SOUTHAMPTON, U.K. -- The Queen Mary 2 was christened Thursday here by Queen Elizabeth II in an hour-long ceremony filled with pomp and circumstance.

About 2,000 invited guests attended the christening, which was held pier-side.

Confetti fell from the ceiling of a covered grandstand after Queen Elizabeth II named the vessel and a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne broke on cue.

Fireworks exploded over the QM2's bow as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed. Helping out were the Royal Marines band, Heather Small singing "Proud" and opera diva Lesley Garrett.

The ceremonies emphasized the British history of the company, which is now owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp. Cunard president Pamela Conover spoke on behalf of the line.

The 151,000-ton liner is to depart Monday on its maiden voyage to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].


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