critic's U.K. Editor Kelly Ranson will be also be there, reporting live from the scene at Mayflower Park during the ship's final departure from Southampton. Kelly will be providing a running commentary of the day's events "vox pop" style (voice of the people). Feel free to join the discussion, and/or wish the ship well.

We'll see you there.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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http://videoboss.smugmug.com/gallery...557_QRtzy-O-LB

Maps of the planned QE2 sailing route. From BBC site
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QE2 1969 (June 6 & 26), 1978 x2, 2001 x2 1 trip in 1991, 1999 - 30th anniv trip, 2000, 2002, 2003, The next LAST transatlantic 12/15/04; QE2 40 year celebration 9/07; QE2 July 20, 2008 to MED
QM2 trip 2 1/31/04 & 11/6/04 OCT 2008 TANDOM CROSSINGS => QM2 on 10/10/08 S-NY. Then back to UK on QE2.
SS France 1972 x2 and 1974 x1; SS Raffaello 1974 & 1975
Sea Venture 1974 to Bermuda; SS Rotterdam 1976 & 1977 Nassau & Bermuda
Noordam 1992 & 94/95 new years; Statendam 1993; Ryndam 1999; Amsterdam - New Years 02/03
Celebrity's Horizon 1996 & Galaxy 1997 - trip #3 ?? NCL Windward 1997 3 trips before lengthening; Serenade Of The Seas 2003 trip #7
Maasdam New Years 05/06 - broke engine! trip 502; Explorer of Seas - Bermuda 10/06 trip 331
NEW Noordam new years 06/07 trip 33 (I seem to like new years on HAL !!)
Ruby Princess - Western Carribean - 2nd broke engine trip !! Caribbean Princess JAN 2010 fromSan Juan.
=> Sailing single since 1991 except 5 trips. => 40 total Cruises <=
Coming up: --- Keeping an open mind for others....but guess this will be the end for Cunard until the single rates become reasonable. My Picture site: http://videoboss.smugmug.com/
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Old November 11th, 2008, 10:58 AM
Dan Askin Dan Askin is offline
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Default Live from Southampton with QE2: 2 P.M. GMT

As others on the boards noted, the day's events began with an auspicious bump, when QE2 ran aground prior to sliding into its berth in Southampton for the last time. Five tug boats came to the rescue, and though the ship arrived in port 30 minutes late, the day's events should continue according to plan. The dropping of the million poppies by a DeHavilland Beaver aircraft earlier this morning, a trifecta of commemoration (Armistice, Remembrance Day, QE2's farwell), went off without a hitch.

On this blustery day, Cruise Critic's U.K. Editor Kelly Ranson is hanging about on a pier at Town Quay, where many of the local Southampton ferries embark from. She and several hundred of QE2 admirers, or those just tickled to be taking part in such a historic day, are enjoying a clear aft view of the ocean liner, which sits docked in its home berth across the harbor.


Other witnesses have chosen to endure lengthy ferry queues in an attempt to get that much closer to the ship (there are special harbor trips on offer today; one coincided with the fly-past, in fact).


From Kelly:

Getting Photos:
There are three essentials that all onlookers have come equipped with: a scarf, gloves and camera (four if you count each glove). And it seems that shutters are cocked and ready at all times. No one wants to miss a chance at posterity.

Sounds:
The mood has been respectful, with most paying silent tribute to the iconic ship. There's the sound of snapping cameras (for those who haven't disabled the simulated sound setting on their digital cameras). But ... all were deafened earlier by the sonic rumble of a harrier jet flying past, the aircraft seeming to hover for a moment over the QE2, before continuing off into the distance.
The ship was further wished a farewell salute by a seagoing cousin, the Royal Navy vessel.

Sights:
There were a few camper vans -- one with a Union Jack Flag, with "QE2" as its centerpiece --with what we imagine was people staying overnight to stake out a prime spot for the historic event.

We spoke to an elderly gentleman, who had seen only seen QE2 once before (he couldn't remember when) during a trans-Atlantic cruise he was sailing about a Holland America ship. He remembered being superbly impressed (jealous?) with QE2 as she glided past his less impressive vessel. With such a momentus thing in the local area, he couldn't pass it up.

