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I was going to do a post about the forthcoming arrival of Queen Elizabeth, Cunard’s newest ship. She’s been built, she’s been tried at sea (well I read that she’d had her ‘sea trial’), and now she’s on her way to Southampton to be launched. Except that since she’s already in the water, she must have been launched already. Or maybe she’s being named…. but as everyone already knows her name (clue: it’s “Queen Elizabeth”), that doesn’t sound right either. But it’s definitely important because all the Cunard bigwigs* are getting very excited, both about their new ship and because of who’s going to do the naming. Yes, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is going to name Queen Elizabeth… Actually, given that Her Majesty is the boss, she can name it anything she likes, can’t she? That would be fun: “I name this ship ‘Britannia’. May God Bless her and all who sail in her; which will be me, because I’m having her!”. Or “I name this ship ‘Queen Victoria’…..” – which would be a senior moment for Her Majesty. That could cause the Cunard bigwigs a problem, wouldn’t it? They’d have to call one ship Queen Victoria I and the other one, Queen Victoria II. I quite like that.

But none of that’s going to happen. Her Majesty will turn up and do what she’s told, which will be to say “I name this ship ‘Queen Elizabeth’ “. The Cunard bigwigs will look very pleased, there’ll be reams and reams of stories about how she’s in the fine tradition of Cunard liners, lots of happy cruise passengers will go on her maiden voyage, there’ll be reams more stories about how great (or what a disaster) the maiden voyage has been, and then we’ll all stop thinking about her, and she’ll be just another big cruise ship operating out of the UK for part of the year.

Don’t get me wrong, from everything I’ve read the new Queen Elizabeth appears to be a well-designed and appointed ship, and I’m sure that many people will have happy times on board her. I’d enjoy a cruise on her myself, though the prices are quite high. But words like ‘exciting’, ‘traditional’, and ‘innovative’ are among those that can’t be really be applied to her. She’s the latest in a line of ships, well over a dozen now, that have taken a basic panamax design that allows the majority of passengers to have balcony cabins and has been gradually developed, adding more and more features, slightly more passengers, and getting ever bigger: at over 90,000 tons, she’s bigger than anyone had expected a panamax ship could be. And all these things are good and worthy of applause and praise. But don’t over-egg the pudding…. she’s just another cruise ship.

*  The derivation of ‘bigwig’. It comes from the English law courts of the 18th and 19th centuries. The more senior and important the judge, the more dramatic his wig; so the really important judges were referred-to as ‘bigwigs’, because when they were sitting they wore bigger wigs than the ordinary judges. The term got attached to anyone of great importance, or possibly just great self-importance.

One Response to “New cruise ship coming: not many excited”

  1. […] may have been bit ungracious the other day when I posted my ‘New cruise ship – not many excited‘ entry. While not the epochal event that the Cunard maketing department would have us believe […]

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