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Queen Mary 2 Meets Namesake Queen Mary in February

A Royal Occasion: Queen Mary 2 Meets Namesake Queen Mary on February 22, Marking a Cunard Milestone

VALENCIA, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

Queen Mary 2 to Sail by Queen Mary for Historic Morning and Afternoon Greeting

Since Queen Mary 2's dazzling debut in 2004, Cunard enthusiasts have wondered if the grand ocean liner would ever meet her legendary predecessor, the Queen Mary. On February 22, 2006, that question will be answered when Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Los Angeles and unites for the first time with her namesake, the Queen Mary, in nearby Long Beach.

Retired from maritime service for nearly 40 years, the Queen Mary, which sailed from 1936 through 1967, is now permanently berthed in Long Beach and is one of the city's most well-known attractions.

"Through Cunard's storied history, we can recall few occasions that have inspired so much anticipation," said Carol Marlow, president and managing director for Cunard Line. "The meeting of the Queen Marys is a rare opportunity to witness the convergence of Cunard's illustrious past with the line's 21st century future."

The historic meeting of the two Queen Marys will take place twice on Wednesday, February 22 -- at both 7:00 am and again at 5:00 pm. -- as Queen Mary 2 sails through outer Long Beach harbor, sounding a special greeting to the Queen Mary. The first-time salutation will take on even more meaning as Queen Mary 2 carries one of her namesake's original whistles, the tone of whose deep bass A note can be heard up to ten miles away.

Queen Mary 2, which will have just completed her 38-day South America Odyssey, will make her historic Los Angeles debut in the Port of Los Angeles where she will be berthed for a series of inaugural voyages sailing on February 22, February 25 and March 8. Details regarding related festivities and specific viewing areas for the public will be announced soon.

Though longer, taller and nearly twice as large as the Queen Mary, Queen Mary 2 shares a number of venerable "family" traditions with her namesake, including worldwide fame, royal launching ceremonies, spectacular maiden calls and a lineage of hosting noted society figures, celebrities and other luminaries of the day.

The two Queen Marys are also linked by Cunard's history of legendary voyages. Interestingly, the Queen Mary charted her one and only journey to South America on her "Last Great Cruise" in October 1967, and Queen Mary 2 will have just returned from her maiden foray into the region, becoming the largest passenger vessel ever to round the famed waters of Cape Horn.

The Queen Mary first set sail in May 1936, and was named for and launched by Her Majesty Queen Mary amidst great fanfare and celebration. During her more than 30 years at sea, the most celebrated liner of its time hosted A-list celebrities and society figures, sailed more than 1,000 transatlantic crossings and played a pivotal military role between 1940-1946, when she was commissioned to transport military troops during World War II. After carrying more than 765,000 service personnel throughout the conflict, Prime Minister Winston Churchill credited Queen Mary (as well as sister ship Queen Elizabeth) with ending the war one year earlier than estimated. Today, the Queen Mary is one of Southern California's most recognizable icons and continues to educate and entertain visitors from all around the world, offering tours, exceptional exhibitions, a calendar of festivals and numerous social and special events year-round.

Both considered the very finest ocean liners of their day, the two ships offer a range of fascinating similarities and differences. For example, length-wise Queen Mary 2 is just 113 feet longer than the Queen Mary, but in terms of gross tonnage, she is nearly twice the size of her predecessor. In days gone by, salt cod and kippers were menu highlights -- today, caviar and lobster top the bill of fare. In addition, the Queen Mary has a dozen decks, but QM2 has 17. Finally, Queen Mary 2 can carry nearly 600 more passengers than her namesake.

Some things never change, however. Champagne, for example, remains the beverage of choice for generations of travelers, impeccable White Star Service(SM) remains a Cunard hallmark, renowned enrichment programs and leisure offerings are still the primary onboard pursuits and, whatever the decade, Cunard ocean liners attract the world's most famous celebrities, including entertainers ranging from Duke Ellington to Carly Simon.

During the Golden Age of Ocean Travel, the Queen Mary welcomed such famous personalities as Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, and Clark Gable. Continuing Cunard's illustrious heritage of hosting royalty, society luminaries and famed entertainers, Queen Mary 2 has hosted a variety of notable guests such as Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, John Cleese, Tina Brown and Sir Harold Evans, Donald Trump, and Dame Shirley Bassey. Eminent visitors have included Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent, Former President George Bush, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Hillary Clinton.

Queen Mary 2 is the grandest ocean liner ever built. There are 1,310 suites and cabins available in degrees of style and comfort ranging from pampered elegance to almost unimaginable luxury in the ship's famed Grill-level accommodations. Queen Mary 2 brings together like-minded travelers who relish the Cunard hallmarks of impeccable White Star Service(SM), fine dining, sophisticated adventure and legacy of historic voyages and transatlantic travel.

For more information about Cunard, call 1-800-7-CUNARD or go to www.cunard.com. For more information about the Queen Mary, call 1-562-499-1620 or visit www.queenmary.com.

Cunard Line has operated the most famous ocean liners in the world since 1840. Cunard vessels have a classic British heritage and include the legendary Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2. Queen Victoria joins the fleet in 2007.

Cunard Line is a proud member of World's Leading Cruise Lines. The exclusive alliance also includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Windstar Cruises and The Yachts of Seabourn. Sharing a passion to please each guest, and a commitment to quality and value, member lines appeal to a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Together they offer exciting and enriching cruise vacations to the world's most desirable destinations.

SOURCE Cunard Line

ENDS

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