Reflections of the inaugural

Cunard and Carnival Corp. executives, travel agents and others who had been involved with the ship from its inception reminisce about the inaugural of the QM2.

Kimberly Wilson WettyKimberly Wilson Wetty
Co-president and co-owner, Valerie Wilson Travel

I will never forget the queen of England entering the event, only feet away from me, and I can still hear the bagpiper as he serenaded from the bow of the ship with a single spotlight on him. Powerful!

Peter ShanksPeter Shanks
Senior vice president, Europe, Cunard

Having the queen there was very special indeed. When you're in the presence of Her Majesty the queen, it just takes it to another level. I've been very lucky to have had three events with the queen. When you have her present it just changes the event completely.

Pamela ConoverPamela Conover
President and COO, Cunard

The most memorable part was the queen and Prince Philip. And the whole ceremony. To me that's what I remember the most. And the fact that we basically had to pull that off without a hitch. We moved the ship during the ceremony; I don't know if you knew that ... I think it was an incredible effort from an awful lot of people.

Conover had the responsibility of welcoming the queen pierside

I was terrified. I was afraid I was going to fall over when I curtseyed. And she was so charming. She was so nice.

Tracy JessopTracy Jessop
Director of hotel services, Cunard

I think when we sailed from Saint-Nazaire [the ship] was spotless; they literally polished everything.

When it really did come home to me that, wow, this is something amazing ... Heather Small, quite famous in the U.K., sang a song called "Proud." [The lyrics are] "What have you done today to make you feel proud," and you look over at Pam [Conover] and have the lump in your throat like, yeah, we've done it. 

 Derek BerglDerek Bergl
General manager, Pied Piper Travel

Most memorable to me was the reception the ship received in the Canary Islands. We came into Tenerife, and I think the whole island came out to greet us. We sailed out in the late evening, with thousands of people watching and with fireworks going off. I'll never forget it.

John Maxtone-GrahamJohn Maxtone-Graham

Historian and author of "Queen Mary 2"

It was quite cold in Southampton, and there was to be a fireworks display. A friend of mine who was onboard ... he brought a bottle of champagne to [our] very nice cabin on Nine Deck. This is the first time I've drank champagne in a fur-lined glove.

Have you or your clients sailed on the Queen Mary 2? Post your recollections in the comments below or on our Facebook page. 


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