Both Cunard and the Queen Mary are celebrating milestone anniversaries this year—175 years since the first Cunard trans-Atlantic crossing from England to the US, and 80 years afloat for Queen Mary, which crossed the Atlantic more than 2,000 times when in service and is now a permanent hotel and museum in Long Beach harbor.
The day will be marked with celebration and fanfare for the public, with traditional whistle salutes between the ships and a fireworks display. Cunard advised the best public viewing location is on the Promenade Deck, aft, of the Queen Mary. Free access will be offered (parking is $15).
Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to sail into Long Beach harbor at approximately 7 a.m., and depart at approximately 6 p.m., followed by a whistle exchange salute with the Queen Mary, and a fireworks display.
'This meeting of the Queens will be especially memorable for our passengers, as this maiden call offers them the opportunity to disembark in Long Beach and experience the Queen Mary, an integral part of our history and tradition,' said Rick Meadows, president of Cunard North America.
Prior visits by Cunard ships to Long Beach have been restricted to floating salutes. Feb. 5 will see Queen Elizabeth dock near the Queen Mary, a first for Long Beach and Cunard.
A new Ship Model Gallery will be dedicated on the Queen Mary in a private ceremony at 11 a.m. Located on the Promenade Deck, the model gallery will open to the public at 12:30 p.m. This marks the first phase of the Queen Mary's announced plans to create a world-class maritime museum and learning center on board.
'Having Queen Elizabeth in port for the gallery dedication makes it even more special,' said John Jenkins, the Queen Mary’s gm.
Included in the Ship Model Gallery will be large models of some of the world's greatest ships: Titanic, Lusitania and Normandie, along with contemporary Cunard liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and QE2. Overall some 15 ship models will debut, with others on the way. The exhibition will also present the original Bassett-Lowke shipbuilder's model of the Queen Mary, a historically significant model more than 20 feet in length.
Queen Mary epitomized the golden age of ocean travel, and served as a British Royal Mail Ship (RMS) and as a troopship during World War II. Winston Churchill credited the Queen Mary and the original Queen Elizabeth with ending World War II one year early as they carried more than 1.5m troops between them.