by Kevin Griffin of The Cruise People writing in cybercruises.com
Tuesday June 5 saw all three of Cunard’s Queens, 148,528-ton RMS Queen Mary 2, 90,901-ton Queen Elizabeth and 90,049-ton Queen Victoria, in Southampton to celebrate HM The Queen’s sixty years on the throne
This will be followed by an even bigger event four weeks later, when P&O Cruises has invited the Princess Royal to Southampton to conduct a fleet review on the event of its 175th Anniversary on Tuesday July 3. All seven UK-based P&O ships (there are three more in Australia) will visit Southampton on the same day. But Cunard still takes precedence as the Queen has christened two-thirds of its fleet – Queen Mary 2 in 2004 and Queen Elizabeth in 2010 – but only one of P&O’s, 69,153-ton Oriana in 1995.
As Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria took bow-to-bow positions near the City Cruise Terminal, Queen Mary 2 edged in to create a three-bow formation while flag-waving crew lined the foredecks off all ships and their whistles sounded a salute. After the event, Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth passed in single file down the Solent as they all set out on celebratory Diamond Jubilee voyages with a total of about 6,000 passengers. Cunard’s turn for its own 175th Anniversary will come in 2015.
Cunard is meanwhile looking to develop more first-time cruisers and wants more agents to sell its cruises. Company president Peter Shanks last week told Travel Weekly, “Agents can find Cunard difficult to sell: we’re not mass-market and we’re not small-ship luxury. We have a unique mix, which I believe agents should be selling to a wider range of clients… We will be working closely with agents who want to sell Cunard for the first time. We want to work with high street agents to find more first-time cruisers and work with online agents on marketing campaigns.”
Cunard could have made this job much easier for itself if it had not reduced travel agents’ commissions from 12.5-15% down to 5% earlier this year.
Meanwhile in Canada, the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick, has announced that its new cruise terminal, expected to open this autumn, is to be named the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal. The announcement was made on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee visit to Saint John of Prince Charles, heir to the throne, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, on May 23.
The first caller to the new terminal is expected to be 83,338-ton Disney Magic, which is scheduled for September 5. Saint John also has the nearby Marco Polo Cruise Terminal, named after a locally-built clipper ship, and a facility at Long Wharf. The Canadian port expects seventy-three cruise ship visits this season with more than 187,000 passengers.