July 1, 2007

QE2 final voyage sold in half an hour

This was on thisishampshire.net...

"The final voyage on QE2 was sold out in just 36 minutes.
In little over half an hour, passengers spent more than £3m to ensure a place on the historic trip.

Telephones at owner Cunard's Southampton headquarters were red hot as hundreds of customers clamoured to snap up one of the liner's 1,800 berths. At one point the shipping line was taking an estimated average of nearly £91,000 a minute.

Telephone lines opened at dead on 2pm to take reservations. Immediately the switchboard lit up with calls from customers wanting to be on board QE2's last voyage, leaving Southampton on Tuesday, November 11, 2008.

Since the news that QE2 had been sold for £50m to Dubai, Cunard has been inundated with inquiries from potential passengers anxious to travel on the world's most famous liner a last time.

Her sale to the Middle East sparked anger that Southampton was not given the chance to bid for the ship and keep her in the city.

Petitions have even been lodged on 10 Downing Street's Internet website, urging new Prime Minister Gordon Brown to take swift action to stop the sale.

Two couples who booked the QE2's ultra-luxurious Grand Suites have paid nearly £18,000 per person for the 16-night one-way trip to Dubai, where the ship is to be transformed into a floating hotel and resort.

Sightseers Berths in the cheapest accommodation, a standard inside cabin, were all eagerly taken up by passengers willing to pay more than £4,000 each.

The city's waterfront is expected to be packed with sightseers as QE2 pulls out of her traditional home berth in the Eastern Docks for the last time and makes her way down Southampton Water, and through the Solent before setting a course for the Channel.

En route to Dubai, QE2 will call at Lisbon, Gibraltar, Rome, Naples, Malta and Alexandria before navigating the Suez Canal. Each port of call on the voyage is expected to arrange a series of farewell events.

Cunard have also given details of a number of special voyages next year leading up to QE2's final farewell. QE2's Farewell to the British Isles will depart Southampton on September 30 for a ten-night voyage calling at Dublin, Belfast, the Clyde (the river on which the liner was built), Liverpool, Edinburgh and New-castle.

On October 10 she will leave Southampton with Cunard's flagship, Queen Mary 2, for a tandem crossing to New York. Her return passage on October 16 will be the ship's 806th and final Atlantic crossing

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