Cunard New Ship Fleet

Cunard’s QE2 50th Anniversary Sailing

Posted October 13th, 2017

Turning 50 is a big milestone for a person. For the team at Cunard, it’s an even bigger milestone for a cruise ship. September 2017 marked half a century since the launch of the beloved Queen Elizabeth 2. And what better way to celebrate this birthday than with an exclusive 17-night voyage aboard its younger sister, the Queen Elizabeth?

Find out everything you want to know about this prolific vessel, her history, and the anniversary sailing below.

QE2’s history

The Queen Elizabeth 2 launched on September 20th, 1967, after construction began in 1965 in Scotland. As with her predecessors, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary, QE2 was unveiled by her namesake – using the very same golden scissors in fact!

Her brush with royalty didn’t end there though. The very first civilian passenger on board was none other than Prince Charles.

QE2 embarked on her maiden voyage, a 4-day trip between Southampton and New York, in 1969. From then until 2008, she regularly treated cruisers to a taste of luxury at sea while calling into port at destinations throughout the world (though her time as a cruise ship was interrupted briefly when she carried troops during the Falklands War in 1982).

Cunard retired and sold QE2 in 2008. The Royals made another appearance in her life here too; with Prince Philip leading the farewell celebrations.

New York City's inviting waterfronts

The 50th Anniversary Sailing

The QE2’s 50-year anniversary was signified with a special sailing of the Queen Elizabeth. Departing from Southampton and lasting 17 nights, the itinerary featured five themed days, each reflecting on an important achievement or period in the grand ship’s history. For example, one day focused on the vessel’s service in the Falklands War, while another day explored the rich connection between the ship and various royal figures. The most important day of all was, of course, September 20th – guests were treated to a special ball and a historical reflection in the Royal Court Theatre to commemorate the exact day QE2 was launched and named 50 years ago.

Guests on the 50th anniversary sailing were also treated to some unforgettable destinations, including:

  • Venice
  • Sicily
  • Corfu

Venice's Grand Canal

The guest list included a number of people with special connections to the QE2, many of whom gave enlightening speeches about the ship and their experiences on board.

Fun fact: The QE2 actually has a number of books written about it, penned by writers including Michael Gallagher, Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross.

Would you like to encounter some Cunard luxury for yourself? Speak to one of our cruise consultants to find out where the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth could take you on your next holiday.


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Images courtesy of Cunard, Instagram & Getty


Cruise Specialist

  Absolutely nobody in Australia knows more about cruising than Cruiseabout. With close to 30,000 nights on ships all across the globe, our consultants’ extensive experience and passion for cruising is unequaled. We're here to share the joys of cruising holidays with more Australians and invite them into our world - because we love cruising!

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