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July Talk


The July meeting of Brockenhurst Probus Club received a delightful talk by Steve Herra on the magnificent transatlantic liner QE2.

Steve was a third generation Cunard employee with both his father and grandmother sailing with Cunard. He served on the QE2 for many years as a Purser.

Living so close to its home port of Southampton this was a particularly poignant talk for many of the 40 members who attended and were used to seeing her in the Solent. It was even more engaging for the small number of members fortunate enough to have sailed as passengers on this ionic ship.

The talk gave a lively and interested illustrated history of the ship from her initial concept in the 60s her launch in 1969 and her conversion into a troop ship in 1982 for the Falklands War.

Launched at a time when transatlantic crossings faced greatly increasingly competition from the airlines it was interesting to hear the marketing techniques used to combat that competition – often by the promotion of luxury and increasing revenue with more shops and a bigger casino!

While her early life was somewhat troubled by mechanical issues, these were overcome and she became the fastest liner of her time and a lead in comfort and luxury on the North Atlantic route, which she sailed in the summer, and the cruise routes she undertook in the remainder of the year.

Amusing anecdotes included references to the many famed passengers including royalty who sailed on her. After 40 years of service in 2008 she was retired to Dubai to become a floating hotel, where we understand she is being well cared for after having sailed almost six million nautical miles.  But sadly, for one lady a Mrs Muller, QE2’s retirement meant the loss of her home of 14 years, being a passenger who had sold her previous home to live on the ship.


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