Others said the scene reminded them of when that other famous British vessel Canberra returned home to Southampton for one last visit (although the fate of that ship was quite different; it was sold for scrapping).

Where to Next?
People seem to be heading to Mayflower park, where all the big events are taking place, including a performance by the Silver Beatles, a fireworks display, and a big-screen set up displaying archival QE2 footage to the masses. Grab your QE2 flag (being handed out), and join us there.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 11:04 AM
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Default Brambles!

QE2 runs aground on final farewell
11th. November 2008

==================================

Cunard Line's QE2 ran aground this morning as she approached her home port of Southampton for the last time.

Five tugs were sent to assist the liner after it hit a sandbank at about 0530 GMT at the entrance to Southampton Water.
Solent Coastguard said the ship was pulled off after about 30 minutes and docked without further incident.

The ship has 1,700 passengers and 1,000 crew but owners Cunard said most were asleep and nobody was injured.

Cunard spokesman Eric Flounders said earlier this morning:
'She touched a sandbank called Brambles but with the tide rising she was able to get away.
We are not aware at this stage of any damage to the vessel and everything is proceeding today as planned.'

Flounders added: 'We don't know exactly what happened for the vessel to get stuck.'

Thousands of people are expected to line Southampton Water today
to wave the ship off as part of the the celebrations as it leaves for Dubai.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh will lead the farewells, which include fireworks and a fly-past.

The 41-year-old liner is being taken out of service after sailing almost 6 million miles.
It will be converted into a luxury hotel in Dubai.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 12:06 PM
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For those trying to view from far away, the Cunard webcam is rotating several stock shots. I don't know how, but the site below has the more current image.

http://shipwatcher.com/
__________________
QE2 1969 (June 6 & 26), 1978 x2, 2001 x2 1 trip in 1991, 1999 - 30th anniv trip, 2000, 2002, 2003, The next LAST transatlantic 12/15/04; QE2 40 year celebration 9/07; QE2 July 20, 2008 to MED
QM2 trip 2 1/31/04 & 11/6/04 OCT 2008 TANDOM CROSSINGS => QM2 on 10/10/08 S-NY. Then back to UK on QE2.
SS France 1972 x2 and 1974 x1; SS Raffaello 1974 & 1975
Sea Venture 1974 to Bermuda; SS Rotterdam 1976 & 1977 Nassau & Bermuda
Noordam 1992 & 94/95 new years; Statendam 1993; Ryndam 1999; Amsterdam - New Years 02/03
Celebrity's Horizon 1996 & Galaxy 1997 - trip #3 ?? NCL Windward 1997 3 trips before lengthening; Serenade Of The Seas 2003 trip #7
Maasdam New Years 05/06 - broke engine! trip 502; Explorer of Seas - Bermuda 10/06 trip 331
NEW Noordam new years 06/07 trip 33 (I seem to like new years on HAL !!)
Ruby Princess - Western Carribean - 2nd broke engine trip !! Caribbean Princess JAN 2010 fromSan Juan.
=> Sailing single since 1991 except 5 trips. => 40 total Cruises <=
Coming up: --- Keeping an open mind for others....but guess this will be the end for Cunard until the single rates become reasonable. My Picture site: http://videoboss.smugmug.com/
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Old November 11th, 2008, 12:13 PM
Dan Askin Dan Askin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winchester View Post
For those trying to view from far away, the Cunard webcam is rotating several stock shots. I don't know how, but the site below has the more current image.

http://shipwatcher.com/
Thanks Winchester, appreciate the link. We'd love to have been able to provide a visual with our dispatches!
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Old November 11th, 2008, 12:16 PM
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Default 3 p.m. from Mayflower Park

From U.K. Editor Kelly's latest report:

We made the five-minute trek on foot along the harbor, past the Southampton Marathon Museum and its large display of the doomed Titanic (exhibits on Cunard and the history of the port town available inside), to Mayflower Park. From our current vantage point, you can just about see the aft of the ship and some of the side, moored up alongside the terminal, but we're quite far away.

