Memories of the QE2 Heritage Trail

Fri 06 Sep 2013 Opinion

Model of the Mauretania outside the Caronia Restaurant, part of the QE2 Heritage Trail. The lighting within the case changed during the course of the day and fibre optics had been painstakingly installed inside the model itself so that, when guests arrived or left the restaurant in the evening, the model ship glowed as if there was a party in full swing.

With the forthcoming refurbishment of the QE2 as a floating hotel plying ports in the Far East, I am reminded of my time working to help put together the Cunard Heritage Trail. Judging by various cruise-related websites, this seems to have been regarded with great affection in no small measure because of the lively and memorable tours given by the legendary Thomas Quinones. One on-line article by Lynn Seldon gives a good sense of the Trail and includes this charming anecdote which exemplifies what heritage displays are all about:

“The QE2’s social director, Elaine Mackay, relates a story that perfectly relates the lure of the Trail. With a broad smile, she says, “In the Midships Lobby, I was explaining all of the panels when I pointed out a bellboy on the Queen Mary. A man in the group said, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but that bellboy was me.’ He had been a bellboy in his teens and even showed me a picture he carried with him on the QE2. It really made the inanimate mural come to life.” The entire Cunard Heritage Trail can have that effect on anyone wishing to step back into history with Samuel Cunard and his fabled cruise line.”

As part of the then MET Studio team, I spent many happy hours in the Ocean Pictures (the official photographers for Cunard) archive selecting images of VIPs and (at my insistence) ordinary people who had travelled on the QE2 since its launch.