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QM2 crossing will be Arison's first since immigrating on Mauretania

Cunard North America president Rick Meadows, at left, with Adam and Marnie Tihany and Micky Arison on board Queen Mary 2 in New York (Photo: Anne Kalosh)
Micky Arison was among the VIPs at Wednesday's North American debut of Queen Mary 2 remastered, where Capt. Christopher Wells acknowledged him for being the inspiration for the ocean liner's construction in 2003.

The Carnival Corp. & plc chairman was applauded at the captain's Champagne toast in the ocean liner's Royal Court Theatre during festivities at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

Wells, who worked on the ship during its construction at what was then Chantiers de l'Atlantique, called Queen Mary 2 'our magnificent new ship' following its $132m remastering at Blohm+Voss in Hamburg. 'She is still the longest, tallest, widest and grandest ocean liner ever built as well as the fastest passenger ship in service and now, without question, the most luxurious,' he proudly added.

Arison and his wife Madeleine will be sailing on Queen Mary 2's trans-Atlantic crossing from New York to Southampton.

Arison told Seatrade Cruise News it will be his first crossing since he immigrated to the United States in 1954 aboard another Cunard liner, Mauretania. He was 5 years old.

The Carnival chairman said he's sailing on Queen Mary 2 now because Madeleine has always wanted to do it, and also because of the occasion of the liner's remastering.

When the liner arrives in the UK, a Carnival board meeting is scheduled followed by, on July 14 in Almere, Netherlands, the official dedication of the Arison Maritime Center, named to honor Arison and his father Ted, the founder of Carnival.