The Queen of the Seas…..And the Skies

July 31, 2008 -

John Heald

Surely one of the greatest achievements engineering of the last 30 years was Concorde. Wherever the hook-nosed, sleek machine was you knew there would be crowds of admirers and people who would be standing on the observation deck dreaming that they were one of the pop stars, hedge fund managers or George Hamilton’s who would experience the thrill of traveling faster than the speed of…well…….everything.

But now………it’s gone.

I don’t feel sorry for the people in suits who now need seven hours to get across the Atlantic. It was, after all, their meanness that caused Concorde’s demise in the first place.

I do, however, feel sorry for the plane itself. It’s sitting in some shed now, wondering what it has done wrong and why it has been put on the naughty step… Why did it not fly yesterday and why is there no sense that it will fly today? Why is nobody tinkering with its engines, filling its refrigerators with Dom Perignon and vacuuming its bespoke leather seats in case Catherine Zeta Jones puts her bottom on one?

I like to believe that a machine does have a heart and a soul. This may seem strange but I like to think of cars, planes and, of course, ships as ordinary people think of dogs. They cannot read or write or understand our spoken words. But they understand what we’d like them to do in other ways.

Go left. Go right. Go faster. Fly, Wait, Stop and Go Again.

Think of Concorde as a cocker spaniel that you’ve had in the family for 27 years. Think of the way it has never once let you down. And how thrilled it is when you feed it and pet it and take it out for a walk.

And now try to imagine how that dog would feel if you locked it up one night. And never went back.

Luckily, that will not be happening to the grand old lady……The Queen Elizabeth 2.

She has had crowds of dreamers and well-wishers follow her all over the world for many years and now its time for her to rest. She will be cocooned in the care of the people of Dubai whose bottomless pockets will insure that she is preserved for generations to come.

So, the Queen Elizabeth 2 and the Concord have left a huge iconic hole to fill …………..or have they?

Well, no actually…… the role of the most iconic mode of luxurious transportation has already been filled by the one and the only Queen Mary 2. There are and will be bigger ships……..but today that means nothing and even though we have shopping malls of the seas, nothing can compare to the Queen Mary 2. Like her sister and Concorde before her whereever she goes she is joined by a new breed of dreamers and well wishers who stand on piers in Australia and Southampton, New York and New Zealand all wanting to catch a glimpse of the Queen.

She carries the weight of her sister on her bow and Concorde on her stern but that all rests very easily on her 150,000 tons of excellence.

Here is Carol Marlow Cunard’s so very proud President to describe the reaction to the ship’s arrival in Hamburg.

Queen Mary 2, making her 10th call to this port city, brought out the crowds once again yesterday. This time Queen Mary 2 hosted the opening ceremony of the first-ever ‘Hamburg Cruise Days’ extravaganza – five days centered around the port, showing that Hamburg is one of the key gateways to the world. Over the next five days many different ships will be calling in Hamburg including AIDA Aura, and several will be taking part in the festivities. In addition there will be concerts and exhibitions around the port and the city.

In a ceremony up on deck under a balmy, clear evening sky, over 100 guests witnessed the moment when actor Til Schweiger (known by some as the Pierce Brosnan of Germany) and a man who needs no introduction – Boris Becker (who looked as sexy as ever – but gosh how tall!) pushed ‘the button’ alongside Captain Chris Wells and Senator Doctor Fritag of Hamburg City, which literally turned the city – and the ship – blue. Then moments later fireworks lit up the night sky. Boris and Til had taken dinner in Queen Mary 2’s Todd English restaurant before the ceremony and were amazed at the size and grandeur of the vessel. Maybe they’ll sail with us next time!

Earlier in the day over 400 guests toured Queen Mary 2 and the ship hosted a concert by chart topping German jazz singer Roger Cicero. It was certainly a day to remember, as the press showed this morning when Queen Mary 2 yet again dominated the papers.

It was a very special day


Queen Mary 2 and Boris Becker turn Hamburg Blue!

Queen Mary 2 and Boris Becker turn Hamburg Blue!

Queen Mary 2 and Boris Becker turn Hamburg Blue!

Queen Mary 2 and Boris Becker turn Hamburg Blue!

The Concord has gone……….The Queen Elizabeth 2 will soon be tied forever to a dock ………..but Queen Mary 2 is here…………and now she is………..the one and only!

I never got to fly on Concord or sail on the Queen Elizabeth 2……….but this is one icon I have no intention of missing out on………….. And neither should you.


Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.