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The QE2 Story 2017 Calendar is now on sale. Members of the QE2 Story Forum are submitting their best photographs for the monthly photo contest every year, from which 12 winners are chosen for the calendar.

There are two choices on sales, a premium calendar and a standard calendar.

Click here to go to the QE2 Story website for more details and prices or click on one of the images below to go directly to the online shop.

These calendars make a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone who sailed and loved the QE2 or who is interested in ocean liners. Be quick to get 25% off on 8th and 9th December 2016 – Use Code 5THDAY15 at checkout!

The QE2 Story Premium Calendar – Click on image to orderimg9

The QE2 Story Standard Calendar – Click on image to order

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… and raise a glass to David Bowie who lost his battle against cancer this week. He was a musician and artist who was a trailblazer for musical trends and pop fashion, reinventing himself and his music over  many decades.  He published his latest and last album “Blackstar” on January 8, 2016 –  his 69th birthday – 2 days before his passing.

Like many artists, David Bowie was suffering from fear of flying, so the only way to cross the Atlantic for his overseas concerts was by sea.

David Bowie on QE2 – Getty Images, Photo Credit Theo Wargo

The first time Bowie toured the US in 1972, he crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth 2, departing Southampton on September 10, 1972 and arriving in New York on September 17. He returned via sea again on the Royal Hellenic Mail Ship Ellinis on December 10. He later sailed on other famous liners such as the SS Canberra, SS France or SS Oronsay.

On one occasion he turned up for dinner in his colourful Ziggy Stardust costume. It must have been quite a sight for his fellow diners.

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David Bowie in Ziggy Stardust costume on QE2 1972,  Photo Credit Mick Rock

 

He travelled with George Underwood and his wife  who recalls that Bowie wouldn’t come out of his cabin after that. He said, “They were all looking at me.” I said, “What do you expect?”

In 2002 he opted again for the QE2 for his North America tour. He disembarked at Pier 62 in New York on July 26, 2002.

Getty Images has some great shots of David Bowie on the QE2 which you can view here.

Recognize some familiar faces from the QE2?

David Bowie on QE2 Bridge

David Bowie on QE2 Bridge

David Bowie was one of the prominent GQ Men of the Year. In the inteview originally published in the QG Magazine in 2002 he talks about his QE2 experience.

Quote from QG Magazine 2002 Interview:

What’s the best thing about travelling on the QE2?

Well, right now, at this moment, I’ve got my phobia about flying back again. I’m coping with it to a certain extent. I flew the whole of Europe. We flew. But I just can’t face that transatlantic trip. I don’t want to be on a place going over the Atlantic. I got my phobia before 11 September – it started when my baby was born.

What’s it like being on the ship, though? Is it fun?

Oh, I love it. It’s like this hotel, only at sea. But bigger. I mean, you cannot believe how big the Queen Elizabeth is. It’s bigger than this hotel. It’s got five restaurants, two cinemas, two or three theatres. Gym. Swimming pools. Shopping malls. I mean, it’s just beyond… There’s about 1,800 passengers. But there’s also about 1,800 crew to look after you. I’ve never been on a Caribbean cruise but I get the impression that it’s a bit Club Med and a lot of party nights, and all that stuff. But the QE2 isn’t like that. People who go across the Atlantic go for very different reasons. I think a lot of people bring books with them, and they’re quieter, more academic. I’ve bumped into writers, musicians, painters, politicians and, on the last trip, John Cleese. I wanted to see what it was like to be adrift for seven days. It’s a challenge, because you know you’re not going to stop off at any exotic locations.

And so a normal day for you on the QE2 would consist of what exactly?

I sleep in and try to get up at around seven. Then I order a quick breakfast or muesli or porridge, or whatever. Then I normally go and jog round the desk, which is like a fifth of a mile, and so you do a few rounds of that. Then I do some regular aerobic lifting. And then in the afternoon I’ll just lounge around reading. I usually take an enormous number of book with me. I’m quite happy… I can read all day long and float between two or three books at the same time. And then I go down and choose which restaurant I’m going to have lunch in. I tend to ask for solo sitting, because I can take a book with me for lunch. But then at dinner I usually see who else is around on board, and who’s on my table, and kind of stick with it.

Davie Bowie has left us, and we believe him when he says:

i don't know where I am going

The music world for sure is more boring without him.

