Cunard boss welcomes calling off of rail strike

By Phil Davies

Cunard boss welcomes calling off of rail strikeThe boss of Cunard has voiced relief that the Bank Holiday Monday rail strike, which threatened the journeys of thousands of spectators to the line’s historic 175th anniversary celebrations in Liverpool, was suspended yesterday.

The suspension of the threatened industrial action came as the line puts the finishing touches to its plans for the ‘Three Queens on the Mersey’ event on Monday.

Cunard’s three ships – Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria – are due to appear together for the first time in the company’s spiritual home in an event expected to draw huge numbers of visitors.

Cunard director, Angus Struthers, said: “It’s a great relief to know that the rail strike is suspended and that the crowds who we know are looking forward to seeing the three Queens in Liverpool on Bank Holiday Monday can now make their travel plans with confidence.

“The three Queens event involves the biggest ships ever to manoeuvre together on the Mersey performing a ‘river dance’ in front of the Three Graces, on Liverpool’s historic waterfront, to celebrate Cunard’s 175th anniversary year.

“It’s promising to be the biggest event on the Mersey for decades and we are delighted to know that the many people who feel a connection with Cunard will be able to travel in and out of Liverpool without disruption on the day.

“We are looking forward to weLcoming the three Queens into our spiritual home in just a few days.”


Cunard kicks off 175th anniversary celebrations

By Phil Davies

Cunard kicked off its 175th anniversary celebrations in the UK by having its three ships arrive in Southampton at the same time on Sunday.Queen Mary 2 led sister ships Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria down Southampton Water and into the Solent.

The ships arrived in Southampton from their respective three-month world cruises.

They then set off on their summer season of transatlantic crossings, Mediterranean fly-cruises, Scandinavian and southern European sailings.

Commodore of the fleet, Christopher Rynd, said: “It is wonderful to be back in our homeport of Southampton.

“All three Queens have just completed their world cruises and now we are sailing out in procession, into the Solent.

“What a glorious way to start our 175 anniversary celebrations.”

The three vessels will meet again in Cunard’s original home of Liverpool on May 25 as part of a weekend of celebrations which is expected to attract up to one million spectators, according to local reports.

Liverpool cruise liner Black Watch scoops string of awards ahead of first transatlantic sailings to Canada in decades

Fred Olsen cruise liner, MS Black Watch at the Pier Head, Liverpool

Fred Olsen cruise liner, MS Black Watch at the Pier Head, Liverpool

Fred Olsen’s transatlantic Liverpool cruise liner Black Watch has scooped a string of awards voted for by passengers.

The ship, which will undertake a record 14 cruises from Liverpool’s Pier Head this year, topped three small ship categories in Cruise Critic’s prestigious UK Cruisers’ Cruise Awards 2015.

The 28,631 gross tons liner, which carries 804 passengers, was named best for service, best for shore excursions and best for value.

The awards are based on reviews submitted on the Cruise Critic website by UK-based holidaymakers who cruised during 2014.

Black Watch was built as Royal Viking Star for the now defunct five star-rated Royal Viking Line’s long distance ocean cruising, and will sail the first Liverpool – Canada transatlantic crossings since 1971 this year.

The spacious liner will undertake two return voyages from Liverpool Cruise Terminal to Canada in May and August, the first direct sailings to Canada since Canadian Pacific’s flagship SS Empress of Canada closed ocean liner services from her Liverpool homeport 43 years ago.

Nathan Philpot, sales and marketing director for Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “At Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, we believe in providing the very best customer experience that we can on our cruise holidays, from start to finish. We are renowned for our ‘service with a smile’ on our smaller, more intimate ships, which is why 58% of cruise guests choose to return to the ‘friendliest fleet afloat’ each year – one of the highest repeat rates within the travel industry.

“We would like to thank all those valued cruise guests who voted for Fred Olsen, and we look forward to welcoming you on board with us again in the very near future.”

Black Watch’s cruise season from Liverpool begins next month with a 13-night sailing to the Canary Islands at Easter followed by a further 13 cruises, including a two-night Dublin mini-cruise in December, a 25 night voyage to the Adriatic and a journey through the Norwegian Fjords in May.

Her sister ship Boudicca was Fred Olsen’s previous Liverpool cruise liner.