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NAME

QUEEN ELIZABETH II

CLASS

LINER

LAUNCHED

SEPTEMBER 20th 1967

BUILT

JOHN BROWN & CO / CLYDEBANK / SCOTLAND

WEIGHT

65,863 TONS

LENGTH

963 FEET

WIDTH

105 FEET

SPEED

28.5 KNOTS

PROPELLERS

2 - 5 BLADES - 22 FEET DIAMETER FITTED 1986

ENGINES

2 - DOUBLE REDUCTION STEAM TURBINES - 110,000 HP


The second Cunard Queen Elizabeth (QE2) was the last large Trans Atlantic liner built in the 20th Century. Originally designed to be 75,000 tons, this had to be scaled down so she could transit the Panama Canal. As QE2 was nearing completion, Cunard took their aging liners Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary out of service. Cunard were intending to operate QE2 on the Atlantic run in summer and as a cruise ship winter. After her preliminary sea trials had been completed in the Irish Sea, she set out on a cruise from Southampton - Las Palmas April 22nd 1969. QE2’s first world cruise in 1975 attracted a total of 3,965 passengers, over various stages, and covered 38,000 miles.

QE2 front view


After the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands April 2nd 1982, Cunard’s QE2, along with P&O’s 45,000-ton Canberra, were requisitioned by the British Admiralty to serve as troopships. QE2 was fitted with two helicopter decks and a modern communications system before setting out for South Georgia, 122th May 1982, carrying the 5th Infantry Brigade consisting of Scots Guards, Welsh Guards and Ghurkhas. After arriving at South Georgia 27th May, her troops were transferred to Canberra to make the final 1,550-mile trip to the Falklands. The decision to use Canberra to land QE2’s troops on the Falklands, was taken as British intelligence had warned the Argentines were eager to sink the ship named after the United Kingdom’s Queen. Cunard’s flagship arrived back at Southampton 11th June 1982, three days before the official surrender of Argentine servicemen on the Falkland Islands.

Cunard put QE2 into Lloyd Werfte/Bremerhaven in November 1986 to have her original steam turbines replaced by a diesel electric system. She was fitted with nine medium speed MAN L58/64 nine-cylinder turbo charged diesel engines, each the size of a double decker bus weighing 120 tons. The diesel engines power G.E.C generators that in turn drive two main propulsion motors, each nine meters in diameter weighing over 400 tons. These motors turn two propellers 22-foot in diameter that gave her a top speed in excess of 32 knots. The new propulsion system was expected to save around £12 million a year on fuel costs. QE2 then traveled about 50 feet per gallon of diesel fuel.

QE2
QE2 arriving at Greenock on the Clyde in 2008 ( where she was built) for the last time. Image by Dave Souza.

Since returning to her normal service between the Atlantic run and cruising, she was only out of service for a short time to undergo refits in 1994 and 1996. QE2 had made over 27 world cruises. Her main itinerarys were from Southampton - Mediterranean, Southampton - Scandinavia and Southampton - Quebec. World cruises were divided into stages such as Southampton - New York, New York - Los Angeles, Los Angeles - Sydney, Sydney - Hong Kong, Hong Kong - Cape Town, and Cape Town - Southampton.

On 18th June 2007, it was announced the QE2 had been purchased by the Dubai investment company Istithmar for $100 million. Her final voyage from Southampton to Dubai began 11th November 2008, arriving 26th November in time for her official handover the following day.

She will now be refurbished and berthed permanently at the Palm Jumeirah as a luxury floating hotel, retail, museum and entertainment destination. The refurbishments will see the QE2 transformed into a must-see tourist destination in Dubai. Rumors spread late in 2012 that the QE2 may be sold to China for scrap.

More information: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Elizabeth_2

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