Two Queens Hook Up In California

two queensNot even close to what the headline could be misconstrued as, two queens from Cunard Line, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary met for a historic Cunard Royal Rendezvous. What’s significant is that one is now a hotel while the other is a cruise ship. Thousands of travelers from all over the world were on hand for the event and fireworks ensued.

Fans of Cunard Line (called Cunarders) and maritime history buffs lined the shores of Long Beach Harbor for the event as the Goodyear blimp hovered overhead and the two ships exchanged a traditional whistle salute.

The Players
Queen Mary entered service as a passenger vessel in 1936 as the grandest, fastest ocean liner in the world. Sailing through WWII as a troopship, Mart transported as many as 16,000 soldiers at a blazing 30 knots (cruise ships today do 20-something). Queen Mary went back into passenger service after the war until 1967 when she became a “floating hotel,” parked in California ever since. A new Queen Mary 2 honors the original, designed for transatlantic crossings.

Much younger Queen Elizabeth, launched in 2010, is also the new version of a ship previously holding the same name. While capable of transatlantic crossings, this ship lacks the heavy plating on her hull and the propulsion system of Queen Mary 2. Still, the 90,000+ ton ship will carry over 2,500 passengers.

Mary and Elizabeth are two of the three Cunard Line queens. The other sister is Queen Victoria. Cunard Line is a member of the Worlds Leading Cruise Lines, Carnival Corporation-owned cruise lines that include Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn and Carnival Cruise Lines.

The Event
A narrative of the ships’ histories was simulcast on both ships and ashore by Everette Hoard, commodore of Queen Mary who called the two queens, “the most famous ships since Noah’s ark,” in the video below.

This is not the first time Gadling has reported queens hooking up in a historic way. “There Will Be Three Queens In New York Today” told of Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, meeting in New York for the first time in 2011. But that too was not the first meeting of Cunard queens.

“In January 2008, Cunard Line’s first Rendezvous of their three Queens took place. It was quite exciting as it was the first time Cunard had three ships with Queen in the name and all three were together,” said cruise industry expert Stewart Chiron CEO, CruiseGuy.com

Also of historic significance, this is not the first time for a rendezvous between queens named Mary and Elizabeth. The original meeting came during the original Mary’s last transatlantic crossing before being transformed into a hotel.



[Image credit - Cunard Line]

Solar airship will fly from NYC to Paris

First, let’s just get this out of the way: it is not, I repeat not, a blimp. Whew! Okay. . . Turtle Airships (a Spanish company that seems to have some intense aversion to the word “blimp”) is working on an airship that will make the journey from NYC to Paris, powered predominantly by the sun.

The top half of the blimp airship will be covered in solar panels that will store energy in batteries and use it to power four electric motors. The craft will also have a biodiesel engine as a back-up so the ship can fly in bad weather and at night. It will be able to take off vertically, land on ground or in water, and travel at around 40 miles per hour in ideal weather (making for a very long Transatlantic journey).

The airship is having a bit of difficulty getting off the ground at this point though, due to lack of funds. Turtle Airships is working on a prototype and hoping that as buzz for the project increases, so will the financing. Once the cash comes in, they say they’re ready for lift-off.

Until then, you can indulge your Goodyear fantasies with Airship Ventures, which offers Zeppelin flights from several California cities, ranging from $199 to $600 per person.

[via Wired]