January 20, 2006

QM2 to meet QM as planned (despite the "accident")

The Queen Mary 2 will meet its legendary predecessor, the Queen Mary, as planned despite its recent mechanical problems.

The world's most expensive cruise liner encountered problems only hours into its 38-day voyage around South America when a propulsion motor hit the side of a shipping channel.

It is scheduled to meet the Queen Mary, which is permanently berthed in Long Beach, California, on February 22nd 2006.

There was concern that damage to one of the ship's four propulsion motors would cause its itinerary to be disrupted, but Cunard confirmed that there were no plans to alter any of the events planned for Long Beach and that the ship would make up lost time.

The $800 million ship with 2,500 passengers on board returned to Port Everglades for an inspection on Tuesday, but set sail again on Thursday morning using its three operational propulsion motors.

The two Queen Marys are due to meet twice on February 22nd at 0700 local time and 1700 as the Queen Mary 2 sails through outer Long Beach harbour, sounding a special greeting using one of her namesake's original whistles.

"Through Cunard's storied history, we can recall few occasions that have inspired so much anticipation," said president and managing director Carol Marlow.

"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 original Queen Mary, which first set sail in 1936 and retired in 1967, is dwarfed by her successor which is nearly twice the size in terms of gross tonnage.

But the Queen Mary 2 is set to lose its title as the world's largest cruise ship when Royal Caribbean International launches the Freedom of the Seas in May.

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