CUNARD’S THREE QUEENS SAIL IN HISTORIC FORMATION FROM SOUTHAMPTON, LED BY FLAGSHIP QUEEN MARY 2, TO INAUGURATE CUNARD’S 175TH ANNIVERSARY Flagship Queen Mary 2 leads Cunard’s Three Queens out of Southampton in daylight for the first time ever, to mark the start of Cunard’s 175th anniversary celebrations in the UK. The ships arrived in Southampton earlier today from their three month World Cruises and now set off on their Summer season of transatlantic crossings, Mediterranean fly-cruises, Scandinavian and southern European sailings. Picture shows: Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth sailing in special formation off the Isle of Wight as they depart for New York, St Peter Port (Guernsey) and Hamburg respectively.

Celebrating 175 years of Cunard

The grand dame of ocean cruising, Cunard, is about to celebrate its 175th anniversary with a huge party in its hometown of Liverpool.

Liverpool was the home of Cunard for 127 years and the three Queens will meet on the city’s Mersey River for the first time on May 25. The Royal Rendevous will be a huge celebration drawing crowds from all around the world. Liverpudlians always turn out in vast numbers to see their Queens – when Queen Elizabeth 2 arrived on the Mersey for the first time in 1990 she attracted a crowd of more than one million.

On July 4, 1840, Cunard’s first ship, Britannia, set sail from Liverpool bound for Halifax and Boston. This year, exactly 175 years after the maiden voyage, the flagship Queen Mary 2 will depart Liverpool to recreate Britannia’s maiden voyage, stopping at Halifax and Boston before finishing her journey in New York.

2015 has already been a huge year of celebrations for the line, marking the momentous occasion with celebrations around the world. All three ships started the 2015 season with a World Cruise voyage and Australia hosted one of the first official anniversary celebrations when Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria met in Sydney Harbour at dawn on March 12. Celebrations lasted throughout the day, culminating with a fireworks display before the ships sailed out of the harbour. Sister ship Queen Elizabeth joined the duo in Southampton on May 3 and the three Queens sailed out of the harbour in formation.

Photos of the party will be available on Cruise Passenger’s website next Monday.