Down on the green, a giant movie screen is showcasing archival footage of the QE2 -- its famous mid 1960's sea trials in the Clyde, in fact. At that point, the iconic funnel, so emblematic of QE2, was nowhere to be seen, the ship slicing through the water with the hair style equivalent of the "flat top," a 'do popular in urban American settings in the 1980's. Snippets of the smiling Queen naming the ship flash by shortly after. Forty-odd years out, it's quite odd watching such a vision of the past, with so many memories -- of celebrities and royalty, a stint in war -- having come between then and now.

The park is still pretty empty, with probably 100 people milling about, others in town for some pre-event sustenance, and a dozen or so people sitting on lawn chairs, having staked out their spots for the evening festivities. At the moment, there's a feeling of expectation, killing time, waiting for the already low-slung sun to descend and for the QE2 to do her thing one last time.

Those who are about include people from the South Coast of England, some from Portsmouth -- but so far none that we've talked to had ever sailed on QE2. Instead they're here to pay respect to a British icon, the most famous cruise ship on the planet. One older gentleman knew someone who had worked on the original Queen Mary back in 1953, and the sight of the QE2 brings him back.

But despite the crowds having not yet arrived, a feeling of patriotism hangs in the air, with many donning their poppies for Remembrance Day, paying respect to those who've served the country -- which of course includes QE2, whose duty in the Falklands is well honored. She is, so it seems, a national hero of sorts, and a source of pride.

There's also a bit of a fun fair vibe, with rides for the tots, burgers, hot dogs, etc. Red, white and blue flags (1.5 pounds), hats and other knickknacks are on sale, but business is so far slow. Likewise for the loads of memorabilia, some original, some facsimile, and local paper selling commemorative editions that mark the historical occasion. There's also an industrious Travel Agency, Bath Travel, using the event to make some deals on special sailings for QE2 soon to be former sister ship Queen Victoria.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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Default 5 p.m. from Mayflower Park

From U.K. Editor, Kelly Ranson:

The sun has just about set and temperatures have fallen sharply. The sky is still blue, but the moon is up -- a natural metaphor for the QE2's farewell departure.

Satellite crews from the local and national TV stations are preparing for broadcasts, their cameras fixed on a point QE2 will sail past later this evening. The roadies for the Silver Beatles (you guessed it: a Beatles tribute band) are setting up the band's instruments, and the fun fair has been lit up. Expectation is building.

The crowd has grown to a few hundred (still nowhere near capacity, which is many thousand), and with the cold early evening, venders selling QE2 logo jumpers (sweaters for our U.S. readers) have appeared in the dusk, trying to cash in on the cold. No takers yet. The majority of people in the crowd are older folks, having lived along with the QE2 for the past 40 years.

We met a woman from South Africa, Josephine Pombs, who worked onboard QE2 from 1973 to 1979 as a massage therapist. Interestingly, she told us that she was the first non-white crew member onboard. For her, it was a great gig, with innumerable fond memories of her fellow crew. She met a load of celebrities, including Rock Hudson and Rod Stewart. And years after she retired, she had the good fortune of being onboard when Nelson Mandela visited the ship in South Africa. Ms. Pombs was sad to see the ship go -- but her memories, and the fact that ship has a new home, make it easier.

Another man is a flag-purchasing, poppy-wearing, well-dressed, QE2 admirer who went onboard in July for a mini-cruise to Rotterdam and Brugge (wedding anniversary paid for by his son). He commented on the sense of warmth and safety he found onboard, and that nowhere else was there a place where everyone was so friendly. When he sailed from Southampton in July, they were singing "Royal Britannia" and "Auld Lang Syne," and that experience instilled in him a great pride. He couldn't but return to pay respect.


The big-screen setup continues to show the historical tribute to QE2, and nearly the entire crowd stood in silence, transfixed by images of the ship sailing down to the Falklands in the early 1980's. We watched original footage from the news reports as "Land of Hope and Glory" played, and women said goodbye to their husbands, families to their sons. It was the most emotional part of the day so far.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 02:18 PM
Dan Askin Dan Askin is offline
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Default 6:15 P.M. from Town Quay

From Kelly:

Although the night has become quite dark and exceedingly chilly, the crowds are starting to really build at Mayflower Park in anticipation of the ship's 7:15 p.m. GMT departure. Mayflower wasn't the best for daytime viewing (too far away), but it's going to be quite a scene an hour and half from now, when the ship will sail over to the park for several minutes of peacocking before heading off into the night.

