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Archive for the ‘Cunard Chinaware’ Category

Queen Mary Longbeach 80th

Today, 80 years ago, on September 26, 1934 at the John Brown & Company shipyard on the banks of the Clyde River in Scotland job number 534 became one of the most famous ocean liners of the times:

I am happy to name this ship the Queen Mary. I wish success to her and to all who sail her.

The following onboard ceremony schedule has been announced for today, Friday 26, 2014

• Grand Ballroom Opens to Public – 4PM
• Welcome Remarks by Commodore Everette Hoard – 4:15PM
• Remarks by Mayor of Long Beach, Robert Garcia
• Presentation of Queen Mary Video
• Remarks by John Jenkins, Queen Mary General Manager
• Commemoration of 80th Anniversary / Announcement of Queen Mary Initiative
• Presentation of Queen Mary Cake by Baker, Jose Barajas
• Cutting of First Slice by Mayor Garcia, Jenkins and Hoard
• Concluding Remarks by John Jenkins
• Invitation to attending public to share a slice of history

An update on the celebrations will follow shortly. I am looking forward to photos taken by friends onboard, especially of the 15 ft long Queen Mary Cake.

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Happy Birthday to my favourite ocean liner!

QE2 on one of her rare visits in Hamburg

45 years ago, on Wednesday, September 20, 1967, QE2 was christened by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at John Brown & Company, Clydebank, Scotland.

The BBC Website has a feature called ‘On this Day 1950 – 2005′ which covers major headlines during those 55 years. On September 20, 1967 the launch of the new Cunard ocean liner was front page news.  Click here for article and video clip.

Published a while ago on this blog, a documentary shown on STV Scotland abou t memories of those who attended the launch or were involved in the ship’s construction, click here to view.

45 years later, QE2 is leading a not so exciting retirement life: Since her arrival in Dubai on November 27, 2008 she’s been sitting idle in Port Rashid; however earlier this summer her Dubai owners finally announced plans to convert her into a hotel which hopefully will make her again accessible to old and new fans and inject new life into her. More details on the plans in the  Huffington Post Article July 2, 2012. I am looking forward to hear her whistle and step aboard again.

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Today, July 2, 2012 QE2’s owner Ishtishmar World, DP World and the QE2 management today (July 2) announced that the QE2 will become a luxury hotel to be permantently berthed in Port Rashid, Dubai.

Click here to read official announcement…

From reactions throughout the liner community, this is obviously long awaited news that is met with great excitement. It’s good to hear that original plans have been scrapped for more sensible restoration work and hopefully the ship will be accessible to visitors soon.  I share the view of friend though: I believe it when I can book my first night!

A longer article appeared today, July 2, 2012  in Wall Street Journal:

DUBAI—Dubai said Monday it has decided the fate of the Queen Elizabeth 2, the 45-year-old ocean liner it bought at the height of the economic boom five years ago and which has been lying idle in the emirate’s Port Rashid ever since.

The ship’s owner Istithmar World, which reportedly considered selling the QE2 on several occasions to raise money during the financial crisis, announced plans to renovate and convert the ship into a 300-room hotel. The state-owned company said work will take 18 months, after which the QE2 floating hotel will be permanently docked in Dubai.

“The ship is in immaculate condition,” Istithmar World chairman Sultan bin Sulayem said at a news conference to announce the plans for the ship. “It’s going to enhance the tourism sector in Dubai.”

Istithmar refused to comment on how the project will be financed or how much it will cost. Mr. bin Sulayem would only say that funds “will be there” to pay for the conversion and for a broader redevelopment of Port Rashid, which is the destination for cruise ships docking in Dubai.

The plan follows years of speculation about the future of the QE2, which Istithmar bought in 2007 for $100 million from Cunard, a subsidiary of cruise giant Carnival Corp.  CCL +0.38% Istithmar originally intended to make it into a floating hotel stationed at a berth on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah, one of Dubai’s palm-shaped artificial islands.

The financial crisis intervened, however, and Istithmar was reported numerous times to be considering a sale to raise cash. One reported plan that failed to materialize was moving it to South Africa to serve as a floating hotel for the 2010 World Cup. Last year, Istithmar was said to be considering a plan to make the QE2 into temporary housing for Japanese tsunami victims and then send it to Macau for conversion into a floating casino.

On Monday, Mr. bin Sulayem denied that the QE2 was ever offered for sale, although he said Istithmar had been approached with several proposals.

“We never offered it for sale,” he said. “There were people coming to us with numbers, [saying] let’s sell it, let’s do that.”

Istithmar is a subsidiary of Dubai World, the government-owned company which completed a $25 billion debt restructuring last year that included provisions for asset sales to pay off debt. The new plans for the QE2 “will not affect financial commitments to the banks,” Mr. bin Sulayem said.

Despite the scant details about the financing of the new hotel project, Mr. bin Sulayem expressed confidence that the QE2 hotel would be successful.

“It costs money for Istithmar to keep it sitting, so what we’re doing is reducing the cost for Istithmar and eventually Istithmar will make money out of it,” he said.

The ship’s historic character is to be preserved as it undergoes the conversion, Mr. bin Sulayem said. The 300 rooms are to be spruced up but not significantly changed; the renovation work principally involves fixing corroded and leaking pipes and connecting the boat to land-based water and electricity supplies.

“There were many grand ideas of renovating it in such a way that it was totally different from what it used to be, but we realized that a lot of people liked the ship as it was,” he said.

Mr. bin Sulayem dismissed suggestions that the corrosion, or the presence of asbestos in parts of the ship, would affect the hotel project. Consultants have been hired to certify the boat’s safety and ensure that any remaining asbestos is harmless, he said.

The initiative comes as Dubai enjoys a rebound in trade and tourism. Room occupancy rates at Dubai hotels averaged 74.4% last year, according to Dubai Statistics Center data, up from 70% in 2010.

The QE2 has been docked at Port Rashid since it arrived in Dubai. The 70,000-ton behemoth first floated in 1967 and was a cruise ship and ocean liner operated by former owner Cunard until its sale to Istithmar in 2007.

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It is about time that I am dedicating more attention to my growing Cunard chinaware, cutlery and silverware collection. I have purchased but also been given quite a few pieces by friends who know about my passion but I have yet to identify and categorize the pieces properly.  My favourite patterns are the Foley Bone China square pattern from the Queen Mary, the ‘Birds of Paradise’ pattern from Acquitania and the ‘Snowflake’ pattern which was used on QE2 in the 70s. I am using everything, the plates, cups, knifes, forks, wine glasses, napkins etc, some items are for daily use, others I keep for ‘occasions’. The way I look at my collection is that every item had a purpose on the ships, and there is no reason why I should ban them in a display cabinet were they are of little use and only attract dust. I hate dusting!

Today is as good a day to start this little investigative project, and I picked a more recent pattern which was manufactured for Cunard by Wedgwood. It was used on the QE2. Compared to some of the older patterns it looks like ‘staple ware’ for the hotel industry. Good for daily use!

I hope there are some knowledgeable experts reading this post who can help answer the following question:

  1. When was this pattern introduced and how long was it in service?
  2. How many pieces does it include, what kind of plates, cups, accessories?
  3. In which of the QE2 restaurants was this pattern used?
  4. Was it exclusively manufactured for the QE2?
  5. Was it given a name?

If you have some information about this Wedgwood pattern, I would be grateful if you left a comment or emailed me at 3queensgirl@gmail.com.

Wedgwood Bread Plate for QE2

Wedgwood for QE2

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