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It’s not everyday you get to see three Queens in the same destination, let alone lined up alongside each other for a dramatic photo-shoot.

But after months of meetings and preparation, Cruise Passenger’s chief photographer, James Morgan took to the skies in a helicopter and captured the rare sight as Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria sailed in formation from Lisbon to the UK.

The three ships were making their way to Southampton to celebrate Queen Mary 2’s 10th anniversary on 9 May.

It’s the first time all three ships were photographed side-by-side at sea.

While the pictures may seem effortless, James said: “You don’t just happen to go up in a helicopter and take a great shot.”

Part of the planning included meetings with captains and crew to schedule the photoshoot down to the smallest detail.

It also required clearing all shipping from the area.

“When you are dealing with the largest Ocean Liner in the world, you can’t sit in a helicopter asking if it can go left a bit or right,” he said.

“A three ship formation like this has to be finely coordinated and choreographed ahead of time.

“It’s not like directing traffic – this is more like ship ballet.”

Click on the photos below to enlarge.