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I was surprised to find these two photographs amongst others we inherited from my grandparents, who lived nowhere near a transatlantic port. They must have been taken on the same day, probably at Southampton and almost certainly in 1969.

The QE2 took its maiden voyage in 1969, the same year the United States was decommissioned. Maybe this was the last time those two giants met.

Good News & Bad News

It was announced recently that Star Cruises, the south Asian parent of Norwegian Cruise Lines, has abandoned plans to restore the laid-up S/S United States and instead placed her up for sale. Of course the immediate concern was that scrappers would be the ones to snap her up, especially since she has none of the asbestos or other hazards that got them in trouble with the France/Norway.

A recent news release offers a glimmer of hope, however. Apparently there are restrictions on the terms of the sale, namely that the buyer must be in the U.S. and scrappers will not be considered. Here's hoping.

Meanwhile, sadder news from down south. The Regal Empress, built in the 1950s as the Greek Line's Olympia, was sold to Indian scrappers for about $3m.

Two rather sad QE2 articles

The Queen Elizabeth 2 is making her final swing round North America before retiring to Dubai as a floating hotel. In this article in the Halifax, N.S., Chronicle-Herald, John Langley of the Cunard Society expresses disappointment in that city's lack of interest in a company that figures so strongly in its history. The Society owns a good deal of Cunard memorabilia, and has no-place to display it.

Even more distressing is this BBC Video outlining what plans are in place for QE2 once she leaves the fleet. Apparently the funnel is to be removed and replaced with a glass, funnel-shaped penthouse suite, the five cabin decks will be gutted and replaced with hotel-sized staterooms, and the engine spaces will become a big nightclub.

Of course there is a valid argument there. The ship is going to be a hotel, not a museum. The cabins, particularly the tourist cabins on Deck 5, are tiny, spartan and would not command a very large sum. The engines will serve no useful purpose, are not original anyway, and take up space that could be producing revenue. In some respects I suppose we should be glad (as her current Commodore is) that the ship was purchased by people who have the money to make her into something useful and keep her up. Compared to the up-and-down ride of the Queen Mary (read this somewhat encouraging Long Beach Press-Telegram article for the latest on her), the hollow purgatory of the United States or the gruesome death of the France, I suppose the QE2 is relatively lucky.

However, some of it -- the glass funnel particularly -- sounds garish, although completely in character for my understanding of Dubai. A friend pointed out that it is somewhat like Second Life... a fantasy land where money, taste and even physics are seemingly no object for what the imagination can conjure up.

For Immediate Release
September 2, 2008

ASBURY PARK- The Asbury Park Historical Society- in association with Monmouth University in West Long Branch, the Monmouth County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, and other organizations and historic preservation groups- is preparing to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the famous S.S. Morro Castle disaster.
A special press conference will be held Monday, September 8 (the 74th anniversary of the Morro Castle fire) at Tim McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park at 11 a.m. The supper club is located on the second floor of the pavilion just south of Convention Hall- at the boardwalk and Fifth Avenue.
The Morro Castle disaster, which resulted in the death of 137 passengers and crew members, occurred on September 8, 1934. A major commemoration of this historic event is being planned for September 8- 13, 2009 both in Asbury Park and at other sites along the Jersey Shore.Read more...Collapse )

Images of Alang

It's a place everyone here knows about and - I dare say - fears, but it's still fascinating and horrible to read about it: http://alexiuss.deviantart.com/journal/17919112/

Two articles about QE2

Queen to Bid Farewell to QE2
The Telegraph - 2nd June, 2008

Can QE2 be replaced?
The Telegraph - 1st June, 2008

A wallpaper

Creating wallpapers, including this one
Read more...Collapse )
Apparently INDEPENDENCE has begun her final voyage to the breakers.

On another note, some chicanery from NCL that may have serious impact on the contemporary cruise business:


Next ocean voyage planned

Ahoy out there!

If you read my personal journal you already know this, but I'm sailing on the Black Watch (ex Royal Viking Star) in May Dover-Cherbourg-Cork-Dover. We have an outside ordinary cabin midships on the Marina Deck (second from the lowest).

I am psyched... I have been obsessed with the RVL ships since I was a kid and never been aboard one. From what I have read we should be among few Americans on board and probably among the youngest people.

I have some pictures of the three Cunard ships' visit to New York which I will try to post soon.

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