Archive for the ‘QE2 Films & Videos’ Category

Just a quick post – a three-part feature on the memories of those who were involved in the construction of the QE2, produced by STVScottland.

Part 1
A special feature on the memories of those who attended the launch of the QE2 in 1967.


Part 2
A special feature on the memories of those who built the QE2 in John Brown’s Shipyard on  the Clyde.

Part 3
A special feature on the memories of shipfitters working on the QE2, plus others who make up her rich history.

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QE2 1969003

The sea trials in 1968 turned out to be quite a disaster, due to serious trouble with the turbines she had to return to the shipyard and Cunard refused to take delivery. As a result, Cunard had to cancel the scheduled maiden voyage. The interest in the new liner was extraordinary: Thousands of well-wisher were cheering on departure in Southampton; and she had a triumphant arrival in New York on May 7, 1969.  Media from around the world was covering the event – everyone wanted to have a glimpse of the new ocean liner with ‘that funny funnel’ which didn’t necessarily please every Cunard hardliner.I added 4 video clips from British Pathe to my video collection

QE2 Maiden Voyage Southampton-New York
News Reel with original commentary

QE2 leaving Southampton 2 May1969

QE2 arriving in New York 7 May1969

 QE2 arriving in Southampton in March 1969

 HM Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philipp visiting QE2 in 1969

Even back then commemorative postcards and stamps were popular and a must have for many Maiden Voyage passengers. I guess, little has changed since then.

Postcard with QE2 postal stamp and onboard maiden voyage stamps. Unfortunately, the date of the postal stamp is off.

I’ve always been fascinated by QE2’s 1969 outfit which has become the focus of my own collection.  Here are some scans of original black and white photos, more  will be posted soon.

 Left to Right: D Butterworth, Chief Radio Officer, J B Morton, Deputy Hotel Manager, J Smith, Hotel Manager,
Captain W E Warwick, Master, Captain G Smith, Staff Captain

Theatre Bar

 Upper Deck Library

I  soon will be adding more colour photos which are scans from vintage 35mm Kodak Ektachrome slides. They were taken in December 1969 inNew York. They just need a little TLC to take that tired and worn look off them.

QE2 in New York, December 1969


For those who are interested in other aspects of the 1969 I recommend to check out the following 2 pages on the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 website:

As someone who loves dining and wining, I wondered what might have been on the menu during the maiden voyage. I did find a ‘Specimen Suggested Dinner Menu during the Maiden Voyage to New York’ which was served in the Columbia Restaurant. Still looking out for original dinner menus from the first crossing, if someone is willing to part with one, please contact me.

The Columbia Restaurant in 1969: Hidden by the large napkins, you can see the Snow Flake pattern china.

A wonderful areal shot of QE2 in her first year of service. 

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Liveboat.it published a new video of QE2 on YouTube. The video was shot in Dubai February 9, 2011. Some very good close up. Looking at her bow along the waterline it is obvious she is cleaned regularly, and any salty residue and marine growth is scrubbed off.  My photos from December 2010 show more marine growth.

For those not fluent in Italian, the short description says: “Video shot in Dubai February 9, 2011. Queen Elizabeth 2 has been given a new life with a repainting of the hull.”

Thank you, Liveboat.it for bringing this video to us. If you are interested in other ship videos, check out Liveboat.it on YouTube.


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As October 16th draws close a series of videos of QE2’s final departure from New York in 2008 are now available on Cunard Queens’  Flagship World Video Site

The 7 parts have a total running time of 47 minutes:

QE2 waits at her birth to say farewell

  1. Just before departure
  2. QE2 backing out of her birth
  3. Turned and pointed QE2 proceeds to her rendezvous with QM2
  4. QE2’s final departure
  5. QE2 taking the lead and heading towards the open sea for the last time
  6. Farewell

Click here to view:

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I came across two 10 minute QE2 videos on Youtube which I have to share with you. It’s a trip down memory lane with a laughing and a crying eye!

A wonderful Birthday Tribute to the QE2 and River Clyde  by YouTube user ianamacl.

The QE2 came in to Greenock on the River Clyde on 20th September 2007 to commemorate her launch in that river in the City of Glasgow. This video is a tribute to her, a most beautiful ship. As a 13-year-old boy I hung around the yard on the day people (with tickets)were invited on board for a tour. My friend and I were disappointed as we didn’t have tickets. A kindly yard-worker-looking guy came over and gave us free tickets. Since then, I have always been interested in her life. I have seen her entering port in many places including Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong and New York. To see her in my hometown on her anniversary was quite special!!


The 2nd video is by docmatt.  It’s a film from the 2003 Mediterranean Cruise: Onboard and inside the QE2 including inside a cabin. 



And just when I was going to publish this post, a friend of mine emailed me the link to a photographic retrospective from 1967 to 2010 titled QE2 Time Machine, shared on YouTube by highlander0108.


 Great memories indeed!

