A Ship Fit For A Queen

big cruiser ship from the front

Today is the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Monarch since 1952, the Queen has lived a long and interesting life: beginning public duties in the turmoil of World War II, she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, took part in historic state visits with the Pope, to the Republic of Ireland, and has seen major constitutional changes.

The world’s oldest reigning monarch as well as Britain’s longest lived and longest reigning, she surpassed the length of the reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria in 2015.

A famous ship shares a name with this long-reigning lady; the Queen Elizabeth 2, often shortened to simply QE2, is an ocean liner which was designed for transatlantic crossings. It has served almost as impressive an amount of time at sea as Queen Elizabeth has on the throne. To celebrate our long-lived monarch’s birthday here is the history of the magnificent QE2 which shares her name!

Behind the Name

Despite sharing a name with Queen Elizabeth II, the QE2 was actually named after the ship the Queen Elizabeth. This ship, built in 1939 and decommissioned in 1972, was actually named in honour of Queen Elizabeth, wife of George VI and the mother of Queen Elizabeth II. The fact that the QE2 shares the same name and numerical denomination as our current queen often causes the misconception that the ship was named for her.


Commissioned in 1964, this ship was launched by Queen Elizabeth II herself on 20 September 1967, and set sail the following year under the command of Captain Bil Warwick. She served as the flagship of the Cunard line until she was succeeded by the RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004 – the QE2 had been considered to have been the last of the great transatlantic liners until the announcement of this new ship.

The ship was officially the last oil-fired passenger steamship to cross the Atlantic as a scheduled service liner, before she was refitted in 1986 with a diesel powered engine and plant. QE2 never ran a weekly transatlantic express to New York; instead she participated in regularly scheduled transatlantic trips every year of her service life.

Interestingly, the QE2 was never designated RMS, instead she was designated SS and later MV in official paperwork.


This luxury liner was retired from service in 2008. It was subsequently bought by Dubai World, which had plans to convert the ship into a floating 500-room hotel moored in Dubai. However, the financial crisis erupted that year and put these plans on halt.

In 2012 there was a rekindling of these initial ideas, but these too came to a halt. In 2016 this iconic ship still remains in Dubai with claims that there are plans for her and no intention for scrapping. The future of this famous ship seems uncertain and the fact that it sits forgotten is a true shame.

Want to follow in the waves of this royal ship? For all of your boating needs, from marine lubricants to general deck supplies, you can rely on our team of experienced boat chandlers for all of your needs, call us and have a chat with our fantastic team on 01524 862010 today!