Mary, queen of the seas

Queen Mary 2
Queen Mary 2

SCARBOROUGH people will soon be able to catch a glimpse of the world’s biggest ocean liner as it sails along the East coast.

The Queen Mary 2 is sailing past Scarborough for a third time on Monday at 8.15am, following two previous visits in 2004 and 2009.

The appearance comes just two weeks after a sail-past by Cunard’s newest ship, the Queen Elizabeth, which drew the crowds on September 3.

On board was veteran DJ and broadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile, who has travelled on Cunard’s “floating hotels” a number of times.

However, he will not be on the Queen Mary 2 when it passes this time as he is filming a TV show in Leeds.

Sir Jim said: “Coming past Scarborough is something which thrills all the passengers.

“Even those who don’t know Yorkshire say ‘we must come back here’.”

He said that Scarborough looks “spectacular” from the sea and joked last time that he would like to “dive overboard and swim ashore to the Rendezvous Cafe”.

Sir Jim has been on all three ships that have sailed past Scarborough – the QE2, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth.

In 2007 he was taken out to sea by a local fishing vessel and winched aboard the QE2 to join the ship on its 40th birthday tour round Britain.

Hailed as the grandest, most magnificent ocean liner ever built, the Queen Mary 2 paid its last visit to Scarborough in 2009 for the ship’s fifth birthday lap of honour.

Its return has been welcomed by Welcome to Yorkshire area director Janet Deacon, who said it was “fantastic news” for the area.

She added: “It is an amazing sight to see and certainly pulls in the crowds.”

Cllr David Jeffels, Scarborough Council’s cabinet member for tourism, is also delighted that the vessel is coming back and has raised the possibility of it anchoring in Scarborough and allowing passengers to be ferried ashore.

“It would provide a wonderful boost for the economy and attract new holidaymakers,” he said.

The vessel, which will pass through Whitby an hour earlier at 7.15am, measures 1,132ft – that’s 147ft longer than the Eiffel Tower – and carries 2,620 passengers and 1,253 crew.

It boasts opulent public areas, extravagant dining rooms, ballrooms, theatres, lounges and the only planetarium at sea.

She travels up to a top speed of approximately 30 knots (34.5 mph) and her whistle is audible for 10 miles.

Prices for a seven-night Eastbound transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton range from £1,199 for a standard inside cabin, to £3,799 for the “Queen’s Grill” accommodation.

The Queen Mary 2 also offers an 11-night cruise around New England and Canada from between £2,279 and £6,879.

The ship has the largest library at sea, with 8,000 hardbacks, 500 paperbacks, 200 audio books and 100 CD ROMs.

Its signs near the funnel are the largest illuminated ship’s name signs in maritime history.

The vessel also has the largest ballroom with the largest dancefloor at sea, measuring 7.5 metres by 13 metres.