Thursday, May 2, 2013
May 2 - QE2
The Cunard ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2, referred to as the QE2, began its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York on May 2, 1969. The crossing took four days, 16 hours. Named after the earlier Cunard luxury liner RMS Queen Elizabeth but carrying the unusual Arabic numeral “2,” the QE2 was designed for annual transatlantic service but also operated as a cruise ship until she was retired in 2008. Cunard’s flagship until succeeded by RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004, her original interior design was influenced by late 1960s events and popular culture, including the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, the Concorde’s design and the film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” resulting in “mod,” modular furnishings and liberal use of plastic laminates, aluminum and Plexiglas. Her steam turbines, which consumed 600 tons of fuel oil every 24 hours, were replaced with diesel-electric engines in 1987. By the late 1990s, she had sailed the equivalent of 185 times around the world. Now owned by a Dubai firm, her future is uncertain.