In the meantime, we've headed back to the less crowded Town Quay for some different perspective. The car park is full; a lot of people are sitting in their cars, heat on blast, to escape the cold. One man's asleep. Hopefully he'll be roused before QE2 slips off forever.

It's a pitch black night, and the ship is aglow. All eyes are on QE2's stunning illuminated lines.

People are twirling glow sticks, and more sellers, this time hawking various enlighteners (flashing toys, glow sticks, etc.), have materialized.

Onlookers are lined up all along the coast, prepared to get that perfect shot -- the front row "seats" are all accounted for.

Why Are You Here?

One lady we've met in the crowd tells us about her many years of experience working on the Southampton docks. She has countless family ties to the dockyard, with many of her family members dedicating their careers to shipping -- including her father, who worked on the docks for 40 years, and a son and brother who worked as photogs onboard QE2. All lived and grew up in Southampton, so for them, the ship is part of their extended family.

Of course, not everyone is here to pay respects for such personal reasons.

We chatted to a few parents, little ones in tow, who explained that they'd simply come down to see the ship and enjoy a fun fair-type atmosphere. They'd done the same when Queen Victoria visited Southampton for the first time. Their reason for showing up isn't driven by having fond memories of the QE2, or in fact of ever sailing on the ship at all. It's famous, and it represents something attractively nostalgic: that "old style" of cruising during a bygone era.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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Dan: When you next hear from Kelly can you find out if Captain McNaught is still at the helm for the sailing? I know that in past incidents like the one this morning they have removed the Captain pending investigation for the incident.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:35 PM
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Default Mayflower Park, 7:20 p.m., QE2 Unmoored

From Kelly:

It's absolutely packed here at Mayflower Park, with thousands (and thousands more) in attendance. Far from being a mob scene, however, the crowd is rather quiet, transfixed on the giant telly screen, which is showing a live TV program presented by the BBC (we did have a laugh when we heard about the heroin smuggled on by a few pax trying to bring drugs back to Southampton).

The hour-long show is paying tribute to the QE2's storied history (celebrities, royalty, bomb threats, war service), all accompanied by live shots from a multitude of cameras (aerial, on the docks, onboard), and interviews with ship historians and other crew, past and present.

But don't mistake the paucity of crowd noise for lack of interest. The vibe is one of intensity -- and there's a tremendously palpable excitement that's taken hold. An eruption, much like what you'd experience during the encore at a huge outdoor rock concert, is inevitable.

At the time of this reporting, they've started to take up the gangway; the tugs necessary to guide QE2 out of port have been secured to the bow; and the ship is off, sliding out of its Southampton berth for the last time.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheretonext??? View Post
Dan: When you next hear from Kelly can you find out if Captain McNaught is still at the helm for the sailing? I know that in past incidents like the one this morning they have removed the Captain pending investigation for the incident.
Interesting question Wheretonext. I've tried to get in touch with Cunard regarding the captain, but no response yet. Kelly likewise hasn't heard anything.

What a rough thing to happen for McNaught on this day. He did, however, just gave a farwell address to the crowd of thousands, so he's certainly on the scene.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Askin View Post
Interesting question Wheretonext. I've tried to get in touch with Cunard regarding the captain, but no response yet. Kelly likewise hasn't heard anything.

What a rough thing to happen for McNaught on this day. He did, however, just gave a farwell address to the crowd of thousands, so he's certainly on the scene.
Thanks Dan: I think this is has been posted before but here is the live stream--just click where it says Live Stream
http://www.bbc.co.uk/hampshire/histo...l_history/qe2/


I am watching it and they've announced that he is at the helm.

Bettie
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:56 PM
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I couldn't imagine them pulling him off the ship at this time, but thanks for the confirmation.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:57 PM
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For those of you unable to watch it, I'm grabbing some grainy screenshots.

Catches the mood though.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lightbody/

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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:58 PM
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Thanks Rob, we'll have one more report coming in from Kelly in the next 30 minutes as well.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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Old November 11th, 2008, 04:07 PM
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Old November 11th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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Thomas Quinones on QE2.



And with that, she's gone, and I'm distraught.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 04:21 PM
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Thanks for posting those links. I was able to watch the entire ceremony....sad that I never got to sail on her. The end of an era.

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