Cunard Line’s three vessels: the Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 have departed Lisbon on their way to Southampton for the Queen Mary 2’s 10th anniversary celebrations.
The event, which will see HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in attendance, also marked the final leg of the Queen Mary 2’s world cruise – with the liner’s sister ships on hand to ‘escort’ the vessel back to the UK.
It’s not like directing traffic –
this is more like ship ballet
The occasion was the first time the three Queens have ever been side-by-side, with photographer James Morgan capturing the manoeuvre from a helicopter.
Morgan said: “Most of the work in this type of photography is actually in the preparation beforehand. You don’t just happen to go up in a helicopter and take a great shot. Months of preparation go into planning these things for that one moment”.
The ‘photoshoot’ itself took months of preparation, with meetings between all three Queens’ captains and crews taking place to schedule every detail of the line-up. The area also had to be cleared of other traffic for safety reasons.
Morgan added: “It’s all about orchestrating the manoeuvre in advance. When you are dealing with the largest ocean liner in the world, you can’t sit in a helicopter asking if it can go left a bit or right a bit because it doesn’t work like that. A three ship formation like this has to be finely coordinated and choreographed ahead of time.
“It’s not like directing traffic – this is more like ship ballet.”
Cunard director Angus Struthers said: “This is the first time all three Queens of the Cunard fleet have been seen together anywhere outside Southampton or New York, and the first time these magnificent ships have been seen together at sea.”