MS Queen Victoria departs Liverpool

The Cunard cruise liner MS Queen Victoria arrived in Liverpool on Friday and spent the night berthed on the River Mersey at the Liverpool Cruise terminal.  The liner’s visit to Liverpool was to mark the 100 year anniversary of Cunard’s superliner the RMS Aquitania – one of the company’s most successful ships – setting sail on her maiden voyage to New York from the Liverpool waterfront in 1914.


On Friday evening there was a spectacular fireworks display watched by hundreds of people from the waterfront and passengers on board.


I didn’t manage to get down to the river for this event but I was on the Wirral shore for the liner’s departure at 4 pm yesterday afternoon.


I managed to get some shots from Egremont promenade next to the ‘Black Pearl’ pirate ship.  As the cruise liner passed down the river to the mouth of the Mersey the passengers were on the decks to wave at the thousands of spectators on the shore.  The mighty ship blasted its siren several times before moving away from the dockside and into the middle of the river.


The Queen Victoria is carrying around 2,000 passengers on this trip arriving in Liverpool from Greenock on the Firth of Clyde in Scotland and now going onto Dublin, Cork and back to Southampton from where she started this round Britain cruise.


The Queen Victoria was laid down in May 2006 after being built at a cost of nearly £300m by the Fincantieri Marghera shipyard in Italy.  The liner has a gross tonnage of 90,000 and is the smallest of Cunard’s ships in operation.  She is crewed by 900 people; is more than 960ft from bow to stern; has a top speed of 24 knots and facilities include seven restaurants, thirteen bars, three swimming pools, a ballroom and a theatre.


MS Queen Victoria does not carry mail and as such does not carry the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) status.  Also unlike many previous ‘Cunard Queens’, Queen Victoria is not a true ocean liner as she does not have the heavy plating throughout the hull nor the propulsion system of a dedicated transatlantic liner. However the bow was constructed with heavier plating to cope with the transatlantic run to New York.


The Queen Victoria was sailed into Liverpool by her master, Commodore Christopher Rynd, who has brought all three Cunard Ocean Queen liners into Liverpool during his career.


All three are set to come to Liverpool at the same time in 2015 to mark the 175th birthday of Cunard which started in the city.  The Pier Head’s Cunard Building was the company’s headquarters until 1967.  The three liners – The Queen Elizabeth, Mary 2 and Queen Victoria – will arrive in the city for a historic three-day event in the Mersey on May 24 to 26 next year.  It was 175 years earlier that saw the departure of Cunard’s first ship the Britannia which sailed from the city in July 1840.


Last May I took a number of shots of the Cunard liner the Queen Mary 2 when she was berthed in Liverpool.  See here  I’ll see if I can be there for the three Cunard liners next year.