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All aboard, all aboard

The third Queen Elizabeth makes her maiden trip to Liverpool. Angie Sammons gets the tour

Written by . Published on September 9th 2011.

All aboard, all aboard

“NO jumping or diving”, reads the sign on the side of the pavilion pool. It is empty today, with just the solid reflection of the Liver Building (depending on your angle) and the grey skies above the Mersey falling across its perfectly still surface.   

“No jumping or diving… or snoring, or falling off your perch,” chuckles one senior member of the local press as we are given a two-hour walkabout of the Queen  Elizabeth 3 on her maiden voyage to Liverpool. 

Here art deco rules the waves on this
beast of a vessel which, at 185 ft in water,
looks more imposing than Entwistle Heights

Of course she’s not called the Queen Elizabeth 3 at all. She is a name, not a number. Queen Elizabeth will do, say Cunard, who with their latest ocean going luxury liner, wish to “preserve the memory of the original”. 

Choppy out thereChoppy out thereAnd with more than 150 years' practice in gaining their sea legs, Cunard are keen not to stray into stormy waters regarding that big political battle of the ports at the moment: Liverpool v Southampton and the big question of whether the former will eventually enjoy Cunard’s support once more, when and if its "terminal" gets cruise turnaround status.

Describing Liverpool as Cunard’s "spiritual home", the company’s president, Peter Shanks, firmly reminded reporters: "Southampton remains our base."

Then he went on: "If in future Liverpool do invest in their facilities, and like other ports around the world have the opportunity for turnaround, then it is quite possible that some voyages would start in Liverpool.

"I think that would be very popular for our guests."

That's Us ThenThat's Us ThenThe prospect of the last bit was predictably greeted with alarm "darn sarf" where many Liverpudlian paying passengers had had to travel to. 

"It is a scene that will send shivers through everyone connected with Southampton's cruise industry," whimpered an article in "This Is Hampshire" today.

Meanwhile, back on board, the only timbers being shivered where the polished new oak ones on the 11-month-old ship.

Here art deco rules the waves on this beast of a vessel which, at 185 ft in water, looks more imposing than Entwistle Heights. And, of course, it is far posher. It has the only croquet lawn of any liner anywhere, and even its own Royal Court Theatre – although the costs of heating this 90,000 ton titan entirely is probably similar to those of its incredible hulking theatrical namesake on Liverpool’s Roe Street.

Twisting by the PoolTwisting by the PoolWho travels on a ship like this? Over 2,000 people a time, tended to by around 1,000 crew. 

They bask in the lap of polished, marbellous opulence in dozens of crystal bars and restaurants, ivories tinkling away on pianos that are almost a common a sight as hand sanitation gel.

They fork out £129,000 for the baby grand of them all  - a 100-day world cruise. However, for some, such an odyssey is not always what it's cracked up to be.

Some ships employ relationship counsellors to deal with the problem of couples being thrown together for the long haul; people who would never normally have the time of day, or, to be more precise, three months for each other, in the confines of a cabin.

This trip is more modest, taking in the British Isles, and by the time you read this she will be heading for the delightful town of Cobh in Cork after banging firweorks bid her adieu just after 10 last night.

But hell, it probably doesn't matter where you are when you've got this to play hide and seek in and whether a luxury life on the ocean wave is for you or not, one cannot fail to be impressed by the scale.

The other Royal Court'The Royal Court': No Brick Up
The MerseyTunnels in here
Or "The Trafford Centre comes to Liverpool! There that's your headline," as another member of our gasping entourage put it while we stood outside the ships very own pub, sadly not called The Queen's.

We are invited onto the segregated First Class area, so long as we are discreet. “Don’t put cameras right in passengers’ faces!” we are warned.

Ah, for the Empire days, when mutton was taken on X Deck.


*With thanks to Cunard for their hospitality and to Thomas for explaining everything.

Follow Angie Sammons @twangeee on Twitter 

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Alan HirdSeptember 9th 2011.

A Beatles' tribute cruise is an untapped marketing opportunity in the UK particularly the birthplace of the Beatles, Woody Lifton in the USA has one going from Florida to cruise the caribbean. So when will someone finally take up the idea of a Beatles' tribute cruise from the birthplace of the Beatles to the caribbean. Come on Cunard wake up to a golden opportunity!!!.
I was born and raised in Hampshire the county of Southampton but as a devout Beatles' fan I would much rather see Liverpool's cruise liner being successful rather than Southampton's.
At this rate I may get expelled from Hampshire for being disloyal to the county of my birth hahaha.
So Liverpool to rule the waves not Southampton, after the Cunard building is one of the three graces for goodness sake.

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