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On October 10, 2008, the QM2 and QE2 left Southampton for a Tandem Atlantic Crossing which was going to be the Final Westbound Crossing for the QE2 before her departure from the Cunard fleet. 

The liners left together with the Ventura who was on her way to the Mediterranean. I can’t help it but she’s an ugly container ship with balconies, and her whistle does not compare at all to the wonderful sounds of liners’ fine whistles. Someone in the whistle concert was clearly out of tune! 

While we were travelling on QE2 and admiring the QM2, another acquaintance, Dr Nelson Arnstein took hours of film footage on the QM” including wonderful shots of the QE2 . He kindly allowed us to use the footage from this historical crossing which is largely unedited. We are very grateful for his generosity in sharing his memories with us. 

The first film of several from the tandem voyage is now on Flagship Video, it is about 35 minutes and shows the departure from Southampton. There will be more footage coming soon, including some exciting views of QE2. 

To view this excellent footage, click on the Cunard Queens logo and select QM2 10/10/2008 Tandem with QE2.


On a side note, the footage starts with the safety exercise which is routine practice on the ship prior to leaving port. We have another example of the safety drill on the Cunard Queens website, which is the Life Boat Drill Announcement from the 80s. Click >> here << to read the post and listen to the announcement.

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Archives can be real treasure troves, especially when you’ve forgotten all about it. And then, one day, an encounter with a blast from the past, a trip down memory lane, and it is all back in the flash.  Thanks to the diligent archiving efforts of a former crew member who recently unearthed many of the 1/2″ tape decks containing old QE2 films from the 80s, Cunard Queens was able to restore and convert some of them for Flagship Video. Those tapes usually didn’t hold up well over the years and some of them may not be of very good quality but we pleased to say that the King Neptune’s Court Ceremony filmed on March 9, 1984 during the World Cruise has survived in remarkably good quality. It has now been converted and added to the Flagship Video collection.

Have you ever crossed the Equator on a vessel or cruise ship? Then you most likely know about the ‘Crossing the Line Ceremony’, or ‘King Neptune’s Court Ceremony’ as it is called on the Cunard ships. If you’ve attended a King Neptune’s Court ceremony our latest Flagship Video may bring back fond (or messy) memories, and if you’ve never witnessed the ceremony, then watch and you will be enlightened… It’s not for the faint hearted for sure. I have seen some rendition executed in the later years onboard QE2 which sadly were so sanitary and politically correct and gentle, that it makes one realise what a great show the earlier ceremonies were.  

The  Crossing the Line Ceremony is traditional for all vessels when they cross the equator. It refers to a belief in the god Neptune or Poseidon and his willingness to let (or not) a ship continue on it’s journey: A ceremony takes place whereby King Neptune is asked to grant safe passage of the ship and her crew. The tradition actually goes back to the 13th century and was originally created as a test for seasoned sailors to ensure their new shipmates were capable of handling long rough times at sea.  All members of the crew regardless of age or rank who have not crossed the equator before must take part in the initiation ritual. The ritual has taken on many forms which evolved over the years.

The crossing of the equator involves elaborate preparation by the “shellbacks” (those who have crossed the equator before, sometimes also referred to as Sons of Neptune) to ensure the “pollywogs” (those who are about to cross the equator for the first time) are properly indoctrinated. All pollywogs, even the Commanding Officer if he has not crossed before, must participate. They are required to go before the Court of Neptune, where their sins are read out, and the punishments bestowed.

In the old times, these rituals were quite brutal and sometimes fatal. On ocean liners and cruise ships these are being carried out for the passengers’ entertainment. Indeed the sailing from the Northern into the Southern part of the world (or vice-versa) became a very special event.  

On Cunard ships, no World Cruise would be complete without a King Neptune’s Court Ceremony,  commemorated in a play involving some quirky characters: King Neptune, the Judge, the executioners , policemen (dressed in British Bobby uniforms) and nixes. During the ceremonial process the prisoners would be brought forward  to the swimming pool where the Captain and senior officers are waiting to greet King Neptune and his Consorts. On QE2, passengers who are Pollywogs are invited to kiss the fish ( a large salmon ) and then step into the swimming pool. They are then Shellbacks. Staff are dealt with differently, involving spaghetti and coloured sauces, as well as kissing the fish. It is a very messy affair, much to the delight of the onlookers. I don’t envy the crew who had to clean up afterwards! Everyone is awarded a certificate for crossing the line.

But back to the video: The King Neptune’s Ceremony  is filmed during the 1984 World Cruise, en route to Mahe, Seychelles. Cruise Director Bob Haines is King Neptune, DJ Stuart Barton is the Judge, Bob Dougherty and Steve Green as well as a couple of others whose names I don’t know are the executioners.

To watch the video, click on the Cunard Queens Logo below and select the video.

Below, to complement the video, are some photos from the 1985 and 1986 ceremonies, courtesy of Stuart Barton:

King Neptune’s Court 1985

Cruise Director Bob Haines taking an unexpected bath.

The ‘before’ photos



A soon to be Shellywag is looking forward to a dip into the pool

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