Chris Potter's QE2 Story

Updated on November 9th, 2009 by Rob Lightbody

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During the sixties my father worked for Cunard in Liverpool (Pier Head). As a youngster Cunard was very much a part of everyday life. Also living in Wallasey and a couple of minutes walk from the river meant that watching the ships come and go was a frequent experience.

I remember asking my father why the two great Cunard Queens’ Mary and Elizabeth never came to the Mersey. I often wondered what it would have been like to see these great ships at close quarters. Unfortunately this never came to pass but one day in 1990 the most elegant of them all did arrive in the Mersey.

I remember watching her from the Mersey Bar into the river at New Brighton and at that time her slow turn to moor in mid river opposite Liverpool’s Pier Head. The weather was fantastic and the welcome she received has been well written about elsewhere.

There was something inspiring to see something so magnificent and for which many, many thousands of people had made their own journey to see.

As she departed late in the evening there where still large numbers of people waiting to see her depart. A firework display saluted the magnificent ship as she sailed away. As she sailed there was a little voice saying you have to sail on her.

The wait lasted about ten years. My wife and I made the decision to travel on the QE2, but having done the hard part the decision then became where? Well, there was only one choice, it had to be transatlantic, and we had to sail on her doing what she was built to do! Our first site of the ship was as the coach pulled onto the pier in mid-town Manhattan. There she was! Our passage on-board was easy and finally we where there, our cabin on the QE2!

We gathered outside to watch her sail out, down the Hudson, under the Verrazano.  

Instead of heading out into the Atlantic she headed up to Boston and then to Southampton. For my wife and son the storm at the start of the voyage was not helpful, but it soon passed.

At that time little did we know that nearly ten years after that we would be on the deck of another much, much large Queen paying our respects to a Grand Old Lady as she once again sailed down the Hudson and out into the Atlantic, only we all new this was to be for the last time. Having sailed across and returned from New York in tandem with QE2 it was only then that you were able to watch her in all her magnificence, fine lines, elegant shape cutting through the Atlantic swell with ease. I never grew tired of just watching…

We did manage one other trip on QE2 in between, just a short hop to Iberia. Although she was starting to date on the outside she never lost her looks!

It was a sad day when she arrived in Dubai, having paid our respects to her on the last tandem crossing as well as making sure I was there for her last visit in Liverpool we are proud have been able to sail on her and to witness her in all her glory!

I’ve asked my father a couple of times since them what did he know about QE2, after all she was conceived where he worked. I couldn’t find out much, other than he travelled to work with one of the design team. As it turned it this designer was working on the most iconic part of the ship… the funnel!

For me QE2 will always remain the most striking of ships. Wherever she went she had a presence that few, in whatever field can or will compete with. Whatever the port, whatever the country Queen Elizabeth 2 possessed an overwhelming ability to stir human emotion.