Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) is to bid farewell to America next week during a
celebratory call befitting of the company’s longest-serving ocean liner.
The historic occasion will mark the iconic ship’s 706th and final call to
New York. Escorted by FDNY fireboats and flotilla of pleasure craft, the
beloved QE2 will depart the Westside Terminal at 5 p.m. to meet her sister
ship, Queen Mary 2, for a Cunard Royal Rendezvous at the Statue of Liberty
as both renowned ocean liners embark on a tandem voyage to Southampton,
England—marking QE2’s 806th and final Transatlantic Crossing.
Recognised as the most famous ship in the world and for 35 years,
flagship of the Cunard fleet, QE2 was named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
II in 1967. During nearly four decades at sea, she has logged 5.9 million
nautical miles (equivalent to traveling to the moon and back 13 times),
carried more than 2.5 million passengers and has sailed 25 World Cruises.
With a top speed of 32.5 knots, QE2 is the fastest passenger ship in the
world. As a true ocean liner she can sail backwards faster than most cruise
ships sail forward. Her service, however, has not only been one of
romanticized ports and luxury ocean travel. In 1982, she was requisitioned
by the British government for military service in the Falkland Islands and
thus joined the ranks of such great Cunarders as Queen Mary and Queen
Elizabeth who were also called upon to serve in times of conflict.
“It is most fitting that QE2’s farewell to America be celebrated in New
York, the city Cunard has called our North America homeport since 1847. She
will always be remembered as the best loved ship in the world and we are
delighted that she will be cherished by future generations of travelers at
her new home in Dubai,” said Carol Marlow, president of Cunard Line. “Her
mantle as flagship of the British merchant fleet has proudly been bestowed
upon Queen Mary 2, a ship recognised as the grandest ocean liner ever built
and surely destined to continue Cunard’s legacy,” Marlow added.
During her arrival in the early morning of October 16, QE2 will fly a
traditional “Paying-Off Pennant,” a maritime flag signifying the ship’s
length of service to the fleet. The pennant will be presented as a
commemorative gift to a local dignitary during a reception onboard the
To celebrate this historic occasion, a pipe and drum corps will perform
in Battery Park as a fitting salute and final “Bon Voyage” to Queen
QE2 completes service to Cunard in November after sailing a final
voyage to Dubai where she will be refurbished and become a luxury hotel,
entertainment destination and maritime museum.