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]

Historic Royal Palaces To See, Or Rent

Historic Royal Palaces

The UK’s Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. In addition to maintaining the physical structures, Historic Royal Palaces works to share them with the world through day tickets that might be great for those visiting the Olympics and seeking unique experiences between events.

“Our aim is to help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built,” says Historic Royal Palaces on its website.

While each of the five royal palaces in their care has survived for hundreds of years, they receive no funding from the Government or the Crown and depend on the support of visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. Four of them are available for hire too.

Tower of London
A breath-taking collection of finery in the newly presented Jewel House at the Tower of London features a unique collection of royal regalia that is still regularly used by The Queen in important national ceremonies. Also meet the Beefeaters and Ravens and enter the White Tower, the oldest museum in the world. Open daily, year round.

Hampton Court Palace

A temporary exhibition, called “The Wild, The Beautiful and The Damned,” is included in admission to the palace until September 30, 2012. The exhibit introduces visitors to the court beauties, lecherous rakes and ambitious courtesans who decorated the decadent world of Charles II and his successors. Open daily year round.

Kensington Palace

This summer, visitors can experience the momentous occasion of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897 or “Diana Glimpses Of A Modern Princess,” a small and elegant display of five dresses worn by the iconic princess. Open daily, year round.

Kew Palace
Kew Palace takes visitors behind the scenes to “George III’s Royal Kitchens” for the first time to reveal George’s eating habits and the management of an intimate royal household. Kew Palace is open this summer until September 30, 2012.

Daily tickets to see any one of the palaces are sold, but membership in the Historic Royal Palaces family enjoys free and unlimited entry to all palaces.

Visit London's Tower Bridge


Flickr photo by kingsimmy

Queens To Meet In London For Big Event

Buckingham Palance big eventThis June 5 is a big event in the UK as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 60 years on the throne. Cunard Line will bring Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations to a close with the first ever Cunard Royal Rendezvous in the fleet’s home port of Southampton, England.

Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth will be brought within close proximity of each other as a fireworks and special effects display will light up the evening sky. Queen Mary 2 will then lead Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria in single file down the Solent, a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England, as all three ships set out on their celebratory Jubilee voyages.

This is not the first time the three Queens of the Cunard fleet have met. In 2011 they met in New York City, but the first meeting of the three queens was in 2008.

“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 Stewart Chiron CEO of CruiseGuy.com. “It was the last time for many to see Queen Elizabeth 2, as she would depart the fleet later that year.”

Enrichment programming on board the ships will feature lectures by former BBC Royal correspondent Jennie Bond; Professor Herbert Kerrigan QC, one of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II‘s Counsel in Scotland; and ITN royal commentator Robert Jobson.

Also on board will be a rare collection of Royal art, including watercolors by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and lithographs by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

Guests sailing on board Cunard ships will enjoy a Commemorative Dinner followed by a Grand Ball. Cunard will also screen live BBC World News coverage of the celebrations across the fleet beginning at 9:00 a.m. (GMT).



[Flickr photo by micamica]

Luggage: A brief history

Luggage Louis VuittonLuggage, often referred to as “baggage” or “suitcases” is a term coined in 1596, from lug (v.) “to drag;” so, lit. “what has to be lugged about” (or, in Johnson’s definition, “any thing of more bulk than value”). In 20c., the usual word for “baggage belonging to passengers.”

For more than six hundred years, people have used traveling cases, steamer trunks valises, portmanteaus, briefcases, weekenders and the now ubiquitous rolling case to get their goods from point A to point B.

As lover of history, I’ve always been fascinated by luggage – many homes in my native DC have strange small “bedrooms,” (which can’t be referred to as such because they lack windows and closets) that were once housing for the owner’s trunks. I took a steamer trunk to college, only to find that it didn’t even come close to fitting in my shoebox of a dorm room. My greatest desire? A vintage Louis Vuitton case – and an appropriate wardrobe (and private jet ) to carry it.

So for this edition of “The Way We Traveled,” check out this brief timeline of luggage factoids:

1153 – The first wheeled luggage appears in Palestine and was used to carry weaponry and equipment.

1851 – Queen Victoria awards Prince Albert three gold medals for his Travelling Carry-All Omni-Conveyance, Bewheele.

1854 – Louis Vuitton as we know it was born, initially specializing in luggage.

1910 – Samsonite launches.

1970 – Briggs & Riley introduces modern “wheeled” luggage, offering four wheels and a rope tow.

1972 – U.S. Luggage patents wheeled luggage.

1989 – A Northwest Airlines pilot becomes the first person to carry wheeled luggage

1994 – Don Ku was granted a patent for wheeled suitcase with a collapsible towing handle.

2006 – A ban on liquids over 3 oz. in carry-on luggage is announced.

Late 2000s – Airlines begin charging bag fees for checked luggage on domestic flights.

2013 – The date when the proposed ban on liquids in carry on luggage will be reversed in the EU.

*This article was updated to reflect additional information about wheeled luggage on March 2, 2011.

Two Cunard Queens cruise to Long Beach

Two queens coming to long beach

Not quite as cool as when Cunard Line ocean liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria, met in New York last month for the first time, two of the famed Cunard trio, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will cruise to Long Beach Harbor on March 3rd. Significant is the celebration of a milestone: the upcoming 75th anniversary of Queen Mary’s maiden voyage from Southampton, England on May 27, 1936.

“After the spectacular Cunard Royal Rendezvous in New York with our three modern Queens back in January, it is quite fitting that we continue the grand celebration on the West Coast,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “Queen Mary is an important part of our history and legacy and what better way to salute her than with a visit from Queen Victoria to celebrate the completion of her debut Americas season.”

Two queens coming to Long Beach is just one event in a long history of notable sailings.During Cunard’s 171-year history, the Queen Mary epitomized the golden age of ocean travel and served as a Cunard liner for more than 30 years. Additionally, she served as a troopship during World War II and a Royal Mail Ship, under contract with the British Royal Mail service.

Queen Mary’s influence lives on today as a hotel, museum and tourist attraction in Long Beach, California.