On 4 July 2015, Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 will return to Liverpool, England, to celebrate the departure exactly 175 years earlier of Britannia, the first ship built for Cunard’s revolutionary new Transatlantic Crossing service, from Liverpool on 4 July 1840.
“Exactly one year from now, we’re looking forward to creating a piece of living history as Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, the grandest ocean liner ever built, sails from Pier Head to Halifax and Boston, just as Cunard’s first ever ship, the little paddle-steamer Britannia, did 175 years ago,” said David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line. “It’s a moment that will bring a lump to the throat of all those who have shared in the Cunard story over the generations since the company first chose Liverpool as its company base back in 1840, and where it built its magnificent headquarters, the Cunard Building last century. Liverpool has been, is and always will be our spiritual home.”
Britannia, the hull of which could fit inside the Britannia Restaurant on board Queen Mary 2, changed the face of ocean travel forever by establishing the first scheduled service across the Atlantic. Every year in the 174 years since then, Cunard ships have crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic, in peace and in war, without fail.
Cunard’s Head Office was based in Liverpool from its founding until 1967, and the city will play a key role in the 175th Anniversary celebrations next year. The 4 July 2015 visit will come just six weeks after the “Three Queens, One Magnificent City” celebration, which will see the current Cunard fleet salute the company’s “spiritual” home. From 24 to 26 May 2015, Liverpool will play host to the three largest Cunard ships ever built in an historic, news-making, head-turning three-day event.
Queen Mary 2 will arrive in Liverpool on Sunday 24 May and make her first-ever overnight stay in the city, berthed in sight of the Cunard Building. The following morning, on Monday 25 May, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria will sail into the city, and for a time all three Cunard ships will line up on the Mersey in a spectacle that is expected to draw huge crowds. Over a million people saw QE2 sail into Liverpool for the first time in July 1990.
Queen Mary 2 will then take her leave and sail out of Liverpool late morning on Monday 25 May as Queen Elizabeth berths at the landing stage where she will remain until late that night. Meanwhile, Queen Victoria will anchor in the Mersey. Late in the evening of Monday 25 May, Queen Elizabeth will set sail and Queen Victoria will then take the berth and remain there overnight and for the following day, Tuesday 26 May.
Yet-to-be-announced events will take place on 4 July 2015 before Queen Mary 2 will follow in the wake of Britannia and recreate the original Crossing to Halifax and Boston before arriving in New York on 14 July. The voyage is also special as it is the first time a Cunard ship has left Liverpool for America since January 1968.