Taking place during her 13-day Around the British Isles cruise, departing roundtrip Southampton on 23 May 2014, Queen Victoria will arrive in Liverpool on 30 May. That day she will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Maiden Voyage of Aquitania – a Cunard legend that became known as the “Ship Beautiful.”
The largest liner in the world at the time of her 30 May 1914 Maiden Voyage, Aquitania is considered one of the most beautiful liners ever built, and certainly the most beautiful four-funneled liner ever. She became one of the longest-serving Cunarders in history – 36 years – and was the only major liner to serve in both World Wars. In fact, Sir Winston Churchill credited her and her two contemporaries, the original Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, with shortening World War II by a year. The service length and miles sailed (three million) of Aquitania were both only surpassed by Cunard’s iconic Queen Elizabeth 2.
“Each visit of a Cunard ship to the River Mersey is reason to celebrate, and the city and crowds of Liverpool never let us down,” said Peter Shanks, president of Cunard Line. “The maiden voyage of Aquitania is still something to be proud of and something to celebrate 100 years later, and we intend to do that in true Cunard style on the actual day of the anniversary."
On 30 May 2014, Queen Victoria will remain in port for a rare overnight stay in Liverpool, the city that was Cunard’s original home port for much of the Line’s early history, before continuing on her Around the British Isles cruise. She will also call at South Queensferry, Invergordon, Kirkwall (maiden call), Greenock, Dublin, Cobh and St. Peter Port before arriving back in Southampton on 5 June 2014.
Greenock on the Clyde also has a close connection with Aquitania, as the ship was built at the famous John Brown Shipyard located there. Additionally, when Queen Victoria arrives in Cobh, an earlier Cunard ship, Lusitania, will be remembered for her loss in World War I, as is becoming the custom when Cunard ships call there.