R.I.P. Major Tom!

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For the past 5 years, I have been to Dubai at the end of November for the Rugby Sevens and this year was no difference. It has become a routine to check on QE2 during the stay.

QE2 was moved a couple of times, from the cruise terminal to a berth in the customs area in Port Rashid, then into dry docks from January 17 to February 3, 2013. Her present location is Berth 8 alongside the dry docks pretty much in cold lay-up.

QE2 in Berth 8 alongside the dry docks

QE2 in Berth 8 alongside the dry docks

Throughout the year the media fed news of big plans and great changes which turned cold as soon as they were published. As has been the case since her arrival in Dubai, the owners are stalling on information as to how and when QE2 will be transformed into a hotel, and where her final destination will be.

End of October, Costco was named as the ship yard that will transform her into a hotel.

The verdict on the winner of the design contest is still out and will hopefully be announced, as advised on the QE2 Heritage Hotel website, mid-December.

Dubai Drydocks World have a full order book. While I was visiting DW made an announcement that they signed a letter of intend to build a series of the world’s largest jack-up rigs between 2014 and 2016. The docks are full and there was an abundance of oil tankers, ships, rigs and platforms in and outside the docks. Such was the situation when I was visiting. Views were obstructed from every corner of the docks and security guards pretty much interfered every time I took out the camera. Luck wasn’t on my side this year as I couldn’t take a good clear shot.

Photography in the entire area is forbidden, security guards do not respond overly friendly to the sight of photo cameras or video equipment. I found a few photo spots which would have been perfect if it hadn’t been for an oil tanker that was in the way. Weather conditions were hazy which is the normal condition in Dubai.

We first drove to the Southern side where the guards spotted us and asked us to leave immediately. I thought it was wise to retreat and just snapped one blurry shot taken from the car ….

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The next couple of photos are taken from North Beach Road still under construction. We were the only people who clearly didn’t belong into the construction area so it was only a matter of time until security asked us to move on.DSC_6784

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Looking at the close-ups you can see that some of the staterooms are occupied by crew: Doors are open and there is laundry and security vests hanging on the balcony. There is no smoke coming out of the stack.

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I left Dubai on an early morning flight when it was still very dark. The plane made a long turn and we got a good view of the dry docks which were lit up. QE2 however was completely dark and there were no lights visible. She looked very much abandoned. I wonder if the current maintenance crew will put up a little Christmas tree, a nice gesture from the old crew in the past years. Somehow, I don’t think so.

Posts on previous visits to Dubai. Check out the photos, they show how well she looked when she was properly maintained, compared to her current state.

Dubai Visit 2009
Dubai Visit 2010
Dubai Visit 2011

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This morning, I learned of the passing of Capt. Robin Woodall, former Captain with Cunard Line and Master of the Queen Elizabeth 2. He died after long illness.

Capt. Woodall started his career with Cunard in 1960 and is best known as a Master of the Queen Elizabeth 2 in the 80s and 90s. Many passengers and crew members remember him as a much-liked and highly respected Master of his ships. He was an imposing figure with an inspirational personality – pure Cunard! I am sure you will join me in sending sincerest condolences and warmest wishes to his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Richard, his son, and Kate, his daughter-in-law.

On a personal note, I am very grateful for his support of the Cunard Queens blog; when asked he didn’t hesitate to take the time to search his archive and write a post about the QE2 Bomb Scare in 1972. You can read his recollection of the event here.

In the previous months Capt. Woodall was campaigning for the Liverpool Daily Post ‘Get on Board’ cruise petition to  make Liverpool a turnaround port.  If you wish to support the petition, see  Daily Post’s special campaign mini-site here

Godspeed you,  Sir. May you rest in peace.

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LIVERPOOL DAILY POST, January 6, 2012

MERSEYSIDE’S most famous mariner, Capt Robin Woodall, is sounding the final siren call for readers to sign the Daily Post’s Get On Board cruise petition.

We want the Government to overturn EU restrictions on Liverpool Pier Head terminal which ban turnaround cruises (ie, starting and finishing) at the world famous landmark. The Daily Post’s Get On Board petition, already signed by more than 2,000 people and also backed by the Chancellor, George Osborne, MP, will be presented to the Government on Monday. It will be given in person at the Palace of Westminster to transport minister Mike Penning, MP, who is due to visit Merseyside soon. On his trip, Mr Penning will meet Liverpool City Council leader  Joe Anderson, who is a keen advocate for removing the turnaround ban.

