Queen Elizabeth 2: Forty Years Famous and Counting
Queen Elizabeth 2, launched by the Queen of England in 1967 had been Cunard’s flagship liner for 40 years. For four decades, the ship brought prosperity to many guests. On a bitter note, all good things come to an end, and in 2008 the great ocean liner made her final call at Malta’s Grand Harbour on her way to Dubai.
We could write a book on the history of this ship. It is really special. The ship’s core mission was to deliver exquisite cruise voyages, yet this legendary ship had done some quite remarkable heroic voyages. In May 1969, she entered service as a troop transporter in notable wars including that of the Falklands War.
Expanding on her valiant heart, in 1971 she rescued survivors from the burning French liner ‘Antilles’ off the Caribbean Island of Mustique. The mayday call reached Queen Elizabeth 2 on the evening of a hot summer night. A ball of flames was spotted on the horizon and by the time Queen Elizabeth 2 reached the blazing wreck, Antilles’ lifeboats were full of passengers signalling for help. There had been an abandon ship and miraculously all passengers and crew had managed to get off safe and sound. The following morning, after a very long night, the shipwreck survivors were disembarked off Queen Elizabeth 2 and given further medical treatment.
Throughout her lifetime, Queen Elizabeth 2 hosted 2.5 million passengers, including well known international celebrities and heads of state. Just to mention a few; Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana and former rockstar David Bowie have all cruised on board. Undoubtedly, Queen Elizabeth 2 became a showcase of Cunard’s rich maritime heritage.
In 2008, it was time for the great ocean liner to sail her last cruise. On her final voyage from Southampton to Dubai she was carrying 1,685 guests, many attracted by the fact that they got to experience her last voyage that would go down in history.
En route on her final voyage, Queen Elizabeth 2 called to Valletta, Malta. Her seventh and last visit to Malta was an important day for Mifsud Brothers Ltd, the Cunard Line agents. Four generations of the Mifsud family were on board to mark the maiden call in 1998. This time in 2008 only, I presented the first of a limited-edition print of an oil painting that had been commissioned by the company to Captain McNaught.
You can view a video of the special day here
But where is the ship now?
After nearly 40 years in service, Queen Elizabeth 2 was given a well-deserved rest. She has moved on to new pastures. Her superstructure stands out very well as does her mast.
The legendary ship continues to live on.