I will also be at there for the christening, an honor for me and all of the cruise industry as well, as the mistress of ceremonies will be Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, or as we all know her more familiarly, the wife of Prince Charles. It is expected that her husband will make an appearance as well.
I am embarrassed to admit that I have yet to even sail on a Cunard ship, though I have been on almost every other cruise line in the world. But that is precisely why Cunard was kind enough to invite me, along with several other cruise industry journalists but most of them in the "trade" category.
I do promise I will be sending back as many pictures as I can as soon as I get myself to an Internet connection.
I did a walk-through on the Queen Elizabeth 2 while she was docked in New York Harbor about 10 years ago, and I hope to be able to see her again before she retires to Dubai in November 2008. I spent the night on the Queen Mary 1 in Long Beach last year, in the Winston Churchill Suite, and I enjoyed it immensely. I hope the Sultans of Dubai can do as well in creating a memorial to a great ocean liner as the folks in Long Beach have done. They certainly paid more, $100 dollars (actually £50 million Pounds) versus $3.45 million for the Queen Mary, but that was in 1967.
And now Cunard has announced yet another new ship will be built, just slightly larger (92,000-tons) than the Queen Victoria, a new "Queen Elizabeth". It is supposed she will acquire the moniker QE3, but that is not official yet.
Princess Offers U.S. West Coast Cruises
If you are not familiar with cruising you may wonder why there are few cruises between U.S. ports, from San Diego to Seattle, for example. It is because of an arcane law called the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA), which disallows foreign flagged vessels from transporting U.S. passengers between U.S, ports without a visit to a "distant foreign port" on the itinerary.
Fortunately, as Congress comes to realize what a valuable U.S. industry we have in cruising, more of these kinds of cruises are available to us. Despite the fact that many ships are technically flagged in foreign nations, the cruise lines themselves are in many ways "All American," at least in terms of company headquarters, where their shares are traded and whom they serve.
Princess, one of the few modern cruise lines spawned in California (Crystal is the other), is offering a series of West Coast Cruises next summer and beyond. They have cruises scheduled out of Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The ports of call include Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Astoria, Seattle and Victoria. A visit to Oregon's wine country is on tap, as well as visits to Catalina Island.
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