Capt Woodall brought the Cunard flagship QE2 into Liverpool in 1990, to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary.

I am backing the Daily Post’s Get On Board wholeheartedly, said Capt Woodall, of Hoylake.

It will bring shipping back to the Mersey in a way we have not seen for 40 years. Liverpool Cruise Terminal has proved that we can handle the biggest liners, like Queen Mary 2, on day visits.

The next logical step is to develop the port again as a major point of departure and return for cruises.

There is no point offering Langton Dock Terminal, as some cruise lines don’t want to go into the docks. Also, many cruise liners are too big to fit through Langton lock to reach that terminal.

This is why the new Cruise Terminal landing stage at Pier Head, the most famous place to get on a ship, must be permitted to handle turnarounds.

It is essential that we are allowed to develop again as the leading passenger port for northern England and Scotland.

Having cruise liners based in Liverpool will be good for Merseyside and the jobs it can bring.

These ships will need everything from replenishing stores to maintenance by Cammell Laird and a host of other engineering companies.

Capt Woodall started his seagoing career in Cunard cargo ships and switched to its passenger ships in 1960. He first served on RMS Sylvania, as junior third officer, on Liverpool –North America services.

It would be fantastic to see a Cunard liner leave Liverpool Pier Head once more on a transatlantic crossing. But that won’t happen unless this Daily Post campaign succeeds, which is why I’m giving it my fullest support, he said.

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Captain Ian McNaught succeeds Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert as Deptuy Master and Executive Chairman for Trinity House.

Congratulations to Captain McNaught – this is a great achievement and well deserved.

The complete announcement:

Captain Ian McNaughtCaptain Ian McNaught (pictured right) was sworn in as Deputy Master of the Corporation of Trinity House and Executive Chairman of the Lighthouse Authority at today’s Court meeting. The meeting was chaired by HRH The Princess Royal, Master of the Corporation of Trinity House.

Captain McNaught succeeds Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy de Halpert who has stood down after almost ten years service.

Captain McNaught has 40 years maritime experience, most recently serving as Master with Seabourn Cruises. He has been an employee of Cunard, owner of some of the most famous cruise liners in the world, since 1987 when he joined the QE2 as a Second Officer. He rapidly rose through the ranks and was Master of the luxury cruise ship Sea Goddess 1, and more recently held Command of the QE2 until the vessel was paid off in November 2008.

As Executive Chairman of the Lighthouse Authority, Captain McNaught will lead an organisation responsible for the safe navigation of some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Trinity House is also a pioneer of research into new technologies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the aids to navigation it provides. As Deputy Master of the Corporation of Trinity House he will be responsible for the activities of the UK’s largest endowed maritime charity.

Commenting on his appointment, Captain McNaught said, “having spent nearly 40 years at sea, my election as Deputy Master of Trinity House is the pinnacle of a successful career as a Master Mariner. It provides me with an opportunity to lead the principle maritime fraternity and institution in the country for the benefit of Maritime Britain, the shipping industry, and all the seagoing community. There is, I believe, no greater opportunity than this, to use all my maritime experience and expertise gathered during my career at sea”.

From their website: Trinity House are the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. Their remit is to provide Aids to Navigation to assist the safe passage of a huge variety of vessels through some of the busiest sea-lanes in the world. Trinity House was granted a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1514.  Trinity House is also a major maritime charity, their activities include welfare of mariners, education and training, and the promotion of safety at sea. It is also a Deep Sea Pilotage Authority.

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How time flies – it’s been 3 years since the QE2 arrived in Dubai. Read my post about her arrival in 2008 here…

After a period of much speculation about her fate, reports  of atrocious acts of cutting her in half, removing her iconic funnel or being loaned to Capetown for the World Soccer Games,  she has now settled into a waiting role while her owners are deliberating what to do with her.  Nakheel seem to be taking really good care of her, she appears well looked after. Check out the DVD ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on The QE2 Story website  – with photos and videos taken onboard in Dubai this year.

Here’s a shot from this morning when I passed Port Rashid – she looks grand and glorious as ever and ready to sail. If only!

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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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