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Maiden call of Her Majesty Queen Anne

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Cunard’s latest cruise ship, the Queen Anne, will debut in Madeira this Tuesday, May 14th. The ship, which sails with around 2,600 passengers and 1,000 crew on board, is on the first commercial voyage, after its inaugural journey, reserved for a small group of guests and specialized press, between Southampton, in the UK, and Lisbon, Portugal, and back again to Southampton.

But now, it’s for real. The inaugural call in Madeira, which will also be the ship’s first ever, is scheduled for 7 am, and takes place 20 years after the Queen Mary 2’s first passage through Funchal, at the time the largest cruise ship in the world. On that day, January 15, 2004, the city stopped to watch the arrival of the ‘Queen’, and the Funchal pier was filled with curious and enthusiastics, to watch the first o􏰀icial stopover of the ship’s maiden voyage.

Now, two decades later, and even though the island is used to large ships and frequent visits of the Cunard fleet, Madeira will not remain indi􏰀erent to the arrival of the ‘Anne’. The ship arrives from Southampton and will spend the night in Funchal. The departure is scheduled for the following day, Wednesday, at 5 pm, heading to Lanzarote. The ‘Queen Anne’ is shipped by Blatas, Lda (Blandy Shipping), Cunard’s shipping agent since 1905. The first record of a Cunard cruise ship calling in Madeira dates back to that year, with the ‘RMS Caronia’, anchored in the bay of Funchal, at the time already managed by Blandy Brothers & CA.

Upon arrival, passengers will be greeted by a regional folklore group and a team of ‘Carreiros do Monte’ with traditional basket cars (toboggan). The Ship Enthusiasts Club (CEN) opens a photographic and ship model exhibition that day, recalling previous Cunard cruise visits to Funchal, that will be on display at Funchal Cruise Terminal.

At leaving, the “Queen Anne” will receive the traditional water salute, carried out by Madeira Port Authority (APRAM, S.A.). tugboat “Ponta do Pargo”. Before, at 10 am, the president of the APRAM board of directors, Paula Cabaço, and captain Inger Klein Thorhauge, who is the first woman to command a Cunard Ship, will gather for the traditional Plaque Exchange Ceremony.

“Madeira and Cunard have a special bond. The ‘Queen Marry 2’ made its inaugural call here, and now, 20 years later, the ‘Queen Anne’ gives us the same honor, which reveals the importance and notoriety of our port for the cruise industry”, highlights Paula Cabaço, adding that in the last two decades Cunard ships have made 112 stops on the island, transporting close to 205 thousand passengers. “The ‘Queen Elizabeth’ and the ‘Queen Victoria’ are regular presences on New Year’s Eve in Madeira, and the arrival of the ‘Queen Anne’hasalreadybeenconfirmedforthisyear’sevent”,addedthepresidentoftheregional port authority.

Built in Fincantieri’s Italian shipyards, and launched on April 24, the ‘Queen Anne’ has the capacity to carry 2,996 passengers and 1,225 crew. Is Cunard’s 249th ship, and the fourth in the current fleet. Was named in honor of Queen Anne, who ruled the United Kingdom between 8 March 1702 and 1 May 1714). Is the company’s second largest ship at 323 meters in length, only surpassed by the Queen Marry 2 (345 meters), which continues to be the oldest in the Cunard fleet. But the ‘Anne’ carries the most passengers, compared to the 2,691 passengers from the ‘Marry 2’.

The company also has the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, being the first time since 1999 that Cunard has four ships sailing, thus paying homage to all the British queens regent.