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Cunard to kick off 175 celebrations in Southampton with three ship sailaway

Cunard to kick off 175 celebrations in Southampton with three ship sailaway
Cunard’s celebrations for its 175 year anniversary will commence in the UK on May 3 with the arrival into Southampton of the Cunard fleet from their world cruises.

This gathering of Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria at Cunard’s homeport will initiate a season of festivities for the company, beginning with a ‘Thank You , Southampton’ event later the same day.

For almost 100 years Cunard ships have homeported in Southampton home and during that time many spectacular events, royal visits and other special occasions have been shared by the company and the city. 

To celebrate the beginning of the UK festivities in this milestone year, Queen Mary 2 will take centre stage in the afternoon of May 3, leading Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria on a procession down Southampton Water and into the River Solent, in homage to the city of Southampton.

Cunard’s marketing director, Angus Struthers said: 'We’re excited to start our UK 175 festivities in Southampton and share the celebrations with the city and beyond in this magnificent landmark year. For the very first time Queen Mary 2 will lead a daylight parade of Cunard’s Three Queens down Southampton Water and into the Solent.'

The sailaway procession will start to get underway at 4.30pm as Queen Mary 2 moves into position to lead the fleet out of Southampton Docks, to be followed by Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. By around 5.20pm the three ships will have passed Dock Head and will be sailing south, led by flagship Queen Mary 2.

After zig-zagging through the Brambles turn near Cowes, the fleet will then separate before coming back together again, with Queen Mary 2 easing south and Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria taking a more northerly route and first drawing level with Queen Mary 2 and then overtaking her until at Lee on Solent the fleet forms up again but with the lead given now to Queen Elizabeth, followed by Queen Victoria and then Queen Mary 2.  At around 6.45pm Queen Elizabeth, will lead her sisters past Ryde on the Isle of Wight before reaching the Nab Tower on its easternmost point at 7.30pm.  

At this point, the ships will break formation and Queen Elizabeth will continue east towards Hamburg, Queen Victoria will turn south for St Peter Port in Guernsey and Queen Mary 2 will head west across the Atlantic to New York.