Queen Mary 2

10th Birthday Celebrations in Southampton

May 9th 2014

By Frank Somers

Stonehenge receives 1.2 Million visitors a year, the majority from Overseas.

Our grove of Druids is a purely spiritual organisation concerned with continuing our traditions, supporting those who visit Stonehenge and the local community.

As we go about our Druidic activities we often meet those people who visit Stonehenge or Amesbury from far away. Many people come to Britain from overseas to explore their family heritage, a pilgrimage of faith, a love of history and culture, or just for plain curiosity.

In recent times we have noticed that more of our visitors have arrived upon our shores by the most elegant, luxurious and romantic means possible they have arrived in the Hampshire port of Southampton by ship.

I have always loved the sea, having grown up on the south coast, and I have wondered what life must be like on a great cruise ship.

When I was given the opportunity to witness the birthday celebrations of the greatest ‘ocean liner’ of all time, Queen Mary 2, I naturally jumped at the chance to go along and see for myself what all the fuss is about.

Cunard had three ships in harbour at the same time, Queen Mary, and two cruise ships Elizabeth and Victoria. They had also arranged for a lucky few staff and members of the media to travel by ferry and witness the celebrations on water from close quarters.

Illuminated against a rapidly darkening sky, these mighty vessels are impressive. You could fit the Stonehenge sarcen circle onto the sun deck of Queen Mary which set me to wondering what it would be like to celebrate solstice on her...anyway...the excitement built up as Queen Mary 2 slipped silently from her dock, exercised a graceful 180 degree turn and slowly made steam towards our position.

Then the fireworks began, to music and the scene was set for Queen Mary 2 to pass by her two sisters and lead a procession of Queens out into the Ocean carrying thousands of very lucky passengers to their destinations.

The scale and grandeur I expected. The sense of wonder at the grace and presence of this great ship I did not. She is positively regal.

I hope that you enjoy my pictures, taken from my I-phone and that these convey to you something of the occasion.

Also I have some pictures below to share with you by permission of Cunard which show the ships earlier in the day from entering harbour to being visited by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh

For those lucky enough to visit Britain via ship into Southampton, we hope to see some of you at Stonehenge.

Why not also visit Amesbury, Britain’s most ancient settlement while there.

We would like to thank Cunard for the opportunity to witness this great event and also for permitting us to show the following professionally taken images by James Morgan

Queen Mary 2 arriving into Southampton from Lisbon to dock alongside her sisters Elizabeth and Victoria

HRH the Duke of Edinbourgh is welcomed aboard

In case anyone were wondering what the difference is between a cruise ship and and Ocean Liner is, I asked:

A cruise ship is essentially a large floating luxury hotel, built to tour safely at moderate cruising speeds and in great comfort from destination to destination. In the rare event of encountering, for example a severe storm, most cruise ships would reduce speed and make for sheltered waters.

An Ocean Liner is made of tougher stuff. Queen Mary 2 is designed to sail between Southampton and New York, in any weather and sea state, without slowing down. She can achieve nearly 30 knots and always deliver passengers on schedule.

My sister and brother in law sailed on Queen Mary 2 last year in a horrendous north Atlantic storm. They told me that the ship was so stable and powerful that they barely noticed.


To learn more about QM2, or to book a cruise