Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth (II) & Queen Mary 2 in New York

On January 13, 2011, Cunard staged another Royal Rendezvous in New York Harbor that evening to celebrate having Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and the new Queen Elizabeth in port together for the first time in New York.  While others were very interested in seeing all three together, for me, Howard Paulman, that day was all about the maiden North American arrival of the new Queen Elizabeth, the third ship in the Cunard fleet to bear that name.

With that in mind, I made arrangements to stay overnight in Edgewater, New Jersey the night before to guarantee an easy commute to the waterfront instead of the usual 75 minute drive from my house.  The original plan was for Queen Mary 2 to return her Red Hook berth in Brooklyn, New York from a Caribbean cruise at 6:15 am followed by Queen Victoria tying up at Pier 90 on Manhattan’s west side at 6:30 am.  Then, just after daybreak at 7:23 am, Queen Elizabeth would enter harbor and tie up at Pier 88 at 8:00 am.   Having dealt with many Cunard Queens arriving in January darkness, it was nice to look forward to the new Queen Elizabeth arriving in daylight.  Well, it was a nice thought until I was called at 2 in the morning on 13 January and told she would be berth at the same time as Queen Victoria.

At 5 am, I left the Homewood Suites in Edgewater and drove 15 minutes down river to Weehawken, NJ.  We had been getting snow over and over again and after parking my four-wheel drive Suzuki in an unplowed parking spot, I grabbed a shovel out of the back and cleared the sidewalk area where I wanted to capture the arrival across the street from the truck.  It was 18 degrees F with a 8 mile per hour wind so I was very happy to see both Cunarders on the Hudson as planned even though it was dark.

Here are a few images from the simultaneous arrival of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth on 13 January 2011.  Queen Victoria lead the parade and here she is passing the Empire State Building at 5:31 am. While Queen Victoria was passing the Empire State Building, Queen Elizabeth was only a few blocks south of her coming up the Hudson River at 5:36 am.

Queen Elizabeth passes the Empire State Building at 5:47 am as she begins to slow down in preparation to turning into her berth at Pier 88 a few blocks north of her.  Queen Victoria swings to starboard to enter her Pier 90 berth at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal on Manhattan’s west side at 5:48 am.
Queen Victoria continues into her Pier 90 berth as Queen Elizabeth turns to starboard to enter her Pier 88 berth at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal on Manhattan’s west side at 6:00 am.  Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth continue towards their respective berths side by side at 6:02 am.
Queen Victoria finishes with engines at 6:09 am alongside berth four at Pier 90 as Queen Elizabeth eases into berth two at Pier 88 at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal.
Queen Victoria ( left ) and Queen Elizabeth ( right ) tied up on Manhattan’s west side just after sunrise on 13 January 2011.  Note that Queen Victoria bunkered here while Queen Elizabeth did not, having enough fuel to reach Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Comparison between Queen Victoria stern and Queen Elizabeth stern almost makes me appreciate Queen Victoria although I prefer the interior of Queen Elizabeth over both Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.
Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in the late afternoon light at the New York Passenger Ship Terminal in New York City on 13 January 2011.
With rush hour approaching, I headed south to Liberty State Park in Jersey City to catch Queen Mary 2 at her berth in Red Hook, Brooklyn behind Governor’s Island as the sun went down.
My plan was to stay in Liberty State Park for all three Queens together but the cold weather and my bronchitis starting to act up again put an end to that idea.  And while I did see Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth depart from Manhattan, I was not able to take any photos.  However, I did achieve my personal goal for the day – photographing the maiden North American call of the new Queen Elizabeth.  And I was grateful to have sunshine all day even if it was very cold and windy.

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© Howard Paulman 13th January and Liner Lovers 10th March 2011
Not to be reproduced without permission