Sunday, January 12, 2014

"QUEEN MARY 2", THE SHIP BEAUTIFUL OF THE XXI CENTURY










The name SHIP BEAUTIFUL has been associated to the CUNARD passenger liner AQUITANIA built in 1914, as History progressed the Liners by the end of last century seemed destined to Museums, History Programs and books, apart from wonderful memories from ships enthusiasts, Maritime Historians and of course passengers and crew that sailed for decades on these wonderful forms of art. With the Cruising Industry's boom also at the end of last century it seemed impossible that another specifically designed liner would be built after the QE2 in 1969, this remarkable liner was many times described as the last true ocean liner to be built. Everything changed when CARNIVAL bought CUNARD and announced that a new liner, the largest, grandest ever, would be built in 2002, the news came a pleasant shock to the maritime world, how would that be possible, would it be viable and economically profitable, after all to build a new liner would be a lot more expensive and a difficult task for any designated shipyard, ten years on, QM2 is here as a unique ship, born a legend and the only true passenger liner still in service on the North Atlantic route. QM2 was designed and conceived by liner lover enthusiasts, she would be beautiful by design, which it would be a difficult task taking into consideration her gross tonnage of 151.000 and over 1132 feet in lenght, QM2 would be the latest addition to a long line of legendary ships, the transatlantic liners, the word transatlantic evokes distant lands and a vision of a boundless ocean, QM2 was built in a age of Universal air travel, the regaining of possession of time would once again take place for the passengers travelling on QM2. The new liner was built in France by the prestigious CHANTIERS DE L'ATLANTIQUE, the same shipyard responsible for the construction of the NORMANDIE in 1935 and the FRANCE in 1962, the building of the new liner would be an historical continuity to these former amazing liners, she was strongly built with her hull entirely of steel, in fact 40% more steel than on any cruise ships, with reinforced plates, the passengers would once again be able to travel the full length of the ship on deck number 7, a design greatly inspired on the ROTTERDAM of 1959, her magnificent bridge and streamlined lines and funnel a modern follow up of her predecessor the QE2, it took just under two years to build this wonderful new liner, I went several times to Saint-Nazaire to follow her construction, every one a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life, couldn't believe my luck to be once again able to admire such a delightful passenger ship, a new true CUNARDER, in 2006 I have done the Transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton and ranks to this day as my most memorable sea voyage. Ten years ago today QM2 embarked on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, the first leg of her three months trip, later in April she took over from QE2 on the regular Transatlantic crossings which she has been alternating with cruising to this day. This is a tribute and a salute to a unique ship now ten years old, she was built to last at least forty years, so long live the "QUEEN MARY 2".

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"MSC MAGNIFICA" entering Lisbon on a hot summer's day





Magnificent reminder of "MSC MAGNIFICA" entering Lisbon on a gorgeous sunny summer day, photos captured 22.9.2013, this great passenger ship was built at Saint-Nazaire and entered service in 2010, she weights 95.187 G.T., unbeatable Lisbon light, nothing like a hot summer's day to photograph ships

Thursday, January 2, 2014

M.V. "SAGA RUBY" Farewell departure from Funchal

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone. Seen here departing Funchal on New Year's day is the very handsome classic passenger ship "SAGA RUBY", the ship was the last passenger ship order to be received by SWAN HUNTER and started service as the VISTAFJORD in 1973, not the last one to be built in Britain as commonly stated, the last one was the "ODESSA" also finished by Swan Hunter in 1974. This could very well be her last call to Madeira, the ship is due back in Southampton on the 7.1.2014, the end of her very last cruise with SAGA CRUISES, she has been reported to be withdrawn from service after that and with tougher rules coming into place all the time, affecting mainly classic passenger ships, it is unlikely that she will be sailing again on regular cruising services, I sincerely hope not. Photo taken by Peter Goncalves, 1.1.2014