Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth 2 & Sundream
On the 5th June 2004 Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2were in Southampton together for the second time that year, joined by Airtours' Sundream.  Originally Royal Caribbean's 1970-built 18,000grt (later increased to 23,000grt) Song of Norway, she was bought by Airtours in 1996 until selling her in 2004.  rom 2005 Caspi CruisesDream Princess, renamed just Dream in 2006 to avoid confusion with Princess ships, then Clipper Pearl in 2007.  In July 2008 she became Clipper Pacific, the new Peaceboat, replacing the Topaz which went to Alang.  But it wasn't without incident and she failed many things during the inspection at New York so had to go to dry dock to correct them.  The charter was subsequently cancelled after a few months and her future became uncertain.  She was Festival for Caspi Cruises during 2009 and then Ocean Pearl for Quail Cruises in 2010 until they went out of business on the 24th September 2011.  She ended her cruise in Barcelona two days later and instead of heading to Villefrance as scheduled, returned to Valencia after dropping passengers then was laid up at Gibraltar.  She set sail for Tilbury, arriving on the 26th October.  In March 2012, she was sold to the newly formed Asia Pacific Cruises Group and became Formosa Queen, undergoing an extensive renovation inside during the year, after which, she would begin cruising in the spring.  That venture didn't last long and it was announced that November she had been sold for scrap, to commence in 2014.  She was the very first of Royal Caribbean's ships to be built and broken up.  All three ships were due to sail at 6pm on this day.  QM2 was in the usual Cunard berth, with Sundream in 101 and QE2 in 106.
A huge crowd had gathered in the sunshine.  Everyone I spoke to was waiting for QE2 to pass her big sister.  We were all disappointed when QM2 left first.  We'd forgotten about the pods and were looking for tugs!  As she moved herself away from the dock, QE2 was being pulled out so she could turn around.  QM2 gave three loud blasts then another three before she sailed into the sunset.
As QE2 slowly made her way up a lot of the crowd had dispersed.  She gave three blasts on her whistle, three more after passing Sundream then three more as she neared her home dock.
By the time Sundream left it was getting on for 7pm and very few people remained.  She had started moving towards the turning circle at 6.48pm once the QE2 was safely passed and made her approach from there but didn't blow her horn.

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© Patricia Dempsey 5th June 2004 & 19th May 2006
Not to be reproduced without permission
20th November 2013