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QEII departs Southampton for Dubai

Cruise holiday

The most famous ship in the world, Cunard’s QEII, set sail from the port of Southampton last night on her final voyage to Dubai.

Widely regarded as the most beautiful cruise ship in the world, and certainly one of the most loved, the QEII spent 39 years in service during which she completed 25 world cruises, 806 transatlantic crossings and carried over 2.5 million passengers a total of 5.9 million nautical miles.

The QEII was also famously pressed into service during the Falklands War so it was fitting her final day at Southampton should be on Remembrance Day. To commemorate the occasion a million poppies were dropped over the ship at 1100 hours by a Tiger Moth aircraft.

The Duke of Edinburgh paid his seventh visit to the QEII to meet crew members who served on the ship during the Falklands War. He then toured the ship, visiting the bridge, engine control room and hospital before presenting a painting of QEII to the Mayor of Southampton.

At a reception the Duke met long-serving staff from the QEII and the former captains of HMS Ardent, Antelope and Coventry whose ships were lost in the Falklands War and who returned to the UK on QEII.

In the afternoon the QEII was honoured by a Harrier jump jet which hovered and bowed to the famous ship just 500 feet from her stern.

Earlier in the day the QEII made the headlines again when she became stranded on a sandbank in Southampton Water and had to wait for the high tide before being pulled off by five tugs.

The QEII finally left her dock at Southampton just after 19.15 last night. The lucky passengers onboard – the final voyage sold out in just 36 minutes – and thousands of spectators who had come to pay their last respects were then treated to a spectacular firework display at Mayflower Park. A large flotilla of yachts and motorboats accompanied the ship down Southampton Water and out into the Solent.

The QEII is due to arrive in Dubai on November 27th where she will become a luxury floating hotel and entertainment centre. A new cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth, is scheduled to enter service with Cunard in 2010 and will be the second largest Cunarder ever built.

Written by: Nick Purdom