On Feb. 5 2015, Cunard's Queen Elizabeth will meet her royal relative, the legendary Queen Mary, in a Cunard Royal Rendezvous when Queen Elizabeth docks in Long Beach for the first time ever.
This historic maiden call is particularly significant, not only because it is the first time a Cunard vessel has ever called at Long Beach, but because both Cunard and the Queen Mary are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year.
Cunard is marking 175 years since the first Transatlantic Crossing from England to the United States, inaugurating scheduled mail service to the U.S. and changing the face of ocean travel forever. The Queen Mary, who has crossed the Atlantic over 2,000 times while in service and is now a permanent hotel and museum in Long Beach harbor, is commemorating 80 years afloat.
The day will be marked with celebration and fanfare for the public, with traditional whistle salutes between the ships and a robust fireworks display. The best public viewing location is on the Promenade Deck of the Queen Mary, at the aft (back) of the ship. Complimentary access will be offered, and parking will be $15.00. Queen Elizabeth will sail into Long Beach harbor at approximately 7:00am, and depart the port at approximately 6:00pm, followed by a whistle exchange salute with the Queen Mary, and fireworks display, before she proceeds on her journey.
"During our 175-year history, the Queen Mary has been one of our most beloved ships," said Richard Meadows, president, Cunard, North America. "This meeting of the Queens will be especially memorable for our passengers, as this maiden call offers them the opportunity to disembark in Long Beach and experience the Queen Mary, an integral part of our history and tradition."
Prior visits by Cunard ships to Long Beach have been restricted to floating salutes where the modern ships hovered in place while honouring their ancestor. The 5 February visit will see Queen Elizabeth dock nearby the Queen Mary - a first for Long Beach and Cunard...and the royal relatives.
Enhancing the Queen Elizabeth's visit, and in recognition of the Queen Mary's 80 years of public life, a new Ship Model Gallery will be dedicated on the Queen Mary in a private ceremony at 11:00am. Located on the Promenade Deck, the model gallery will open to the public at 12:30pm, and will house many important ship models and is the first phase of the Queen Mary's announced plans to create a world-class maritime museum and learning center aboard the ship.
"Having Queen Elizabeth in port for the Gallery dedication makes it even more special," said The Queen Mary's General Manager, John Jenkins.
Included in the Gallery will be priceless large models of some of the world's greatest ships; Titanic, Lusitania, Normandie along with contemporary Cunard liners, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and QE2. Overall some 15 ship models will debut - with others on the way. The exhibition will also present the original Bassett-Lowke shipbuilder's model of the Queen Mary - a spectacular and historically significant ship model measuring over 20 feet in length.
Key features of Queen Elizabeth include a specially commissioned portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, as well as an 18.5 ft. marquetry piece of the original Queen Elizabeth, expertly created by David Linley, the only nephew of Her Majesty.