SOUTHAMPTON, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The world's grandest ocean liner, Queen Mary 2 and her sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria sailed in formation from Lisbon to the UK ahead of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh's visit to celebrate Queen Mary 2's 10th anniversary in Southampton on Friday 9 May.
For the first time ever, the three Cunard Queens were photographed side-by-side at sea as part of a shoot that took months of meticulous planning.
Queen Mary 2 is on the final leg of her World Cruise and her sister ships were on hand to escort her home in style.
Photographer James Morgan took to the skies in a helicopter to capture these iconic shots of the three ships sailing abreast of one another.
And while it may look effortless they are the result of a long planning operation in which the safety of the vessels and the thousands of people upon them was paramount.
The centrepiece of the shoot was Queen Mary 2 herself, the only ocean liner in service today and still the fastest passenger ship afloat ten years after she was named by Her Majesty The Queen in 2004. The ship measures 1,132 feet in length - longer than the Shard in London is tall - and stands 236.2 feet in height. She also weighs in at an impressive 150,000 gross tons. Since entering service Queen Mary 2 has sailed 1.5 million nautical miles on over 400 voyages including 213 Transatlantic Crossings. She has called at 182 ports in 60 countries and carried over 1.3 million guests
The 90,900 ton Queen Elizabeth is the newest member of the Cunard family, having been named by Her Majesty The Queen in 2010, and measures 964.5 feet in length.
Rounding off the trio is Queen Victoria, named in 2007 by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, and (just) the smallest of the Queens at 90,000 gross tons and measuring 964 feet in length.
James Morgan said: “Most of the work in this type of photography is actually in the preparation beforehand. You don’t just happen to go up in a helicopter and take a great shot. Months of preparation go into planning these things for that one moment.”
Part of this planning was a logistical meeting with the captains and crew of the three ships to schedule down to the minutest detail how this photoshoot would come about.
It took the three ships around an hour to sail out of Lisbon to the site of the shoot. All shipping in the area had to be totally cleared for the three Queens to ensure absolute safety for the technical manoeuvre.
David Dingle, CEO of Cunard Line said: “This is the first time all three Queens of the Cunard fleet have been seen together anywhere outside Southampton or New York, and the first time these magnificent ships have been seen together at sea."
James said: “It's all about orchestrating the manoeuvre in advance. When you are dealing with the largest ocean liner in the world, you can't sit in a helicopter asking if it can go left a bit or right a bit because it doesn’t work like that. A three ship formation like this has to be finely coordinated and choreographed ahead of time. It's not like directing traffic - this is more like ship ballet."
For more information about Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth or to book a voyage, contact your Travel Agent, call Cunard Line at 1-800-728-6273, or visit www.cunard.com.
About Queen Mary 2
Christened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2004, Cunard Line’s flagship Queen Mary 2 defines luxury travel for the 21st Century and continues an almost 175-year legacy of Transatlantic travel. Queen Mary 2 is the fastest passenger ship in the world and achieved her 200th Transatlantic Crossing in July 2013. Since becoming Cunard flagship on completion of her maiden Transatlantic Crossing in May 2004, Queen Mary 2 has remained unchallenged as the world’s largest, longest, tallest, widest and most expensive ocean liner ever built and the most famous and fastest passenger ship in operation today. To celebrate Queen Mary 2’s 10th Anniversary in 2014, special on board events are planned for her westbound Transatlantic Crossing on 9 May and her eastbound Crossing on 16 May. Famous names who have experienced this iconic voyage since 2004 include President George H.W. Bush, Desmond Tutu, James Taylor, Rod Stewart, Carly Simon, Uma Thurman, Richard Dreyfuss, John Cleese and Angela Bassett.
About Cunard Line
Cunard Line, operator of the luxury ocean liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, has long been synonymous with the quest for new discoveries and the epitome of British refinement since the company's first paddle-wheeled steamer, Britannia, crossed the Atlantic in 1840. Cunard voyages bring together like-minded travellers who seek a civilised adventure and relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star Service, gourmet dining and world-class entertainment. Today, Cunard offers the only regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic liner service and continues the legacy of world cruising which it began in 1922.
World’s Leading Cruise Lines
Cunard is a proud member of World's Leading Cruise Lines. Our exclusive alliance also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises and Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest and a commitment to quality and value, World’s Leading Cruise Lines inspires people to discover their best vacation experience. Together, we offer a variety of exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world's most desirable destinations. Visit us at www.worldsleadingcruiselines.com.
Cunard photography is available online at www.cunardimages.com
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