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Queen Elizabeth

The newest Queen of the seas, Cunards Queen Elizabeth introduced herself to the Netherlands at a very windy morning at IJmuiden. The sun was shining and with the wind pushing up waves and water to the pierhead, her arrival had some great photographic opportunities to offer.

Normally, the keel-laying ceremony of Cunard Line ships is planned at the 4th of july. Not because then it's the American independence day celebration,. but because that was the date that the first transatlantic liner of Cunard Line, the Britannia, set sail for Halifax and Boston in 1840. But for the new Queen Elizabeth, this day was changed and two days earlier, at the 2nd of july in 2009, her keel was laid at the Fincantieri Shipyard at Marghera, Italy. She was built under yardnumber 6187 and she is technically a part of the Vista class that was originally ordered for the Holland America Line. But, like the Grand-class of Princess Cruises and the Spirit class of Carnival, also the Vista class has several changes made to the basic layout in the newer ships. Queen Elizabeth is a close sister to the Queen Victoria, although the newer ship is slightly larger, measuring 90.901 tons. With that, she is the second largest Cunarder ever built after the Queen Mary 2. The ship is 294 meters long, 32,3 meters wide and her draft is 8 meters. She has a total of 16 decks, of which 12 are accessible for her 2547 passengers. Her crewcapacity is 996 persons. Her speed is 23,7 knots and she is propelled by two Azipods and three bowthrusters.

As it should be, Queen Elizabeth at full sea before entering the outer harbour of IJmuiden. She followed a zig-zag course before entering port, probably to give some space for the AIDAsol, that was still in the locks when Queen Elizabeth arrived.

The ship was undocked at the 5th of january 2010 and named in Southampton by, who else, Queen Elizabeth the Second at the 11th of october of that same year. On the next day, the Queen Elizabeth sailed on her first cruise, that brought her to the Canary Islands of the coast of Morocco.

   

It was a very stormy morning, that first of may 2011. Queen Elizabeth is seen here through the heavyweight stone blocks that make up the sides of the pierheads. The piers at IJmuiden are among the best places for cruiseship photography in The Netherlands.

 

It was quite a job, bringing in the Queen Elizabeth. The Passenger Terminal Amsterdam is capable of accomodating two large cruiseships, but it can be a tight squeeze when two very large liners are docked. When Queen Elizabeth arrived for the first time, she met the Vision Of The Seas of Carnivals greatest rival, Royal Caribbean.

Several European cruises were sailed by the new Queen Elizabeth, before she embarked on her first worldcruise, starting at the 5th of january 2011 and bringing her from Southampton, her homeport, to the Caribbean and Panama, then crossing the Pacific from Los Angeles to Honolulu and Australia. After this, she went to Hong Kong, where the first Queen Elizabeth was burned in 1972, and Dubai, where the Queen Elizabeth 2 is still berthed awaiting some kind of service. She then passed the Suez Canal, entering the Mediterranean and returning to Southampton via Athens and Lisbon. After this worldcruise, she again cruised around Europe and at the end of 2011, she started sailing her first Caribbean season.

Above, the magnificent new Cunarder is shown while she just left the locks at IJmuiden and passes through the Northsea Canal close to the village of Velsen Zuid.

Queen Elizabeth differs slightly from her earlier sister Queen Victoria. Her stern is steeper, so that the passenger capacity of the new ship is slightly higher. This also gives the suites at the stern somewhat smaller balconies then on Queen Victoria. At the forward end of deck 11, there is a glass roof covering the games deck, unlike the sports deck on the Queen Victoria. On the inside, she is very different, because she is based on the 1940-built Queen Elizabeth, having a lot of art-deco interiour features. She also has some spaces that remember the Queen Elizabeth 2. The main stunning feauture of the newest Queen Elizabeth is the two-ans-a-half deck art-panel in the Grand Lobby of the ship, representing the first Queen Elizabeth that sailed for Cunard Line between 1946 and 1967. The panel was created by David Linley, who happens to be the Queen's nephew.

There still was some sort of Queen Elizabeth 2 when QE entered the port of Amsterdam. Reflected in the glass facade of the Muziekgebouw Aan Het IJ, a second Queen Elizabeth emerged.

Above, Queen Elizabeth is shown just before she docks at the Passenger Terminal. She had a near miss with a combination of barges when she entered the IJ, just where you can see the berthed river cruiseships behind QE. The barge captain thought that he was able to bring his ship around just in front of the QE and he was right, but only because QE was able to stop her engines I think some heavy shouting and high fists flew across the water there... 

On a great evening at the 20th of may 2012 I once again met Queen Elizabeth near the locks at IJmuiden, the water was smooth as a mirror and this gave a beautifull reflection of the ship in the water. When we can see the charm of these new kind of ships, not compare them to the former grand ocean liners, we will respect them. In our time, the passengerships that are built are the largest ever, the most complicated ever and the most popular ever by means of how many people take an oceantrip now. I agree with people saying that we do live now in the golden age of passengertravel by sea.

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