Queen Mary 2
Yesterday Cunard's flagship Queen Mary 2 called in Bergen. The following photos were taken of her alongside during the day, and from the Askøy bridge as she departed in the afternoon.
Entering service in January 2004, Queen Mary 2 is widely acknowledged as being the last true ocean liner in the world, and, at around 150,000 tons is the largest ever built. Designed to operate regular liner voyages across the North Atlantic, her strengthened hull, sleek lines and impressive profile set her apart from the majority of purpose-built cruise ships in service today.
Unfortunately Queen Mary 2 was struck by tragedy even before entering service. In 2003, during a visit to the nearly completed ship for workers and their families, a gangway collapsed, plunging the visitors 15m to the concrete floor of the drydock below. 16 were killed, and a further 32 injured.
On 8th January 2004, Queen Mary 2 was officially named by HRH Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony in Southampton. She departed on her maiden voyage on 12th January to Florida, carrying a full compliment of 2600 passengers and 1250 crew.
During the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Queen Mary 2 was used as a hotel ship for various athletes and heads of state, including Tony Blair, Jaques Chirac and George W Bush.
Whilst alongside in Bergen the crew were conducting a full emergency drill. All of her lifeboats were swung out ready for deployment. According to the announcements being made on board, smoke machines were being used in public areas to simulate a convincing emergency.
Queen Mary 2 has been a popular and successful ship since her launch over a decade ago. Her passengers to date have included George Lucas, Rod Stewart and Donald Trump, amongst many other notable figures. In 2005 the first US copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was carried on a westbound crossing to New York in a locked trunk.
Throughout her career Queen Mary 2 has dealt with a number of propulsion issues, mainly involving her Azipod propulsion system. Her power plant is one of the most impressive at sea, with 4 diesel engines and 2 gas turbines combining to generate over 150,000hp. Her top speed is 30 knots, with a regular cruising speed of around 24 knots.
Alongside her regular crossings between Southampton and New York, Queen Mary 2 operates a number of cruises each year, including an annual world cruise. Her visit to Bergen yesterday was part of her current cruise around the Norwegian fjords.
As she departed for her next port of call, Queen Mary 2 passed under the Askøy bridge, with a clearance of just 3 metres.
It is an incredible experience to see such an enormous ship passing so close beneath you. Many passengers were lining her decks to capture the moment from the other side.
Her iconic black and red funnel makes for an awesome sight when viewed from such a close distance.
|Queen Mary 2 alongside at Jekteviksterminalen, Bergen|
|Queen Mary 2 docked in Bergen|
As a result of this accident the delivery celebrations were scaled down in respect to those lost, but still Queen Mary 2 was completed on schedule and entered service to much fanfare and worldwide media attention.
|Queen Mary 2 in Bergen|
|Queen Mary 2, with her forward lifeboats already swung out for a crew emergency drill|
|Partially enclosed balconies run for 3 full decks, perfect for shelter in the Atlantic Ocean|
|Looking a bit scruffy along the waterline, QM2 got a deep clean whilst alongside in Bergen yesterday|
|Queen Mary 2's central superstructure and iconic funnel|
|Queen Mary 2 approaches the Askøy bridge|
|The top decks of Queen Mary 2 viewed from the Askøy bridge|
|Queen Mary 2 passes under the Askøy bridge|
In January 2015, Ships in Bergen will be on board Queen Mary 2 for an Eastbound transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton. Check back to this blog for a report of the trip, including a full photo tour of the ship.