Amid fanfare befitting nautical royalty, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 made her final call to Boston today.  Accompanied by a flotilla of local boaters and a traditional fireboat display, the iconic ocean liner departed Boston during a farewell tour that includes stops in Canada and New England.  QE2 Captain Ian McNaught and local dignitaries, including Thomas J. Kinton, Jr., CEO & Executive Director of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport); John A. Quelch, Massport’s Chairman of the Board; and Phil Budden, British Consul-General for New England, gathered for a reception to mark the occasion, which was highlighted by a performance by the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums and an 11-Round Howitzer Salute by the Massachusetts Army National Guard 1st Battalion 101st Field Artillery.  The fond farewell also included spectacular fireboat water displays from Massport Fire-Rescue and the Boston Fire Department.  From Boston, the ship will call on Halifax, Nova Scotia before sailing to her homeport in Southampton, England.

QE2 made her maiden call to Boston on October 1, 1979 and subsequently called on the city 50 times, including 21 overnight calls during her 40+ years service to Cunard Line.

Widely considered the most famous ship in the world, QE2 has logged more than 5.6 million nautical miles (equivalent to traveling to the moon and back 13 times), carrying nearly 2.5 million passengers.  The distinguished ship will leave Cunard’s service in November 2008 as Cunard’s longest-serving liner.

With the completion of QE2’s service to Cunard Line, and with the upcoming debut of the company’s new ship, Queen Elizabeth in 2010, Cunard is poised to become the youngest fleet in the industry.